Letter: The trouble with fox-hunting is sheer enjoyment

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The Independent Online
Sir: Oh yes, the familiar liturgy is intoned each time the hunters of animals proclaim their atavistic rights, and if only it were different.

Yes, we kill more creatures through the bludgeoning brutality of our ever-increasing roads. Yes, animals in captivity do suffer from weight problems and, of course, the fox itself is a dastardly serial killer, leaving its gratuitous trail of havoc. So, let us at least pursue our noble British tradition which, after all, is a grossly inefficient way of wiping out this vermin with a pretty face.

One must not stop there, since if destruction of a species by our ever-growing urbanisation gives the green light for minor ritualised tortures and killing in funny costumes, then let us bring back bear-baiting for those of us who cannot afford the pleasures and requisites of the hunt. Bears are a pesky nuisance in their local environment, and a bear pit takes up far less space than a hunt, involves less risk of killing beloved pets and controls a low-class urban unemployed population.

This would give masses of employment to hunting dogs, which might otherwise be walking bellies attached to a lead. In bear pits, the creatures used to be whipped to animate them, and this of course also provides some exercise for pent-up energies. Dog-fighting, also, is far more humane than letting some poor runt sit by the fire, pick up your newspaper and chase a ball like some stunted anthropomorphic species which is neither fish nor fowl. This keeps them in high trim and exercises their predacious nature and of course would, if legitimised, provide much work. It could also be adequately staged in bingo halls in off-peak hours.

The most controversial, of course, might be human-hunting. Since we lose several thousand Homo sapiens on the roads each year, a mere 50 would provide thousands of jobs and an outlet for criminals, who would otherwise be kept as zombies in overcrowded prisons, corrupt minors and spread noxious philosophies. If an enlightened government could be persuaded to give the option to hopeless criminals and perpetual offenders of either 30 long, boring years or a slight chance of freedom in an organised hunt, then we would see a marked improvement in morale in prison life. There would also be massive investment in television coverage, and a very sharp decrease in crime during the live coverage.

So, you see, by practical analogies, once cruelty is condoned in any way, how easy it is to let the floodgates down.

Yours faithfully,

STEVEN BERKOFF

London, SW7

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