For all creatures great and small

July 26, 1996

Roger Scruton is more honest than most in defending his pastimes. If the level of enjoyment experienced by horses and hounds is to be used to justify fox hunting perhaps, as the 20th century draws to a close, we should reintroduce bear and badger baiting because dogs enjoy that too.

More generally, Professor Scruton conveniently sweeps aside the observation that animals are capable of experiencing pain. Instead, he bases his argument on the distinction between moral beings, with rights, duties and responsibilities, and other beings, but in doing so apparently excludes many humans from the "moral community". Do babies have rights, given the fact that they clearly cannot have duties or responsibilities?

Placing artificial distinctions between humans and other animals in order to justify hobbies such as fox hunting adds little to the general debate concerning the way animals should be treated.

PETER ANDERSON Lower Compton, Plymouth

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