To the editor:
As a resident of Alexandria who is extremely concerned about animal welfare, I felt compelled to speak out in hopes of gaining more public attention for the issue of fox penning. Recently the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries passed regulations in regard to fox penning that are shameful at best.
According to its website, the department’s mission is to “provide opportunities for all to enjoy wildlife” and to “foster an awareness of and appreciation for Virginia’s fish and wildlife.” In the case of fox penning, it has failed miserably in its mission. The agency was handed an opportunity to curb wildlife suffering and cruelty in fox pens, but the department opted not to take advantage of it.
There is no chance of a fair chase between captive wild foxes and the dogs that are used in this activity. There are so many dogs within a fox pen that there is almost no chance of a fox surviving. Clearly the safety of animals and compassion for wildlife were not involved in the agency’s latest decisions, and neither were the promises that are made in its mission statement.
Much like dog fighting, fox penning is a blood sport and has no place in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is time for the Virginia General Assembly to step up and press officials about this issue so that the practice of fox penning can be phased out entirely.
On behalf of concerned animal advocates like myself, and on behalf of Virginia’s foxes, I thank you for your attention to this issue.
– Jennifer Pinto