I am disappointed by Fine Gael's decision to oppose the upcoming government-sponsored bill to ban stag hunting. I thought the party might have become a little more humane and compassionate in its policy direction since that rousing ardfheis of 1972 when its then leader, Liam Cosgrave, famously took a swipe at his critics, declaring: "Some of these commentators and critics are like mongrel foxes; they are gone to ground but I'll dig them out and the pack will chop them when they get them."

Is the party seriously committed to supporting deliberate cruelty to animals, just for the sake of annoying the government? This issue ought to be above politics. Tormenting a defenceless deer has nothing to do with holding the government to account or advancing Ireland's wellbeing.

There is something pathetic about public representatives rallying behind the infliction of terror and suffering on captive wild animals; not because they detect merit in such barbarism, but purely as part of a cheap and silly political stunt.

I have contacted all Fine Gael TDs over the past month asking them to justify the pro-stag hunting policy. To date, not one has done so. Perhaps they have "gone to ground", like Cosgrave's mongrel foxes, and we campaigners will have to dig them out.

John Fitzgerald,

Campaign for the Abolition Of Cruel Sports

Lower Coyne Street,

Callan, Co Kilkenny