I GOGGLE at the brass neck of James Barrington (Letters, 25-3), long-ago League Against Cruel Sports leader, a man who so ignobly, for whatever reasons, suddenly abandoned his cause and our persecuted wildlife to become a pro-hunt mouthpiece. Once proud to campaign with him for their helpless victims, I'm now ashamed to breathe the same air.
He must either know the arguments he now peddles are moonshine, slyly crafted to serve his present despicable masters' interest, or be uniquely successful at self-delusion.
The Hunting Act has defects and apparent illogicalities. Some of its weaknesses may have been deliberately inserted (eg Tony Blair admitted in print to 'sabotaging' it). Its wording and loopholes make it extraordinarily difficult to secure adequate evidence to persuade police/CPS to act, or courts to convict. Organised hunters - even when they are obviously breaking the letter, let alone the spirit, of the Act.
One reason is the obstructiveness, threats and violence they routinely display towards hunt monitors (eg YouTube search 'Scorpiovulpes'). There are fresh reports of a LACS monitor - a caring, gentle man I know - being robbed and hospitalised in an attack by thugs while monitoring a West Country hunt. This appears to add to an unending stream of such vicious behaviour (details of which I've collated for decades) by the very hunters Mr Barrington now seems proud to represent.
The answer, and what most people would want, is for the Act to be strengthened so that organised hunts can no longer easily continue hunting much as they did pre-ban. They need only now employ one of the ruses afforded them by the Act's weak points.The current problems of enforcement and obtaining convictions will be greatly eased and deterrence enhanced, by this and harsher penalties.
The current Government - with its PM, Tory Cabinet members and most MPs strongly pro-hunt and thus pro-repeal, and with that Party in hock to hunt supporters for huge donations and electoral campaign help - clearly won't do this. But a more caring and popular future administration hopefully will.
However, it is vital the mendacious pro-bloodsports zealots are not allowed to sweep away the hard-won Hunting Act. Especially as they intend to trick us by offering to replace it with a 'Wild Animal Welfare' Act that might look good superficially, but will really be purpose-built to make it even harder for the many and manifest cruelties perpetrated by hunters to be stopped or punished, effectively re-legalising their 'sporting' barbarities.
Meanwhile, Mr Barrington may ponder this: 'The only people likely to despise a traitor more than those he has betrayed are those to whose side he now cleaves.'
ALAN KIRBY, M.SC Haven Court Hayle Cornwall