26 DECEMBER 1931, Page 15

[To the Editor of the Seuemeron.] SIR,—A psycho-analyst recently propounded

to me the theory that the love of animals evinced by sportsmen (often apparently greater than that shown by the unsportsmanlike) is, in reality, an unsuspected endeavour to compensate animals for their cruelty to them through sport, a theory, Sir, which gives a reader of Miss Frances Pitt's article in last week's Spectator much food for thought, as the lady in question is, 1 gather, a lover of animals.

We are taught to believe, on religious or merely humane grounds, that life is intended to be a series of progressions from the natural to the spiritual, but the writer of that article appears to hold other views. She would justify sport on the hypothesis that, " because nature is red in tooth and claw," we therefore as human beings shall share with, nay, aid and abet nature, in cultivating such characteristics. She maintains that " blood sports are the greatest safeguards the Red Deer, the Fox, the Hare, &c. possess, insuring for them happy lives," and that it would be a sad day for them if those sports were abolished.

We cannot prove that these animals regard a few years of peaceful life as an adequate compensation for the often pro- longed hours of fear and torture involved in death by hunting, but we can surely protest, Sir, as I do, with indignation, against the public being gulled by such specious and childish, nay, worse, such false arguments in favour of " blood sports," which are, in the opinion of many thoughtful people, a dis- grace to our twentieth-century civilization and enlighten- ment. Better, surely, that the animals concerned should become extinct than that they should be preserved merely to satisfy a callous, thoughtless and cruel desire for excitement, degrading to the people concerned, brutal to the animals involved; I have heard it argued by another M.F.H. that the

fox enjoys the hunt. We might as well justify bull-baiting or cock-fighting on the grounds that frith beast and bird are by nature fighters.—I am, Sir, &e., Street, Somerset. EVELYN V. CLARK.