Letters: Animals' welfare

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The Independent Culture
Sir: It would appear that Joanna Stobbs (letter, 13 August) has a hazy picture of hunting if she thinks that the fox is given a "sporting chance ... to ... get away".

The reality is that the night before a hunt, when the foxes are above ground feeding, earth stoppers will block the entrances to any underground refuge. This ensures that the victim cannot dive for the safety of its earth but is forced to run for its life, often resulting in the favoured lengthy pursuit because, once the fox has left familiar territory, it will not easily find a bolthole.

But the torment does not end if the fox manages to go to ground because then the terriermen take over. Their job is to send their terriers into the earth to drive out the fox to be caught and shot.

Joanna calls this process "hands-on country skills". I have spent many years living and farming in "hunting country" so I call it what it is - ugly, unnecessary and unkind.

Cheltenham, Gloucestershire