Published 13/12/2011 | 05:00
Given the inclement weather at this time of year, would it be too much to ask bloodsport enthusiasts to call off their recreational killing and terrorising of wildlife for a few weeks?
Far from scaling down their activities, fox hunts escalate their attacks from mid-December on the much-maligned creatures that provide them with "sport", climaxing on St Stephen's Day.
Coursing clubs step up their assaults on hares during the festive season. Last year, in the midst of some of the worst weather conditions seen for decades, coursing events went ahead on frozen, water-logged or slush-drenched fields, the organisers seemingly heedless of the additional suffering caused.