Question begged as animal campaigners kick off over funding

Nothing unpredictable at all in news that the animal welfare lobby aren’t exactly thrilled at the prospect of £400,000-plus going to support the promotion of fieldsports in Scotland.

When reflecting upon their indignation, however, I wonder if they’ll be as struck by a quote from one of their spokesmen as I was.

“John Robins of Animal Concern said: “This concerns me greatly. While our rural industries are very important, they shouldn’t be using public money to perpetuate things that really should have gone out of fashion 50 or 100 years ago.”

Putting aside the fact that I might have more time for Mr Robins’ views had he been modest enough to add the words “in my opinion” at the end of them, I’m prepared to concede that he may have a point.

Food comes to us so easily these days, ready-wrapped and prepared, all neat and wholesome upon the supermarket shelves, hunting of any kind really should have become a museum piece.

So why hasn’t it?

Is it because we’re all just helpless Viking leftovers, never happy unless we’re rampaging wantonly through meadows, pillaging anything that breathes?

Or could it be because we find something out there that goes beyond the desire to obtain the occasional meal from sustainable resources?

A sense of community

Renewed appreciation of a world that would otherwise be merely motorway wallpaper.

The opportunity to stop the world and get off for an hour or two.

The smoothing of inner edges that might otherwise chafe against those with whom we live and work.

And all this before we even get to the Becher’s Brook of field sport defences. When Nature, which has run this planet so brilliantly for four-and-a-half billion years, has seen fit to make me wholly comfortable with an omnivorous diet, how much credence do I attach to the view that Nature has got it wrong, when that view comes from people who, in relative terms, are here and gone in the blink of an eye?

But then that’s just my opinion.

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