I WRITE in response to A Barker of Wollaston's letter in Viewpoint dated November 23 in relation to hunting with dogs.

I am sure the writer of the above letter will be aware that The Independent published an article only last week, which confirmed that out of all the packs of hounds across the country are all still in place, have more support and hunting is more popular than ever. What the writer seems to fail to address other than to make emotive and tendentious comments such as try telling that to a pack of hounds or a bloodthirsty pack of huntsmen and huntswomen' is to address the real idiosyncrasies and inconsistencies which are contained in the Hunting Act 2004 and the very real issues of animal welfare and countryside management. Indeed, I wonder whether the writer has ever been to a hunt meet, met those people behind the scenes and ever really considered the impact that this prejudiced piece of legislation has had on the lives of real people day in and day out?

Turning to the points raised in the writer's letter, The National Trust recognises that hunting with dogs is the most effective way of culling animals, indeed in response to fierce opposition from the League Against Cruel Sports it stated: "We focus on deer control and welfare rather than sport and this seems the best way of quickly dispatching an injured animal.

"Our approach to deer management will continue to be driven first and foremost by practical considerations of animal welfare. We need to continue to ensure that our management on the ground is conducted in the most human way possible and in a way that minimises suffering to the animals involved."

In conclusion the Hunting Act 2004 has little regard for animal's welfare, which is one of the reasons why it must be repealed by a future government and replaced with a law, which allows this sort of efficient and humane procedure to continue.

I hope my response goes some way in causing the writer to change his bigoted opinion, which in the terms expressed in his letter, is often founded without authority or knowledge. It is this sheer ignorance which has caused the countryside to be damaged so badly by the Hunting Act 2004.

R Houghton Norton