Outside the marginals

A commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010, 2015 & 2017 elections

Hunting Shooting and Fishing

I do not support the killing of animals for sport, and thus I cannot support the shooting of ‘game’ birds. Birds shot and eaten, humanely, do not trouble me.
Julian’s (Ware-Lane’s) Musings 17 November 2014 : My views on shooting sports

There is a bit of a contradiction here. Which is probably not surprising when the British Association for Shooting and Conservation starts writing to prospective parliamentary candidates. Such pressure groups often try to trap candidates into supporting them.

Game shoots should involve a “clean kill” – just as abattoirs should involve a “humane death”. All birds shot are then eaten by the shooting party or put into the food trade. So Julian Ware-Lane should according to his criteria support “game” shooting.

However to those of us who are not part of the “hunting and shooting set” there is something disturbing about “shooting parties”. It’s not just the idea of rearing and then releasing birds such as pheasants – only to then blast them out of the sky with lead shot – even though a “clean shot” is probably just as (if not more) humane that many abattoir practices. However, the corollary of this is that I should not want abattoir workers to “enjoy” their work – which seems unreasonable. Is it a case of if you wear tweeds it’s not OK, but if you wear overalls it is?

I don’t think it is class prejudice; I don’t like coarse fishing – where you are predominantly fishing not for the pot but for the thrill of the (somewhat unequal) struggle with the fish. You hook the fish, you tug it around, pull it out of the water to be weighed and photographed and then (as a good conservationist) you let the stupid thing go so someone else can repeat the cycle. My predominant complaint is that another being (even though it is not sapient and possibly not even highly sentient) is being merely played with for our enjoyment. However I have to accept that I gain enjoyment from fish through eating fish – is my enjoyment any more noble than the person who enjoys tugging the being around but does not actual cause its despatch?

I guess as a non-vegetarian, I feel it is OK to kill other beings (within limits) in order to eat them – but I want the process to a bit sanitised. Wild animals killed for the pot, should be killed cleanly and hopefully without an awareness of their imminent demise. Likewise for agricultural animals (I am not a fan of some large-scale industrial abattoir practices) – I also acknowledge that if we did not eat agricultural animals they would probably not exist as we would have little reason to rear them. Not a particularly rigorous position.

The concatenating of “conservation” with “hunting shooting and fishing” is also a cause of unease. Grouse shooting undoubtedly funds the preservation of grouse moors – an artificial environment. Premier League football funds the preservation of football stadia – another type of artificial environment. Neither “sport” particularly likes you wandering across their environment when they want it for their exclusive use. The use of “conservation” in this context is surely Greenwash.


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  1. Pingback: Hunting down the candidates and their views | Outside the marginals

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