Sir: Paul Bell (letter, 18 June) proposes drag-hunting as an alternative to fox-hunting. There are a number of reasons why this won't happen.
It might be possible for an individual to move from one to the other, but drag-hunting is to fox-hunting what power-boat racing is to sailing. One can go fox-hunting or sailing on a comparatively modest budget at the bottom end of both sports (which is where most of us are), but power- boat racing and drag-hunting require a serious outlay of money at the outset for just the basic equipment.
One insurance proposal I received for my horse put drag-hunting in a higher risk category than "ordinary" hunting, alongside polo. Like most fox-hunters, my horse would not be suitable for drag-hunting and I would not sell him to buy a more expensive drag-hunter. Anyway, if hunting is banned his sale value would collapse and I wouldn't be able to afford a replacement anyway.
It is often blithely said that hunts themselves would "switch". Only one hunt of any type can exist in any given area, and 70 per cent of the country (which includes just about all the suitable areas for drag-hunting) is already apportioned to existing drag hunts.Thus in my area the Surrey Union hunt, of which I am a member, could only turn to drag-hunting if the Kent and Surrey Bloodhounds agreed to close down and hand over their territory. Also, the bloodhounds require the same amount of territory as four or five packs of foxhounds, so even if they agreed to disband at least three packs of foxhounds would have to close down.
Westcott, SurreyReuse content