I read with interest the article in your July issue on the ethics of shooting branchers. The feeling here is that if the non-hunting fraternity were to read this, their first impression would be that of disgust at killing such a young creature, whereas if we look at the bigger picture, the meat we pay good money for is
largely slaughtered at an early age, beef cattle around 18 months, lamb 6 months and chickens at a very ‘haven’t seen the world yet’ two months.
The next part of the argument would be that the rooks are not being killed for their meat. However, when adult they will cause damage to crops that are destined to find their way to our table in one form or another, so we are protecting a food source.
In a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall programme from a few years back, ‘A Cook On The Wild Side’, had HF-W in one episode reminiscing and then demonstrating, with some older gents, about how during the war it was quite a common thing for young rooks to be taken from the nest and used in pies to supplement the meagre rations. In some cases, the young birds were tethered to the branch to restrain them until plump enough for the pot. Not sure I would venture down this road, but it does demonstrate that in days gone by we were a tad more robust about these issues.
Hello Mike, I remember the TV show you mention very well. I like HF-W because he’s unique among TV chefs. I really believe he gets out into the countryside to forage and also to shoot for the table. I’ve seen film of him shooting pheasants and pigeons, plus lamping rabbits, all of which he has prepared in front of the cameras.
I agree that most of what we eat is slaughtered young, which is simply because that’s when they make the best eating, but in this context it’s more a practical matter of shooting them when we are able. Ed.
If you can find the rookery you have a chance to reduce their numbers