MANY of your readers will have been surprised to see reference in the media to the start of the new hunting season.

Foxhunting, of course, is now illegal although many hunts have not been disbanded.

It was only a few weeks ago that Tony Wright, a hunter from Somerset, was found guilty of hunting on Exmoor.

He now has a criminal record and has had to pay a substantial fine.

Mr Wright was convicted because of the evidence of League Against Cruel Sport monitors who filmed him in pursuit of a fox.

League monitors are active in many areas of the country and will continue to report any suspicious activity to the police.

There is, however, nothing illegal about riding a horse through the countryside, nor exercising hounds.

Indeed, some hunts now lay a chemical trail for hounds to follow. This enables them to enjoy the chase without any of the cruelty and suffering caused by chasing foxes.

The League is pleased that so many hunters have realised that there is a cruelty-free alternative to their sport. Nevertheless, we are aware that extremist elements still believe they are above the law and can continue to chase foxes as before.

They cannot, as Mr Wright has discovered to his cost.

Douglas Batchelor, Chief Executive, League Against Cruel Sports, Union Street, London, SE1 1SG.