Features

Voting in? You have the blood of Spanish bulls on your hands

4 June 2016

9:00 AM

4 June 2016

9:00 AM

We British have always had a strange relationship with animals. We spend £5 billion a year on our pets and it is often said that we love our dogs more than our children (perfectly understandable, in my book). It makes sense, then, that we have some of the world’s highest animal welfare standards. Our European neighbours don’t always have quite the same attitude. If we could ask our four-legged friends how they’d vote in the EU referendum, I’m pretty sure they’d woof, miaow or moo for ‘out’.

Take the Maltese, for example, who enjoy shooting turtle doves as they migrate every spring (a banned sport for which Malta has been given special dispensation). The French prize gastronomy far above animal husbandry, so force-feed their geese to make foie gras. Bullfighting, meanwhile, is still a popular pastime for many Spaniards.

The fact is that Britain is better at animal welfare, with or without the EU. And in many ways, being in the EU holds British farmers back. Why? Because, as with all the other legislation handed down to us from Brussels, we stick to the rules, while many other countries treat them as no more than vague suggestions.

Take sow stalls — narrow metal cages in which female pigs are kept while breeding. The UK banned them in 1999; the EU finally followed suit in 2013. The trouble is, many countries simply ignore the EU ruling. More than two years after the legislation was put in place, six countries had still failed to officially comply, and the National Pig Association believes that other countries which claim to stick to the rules are also flouting them.


The continued use of sow stalls isn’t just an animal welfare concern. They cut costs — that’s why they were invented — so EU countries that tacitly allow them can produce cheaper pork and still sell it into the British market. Our farmers struggle to compete: they’re being punished for obeying the law.

Similar cases are not hard to find. In 2013 Italy ran into trouble with the European Court. The Italians had known for 13 years that a ban on battery cages for egg-laying hens would apply from 2012 — but claimed they hadn’t had enough time to ensure all farms complied. They lost that argument, but all they had to pay as a result was the legal costs of the case — no fine was levied.

Furthermore, as a member of the EU, the UK cannot prevent the transportation of live animals, which are subjected to needlessly long, stressful and cramped journeys to be slaughtered on the Continent. Banning the practice might hinder inter-EU trade, so tens of thousands of British lambs are exported live and bleating to be killed in abattoirs which wouldn’t meet our welfare standards.

EU rules also allow for the free movement of pets thanks to pet passports. Animal charities believe the system is being abused, with hundreds if not thousands of puppies brought here each year on fake papers. Bred in terrible conditions, they are crammed into lorries (or sometimes suitcases) and shipped across the Continent for up to 40 hours — at less than eight weeks old. Our own Defra should of course do more to stop this, but the sad fact is the EU doesn’t care about the breeding of dogs half as much as we do.

Another welfare issue is Boris Johnson’s favourite hobby horse: the funding of bullfighting. In 2013 it emerged that payments were being made under the Common Agricultural Policy to Spanish farmers rearing bulls for bullfights — more ‘oh no’ than ‘olé’. The practice might well be part of Spanish culture, but it’s hard to see how it doesn’t break all kinds of animal welfare codes. MEPs voted last year to stop EU money going to breeders of fighting bulls — but under CAP rules the vote was ‘not executable’. Unless those rules are changed, it will continue to fund bullfighting. One has to ask: why would animal lovers choose to stay in a union where we have no control over where our money goes — and it’s virtually impossible to change things?

If we left the EU, then we would of course have to comply with the regulations of any country to which we exported. But we would have the option of refusing to trade with countries that didn’t meet our welfare standards, thus encouraging a better standard of welfare everywhere, not just at home.

Leaving the EU would let us make the most of our reputation as animal lovers. Rather than compromising our standards, we could brand ourselves as a beacon of higher-welfare farming — and set an example not just to Europe but to the world.

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Show comments
  • Marigold

    Absolutely correct. A knockdown case for leaving.

    • evad666

      Only if a captive bolt gun is used.

  • Guildford UKIP

    Might independence also enable tighter control over the breeding and export of equines to France for the meat trade? We have fields of shaggy little black-and-white horses/ponies around us, obviously not intended for any other end.

    • Mary Ann

      What’s the difference between eating horses and bullocks. We eat rabbits, and keep them as pets.

      • 9sqn

        Horses have had centuries of association with mankind. They show a level of loyalty and dependence on us borne of many generations of selective breeding. Much the same as dogs. To send them to the awful slaughter houses of France is little more than a betrayal.

        • shona long

          Agreed. Only a twisted mind builds up a relationship of trust and then eats them,betrayal is the best word for it.

          • gunnerbear

            So farmers that carefully look after pigs and what not – for example gaining the pigs trust – are terrible people are they? If the French want to eat horses let ’em – I’ve had horsemeat, I found it chewy to be honest.

          • shona long

            We’ve been developing relationships with dogs & horses for thousands of years. I do tend to extend it to domestic farming personally, it is rather obscene , so I made a choice not to eat any of it. It is up to you what you eat.

        • gunnerbear

          “To send them to the awful slaughter houses of France is little more than a betrayal.” If we slaughtered them first before sending them to France….would that be fine?

      • jeffersonian

        Thank you. You answered my question.

      • Guildford UKIP

        Live export of animals intelligent enough to be severely distressed by the journey is cruelty. Our local abattoirs have nearly all been closed by needlessly onerous EU regulations, making livestock transport far more expensive and difficult than it used to be. Eating horseflesh isn’t the problem. Enabling horse-traders to inflict suffering on these animals is.

    • Conway

      We used to have minimum values, which prevented lived export for the meat trade. That went thanks to the EU.

  • ant

    Does make you think what on Earth the WWF and RSPB are doing with the collective €50m they get from the EU…

    • Mary Ann

      Hopefully looking after our animals. I didn’t know the EU contributed to animal protection in this country.

      • jeffersonian

        The things you know (or think you do) but you don’t about the EU would astound you. (or maybe not)

    • lurv & compassion

      Isn’t there anything that isn’t funded by the godforsaken EU?

  • John Carins

    Animals will not win the referendum, it’s up to us to win it for the animals. Vote out.

    • Aberrant_Apostrophe

      Given that some councils have sent postal ballots to non-UK EU citizens, I wouldn’t put it past them to have sent a few to Mr. S Nutkins and Family at the Big Oak Tree, The Common, Hatch End, Brokenshire, England.

      • John Carins

        And all the inhabitants of Animal Farm.

    • Mary Ann

      Vote in.

  • 100

    Another picture of Owen Jones writing his memoirs.

    • Peter Stroud

      Excellent!

  • sfin

    Not the tired old Foie Gras geese argument again! Go to a Foie Gras, geese farm in France and watch the geese queueing up to be “force” fed. Animals are not humans, they don’t eat when it suits them, they eat when they can. For these geese, having their food, literally on tap, is manna from heaven.

    Apart from that, yes our Spanish neighbours have a strange predilection for torturing large quadrupeds for fun – but it’s worth noting that this breed of cow is bred for no other purpose and would become extinct were the “sport” to die out.

    The single biggest cause of animal cruelty than can be laid directly at the EU’s door is the centralisation of slaughtering – meaning animals have to travel long distances to be slaughtered.

    The next biggest cause is the growing practice of halal slaughter.

    • 9sqn

      I’m with you on the halal and the centralisation of slaughter. But the rest, sorry, utter bollocks. The geese are force fed until their livers burst and as for fighting bulls being allowed to go extinct if we don’t ‘fight’ them ( more accurately a long and protracted torment to its cruel death ) .. well, what can I say, but utter bollocks, again.

      • sfin

        Get your facts right.

        Like I said, come to France (I live there) and see how Foie Gras is produced. If the geese’s liver “burst” it would have died a non-slaughtered death and would therefore be unfit for human consumption. I’m afraid that’s another example of the typical, over-emotive language that animal rights lunatics use – and it bears no relation to the truth.

        Farmed animals exist (and indeed have evolved to be farmed) because humans have a use for them (plants as well – maize, for example, cannot now exist without humans to fertilise the plants). The breed of cow reared for bullfighting is far too aggressive to be a practical proposition for meat or milk. It only exists in Spanish speaking countries and exists for one purpose.

        I’m not defending bullfighting and I really couldn’t care less if that species of cow died out – it wouldn’t effect me in the least – but die out they would.

        • 9sqn

          Die out they would not. There are rare breed farms all over the place and any animal – let alone a large mammal – would have the welfare organisations queuing up to prevent an extinction. ‘Burst’ may well have been emotive, I agree. But I’m not so keen on my implied association with animal rights ‘lunatics’ , perhaps a little emotive on your part .. no ?
          So, how about massively and critically and terminally enlarged to the point of being about to burst. Then its slaughtered. Better ?

          • jon03

            Where did the practice originate? The Roman noticed that the geese gorged themselves on figs prior to starting migration. Also remember that by no means all those livers enlarge to bursting point. About 30% don’t.

          • 9sqn

            Well then being as foie gras is goose liver that has been engorged by the force feeding of maize, 30% of them wouldn’t be of much use, would they. Thing is, they have their necks held out and beaks opened while funnels of maize are literally poured down their throats. I can’t honestly see any goose eating figs to that extent, long flight home or not.

          • sfin

            Fair enough.

            All animals we eat are slaughtered. Foie Gras geese have a damned fine life before that event. A lot of humans have massively and critically and terminally enlarged livers – and a damn good time they had getting them that way too!.

            I don’t think the economics would support your argument for maintaining a large , aggressive and expensive breed – which has no further use for humans. But maybe there could be the odd ‘enthusiast’ out there – not convinced though.

          • 9sqn

            I manage a woodland that has 19 species of rare beetle, 3 of which are critically endangered. I’m not kidding here. As a result ( plus some other stuff ) the whole wood is listed as a SSSI. Some people care about these things.

          • sfin

            Sounds like you have my dream job!

            Ok, I’ll concede the point re: the bulls – but, I would say that your beetles carry the cachet of a) Being of scientific interest, and b) Being, indigenously, ‘wild’. It’s something that a lot of humans (me included) are happy to pay people like you to try to preserve. Even if the cynic in me says that extinctions are the natural order for life on this planet…if you’re managing woodland (my favourite environment) then more strength to you.

            But a domesticated cow? I still can’t see it – but, like I said, as you are the ‘doer’ in this debate – I’ll concede.

          • 9sqn

            You are most gracious. I prefer an honourable draw 🙂
            Good point on the philosophy of extinction. But I personally feel that when it is purely of mankind’s making ( deforestation ) then we have a duty to preserve .. at least until we fully understand any consequences. My wood is a beauty; all 3 British species of woodpecker have nested there at the same time – a rare occurrence in this congested isle. But ‘paid’ to do it .. if only !
            Pleasure debating with you.

          • Mary Ann

            Sounds lovely.

      • rob232

        It’s not a long and protracted torture. It’s fifteen minutes and it’s not a torture. Fighting bulls lead happy pampered lives.

        • 9sqn

          They are speared to weaken the neck muscles and force it to drop its head enabling the matador an easier target. Small darts with flights – traditionally made by local nuns – are thrown into the bull to anger and torment it. Horses are regularly gored in the pre-amble. Its torture.

          • rob232

            Yes and they cut out the horses tongues so they won’t scream. There is so much rubbish written about this. Maybe they get the nuns to do the cutting. They really enjoy that kind of thing.

          • 9sqn

            Glad you agree. Lots of rubbish written about it, yes. But not by me. Thanks.

          • rob232

            There you are wrong.

      • Mary Ann

        No centralised slaughter. I have heard the same about he geese from other sources, I do agree about the bulls, although if we all went vegetarian, there would be a lot less animals around. I have a small herd of Limousins cutting my grass at the moment, if my neighbour wasn’t a beef farmer I would have to but a tractor.

    • jon03

      Central slaughtering? The French don’t buy that. My local town (pop about 4500) has its own well appointed slaughterhouse.

      • Mary Ann

        Same here, my local town has it own slaughter house, pop about 3.6 thousand.
        They will kill and pluck a few chickens for two euros each.

    • Mr Grumpy

      Halal slaughter can’t be blamed on the EU, member states are free to decide whether or not to permit slaughter without stunning on religious grounds.

    • Mary Ann

      http://blogs.ec.europa.eu/ECintheUK/uk-slaughterhouses-will-ec-hygiene-laws-spell-the-end-to-many-of-these/

      Fallacy The British government didn’t have to close slaughter houses because of an EU directive. All the EU did was to enforce higher standards of hygiene, for which we should be glad. You shouldn’t blame the EU for halal meat either, blame the supermarkets, they want to sell meat to everyone.

      • sfin

        If you read my original post carefully, I didn’t blame the EU for halal slaughter – it was in a separate paragraph.

        Although, having said that, Frau Merkel’s ( the de facto chancellor of the EU) decision to let in half of the fighting age male part of the Islamic world, can only increase demand for the practice.

  • hotelrestaurant36

    تمتعوا بأفضل خدمات موقع دليلك الشامل الذى يضم جميع الشركات التى تقوم بتوريد معدات محلات الى المحلات التجارية لتجهيزها .

    http://www.hotel-restaurant-eg.com/

  • john

    Pigs would vote with Dave.

    • evad666

      The Pigs are not supporting Remain they already feel threatened.

  • evad666

    I talk to the Trees and hear what they say, Back Brexit all the way.

    • Peter Stroud

      My turnips say much the same.

      • evad666

        Root Vegetables are always well grounded politically unlike Falafel.

    • gunnerbear

      Ah, yes, “I Talk To The Trees….” …the ‘B’ side to this classic… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnbiRDNaDeo

  • Badger

    This Badger is for Brexit.
    My friend the red squirrel has major concerns about immigration and the future of his red children.

    • Mary Ann

      So that means we will have to stop Trump and all other Americans coming here.

      • Leftism is a societal cancer

        Trump doesn’t want to immigrate here.

        Too busy working on Making America Great Again.

        Which he will do while you wail and lash out as you realise that less and less people are going to tolerate your left-wing garbage.

        • Mary Ann

          You mean, more and more people are getting selfish, it is a result of a deep recession. Everyone wants to pull up the drawbridge, when they feel better off they will all want to be friends again.

          • Leftism is a societal cancer

            No, we are just whites who don’t want to be minorities in our countries and lose our heritage.

            There is no moral obligation to let in millions of mestizos into your country to sit on welfare and hate us.

          • shona long

            I’m looking for the irony in your post and can’t find it. Sadly, I think you mean this.

          • Leftism is a societal cancer

            Why sadly?

      • Badger

        Are you some sort of spastic?

        • Mary Ann

          Sorry you didn’t get it.

  • Mary Ann

    Well that’s a novel reason for making it difficult for our children and grand-children to work in the EU.

    • sfin

      Why would it be difficult?

      Before we joined the Common Market it was common for British students to go grape picking in France during the summer. Tony Blair did bar work there for a year. Of my non French colleagues, one is Australian (worked in Paris for twelve years) and the other is Canadian (worked in Paris for over twenty years).

      All of us have to show our Passports whenever we go “home” and when we return. The only difference between us is that their passports are stamped.

      • Mary Ann

        Didn’t you need work permits, I had to have one when I worked in Switzerland and one of the conditions of getting a work permit was I had to attend French classes (Geneva)

        • sfin

          Switzerland has always been autonomous within Europe (as we should be). It has direct democracy and its citizens are armed.

          It’s because of those two things that Switzerland is very rich, and has never troubled itself with war.

          You still need a work permit to work in Switzerland.

    • davidofkent

      That’s an uninteresting non sequitur.

    • Tamerlane

      Where did Tony Blair learn his French and what year was it and what was he doing there? Hmmm….

      • Mary Ann

        I don’t know, when did Blair learn his French? tell me, I’m all ears, or is it eyes.

        • Tamerlane

          The one you talk with love is the one you’re sitting on I can tell you that.

    • Conway

      You’re making a big assumption that the EU will still exist, but even if it does, we could work in Europe before the EU came into existence, so there is absolutely no reason (other than in your fevered imagination) why we should be banned from doing so in future.

      • Mary Ann

        No reason to believe it won’t exist, reports of its imminent demise have been grossly exaggerated. Unless of course Cameron is right and it collapses when we leave, and we all know what comes next. WW3. Taking away our European citizenship, will, stop a lot of people living and working in Europe, after all it’s what the brexiters want, to stop freedom of movement. I wonder how many of them realise that it works both ways.

    • Cobbett

      All those Brits working in Poland and Romania will be devastated I’m sure.

  • Zalacain

    “The fact is that we care more about animal welfare. And if we left the EU, we could act on that.”

    What complete balls. British cats kill 275 million other animals every year. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-19353/Cats-kill-275-million-animals-year.html
    How much do you care about those animals?

    What about all the animals killed to feed pet dogs and cats? British people don’t love animals, they love their pets. The rest is hypocrisy.

    I’m seeing an amazing array of spurious and deluded arguments on both sides of the Brexit debate. I can’t wait for it all to be over.

    • #toryscum

      I concur. I do a lot of shooting. Deer and ducks- my freezer is full of free range, sustainable and ethically harvested meat. Nothing but a good thing? no, the number of people who get squeamish is unreal, most of whom eat meat and have pets.
      logical, reasoned argument seems to have been lost years ago.

  • Jacobi

    Brits are a bit daft about animals. They never look at the totality. Animals whether domestic or wild are predators, including herbivores and even bunny rabbits, and there is an automatic self adjusting balance in all regions. But being eaten alive by a human or a fox must be a bit unpleasant for a rabbit regardless!

    Yes we can intervene by establishing nature reserves to protect or encourage a particular animals but it is always at the cost of being predator to some other animal. Strictly speaking we should leave systems alone and just observe.

    As for various different systems of animal welfare in the world, pigs for example couldn’t care less whether they are in a cage or not provided they are fed and not uncomfortable, and being killed in an abattoir is unpleasant whether in Yorkshire or Bavaria.

    All this applies whether in or out of the EU which is quite irrelevant to the subject.

    • shona long

      How do you know pigs couldn’t care less if they are in a cage ? Have you seen the size of the pigs and the types of cages they live in ? Pigs have intelligence. Some abattoirs treat their animals better than others, personally I think we could improve animal welfare from within better than outside of Europe. It isn’t irrelevant to everybody how our food gets on our plate, please don’t comfort yourself that the pig is content to be confined & terrorised when biting into your bacon sarnie. That being said, the decision over the EU is much greater than this, but the issues aren’t irrelevant. to everybody.

      • Jacobi

        Body language. Same in all animals. And you certainly don’t know any more than that. No animal has intelligence. They have an ability to react to what ever apparently increases their comfort as does a microbe for instance.
        The EU is totally irrelevant to this question.
        And I don’t eat bacon sarnies. They look large and revolting and I do keep my weight within certain reasonable limits.

        • shona long

          If they can’t turn, they can’t really express themselves. I think it is up to individuals to decide what they think is relevant don’t you ? Immigration, economy, environment, farming, prevention of war or even because you can’t stand Michael Farage or BoJo (I guess some people are that shallow).

          • Jacobi

            Michael Farage I know. Who is BoJo?
            The issues you mention are important, but IO don’t think pigs worry about them. Now that’s it. We are at the stage of repeating ourselves and I have a busy day ahead.
            Last word to you by all means.

        • Dave Hill

          Yes, that’s right, animals are just meat machines. No sane person would argue that they can feel pain, fear, etcetera. Nothing but reflexes, basically.

          • Jacobi

            Correct . You clearly have understood. Just as you or I would be if a crocodile got us.
            And being quite sane of course we agree they can feel pain, fear etc., just as you or I would in the crocs jaws.

            What an animal would not be concerned with however, not being a thinking creature is what comes next!

  • JSC

    If you think that’s bad, you should see what they do to their birds…

    “Conservationists appalled at illegal killing of 25 million birds a year in the Mediterranean”

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/aug/26/conservationists-appalled-at-illegal-killing-of-25m-birds-a-year-in-the-mediterranean

    • Mary Ann

      How many animals does the average cat kill in it’s lifetime.

      • shona long

        Do you have the statistic and how many “average” cats did you ask ? I think humans have evolved more than cats, they should know better.

  • SeaNote

    The Indians worked this out a long time ago. They worship their critters.

    • TomV

      Bollocks and 100% nonsense!

      Worshiping cows/monkeys/rats and meanwhile killing widows, enslaving a big proportion of the people thru the inhumane cast system is not at all “having worked it out”. Just do some thinking before posting such clueless nonsense.

  • Malcolm Stevas

    Oh please! It’s bad enough with scaremongering to the Left of us and the Right of us at political level, but now it’s to Save The Bulls? Balls! Leave bullfighting out of it, Camilla: there are a thousand more important issues at stake.

  • Mark

    We are getting strange bedfellows on this (Galloway/Farage for instance). I’m for out, but I find people who treat dogs better than kids weird (I have relatives like that).
    Maybe that was tongue-in-cheek in the article.
    I love dogs that I can fight off if they decide to attack me (the argument from pit bull lovers that even a spaniel can do you harm, in their defence of pit bulls).
    But if we have a common cause, then so be it.

    • Absentee Thoughtlord

      Think of it another way… those who treat other living creatures more kindly than those who do not are far more likely to treat fellow human beings more kindly, too.

      Win, win.

  • M P Jones

    So, you find it less humane that a few bulls are killed in a stressful manner on the Sunday in Spain than every few minutes in this country using the barbaric halal method?

    • 9sqn

      No. Its all wrong. Inhumane, ritual slaughter and killing/maiming/torturing/whatever for fun is plain wrong. I don’t understand how you can associate one evil with being ok if a worse evil exists elsewhere.

      • M P Jones

        If you read the sentence you will see that I endorse neither. I oppose both primitive methods of slaughter and other kinds of animal cruelty. I am, however, very alert to moral relativism and hypocracy.

  • Mary Ann

    A novel form of moral blackmail from Brexit.

    • Oh shut up for God’s sake. Your dreary winging makes my heart sink when I see it.

      • David Beard

        You have to admit though Arthur, a Tory championing animal welfare.
        It’s a bit thick to take in. They should just stick to the horses.
        They always look like their owners.

      • Sargon the bone crusher

        YOU HATE THE POOR LITTLE BULLSIE WULLSIES!!
        You are a bullist!!!

  • red2black
  • Absentee Thoughtlord

    “The moral progress of a nation may be judged by how it treats its animals” said Gandhi.

    He was right on this as so many other things.

    • TomV

      That’s selfish & ignorant first world thinking.

      • Absentee Thoughtlord

        Yep, good old Mahatma; rich, first-world, westernised bucket of greed that he was.

    • NormanWells

      ….and at the time suttee was widespread in his land.

      • Absentee Thoughtlord

        Yes it was. I don’t think he had much time for that, either.

        But that doesn’t detract from the observation. After all, where would you rather live: a nation in which cruelty to other living creatures is endemic, or one rather more enlightened (if not entirely perfect)?

        • NormanWells

          I’d prefer modern Spain or Malta, two countries this woman is complaining about to Ghandi’s India. Or modern India.

          • Absentee Thoughtlord

            Gandhi was making an observation, not claiming his own country was perfect in that regard. And, yes, I’d agree with you, though choose Sweden and the UK over both of those (even if they are less cheerful in weather terms).

            You must surely recognise the fact that those who inflict cruelty on animals are significantly more likely to do so to human beings.

          • NormanWells

            Don’t bet on it. I don’t see a particular connection between animal abuse and human harm. A lot of British seem to value animal lives over human. And bull fighting and quail hunting in the above story doesn’t equate to inflicting cruelty.

          • Absentee Thoughtlord

            I would bet on it. Not only have I seen anecdotal evidence with my own eyes, but a hoard of studies back it up. Not one has ever found “no link”.

            And this is about “a lot of British seem to value animal lives” without the superfluous “over human” bit you appended.

          • NormanWells

            Some do, some don’t. I’ve killed a few animals in my day. Ate quite a few. I’ve never killed nor eaten humans. Hitler liked his dog, was a vegetarian. But as for people, well they didn’t actually thrive due to him. Makes a great theory though.

          • Absentee Thoughtlord

            Why bother contesting statistical fact when you can just say “Hitler”?!

            This isn’t about killing and eating animals, but about at least treating them with care and compassion during their lives (including the end of it in farming).

            With regret, I’m done here. Cheerio!

          • NormanWells

            Are you saying Hitler treated people well?

  • Two nights ago, after an evening helping a pal of mine on his farm, I I took the shotgun along the edge of a wood and bagged a wood pigeon in the glorious twilight. It was about half past ten. I took it home, cut off the breast and had it for breakfast yesterday morning, sliced thinly, lightly fried on both sides for a few seconds and then braised for two minutes in a little oil, a splash of garlic a dollop of honey, and some black pepper. Gorgeous! I had it on home baked, wholemeal toast.

    While at a friend’s house later that day arranging our chicken curry and who was to bring what towards the ingredients, I mentioned my novel breakfast and she looked pained, like I’d eaten her child.

    Five minutes later, she asked ‘Shall I get chicken breast or thighs for tonight?’
    ‘Why aren’t you pained at the fate of the chicken?’ I said.
    ‘You didn’t need to eat the pigeon’.
    ‘You don’t need to eat chicken curry,’ I said. ‘Why don’t we have dahl instead?’
    ‘No – I like chicken better,’ she answered.

    You just couldn’t make it up could you?

    • Jacobi

      Wood pigeon is delicious. Don’t care for curried chicken or whatever . I mean curry was developed to cover up the taste of decaying meat and is not a pleasant flavour?

      • David Beard

        If it were really so then all those woods would be full of Albanian migrants and such like. I know over the last ten years they’ve had to empty the ponds of ducks in some areas.

        • Seax

          Not the sort of duck I would like to eat.

          However, the poorer English are also prone to do this. Years ago I saw this. Long before immigration in that region. It used to be called ‘poaching’.

          • David Beard

            Lol, I’m not starting anything about immigration. I’m just saying how it was from my area some ten years ago. And I dont doubt the natives have to do it too. I probably would were I homeless or desperate enough.

    • Seax

      Most people do not have access to a shotgun or land to hunt on because we are boxed into the reservations that the rich have allowed us to have.

      Perhaps if we owned more of the land that was taken from us 1000 years ago this lady might have had her own chickens.

      • Seax

        I suppose she could take a shotgun (which she is unlikely to be allowed to have) to the same woodside path (which she could be trespassing on) and shoot at the same pigeons (breaking numerous laws which will result in long prison sentances).

        Two worlds.

        The only difference today is she would not be hanged for poaching on a Lords land…

        Proles can only hunt with permission and often they have to pay a lot to the Lords to do so.

      • Ha ha ha ha – you know little of history – nothing in fact. You look back to an imaginary golden age that never existed. A thousand years ago, 99% of the population of these islands lived in servitude. They worked from dawn to dusk toiling in fields and if they were lucky they ate 2500 calories, made up of peas and rough grain. The average peasant (99% of the population) had 5 pounds of pig fat a year and about three pounds of meat, besides the peas and grain they ate. they died in their forties if they were men and probably younger if they were women. Most of their children never managed to get out of childhood.

        Since those times we have become immeasurably richer, but vastly more numerous and most of England is now a sprawling interlinked set of conurbations.

        Try and get your facts right. You are so far wrong as to be laughable. The farmer I was helping barely makes enough to live. A couple of years ago he was working nights in a supermarket, cleaning and re-stocking shelves as well as working during the day on the land. You are a buffoon with no knowledge.

        • David Beard

          So how do you think Sam Cam’s family acquired all that land?
          Through sheer ‘hard work and aspiration’?

        • Seax

          The Normans took the land from the English didn’t they. They forced widows to marry them so they could capture land ‘legally’ based on the new laws they introduced. They forced the English and Welsh to build fortresses to ensure their own oppression.

          In every measurable way, the English were worse off when the Normans came. And today? The majority of the land is still owned by their descendants.

          We are kept in 10% of the land which they use to extract our wealth through overpriced mortgages and rents. We are in reservations for the English. The same goes for the other Nations of the UK.

        • Seax

          Tenant farmer perhaps? A serf to his Lord?

          • Yes – he pays the owner of the land, a man in his late eighties the princely sum of five thousand a year for the exclusive use of eighty-eight acres of hilly land in the North Pennines. ‘Lord’? No – just a nice old guy who wants a bit of income from the land he bought over a life-time’s work.

            You don’t have a clue mate. If you want to find out more, you could do worse than to watch this excellent and entertaining video about hill farming not too far from where I am talking about. Apart from being good – it will inform you better.

            http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b070jj99/addicted-to-sheep

            Only available for a few more days….. Your call. Know what you’re talking about or not.

          • Seax

            Deny the truth as much as you like. Exceptions are exceptions. The majority of the land is own by the rich.

            Your mate is a tenant. Not a land owner. That is the normal state for the ‘lower orders’ in our society.

    • David Beard

      The thing with chicken is it actually tastes very nice. Whereas pigeon (and I tried it once), looks and tastes very much like the dirty scrag ends of what we dare not eat from the chicken. And it’s funny that as ubiquitous as they are in Blighty, none of our great genius chefs has yet sat down and found a way of making them into a palatable curry. Mind, I haven’t checked out Heston Blumenthal yet ; – )

  • Cobbett

    I went to a bullfight a couple of years ago…can’t say I was overly impressed but then I wouldn’t campaign to have it banned either.Each to their own.

    • awooble

      Exactly, that’s what most Brits do, they go to see it, are unimpressed and decide not to go again. But there are millions of them doing just that each year, and they make an important contribution to the spectacle’s survival. If you really cared about animal welfare, you wouldn’t go.

  • Seax

    Desperate? Having found that no human experts support Brexit the Leavers turn to Squirrel Nutkin?

    And don’t point at bulls when the UK rich want to slaughter fox, grouse and pheasant for fun
    (and Badgers for marketing reasons).

    • David Beard

      Wonder what Camilla thinks of fox hunting.

  • NormanWells

    Malta kills less than 10,000 dove and quail. Mainland Europe is allowed millions. Bull fighting is part of Spanish, Portugese and French culture.

  • Sean L

    The bulls in question would cease to exist if you banned bull fights. As to shooting, what could be a more humane way of killing a bird? Quite apart from being a remarkably difficult sport – ever try shooting a flying bird? Besides, how can it be a matter of animal welfare – where is the suffering or cruelty? In relation to factory farming you might have a point. But that’s become politically acceptable because invisible as well as endemic to our food supply chain. Like arguments over fox hunting, this has nothing to do with animal welfare as such but with human sentimentality.

  • gerronwithit

    I agree with everything……..except foie gras!

  • Sargon the bone crusher

    Bulls are tasty.

  • awooble

    Considering bullfighting is a minority sport nowadays in Spain, and goes on existing in great part due to the curiosity of British tourists who decide to go “just once to see what it is like”, I very much doubt that by leaving the EU the Brits will have much less blood on their hands.

  • awooble

    Besides, Britain refused to extradite General Pinochet, concerned about the impact the ongoing dispute could have on the country’s trade relations with Chile. Do you honestly think a Britain outside the EU would sacrifice trade with any country on the grounds of animal welfare?

  • kyle lynch

    Yes because its not like we engage in any blood sports like pheasent or fox hunting…oh wait.

    The out campaign keep banging on about a nations sovereignty until a country does something it doesnt like then we should act to change their laws for our morality.

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