London's Sunday Telegraph reports today that Sir Paul has been giving sanctuary to dozens of foxes that were rescued as abandoned cubs by anti hunting campaigners. After being raised by hand, they were set free on Sir Paul's estate in Exmoor, Somerset. Since 1991, Sir Paul has allowed the League Against Cruel Sports to use his 100 acre Somerset estate as a deer sanctuary. It is not clear that he knew about the foxes.
In any case, Sir Paul's neighbors are not pleased. Since there is no natural food for for the foxes on the McCartney land, they have wandered off the property and are now being blamed for killing animals and spreading disease to the livestock in neighboring farms. One sheep farmer remarked that the number of foxes on Sir Paul's property have multiplied:"These new foxes are quite obviously town foxes because they are not afraid of people. Normally, when a fox sees you it is gone in an instant but these are not frightened. I had one come in the house and another take our ducklings from inside the porch. A normal fox would never dare get that close to the house.Another neighbor added:
"What the LACS and the RSPCA did on McCartney's land was very hush-hush. But they must have been stupid to think that three dozen foxes were all going to stay on that piece of land. Because the foxes come from elsewhere, often towns, they don't know where they are or how to find food. They raid dustbins, become a pest to us and are a danger to themselves. It is cruel, really. The best thing you can do is shoot them.""These urban foxes are more likely to kill lambs because they don't know how to live in the country. They also have mange which can easily spread to other foxes and dogs. My gun dog caught mange from one of them and I had to shoot him. What the League has done is born of arrogance and ignorance."One former member of the League Against Cruel Sports admitted that the foxes had been set free on Sir Paul's property:"I know of several occasions when we released foxes on to McCartney's land, with five or six being released each time. Once we set 15 or 16 free in one go. The problem was that the land consists of just a dense coniferous wood, which means it is not an area which has a lot of rabbits roaming around. The result is that the foxes have dispersed to the neighboring land on which farmers keep sheep.Sir Paul has not been reached for comment about these allegations.
"Foxes are territorial and need their own space so they keep moving on until they find a vacant area. If the farmers around there had known what we were doing they would have been rather displeased to say the least."
(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)
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