SIR – In his poem To A Mouse, Robert Burns tells the tiny rodent that he is his poor Earth-born companion and fellow mortal and apologises for the way mankind dominates all other living creatures.

As with a mouse, so with grouse who always get a mention in the run-up to August 12 when apologists for shooting try to justify their blasting thousands of birds from the sky in the name of sport.

This year it has fallen to Adrian Blackmore, the Countryside Alliance’s Moorland director (Letters, August 2), to convince us that rearing birds for the gun in some way helps the environment, although he must know that the benefits claimed for a variety of other birds are simply accidental by-products of a programme designed solely for the breeding of game.

It always seems to me that deep down, shooters know what they are doing is wrong, otherwise they would not feel the need to wrap up their preparation for the season in a number of lame excuses gathered together under the heading of conservation.

Brian Holmans, Langley Road, Bingley