Letter: Fox and hounds

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The Independent Culture
Sir: In April 1800 a courageous MP named Sir William Pulteney introduced a Bill to ban bull-baiting - the first attempt to secure legislation to protect animals from cruelty.

The Bill was greeted with derision and had many opponents in Parliament, most of whom defended bull-baiting on libertarian grounds. The Bill was defeated by two votes, much to the approval of The Times, which pronounced that any law which interfered with how a man spent his leisure was tyranny.

In July 1999 the Government announces that it plans to introduce a Bill to ban the cruel "sport" of hunting with dogs, and The Independent pronounces that "such a ban would be fundamentally illiberal" and that "this is a matter of personal freedom" (leading article, 10 July).

Whilst hunting is indeed absurd, as you assert, it is no more absurd than your editorial position on this issue, the originators of which should hang their heads in shame for their lack of historical perspective and their naivety.


Wincanton, Somerset