Monday, March 24, 2008


I share a contradiction with a great many people. I am an animal lover but, not to the point of vegetarianism. This lands me in a dilemma, I've just read about the game keepers on the Highland Estates who have been charged with poisoning 'birds of prey'

This of course is an exercise in making money, rich people come to these places to shoot birds and these bigger birds like to kill and eat the same smaller birds that rich people kill in the name of sport.
Deer hunting, fox hunting, dog fighting, bear bating, cock fighting, badger hunting etc. etc. all come into the same category, I detest them.
I have never been able to understand where the enjoyment/pleasure comes from in killing these creatures.

In various parts of Scotland, mainly the highlands I've seen these magnificent birds hunting, I remember being stretched flat on the side of a high ridge in the Cairngorms at a place called 'Glenfeshie' watching two Eagles circling at such a height that they were just black dots and only visible through field glasses.
My patience was rewarded as they dropped lower and lower until one of them was low enough to have a close look at me before gliding back up to it's mate, an incredible experience. I've also seen an Osprey hit a fish on the surface of a Loch Garten and carry it off, a huge thrill.
I sat gazing out of my office window in Glasgow one day and a Sparrow Hawk hit a pigeon no more than 6 ft. away and 6ft. off the ground, when the cloud of feathers settled, there he was with the dead pigeon in his talons staring straight at me defiantly, a lofty neanderthal stare, utterly chilling, even from a winged creature no bigger than the pigeon he was about to eat.

That Sparrow Hawk was a perfect miniature of the mighty Golden Eagle, fearsome and beautiful just like his ancestors thousands or maybe millions of years ago and only a fraction of his bigger cousin's size.
The poet Ted Hughes imagines the thoughts of a 'Hawk roosting' like this :-

"It took the whole of creation to produce my foot, my each feather:"

"I kill where I please because it is all mine"

"My manners are tearing off heads"

"Nothing has changed since I began"

"My eye has permitted no change. I am going to keep things like this"

I can never remember if the Peregrine Falcon is the fastest land creature, but I know he's right up there, I watched two Ospreys in an exciting tussle with one near their nest until the Falcon got bored, done a couple of circles round them, as if to show his superiority and left.
There were several 'twitchers' there in a hide and their enthusiasm for the mid air ballet they were watching was incredible, more excited than football fans watching a winning goal.

If game keepers are found guilty of poisoning/killing these birds they should be dealt with severely and their employers, the privileged rich who own these estates should be thrown in jail.
If the Scottish Govt. did this, SNP or not I would congratulate them, now where's that burger.


ShrekBall said...

Deer are "hunted" because they have no natural predators in the wild. The vast majority of those killed are killed by individuals with with HP rifles and at least 3 years of training and certification to ensure they are humane and efficient.

If this did not happen the deer would multiply to such an extent that they would strip the grazing areas they cover, sheep would lose out which would affect farm incomes and they would generally become a pest similar to rabbit or rats.

I support the re-introduction of wolves into the Scottish countryside in part because they would control the deer population in their controlled areas. Unfortunately the size of Scotland means we could not introduce these magnificent creatures completely into the wild.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(ShrekBall) 24/03/08

I don’t want to ‘rain on your parade’ when you are on a roll but, I meant killing for fun

Anonymous said...

When a deer is shot, how can it possibly know whether the shooter is having "fun". It makes absolutely no difference to the animal at all. Having established that, it is clear that it just matters to you whether someone else is having fun or not. Pathetic and disingenuous.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 12:19

“Having established that, it is clear that it just matters to you whether someone else is having fun or not”

I find it disgusting that people get ‘fun’ out of killing animals, I find it weird that some others defend them, really weird.

Neil said...

It might be the rich who do most of the shooting on Scottish estates, but the rural working class are employed by said estates.

You are right about them killing the eagles though.

The last time I checked, the cheetah was the fastest land animal. The peregrine falcon is what is known as a bird. They are quite well renowned for flying through the air you know.

Still, land, air; arse, elbow. Always a tricky for socialists to identify.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Neil) 07:06

I should have made allowances for people like you, I meant the fastest thing, living being kind of thing on earth, I said creature not animal, that should have given you a clue but, if you really misunderstood and you really think I don’t know the difference, I will be more careful in future, just for you.

Neil said...

I was, of course, perfectly aware of what you meant. I was merely being pedantic.

It is probably a good lesson for us all though: Don't look at what a politician actually says. Try and work out what thay actually mean.

That isn't a dig at you. It applies equally to all sides of the political spectrum.

Anonymous said...

"I find it disgusting that people get ‘fun’ out of killing animals, I find it weird that some others defend them, really weird."

That's fine. Don't go hunting then. I feel the same about socialists - not killing them but that is actually a good thought...

But there is a big leap from that to saying that you want to actively prevent other people doing something they enjoy on the basis that you don't think they should enjoy it, not on the basis of anything to do with the animal.

Why is personal freedom such a poisonous concept to Socialists?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Neil) 28/03/08

Pedantic ? Of course you were Neil, of course.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 28/03/08

“Why is personal freedom such a poisonous concept to Socialists“

It’s not.

I watched the scenes of the Canadian guys killing the seal cubs with clubs today and the following came to mind.

They say that it has to be done but I wonder if any genuine alternative has been looked at.

I then thought as I watched this guy, your job could be at risk sir, I’ve got sad, sick people who write to me who would do your job for nothing, some might even pay you to let them have a go at it on the basis that it just looks like such fun.

As I said weird, really weird.