14.10.04

IS THIS THE HILL YOU WANT TO DIE ON? Bill Sjostrom manages to tie a story about the Sjostrom house cat becoming a mouser to an essay by a Labor Member of Parliament who put the row about foxhunting into perspective.
It was obvious from the start that it would end badly. The loss of proportion is staggering. Whatever progressive politics is about, or worth taking on opposing interests for, it is not about views on alternative methods of pest control. Talk of invoking the Parliament Act is like declaring a state of emergency because of a patch of fog on the M4.

I dislike the idea of blood sports. Some of the people who engage in them seem especially unlovely. Unseating the toffocracy is appealing. The trouble comes when we start converting personal prejudices into state action. Not only do we stir up all sorts of unnecessary trouble, we wander into a bog of hypocrisies, inconsistencies and contradictions.
I like the Right Honorable Gentleman's thinking, and would like to see more of it. How much of state action is a conversion of personal prejudices? Half? Three fifths? 99.44%? Makes you go hmmm...

And if Bill can link two unrelated ideas, so can I. Look at this:
The fact is that we routinely do unspeakable things to animals; hunting is scarcely up there with our ordinary cruelties. I have just watched a local council pest control officer on television explaining how he kills rats by giving them a poison that stops their blood clotting until they eventually die. I have yet to hear such practices denounced from the Commons benches. If sport is the issue, then why not ban all killing of animals, birds and fish for pleasure? Exchanging substance for symbolism is the worst form of hypocrisy.
Hmmm, that sounds like warfarin, useful for preventing clotting in humans as well as for killing rats. (I forget the story ... was the second use the byproduct of animal testing in the quest of the first use gone wrong? If nature gives you lemonades and all that ...) Its name pays tribute to the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation at the University of Wisconsin (current motto: we don't want to schedule Northern Illinois!)

No comments: