There has been local outrage after it emerged that a catholic primary school in Sidcup, Bexley, has been laying fox traps on its school grounds.
Our Lady of Rosary Catholic Primary School has been accused of ‘unnecessarily cruel’ treatment of the foxes, and even shooting the animals offsite, but the school has said it is just working to minimise fox intrusion on the school school.
In a statement, they said they have engaged the services of Fox-A-Gon, described as a non-lethal fox control service who use humane deterrence in place of killing them, likely laying down fox trappings.
A number of people, including parents, have complained about the practices taking place on school grounds in Blackfen, saying they are inhumane and completely against the values of the school.
One local mother said the whole community “is extremely angry at such a cruel and barbaric practice at what is our local primary school!”
The mum says the public deserves to know about ‘this vile decision’, and she hasn’t been alone in her criticism.
Another parent said that Our Lady of the Rosary had been trapping and shooting foxes on its school grounds, also stating that some people had been complaining at the school gates.
“This decision is made all the worse by the fact that this is a Church school with many parents asking what kind of example are they setting our kids when they feel it’s appropriate to trap a terrified animal in the middle of a heatwave and shoot it because it may be causing some inconvenience.”
Other members of the public have also complained, calling it “unnecessary and very sad” and “ironic and twisted” coming from a Christian educational establishment acting out of pure ignorance and barbarity.
Over 2,000 people have signed a petition launched against the fox traps, and whilst the school has reportedly halted communications and closed its Twitter account, Our Lady of Rosary told the News Shopper it would defend its decision.
A spokesperson for the school said that they “appreciate residents and parents’ recent concerns,” but that it felt it must continue to “focus on maintaining the safety of the school site.”
“The school is following Government Covid-19 guidelines to ensure that it is ready for opening safely to all children in September. These guidelines recommend that the school is well ventilated and that windows and external doors are kept open as a safety measure.
“In order for the school to ensure that animals do not enter the buildings, it has been necessary for us to engage the services of Fox-A-Gon and the school will be working with them to agree a plan to minimise fox intrusion on site and deter them from the school grounds and buildings.”
Fox-A-Gon say they are a nationwide human deterrence service for those being troubled by foxes, but operate a non-lethal fox control in line with wildlife protection laws.
On their website it says: “We believe there is not only always an alternative to causing suffering or death but also far more effective, non-lethal methods of deterring them.”
“Our services in dealing with fox problems include but are not limited to Fox Deterrents, Fox Management, Fox Repellents, Fox Proofing, Fouling Clearance, Fox Removal, Fox Problem, Fox Problems and Remedial Works.”
Despite the school’s explanation, over 2,500 have signed a petition against fox traps at Our Lady of Rosary and demanding action be taken.
The Mama Cat Trust also condemned the reports of trapping live foxes, causing agitation in hot weather and potential injuries, before shooting them offsite.
The trust said the school’s website describes how respect and compassion are important values for pupils, so “please ask the school to extend these same values to the much-loved local fox families that visit or live in their grounds.”
But today, on their Facebook page the Mama Cat Trust said that the school’s statement and use of Fox-A-Gon suggested they are adopting humane alternatives instead of lethal methods.
“We would obviously be happier with a statement categorically stating that no further pest control will be carried out going forwards but this is nonetheless a very positive development.”