YOUR Guardian-quoting correspondent John Twyford is sensible to hide behind an alias if his dim-witted piece on the RSPCA prosecution of the Heythrop Hunt is anything to go by. While grinding both his axe and his teeth simultaneously, he leaves out, no doubt deliberately, almost all the facts that go towards telling the full story.
The Heythrop Hunt and two officials (a master and the huntsman) were prosecuted by the RSPCA for breaking the provisions of the Hunting Act as a result of 500 hours of filming given to it by the Protect Our Wildlife Animals group.
Of this 500 hours, the RSPCA found only 15 minutes of relevant evidence. The hunt and its two officials were fined a total of £6,500 with costs of £19,500. The RSPCA expended nearly £327,000 in bringing the case.
Mr Twyford, bringing no evidence to support his assertions, writes that 'it has not been a good month for the foxhunters and their dwindling number of supporters.' This fatuous sentence, short as it is, contains two errors: hunts do not hunt foxes but trails. Despite Mr Twyford's cynical (and unproven) assertions, hunts make every effort to stay within the law — imperfect as it is. And, if Mr Twyford had bothered to carry out careful research, he would have found that the number of people riding to hounds – over 180 packs at present – has risen sharply since the ban. As for supporters, if the number of people lining Tiverton's streets on Boxing Day is anything to go by, there are very few Guardian readers in town.
ROBIN RHODERICK-JONES Dulford CuIlompton