With regards to the hunt saboteurs, I have lived on a farm for 17 years, and also ride horses. It amazes me just how many saboteurs, or sabs, I've met over the years do actually ride horses — only they won't admit it to outsiders.
Whereas I couldn't deny that a few people who turn up with sabs (not necessarily hunt sab members) do have a grudge against society, the vast majority of sabs (myself included) are purely against bloodsports and want to see it banned, as it should have been 100 years ago.
As for the people who ride to hounds you can put them in four groups: (I) those who genuinely believe in hunting; (2) those who train horses for evening, point to point; (3) those who like to be seen with a particular hunt; (4) those who hunt because it is the only way that they can go galloping across someone else's land they wouldn't normally have access to.
Having spoken many times to people in the first group,
even they admit that the last two groups, which make up the majority of those seen in the hunting field, give the hunting cause a bad image.
Very few people would deny that foxes need to be kept in check, but hunting them with hounds barely accounts for a tiny fraction of the fox population. But what Alice Thomas Ellis hasn't answered and nor has any hunt master is, if foxes are such vermin and need to be eradicated where possible, then why do foxhunts breed foxes and release them into areas for hounds to hunt for where nature intended there to be very few foxes.
After all, rats are classed as vermin, but no one goes out of their way to deliberately breed them and release them into the wild.
Maybe if Alice Thomas Ellis is sitting so firmly on the fence on the question of bloodsports, would she sit so firmly if such bloodsports like cat-coursing, badger-baiting, bear-baiting or otter hunting were to become legal again in Britain.
Miss B Hardern Tiverton Cheshire