AS a child my parents, teachers, clergy and my own instinct told me it was very wrong to be cruel to animals.

I am old now but nothing has persuaded me to change those principles.

So, with the law changing, will those who have some bloodlust and still support hunting with hounds explain to me why I am wrong and why I should join them?

Chasing for fun a terrified fox, deer or hare for miles until it is torn apart is cruel and should not be called a sport. Traditionally smearing the blood of that animal on the foreheads of children brought to watch or take part is plain awful.

Some hunts have even built "earths" for foxes to settle in so that they can chase and kill them later. Every year hounds and horses are killed in hunting accidents and livestock is scattered by hunts galloping through. The hares they chase are quite rare and what harm do hares do anyway?

I suspect the hunt supporters will still say their activity is a "lovely old British tradition." For centuries we had cockfights, bull baiting, dog fights, otter hunts etc but they are now also illegal.

If foxes need controlling it must be by a marksman with a lamp and rifle. If the hunts want a day out they should go drag hunting.

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