IT IS often said that Britain is a nation of animal ‘lovers’ and yet reality does not bear this out.

Yes, we own animals, we use them, we exploit them, we eat them but does any of that add up to love?

Sanctuaries are filled to the gunnels with horses, cats, dogs, small mammals, birds and reptiles – all bought and ‘loved’ until the novelty wore off.

Investigations by groups like Animal Aid consistently find appalling conditions on farms and routine illegal abuse inside UK slaughterhouses.

We still send live animals by sea to be reared and killed in other countries – the Government has just agreed to send thousands of pigs to China where there are no welfare laws to protect them. We still permit the breeding of millions of pheasants from inside battery-style cages merely so they can be shot from the sky for pleasure.

We cull any animal or bird perceived to be a nuisance and there is still support, albeit diminishing, for events that routinely kill animals, most notably the Grand National.

To truly be a nation of animal lovers, all of this should be addressed.

KATE FOWLER, Animal Aid, Tonbridge, Kent