Letters: Hunting is no way to manage wild animals

These letters appear in the 13th July issue of The Independent

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On Wednesday 15 July, the Government will introduce a motion in the House of Commons “to approve a statutory instrument relating to hunting”.

It is widely anticipated that this will consist of a proposal to remove the current restriction that allows no more than two dogs to stalk or flush a wild mammal (fox, deer, hare) to guns under the Hunting Act 2004.

If successful, this amendment would result in a return to wild mammals being chased and killed by packs of hounds, much as they were before the Hunting Act came into force. It would also allow the hunters to use the excuse that they believed the wild animal to be “diseased”, which will likely be impossible to verify.

As veterinary professionals committed to upholding the highest possible standards of animal welfare, we are opposed to any dilution or repeal of the Hunting Act. The hunting of wild mammals with dogs is barbaric and cruel, does not represent a humane or effective method of wild animal population control or a suitable method for dealing with diseased wild animals, and has no place in modern society. The majority of the UK public, both urban and rural, oppose the cruelty of hunting with dogs and support the retention of the Hunting Act in its current form. We call upon all members of our professions and our professional bodies, to whom the public look for guidance when it comes to matters concerning animal welfare, to do the same.

Marc Abraham West Sussex

Caroline Allen London

Fiona Dalzell

Christchurch, New Zealand

Richard Edwards

West Sussex.

Phill Elliott Hampshire

Geoffrey Hale Manchester

Sophie Hill Cambridgeshire

Jo Hinde Hampshire

Shailen Jasani Hertfordshire

Mark Jones East Sussex

Dr Andrew Knight


Jo Lewis Berkshire

Alastair MacMillan

West Sussex

Iain McGill East Sussex

Andre Menache Kent

Dr Elizabeth Mullineaux


Sue Pell Surrey

Judy Puddifoot Hertfordshire

Richard Saunders Bristol

Peter Southgate Suffolk


The pro-hunting lobby really does not get it. Granted, the culling of foxes may on some occasions be necessary, but it is the element of sadistic pleasure that hunters derive from killing foxes that sticks in the craw.

Nick Pritchard



Salmon farmers have nothing to be ashamed about. Farmers are licensed by the Scottish Government to shoot seals and any action they take is totally legal. It is unfortunate that your report of 8 July (“Salmon farms that slaughter seals to be ‘named and shamed’”), implies through the repeated use of the word “cull” that such isolated shootings are part of an attempt to reduce seal numbers.

Salmon farmers do not take their actions lightly and will only shoot a seal as the last resort. If a seal gets into a salmon pen, then there is little else a farmer can do, much as a farmer would deal with a fox which has got into his hen house.

As the article points out, the number of seals killed has fallen in recent years and it is hoped that, with continual improvements in deterrents, it will become unnecessary to kill any seal.

Dr Martin Jaffa

Callander McDowell



Day in court for abuse victims

I am pleased that Justice Lowell Goddard is a step closer to hearing all the documented cases of sexual abuse over a great number of years (“No one will escape my scrutiny, warns abuse inquiry judge”, 10 July). At last victims will have their day in court.  But here is where the problem lies. 

A friend of mine was sexually abused by a doctor at a hospital, after being injured in a road accident. 

When the case went to court the victim was young, had little knowledge of the law, was not highly educated and was on a low income and she received limited legal aid. The accused was represented by private counsel, had hours of coaching and was obviously not intimidated by the court. The outcome was a verdict of not guilty.

What provision will be made for these injured parties? If we are not careful they will be lambs to the slaughter.

Name and address supplied


Your editorial of 11 July was right to say that public inquiries can be very useful as a political safety valve. But you are unfair to lawyers.

I chaired the first inquiry under the 2005 Act, into the 2005 South Wales  E. coli O157 outbreak. I am not a lawyer. Finding out what had gone wrong required the forensic skills of barristers. Not only did they probe deep, but represented the interests of all those who had been affected. All public inquiries follow this pattern. It makes them expensive, one of the main reasons why they are not held as often as they might be.

Hugh Pennington



Lords reform doesn’t go far enough

Your editorial on 11 July suggesting that an axe should be taken to the House of Lords did not go far enough. Now would be a good time to abolish this anachronism altogether.

Primary legislation passed by the devolved parliaments in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales does not go to the House of Lords before receiving Royal Assent, and, given the prospect of further devolution, there is no case for it continuing to interfere in English-only laws.

The House of Lords could be replaced by a much smaller body similar to the French Conseil Constitutionnel, which could have an overview of the devolved parliaments and perhaps investigate any accusations of impropriety – perhaps the Privy Council could assume this role. The disadvantage of losing peers who have acquired expertise in drafting legislation could be overcome by allowing them to be co-opted during the committee stage of Bills to advise but not to vote.

John Orton



How religions can incubate violence

The claim by Karen Armstrong that “The Government’s emphasis on religious ideology as the chief driving force for extremism is both dangerous and ill-informed” is itself dangerous and ill-informed; quoting polls showing Muslims overwhelmingly against violence is disingenuous (“Deradicalisation plan ‘will brand Muslims with beards as terrorists’”, 11 July).

If, by way of analogy, one polled Catholics as to whether they thought violence against Jews was compatible with their religion, there would probably be a resounding “No”. Such an attitude would be in denial of two millennia of virulent anti-Semitism incubated in the Church, which created the context of relentless hatred against Jews, culminating in the Holocaust. Which led to the Second Vatican Council finally recognising that the religious roots of this hatred must be ripped up.

Similarly, Islam incubates the religious division of humanity into distinct factions of “us”, the righteous Umma, and “them”, the cursed infidel, in the context of the ever-threatening secular culture of modernity. This makes believers ever ready to explode into anger or violence, given appropriate social, political or economic triggers. The religious roots of this hatred have to be recognised and removed, which is the intention of the Prevent strategy.

Dominic Kirkham



Can’t wait for William Daniell blockbuster

My thanks to Rosie Millard for highlighting the artist William Daniell in her article justifying the Royal Academy’s decision to hang yet another blockbuster Impressionist show at the expense of less familiar names (9 July).

While she continued with another 1,000 words extolling the virtue of remaining ignorant of anything beyond “the basic repertoire” I was prompted to find out something about Daniell. What a discovery it was: a watercolourist and engraver who made painted records of global travels early in the 19th century. When the RA decides to honour their former academician with a show, I’ll be first in the queue.

Philip Stephenson



Protecting lives can be a noisy business

John Davison (letter, 10 July) seems to favour turning off a lorry’s warning signal because of noise pollution. I’m sure the families of cyclists killed by lorries would fully agree. And I’m sure Mr Davison won’t mind if the fire service switch off their sirens when rushing to his house as it burns down. Why bother protecting people’s lives when peace and quiet are at stake?

Christina Teague

London EC3


Foreign office plays into hand of Isis

French, German and Belgian tourists are not being told to leave Tunisia. So why the panic from our Foreign Secretary? His action has played into the hand of Isis. Unemployment in Tunisia is exactly what these murdering thugs want. Many Brits felt safe and did not want to leave.

Terri Jackson

Bangor, Co Down