Letter: Rural workers back hunt ban

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The Independent Online
Sir: Charlie Pye-Smith ("Hunt ban will hit rural workers", 9 July) suggested that there would be huge job losses if hunting with hounds were banned. As the only legitimate trade union representing rural workers, we are convinced that there are very few jobs totally dependent on hunting with hounds and where there are problems, we believe these can be dealt with by diversifying into other activities such as drag-hunting.

The article proposes that 3,910 people are directly employed in hunting and suggests that another 10,000 would be indirectly affected. Meanwhile the full-page advertisement in the same issue of The Independent, funded by the "Countryside Alliance Fighting Fund", states that 60,000 jobs are threatened. This is an example of the way wildly varying figures are thrown around by the pro-hunt lobby. We have to accept that there are no reliable figures on the number of workers directly involved with hunting.

The T&G policy of opposition to hunting with hounds was determined democratically by the Rural and Agricultural Workers Trade Group at its national conference, with representatives from rural areas all over the UK. It is simply not the case that all or even most rural people support hunting.

BARRY LEATHWOOD

National Secretary, Rural, Agricultural and Allied Workers

Transport & General Workers' Union

London SW1

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