YOUR leading article on the countryside march offered a wonderfully simplistic libertarian compromise - allow ramblers the right to roam and allow hunters to hunt ("Compromise on the land", Section 2, 1 March). Your premise is that hunting does not "damage" people and in a liberal democracy we should maximise freedom. You are wrong on both counts. Offensiveness can be carried to such a degree that it is damaging - a racist remark does no physical damage but causes immense psychological damage. Animal cruelty can be extremely damaging to those whose basis for life is compassion. I am sure that I am not the only person who retches every time I see film of the hunt, or who finds myself weeping as I see an animal pursued to death for the pleasure of my own species.

Even more distorted is your idea of freedom which appears to have no limits. Am I free to torture animals to death in the privacy of my own home? After all this harms no one. Why is cruelty to domestic animals not permissible but cruelty to wild animals allowed?

My freedom is already curtailed by hunting. It dictates where I live and it prevents my friends the simple pleasure of being in their garden. No one feels like pruning the roses when you can hear hares screaming on the other side of the hedge.

The government need not be distracted by fox-hunting; a simple amendment to the Wild Mammals statute will rid our society of this menace once and for all. I for one, believe that anything less is an attenuation of morality and contrary to your conclusion that only foxes benefit from anti-hunting policy. I believe that many people in this country would jump for joy if hunting were banned.

Isabel Ewart

Totnes, Devon