Parliament fails to lift ban on full-contact dog training


The Czech Parliament has failed to overrule a presidential veto of a bill which was meant to lift a ban on the use of foxes in the training of burrowing dogs. Under the current regulation, foxes can only be used in dog training if they are blocked off from the dogs so that the animals cannot hurt each other. While Czech hunters complain that during real hunts, poorly trained dogs are easy prey for wild animals, animal rights activists endorse the persisting ban, emphasizing the cruelty of full-contact dog training. Radio Prague spoke to Marcela Lund, the head of the Czech NGO Animals Protection Foundation which lobbied heavily against full contact-dog training.

“I think that in Great Britain they had a similar problem, they were allowed to hunt foxes, and it’s not allowed anymore. It is against the agreement the Czech Republic has signed with the Council of Europe some years ago. The agreement says you cannot use animals against each other. If you train a fox, which is held in captivity, and then you use a dog against it, these are two domestic animals fighting against each other. I think it’s very cruel. I don’t know if you have seen it but it is very cruel. After they use the fox two or three times, they kill it.”

Hunters’ associations in the Czech Republic complain that if they are not allowed to train their dogs on live foxes, hundreds of dogs are killed each year by wild animals, by wild boar and foxes during hunting.

“That is their opinion. According to the Council of Europe agreement, it’s not allowed and so we have to stick to it. The Czech Republic is not the only country with hunters; there are other countries where this is banned.”

So what would you suggest they do?

“I don’t suggest anything, you see. I think that our president, as well as the previous president Mr Havel, has considered this very carefully, they looked into the matter made clear that we are living in a modern society where this is not allowed, and so it is not allowed. Many people, including members of parliament, have changed their opinions on this. We have of course been lobbying, trying to explain that once the Czech Republic signed something, we have to adhere to it.”

The Czech hunting law sets a duty for hunters to keep the population of wild foxes low. The hunters now claim that the current regulation makes it impossible for them.

“But there are other means you can use to do this. Besides, this the law does not concern hunting, it is only related to training. But even if you train the animals, you have to go to the forest and do it for real.”