Shooting Wildlife

We’re driving through the Limousin countryside on a Sunday morning. I become aware of strange goings-on.  A man is sat on a chair on his own on the edge of a field. A car is parked in a field entry. A man is striding along with a shotgun. Two men are in a raised wooden platform in the middle of a field. All men. All with guns.

Yes I’ve heard that shooting anything that moves is a French country pastime, this is the real thing.

Now, as far as I can see, there is no great preponderance of wildlife in this part of France. It’s much like the rest of Europe, over-cultivated and lacking in the huge biodiversity of some other parts of our planet. Even perceptibly over a lifetime, nature’s abundance has been reducing, notably with declining populations of insects and birds.

Yet still many thousands of country dwellers continue their ‘traditional’ pastime, once essential for feeding the family. Some of it is no doubt to keep down exploding populations of wild boar, due to lack of top predators. But I cannot see that this requires so many shooters, and suspect that they shoot anything that moves, rather than just what the authorities approve.

Other countries face similar problems from this apparent male bloodlust – migrating birds shot in Malta, hunting and nature conservation are almost synonymous in the US, imported birds systematically shot by ‘traditional’ grouse shooters in the UK, and on and on.

You could say it’s in our blood, the old hunter-gatherers – that is how we once survived. But now, it seems perverse to increase the stress on natural populations already struggling. There are surely now too many people on our planet for these old ways to be sustainable.

If only more people would abandon the gun for the camera. Similar skills can be deployed to ‘shoot’ the wildlife, while leaving natural populations relatively undisturbed.

Featured image of hunters by FOTO:FORTEPAN / Ebner, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=51244418

Mass murder in our green and pleasant land

I can only endorse this impassioned cry…

Eyes in the back of my Head

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This has been brewing for some time and now it’s time to shout it out. I’m both sickened by, and sick of, news of our wildlife – animals, birds and native trees – being killed off.  They are being killed off by various different organisations in our green and still relatively pleasant land. And all of them seem to have intentional murder and the destruction of the natural world and environment in mind.

Otherwise why would they do it? You need to have an intention to do something when it’s as organised as this mass murder is.

Let me elaborate. And imagine explaining some of this to a child. Children learn from the natural world and celebrate nature. It’s one of their first ways into appreciating and enjoying other life species. Children’s story books are full of tales of woodland creatures, birds and wildlife.

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