Letter: Angling in the same league as hunting

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The Independent Online
Sir: I read with disbelief James Barrington's letter (31 December) in which he contrasts foxhunting and fishing. He argues that the League Against Cruel Sports does not campaign against angling, because most fish which are caught are either eaten or returned to the water. Does this mean that the league would stop campaigning against foxhunting if the victims were turned into stew afterwards?

Both foxhunting and angling are wrong because both involve a high degree of cruelty to animals. Angling is certainly cruel; to inflict pain and terror on a fish for sport seems to me just as cruel as to inflict it on a fox, and the fact that the fish is eaten afterwards in no way makes its death acceptable, any more than it would if abattoir cattle were tortured to death first. Fish have highly developed nervous systems and are easily stressed; for every fish reported to have been caught several times in a season, many less hardy ones would have died from the ordeal several days later.

The real reason organisations such as the League Against Cruel Sports do not campaign against fishing is that so many people enjoy angling; it would be too unpopular politically.

By all means we should campaign against foxhunting - but let's not forget that cruelty is cruelty regardless of its popularity.

Yours faithfully,

PATRICIA BELTON

Enfield, Middlesex

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