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Big benefits of hunting ban

John Condren's claim that a ban on hunting would result in "catastrophic damage" to the horse industry (Letters, January 30) is scaremongering wholly without foundation.

Many, in fact, believe that a ban would bring big benefits to the industry.

Taking the desperately fleeing quarry out of the equation will open cross-country equestrianism to the huge majority of Irish people who deplore cruelty and shun hunting. A transition to the humane drag hunting alternative will undoubtedly prove to be a major boost to the horse scene.

The country's pioneering drag hunts are already enjoying massive popularity with both participants and landowners. "It's growing all the time as it's safe and we're not bothering any animals," a spokesperson for one told TG4. "You're promised a good run, some good jumps and great fun every time you go out. I suppose many Irish hunts will go down this route."

Hunters declare that hunting is essential to give horses an "edge" but it's clear that this can easily be matched in drag hunting.

And since the latter has the ability to choose the course it takes, it can not only incorporate the most challenging runs and jumps but also avoid hazards to animals and riders.

Philip Kiernan

Mullingar, Co Westmeath

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