4 FEBRUARY 1928, Page 18

DIGGING FOXES • [To the Editor of the SrEcriTon..]

SIR,—Please accept gratitude from several readers here for having opened your columns to the discussion on fox-limiting. , The replies from M.F.H.'s in your issue of January 21st show strange diversity of view with regard to the " digging- out " practice, but the unbiassed reader, after going through all the letters, is left with the feeling that, if so much admitted and " regretted " cruelty is inseparable from the hunting of an animal which is " at war with man," and " destroys our - food " (v. Lieut.-Col. M. O'Malley-Keyes), it would be well to reduce the numbers of this animal annually before the breeding season by shooting.

Trapping is an abomination, and one is glad to read such whole-hearted condemnation of it in some of these lettert, though perhaps surprised that the writers, hiving such painful evidence of the sufferings daily inflicted in their immediate neighbourhood, do not take active measures for combating these illegal cruelties.

But gamekeepers and farmers have guns, and when the depredations of foxes become unbearable the fa rmers are tempted to use them even now, while if a secret ballot could be taken there is little doubt that they would choose that method of poultry protection rather than the costly and often devas- tating one of the hunt.

At present, masters of fox-hounds actually encourage the increase of the animal which one of them has told us is " at war with man " (though lie does not say in what manner, and I have never yet heard of an attack by a fox on any human being) and " a destroyer of our food," which the fox certainly is, for he and his family must live, and if the supply of rabbits and small vermin runs short the poultry yard is likely to be the next objective. But, after all, when we come to bedrock and all the old arguments are turned inside out once more, the hunting man's really genuine one comes to the top, and it is this : " I enjoy hunting,-and I mean to go on with it, so that's all about it ! "—I am, Sir, Jrc.,

M. A. BiNsrEAD.

Hotel des Colonies, Menton, South Prance.