Thursday, 28 October 2010

Killing for "Pleasure"

Reports of the demise of UK's largest animal - a Stag known as "The Emperor" - may be premature. There is some confusion over whether he has indeed been killed or it is a fabricated story to discourage trophy hunters.

Regardless as to the fate of the animal, it has sparked some interesting debate. On the face of it, it's an easy one for the anti's to get upset about; rich person kills wild animal to stick it's head on his wall... guaranteed to outrage every mortgage slave with a vague interest in Wildlife. For me, the issue is nothing to do with who (might have) shot the Deer - I just can't fathom why we allow the killing of any living thing in the name of "sport". The defences commonly offered by those who partake in these actions are as ridiculous as those who see it as a class issue. "It's always been this way in the countryside" and "These *insert animal here*  need to be managed or they destroy the environment" are two frequent reasons excuses offered.

On a completely unrelated piece of research I conducted a few weeks ago, I happened across the interestingly named "British Association for Shooting and Conservation".  Good grief, do they really expect any normal, reasonable person to believe that this is anything other than a desperate PR ploy to justify a pastime? In fact, vast swathes of their website seems dedicated to forcing home the idea that it is perfectly legitimate to enjoy murdering animals with a gun. No end of ethics codes, conservation ideas and even a handy factsheet for Journalists - all about how wonderful shooting is for the environment.  Don't get me wrong; I have no problem with controlling diseased animals or where there is a risk of a high level of inbreeding that would threaten a species in the long run (though this never seems to have been applied to the Windsors). What I object to is people getting enjoyment and/or making money out of it. As with most things, money perverts what is right and decent - and there are regular reports of predators being poisoned or shot to protect game stocks, but precious little accountability and prosecutions are rare. Obviously the BASC is well used to batting defensively as they've felt it necessary to issue a Press Release that reeks of self-importance and denial that any wrongdoing has occurred in the killing of "The Emperor", whatever the circumstances. Far more nauseating, however, is this article on the Guardian's site by a chap called Glynn Evans. In particular, this line from the opening paragraph "Nothing compares to the thrill of the stalk. The feeling as you select a beast, approach it, take aim and fire to ensure a clean kill is unique, as is the feeling that you are doing something importanttakes some beating in the bullshit stakes. I also enjoy stalking deer, Mr. Evans, however the end product of my stalking is a picture that you could hang on the wall, rather than some antlers and a dead stag.

Like hunting with dogs, I think it's time we put an end to these high-brow pursuits that are "acceptable" simply because the people who carry them out have influence with the lawmakers of the land. It's not about class or money - it's about respecting the creatures that have had the misfortune to evolve on the same planet as us. If you desperately feel the need to shoot a gun - go clay pigeon shooting. There are far more humans causing a nuisance on the earth than wild animals - let's start culling them... Hedge Fund managers would be a good start.


  1. Hi Chris, With a blog as good as that I am surprised that half the bloggers in the country are not following you. Good writing.

  2. White text on a green background is hurting me poor old eyes.

    Hunting at a natural level is fine and part of nature - as Lions hunt their lunch - but nature didn't design a gun that makes the hunt a completely one sided affair and no sport at all. Hand your hunter a pair of antlers and see how "big" he is and I would consider it sport.

  3. Thanks for the comments.

    "me", I have changed the white text to a colour which I hope is easier on the eyes!. In hindsight, It was a little lairy!