HC Deb 29 January 1992 vol 202 cc570-1W
Sir Michael McNair-Wilson

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the approximate size of the fox population in the United Kingdom; whether the animal carries disease; and what percentage of foxes are killed by hunting, shooting and gassing.

Mr. Maclean

[holding answer 24 January 1992]The size of the fox population varies depending on the time of year, with an estimated 500,000 foxes in England, Scotland and Wales at the end of the summer, falling to 250,000 by the end of winter. Foxes can act as vectors for a number of diseases, most notably rabies on mainland Europe, and also a number of parasites such as Echinococcus granulosus, which can cause hydatid disease in man. It is estimated that 12,500 foxes are killed each year by hunting, while approximately 100,000 are killed by other means, including shooting. No products for gassing foxes are currently approved under the Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986.

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