Humanity, not violence, please

From Mrs Joan Haggard Sir: I want to thank you for the coverage you have given to the campaign to stop the export of live food animals, and particularly for your leading articles, which have been factual, unsentimental and humane, and must have done muchto win the sympathy of people who had not previously given the matter much thought.

Unfortunately, the increasingly violent behaviour of some demonstrators may make it difficult to keep that sympathy alive in a public that is growing ever more fearful of lawlessness and anarchy. Some of the violence undoubtedly comes from the rent-a-mobelement who will latch on to any demonstration that will give them a chance to have a go at the police. But some may also come from genuine animal welfarists who, exasperated by the Government's refusal to listen to reasoned argument, have come to believe that their cause is only noticed when they become objectionable and when they hit the powers that be in their pockets, that is, by forcing ferry companies and ports to refuse the trade, and by involving large numbers of the police in the process.

For over 20 years I and many others have campaigned for the banning of the export of live food animals and its replacement by a carcass-only trade, yet in all that time the animals have not benefitted one bit. I can understand why the young animal welfarists of today believe that obstructive behaviour gets quicker results than reasoned argument. The sad thing is that these tactics may alienate the very people they want to convert. Which is why I hope, most sincerely, that you and your paper will continue to keep the humane, ethical point of view before the public.

Yours sincerely, Joan Haggard Harpenden, Hertfordshire 5 February