We humans have, at best, a rather selective attitude to the animal kingdom.
We place everything that squeaks, grunts, flaps or scuttles into one of three categories:
The animal A-listers are those to which we choose to show affection and consequently ascribe all sorts of human attributes.
We spend a fortune on their care, regard them as family and get in a terrible state when some of their number turn up between two slices of bread.
The B-listers are those which are a threat to carpets, can't run competitively or, let's face it, just taste really nice.
To these we ascribe different values ( so much a kilo, for instance).
The key to all of these is that they serve our purpose, whether as menu items, noble companions or handy things to bet a few quid on ( or in the case of Shergar, all three).
The C-listers, then are those pesky critters that we can find no use for, but which persist in flourishing with no help whatsoever from dewy eyed nature lovers or anyone else.
These we call vermin, and feel entitled to be as beastly as we like to.
We can hardly be surprised, then, when one or two of them get a bit antsy and start biting back.
At this point I should say that I have no particular issue with foxes, either way.
No fox has ever tried to sell me Payment Protection Insurance, interrupted me in the middle of a joke or spat chewing gum onto the pavement in my company.
In return, I have never dressed as an Edwardian, used the word tradition four times in a sentence and chased one of the them all over the landscape whilst blowing a small trumpet.
Live and let live, I'm thinking.
Anyway, 84% of all arguments are won by the timely introduction of statistics, so here goes:
In one year there have been 6097 domestic dog attacks which required hospital treatment, representing a 94% increase over a ten year period.
I got that from the Daily Mail, so it must be true...
Last year there was one fox related injury, and now the entire British population is threatened with extinction. (Also from the Daily Mail)
Quite honestly, if I were a fox I'd have organised a vigilanti group years ago and spent my time sneaking into Cotswold manor houses to do something insubordinate in their tumble driers or biting anyone I caught in the city centre taking a whiz in John Lewis' doorway.
Ever one to support the underdog, the least I could do was glue an emblematic piece entitled " Fox Chewing a Severed Leg" to the pavement in a prominent city centre location.
Sadly, like so many of it's brethren, it did not last long before the hand of man intervened, classified it a pest, and removed it.
Once again, mankind 1, furry opportunist 0.
Honestly, people can be such animals...