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Foxes: Urban Areas

Volume 490: debated on Monday 30 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent reports he has received of groups or individuals releasing foxes captured in urban areas into the countryside; and if he will make a statement. (267748)

From time-to-time DEFRA receives anecdotal reports of urban foxes being released into the countryside.

The Government do not condone the translocation of foxes from urban to rural areas. While it is not illegal under wildlife legislation to move foxes from one place to another as long as the provisions of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 are complied with, there are welfare concerns with releasing foxes into areas unfamiliar to them and the potential to spread disease. Under section 9 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 it is an offence for a person to fail to provide for the welfare needs of an animal under his or her control. This includes failing to take reasonable steps to ensure that an animal has the ability to fend for itself in the wild on release. If it were found that an animal had suffered unnecessarily after release, it could also be an offence of causing unnecessary suffering under section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

If it is suspected that an illegal activity has occurred this should be reported to the police.