My good friend Brian Edwards is a reluctant meat eater

If he’s not fixing Andrew Little, he’s trying to fix the world’s problems.

Duck shooting season about to start. Human versus duck. It would be a fairer contest if the ducks had guns and could take aim at the assholes who take pleasure in shooting these beautiful creatures out of the sky.

In an interview some years ago I put this suggestion (rather more politely) to the Duke of Edinburgh, then a keen hunter. We went on to discuss ‘the hunter’s melancholy’, a passing sadness which hunters apparently feel when they make a kill. His Royal Highness was familiar with the feeling and, if memory serves, suggested that hunting served a useful purpose in controlling the populations of certain species.

I wasn’t aware that we were about to be overrun by ducks in Godzone or that population numbers of lions, tigers and elephants were out of control in Africa and other tropical climes. But I left it at that. It would have been neither appropriate nor acceptable to harass the husband of the Queen. And actually I rather liked him.

I’m not entirely on terra firma in this matter. I’m a meat eater. And I have never seen how chickens, cows or little lambs are dispatched. Nor do I want to.

If there’s a difference it is this: that none of those creatures are killed for sport. And the manner of their dispatch is controlled by law to avoid unnecessary suffering.

But really, I ought to be a vegetarian.

Shooting a moving target from the sky takes skill.  Training dogs to flush them or retrieve them, takes skill.  The birds are retrieved, taken home, gutted, cleaned and treated with a lot more respect than that Westmere Butcher’s luncheon sausage ever gets.

Outliers aside, hunters respect their prey.  They learn all about them.  They learn how to kill efficiently.  They learn how to butcher them with minimum waste.   They then eat every last edible portion of it, or make sure the rest goes to the dogs.

Hunting isn’t some kind of shooting gallery where we just kill indiscriminately without any thought, feeling or respect.

Think of the piece of meat on your plate that you pull off the plastic tray from the supermarket.  It was dedicated to Allah when it was dispatched at the freezing works.  Apart from that, since it left the farm, it’s been in nothing but an automated meat grinder.

Hunters have an honest relationship with their food.   People who get it from the supermarket have no idea what it takes for food to get to their table.  Not (taps chest) in here.


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