Sordid pleasure of the few that the majority find abhorrent

I READ with interest the article by Bob Dales entitled "Hunting lobby needs more teeth" (Country Week, January 15).

Mr Dales trots out the same old exaggerations, fallacies and flawed logic in an attempt to justify the unjustifiable as were used before the passing of the Hunting Act.

He informs us that the Act was a result of a "Labour tilt against the toffs". Urban MPs think that hunting is all about "live animals torn to pieces by dogs". People have even had the audacity to snoop around the countryside spying on the hunters in case they break the law – how dare they?

Furthermore, "the public and the MPs need to be reminded that the fox is a wild animal that preys on other wildlife". Gosh Mr Dales, thanks for reminding us. I always thought that this was how all carnivores survived. He emotively tells us that foxes are merciless and therefore deserve an equally merciless end. Torn to pieces by a pack of dogs I assume he means. Or is that an urban myth?

Since the Hunting Act, foxes have multiplied freely, even attacking children we are informed. No mention here of the far greater number of attacks by dogs on children; that might weaken his argument.

May I remind Mr Dales of the real reason that brought about the Hunting Act? The people of this country find the pursuit and killing of an animal for the sordid pleasure of a few, abhorrent. Substitute the name of any other animal for the word "fox" and would Mr Dales agree to hunting to its death a deer, a dog, a badger, a horse perhaps?

Maybe Mr Dales can explain what is in the minds of these hunters who no doubt lavish love on their horses, children, pets, that make them want to partake in and gain a sickening pleasure from seeing an animal pursued to its death.

The same pleasure that people got from badger baiting, cock and dog fighting, no doubt. What is the difference Mr Dales? You need to accept that society recognises and is repulsed by your lusting to inflict hurt on animals.

Tradition itself bestows no moral right or acceptable value on an activity. What you are suggesting is a backward step for your beloved hunts and one that I do not believe is acceptable to many members of these hunts, who are not comfortable with the "kill". Let us hope, to quote you, that "the old form of culling, valid since the early 17th century is never likely to return".

From: Jim Davenport, Chapel Row, Copt Hewick, Ripon.

From: RC Dales, Church View, Brompton, Northallerton.

AN article by James Farrell "A new agricultural revolution is now needed to cope" is surely the most important ever to appear in Country Week.

A world shortage of food for the increasing population, at a time when climate change will rob the world of food growing areas, is too serious for it to be shoved under any political carpet.

Second and third in importance are future shortages of water and the slow death of our dairy farming industry, described on another page in the same issue. Members of the public would be well advised to press their MPs to take on board these issues instead of fiddling while Rome burns, wasting time on less important subjects.

CW 22/1/11