PETER Lacy (Letters) thinks farmers are "the guardians of the countryside" and are suffering hard times.

Are these the same farmers who make their money from subsidies, factory farmed animals reduced to a short life of hell - before being hauled thousands of miles to overseas slaughterhouses? Try checking out the animal markets for the new Range and Land Rovers that cost many thousands of pounds - and take a look at the empty plastic feed and sileage bags left strewn around mud covered country lanes... Guardians of the countryside - are you having a joke Mr Lacy?

There's no such thing as a poor animal farmer - so think again.

Most of the diseases you talk about - including TB in cattle - have been brought about by poor animal husbandry and welfare - caused by the very farmers you are tipping your hat to.

As for your insults towards vegetarians - and their energy - I am a fit and healthy 57-year-old who climbs mountains and hill walks.

It may surprise Mr Lacy to know that you don't need to feed on decomposing flesh to be fit and healthy - quite the opposite is true.

You may enjoy a McDonald's lifestyle - and all that goes with it - but I won't let my stomach be an animal's graveyard.

Oh...and by the way, I'm sure Hilary Benn can do his job perfectly well on a vegetarian diet. Einstein was a veggie - it didn't do him any harm did it, Mr Lacy?