10 SEPTEMBER 1910, Page 18

[TO THE EDITOR OF THE "SPECTATOR. "] Sts,—In the Spectator for

August 27th Mr. 0. F. Grazebrook says that pit ponies are not badly used, for the very practical reason that it does not pay to employ weaklings or underfed, whether men or animals. As a practical miner, I would say that the question ie not so much that of being underfed as that of being overworked. What is the use of feeding an animal if it is deprived of rest between the shifts P There is such a thing as refined 'cruelty even to animals, and the height of cruelty is reached when pit ponies have to work under exhausting conditions for sixteen or seventeen hours out of every twenty-four. What is needed in the material interest of pit ponies, and also in the moral interest of pony- drivers, is a reduction in the hours worked by ponies which will reduce the cruelty to them by their drivers, because towards the end of the shifts, with ponies exhausted and the lads anxious to get the coal away, they are often driven to acts of cruelty which otherwise would not occur if the ponies only worked, say, even ten hours instead of the long hours they now work.—I am, Sir, &c.,