Hunting Act doesn't prevent cruelty

SIR, — Hunting Act in need of teeth? ('Herald' letters, February 19). Nearly, but not quite.

The Act is the outcome of badly researched or badly conceived legislation. In fact it is a statement of the will of the Labour Party in response to the unfounded belief of so many misled townspeople.

I consider that Douglas Batchelor has under estimated the percentage of the population that support the Act.

In practice it has tended to increase cruelty by inadvertently encouraging shooting with multi shot cartridges and the digging out and cruelly bludgeoning to death the very creatures that it was intended to protect.

Evolution has provided dogs, and hounds in particular, with the exceptional ability to find and pursue their natural quarry, by means of scent. So far as I know the only barbaric element of hunting was digging out foxes that had been run to ground.

Further to the Early Day Motion 481 the Conservatives have already indicated their intention to repeal the present Act, which restricts the choice of the individual, benefits no one and does nothing to prevent cruelty. Poor legislation is more damaging than no legislation because it becomes unenforceable by our already expensive and over stretched Police Force.

The Police must be more concerned with the welfare of people than that of vermin. In consequence this leads to the instances to which Mr Batchelor refers in his letter. When his organisation along with the RSPCA and other ill formed do gooders, call off the vigilantes and display their sense and decency to help to elect an understanding government that intends to produce practical cruelty preventing legislation, our countryside will derive a happier, freer and more contented population.

In the past the writer has enjoyed seeing and hearing foxhounds find and evict their natural quarry from coverts, but once away the day of venery was over. Under the present Act hunting has no appeal. Hounds and guns are an objectionable and dangerous mix. It is remarkable that the rural fox population has not been more considerably reduced as a result of the Act.

NORMAN F. BATEMAN

Morpeth