SIR - C Stanley (Letters, April 5) needs to look at the bigger picture before offering any criticism of hunting.

Before conservation became fashionable and being green' indicated inexperience, British agriculture was pressured to feed a growing nation at almost any cost.

Against this trend, hunting farmers continued to maintain hedges and woods. Like it or not hunting played a vital role in preserving the countryside, our national heritage. The ban has put so much of this at risk.

Hunting people would be the first to admit they have no wish to eradicate the fox. Before the ban, hunting was based on keeping numbers to a sensible level so causing minimum trouble to the farmer.

New Labour clearly failed to prove hunting was cruel but they banned it anyway. Logic, science, conservation and animal welfare were dumped for short-term political advantage.