My Guilty Act – I Feed Foxes

I hate waste.  Last night I chucked some chicken that was past the sell-by date on the pack. I threw the straggly bits of translucent looking chicken breasts that I should have cooked three days ago onto a wasteland close to my home where the foxes roam at night looking for food. I would rather feed leftovers and food that has gone off to the foxes than to bin it.

I hate the inequality of food distribution between the Global North and the Global South and if I cannot feed those poor children in African then I am going to make sure that the food I waste goes into some living thing’s mouth and an urban fox it is in my case. However, I must admit to some feeling of guilt and worry that a neighbour will one day come over and tell me off for encouraging the foxes. In fact, a few months ago I did have a conversation with a neighbour who looked at me in an accusatory way while talking about food being thrown onto the wasteland patch and the foxes being seen eating this food. I didn’t own up, instead I bigged myself up in my own mind by consoling myself with the thought that the foxes had cubs that couldn’t be left to starve. That would be inhuman.

Feeding foxes is one of those things that you don’t talk to people about. Much like the ‘Don’t feed the pigeons’ brigade the ‘anti-urban fox’ brigade can be just as strident. I have heard people talking about wanting to shoot foxes. Imagine my delight then when I opened my Guardian newspaper today and read an article written by a woman who feeds foxes. Even better, according to this article, Joanna Lumley does it too. If posh Joanna whose English rose looks and plummy accent can shoot a class warrior straight in the eye feeds foxes then I am in good company. Joanna, allegedly, even buys her foxes dog food. She doesn’t just check ’em rotten food. Her urban foxes are even invited into her music room to listen to Mr Lumley play the piano.

While I wouldn’t invite my foxes in to listen to my 80s playlist, I am not as cultured as the Lumleys, I am going to carry on feeding them safe in the knowledge that I am in good company. Lastly, only in a first world Western country would something as mundane as throwing your food to the foxes make the news. In third world countries people would probably eat the fox that dares to trample onto their land and it wouldn’t make the news either.


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