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I notice that warmwell doesn't seem to take sides in the hunting debate. Is it simply because the issues on both sides seem to you, as they do to me, far more complex than either side is prepared to admit? The Times today shows how one saboteur changed sides. I don't think this makes either side look much better... It's a bit like the so-called war on terrorism. Which side are really the terrorists? I think both are. And neither side will listen to the other's arguments because they think they are worthless. My own stance makes me disliked by both sides - which is only logical in this most illogical of issues.

I consider myself a campaigner for animal rights. The Labour party, who have carefully tarred with the same brush all animal rights campaigners as loonies and terrorists, nevertheless uses the animal rights argument to justify its legislation to make hunting a criminal offence.

It would be nice to think that they cared two hunting hoots for the poor old fox - but any idea that Elliot Morley and his kind really have any shred of compassion for the animal kingdom has been destroyed during 2001. Hunting, for Labour opportunists, symbolises the cruel, arrogant play of an aristocracy it hates and it chooses to ignore the fact that most who follow the hunt are country people who are neither cruel nor aristocratic.

The anti-hunt lobby ignores the many atrocious cruelties that will follow in the wake of the banning of this traditional rural activity: the fox will continue to be regarded as vermin in most quarters and will be indiscriminately killed with traps, gas and poison. The hounds will be redundant - as will many people who have made their living from the hunt. What will also be upset will be the delicate balance between conservation and hunting.

The motives of the saboteurs seem very unclear when such hatred is evident at demonstrations, and horses and dogs too appear to be fair targets.

Having said all that I hate hunting except drag-hunting because I feel angry at those who enjoy killing. I know that lots of people hunt for the fresh air, the exercise and the excitement of the chase - but the plight of the hunted is something I cannot forget. Just as - in the past months - I have not been able to get out of my mind the pictures of sows trying hopelessly to defend their piglets, the terror of the lambs, the cows trying to leap over six foot fences....and the blood spattered killer saying, " It's only a sheep to me, mate"

Regards
Sam

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