Bea Bradley accuses me of trying to find some reason for fox hunting (Oxford Mail, June 21). Nothing could be further from the truth.

My main concern is in trying to establish whether the ban and the debate are genuinely concerned with the issue of animal welfare, or merely another excuse for a self-appointed group of individuals to demonise and persecute a minority.

It matters little to an animal whether it is killed for sport or for food. Both are recreational activities. A fox has a better chance of escaping its fate unscathed than a battery hen or a lamb at a slaughterhouse.

It is this seeming disparity I wish to highlight.

Graham Butler (Oxford Mail, June 20) argues that the fox population is self regulatory and increases and diminishes depending on the amount of food available. Presumably the same is true of wasps, rats and fleas, yet I hear little complaint when they are killed. The problem with allowing species to self regulate is that some species (grey squirrels, American crayfish, mink) can thrive only at the expense of others.

It is therefore necessary to maintain a healthy variety of wildlife if a certain amount of culling/pest control is allowed.

Mr Butler also puts forward the idea that banning fox hunting somehow contributes to a more Christian society.

Pardon my naivety, but surely there are more important contributions to be made on that score - sorting out the Middle East or ending the misery of countries wrecked by this nation's consumption of "recreational" drugs like heroin and cocaine.

Compared with those, the obsessive pursuit of a group of idiots on horseback engaged in some ancient arcane ritual seems to be of little importance.

It could be said that I am more concerned that civil liberties can be taken away by a group mentality.

The empowerment of all forms of fanaticism fills me with dread. Any group of irrational bigots can impose their will on the rest of us if they shout loudly and for long enough.

Human rights matter more than animal rights.

Alan Page Iffley Road Oxford