12 MAY 2001, Page 29

Scruton under scrutiny

From Mr Peter Davies Sir: Roger Scruton rushed to the defence of the 'sport' of hunting with dogs (Letters, 14 April) by attacking the general work of the RSPCA. Clearly, there will be no middle way between us on hunting animals to exhaustion and a cruel death, but I question any philosophy which disregards morality.

My purpose in writing is to correct the inaccurate statements in his letter.

The RSPCA has firm policies, which it actively pursues, on 'the caged rabbit, the housebound dog, the poisoned rat and the tubercular badger' — perhaps Mr Scruton would like me to send him the relevant material?

Maff will confirm that the RSPCA did indeed lobby the government hard on the closure of the UK's small abattoirs, being more aware than most of the consequential welfare implications.

Similarly, the Board of Deputies of British Jews can attest to the frequent meetings I have had with them over the welfare demerits of religious slaughter. Our negotiations with them, and with the Muslim authorities, continue.

Should Mr Scruton have thought to check his facts before writing his letter, we would have been only too happy to enlighten him.

Peter Davies

Director-general, RSPCA, Horsham, West Sussex