Sit - I applaud Gary Kibblewhite for his concern about "the lack of humane slaughtering for fish caught at sea" ("Why are fish treated so inhumanely?", WN, December 17th).

The problem is, however, that it is impossible to catch and kill fish humanely in the very large numbers caught by the trawling industry, so there would need to be a huge reduction in the consumption of fish before less cruel methods could be employed.

Animal welfare standards in this country may be higher than in many others, but that doesn't change the fact that the vast majority of the one billion land animals eaten in the UK each year are reared in appallingly cruel factory farm conditions.

And once again, in order to end this cruelty, a huge reduction in the consumption of meat would be required.

Mr Kibblewhite states that human beings are "partly designed as meat-eaters". The truth is that we are wholly designed as omnivores, which means we are able to consume a wide range of different foods.

This doesn't mean, however, that we should eat whatever we can eat.

For instance, we could derive nutrition from cannabalism, but for moral reasons we abstain from that.

By the same token, I also believe we should do our utmost to end or reduce our consumption of meat, fish and other animal products, not just to prevent animal suffering but also for the sake of the environment, to help alleviate world hunger and to improve our own health.

Peter Talbot