Letter: Fox and hounds

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The Independent Culture
Fox and hounds

Sir: I am no foxist, in spite of the fact that my poultry housing of various types has not proved fox-proof over the years, and my reaction to them involves the primeval human fear of a stealthy predator threatening death in the dark, which most people now reserve for their fellow human beings in city doorways.

I prefer the present, fairly natural balance in which most foxes take their sporting chance, if it arises, to outrun the hunt and get away, rather than the prospect of well organised culls by bullet or gas, which politicians will presumably find more acceptable because they share the familiar absolute control of the slaughterhouse.

Animal rights activists will appeal to the neurotics whose relationship with animals has reached the bizarre level described so nicely in Terence Blacker's piece "The menace of pet ownership" (10 August). Modern man spends 90 per cent of his life indoors and is very far removed from the personal responsibility for nurturing, slaughtering and disembowelling his dinner.

Our advanced society needs the antidote of the tiny minority who practise the hands-on country skills associated with hunting. Abolishing them could be as foolish as burning endangered species of plants with therapeutic potential, in the name of progress.

JOANNA STOBBS

Cranbrook, Kent

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