I REPLY to letters in your November 7 issue from John Cooper, of the League Against Cruel Sports, Mrs. Dark from Denham and "Name and address supplied."

The League has had resignations by several senior executives who, amongst other reasons, considered that the League's policy of a complete hunting ban was not the best way of controlling fox populations.

Lord Burns in publishing his report, sponsored by the Government, came to the same conclusion.

Hunting is an activity shared by a very large, not a small, minority. Recent national polls found that 59 per cent of the public does not support a ban.

A BBC Online Poll this month showed 63 per cent against the ban with only 37 per cent in favour.

Moreover only four per cent consider that Government time should be given to the Bill. Substantial minorities – into which category hunting falls – have a right to continue an activity in protest.

Many demonstrations are made by minorities against laws without penalty.

I do not know how many foxes Mrs Dark has seen killed. My wife and I, who do not follow on horses, have seen foxes killed close by. The kills are often instantaneous or, at the worst, over in very few seconds.

The disembowelment and tearing apart to which she refers occurs when the fox is dead. It is not a long drawn out process. Alternative culling methods – snaring , random shooting , poisoning and gassing (illegal but there is a possibility that some people may resort to them ) result in long, painful deaths particularly if gangrene sets in or the fox is infected with mange.

When deer stand at bay in a hunt, hounds stand off and the deer is shot by a skilled huntsman or a marksman at close range. Mink are a formidable factor in the near disappearance of otters from streams and rivers. They are prolific breeders, virtually unknown until "freed" from captivity by presumably well meaning but misinformed protesters. Farmers, gamekeepers and hunters are in the main sensible and level headed, although not anthropomorphic.

"Name and address supplied "– (why the anonymity ?) The letter by a "vet" did, in fact, express the opinions of hundreds of fellow vets; opinions not lightly formed but the result of thorough and professional investigations.

Peter Janes Farnham Common