It wasn’t the animal abuse videos that PETA posts all over social media that convinced me to become a vegetarian (side note from that though: has nobody bothered to ask why they don’t stop said abuse, instead of somewhat voyeuristically filming it?). It wasn’t even seeing cute baby animals playing in a field, like it was for Linda McCartney. It was in fact the book Animal Liberation, by the ethicist Peter Singer.
Singer holds some controversial views, about issues from abortion to gorillas, but in this book he was absolutely spot on. I’m not here to convert you, but allow me to summarise the main argument .You might not see animals as being equal to us (personally I do not) but “in suffering the animals are our equals”.
It is through this lens that we cast our eyes to the disgusting practice of fox hunting. You might realise from my piece about last week’s PMQs that I’m a little bit in love with Theresa May, but my stomach turned when I saw the news that she wants to reintroduce fox hunting. I can justify her silence on the single market; I cannot justify her support for this barbaric activity.
Let’s think about this logically: dogs are teased with the scent of foxes and then are set off into the woods to hunt them out and viciously end their lives, all for the sadistic pleasure of their obscenely rich overlords, sitting upon horses and looking down at the bloodbath below. If you’re reading this and thinking ‘well it’s only a bit of sport’, then please do switch it round, with the foxes hunting your beautifully domesticated pet dog. Not a fan? I can’t imagine why.
Now, though, I’m going to put aside sentiment about the pointless pain that this inflicts on the foxes (and it is pointless, because they don’t even eat the poor things). I want to turn to the spearhead of our government, who has so far – I think – done a fantastic job. She stood outside Downing Street and stressed that she will support social mobility, meritocracy, and a “country that works for everybody.” No longer will the Conservative party work for “the privileged few”.
So what exactly is the purpose of reintroducing fox hunting? It doesn’t bring jobs for the poor among us. It doesn’t provide them with a better standard of living. It is solely for the rich, who can afford their own horse, and their own special hunting dog, and their own estate. This change in the law, which some of our democratically elected MPs will shamelessly argue in favour of, will benefit the privileged few. What was that line again, Theresa?
It would be ridiculous of me to expect that everybody in this country will turn vegetarian. Some people cannot afford it, some people cannot organise it, and some people just do not want to. What is not ridiculous is for me to expect the kind and decent people of this nation to oppose the re-introduction of fox hunting. It serves no purpose. It does us no good. And, at its very core, it is solely for the benefit of the very people that most of us will never even meet.
My dear reader, please; write to your MP. Kick up a fuss on social media sites. Tell everybody you can. The Brexit voted proved that we can control the direction of this country, and we can do the same again.