A nation can only be judged or measured on how it treats it's minorities and how it protects them within the law, ensuring equal opportunity and social inclusion.

However, this Government in its attempts to discriminate against people who hunt foxes is possibly in breach of the Human Rights Convention, which it itself signed up to.

Singling out this minority who have their own culture, heritage and way of life is victimisation, discrimination and prejudice of the worst kind.

If a Labour party which is committed to equality, social inclusion, the protection of civil liberties and enshrining other minority rights, then fox-hunters too, should also have the same protection under the law, rather than being singled out and picked on.

The police have a hard enough job of dealing with crime without increasing their work load.

The police find it difficult enough to stop drug dealers and pushers selling drugs in and around our schools without having to chase fox-hunters across the fields and moors.

The issue is not really about so-called animals rights or cruelty to animals. In Scotland where there is currently a ban, more foxes have actually been killed by other legal means. Also, what about battery chickens and halal meat, why is this not deemed to be cruel?

This Government has gone down the road of political correctness too far and I believe by picking on some of the most law-abiding taxpayers in the country, they may have just opened Pandora's box.

With other much more important issues affecting many millions of people, why oh why are large amounts of Parliamentary time allocated on this sideline issue compared to real more important concerns?

Issues such as the ever increasingly unfair council tax, Iraq, pensions, anti-social behaviour and poor integrated transport among others.

Fox-hunting is a minority pastime conducted by a minority and they, like other minorities, should have their way of life and culture protected not discriminated against as has and is happening.

W Mackie
Address supplied