Tuesday, December 27, 2005
The Hunt, Boxing Day 2005
Britain has banned hunting with dogs for foxes. Instead, huntsmen and women may ride and have dogs following a trail made with a rope covered in fox urine (how one gets hold of a large quantity of fox urine is a mystery to me, but no doubt others know how to obtain such things - I have often suspected that the good folks at Budweiser may know the answer..).
Thousands rallied to the hunt yesterday (Boxing Day) and, by "accident", some dogs chased and caught live foxes. But the police could only control traffic.
Hunting is a tradition going back thousands of years. To seek to "do away with it" is like trying to do away with sex - it will keep on happening, whatever the law. It is, however, an example of city folk who occassionally visit the country deciding what the countryside should be like. Those living in the countryside generally support hunting with dogs and those who live in cities generally see this as cruel.
Given that there is so little understanding between these two solitudes, it does not bode well for the future. As more and more people live in cities, country dwellers are likely to be dictated to more and more by people who know less and less about their lives, their understanding of the countryside and their needs. Coupled with the shifting economic realities, which leads more and more rural post offices, shops and services to be closed and the realities of rural transport, it doesn't look good.
This comment is not just about Britain, but all of the developed world. We are losing touch with our roots and our rural heritage.
One obvious consequence of this is the knowledge and understanding people have of food. Jamie Oliver, in his superb TV series on school dinners in Britain, was shocked that primary school children of 8 and 9 could not name vegetables such as leeks, carrots, onion and had no idea where meats (pork especially) came from. These same children will grow up to be lawyers, legislators and enforcers. Worrying isnt it.