Writer, zoologist and gundog enthusiast, Pippa blogs on life in the countryside

Thought for the day!

There have recently been some comments on this blog by someone opposed to pheasant shooting and it is perhaps surprising that this has not happened sooner.   So this morning I will add a link to my post on the ethics of game shooting to my about page.

I have also given some thought to how I would deal with future comments of this nature.  I do believe in respecting everyone’s views and listening to others,  and I think it is important to take every opportunity to promote and defend our sport and our lifestyle.

But on the other hand I do not have unlimited time to spend debating a topic on which it is often hard to find common ground.

So I have decided to put some other thoughts on this issue,  in response to these recent comments,  and simply add to these if any relevant points need covering.    I have also decided to moderate ‘all’ comments (this blog is currently set to moderate only the first comment made by a new visitor).

So in the future you will find that your comments do  not appear until I have approved them.  This may take a few hours as I am not always online!

Against pheasant shooting

Some people are opposed to pheasant shooting.    Some arguments against pheasant shooting are based on misconceptions about how shooting is run and who takes part.  Many shoots, including my own, have guns that are not remotely ‘wealthy’  and work hard all week to make sure that they have enough money for their sport,   which may cost them less than a season ticket to Chelsea.

Most arguments ignore the contributions that shoots make to our wildlife and economy.  Many ignore welfare issues entirely.   (A pheasant does not suffer more because the man who shoots him is wealthy for example  –  this is a completely irrelevant argument)

Arguments I respect

Some arguments against pheasant shooting are based on a genuine desire to live on this planet without harming or eating other animals.

I have every respect and sympathy for that view,  though it is not one I share.  And I suspect it may not actually be is achievable.  Even with a truly vegan lifestyle.

Every aspect of human life requires that animals step aside at some point.   Especially when it comes to protecting our food chain.   I have been involved in the pest control industry for over thirty years and can assure all readers,  that if you ever eat in a restaurant,  vegan or not,  rats (and mice and cockroaches and all manner of other beasties) have probably died for your pleasure.

Drugs must be tested on animals so that our children and pets can be safe from the diseases that once ravaged society.

Crops are sprayed so that we can eat wheat, beans, carrots and all manner of other plants without paying a small mortgage for them.   And yes,  the average resident of my village can probably afford organic food,  but could we feed the planet on that basis?  I doubt it.

And bear in mind that even organic farmers employ pest control contractors to kill rodents, rabbit and birds that eat their crops or contaminate their stores  and use heat treatments to kill insects.

Still,  I do sympathise with all those that wish to live without harming other species,  and wish them well.   Most of the vegans I have met live according to their principles without trying to force their views on others.   Respect.

Those who oppose the many aspects of my own lifestyle that they find offensive,  are I find, often confused about their own principles.   They will often admit to hypocrisy when it comes to what they will kill and what they will not.  But do not see that this diminshes their own arguments.  They are also often happy to eat farmed meat which has been subjected to all sorts of unpleasant procedures.  This is what I have to say to them.

To those who oppose my lifestyle

I am happy to be a meat eater.  And happy that my pheasants  (and all the wild animals that we shoot and eat)  have had a better life (and death) than most of the lumps of meat you will find on a supermarket shelf.   I am deeply interested in animal welfare and always pleased to hear of new research or evidence on this subject.

Please read the ethics of game shooting for an explanation of my views,  and please do not be too disappointed if I do not get involved in too much debate with you.

I support your right to have your own views and ask that you support mine.  New information and research is welcome.  Repeated comments that cover the same ground will not be approved and those that come just to argue may be blocked.

This blog is for those that are interested in our shoot and in the activities that go  on there.  If that offends you,  you may be happier reading a different blog


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