AS a wildlife carer I must protest in the strongest terms at the letter three weeks ago from Messrs Thomas and Allen of the group Vets for Hunting.

It is deplorable and cynical for vets to exploit their professional position to support cruelty. They claim understanding of wild animal behaviour in an attempt to give their views authority. Most vets have little or no experience of wild animals and do not study them at college.

The people who understand are those that work with wildlife, heal them, protect them and rehabilitate them to the wild.

Those of us that do such work have the privilege of a remarkable insight and education into their nature and behaviour. It is a very humbling experience.

Let me isolate just one of these vets' many inaccurate and disgraceful claims, i.e. that "wild animals almost certainly lack the complex brain and mental abilities to perceive the human concepts of fear and death."

Utter rubbish! Animals that suffer hunting, such as foxes, deer and hares are highly developed mammals with superb intelligence. Fear is absolutely necessary to their survival mechanism and the experience of fear is the same universal sensation experienced by all sentient beings. We do not enjoy being terrified and animals feel the same.

It is cruel to inflict unnecessary fear upon them, forcing them to run for their lives. There's only one reason why the quarry species are hunted – they provide good sport. A challenge to the pack and thus entertainment to the humans. Chases are artificially prolonged, eg by devices such as blocking earths to prevent foxes going underground, or the selection of stong stags that keep on running. Even selective breeding of hounds provides a pack that has stamina over speed so that at first the quarry stays ahead and only as it tires can the pack overtake. Result – a long and exciting chase – the very essence of hunting.

Many times I have watched and filmed foxhunts during the course of campaigning for hunting to be banned. I saw an exhausted hunted fox struggling across a saturated ploughed field, its feet slowed by the wet earth.

I have seen a little fox that had been hunted for miles hobble along a railway line, its legs stiff, its paws slipping off the rails, as it anxiously glanced back again and again to see if the hounds were closing in. The hounds' bedlam echoed all around, and hunters around me laughed and whooped at the animal's plight. These images will stay with me all my life.

For any vet to try and lend their weight to the arguments in favour of the perpetration of such atrocities beggars belief. And for what? The pleasure they get out of hunting? To please their hunting customers?

These vets bring their profession into serious disrepute.

Penny Little Founder Little Foxes Wildlife Rescue Great Haseley Oxfordshire