Dear Editor,

I read with amusement R. Templeton’s letter in last week’s Down Democrat, which branded supporters of the League Against Cruel Sports as a “radical hippy fringe” and “The League Against Fun”. Can I remind the writer that hunting is a minority sport enjoyed by a minority of people and really it depends on one’s definition of fun? Chasing an animal to exhaustion and then watching it being ripped to pieces is definitely not most people’s idea of fun.

The majority of phone calls that I get complaining about hunting are from rural dwellers, sick of the disruption to their land and their animals caused by the hunts. There are many cases of much loved pets being killed; horses disturbed by the hunting horns injuring themselves and, of course, trespass. Often when people complain, they are met with arrogance and abuse. So where is their freedom from harassment?

There is an alternative to live quarry hunting, drag hunting. The Holestone Blood Hounds in Antrim chase a runner over fields, it is dynamic and fun, and crucially, the runner knows which landowners don’t want the hunt to cross their land. Most important of all – no animal is harmed or killed. It just needs a little imagination and creativity to come up with a cruelty-free alternative.

There are many very real issues facing the countryside that need to be addressed, I couldn’t agree more about the views expressed on battery farming and the importance of sourcing food locally. Please don’t pigeon hole all rural dwellers as an elitist, bloodthirsty club, intent on killing and abusing our wildlife.

Yours faithfully,

Fionna Smyth
Northern Ireland Campaigner
League Against Cruel Sports