I would like to bring the attention of your readers, especially those who may be involved in hunting, to the recent ruling that the conviction under the Hunting Act of members of the Somerset Quantock Staghounds should stand.

In particular, the ruling that any hunting carried out for the purpose of sport and recreation is always illegal.

It had been our intention to write to local hunts in order to explain the law, but the Countryside Alliance has requested we do not do so.

We are therefore reliant on your goodwill to clarify the law with regard to the Hunting Act.

The hunting of a wild mammal with dog(s) for sport or recreation is a crime and the onus is on the law breaking hunters to prove a legal exemption.

The law is clear and those charged with hunting cannot claim as a defence that the law is unclear. Moreover, if hounds are used to flush to guns, the gun must be present to kill the quarry. A significant chase by hounds and lack of guns nearby is illegal hunting.

Unfortunately, although 20 people have so far been convicted under the Hunting Act, some hunters believe they can continue to get away with law breaking, but they can expect the police and CPS, working with the League Prosecution Unit to take action.

Douglas Batchelor, Chief Executive, League, Against Cruel Sports