I thought that I would publish this comment on my blog because I think it is very relevant. I would hate there to be any confusion about my intentions when I take my beagles "hunting".
Hi, I'm a bit confused by your blog ... how can you support / participate in anything associated with a hunt if you are an animal lover as you say in your profile? I'm hoping for some form of clarity here, as I too am a passionate animal lover and a hunt goes against all those values.
September 13, 2010 10:27 AM
I quite agree. I would not participate in a hunt where any live (or dead) animals were involved. Though the organisers call it a "hunt", what the dogs do is follow scent trails that are laid out by dragging a bag filled with tinned pilchards across the ground. This leaves a scent that does not disperse quickly and is easy for the beagles to follow. I am comfortable with this as I know that it is unlikely that my beagles will make a career out of hunting live fish. I just have to be careful about avoiding rubbish dumps (beagle heaven).
Beagles have a strong olfactory sense so this "hunt" challenges that talent. It also exercises the dogs in a way impossible to do by only walking them at the end of a lead. If you go back to all my blog posts related to the "hunts" you will see how and why my interest developed.
As a dog lover, one of my greatest concerns is how to give working dog breeds that are city pets, adequate stimulation and exercise. This is a huge problem as so many of them live in the limited confines of city gardens and apartments. They develop problems because they are bored and under stimulated.
Scent trails or "hunting" is one way of enriching my beagles' lives. They are very active dogs with a highly developed sense of smell (they are used in narcotics detection). They need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation.
This is no easy task and is a constant challenge I face as a Johannesburg city dweller trying to keep my pets happy and content. They have loved been out in the African bush running and following scent trails (albeit mackerel fish) and I have loved been out of smog city under a clear African sky. A win win situation!