WARNING: This post includes a distressing image. Last night, I learned that something terrible had happened not very far from where I live. Three foxes had been shot and dumped at the side of the road. Someone uploaded a picture of them on Facebook to highlight the tragedy and I have included it here – it is distressing so please do not read on if you don’t want to see it.
When I first saw this photo, I was of course immediately worried about our own local family of foxes – these animals can have large territories and it could have been them. But I soon saw and heard them outside my house, which made me hugely relieved.
But that doesn’t make me any less sad for the foxes who have been killed and dumped in this manner. We’ll probably never find out who did this – in the UK, it’s not illegal to shoot foxes, so it’s probably the case that this will not be considered a crime.
I find it upsetting to see any animal die unnecessarily by human hands, but especially so for foxes as they have such an important role in my spirituality. Foxes are sacred to me and to see something I revere treated like this makes sickens me. On top of this, but through our local fox family, I feel that I have really got to know these creatures – I see them interacting and playing with each other, just like a human family. The foxes killed yesterday could well have been a family too. Killed only to please one selfish, heartless human and then dumped on the roadside like rubbish.
It’s unlikely that the same thing will happen to our local foxes, as the ones killed probably lived near the motorway where there are fewer people and so shooting them is easier. But it still makes me worried for them – there are so many ways they could die through human action, such as being hit by a car (one of the most common causes of death for foxes in the UK).
I feel powerless in that that there is nothing I can do to help them. Except maybe continuing to support the local charity the Fox Project, and of course, offering my prayers to Inari Okami and ask her to keep watching over our foxes.