The Glorious Twelfth

Unless you are a grouse that is.

One saw a bird dying, shot by a man. It was flying with rhythmic beat and beautifully, with such freedom and lack of fear. And the gun shattered it; it fell to the earth and all the life had gone out of it. A dog fetched it, and the man collected other dead birds. He was chattering with his friend and seemed so utterly indifferent. All that he was concerned with was bringing down so many birds, and it was over as far as he was concerned. They are killing all over the world. Those marvellous, great animals of the sea, the whales, are killed by the million, and the tiger and so many other animals are now becoming endangered species. Man is the only animal that is to be dreaded.”
Jiddu Krishnamurti

The Glorious Twelfth is a term often used to refer to 12th August, the start of the shooting season for Red Grouse, and to a lesser extent the Ptarmigan in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Today is one of the busiest days in the shooting season, and large numbers of these defenceless tiny birds will be shot. Birds like the one below.

H87G5847-Red-Grouse

Sadly our unethical laws, implemented by those who indulge in such barbarity, allows so-called hunters, usually the more affluent members of our society, to do this:

3745058911

Did you know that “Grouse shoot operators – whose well-off clients can each pay more than £3,000 for a single day’s shooting – receive millions of pounds annually from the taxpayer via the Common Agricultural Policy?” Please read the following:
http://www.animalaid.org.uk/images/pdf/booklets/callingtheshots.pdf  – this document explains Animal Aid’s investigation into the public subsidies paid to millionaire grouse shoot owners. You can read more about other aspects concerning the gross injustice of these subsidies further down under the heading related links.

I have written about grouse shooting and other hunting before here

Although hunting with dogs, is banned, hunting these tiny birds continues. Furthermore it even continued throughout the foot and mouth outbreak when footpaths in the country side were closed to everyone else.

Until governments ban such barbarous practices we can never truly be considered civilised. It is not about freedom . No one has the right to kill another animal, banning such a practice is not taking away freedom from anyone anymore than denying people the right to kill each another.

Nine Reasons to Oppose Grouse Shooting
  1. Killing birds for sport is cruel and uncivilised.
  2. A large number of native birds and mammals who are perceived to interfere with grouse shooting are trapped, poisoned or snared. Victims include stoats, weasels, and even iconic raptors such as hen harriers, red kites and golden eagles.
  3. An unnatural, heather-rich environment is created because the grouse thrive on young heather shoots. To create fresh young shoots, the heather is burned, which can harm wildlife and damage the environment.
  4. The Committee on Climate Change has recently put a figure on the damage. Some 350,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year is emitted from upland peat in England, it noted,the majority of which (260,000 tonnes) is from areas that are being rotationally burnt.
  5. The harsh ‘management’ of moorlands causes grouse numbers to boom. But as they overburden the landscape, they become weakened and fall prey to a lethal parasite – Strongylosis. This attacks the gut and leads to a collapse in the population.
  6. A cycle of population boom and bust is the norm on Britain’s grouse moors.
  7. Large quantities of lead shot are discharged, which is toxic to wildlife.
  8. Grouse shooting estates use the Countryside and Rights of Way Act to restrict public access to mountain and moorland.
  9. Grouse shoot operators – whose well-heeled clients can each pay more than £3,000 for a single day’s shooting – receive millions of pounds annually from the taxpayer via the Common Agricultural Policy.

Read more :http://www.animalaid.org.uk/h/n/CAMPAIGNS/pheasant/ALL/1847// – includes free action pack and PDF files.

Also see

Grouse-shooting popularity boosts global warming:
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn9722-grouseshooting-popularity-boosts-global-warming.html#.U-em9fldXy0

Action you can take

Please sign a petition:
http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/65627

Please send for the action pack:
http://www.animalaid.org.uk/h/n/ACTIVE/action/ALL/1125//

To mark the commencement of yet another year of the legalised killing of these tiny sentient beings I have included a list of anti hunting quotes in the hope that in some way someone, somewhere, somehow will change his or her mind about hunting and see it for the barbarous brutality it is.

As long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other.
Pythagoras

Hunting is a relic of the barbarism that once thirsted for human blood, but is now content with the blood of animals.
Christian Nestell Bovee

When I was twelve, I went hunting with my father and we shot a bird. He was laying there and something struck me. Why do we call this fun to kill this creature [who] was as happy as I was when I woke up this morning.
Marv Levy

“Wild animals never kill for sport. Man is the only one to whom the torture and death of his fellow creatures is amusing in itself.”
James A. Froude

“Hunting is not a sport. In a sport, both sides should know they’re in the game.”
Paul Rodriguez

“When a man wants to murder a tiger, he calls it sport; when a tiger wants to murder him, he calls it ferocity.”
George Bernard Shaw

“I ask people why they have deer heads on their walls. They always say because it’s such a beautiful animal. There you go. I think my mother is attractive, but I have photographs of her.”
Ellen DeGeneres

“There will be no justice as long as man will stand with a knife or with a gun and destroy those who are weaker than he is.”
Isaac Bashevis Singer

“Deer hunting would be fine sport, if only the deer had guns.”
William S. Gilbert
“Killing animals for sport, for pleasure, for adventures, and for hides and furs is a phenomenon which is at once disgusting and distressing. There is no justification in indulging in such acts of brutality.”
His Holiness the Dalai Lama

“When a man wantonly destroys one of the works of man we call him a vandal. When he destroys one of the works of god we call him a sportsman.”
Joseph Wood Krutch

“The squirrel that you kill in jest, dies in earnest.”
Henry David Thoreau

The fascination of shooting as a sport depends almost wholly on whether you are at the right or wrong end of the gun.”
P.G. Wodehouse, The Adventures of Sally

“Wildlife, we are constantly told, would run loose across our towns and cities were it not for the sport hunters to control their population, as birds would blanket the skies without the culling services of Ducks Unlimited and other groups. Yet here they are breeding wild animals, year after year replenishing the stock, all for the sole purpose of selling and killing them, deer and bears and elephants so many products being readied for the market. Animals such as deer, we are told, have no predators in many areas, and therefore need systematic culling. Yet when attempts are made to reintroduce natural predators such as wolves and coyotes into these very areas, sport hunters themselves are the first to resist it. Weaker animals in the wild, we hear, will only die miserable deaths by starvation and exposure without sport hunters to control their population. Yet it’s the bigger, stronger animals they’re killing and wounding–the very opposite of natural selection–often with bows and pistols that only compound and prolong the victim’s suffering.”
Matthew Scully, Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy

“Hi! handsome hunting man
Fire your little gun.
Bang! Now the animal
is dead and dumb and done.
Nevermore to peep again, creep again, leap again,
Eat or sleep or drink again. Oh, what fun!”
Walter de la Mare, Rhymes and Verses: Collected Poems for Young People

Although I do not live in the Yorkshire Dales or other areas of grouse shooting I visit often and besides the awful feeling of knowing that every time I hear a gun shot an innocent animal has died for no other reason than to bring perverted pleasure to someone, it is unnerving in the extreme just to hear the very sound of the discharge of a deadly weapon. August is a busy time in the dales with increasingly more and more tourists, people who have come to enjoy the scenery, the peace and quiet, families with children who have come to hike or visit the many scenic and historic places in the area. It is not right that anyone should be exposed to the possibility of injury just so the privileged few can indulged in their sadistic pleasure. Just before publishing this entry my husband and I whilst collecting grass for our rabbit down a nearby, usually peaceful, country lane heard repetitive gun fire. There are few grouse here, maybe a pheasant or some poor rabbit or fox lost his life. So sad, so sickening and there was not a damn thing I could do. I couldn’t even see who was shooting or even the direction from which the shot came. There was also a group of children and their dog, gun fire is not a sound I would want my child to hear and a sensitive child could well be unnerved or frightened as indeed could an adult. No country should allow anyone to own a gun, no one for any reason whatsoever. Remember the case of Derrick Bird, a big brave hunter who normally shot defenceless rabbits, who went on the rampage and killed several people in Cumbria:

People who knew the 52-year-old loner say he prided himself on his shooting ability although he never boasted of his prowess. Bird’s friend Stephen Gillespie, 43, said: “Derrick used the guns for hunting. He liked to shoot rabbits, rats and pigeons out in the fields. He looked at it as helping the farmers but he was obviously getting a sick thrill out of it.”

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/179430/We-talked-Derrick-Bird-out-of-killing-himself

Also

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10259982

Obviously every person who hunts is not going to go on a killing spree – other than the helpless animals he or she kills of course. However neither would Bird if he did not have ready access to a weapon.

Make no mistake these people whom you are likely to bump into in the countryside at this time of year are armed with a deadly weapon. For the sake of animals and indeed other people it is time to ban hunting in all its hideous and loathsome forms.

Time to ban guns, time to ban the murder of animals, until we do so we will never truly be civilised.

All you hunters out there consider taking a camera rather than a gun – prove you are not the sadistic psychopaths you appear to be. Maybe strong words you say, unfair, but really if your first thought when looking at a tiny defenseless bird, a deer or a rabbit is to kill it than there has to be something wrong with you – at the very least you have failed to recognise the preciousness of life for all creatures.

“Animals give me more pleasure through the viewfinder of a camera than they ever did in the crosshairs of a gunsight. And after I’ve finished “shooting,” my unharmed victims are still around for others to enjoy. I have developed a deep respect for animals. I consider them fellow living creatures with certain rights that should not be violated any more than those of humans.”
Jimmy Stewart

Related Link

This cash for grouse scandal shows how Britain has become a plutocrats’ paradise
We subsidise the landed gentry and their shotguns. While the poor are plunged into brutal insecurity, the rich are untroubled

 …David Cameron has intervened to keep the cost of gun licences frozen at £50: a price that hasn’t changed since 2001.

The police are furious: it costs £196 to conduct the background checks required to ensure shotguns are issued only to the kind of dangerous lunatics who use them for mowing down pheasants, rather than to the common or garden variety. As a result they – sorry, we – lose £17m a year, by subsidising the pursuits of the exceedingly rich.

…the government announced it would raise the subsidy it provides for grouse moors from £30 per hectare to £56. Yes, you read that right: the British government subsidises grouse moors, which are owned by 1% of the 1% and used by people who are scarcely less rich.

While the poor are being forced out of their homes through government cuts, it is raising the payments – across hundreds of thousands of hectares – that some owners use to burn and cut the land (helping to cause floods downstream), shoot or poison hen harriers and other predators, and scar the hills with roads and shooting butts.

While the rest of us can go to the devil, the interests of the very rich are ringfenced

Read More:http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/28/britain-plutocrats-landed-gentry-shotgun-owners – please take the time to read the entire article.

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2 thoughts on “The Glorious Twelfth

    • I agree total maddness, which sadly will never end while governments condone the practice of hunting. Many MPs including the PM go hunting themselves. A bit unfair that only people in the UK can sign this petition. I will check to see if there are petitions for international visitors to sign.

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