The claims sent in for loss of poultry have become a very serious question in hunting finance. Were you to see the enormous number sent in you would imagine all the poultry in the Empire was hatched and reared in your country, and all the foxes in England were collected in it to devour them. No doubt the majority of these losses are bona fide losses, but people forget that poultry have other foes than foxes. Disease, cats, dogs, rats and other vermin, to say nothing of two-legged foxes, are often the real culprits. But if they lose poultry they put it all down to "the fox" without enquiry. Many, too, are utterly careless about shutting up their fowls at night, which, of course, is exposing them to almost certain destruction. I regret to say, too, that there is a class of man in every country who desires to get a certain sum out of the hunt and sends in claims, expecting only to get a certain proportion. These claims are generally fictitious, and fowls are charged for that have never been in existence at all. I have heard of men who, on taking a new farm, have calmly asked, "How much can be made out of the hunt?" Great care is therefore necessary in dealing with these claims, which should be at once investigated, and, if just, paid promptly.
Foxes are often accused of killing lambs.
Sometimes they do, but it is very often, indeed, that the real culprit is the shepherd's own dog. Shepherds often give the dead lambs to their dogs, and hence the mischief. One of the uses of advertising the meets is to enable farmers to know when to expect hounds, and so shut up their sheep and stock and prevent any accident which might possibly occur through hounds running through them.