THE letter from A. Barker (Stourbidge News, November 23) claims that the National Trust was planning to re-introduce staghunting on its land, therefore breaking the law.

As a member of the Trust, I believe that these accusations are totally unfounded.

Firstly, it is important to clarify what is legal and illegal under current law.

The ban on hunting made it illegal to pursue a wild animal with a pack of hounds.

It is though legal to use up to two dogs to move a wild animal out of woodland to an area where it may be safely and humanely shot.

The Trust owns or manages woodlands in Devon and Somerset that contain large numbers of deer.

Occasionally, a deer that has sustained a serious natural injury (such as breaking a leg in a wire fence) or been wounded by shooting, is seen on Trust land but disappears into dense woodland.

Under these circumstances, the Trust thinks that it would be appropriate to use hounds to move injured or wounded deer out into an open area so that they can be humanely despatched.

The Trust has stressed that the use of hounds will be a last resort, and a very rare event.

However, and importantly, any such action would be entirely legal under current law.

It also seems to be a sensible and humane action. I am grateful for the opportunity to provide this information.

J Bale Hagley