Thursday, September 09, 2004

Tally Hox!

It's almost time for the 20th annual Hoxton foxhunt. Urban foxes colonised the north-east London district of Hoxton in the early 1980s, and the hunt was established in 1984 as a way of keeping the numbers down.

Although some consider it cruel, none can deny that the hunt is a stirring sight as it sweeps through the streets of N1. Horses can't cope with the irregular paving slabs, tarmac and permanent roadworks in that part of town, especially at speed, and so the huntsmen and women take up the chase on a fleet and Vespas and mini-scooters. Kills are celebrated with a round of skinny lattes or fruit smoothies, and most of the participants work in the design, new media and "creative" professions.

Despite the protestations of hunt saboteurs - who attempt to distract the hunters with cries of "UNKLE are shit!" - this urban hunt is a good deal more humane than its rural equivalent. The fox is not torn to pieces by hounds - the hunt dogs are all Sony Aibos and are rarely able to keep up with the pack, as well as not having teeth - but instead gently bored to death as the hunters enagage them in conversation about their iPods and what's they're bidding for on Ebay.


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