The Ark pointed me towards a rather unpleasant blog post that linked hunting, women and vegetarianism. Sneaky, he knew I would have a view. And I did.
In fact he pointed all his readers towards it as he devoted a blog post to it. Most of his other readers had a view too about hunting and killing animals for fun.
Some years ago (translates to more than ten but less than twenty) we were Hunt Sabs supporters. By which I mean we gave them money every Saturday when they had a stall in the city centre. As a fine upstanding (by which I mean ambitious and career-focused) public servant I did not want to be caught on CCTV giving money to a law-breaking organisation, so Partner handed over the dosh, and I lurked nearby.
My logic was that my money was more use to them than me breaking the law and losing my job. I really didn’t feel like going to gaol. I wanted to pass go and collect £200. And give it to Hunt Sabs.
During the same era, we were looking at moving out of the posh suburb where we lived to a place in the country. As we wandered around a large, strange bungalow with decent ground (visions of a huge veg garden were floating before my eyes – this being more important than the house) the owner proudly told us the local hunt often passed over a corner of the property. Over my dead body, and certainly not over Reynard’s. Our enthusiasm for the property dropped 500%, or 5000%, who cares. Having been on the point of buying it, and the old dear had agreed to sell to the nice respectable couple, we made our hasty farewells, got in the car, and said nothing. There was no need.
I have an aversion to hunting. It is elitist, snobby, and cruel. If rich gits want to have an exciting ride through the countryside I suggest they put names in a hat, and the lucky one to win can set off across the countryside, followed by a pack of hounds and some stuck-up tossers on horses, knowing that s/he will be ripped to shreds at the end.
What crime does Reynard commit? Usually steals someone’s chickens to eat. It’s not as though they aren’t going to be killed anyway to end up as roast chicken on someone’s table. But there’s the rub. Poor old Reynard costs the chicken owner money. It’s not about compassion for chickens. Yet, according to Heptner and Naumov (Mammals of the Soviet Union), the amount of fowl/livestock killed by foxes is often exaggerated.
As a slight aside, the fox fur trade is a million dollar industry. In 2012 a pelt was worth around $65. My mother had a whole pelt, apparently it was fashionable in the mid twentieth century to drape a dead fox around your neck. She also had a coat with a silver fox fur collar which I eventually cut off. The coat didn’t look as nice but at least it no longer promoted the fur trade.
When I was a young kid, she bought some sealskin boots from Bridlington’s posh clothes shop. I was most upset. Despite my best efforts to dissuade her, she went ahead and bought them anyway. Years later in her seventies, she said ‘I wouldn’t have bought them now’.
Back to hunting
By which I mean killing animals for fun. Enjoyment. ‘Sport’. Enjoying watching something die for no other reason than that someone wants to deprive another sentient being of life and gets a kick out of doing so.
Hunting arouses passions. It seems to be one of those topics where people think it is either perfectly acceptable, or utterly deplorable. My university friends epitomise the county set associated with hunting (shooting and fishing). They live in a nice mansion, with a large estate and have a couple of horses for her to play with. A few years ago, she sent me a photo of her cuddling a cocker spaniel puppy, proudly proclaiming he was a ‘working dog’. She really does fit the role she has created for herself, even though her affinity with my dogs was always zilch. Her husband learnt to fish from her father, but they have obviously gone one step further in their aristocratic pursuits. Unless cocker spaniels do other work apart from flushing game and retrieving the shot bird?
When I was a tiny kid, I joined the World Wildlife Fund as it was then known. Not the junior version, but the adult section, and rigorously ploughed my way through the heavy magazine every month or two when it was delivered.
I so wanted an elephant. We had a large front garden (actually at the rear of the house away from the road, but that’s how the house was) and I was sure it was big enough for an elephant. Childishly I would come home from school always hoping to see an elephant had arrived. A daughter of one of my dad’s friends, she was much older than me, would say ‘Haven’t you bought her that bloody elephant yet?’
I would climb over the gate of the front garden (they didn’t open) and go and play with the large collie dog down the street. Gem was my friend. I had no fear of dogs. His owner told me to be careful but I couldn’t understand why, and gradually she realised that we were friends. I would curl up with him in his kennel. His owner was still bemused that her unpredictable dog was always so nice around me.
Over the path from the front garden was a smallholding with chickens, pigeons, pigs and horses. When I wasn’t playing with Gem, I was feeding the horses with apples and carrots, much to my father’s consternation as he was frightened of horses.
At some point, the penny dropped for this animal lover that eating meat meant killing animals. I was upset about this, but, not living in a trendy right-on family, I had no idea about vegetarianism so I did what everyone else does, and rationalised it.
To go back to the post, that I was referred to by pesky Ark, one of the points made by the author was that people who eat meat and criticise killing animals for enjoyment are hypocritical. Which would lead one to believe that the only people who can sound off about hunting are vegetarians? Well, that limits the number of people who can oppose hunting by a rather large number doesn’t it?
To paraphrase said author, people are in denial about where their food comes from and it would be much more honest of them to take a few pot shots at innocent animals or wring their necks or something. This is very caveman, is it not? It is natural to hunt, all animals do it, he witters. Not with a dirty great shotgun they don’t. Go kill animals without a weapon, then see how much fun it is.
With so-called human intelligence, that is clever (?) enough to develop guns and rifles, should come compassion and awareness. It would appear not.
The idea of killing animals for fun, for whatever spurious reason: overpopulation, pests, food – when it is so difficult to shop at the supermarket down the road, nauseates me. There is no justification. If you are a blood-thirsty, power-hungry bastard, who gets a kick out of killing a sentient being in an unequal contest, why not admit it?
I am not interested in your extremely selfish reasons about the thrill of the chase, your exceptional skill at shooting, bow and arrows, sticking a barbed hook in a fish (and leaving the debris around for my dog to get stuck in his tongue or for swans to choke on) or whatever other method people use to kill.
Nor, will I accuse meat-eaters of hypocrisy, for opposing hunting. Animals, of all types need all the support they can get. People have abused them for too long.
Of course people know they are eating dead animals, and know that an animal has been killed, and possibly not very well, to put it in a plastic wrapper on sale in the supermarket. But, as I did as a kid, everyone makes their own choice. Eating meat doesn’t mean you should go out, apply for a gun licence and shoot the first thing you see to justify a carnivorous lifestyle. Nor does it mean that by shooting animals you then get to wear the badge that says, ‘Hey, I can kill, so therefore I get to eat meat’.
I have no interest in whether the one comes before the other. Or whether either is used as validation. It’s a crass and nonsensical argument.
I kill animals therefore I can eat meat.
I eat meat therefore I can kill animals.
Seriously, that just floats over my head.
‘I don’t enjoy the killing itself. It is just the link between hunting and eating.’
(Direct quote from truthandtolerance).
Now, what have I missed here? How many of us need to hunt to eat? Well?
‘Killing an animal isn’t wrong, but it is serious.’
I bet it’s very serious for the dead animal. I would find it serious if someone chose to hunt and kill me. I would also consider it to be morally wrong, but who am I to argue with a gun-toting Christian?
I can however understand,
I am a vicious nasty piece of work who likes to kill a defenceless animal because it’s fun to do so. Although, I really don’t enjoy doing it, but because I eat meat, I must kill animals. It’s serious.
Just really? But that’s how it translates.
I read some garbage, but that is getting well near the top of the pile.
Another minor digression, if meat-eaters are hypocritical for condemning hunting, what about those who eat cows, sheep and pigs, but oppose eating dogs, cats and horses? Are they hypocritical too?
It’s all the same to me. I don’t want to eat dead animals.
What about survival?
Interestingly, in Gabriel García Márquez’s story of a shipwrecked sailor, the sailor has a companion seagull, but decides to kill it for food. Finally he manages it. And – can’t eat it. What a waste of life. Is that how we reward our animal/bird friends? Apparently.
We are a miserable species. We kill each other for greed, we kill animals for fun, we kill them for food, and we destroy our environment by doing so. But still, we are an intelligent species. Yes?
Hunting with dogs
Despite a ban on hunting with hounds in the UK in 2004/5, it seems the hunting lobby will not give up.
Since the law against hunting was introduced, there have been nearly 300 successful prosecutions. The act was difficult to pass as the House of Lords repeatedly blocked it.
More than 70% of the British public oppose fox hunting, and more than 80% oppose deer hunting (which says a lot about different cute fluffy animals) yet the elitist peers of the realm chose to vote for their traditional ‘sport’.
The act was only passed by invoking the rarely used Parliament Acts of 1911 and 1949. Previous contentious issues were:
- The disestablishment of the Church of Wales
- Home Rule for Ireland
- The 1949 amendment to the original 1911 act
- War crimes
- European elections
- Age of consent for homosexual relations
What a bizarre mix. I can understand the legislative issues, but how controversial is not just hunting, but homosexuality? Says a lot about our skewed societal views.
It was also a free vote in parliament, ie party members can vote with their lack of conscience rather than towing the party line. Killing animals jumps into the league of capital punishment and abortion.
I’ll leave the last word with Hunt Sabs.
In the history of their years of protest, two Hunt Sabs have been killed. A police inspector was kicked to the ground and punched senseless for defending the law, plus broken arm and ribs. In attempting to defend the law – in favour of HS.
But police have also been on record as saying enforcing the 2005 legislation is a low priority, or it is up to DEFRA. Uh? Since when does a government department become a law enforcer?
When I first started writing a hunting post, a couple of years ago, I was surprised to see Hunt Sabs were still in existence. Because you pass a law, and hunting stops doesn’t it?
No, because people with money, who get a kick out of putting an animal in fear of its life, and then, finally kill it, continue with their merry little ‘sport’.
Matters to me not whether it is Juan Carlos legally killing an elephant in Botswana (I mean, just why?) or Lord and Lady Muck in a red coat hunting fox or deer, or Dave from the council estate with his Jack Russells.
If you enjoy killing animals, quite frankly, you are one extremely sad person. There is NO justification, so please don’t make excuses.