Letter: Fox-hunting long overdue for reform

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your leader column (24 December) cannot argue that fox-hunting is cruel but shouldn't be banned, on the basis there are many objectionable minority groups at large. Not much of an argument!

It's not about an urban-driven class war - a majority of rural residents oppose fox-hunting and many suffer from trespass, blocked roads, intimidation of dissenters, and offensive arrogance from people who think they have a right to impose their minority standards on a majority, including the use of public land. Hunting is not a harmless activity.

The impact of fox predation is much exaggerated, but if they have to be controlled, hunting with hounds is the least effective way of doing it. This has no other justification than entertainment. Good management of game and livestock is a priority, and effective and humane methods of control are available.

When Parliament receives more than 250,000 letters and a one-million- name petition called for the abolition of hunting, MPs take notice. A future Labour government will have many priorities to tackle, but a society that puts little value on the suffering of animals often puts little value on the suffering of people.

Labour is entirely right to tackle what is a moral issue long overdue for reform. Our commitment to a free vote on this is a manifesto one.

Only Labour has promised this, and for those people who think this issue is important they now have a clear choice at the next election.

ELLIOTT MORLEY MP

Labour Spokesperson for Animal Welfare

House of Commons

London SW1

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