BY DOMINIC WIGHTMAN
The last fortnight has been rough on the chickens. One cockerel and a hen stolen away by a wily fox. My young son guilty for not counting them all into their enclosure at night. Eleven is a good age to learn responsibility for others, as well as how to help provide. More chickens, a ledger and an incubator are on the way. After all, cheese & ham souffléd omelette for breakfast is an optimal way for us humans, at the acme of the food chain, to kick off our day. We are way above mere polar bears and orca, despite what some loopy ecologists claim.
The ruthlessness of the countryside never fails to surprise me. I was woken to hear the cockerel being seized at four in the morning – shrieks of agony followed by a deathly silence punctuated by survivors’ fearful clucking, which I confess had me fall back to sleep rather than being so cruel, crushed or cranky as to reach for a baseball bat.
The birds of prey and corvids around here are merciless. How our neighbours’ lambs have suffered wild injustice. Whatever of God’s creatures is taking out the rabbits this year is even more savage than our cat. One imagines something formidable out there like a lynx – or a
rescued donated tiger, perhaps. Work last month on the pond revealed a mallard shielding several eggs. I looked the other day and they were all gone just as mink depleted the same pond of all fish another year.
Nothing seems to last long in this part of the countryside, where civilisation only extends as far as dog eats dog. It is hardly Animals of Farthing Wood around here – more like a Mortal Kombat movie.
I admit that I am fond of all the creatures, even oily newts. I do so enjoy the spectacle of fox cubs rolling around on the hill and would miss the staring contests I have with deer, although I would not be sad to see the crows fly off into town for good. I keep telling them they don’t have to worry about getting shot in urban areas, where they are more likely to fit in – as well as finding more winnable scraps. They never listen. They are just crows.
The humans in these parts have to dip in and out of the role of predator to be able to successfully work the land. The public really ought to stop obsessing about how animals die – except in the case of halal – and start focusing more on how they live, with farmers and those who have managed the countryside for centuries at left, right and centre of any legislative reforms.
There’s never any sensible middle path from eco-extremists. Talk of ‘ecological apocalypse’ is reminiscent of those fringe but vociferous Christians who predicted to the hour the second coming of Christ only to cover their false predictions with ‘The Great Disappointment’ and other such nonsense. Crumbling churches built for the very purpose lie empty still hungry for Jesus’ arrival, as lost and starved as fast-fading town foxes dumped in fields by deluded and bleeding-heart sabs.
You meet alarmists across society, and – like that fellow, Dionysus Larder, who predicted that rail travel at speed would prevent passengers from breathing – they are always wrong.
Being true to the mathematics of their grim prophecies, the eco-warriors really ought to up sticks and try their alarmism out on the pangolin-munching Chinese, but the BBC doesn’t provide a platform or protection for them in Beijing, their no win-no fee lawyers would soon be jailed, nor are the Chinese public so gullible as to believe the bullshit they churn out on a daily basis. They might get arrested or, better still, minced into Vegan burgers…
“Stop mowing your lawns!”
Which brings me back to the crows…
Or are these privilege-checking lefties more Orcs?
All I know is they are devils – far from St Francis.
Either which way they are so plain. Some are clever, so they can hardly all be dim-witted pheasants or brain-dead chickens. Look at their crowdfunders – they scavenge like crows. They leave carnage across the countryside like crows. They are like the doomed messenger from the Ark. Their talking shops squander cheese like the crow in that Aesop’s fable. They argue that someone who drives a tractor is no great expert on wildlife yet have the gall to call themselves experts from their townhouse desks. They couldn’t run a proper farm successfully. After all they are not predators – they are wimps. They balk at mud and blood; at death and shit. Employing them to run one of the farms around here would be like playing against the high-kick Irish with Julian Clary at full back. At least Julian Clary does not dare or care to quibble with the RFU about the rules of the game.
Let’s face it, the anti-countryside lobby are wets. They’re all about skewed surveys, massaged numbers, paid-off profs and faked videos. They can’t front up. They are bitter privilege-checkers like that pipsqueak in Scotland with the upside down head and lack of respect for the Queen’s husband – Patrick Harvie – a few weak men and a handful of dungareed androgynes carving out a niche in the soft underbelly of the detached BBC and in elected institutions too weak to sustain first-past-the-post as an electoral arbiter. Flawed people with a detestation of tweed and Barbour jackets, who have nothing but hatred of their own faces and roots. How they are ripe for exposing and – Lord Botham – knocking for six against a concrete stand.
It is such a shame that fox hunting has become their green card into the countryside argument without which they would not exist. It blindsides all other matters of common sense as they make all countryside arguments suddenly seem so emotive. It is their only card to play on the countryside, like ‘save the whales’ for the oceans. Scratch beneath the surface, though, and truly, they are card paupers:
- On grouse shooting they are undermined by the growing numbers of Brits who have added to the numbers of roadkill grouse and pheasant deaths. They know these birds are as dim as flies – suicidal on roads. Even Eco-warriors squash flies.
- On corvids they are being rightly hammered by photographs of eyeless lambs. Their arguments are already splitting thanks to the growing use of cameras on farmers’ phones.
- On rewilding they are running experiments – let them! Their trials are going as well as when the Islamists were allowed to run Egypt, or captured swathes of Syria to form their ‘perfect’ caliphate.
- On legislation – because they don’t dare to see the countryside as it really is, apart from what they read online or in their self-glorifying spiels – they have helped fashion chocolate teapots that are anti-nature. Such legislation was always set to melt. The countryside is not full of cuddly wombles – they are not real – the countryside reeks of birth and death.
- They have obviously caused more harm to animal and bird populations than they ever intended. Just look at the numbers of LACS directors who split from the cause. The countrycidal eco-loons are bluffers and meddlers more at home in a library or Starbucks than on a field of mud.
In the past countryside class warriors used to be easily identifiable by their green ink and cheap binos. Many grew up and out of it, while others were saddos and didn’t. Now these trolls are bland red crows dripping in envy – eye-pecking scavengers who need the light of truth shining on their backs so they can be cross-haired back out of the countryside argument altogether. Their prominent voices are close to pension age now. They will be supplanted in time by good British common sense – their gravy trains derailed and looted; their voices lost in the technological revolution already ameliorating our countryside’s ways.
Dominic Wightman is the Editor of Country Squire Magazine.