Friday 2 January 2009

Another cheap shot from the antis

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.


Phasianus said...

Its not often you get it right and now you've got it wrong again Jim. The League Against Cruel Sports is a charity. It adopted charitable status in 2008.
Animal Aid is not a charity. But not because it is an extremist organisation. It isn't. Charities are disqualified from political campaigning. For similar reasons, the Countryside Alliance and the BASC are not charities. Now you wouldn't call the CA an extremist organisation would you Jim?

James Marchington said...

Blimey, LACS is getting away with 'charity' status with all the mischief they get up to? Thanks for pointing it out - we'll have to see what can be done about that.

Phasianus said...

LACS is also a company limited by Guarantee. The company is wholly owned by the charity.

But tread carefully Jim. The GWCT employs the same device. It is an organisation openly supporting bloodsports and collaborating with bloodsports organisations while posing as a charity with educational aims.

James Marchington said...

Funny how 'open' we shooters are isn't it; could it be we have nothing to hide? Did you watch Kill It Cook It Eat It last night? You might find it educational.

While I've got your attention, perhaps you could tell me your position on the use of terrorist-style tactics in pursuit of animal 'rights'. Do you believe the end justifies any means?

Phasianus said...

I do not believe in terrorism in any form Jim. I hope you don't either. Please don't use this implication again.

I did watch KICIEI last night. I did find it educational but not for the reasons you would want. My view is bound to be different to yours. The producers of the programme trawled the public for people to take part who were on both sides of the fence. I think it would be fair to impart that they also recruited a few wanabees. The bait was an all-expenses paid trip to Scotland and an appearance on television. Did you see what jobs the twenty and thirty-somethings did? I noticed one was a dancer. He and the others could obviously spare the time.
The ghillie chose 3 people to shoot a stag who were not the best shots. Two were chosen because of their vegetarian beliefs, probably because it made better television with their potential to be shocked. Similarly, three women were chosen because of the potential for tears.
The woman who shot the stag did not make a clean kill. There was nothing open about the ghillie's insistence that everyone and the cameraman stayed behind whilst he went forward to see what had happened to a wounded animal. He admitted to despatching it with a neck shot but this aspect of the idiocy of making entertainment from the death of a magnificent beast at the hands of an unskilled amateur was cynically played down. Apparently she was selected to kill the stag because of her attitude, which was not defined.
Everybody knows that properly butchered meat must be hung first. The programme was anxious to show its hapless participants eating the stag that was killed earlier in the day. The Chef used the fillet, to cheat the viewers into believing that unhung venison can be palatable.
This programme was about reality entertainment and not about proving anything. It failed if that was its object. The Balavil Estate made a gross error of judgement in taking part in this tacky programme, which compares easily with Anthea Turner and Grant Bovey's Crunchie Bar wedding stunt.

Anonymous said...

James, why do you let this guy call you 'Jim'? Is he a mate of yours? AA and LACS can be considered extreme as they have been known to stage sometimes abusive and violent protests as well as their more peaceful ones. Their ultimate aims are also pretty extreme. Most animal right organisations are less than open about their opposition to animal use and ownership in general. If Mr and Mrs Joe Public knew these organisations would turn their attentions to course fishing, pigeon racing, show jumping etc etc once they have removed 'blood sports' (what i see in the case of shooting as an honest harvest of free range and wild meat for my table rather than choosing factory farmed supermarket meat).
Why don't you just go away and focus on REAL animal cruelty? Are you worried about puppy farms, puppy dealers, dog fighting, halal slaughter? The 'cruel' shooters I know certainly are!

James Marchington said...

Vicky, good to have you on here. It's funny, the only other person who ever called me 'Jim' was a paedo who used to bother me at school. Wonder if they're connected?!

You're right to point out the extreme aims of these groups. They cross the line from 'welfare' which we all support, to 'rights' which is ludicrous and unworkable, and would destroy society as we know it.

James Marchington said...

Phasianus, interesting comments. I also wondered about the camera not following the stalker after the shot, although in the circumstances I guess he wouldn't want to risk the crew frightening what might have been a wounded beast before he had a chance to finish it. (He muttered rather, but what I got from it was that it looked dead but he put a shot in its neck to make sure).

I too felt uncomfortable with the idea that the welfare of the beast might have been compromised by the demands of the production team. It seemed to me that some decisions were taken in the interests of 'good TV'. In the circumstances, I felt the estate staff did an excellent job to ensure it was done properly.

I may be wrong here, but I suspect the beast they butchered wasn't the one they shot. During the butchering, we clearly saw a bullet hole in the centre of the rib cage, which isn't what you'd expect to see after what had gone before.

Overall, though, an excellent demonstration of how open-minded people experiencing what shooting is really about (rather than swallowing the hate and lies peddled by the Batchelor idiot and the like) quickly see that it's not cruel, and is an ethical, sustainable (and, yes, enjoyable) way to harvest healthy, delicious food.