Punch,  46 (1864), 18.

The Vermin Famine



Letter, Spoof


Hunting, Agriculture, Extinction, Animal Behaviour, Taxonomy, Commerce

    Discusses the 'Fox-Famine' which reputedly exists in Ayrshire. Worries that if the disappearance of foxes before 'advancing agriculture and civilisation, cannot be arrested, there will soon be no foxes in that division of Scotland'. Upholds the 'utility of foxes', specifically fox hunting, which the narrator praises as 'part of the poetry of the nation' and which accords foxes the status of 'fancy vermin'. Identifies other species as 'fancy vermin', including birds of prey, badgers, polecats, weasels, stoats, and otters, but laments the fact that 'the successors of the old English gentleman have become poulterers, the British fauna, under the name of vermin, are getting exterminated, in order that the greatest possible quantity of game may be sent to market'. Concludes by upholding 'the divinity of the fields and forests, for old Pan, and the fauna at large'.

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