In thE letter What is so cruel about hunting? (News Shopper, September 29) W R Jeavons implies those of us in the animal welfare camp moan about hunting while ignoring the issue of ritual slaughter.

In June 2003 the Government's own organisation, the Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) produced a report on the Welfare of Farmed Animals at Slaughter or Killing, which recommended all animals should be stunned before slaughter and no exception made for religious reasons.

The FAWC report concludes that animals whose throats are cut while they are fully conscious experience "significant pain and distress". The Government has ignored the recommendations of this report.

In the UK, ordinary slaughter (i.e. Non-religious) can also impose great fear and distress on animals. Each year the UK slaughters 15m sheep, nine million pigs, three million cattle and 800m chickens.

Those of us on the welfare side of the fence will continue to call for a ban on ritual slaughter as we have done for many years but with the policy of the Government ignoring its own advisory Councils recommendations, we will as always have another uphill battle.

With regard to W. Jeavons quote by P. Williams about the way hounds handle a hunted fox as being "very impressive". I would not declare the death of any creature, be it human or any other animal, as being categorised as impressive.

Do most people regard the death of a mature Stag which has been chased to exhaustion for hours by hounds as being very impressive? I doubt it.

One good thing the Government has done is to accept the views of the majority and democratically voted to ban hunting with hounds, which will apply to stags as well as foxes.

Despite letters to the press and the ignorance of the Government of its own advisors, the welfare lobby will tirelessly campaign for better conditions as it has always done.

Welfare groups have the evidence, they just require those in power to listen and act accordingly.

Mark Johnson Address supplied