Grumpy Old Birder

Bo Be­olens wants all an­i­mals treated equally, from those in the wild to our beloved pets

Bird Watching (UK) - - Contents - Bo Be­olens runs fat­ and other web­sites. He has writ­ten a num­ber of books

Treat all an­i­mals the same, says Bo Be­olens

JONATHAN SWIFT OF Gul­liver fame wrote his fa­mous tract A Mod­est Pro­posal for Pre­vent­ing the Chil­dren of Poor Peo­ple From Be­ing a Bur­then to Their Par­ents or Coun­try, and for Mak­ing Them Ben­e­fi­cial to the Publick ad­vo­cat­ing that the rich should buy and eat the chil­dren of the starv­ing Ir­ish. It was an ironic at­tempt to show up the Bri­tish rich for their at­ti­tude to the poor. It seems that our elite has a long his­tory of do­ing what they wish re­gard­less of the sen­si­tiv­i­ties of the ma­jor­ity. UK min­is­ters who is­sue Buz­zard-killing li­cences to pro­tect ‘shoot­ing in­ter­ests’ do so de­spite an over­whelm­ing pub­lic an­tipa­thy. Or should that be ap­a­thy? It irks me be­yond all rea­son that the great car­ing Bri­tish pub­lic loudly pro­claim their ha­tred of the ill­treat­ment of pets and live­stock but seem far less vo­cal when it comes to pro­tect­ing the wild world, which if there is any jus­tice, should be treated at least as well as farm stock or fire­side cats. The pub­lic is­sues steam from its col­lec­tive ears when men­tion is made of foie gras, the lux­ury food made from the liver of a duck or goose that has been hor­ri­bly force-fed. Maybe we only un­der­stand ill-treat­ment of wild an­i­mals when it’s straight­for­ward? There is reck­oned to be some­thing

The pub­lic is­sues steam from its col­lec­tive ears when men­tion is made of foie gras...

like 75% of the pop­u­la­tion against hunt­ing Foxes and deer with dogs. Par­lia­men­tary elites may seek to make the il­le­gal prac­tices, that con­tinue, le­gal again, but there seem to be enough among them to stop that from hap­pen­ing. Would there be enough pub­lic out­cry if there was not? How is it then that it is left to a vo­cal mi­nor­ity to rail against driven shoots, and grouse moor Hen Har­rier slaughter? Thanks to the hard work of a ded­i­cated band of bird­ers whose names you will not know, and a vo­cal group of well-known con­ser­va­tion­ists who are will­ing to put them­selves on the front line, the move­ment gath­ers pace. It would take a very small change in the law to stop rap­tor per­se­cu­tion. If li­cences were needed for all game shoot­ing that would be ir­re­vo­ca­bly re­voked if any ev­i­dence was found on their land of rap­tor per­se­cu­tion, no mat­ter by whom, I won­der how many ‘shoots’ would sur­vive? I’ve long aired my dis­like of all hunt­ing and shoot­ing, but even I can ac­cept that there are some well-run shoots that man­age their land bril­liantly for Pheas­ants and par­tridges as well as for passer­ines, waders and wild­fowl, which are pos­i­tive awash with rap­tors. They prove ab­so­lutely that it can be done and that elim­i­nat­ing birds of prey is as out­moded as eat­ing ban­quets of Bit­terns and send­ing all the able­bod­ied pau­pers to the work­house.

HEN HAR­RIER The fo­cal point for calls to ban driven grouse shoot­ing

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