An end to hunting

SIR - In response to the article by Louise McEvoy on lifting the ban on hunting I would like to respond to the points she raised in favour of hunting with hounds. Firstly, it is simply not true that thousands of jobs have been or will be lost to the ban.

SIR - In response to the article by Louise McEvoy on lifting the ban on hunting I would like to respond to the points she raised in favour of hunting with hounds.

Firstly, it is simply not true that thousands of jobs have been or will be lost to the ban. The only change of the ban on fox hunting has been to remove the cruelty from their activity. There is nothing stopping them from converting either to drag hunting or keeping the pageantry of hunting nor to ride in the countryside. All attempts to claim otherwise on significant reductions of hunting employment in court using the European Convention of Human Rights have failed.

Secondly, her argument that foxes are pests and numbers need to be controlled is unfounded. Fox populations are very stable and adapt to the available food supply. Hunts used to kill in the region of only eight to nine per cent of the total population of the country with local hunts killing on average only 2.5 per cent of the local population. During the Foot and Mouth outbreaks when hunting was banned, research showed that there was no significant change in fox numbers. Plainly, hunts do not control foxes.

Thirdly, her comments that foxes kill livestock are not upheld through research by The Mammal Society who states that the loss of free range hens is generally low, and protective measures such as electric fencing and being securely housed and not left out at night further reduce losses to foxes. Most lambs that are eaten by foxes are still-born or sickly, and that losses to foxes are very lower than losses to other causes such as bad weather and poor husbandry and management practices. Better fencing and scare devices are useful solutions to fox problems.


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I therefore see no justification or reasonable argument that we should lift the ban and bring back this cruel unjustified activity to hunting with hounds, nor can I understand why any decent human being would want to.

By all means keep your activity of riding around the countryside but leave the wildlife alone to enjoy it also.

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MARK MILLS

By email

SIR - Louise McEvoy has always been controversial in her personal viewpoint but never so much in her unbalanced comments on reintroducing fox hunting.

If Louise is so keen to bring back this barbaric blood sport, maybe she would like to take the place of the fox on the first hunt. She will surely enjoy being chased for a couple of hours by a pack of hounds and being torn apart at the enjoyment of the huntsmen.

If as Louise McEvoy reports that hunting maybe reintroduced by a future Conservative Government, not only would this not be the will of the public, they will lose my vote at the next General Election and I am sure many others.

BARRY HILL

Sale Drive

Clothall Common

Baldock

SIR - For those of you in agreement with Louse McEvoy's view that fox hunting should, again be legalised, ask yourself one question.

Why in all the time leading up to the ban have we never been shown a kill on TV? After all, we are used to seeing wild animal kills on wildlife programmes. Well I have seen a kill, and it is not the quick 'bite to back of the neck' the pro hunting lobby would like to portray. It is a horrific tearing apart of a live animal. The hunting lobby accuse town dwellers of being 'ignorant townies', but it is part of their ploy that we remain ignorant because if the truth were known there is no way even the clearly clueless Ms McEvoy would be supporting the ban.

ANNE HAWKINS

Periwinkle Lane

Hitchin

SIR - I have just read your article on the ban on hunting with dogs. Far from there being a strong case to lift the ban, the exact opposite is true - it is so weak as to be laughable. However, the jobs and control arguments presented, ridiculous as they might be, are irrelevant. Cruelty is an absolute, and deliberately causing dogs to kill a fox is without doubt, cruel.

Anyone who deliberately trained their hounds to kill cats, or other dogs would be vilified, and rightly so. Why do you see deliberately doing the same to a fox as acceptable? Most of your readers would be disgusted if your paper promoted badger baiting or dog fighting. These horrible, but 'traditional' activities have been illegal for many years. Fox hunting with dogs should be similarly consigned to a part of our history of which we should be thoroughly ashamed.

ROB DAVIES

Baldock

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