So Stephen Lockwood of Chichester wants a return to fox hunting because his eight laying hens were “massacred” (Letters, December 23).

It’s always sad to see any animal ill-treated and an untimely death is even sadder. But reintroducing the barbaric pursuit of hunting is only replacing one form of massacre with another and without any justification.

Mr Lockwood says his hens were “torn to pieces” by foxes for sheer pleasure. This is not likely. It is not within the nature of the species to kill for fun. They do so for food.

If he is so sure that foxes were responsible, they would be hungry in a cold mid-December and this would be their reason for killing. Maybe they were disturbed before they could devour all their prey.

When the fox hunting fraternity were trying to justify their activities before the ban, one of their feeble arguments was they didn’t actually catch that many foxes.

In other words, they are the ones who kill just for fun, not the foxes, and their activities do not in any great measure control what Mr Lockwood misguidedly refers to as “these brutal pests”.

Perhaps Mr Lockwood might consider ensuring any hens he keeps in the future are given adequate security and protection to prevent a re-occurrence by predators – animal or human.

David Gibbons, Phyllis Avenue, Peacehaven