Who would have thought that the pugnacious Scottish Nationalist leader would have mustered her troops from north of Hadrian’s Wall to defeat the Government’s attempt to bring hunting with hounds back. Whatever her motives – a good deed well done.

It defies belief that at this point in the slow struggle of humanity towards civilisation from a past characterised by barbarism and cruelty that Cameron could shoot himself so spectacularly in the foot immediately after acquiring a majority.

Most of us are slowly realising that we share this planet with more than our immediate family and neighbours and are trying to adjust our lives accordingly, but he chose to celebrate his majority by restoring a so called sport that enables those who enjoy hunting a small animal with a pack of hounds while wearing fancy dress to indulge their grotesque hobby.

The fox is part of our rural and now urban scene. Because he is a predator he needs to hunt and scavenge to live. He only slaughters chickens en masse because we have corralled the poor birds for our benefit and they can’t get away. To characterise him as a fiend from Beelzebub’s lower regions for this reason is not only laughably anthropomorphic but stupid.

We have chickens at Baker Towers and they have a secure compound. We look after them. If a fox gets them, it’s our fault not his. He is just being a fox. If a sheep farmer loses lambs to a fox, it is quite understandable that he should do something about it. But to invite his landlord and the local gentry in dozens to trample his crops, kill a few cats on the way and celebrate as if they’ve defeated the spawn of Satan when their pack of hounds tears any old fox to pieces is like hanging, drawing and quartering a shop lifter. Ridiculous, disproportionate and cruel. What was acceptable three generations ago is no longer acceptable.

Hunting foxes, deer, or any animal with hounds belongs in the dustbin of history along with bear baiting, dog fighting, witch dunking and the slave trade.

We should be better than that by now. If a fox is a real problem then one trained professional marksman should be enough to deal with it. And that would be a lot cheaper than the thousands spent by those indulging their desire to ruin a good ride with a bit of torture and slaughter.