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All animals are deserving of our protection

In its efforts to reintroduce an extinct species, the Golden Eagle Trust is sadly advocating the killing of existing species.

The Trust's website discourages sheep farmers from threatening eagles by illegally poisoning foxes and suggests that they instead blast the foxes to death.

This flies in the face of the facts that show foxes do not actually pose a threat to sheep farming.

In An Irish Beast Book, zoologist Professor James Fairley affirms that "many allegations of lamb killing are based on insufficient or even non-existent evidence". This is backed up by the National Parks -amp; Wildlife Service who confirm that "foxes seldom kill and eat young lambs". According to Professor Stephen Harris of Bristol University, "there is no evidence that foxes need to be controlled".

Also objectionable is the Trust's suggestion that farmers use Larsen traps to control crows and magpies. These cage traps have been condemned as "inherently cruel" by the RSPCA and are illegal in Denmark from where they originated in the 1950s.

Birds caught in Larsen traps bash against the sides in futile bids for freedom.

Crows and magpies may not glide as gracefully as eagles, and foxes may not move as majestically, but they are all equally deserving of life nonetheless.

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Philip Kiernan

Irish Council Against Blood Sports