SIR – Wendy Hands (Letters, February 24) posed some questions on hunting which deserve an honest answer.

At first, hunting seems a simple matter. In reality it’s a complex issue requiring a detailed understanding before anyone should make a judgement on what will affect our countryside, it’s conservation and the rural way of life.

Typically, hunting is believed to be the prerogative of blood-thirsty toffs. In fact, it is supported by the widest spectrum of society.

Rarely will they see a fox killed but they know that when it happens it’s over in seconds. Often the animal was caught because of disease or it had been crippled after a road accident. Nature can be cruel but, thankfully, hunting can eliminate some of this suffering.

Hunting is not and never has been just a sport. It includes pest control. There is wildlife management by maintaining an acceptable and healthy fox population.

Conservation is encouraged by landowners who support hunting overseeing more woodland and hedgerows. Social cohesion in the countryside is helped by hunting, and animal welfare is greatly improved by culling sick and injured animals.

Jon Burgess