SIR – It is interesting to read the views of Simon McCullough regarding humane fox control (Worcester News, June 1, 2011).

Perhaps a few points are worth making here.

Mr McCullough does not say what form of control he advocates, though I presume he suggests live cage trapping. If so, what then?

Shoot the animal? Release it elsewhere?

Both these routes have their different problems, but the main reason hunting with hounds is unique is that it is selective (as well as being non-wounding).

No other method of control can make this claim.

A recent BBC documentary on wolves taking old, weak, sick and injured elk in the USA proves the point. The remaining herd was smaller, but fitter and healthier.

Hounds are known to hunt in a similar way. The film also showed wolves hunting a coyote, proving that predators do hunt predators – something many antihunters deny.

The simple fact is that shooting has, in the main, replaced hunting as a means of controlling fox populations and was a method advocated by antihunting groups in the run-up to passing the Hunting Act.

Yet the only validated research into shot foxes shows that up to 50 per cent are wounded.

Two counter pieces of “research” by both antihunting groups and a shooting group, though quoted in the media, were not peer-reviewed, were not published in a scientific journal and never saw the light of day.

The way forward is not to assume that all hunting is bad and somehow other methods are fine, but to accept that all these methods can either be done well or done badly and it is the bad practice that should be addressed.

Further, accusations of cruelty should be based on evidence, not simple opinion.

That is the principle now under discussion in numerous quarters, but it will not please the die-hard anti-hunters.

Animal Welfare Consultant London