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Fluffy Bunnies & Cuddly Piggies.

By MICHAEL BLACKBURN.

LOOKING THROUGH THE targets of my occasional diatribes I notice that the eco-loons have so far escaped unblooded. Given that I am of a certain age and live in the sticks in one of the most in-the-sticks of English counties, surrounded by fields, tractors, crops, pheasants and gunshots, I am not a fan of eco warriors. So here goes.

I have always hated hunt saboteurs even when I used to be against fox hunting. Since hunting with dogs was banned back in 2004 I do not know why they continue to complain. They still like to stand around hunts dressed like IRA paramilitaries with their faces masked, causing trouble and occasionally getting themselves knocked over by standing in the way of running horses. And they be big horses, they do. Trail hunting has replaced the original sport and despite sabs bringing court cases against some hunts alleging that foxes have been deliberately killed by the dogs, they win very few convictions.

As the years my intellectual arteries have hardened over the years I’ve grown to dislike these people more and more and become sympathetic to hunts and hunt supporters. It seems to me that as with so much eco campaigning the motivating element is little to do with animal welfare and more to do with class hatred. The idea of some wealthy and some not-so-wealthy people dressed in their finest gear riding across country as part of an old rural tradition drives them wild with resentment. I bet they are all urban dwellers, in which they case they should stay at home: towns are where most foxes live these days.

The green, eco movement is part of the wider leftwing movement and so mainly motivated by politics. That, in turn, means anyone can be exploited to further the cause. Children and young people are good for publicity, hence the appearance of UK Student Climate Network and its ‘YouthStrike4Climate’ campaign, days when Britain’s school pupils can bunk off school, go on a march, carry lots of banners, get filmed by the media and feel they’re doing something to save the planet before they go back home.

It is easy to exploit the altruism of young people and their lack of knowledge and that is exactly what this cynical ploy is about.

It is easy to exploit the altruism of young people and their lack of knowledge and that is exactly what this cynical ploy is about. Most of the pupils on these demonstrations won’t know, for instance, that the tree cover in Britain, important for eco-diversity and the absorption of CO2, has increased to levels last seen in the eighteenth century, or that the UK’s carbon emissions are down to the levels they were in the late nineteenth century, and so on. Nor will they know anything about Mr Miliband’s Climate Change Act 2008 which committed the country to a reduction of 80% of its greenhouses gases by 2050 and under which the closure of coal-fired power stations has already begun. Neither will they have noticed — because they’re too young — the massive proliferation of wind turbines across the landscape and especially off the coast over the last decade. They won’t realise, in other words, that the British government has already committed the country to some stringent measures to counteract global warming.

But what are a few annoying facts when your main aim is political? The group is making four “demands”, the last of which is that “The Government recognise that young people have the biggest stake in our future, by incorporating youth views into policy-making and bringing the voting age down to 16.” As if 16-year-olds have the faintest idea about anything. If young people are so keen on saving the environment they should get out into it a bit more, even if it is just to walk in the countryside. They could be involved in helping conservation groups, visiting farms or cleaning up verges, watercourses and beaches, and improving their physical and mental health at the same time. It would be more constructive than going on marches organised by older, cynical ideologues out to manipulate them.

Some exposure to the realities of rural life might prevent them from slipping into the fluffy-bunny mentality which, for all its appearance of compassion, can eventually result in aggression. A group of such bleeding hearts invaded a Lincolnshire pig farm recently to protest against factory farming. During the occupation of the sheds protestors, according to the owner, picked up piglets, cuddled them and put them back in the wrong pens. Two piglets died as a result of the panic caused among the animals. Such is the law of unintended consequences.

That law may also be responsible for other of the more extreme manifestations of fluffy-bunny syndrome, such as veganism. This could only arise in a society that is so sophisticated that it can provide enough food for everyone; and that it can do so with a vast number of the population having no connection with the source of their food.

If you don’t like trail hunts then don’t go near them. If you want to save the planet cut your own carbon footprint. If you don’t want to exploit animals for food or clothing then don’t (though you’ll have to give up your pets if you have any). How much better it would be if people concentrated on changing their own lives rather than rushing out to make everyone else change theirs.


suxcoverCurrente Calamo columnist, poet and writer Michael Blackburn lives in Lincolnshire. A former Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Lincoln University (2005 – 2008), his poetry has appeared in numerous publications and anthologies over the years, including Being Alive (Bloodaxe) and Something Happens, Sometimes Here (Five Leaves Press). His most recent book is Albion Days (perennisperegrinator press). Sucks to Your Revolution is a collection of his Fortnightly columns.

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