Wednesday 10 November 2010
Badgers, Foxes and Yahoos
Anyone know knows anything at all about the countryside, about hunting and about pest control, will understood exactly the point John Holliday was making in his recent column in Horse and Hound (Biting Back at Blair). Apparently a spokesman for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), appearing on Farming Today, a show broadcast on BBC Radio 4, argued against any change to the present policy on the control of tuberculosis in cattle, which would allow the licensed shooting of badgers in certain areas. Why? “Because it would lead to wounded animals, who would then suffer a slow and painful demise.”
It’s a fair point, is it not? Nobody wants to see any creature suffer unnecessarily. It’s not the sentiment that one has to challenge, it’s the naked hypocrisy. For when it comes to suffering all animals are equal but some are more equal than others. The RSPCA can be moved by the potential suffering of badgers but not, apparently, by the actual suffering of foxes. At least I assume not, because the organisation actually advocated shooting as a method of controlling the population at the time of the hunt ban. Seemingly it’s easier to miss a badger than a fox. This organisation, full of pious and bogus sentiment, is, I believe, one of the most politically motivated charities in the country, an umbrella for all sorts of anti-rural interests.
Holliday also touches on the recent flying visit of Tony Blair to this country to promote his awful memoir: he came, he had eggs thrown at him, he went away again. I already knew that he had described the Hunting Act as the one big mistake of his premiership, though purely by second hand, on the basis of reviews, extracts and comments; I simply refuse to buy it, most awfully remiss of me, I know, but there you are. Apparently, as Holliday, says, when it came to hunting he suffered a lapse of his “political instinct”, that he didn’t “feel it.” I have no idea what this is supposed to mean, or what he was supposed to ‘feel’, but when one remembers the hours of Parliamentary time and the acres of Hansard devoted to the question of hunting with hounds his dissimulation and pretended ignorance is quite simply stunning.
Blair writes of the subsequent legislation on fox hunting that “It was banned in such a way that, provided certain steps are taken to avoid cruelty when the fox is killed, it isn’t banned at all.” That is just so much stupid cant; it makes me so angry. Blair knows nothing and has not the sense to admit that he knows nothing. He is as big a hypocrite and a fantasist as the RSPCA man, because there is nothing less cruel about a fox being shot, poisoned, gassed or caught in a snare. All this, one has to remember, all this effort over the destruction of an ancient way of life while the country was being drawn into one of the most unnecessary and cruel wars in its history; that innocent Iraqis seemed somehow to matter less than foxes. There is something here, something so disturbing, that it seems to defy all satire. Faced with Blair and the government of the Yahoos even Jonathan Swift may very well have lapsed into silence