Monday, 14 December 2009

So Long!

I can't believe it's been a whole week since my last post! The days are galloping away and it's been a struggle to keep up sometimes.

Presents are being made, food is prepared and songs are being sung. The job at school is still wonderful, although I know I'm having an easy time of it due to the Season, and in the New Year there will be more structure to my duties. That's ok though, because I've had the best introduction to the staff and pupils and still count myself very lucky.

As if I wasn't busy enough, I took a whole day out on Saturday to go shooting with some local farmers I know. I took the daughter with me and she was in doggy heaven as she played with all the dogs and plotted and schemed to have one of her own, maybe one day. I have mixed feelings about the day, as some of my beliefs were seriously challenged, but I do believe that if you eat the food, then you should know how it has lived and died to arrive on your table. I overcame many of my doubts and fears a few years ago when I learned to pluck and dress my first pheasant.

I've been a vegetarian and have looked at life from that perspective, I was even a vegan for a few months but found that hard to maintain as many of the supplements we used come from so far away and this conflicted with my wish to cut down on food miles. Without creating a great long post about beliefs and ethics, what I'm saying is, that I've examined my ideals and am comfortable with the decisions I've made. What was very interesting was to see the situation from the farmer's perspective, as they've fed and cared for the birds and see no reason why they shouldn't then eat them. Surplus birds are sold to the local pub or butcher, supporting our village businesses.

I do hope that this post hasn't offended anyone, and I've thought very long and hard before posting it, but this blog is about my life and the things I do, my art and what inspires it.


Jasmine said...

Oh dear, I'm afraid I am going to agree and disagree on this one. I have been a hunt saboteur, for many years in Sussex too. I've seen how farmers treat game birds, and how they line the enclosures with snares. I have found young deer caught in the snares with the leg cut through to the bone and partially through the bone. I have also found many dead birds of prey around these areas too. Game keepers lay poisoned traps around the pheasant enclosures to keep away foxes. Unfortunately all other wildlife in the area suffers too. Try visiting the RSPB website for further statistical information.

I used to be a rural veterinary nurse. Do you know how many domestic pets I have come across that have been peppered by trigger happy farmers and their offspring? Life has value.

I can't agree that shoots are ethical. Almost 20 years ago, it would cost £200 per days shooting and an additional £50 per bird bagged. Its all about the money and not what goes on the dinner plate. Who knows what it costs now?

But that said, I do agree that if you are going to eat it there should be a respect for the life the creature has led. There should be a connection between that which sustains us and Whence it came. I agree about the air miles. Local is best.

Being ethical is never easy or simple. So many dimensions to this world.

Danielle Barlow said...

he he - you may have opened a can of worms here! Personally I disagree with the intensive monoculture of big game shoots, but have no objections at all to shooting a rabbit, pigeon or pheasant for the pot. I do think it is important that we all understand where our food has come from and how it was raised, and so 'wild' meat and ethicallly raised meat wins hands down over intensively farmed meat.
Personally, I really appreciate the fact that we are all able to hold our individual opinions and beliefs, without undue pressure to change them, and still be friends. That is what makes a great community - be it online or in the real world!

Jasmine said...

Yes, I think I agree with Danielle. I am not so extreme in my views as I once was. A bird for the pot is better than a shrink wrapped burger that no longer resembles an animal in any shape or form.

Danielle Barlow said...

P.S. I'm so glad you are enjoying the new job!