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10.08.09 - 19:37 -

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Fair game
Gamekeeper Kyle Hogg stands poised with his shot gun and dog, Tara, on the Scottish Borders' Moorfoot Hills on the first day of the grouse shooting in Scotland August 12, 2005. Named the "Glorious Twelfth", this day marks the annual start to the grouse hunting season. REUTERS / Chris Watt
“They kill us for their sport” wrote Shakespeare ... and that sums up how many people view hunting. Most are not opposed to hunting as such as much of it is necessary. Food has to be gathered, culling is required among fecund animals where there simply isn’t the ground to sustain large and increasing numbers, the sick and feeble need culling as a kind alternative to lingering demise. Carried out by experienced people with suitable weapons there is justification.
What causes anger among compassionate people, animal lovers or not, is killing for killings sake especially using dogs. As example is this week’s so called “Glorious Twelfth.” Glorious for whom? Certainly not the grouse in Scotland. Hundreds of “townies” in weird garb, green wellies and driving Land Rovers which have never been off road, descend to kill. To provide fare for gourmet restaurants? Do not believe it! Some go to kitchens but most fly away, injured by incompetent shooters. Having been reared in small pens, their beaks mutilated to prevent pecking, they have difficulty feeding themselves and indeed can hardly fly as this taste of freedom was their first. No wonder they make easy targets. What about all this “Fair Play” we were taught at school? All that is forgotten as sadism takes over. Is there room for this conduct in the twenty first century? At one time the British Parliament broke for recess during the shooting season so that so called honourable members could behave not so honourably. All that is history, but still lingers on
It is not just Scotland but in many countries of the world shooting and trapping continues. The shooting standard I observe here in Spain leaves much to be desired. If shooters, suitably qualified, want to kill for the table then that is their choice. The problem is that many shoot birds which have no culinary value, are not excessive in numbers and do no harm. They kill them for their sport or worse still injure them so they suffer a lingering and painful death.
It is time to draw a close to all this. Isn’t there enough suffering in this world? Caused by human hand.

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