As a hunter, writer and blogger, I frequently hear the word cruelty … usually in a critical sense and aimed at me. I use the word myself (often) but I actually understand its context. Many of my critics don’t. Cruelty is an important and very emotive word when used in both shooting and anti-shooting circles. The Collins English Dictionary definition of cruelty is “deliberate infliction of pain or suffering”. I, certainly, never point a rifle at any quarry with the intention of anything other than instant dispatch. I’m broad shouldered enough to deflect such accusations and I can’t help smiling inwardly at the behaviour of many people who call my activities ‘cruel’. The old adage “people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones” comes to mind. Facebook is littered with argument and counter-argument regarding who are the cruel and who are the kind. I saw an interesting double-photo tonight pressing the point. It showed an overcrowded battery farm stuffed with chickens and a single buck standing in a woody glade. It asked the question “What type of life did your meat have?” A superb way to make a point but probably completely lost on the ‘misinformed’.
Some animals are capable of extreme cruelty, yet escape the attention or wrath of those opposed to hunting or shooting. Watch a domestic cat toy with a field mouse, encouraging it to squeal and squeak, torturing it before killing it. Yes, that’s your dear little moggy you’re watching … but he’s only playing, isn’t he? Check out the aftermath of the vixens visit to a hen-house and imagine how she terrorised the birds, herding them into corners before seizing them and tearing off their heads with no intention of eating them all. Deliberate infliction of pain and suffering. The mink (that tyro released into the British countryside by idiots who thought that fur production was ‘cruel’) does the same in the duck pond. Even that iconic riverside mammal, the otter (seen all too infrequently) is capable of wanton and needless slaughter.
If you want to call the three-second twitch of a shot rabbit as its senses shut down ‘cruel’ then that’s fine by me. I will overlook your ignorance but I would like to invite you to watch the slaughter of a beast under religious direction, with no regard to the animals welfare or natural rights.
Please, don’t ever call me or my hunting brothers and sisters ‘cruel’ while you tolerate this inhumane treatment of animals for fear of being politically incorrect. Go take your protests to the really ‘cruel’ in this (or any other) country. And that includes the animal charities who purport to rescue but actually end up culling thousands of animals every year. Good intentions but poor management.
Funny word, ‘cruel’, isn’t it?
©Wildscribbler, August 2015