Letter: Slaughter of foxes

Sir: No doubt there are many who take exception to being described by Alice Renton as "seriously loony animals-rights people" simply because they agree with the scientific consensus that foxes do not need to be controlled (letter, 24 November). It is only the ecologically-illiterate bloodsports brigade who believe that it is necessary to slaughter many tens of thousands of foxes every year to prevent a population explosion.

Since there is no actual need to kill foxes and since hunting with hounds does not control their numbers, an assessment of "the distress and cruelty involved in the alternative methods of killing foxes", as suggested by Ms Renton, is pointless. All methods are cruel and, in general, they should all be abandoned.

It is nonsense for Geoff Stovold (letter, same date) to state, "The fox leads a good natural life." Most foxes will be dead by the time they are a year or so old, yet in captivity a fox will live as long as a domestic dog (ten or more years) and even in the wild they should have a lifespan of five or more years. This massive and unnatural reduction in the average age of the fox population - which destroys the social structure of family groups - has been the only discernible achievement of the fox-killers. Imagine the equivalent human society in which virtually all teenagers are parents and any person over the age of 25 is a rarity.

TERRY SESSFORD

Wincanton, Somerset

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