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.