Right of Reply: Jackie Ballard
The MP for Taunton replies to our leading article opposing a ban on hunting with hounds
Monday 12 July 1999
Liberals do not believe that man is the only creature whose welfare is of importance. Some would argue that animals have rights, but whether they do or not most would agree that they should not suffer unnecessary cruelty. Why else do we legislate for the welfare of farm animals and domestic pets?
Is hunting, therefore, in the interests of the hunted animal? The Bateson Report showed that chasing a deer for up to six hours causes undue stress and suffering. How can that be justified by any liberal? It may give some men pleasure to chase the deer, it certainly doesn't give the deer any pleasure. This pain serves no useful purpose.
Deer and foxes need culling to control their numbers - few would argue about that, but even now the majority are controlled by shooting. Hunting plays a small part in keeping down fox numbers, in fact hunts have been reported breeding foxes especially to hunt.
Your editorial poses the question why should legislative priority be given to hunting? Because we can't do everything, does that mean we should do nothing? Of course the Government should tackle all the outstanding animal and human welfare issues - but while philosophers and commentators work out which should have the highest priority, nothing will be done. Neither the fox nor the deer are consenting partners in the pursuit. They need us to defend them.
Arts & Ents blogs
Thirteen-year-old Conor awakes in bed one night to discover that the yew tree outside his house has ...
SPOILERS: Do not read this if you have not seen series 5, episode 11 of ‘Made in Chelsea’ It’s hard ...
Fragility of life looms large over an episode that closes with the scarring on Julie's stomach. Whil...
Sir Paul McCartney's son James admits he didn't like Heather Mills and talks publicly for the first time about his struggle with drugs
It's not just Jay-Z and Kanye West: The beatification of hip-hop
Leah McFall favourite to win The Voice UK 2013
Film review: Man of Steel - Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a bit of a fudge
TV review: The White Queen is less historically plausible than Game of Thrones (despite being ostensibly true)
- 1 Alan Pardew's warning to Joe Kinnear: I am still the Newcastle manager
- 2 Breaking the Silence: In the reality of occupation, there are no Palestinian civilians – only potential terrorists
- 3 Charles Saatchi accepts caution for assault over incident in Scott’s restaurant when he put his hands on throat of wife Nigella Lawson
- 4 Exclusive: Cristiano Ronaldo advised to stay at Real Madrid for another 18 months before making possible switch to Manchester United
- 5 Iran to send 4,000 troops to aid President Assad forces in Syria