THERE have lately been reports in pro-hunt newspapers suggesting that the RSPCA should and will desist from prosecuting organised hunt members accused of flouting the Hunting Act.

A minority of fellow bloodsports fanatics have been waging a campaign of propaganda against the RSPCA because it had the nerve to - successfully - prosecute one of the country’s leading Hunts, the Heythrop.

Note that it and two of its members pleaded guilty to 12 charges of illegal hunting - though they denied everything until the last moment, cynically forcing the RSPCA into spending very large sums on extensive trial preparation.

The independent monitors who obtained the evidence against the Hunt had presented the RSPCA with mountains of damning evidence of deliberate fox-hunting over many months.

They had gained similar evidence many times in previous seasons against various Hunts, only to find the police and Crown Prosecution Service refusing to act on it. In acquiring this, they had to deal with constant obstruction, harassment and threats.

The RSPCA exists to try to prevent cruelty to all animals, not just pets. It cannot and should not turn a blind eye to illegal hunting.

Pro-hunt campaigners say the Act should be scrapped because it is not working well. But that is because weaknesses and loopholes in the Act have allowed organised hunts to ride roughshod over the spirit and letter of the law - legislation supported by 80 per cent of the public.

Many hunts continue to chase and kill wild animals for fun, knowing there is very little chance of being brought to book .

The answer is to strengthen the Hunting Act, not repeal it.

Alan Kirby, Protect Our Wild Animals,, Haven Court, Hayle.