Sir: While Mr and Mrs Berger (letter, 2 March) maintain that hunting is part of country life, one fact of which I'm sure they are aware but, conveniently omit to mention, is that humans are in a tiny minority of the animal kingdom in hunting for sport. The kingfisher plucking a fish from the river, the fox catching a chicken, and thousands of other examples, are demonstrations of a creature's basic instincts: the need to eat in order to live. This is the way of the ecosystem.
The ecosystem is a finely balanced machine, where the population of a given species is controlled by predators, diseases and environmental factors such as availability of food. There are numerous well-documented examples of man tinkering with this to, usually, disastrous results: the introduction of the grey squirrel into Britain; the attempt to control the rabbit population with myxomatosis; and the extinction of thousands of species, to name but a few.
While I don't believe that hunting is quite on the scale of these examples, it is high time that man learned to stop messing with the natural order of things, especially where mindless acts of cruelty and barbarism are involved.
Shaw Heath, Cheshire