This photo appeared in the Daily Mail
Here's the latest example of animal extremists taking advantage of sloppy journalism, this time on Sky News (although the story was covered equally badly by the Mail and Express, among others):
Animal charities are accusing the Earl of Wessex of setting a "sickening example" by waving his stick at two dogs at a pheasant shoot.Charities?? You must be kidding. Animal Aid and LACS don't qualify for charitable status, since they are extremist campaigning organisations, which may or may not be linked to the illegal activities of the so-called Animal Liberation Front. It would be interesting to know exactly what does happen to money donated by gullible members of the public to these scammers, but I don't suppose they'll be in a hurry to tell us.
Did you see the photos? It's a powerful image: Prince Edward apparently bringing his stick down on a pair of labs squabbling over a dead pheasant.
The papers went with the obvious knee-jerk response, helped along by the "shocked" quotes from Animal Aid and LACS spokesmen.
"People in blood sports tend to show a complete disregard for the welfare of animals," says Barry Hugill of the League Against Cruel Sports. What utter rot! Of course, he would like the public to believe that. But I'm quite sure that even he knows it's a lie.
And what about sticks and dogs? It's not a simple matter of black & white, right & wrong. When I'm walking my lab, I often carry a stick. It's useful to give her a gentle tap on the shoulder, to remind her to walk closely to heel when she's distracted by a scent. If my arm was longer I'd simply tap her with my hand.
On our walks, she seems unable to resist a steaming pile of fresh horse poo - she just has to rush in and start gulping it down in large mouthfuls, and isn't easily distracted by a stern "Leave it!" A smart tap with the stick helps to re-focus her attention on me, and re-establish who is in charge. If I don't have a stick with me, throwing my keys on the ground near her has a similar effect, although it's annoying when they land in the horse poo! It's certainly not cruel, and it helps to reinforce her training. (No doubt you could skulk in the bushes and snap a photo, and try selling it to the papers on the grounds it showed 'appalling cruelty' - but it wouldn't be worth much because I'm not even a tiny bit Royal).
At the other end of the scale, you hear cases of people thrashing a dog violently with a stick, causing it much pain and distress. I find it hard to imagine what goes through the mind of someone who would do that, but it seems to be a kind of 'punishment' for some misdemeanour - though I doubt the dog understands the connection. That's the kind of cruelty the public and shooters alike abhor. And it's what Animal Aid and LACS are disingenuously trying to associate with Prince Edward and, by implication, with shooters generally.
Shame on the lazy journalists of Sky News, the Mail, the Express and other papers who allowed the antis to pursue their extremist agenda through their pages.