Moral Schizophrenia

When I heard that foxhunting had been banned by the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday, I thought “Has a fox has been making suspiciously large donations to Labour Party funds?”.

I then cast my mind back three thousand years to Samson and how he tied the tails of three hundred foxes together with flaming torches and sent them into the Philistine corn fields to burn them up. I then wondered how such a delaying tactic would have been fared with the pro-hunting protest groups as they displayed their wrath on that day. But, seriously, I don’t think burning Parliament to the ground would have helped their case.

As a Christian, finding a Biblical injunction forbidding cruelty to animals was like looking for the doctrinal needle in a scriptural haystack. The entire Old Testament is awash with the blood of goats and bulls. Indeed, the subject only became a matter of law if a beast was owned by a person in a case law regarding property and compensation rights. And the New Testament, though forbidding such slaughter on theological grounds, does not shirk to enjoin the killing and eating of any animal according to one’s conscience.

Conscience, now there is a thing most prominently and corporately displayed by the State as we find it embodied in the Scottish Parliament. Despatching foxes in a less than clinical manner bothered the conscience of these parliamentarians and I think that a visit to the local slaughterhouses would probably have confirmed them in their views (albeit with the outflow of steak and bacon undiminished).

But I am not here to argue whether killing vermin in such an inefficient manner is a moral problem or not. I personally believe there is no moral evil in killing animals, which prey on farmers’ lambs and hens and the question of suffering is one of degree rather than kind since no kill is ever so clean and rapid.

What I am bringing to the fore here is the sheer moral schizophrenia of a modern State which carries the burden of a thousand and one single issue pressure groups. It is unacceptable to government that dogs should dismember another dog limb from limb yet it is perfectly acceptable to them for humans (doctors) to dismember another human (the unborn) limb from limb.

One must understand that the two extremes start from different bases. Anti-hunt pressure groups are allowed to have their garish images of savaged foxes plastered across the entire media spectrum. Anti-abortion pressure groups are forbidden by the State-owned BBC TV organisation from using the same tactic on aborted foetuses on the grounds of “decency and taste” and yet pictures from every other type of invasive surgery can be seen on their television channels. If there is much emotional mileage to be gained from pictures of dismembered foxes, then how much more from those of the unborn dead?

In a TV-driven culture which places great emphasis on images rather than substance, the stakes are high and the liberal left holds the deck just now. Thank God for the unregulated Internet where the results of these life-destroying operations can be clearly viewed and the debate assumes a more level playing field.

So, where does the inconsistent State go from here? Ban fishing? No, too many members of parliament love fishing. Ban owners of cats from letting them out to wreak havoc on the local mice and bird population? Not very likely. In a parliament dominated by working class socialists, it was inevitable that this form of upper class activity would come under the axe of economic envy. Why do I think that? Simply because more “working class” hunting activities such as using ferrets to terrorise and maul rabbits out of their burrows were untouched. Moral schizophrenia and hypocrisy are writ large in this whole episode.

In a society where the rights of private property are honoured then it is down to the conscience and judgement of the landowner whether to allow a foxhunt to be conducted over his land. If enough landowners exercise the right of banning then foxhunting will die out as a consequence and other less entertaining forms of pest-control will have to be found.

As it stands, the State itself has ensured that such a scenario is not likely because of the huge land grants it dispensed to loyal followers over past centuries. Such acts of largesse guarantee that it only takes one large landowner to ensure a complete fox run which cannot be broken up at the borders of hostile owners.

What we need is a final and decisive reform to the pseudo-feudalism we see today and not an agenda driven by the animal wing of the politically correct.

February 16, 2002