18 FEBRUARY 1949, Page 16

SIR,—I am interested in Mr. Venning's experience in the Spectator

of February 11th, but does not his letter go to weaken his cause ? Blood sports, generally speaking, are a rich man's pleasure. My age is 87, and I come from a sporting family, and as a boy "rode to hounds " in the Blackmore Vale in Dorset. Owing to hard times I could only be granted a donkey to ride, and I need hardly say that I was never in at the kill, but I heard details of what often happened. Later I was taught that the element of cruelty in any pleasure should be eliminated and for this and other reasons I gave up the chase. The teaching that animals " do not feel anticipatory fear as we humans "do," does not carry much weight in these days. May I add that my old home was by the river Stour, where on occasions carted stags, fleeing from their enemies, were seen with their tongues hanging out, eyes protruding and full of fear, seeking the river for refuge. Our hearts went out in sympathy for the distracted and distressed animal. Sir, the question is easily solved. Is there cruelty in this sport, or not ? If there is, surely it should be put down ?—Yours