I WORK in animal welfare and deal with incidents involving foxes on a weekly basis, but I have never known one try to attack (Oxford Mail, June 10).

This normally only happens with foxes which are injured or trapped, where one might expect this sort of reaction. The fox is only doing what comes naturally, providing food for itself and its family.

Where people are losing chickens to a fox, it is obvious they have not put in enough effort to protect them or this could not happen.

As for trapping and moving foxes, or trying to eradicate them, it would be a pointless exercise as they are territorial animals. Move one and another would take its place very quickly.

Besides, taking an urban fox and moving it to the countryside is cruel. Because of the way we live our lives and the waste we generate, they have become scavengers and have lost a lot of their hunting instinct – unless there is a poorly-protected chicken of course.

There is no easy answer to this problem, but if we keep building and encroaching even more into the territory of these animals, then we will have to learn how to live with them.

They are part of the British wildlife and do not deserve the term ‘vermin’ being applied to them.

D LOVELL Downside Road Oxford

DOES Ralph Leavis ever have anything positive to think or say about wildlife? (Oxford Mail letters, June 10).

The foxes and badgers that frequent my son’s garden every evening, entertaining and delighting him and his family, are fortunate to be living their lives in a neighbourhood where they are both respected and enjoyed by the human beings sharing their environment – a concept apparently totally at odds with Mr Leavis’s belief in the supremacy of humans on planet Earth. His loss, I would say.

BEA BRADLEY Cuxham Road Watlington

REGARDING the demand by Mr Azis that the local authority should spend money dealing with the foxes which attacked his chickens, may I point out that, as the owner of such domestic birds, he has a legal obligation under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to protect them from predation.

Waiting for the birds to be killed by a predator and then taking action against the predator does not count as protection.

Mr Azis admits that he has previously lost birds to foxes and it could be argued that allowing it to happen a second time could be regarded as neglect.

His suggested solution of capturing and relocating nuisance foxes can also result in charges of cruelty because it has been known for decades that such forcibly relocated animals rarely survive.

Such removal, or even destruction, would be pointless anyway, because, as the government (Defra) policy states: “Territories made vacant by culling resident foxes are rapidly colonised by new individuals.”

Clearly the nation has been spooked by the allegation 12 months ago that a fox had entered a house in East London and attacked twin baby girls. But, as Defra announced at the time: “Attacks of this kind are extremely rare and we have no records of any other such attacks in recent years.”

Most people who have had experience with wild foxes still find it difficult to believe that a fox would enter a house and attack babies, and it is a fact that the one or two cases reported in the past have turned out to be dog attacks.

One thing is sure: compared with the regular reports of children being abused and killed by their own parents, the hospitalisation of about 5,000 UK residents due to dog bites and the deaths of a great many people from bee stings, foxes are positively saintly.

JOHN BRYANT Urban Wildlife Consultant Tonbridge Kent