I AGREE with every word written by Ken Holmes (Punish swan thugs, Letters, April 2).

I also agree with the saying, which has been ignored at great cost, that to spare the rod is to spoil the child.

While having no wish to encourage widespread corporal punishment of young children, possibly the only thing that could just deter thugs such as those who torture helpless creatures like that poor swan would be the fear of some form of physical pain.

Sadly, the chance of that being brought into use in our stupidly soft society is nonexistent.

The complete lack of discipline and suitable chastisement among the young at home, at school and in society generally has resulted, as Mr Holmes states, in sub-humans among us, to whom the suffering of others, people and other living creatures, is something that is simply for entertainment.

They carry on their cruel existence without fear of reprisal.

One deterrent might be to forget all the nonsense about “they cannot be named for legal reasons” and have rogues galleries publicly displayed in every district, naming and shaming those who offend in this heartless way, with photographs and details of their crimes, so that local shopkeepers and bar-people can legally refuse to serve them and lawabiding folk can give them a wide berth. ASBOs are not worth the paper they are printed on, and the ludicrous “punishments” doled out are more encouragement than deterrent.

The only reservation I have with birching and the cat is that these can brutalise those who are given the legal right to inflict physical pain on others, no matter how well-deserved.

Heather Causnett
Escrick Park Gardens, Escrick, York.