In defence of shooting (and Prince William)


I am a passionate supporter of the Monarchy as an institution (though I have had occasion once or twice recently to castigate our Crown Prince over his rather wild views on climate and the environment).  So I’m happy to have an opportunity to take up the cudgels on behalf of Princes William and Harry.  Apparently these two young scions of the House of Windsor recently went off to Spain to shoot wild boar and deer, just a few days before Prince William, along with his father Prince Charles, launched a new campaign with an impassioned appeal to save endangered species — and especially the rhinoceros, prized in Asia, where its ground horn is regarded as a medicine (though of course it has no medicinal properties at all, apart perhaps from the placebo effect).

Naturally Prince William has copped a lot of flak from the animal rights brigade, who maliciously and mendaciously accuse him of “hypocrisy”, for on the one hand arguing for conservation, and on the other, shooting game.  Both the Daily Mirror and the Daily Mail (who ought to know better) have covered the story.  The BBC is there too.

There is, of course, a fundamental difference between an endangered species like the rhino, which urgently needs all the protection (and captive breeding programmes) we can give it, and animals which are plentiful.  I don’t know much about wild boar numbers in Spain, but there are parts of the UK where both boar and deer are present in numbers that are problematic, and where culling is indicated.  For such animals, shooting offers a win-win-win option.  It is relatively humane.  It controls numbers.  It’s a sport that many find attractive.  And it provides a source of good, wild, low-cost meat raised in a natural way.  I should think that the bunny-huggers who have concerns about factory-farming of cattle ought to be urging us to eat more bunnies.  And wild boar, and venison.

In exactly the same way (though less attractive as a source of meat), foxes need to be culled.  They are smaller and more difficult to shoot cleanly, and I have often argued that hunting foxes with hounds is not only a great British tradition, and for those who follow the hunt, a great sport, but also the most humane culling method.  It’s the only culling method that virtually guarantees that a fox either escapes free and clear, or dies in a few seconds in a rush of adrenalin.  All other culling methods risk leaving the animal to die slowly and painfully of gangrene in a ditch.  And it’s the only culling method that preferentially takes old, weak or sick animals, so improving the Darwinian fitness of the population.

The issue of endangered species is entirely separate, and has absolutely no bearing on the sport of shooting at all (providing you’re not shooting big cats, for example).  I commend Prince William both for his commitment to the sport of shooting, and for his initiative to protect the rhino.  And I regard the two activities as entirely consistent with each other.

I am hugely distressed to think that there may soon be no big cats in the wild, unless we do more to protect and conserve them.  I feel a particular concern for the jaguar (for reasons to obvious to mention).  And if you can spare 37 seconds to see a real live jaguar doing what jaguars do, click here.

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34 Responses to In defence of shooting (and Prince William)

  1. Michael JR Jose says:

    I think you rather skate over the real issue – just as there is no such thing as ‘human rights’ (only civil rights), there is also (a fortiori), no such thing as ‘animal rights’ (or even animal civil rights), they are property. The fools will screech on ever and anon unless we cut the ground from under them.


    >________________________________ > From: Roger Helmer MEP >To: >Sent: Wednesday, 12 February 2014, 13:25 >Subject: [New post] In defence of shooting (and Prince William) > > > > >rogeroffice posted: ” I am a passionate supporter of the Monarchy as an institution (though I have had occasion once or twice recently to castigate our Crown Prince over his rather wild views on climate and the environment).  So I’m happy to have an opportunity to take up ” >

    • Of course you are right. But “Human rights” are so embedded in the jargon, it’s difficult not to use the term (although it’s sometimes used to argue for the “civil rights” of aliens in our country to which I do not agree that they should be entitled). But I’m 100% with you on animal rights. They don’t exist. I choose to accept a moral obligation to treat animals humanely, but that’s a different matter. Let’s talk animal welfare, not animal rights.

  2. Me_Again says:

    Agree with your remarks re the Princes propensity for indulging the sport of ‘Rich gits’, however regard the monarchy as irrelevant. The bill passing through parliament, which has tabbed on to the end the clause which removes the need for the monarch to sign into law that which is passed in parliament, at least removes my main complaint from the front to the back burner.

    Up until that bill passes, HM has not served her people and country well at all for painfully obvious reasons.

    • We’ll have to agree to disagree there, Me_Again. I cannot think of any public servant more deserving of our praise and gratitude. Given that we have to have a head of state, would you prefer to elect say Neil Kinnock? Or Tony Blair?

      • Me_Again says:

        Why on earth would you think they deserve the title? Shudder…… Glad I was sitting when I read that.
        Still the head of state could either be the prime Minister or a senator if we end up with such a system.
        You are correct though, we’ll have to agree to disagree regarding Ma’am.

  3. neilfutureboy says:

    While I take your point I’m not sure that Africans will be in full agreement that rhinocerous cannot be problematic and they would probably find, from their perspective, that wild boar in Europe are no problem.

    Possibly not so much with rhinos but elephants are certainly a nuisance, to put it gently, to locals and more in need of culling than deer here. But the hypocrisy is mainly on the part of the “environmentalists”.

  4. Heather Alibakir says:

    Culling from necessity may just be legitimate (although playing God?) but enjoying killing is another matter. The relish with which people go fox hunting is disgusting; akin to killing a young giraffe because it doesn’t have the right genes. There are some humans ( not really the word) who need that treatment more.

    • The antis like to paint a picture of hunt followers slavering with blood-lust and taking pleasure in killing for the sake of killing. This clearly demonstrates how little they know about it. Hunting is about the great outdoors. It’s about riding and jumping, and the working together of huntsmen (and women) with and horses and hounds. The fox as a living quarry creates the uncertainty and excitement of the chase. The fact that hunting is also a way of culling vermin is a bonus, but not the main point.

  5. catalanbrian says:

    I am rather worried to find myself agreeing with much of what you write on the subject of hunting! Wild boar are common here, although rarely seen as they tend to be nocturnal, and the tradition of hunting the “Jabali” continues here in Catalunya. I, myself, don’t hunt the boar but I allow the hunters to cross my farm when they are out hunting, and from time to time I have enjoyed a delicious meal of wild boar courtesy of the hunters.

    I am not quite so sure about the fox and fox hunting and am rather with Oscar Wilde on this matter. The fox is not really a pest any longer as most chickens are, sadly, confined to barns and the fox is really only a threat to free range hens (which can be dealt with by proper fencing and by ensuring that the hens are locked away in their sheds at night). I have hens here. They wander in a fenced area and although the fox is common I have never lost a hen to a fox. That is just down to good management. I dare say that the fox is a threat to game birds that have been put down so that wealthy people, most of whom could not hit a target at three paces, can blast away to somehow prove their manhood, but on that matter I have no problem with the fox taking a few.

    And to answer Neilfutureboy’s comments on Rhino. They are not a real problem to farmers, or anyone else, in Africa as they they tend to stay away from areas of human population. Elephants are a big problem but that can be dealt with by selective culling and moving elephant herds away from areas where they are a problem.

    Finally I would say that I am not a monarchist although I am not in favour of abolishing the monarchy. My view is pretty much of the “if it ain’t broke then don’t mend it” school. And, for that matter the monarch conveniently provides the same function as that of of a president but at a lower cost (no elections). I, as I am sure you will not be surprised to hear, tend to agree with the Prince of Wales on environmental issues

  6. limogerry says:

    In defence of chickens…

    • Alibakir says:

      I love this. My family used to keep chickens and they can be amazingly organised and aggressive in the face of something strange or even dangerous. See how each hen chooses to deal with one rabbit and see it off their territory.
      I had a pet one which would not go to roost unless it had a cuddle, Embarassing on occasions. Sorry, have to get home for the chicken. No not really.

  7. Jane Davies says:

    You said it Roger…shooting is ‘relatively humane’ if culling is really needed there are better more humane ways of doing it. Let’s not make excuses for allowing the over privileged to ‘have a go’ with guns who’s skills at ‘humanely’ dispatching a living creature are at the very least questionable.

  8. Ex-expat Colin says:

    Apart from the Walt Disney cuddly thing (responsible for a lot), I think the hunt uniform (j)erks the luvvies. Lets get down to a common denominator, look/sound/act the same. Nice!

    I suppose I’ll get nailed for splatting snails/slugs at some point. No, just move them on or we could get a law through parliament on that.

    And then I had to dispatch a few snakes and camel spiders, nobody questioned me on that – quite the opposite. And nobody wanted them moved on either. Cuddly things in some heads I suppose.

  9. Tedgo says:

    Shooting is ‘relatively humane’, yes probably as humane as a bolt to the head or a slit throat in a stressful abattoir environment. Certainly a better way to go than the 45,000 to 75,000 deer which are killed on our roads every year. We live on a crowded island, we should encourage more people to take up hunting.

    And its not simply the sport of the over privileged, most hunters are normal working people who have arrangements with local farmers to cull deer, either for their own cooking pot or sold on to game butchers.

  10. I wonder if Mr William Wales is familiar with the Rime of King William?

  11. Paul says:

    Slightly off topic. Why are UKIP not shouting from the rooftops exactly how EU directives have turned the flood crisis we see in the UK into an absolute nightmare? EU directives have meant that a deliberate policy of letting arable land flood in order to create bio-diversity and all that other green stuff has led to abject misery we see on our televisions.
    Why the silence? Is this a deliberate tactic from UKIP or are they really ignorant of the issue?

    • Me_Again says:

      I think you misunderstand Paul -along with a lot of others. Breaches in the sea/river walls in selected areas are to soak up high tides and prevent floods. The biodiversity side of things is a knock on effect not the original aim.

      Seems sensible to me to have multiple methods of mitigating potentially dangerous high water events. Oddly, these breaches are to take the threat of flood from ordinary equinoctal events which can be bad enough, rather than these unusual weather conditions.

    • Roger Helmer MEP says:

      Come off it Paul. Some people choose to characterise us as a single-issue party, but you can’t write a blog post every day on the same subject. And Nigel is talking repeatedly about the EU/floods link.

      • Paul says:

        Thanks for the reply Roger. Could you post a few links where Mr. Farage has voiced his opinion about the EU/floods link?
        Just post it in a reply underneath this please. Thanks.

    • catalanbrian says:

      It is because even UKIP can find no way to blame the EU for these floods.

      • neilfutureboy says:

        Check Richard North’s EU Referendum site Brian.
        The floods are entirely the fault of the Environment Agency letting the rivers silt up and that is directly because it is the EU deliberate policy.

  12. Right wingery says:

    Ahh man of the people Helmer rationalises sport undertaken by 0.005% of the population. Thank God you went to UKIP so the Tory Party can continue it’s ascent to normality.

    • neilfutureboy says:

      The numbers involved can only be relevant to somebody who inherently believes that no form of individuality should be allowed – even Mussolini was not as pure a fascist as that.

      Your figure means 3,000 people involved in hunting which is factually wrong too.

      Thank Ghod for a traditional liberal party like UKIP which does not believe speed sledders, brass rubbers and the guys on Scrapheap Challenge should all be arrested for being in a minority.

  13. catalanbrian says:

    Neilfutureboy. I suggest that you read the directive rather than Richard North’s biased viewpoint. The Environment Agency may be partly to blame for allowing the rivers to silt up but they have had their budgets slashed by successive governments, so perhaps we should not give them too big a kicking. The cause of the flooding is rainfall, unprecedented rainfall, which may be a result of climate change. It has nothing to do with the EU, unless there is a conspiracy within the EU to create massive rainfall in the UK to punish it for being so Eurosceptic.

    • neilfutureboy says:

      The EA get £1,200 million and spend £20m on this maintenance and £600 m on salaries and pensions for the parasites responsible. On rethinking perhaps you will agree that they have not had 1,000th kicking on the state broadcaster they would have had to have had had the BBC not been corrupt lying totalitarian propagandists. Save your sympathy for the victims.

    • Me_Again says:

      The rainfall is not ‘unprecedented’ regardless of what you may hear on the MSM. There are numerous occasions in the last 500 years where rainfall like this has occurred with descriptions of the extent of flooding to include ‘a lake from Oxford to the pool of London’.

      Whilst this WEATHER is severe it cannot be attributed to a theory of anthropogenic global warming. Even the IPCC scientists [note: scientists not bureaucrats] agree that if there are climate change effects, they are not predictable in any way shape or form. Thus any suggestion that a particular event or series of events are attributable to such theory is without base.

      Nor can it be attributed to simply a lack of dredging. Such a suggestion is as oversimplified as suggesting global warming as the cause. Was the following article written yesterday?

      ” Every summer when the thermometer rears unexpectedly or remains at a high level longer than is comfortable, people assert that the climate is changing. The same thing happens in winter whenever rain sets in and persists in a fashion indifferent from that of which anybody has recollection. South Australia’s winter, this year has occasioned the same speculation; not without justification, when for three months … the climate appeared not only to change but to disappear altogether, leaving the State with no climate but with just wet weather.

      There is nothing more difficult than to remember and to compare weather that once prevailed with that experienced today. In no other sphere is memory so remiss or judgment so unreliable. It is fortunate for the community’s peace of mind that the Commonwealth Meteorological Office exists as a corrective to scare mongering and shameless prophecy. Mr. E. Bromley, Adelaide’s clerk of the weather has the facts, and the facts are that since Adelaide records were first taken 84 years ago neither in rainfall nor temperature has there been any change at all.”

      11 Aug 1923 – NOT A RECORD WINTER Five Wet Days a Week MILLION… Trove Digitised Newspapers

      Amazing isn’t it? Our Met office which pontificates over predictions of warming into the latter part of this century, predicted a drier than average winter back in November 13.

      I seem to recall 1830 and 1838 listed as particularly wet but I can’t remember where I read it. There have been others too.

    • Paul says:

      Catalanbrian, I take it you, yourself, have read the directive………..? You sound like a Conservative party supporter.

  14. Paul says:

    Hmmmn, still no links from Mr. Helmer. Perhaps Nigel didn’t voice his concerns about EU directives after all.

  15. Paul says:

    ………and on tonight’s Question time even Janice Atkinson failed to mention these directives.
    Roger, why are UKIP not pushing this issue? It’s an open goal. Or is there some embarrassing aspect to all this such as voting for these directives?
    Why do you still refuse to answer my simple question?

    • Me_Again says:

      She may not have mentioned the directive that no one seems to be able to name, but she did very, very well in everything else.
      Not sure the audience was a stacked as usual but two of the females who got to speak were a former mayor of Winterton town and the current mayor of Winterton town, both labour supporters/activists.
      Since I serve on the same council I know this to be true and before anyone suggests it, none of her supporters in the audience were UKIP members.

  16. Paul says:

    …….”She may not have mentioned the directive that no one seems to be able to name, but she did very, very well in everything else.”

    Really? You think?
    Sorry but she was useless on every topic. It was as if she was doing the show in between meetings. Every single answer she offered to the various questions seemed to come from reading the comment sections of various newspapers so she gave a, erm, “balanced view”.
    Anyway at least she followed the UKIP party line which was not to mention the various EU directives which is fundamental to the UK floods issue.
    I noticed Mr. Farage on channel 4 the other day and when cornered by one of their reporters who asked if these floods were caused by man-made climate change – get what!
    “I don’t know”.
    What a turnaround from his usual excellent turns in Brussels calling the whole thing a scam.
    I think UKIP have finally lost it. They sense victory (God knows why) and they think they have to behave like real politicians.
    Carry on like this and they’ll be as unpopular as the liberals.
    What a wasted opportunity.

    • Me_Again says:

      Well after Paul Nuttall’s performance and Diane James being ambushed I thought she did really well. If you don’t then that’s your opinion.

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