I SUPPOSE we should be grateful to Neil Mackay for his honesty in making clear his desire for parents who smack their children to be prosecuted like criminals ("Those opposing smacking ban are beneath contempt", the Herald, October 15).

Of course, readers will sympathise with his account of his own childhood. But it is grossly unfair to support the criminalisation of good parents today as some kind of "pay back" for his experiences growing up.

He repeatedly claims the ban prevents the "beating" of children. But everyone knows beating children is already against the law. The new law – the one he supports – takes the most minor tap on the bottom and forces police and prosecutors to treat it as if it were a beating. All nuance is lost. So mums who patiently explain themselves to their tots before tapping them on the hand and then giving them a cuddle, will be liable to prosecution as child abusers. Their kids may be taken from them and put in care.

Ban advocates may congratulate themselves and treat those who disagree with the same kind contempt as Mr Mackay does. But in two years’ time, when childhoods have been wrecked by the blind injustice of the new law, some of them will think better of it.

Simon Calvert, Spokesperson, Be Reasonable Campaign, Glasgow G4.

Nothing wrong with some country prejudices

DAVID Stubley (Letters, October 15) is right to point out that the views of many opponents of grouse and other organised shooting activities are based on prejudice. They are, and the prejudice (in the sense of a belief already formed) in their case is that killing things for fun rather than for food is morally unacceptable.

Mr Stubley is quite wrong, though, to attempt to dilute this "prejudice", no doubt sincerely and strongly held by many people, with any supposed economic and environmental benefits. Other countryside activities, such as on-the-spot hangings for those caught littering, would have economic and environmental benefits but would also fail the moral acceptability test.

Brian Chrystal, Edinburgh EH14.

WHEN I read David Stubley’s criticism (Letters, October 15) of Rose Harvie’s excellent letter of October 13 , where he tries to justify the odious practice of blasting birds to pieces for his amusement, it is apparent he is no David Attenborough.

Nowhere does Ms Harvie mention red grouse, but I assume refers to the generic grouse family of birds such as partridge and pheasant that are released and shot here in Scotland in their millions. Hand-reared and with no fear of man they are every blood-sport enthusiast's dream.

While Mr Stubley proclaims his ill-informed nonsense that “red grouse are a truly wild species which have never been reared in captivity” I and doubtless many others, had to laugh. Like most game birds they can easily be reared in captivity, and then transported and introduced to areas such as Shetland, where they are then shot. Other declining populations of red grouse on the Orkney Islands and some of the Hebrides are regularly “topped up” with captive-reared red grouse.

I am not stunned by Mr Stubley’s obvious ignorance of wildlife, something he has frequently committed to print in these columns, only by his arrogance in attempting to criticise others with a far greater knowledge than he.

Bernard Zonfrillo, Glasgow G21.