Letter: Pampered rustics

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Sir: We farm 125 acres of Cotswold countryside and our stock includes breeding ewes, free-range poultry and horses. In common with vast numbers of country folk and a great many kind and caring farmers, we are totally opposed to the wicked game of fox hunting with horse and hounds.

The fox is not a significant pest to farmers but if his dispatch is essential then this can be achieved by shooting - swiftly, selectively and with the minimum of disturbance to the target and its surroundings.

Those of us privileged to manage land, livestock and wildlife must do so responsibly and respectfully. We cannot lecture visitors or newcomers to the countryside unless we are setting a good example ourselves. It is vitally important that any demonstration or march does not make us guilty by association with the selfish, savage image of the hunting set.

Bearing in mind that the so-called "countryside" rally back in July was completely hijacked by the pro-hunters, masking all other issues, we will not be attending the next march and we urge all other far-sighted farmers and country people to think carefully before adding to the numbers.

GILL PURSER

Cheltenham,

Gloucestershire

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