See our Farm and Country - Environment news to see how you can have your say on fox hunting SIR, It is with a great sense of frustration and annoyance that I write to you in the firm belief that the House of Lords will do the right thing and reject any attempts to ban hunting with dogs.Alun Michael (DEFRA Minister) was never, as he pretended, trying to reach a principled compromise but seeking to push through dishonest legislation that was a ban in all but name.The Government Bill has been hijacked by a back-benchers bill and it now resembles a Private Members Bill. To apply the Parliament Act to such a bill would be a sickening corruption of our democracy, a gross betrayal of the people, and a challenge to the constitutional integrity of Parliament.The use of the Parliament Act on the hunting issue would be a gross corruption of the democratic process and it would be totally unacceptable.In the Government’s own words this Bill is now wrecked and deficient. It is based solely on prejudice and discrimination and I am confident that the House of Lords will take the opportunity to reject unprincipled and unscientific legislation as it has in the past. I would, however, take this opportunity to make some factual points: l Liberty and tolerance - a ban represents an attack on an entire culture and the rural way of life with no evidence to support a ban. l Hunting is the most humane and natural method of management; more than 500 vets say a ban would be detrimental to animal welfare. l At no point does the Government’s own Burns report conclude that hunting is ‘cruel’. Lord Burns himself stated: “There was not sufficient verifiable evidence or data safely to reach views about cruelty”.More pressing problems face our rural community such as limited provision of public transport, schools, policing, health facilities and the state of the rural economy.For hunt staff, farmers, or people involved in rural business dependent on hunting then hunting is essential to their livelihoods.An NOP poll conducted in December 2002 found that 59% of people believed that hunting should be allowed to continue.An NOP poll conducted in May 2003 found that just 2% of people believe hunting should be a political priority.l A recently-published study conducted by the University of Kent has shown that hunting makes an important contribution to the UK’s rural habitat and species conservation.Organisations such as the LACS and the RSPCA have all expressed their opposition to fishing and/or shooting. Most have claimed their campaign to ban these sports would begin should hunting be banned.Following the EU’s banning of on-farm burial of fallen stock, 78% of carcasses (400,000 a year) in the UK are collected free of charge and disposed of by hunt kennels. The irony does not go unnoticed that, if asked, the Local Authority or Ministry (DEFRA) Office will advise contacting the local hunt kennels for collection of fallen stock. This from a Ministry whose Minister appears hell bent on banning hunting!The majority of people who hunt do so on foot. Drag hunting is not an alternative nor could it replace the jobs or community life lost from a hunting ban.I believe UK animal welfare legislation is piecemeal and incoherent and that the basic tenet of animal welfare legislation should be that it is unlawful for anyone intentionally to inflict unnecessary suffering on any animal, by any means. The proposed ban on hunting achieves none of this and I implore The House of Lords to reject any attempt to ban hunting with dogs which I am sure they will do.David Robinson Little Langdale