Reader’s letters - Thursday April 30, 2015

Sir Nicholas Soames addressing a hustings meeting in Sussex on subject of fracking (see letter)

Sir Nicholas Soames addressing a hustings meeting in Sussex on subject of fracking (see letter)

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Hunting ban not answer

The letter from Joe Duckworth, chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS), (letters April 27) will probably sound reasonable to anyone who, like Mr Duckworth, has little or no experience of hunting and wildlife management.

But dig deeper into what he espouses and the cracks in his argument quickly become apparent. Simply because a previous government (on the basis of no scientific evidence but a good deal of prejudice) passed a law against hunting with dogs does not preclude a future government from repealing it.

Various political parties in this general election period are arguing to do just this on a variety of issues.

Furthermore, suggesting repeal of the Hunting Act would also mean the legalisation of badger baiting and dog fighting, as LACS polls have done, shows dishonesty and desperation in equal measures. Ask a straight question of the public, as a YouGov poll did in January, and that “80 per cent of people [who] want hunting to remain illegal” drops dramatically to roughly 50 per cent.

Maybe people are finally seeing the futility of the Hunting Act, which cost some £30 m to reach the statute book and has cost the public purse goodness knows how many more millions of pounds since.

Perhaps it would have been worth the money had animal welfare been improved, but not a penny has been spent by any anti-hunting group to examine the effect this law has had on wildlife. Little wonder that legal experts, senior police officers, vets, senior civil servants and Tony Blair - Prime Minister at the time - have all criticised this flawed legislation.

Now LACS and others want a ban on drag hunting, where no animal quarry is involved, proving it is the people involved in hunting who are their real target.

As a previous executive director of LACS, I have come to understand the importance of using scenting hounds, which hunt in a similar way to wolves and other wild canines. This form of hunting provides a unique method of wildlife management, being selective, testing and non-wounding.

The prime aim of hunting is not the numbers killed, but the health and smaller population left alive. Numerous other individuals have also changed their minds once the facts became clear to them.

But then I came into the job on the basis of improving animal welfare, not from a highly-paid public sector role with no grounding in animal welfare. It would be more honest of Mr Duckworth to simply admit why he seeks to ban hunting with dogs which, I suspect, is far more to do with his political leanings.

If improving the welfare of wildlife is his real aim, why is it that a genuine wild mammals welfare law is rejected by him and his organisation? The answer can only be that in certain political circles clinging to a flawed Hunting Act is far more important.

Jim Barrington, welfare consultant to the Countryside Alliance and former director of the League Against Cruel Sports

Politician has another role

Having watched the video of Nicholas Soames stating fracking should be tested in the Trough of Bowland (LEP April 28) he is asked if he was in favour of fracking and why. He was very clear that he supported fracking (although not on his Sussex doorstep just yet) and believes it would be ‘foolish’ to ignore the opportunities it provides.

One thing he did not spell out was whether his expertise on the subject comes from his near £20,000 a year role as a senior advisor on strategic issues to an investment firm called Intrepid Capital Partners which boasts of providing services to the oil and gas sector on its website.

Incidentally that wage packet is for 30 hours work.

M Roberts, Fulwood

Memories of a loving couple

The photo (see above) reveals some of the players at Hutton Grammar for Boys in the Colts rugby team, of 1937/38.

Harold Cork was born in Barrowford and his parents later moved to the Preston area. He mainly resided in Liverpool Road, Penwortham, with his parents and sister Lillian.

In 1965 he married my sister Olive Siddall as they moved into a newly built house in Parklands Avenue, Penwortham.

They resided here all of their lives and Harold became a senior executive in HM Customs and Excise, Preston, until retirement. He died in November 1988, aged 67 years, and was buried in St Andrew’s Churchyard, Longton. My sister died in November 2014, aged 85 years, and is now reunited with her husband. They are both sadly missed.

Harold played cricket and rugby at Hutton until 1938 and cricket was his favourite sport. He loved the test matches on TV, as I recall. I wonder if any of his school colleagues may be still alive who identify this picture from 78 years ago.

John Siddall, Fulwood

Bank deal is not best for public

Yet again the Tory Party shows what a shallow campaign it is running. We all know the sort of promises on offer, tax cuts across the board-the latest is, no tax, national insurance or VAT increases for five years (plus the latest flying pig for each family no doubt), cuts in Inheritance Tax, abolish the Human Rights Act(heard that one before), cut immigration to tens of thousands(heard that one as well). So on and so forth towards the Tory land of milk and honey.

The latest wheeze is that George Osborne says they will sell off the 43.4 per cent of Lloyds Bank shares still held by the government. Hang on though, didn’t Osborne sell off six per cent of Lloyds in 2013 netting a loss of £230m according to the independent National Audit Office?

Now he wants to sell off the rest to, of course, institutional investors (we all know who they are) and those individuals with deep pockets.

Problem is that the previous Government bailed out Lloyds using taxpayer’s money. Now, if the Tories are re-elected we, the great British public, are not going to get it back-only the rich. That is not how it should be.

Gerard Parke-Hatton, Broughton