21st Century Fox

That may be Bill Greenwell's picture up there, but it isn't him writing the column this week. He's been cooped up. He's chickened out. Because it's about time you heard from me. Reynard. Foxy. Basil. The Monarch Of The Moors. Or, as you can call me, since that's my name, Nigel.

Apparently there is a bit of a fuss going on about whether I should be executed by gun, lethal injection, or a pack of hounds. Or, alternatively, left to wander nonchalantly across the fields in peace and harmony, sniffing the odd wild flower here, or picnicking innocently there, until, well in my dotage, I am allowed to slip away quietly under the wheels of a tractor.

Now there are a number of things to be considered here. In the first place, I am a not just a wild animal. I am a free-range, organic animal, in line with Duchy Of Cornwall thinking. It's time you lot did a bit more research on the likes of me. Had a brush up, as we foxes say. For several centuries now, our fun-loving families have put on some cracking entertainment for your species, just to blow our own trumpet (why should you get all the fun?)

How often, for instance, have you gone into your hen-house, and found it empty of anything other than feathers and a few corpses? Exactly. But what makes you think we've been eating the blighters? That's your job. Raw chicken? Have you seen what you can get from eating raw chicken? We have not been scoffing the hapless hens. We've been liberating them.

All right, we've left a couple there as a warning, but basically we've been getting them under the wire - chicken-wire, your phrase not mine - and taking them to a better place, as sure as eggs is eggs. They live a fur, fur, fur, fur better life, and they don't end up as chickenburgers. We are the Chicken Liberation Front. Stop clucking your teeth.

Also, and we'd like this to be known, foxes these days are strictly vegetarian. Broccoli, a little muesli, glacier mints. And blood on high days and holidays, of course, including stag nights. All right, and the odd bunny (we have a highly-trained, crack squadron of foxes which we call the Rabbit Response Force).

What you'll be wanting to know, is where we stand on the issue of Parliament. We think the House of Lords should be hunted down by packs of marauding Commoners, dressed in pantomime outfits, and calling out "Tally Ho!" Peer-baiting is a right as old as the hills. It is a country tradition. It will be a sad day for Britain when you can't watch a marquis being flushed out of cover, forced to drink a bottle of vintage claret, and given half-an-hour's start across some waste ground (this is the origin of the place-name for Parliament. It's a derivation from Waste-Minister).

They have a sporting chance. They may make it to a tube station, or into a Starbuck's, in which case, they won't be ripped to pieces for their ermine cuffs and collars, and their silk breeches. But a baron-hunt in full cry is a spectacle, and they don't suffer much. There are sufficient aristos in the country to keep our elected representatives busy.

We like a few chasers ourselves. Farm cider is very dull unless you've had a couple of whisky snifters. That's why so many of us have turned to being urban foxes. We hang around the community bottle banks, waiting for a drop of the harder stuff.

As for hunting, well, as our patron saint, St. Roald of Dahl, has made clear, we usually out-human the showjumpers. If they want to race around, falling off their horses, who are we to complain? We usually sit around our dirty dens eating root vegetables, like turnips and mice and shrews.

And if we go out shopping for extras, then that's the chance we take. It's a bit like you lot going to Sainsbury's or Tesco or Coops (our favourites). You have to dodge the traffic. Those trolleys can be lethal. I know there are saboteurs who take pleasure in disrupting your national sport of dashing up and down aisles, and picketing in case you buy genetically modified crisps, but that's all part of the fun.

Does it hurt, being ripped to pieces by hounds? Are you splitting hares? It's something you get over, having your innards splashed about, and your head cut off and mounted, and your tail waved about for the kiddies. It's hurtful, frankly. It's a bit much, however, when you use dogs to do the dirty work, mind you. I mean, they're cousins of ours. How would you like it if a bunch of Frenchmen came over here and hacked you about? And imposed their culture on yours?

Oh, did they?

Anyway, I can't hang about debating this point all day. There are a few battery farms to tunnel into, some dustbins to knock over, some wild goose chases to get into. We stopped for a game of cricket last week, but it wasn't much fun. We were all out for a duck.

And as for our preferred method of execution? Give us a bit of rope, that's what we say. We may as well be hanged for a sheep as for a lamb.

From Express and Echo