LETTER: Deer management

Sir: The deer-hunters currently throwing a tantrum over the National Trust decision to ban them from their land have, in the past, frequently maintained that they only hunt over land where they are welcomed by the landowner.

Most of the land in question on Exmoor and the Quantock Hills is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, of international importance for its flora and fauna. Numbers of hunt horses, together with their entourage of vehicles and motorcycles, damage the fragile environment, particularly throughout the wet winter months.

National Trust bye-law 8(c) requires that "No unauthorised person shall cause or allow any dog or other animal belonging to him or in his charge to enter or remain on any Trust property to which entry is allowed unless such dog or other animal is under proper control and is effectually restrained from causing damage to property, including plants, and from injuring, annoying or disturbing any person, bird or animal".

The question has been asked many times over the years why hunts should ever have been privileged by authorisation through licensing to cause injury, annoyance or disturbance (for instance to ground-nesting birds) when the rest of us could have a fine imposed upon us if in charge of one uncontrolled dog.

Mrs JUNE CLAPP

Ottery St Mary, Devon

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