SIR – Recently, Steve McLean of the Bradford Animal Rights Group attacked the rearing of pheasants for the gun. I agree that this is and will remain the most unpleasant aspect of so-called game shooting.

My late father-in-law was for many years head keeper on one of the largest estates in the north-east of Scotland.

It was maintained and run solely for the pleasure of the laird and his friends, which meant that he had to ensure that there was always something at hand for the ‘toffs’ to kill.

He accepted that this was a large part of his job description, but as he grew older he found it especially difficult to prepare for pheasant shoots.

This was because every year, he had known the birds since they were eggs and they thought of him as their friend. Whenever they heard his footsteps, they would come running because they knew he was bringing their daily ration of grain.

But one day instead of a bag of corn, they would find a line of guns loaded and ready for action. For a man with a conscience, this was a cruel deception which disgraced the name of sport.

Brian Holmans, Langley Road, Bingley