Welcome to the latest Shopper Rant opinion column which questions why foxes get such a bad press. Join the debate by adding your comments.

ANOTHER soldier dies in Afghanistan. The world shrugs its shoulders.

A fox sneaks into a bedroom and bites twins. The world goes mad.

Everyone from bog-eyed social workers to prissy, jumped-up lollipop ladies immediately demands these deranged creatures are rounded up like cattle and shot like pigs.

Mad professors, grateful for their five seconds of fame, pour out complete nonsense about fox contraceptives and snaring them with Dairy Milk-laden mantraps.

Old women, grateful just to be alive, compose irate, baleful letters to their local paper, or even the Daily Mail, insisting every known fox in the country is caught, crippled and gassed in agony, just to be sure.

All of a sudden, dozens of stories crop up about foxes getting into bedrooms, tearing open car doors to get at babies, foxes jacking up on street corners and smoking crack in underpasses.

Lunatic ‘country folk’ dust off their blunderbusses and their wax jackets, camouflage-paint their faces and crouch in bushes for days on end itching to fulsomely discharge their weapon.

Tattooed Chatham housewives, who know far more about dusting than they do about natural history, instantly blame a fox for the teeth marks on their ear-pierced three-month-old because they’ve read about a similar attack in the paper, simultaneously opting to ignore the possibility that the bite could have come from the family’s muscular cross-eyed pitbull, Vince.

News Shopper: A red fox

Then there’s a wave of do-gooding animal rights nutters, ludicrously overcompensating, insisting that foxes are responsible for some of the world’s most significant scientific breakthroughs and that they’re all really like bigger versions of Basil Brush.

But really. Who cares? Pointless, dog-like animals that tear open rubbish bags and occasionally try to eat small children – that description fits most of the humans who drink in my local every Friday.

It’s just people looking for a reason to fume – and there’s plenty of more worthwhile things to get worked up about than foxes.

As soon as one fox bites one person, salivating, greasy-haired newspaper graphic designers wet themselves at the thought of giving a fox red eyes or a false snarl and, as usual, the British public proves unable to maintain any sense of perspective.

What next? Owls – kill ‘em all! Moths – vermin! Tortoises – wipe them all out! Now!

For God’s sake – get over it.

This column in no way reflects the official position of News Shopper or its parent company.

What do you think? Is there an over-reaction to urban foxes? Why do people get so worked up over these animals? Add your comments below.

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