SIR – It is Mr Caligari (January 30) who is misinformed regarding the need to retain hunting as part of proper wildlife management.

The British Isles through man’s intervention over the millennium no longer has a truly natural environment. Consequently this requires the culling of some species such as fox and deer to keep their numbers healthy and at a sustainable level. To some culling is distasteful, but the alternative is unpleasant for the animals. The Government’s deer initiative group, Forestry Commission and some wildlife trusts plan to increase the national deer cull from 350,000 to 500,000 per year.

This sounds like mass slaughter, but with the deer population at record levels significant long-term damage is being inflicted on the habitat that these and other animals depend on. In simple terms the deer are eating themselves out of house and home. Without action starvation and disease will result.

If the fox population gets out of control there will be more attacks on farm animals and pets followed by a huge increase in the number of foxes suffering the sarcoptic mange. This horrific disease leaves the unfortunate victims half blind, struggling to breathe. Their skin becomes infected after scratching at the burrowing mites that infest the whole body. Surely nobody could possibly believe starvation and disease are acceptable ways to manage our native wildlife.

Jon Burgess,