This planet of ours can support one billion, take a few, hominids. There are currently seven billion and counting. By the middle of the twenty-first century, forty years from now, the forecast is there will be twelve billion. For these primates this spells disaster. Natural omnivores with a predilection for nuts, fish, wholemeal and the occasional meat supplement this species, largely by own design along with mass manipulation, consume more meat than required for their dietary purposes which in turn gives grave concern for the cause and effect of farming cattle, sheep and pigs.
In Britain, all natural predators have been systematically wiped out. Understandably so if bears, wolves, lynx and others pose a threat to hominid life. That said, there have only ever been isolated incidents when these predators have attacked, let alone killed, humans. Wiping them out has not protected human life at all except perhaps marginally so. The reason these creatures are all but extinct, certainly none at large on these islands now, is because of the threat they pose to those same cattle, sheep and pigs.
I understand a farmer shooting a fox if one is found in the hen coop but totally reject the idea foxes are vermin. They are not. They play a significant part in the food chain but also the ecosystem. As do badgers. As do all wildlife. Gamekeepers are not the enemy. The job they do is a job they have to do, one primarily forced upon them by the growth of humankind and that species craving for meat but also its wholesale massacre of predatory beasts.
Hominidae, or great apes, are part of a taxonomic family of primates. These include extant species of Orangutans, two species of gorillas, two of chimpanzees and humans. It is the latter who have set in action a series of cause and effects which in themselves have unbalanced the very fabric of nature itself. By removing the natural predators from the food chain, as in the case of much of Europe and Britain, bears, wolves and lynx, foxes, badgers, and the rest have then needed culling in order to re-balance the damage done. As hominids have been complicit in this dire set of circumstances it is only right they address the problems they have caused. That does not mean donning red coats, mounting horses, setting loose hunting hounds and gaily galloping around the countryside tearing foxes to pieces. Fox hunting is an abomination even if killing foxes to protect livestock isn't.
As a species hominids have long thought of themselves as the smartest of animals, the most intelligent. That being so, with all that ingenuity, surely there are better ways to resolve the problems they have caused in the first place?
I have been a non-meat eater since I was eighteen, a period of forty-three years. I believe vegetarianism is a natural, evolutionary process that has been stalled by corporations hell bent on promoting the eating of meat in a highly cynical and profiteering manner. Without these conglomerate's manipulating consumers into buying more and more red meat when less and less of it is required for healthy human consumption, so vast swathes of rain forest have been wiped out, gone forever, but also so have the natural predators who did the job of keeping down the population of creatures we now call vermin.
There is now talk of reintroducing lynx into Britain. I hope they do. I seriously doubt wolves, and certainly not bears will become part of this process. In light of this, we will have to continue culling if only to maintain a consistent level of imposed balance. Let us then, with these facts before us, do it as humanely as possible. And let's not forget who set this whole business in motion in the first place - hairless apes, more animals.
And just for clarification in case, there are those out there who seek forever the holy investment of self-appointed sainthood, I am against fox hunting, against hunting for sport, against any form of animal cruelty which means exactly what it says. Cruelty is also manifest in doing nothing, merely letting the ramifications of what we have done, us humans, by neglect of duty, by a lack of responsibility, to simply run riot damaging the countryside and as a consequence nature itself. If we must cull these creatures, at least, let it be done humanely.
Russell Cuts the Corn From The Brewers Whiskers.