Re: "There are some places in the UK where you could safely use a rifle to hunt"
"Foxes? well that's an emotive subject. Dogs are safer and more reliable for sure."
That's debateable. I can think of a half dozen ways to deal with foxes which don't involve firearms or dogs and don't alert the fox's friends&family that there's trouble in the area, so they need to lay low or scarper.
Similar problems apply to rats. You can't just kill one or two because as soon their friends realise there's a problem, you won't catch/kill any more.