The Fellowship of Life
a Christian-based vegetarian group founded in 1973


'Catholic Herald' Debate (1980)Letters

Hands off our wildlife

Patrick O'Donovan, October 3, is presumably referring to the League Against Cruel Sports when he expresses indignation at those who claim that the Royal family is giving a bad example by going foxhunting.
Recently an independent poll by MORI established that the majority of people in this country do not approve of the Royal family foxhunting. It was legitimate for us to point this out to members of the Royal family, which we did in as respectful a manner as possible, hoping for a response.
Royalty should set a good example in the field of morality, and foxhunting falls squarely within that field. It was Mr O'Donovan's failure to perceive this at any point in his article which led at best to inconclusiveness and at worst confusion.
Opposition to hunting is based on a very simple principle axiomatic to Christians, namely that causing unnecessary suffering is wrong.
When a wrong is committed it matters not at all from which stratum of society the perpetrator comes. The fox does not represent a menace in this country: this is not a personal view, but one reached by experts unconcerned with the pros and cons of hunting.
We have a recent letter from the Ministry of Agriculture asserting that the loss of livestock to foxes is economically insignificant. A number of countries in Europe either do not allow foxhunting or do not have the tradition of practising it, and their fox populations have remained stable.
Incidentally, were it necessary to control fox numbers, hunting would be a very silly way of doing it, since it is unreliable, does not discriminate between healthy and unhealthy animals or their sex, and should rabies ever reach us would promote its spread, for it has been shown that attempts to control rabies by hunting foxes disperses their population and encourages the growth of the disease.
In short, the only reason for foxhunting is the enjoyment of it. Mr O'Donovan is badly off-beam when he implies that trying to stop hunting is equivalent to trying to stop people smoking. A fox may well be considered less important than a human being and the suffering of human beings throughout the world may well leave little indignation over for anything else, but this cannot justify the deliberate imposition of unnecessary suffering and death on a sentient animal.
Maeve Denby
Executive Director,
League Against Cruel Sports

I would refer Margaret Farrel. October 10, to the handbook of the Catholic Study Circle for Animal Welfare, "God's Animals" by the late Dom Ambrose Agius, OSB, MA.

Concern about animal welfare is expressed in Anglican circles by the Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals. To obtain a copy of their excellent quarterly bulletin contact...
J.J. O'Connor

I don't really know what the anti-bloodsporters are cracking on about. It's precisely because I take part in blood sports, field sports, call them what you will, that I am acutely aware of the rapacity of economic man in his disregard for the environment, animals and all, and try to do something about it. All the anti-bloodsporters' sentimentality can claim is wildlife banished to ghettos, and an over-population of ill-trained dogs.

R.M. Hatcher

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