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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: April 16, 2010 @ 10:16 am

    Huntin’, Shootin’ and Fishin’

    Deaglán de Bréadún

    That was a lively debate on Prime Time last night between Trevor Sargent of the Greens and Liam Cahill on behalf of Rural Ireland Says Enough (Rise!). One got the feeling it wasn’t the first time these two had crossed swords. 

    Albert Reynolds once said, “It’s the little things that trip you up”, so it is at least theoretically possible the coalition partners could split on the anti-Staghunting Bill or the Dog Breeding Establishments legislation.

    Not very likely in practice, though. Mattie McGrath was on, doing his impersonation of a dissident Fianna Fail backbencher. I say “impersonation” because the amiable Mattie talks the talk but never walks the walk.

    Although Trevor wouldn’t admit it, clearly this is only the first stage in the Green agenda against blood sports. If they are in government the next time around – unlikely as it may seem – the next stage will be pursued.

    The pro-blood sports demonstrators came across as a tough bunch. They will hunt the Greens down!

    At some stage, this debate is going to go national. Ordinary people will start asking themselves if it is fitting to have animals hunted by humans. Some will point out, of course, to the fact that the meat on our dinner-table was killed in some slaughtehouse  somewhere and that the animal it came from may have been kept in very restricted conditions.

    I recently saw a film, “The Road” which was about a world laid waste where the people were reduced to cannibalism because there was no other source of food. There is a terrifying sequence where people are being pursued by a hungry gang: it gave a good insight into the way it must look to the stag or other animal being hunted.

    There is an argument that hunting is fundamental to the rural way of life. It is a strong argument, but one wonders if people will regard it as too high a price. Society is so urbanised now that it is possible people no longer care about their country cousins.

    • Liam says:

      “it gave a good insight into the way it must look to the stag or other animal being hunted.”

      By that logic Schindler’s List would give a good insight into how a meat-processing plant works?

      I think this whole area generates way too much heat. Either animals are a resource or not? Stag hunt v processing plant, makes no difference to the animal.

      dang those trendy-lefty city elite types ;-)

    • kynos says:

      “it gave a good insight into the way it must look to the stag or other animal being hunted.” – Deaglán, if I could get a good insight into how anything looks to another species every cast that rolls out from my rod would have something attach itself to the other end the minute the fly or lure hit the water. Which it doesn’t. We can only have the vaguest of ideas based upon our own observations and scientific study as to how anything looks to another creature from a different species. The late T.C. Kingsmill Moore tells in his Book of how one day he was leaning across a bridge over the Slaney when a piece of ash fell from his cigarette and as it fell towards the water twenty feet below a trout rose to the surface to intercept it perfectly as it hit. That would be the equivalent of a human having a thousand yard stare and being able to see such an object proportionally at that distance. Such acuity of vision might presuppose that everything seen clearly looks to the fish as it does to us. But then you look at the flies tied in Scotland, objects of complete realism, versus those tied in Ireland, which have been called the work of fluid Impressionists. Each catches fish well depending on conditions location weather and so forth. Sorry. Rambling. Your assertion makes little sense to me. And animals do not conceive of a past or future. Nor indeed of their own present death. So to impute reflective abilities beyond the passing urge to fly or fight doesn’t seem to make much sense either. No hunter shooter or fisherman worth their salt likes the kill. You do it and move on. We’re not a bunch of sadists no matter what the muesli munchers say. Might say when I hear a bunch of Greens worrying about fluffy bunnies, and they themselves having no problem facilitating the ongoing Obscenity at Shannon, having promised to stop those flying racks and warbirds landing on the Holy Ground; then traded their promises for 30 pcs AG. I just laugh like a drain. Do they seriously think they have an ounce of credibility left? It’ll be Tally-Ho for ye come 2012 Mr Sargent and not another word about it. Tantivvy tantivvy tantivvy!! :) LOL

    • kynos says:

      Recall on another occasion Judge Kingsmill Moore recounted seeing a rabbit chasing a depressed looking stoat across a field in the rain so how the hell do we know what anything looks like to any other species?

    • Desmond FitzGerald says:

      Isn’t it the level of cruelty in any activity, be it food processing or a sport, that is the crux of the issue?

      Humans are animals and if we weren’t given the ability to enjoy the taste of meat or the internal systems to be able to digest it then we wouldn’t have the urge to eat meat.

      Also, it’s not 1910, so I wonder about the sort of person who enjoys seeing an animal chased to death. I can understand the thrill of a hunt jumping fences and seeing a beautiful horse in full flow but has mankind not moved on from the dark ages that such an event has to end with an animal being torn to pieces?

      However, it is 2010 so whether the animal is the one on the dinner plate or the one being chased around a field, there is no justification at all for inflicting cruelty on them. Why do animals that are reared for food have to be treated so badly? Why are there still cultures where unspeakable torture is considered normal when we have the ability to inflict an instant painless death.

      How much land would really be needed to allow chickens and hens live naturally, deliver their eggs but then die instantly and humanely. Why do farmers insist on keeping pigs in mud when they hate being dirty? If people have fur coats why do the animals they come from have to be tortured?

      In 2010 isn’t it very weird there are people who think it is ok to club a seal to death to avoid a tiny hole in its pellet from a gun – you’d think that hole would carry a premium as sign the animal was killed humanely as opposed to a pelt with no hole which means the animal was literally beaten to death?

      Does banning an activity do anything to make us face up to the cruelty we seem to inflict on animals as a matter of course?

      I think the Greens are picking the wrong battle by trying to ban something rather than changing the mentality of those who indulge in certain activities involving animals be they in the country or the city organising dog fights.

      There is no issue upon which the government will fall. I really can’t see the Greens walking away having survived this long. It might not make it to 2012 but it will definitely get to 2011 – maybe to May/June. The fear both parties have of the electorate will override any issue that might ordinarily cause a split. This hunting issue will create lots of smoke and huffing and puffing but there’ll be no fire.

    • Deaglán says:

      Inclined to agree with you, Desmond. June 2011 – unless there is an accident before then and goodness knows there have been plenty of those!

    • Desmond FitzGerald says:

      Ah but in a ‘normal’ government the accidents to date would have caused an election. We instead live in ‘interesting times’ and we certainly don’t have a normal government. FF can’t survive without the oxygen of patronage and there is no issue that will cause FF to pull the plug on its own government.

      FF will agree to anything the Greens want as doing so allows FF keep control of the spoils of patronage. But the Greens are too scared to push their luck and demand real changes in all sorts of areas – as they too are in mortal fear of facing the electorate. The Greens have so far always blinked first and don’t seem to realise FF was only going through the motions when it put up a fight against them.

      When confronted with an election or agreeing to ban hunting, or corporate donations, it would take the ban, only after a few fakers like Mattie McGrath have sounded off, the terribly nice Greens get scared so retreat a bit. A bit like if a nice Blackrock boy is confronted by a thug from a rough school, but doesn’t realise the agrression is all front and the rough boy is actually jealous and wishes he could go to drama class or have a nice smart uniform and when he threatens to rob your stuff, he really wants to be friends but lacks the social skills to say so as he has never been given a good example to follow.

      It’s a pity that the Greens don’t realise what a powerful position they are in from now on as the window of opportunity to pick the right moment to go to the country closes. The Greens need tangible proof of the changes they have secured and FF is terrified of facing an election, so the Greens can afford to push a hard bargain and get their way. If they really want to that is.

    • kynos says:

      What do you mean by “unless there’s an accident” Deaglán?

    • Deaglán says:

      Kynos: I mean a political accident like an FF backbencher giving up the whip.
      Desmond: I like the Blackrock boy analogy!

    • kynos says:

      Do accidents like that really happen? I’d have thought they were all stage-managed, no? I mean once an FF’er always an FF’er loyalty to Party comes above all else and certainly above loyalty to county, as we see all about us. IMO of course I’m only going on the evidence of me eyes: nothing about how politics works here really. Only think I have a sort of gut idea. I don’t believe accidents like that would really happen: the Greed Machine is too powerful for conscience.

    • kynos says:

      What’s this “nice Blackrock boy” nonsense? They’re animals on the pitch nothing nice about them at all. Just better at hitting other peasants over the head than we are at hitting them back. Not that I’ve ever played rugby but you know wharramean.

    • Desmond FitzGerald says:

      But ‘giving up the whip’ doesn’t mean anything in Fianna Fáil. Those who ‘take a leave of absence’ would never ever ever under any circumstances vote against FF if there is the slightest chance it would cause an election?

    • kynos says:

      Sounds disingenuous? Not at all. I’ve not seen any evidence of agenbyte of inwit amongst Fianna Fail since about 1939. Nada. OK 1979 then. Can’t see an FFer giving up what they traded their souls for. Maybe we should get good looking portraits painted of them all, contract Dreamworks or Pixar to do the heavy lifting. Stick em up in the attic of Leinster House and offer the public access and painter’s knives.

    • kynos says:

      Remember the rod licence wars? I do. Was a fishery officer at the time above in Donegal. I never asked a man for his rod licence. Never did any chap for having a rod and no licence. Where there is no enforcement of the law there is no crime. FF remember the rod licence wars. If the Greens have any sense they’ll learn their history. Don’t take us on Mr Sargent. It’ll only end in tears for ye nice Blackrock boys. Play up play up and play the game might be all very well in the elysian fields of old Wesley but it don’t cut much ice in the dark pools of the Gweebarra and the Owenea up round Dubh Carraig.

    • kynos says:

      One dark and stormy night (yess!) was a-wandering up round a pool called the Crolly, deep dark and full of fish, and frequently full of monofilament too, and me alone-ee-o with nowt but a radio that didn’t work properly and a big lump of a lamp with a battery pack that’d pull you down to Davy Jones were youever unfortunate enough to be tossed in to fall into a pool, coming round some gripe or spink and encountering a few Derry boys sitting innocent as you like at 3AM looking up at the sky and whistling. I knew the thread was in the water. Three of them and one of me. Still at 20 you really don’t think of your mortality especially if you’ve kind of looked the Reaper in his empty eyes before. So up I rambled hailed them all and asked what they were about. “What’s it tee yee?” saz one. I pulled out my warrant card, can see it still (esp. where the ink of my signature was smeared and blotted by an immersion or two, voluntary I might add) and held it up and switched on the lamp so they could see it. “Fisheries, lads” sez I. They all looked at it. Then they all looked at me. “Who dee ye thank ye orr?” sez the lad who’d spoken. “Magnum???” I took the hint and left. I’d advise you to do the same Mr Sargent.

    • dealga says:

      I’d just like a pro-hunt type to explain the nature and source of their enjoyment in the pastime. I quite contentedly group such people in with those who engage / watch dog fighting and indeed those whose blood thirst seems sated by watching nonsense like UFC.

      The end result for the animal between being killed for sport or food is a complete red herring. The point is entirely to do with asking why humans feel the need to kill for sport.

    • kynos says:

      I’d turn the whole country into a sporting mecca (no offence to our Muslim brethren) wherein conservation would be the talisman and not just in the sense of the environment but in the sense of the old ways and that, I tell you, would help to guarantee a sustainable, moral, proper economy. Damn sight more longterm than filling the jewellry of our lakes with pigshit.

    • kynos says:

      Imagine if we’d capercaillie and wild boar and our game lakes restored and proper hotels setup and maintained bearing the weight of centuries of sporting culture and carrying it forth into a century in which man largely lives in a bubble of artifice but could escape when s/he wants to Ireland I don’t know I lived 5 years in a city of 23 million people and what I needed more than I needed to breathe at the end of it was to get my boots planted once more on proper ground no concrete nothing between me and where we all come from. Dust to dust and all that. I know I’m rambling and I know I’m drinking and typing but surely ye can see my point?

    • kynos says:

      (Yet at the same time I don’t know if I can ever kill another creature again that mouse under the floorboards of my kitchen two years ago really f-d me up in that department please don’t print this)(makes a liar out of all I’ve said)

    • kynos says:

      (Seriously don’t print that last.)nor this)

    • Vitellone. says:

      “Ordinary people will start asking themselves if it is fitting to have animals hunted by humans”.

      It is ordinary people that actually hunt and fish. You can contentedly group them with whoever you like but the fact remains that ordinary people of all backgrounds enjoy field sports.

    • Kynos says:

      Do you mind if I just draw the readers’ attention to this: http://www.survival-school.org/sitepics/details/html/Anti_Poaching.html
      and this: http://www.survival-school.org/?gclid=CLGj4cSdlqECFYJi4wodABoHNQ
      I have no connection with the excellent John “Lofty” Wiseman other than I’m a recent admirer of his book and have bought his DVDs for myself and to distribute to certain young men and women whom I think will benefit from same. Hopefully I’ll be able to bring my oldest on one of his courses if not this year than next. Cheers. This is my idea of conservation and being in tune with nature. The muesli munchers would probably spoil their kaftans at the thought of it.

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