Across the decades there has always been a difference in views, yet fairly conservative opposition to hunting and farming. The Industrial Revolution and consequent urbanisation of Britain has left a legacy of a few generations of citizen who are totally detached from the traditions of rural life, farming and hunting. Miseducated now by the sanitised portrayal of wildlife, they are beyond hope. Due to the mind-bending of animal and bird charities (helped by a willing media), we have stumbled beyond ‘Disneyfication’ and plunged over the same precipice as Bambi’s father. Those who have never felt hunger will never appreciate where food comes from. Those who have never had to catch, harvest and prepare their own meal will never understand the concept of hunter / gatherer. Those who have never had to protect a herd or crop will never sympathise with the need to cull nuisance or predatory species.
The opposition to perfectly legal and necessary rural activities has gained a new breed of supporter. The Misinformed. Organisations like LACS, PETA, the RSPB or RSPCA have easy prey now (forgive the pun) because they are not targeting an educated audience with their distorted and hateful propaganda. They are recruiting a generation of humans who have little concept of natural history, rural tradition or purpose. This is the microwave, smartphone, hypermarket generation. This morning on a local radio quiz I heard an intelligent 30 year old asked “What animal lives in a drey!” His answer? “A beaver”! A news story told how Norfolk County Council are running cookery courses for young parents to show them how to use an oven and cook fresh vegetables. They have people coming to them, parents of young children, who have never peeled a potato, fried an egg or prepared fresh green vegetables. I was saddened by both incidents but it made me realise how dependent the world has become on consumer fodder rather that fresh produce. There was a story on social media recently about a mother whose young son refused some steak because he had seen it raw and was told it came from an animal. Refusing to eat it, his mother asked what he would like instead. His answer was “chicken nuggets”!
I wonder where this modern tribe of animal rights activists and hunt sabateurs go for dinner? Surely they can’t all afford Cafe Nero? When they gang up and get on the mini-bus what do they pack in the rucksack besides crowbars and pepper spray? Cucumber sandwiches? I doubt it and I feel that a huge aura of hypocrisy surrounds these so-called animal champions. Of course, there is an older (which should mean wiser, but sadly doesn’t) breed of activist. A species who attack the traditional rural way of life from the comparative luxury of celebrity status. Interestingly, all of them aspire to recognition as wildlife ‘experts’ which makes their pathetic whining all the more annoying. Of course, each one of them will get more ‘hits’ on a salacious social media blog than your average country-sports magazine will sell copies in a year. Thus the logarithms of propaganda will continue unabated. The Misinformed will multiply and more warped individuals who think meat arrives in the supermarket by magic, beavers live in dreys and squirrels hibernate will join the ranks. Of course, these balaclaved’ champions of the oppressed (their perception, not mine) wouldn’t dare turn up at a Halal abbatoir for fear of meeting their match.
Take away the fast-food pampering of the urban communities, hold back the milk and butter, ransom the potatoes so that the frozen chips dry up. Sell the chickens, sheep and cattle in the market place again. Make people grind the grain, make their own flour and bake their own bread again. Then watch how society wakes up to the importance of rural tradition … and perhaps then the urban will stop interfering with the rural. Rock stars will stick to making music. Comedians will continue trying to be funny. Charities will re-visit their contributors mandate and we will all learn to live in harmony again.
Copyright Ian Barnett, Wildscribbler, June 2015