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Monday, June 02, 2008

Our dear friends, the animals.

Ok, I'd like to try and keep this summery of my thoughts somewhat on the positive side. However, at my age (and we are supposed to become a bit grumpy as we reach a certain age aren't we?) it might prove to be a little difficult! So, I'm going to do my best by alternating a positive blog with a negative. If I do feel the impulse to put one in!
And today is lucky expression day! The licensing of carted deer hunting and hare coursing. In the 15th century, the people of England thought it was quite normal to chain bears to a wooden post and set large fighting dogs against it until it bled to death. Besides asserting that the meat tasted better, it was considered entertainment. However, despite the hundreds of years which have passed, this very same unimaginative and singularly barbaric mental altitude exists in the same form the way some people view fishing and horse-racing today. Some may comment that it is not the same but where it counts, where it originates, in our minds, it is the same. Disrespect and disregard, cruelty and bloodthirstiness originate from the same place.
Some may squirm and writhe at this accusation, this suggestion; this association of events and topics but a death for amusement is a death for amusement is a death for amusement. How you take what is being offered here depends, of course, upon your personality, your point of view, your humanity and the level of respect you show for all life. Not just human life but life of any kind.
When the Conservative government under Benjamin Disraeli took it upon itself to deny the greater public access to public executions in May 1869, a great sense of ill feeling and resentment was generated. Partly, no doubt for the revenue the, 'hanging days' generated (because of the sensational amount of crowds generated) but the need to satisfy an ancient bloodlust was, we can have no doubt about it, also a mighty factor.
However, how many today clamour for the, 'good old days' when up to 20,000 people could witness, even children gasping for their last breath as they pointlessly struggled and fought to live whilst tied and blindfolded? Very few I would imagine. At least here in the UK.
The youngest children ever hung in Britain were Michael Hammond and his sister, Ann, whose ages were given as seven and eleven respectively. They were hanged at Kings Lynn on 28 September 1708 for theft.
The corruptible mentality continues today of course bolstered up by reality shows where crowds abuse solitary 'victims' but the desire for real bloodshed is not entirely diminished. There are companies and individuals, perhaps altogether acting irresponsibly and most probably illegally, who make a crust selling films of death scenes. Beheadings, shootings and hangings appeal to the barbaric just as much today as they have in the past. When a certain African government recently advertised for an executioner, over 200 people applied, some from the UK and some were women. Naturally, whatever is good enough for men is certainly good enough for animals. Cockfighting in Cumberland is still known to exist. (2006)
But I am no 'creature cuddlier' I derive no emotional fulfillment in the friendship or companionship of animals of any description. However, everything lives at the expense of other creatures. In Chief Seattle's words: "What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, men would die from a great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts soon happens to man. All things are connected"
Even our own decay is brought about by other organisms. We must be honest. Our race is still immature. Intellectually, we sit atop of an irrepressible, evolutionary, dynamic pyramid of life. All competing for the next meal, it is only right and proper that the most specialised succeed and develop. There is a Zen to the process and of course there is no doubt that human beings, with our intelligence and advanced sense of self consciousness, are more than equipped to succeed than any other animal. Social or solitary.
However, we will not arrive to where we are supposed to go in evolutionary terms unless we give up our past. And here we immediately arrive at an impasse for how can we rise above our animal ancestry while we still need them? I believe that is a good question.
What has this to do with the licensing of carted deer hunting and hare coursing? The answer to that is within yourself.

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