DAY 243: A DAY OF IDYLLIC TRESPASSING
For the first time in my life I have some political passion. It’s such an alien feeling I ought to go to the doctor. This badger cull has got me worked up in a fever.
Not only do the majority of MPs oppose the cull, not only do the vast majority of the public oppose it but science comprehensively slams its as a non-option for controlling TB in cattle.
And yet the government are about to go ahead with their pilot cull (starting this saturday) that will kill thousands of badgers. I feel like a seventeen year-old that has just realised that the whole political system, like, totally sucks.
Where’s the democracy? !!
Off to trespass on private property.
I have spent the weekend doing what one always does when fed up with the political system: I have been trespassing on private woodland.
Along with some animal activists (smart, like-able people, not a balaclava in sight) we have been trying to find the exact locations where the badger shooting will take place so that when it happens we can come back and protest whilst marksmen fire their guns wildly. It had occurred to me to come back wearing my badger costume but that would be foolish
It’s odd to have the conviction that because thousands of black and white creatures will die it is my right to be on someone else’s property. This is probably the same convinction that gives robbers the belief it is OK to steal from the wealthy… but never mind.
On Sunday, in the inappropriately romantic sun-shine, I wore dark coloured clothes and met up at an un-nameable lay-by with some activists I can’t identify outside a wood I won’t tell you about. We looked at detailed maps, swapped vegan snacks and went ‘sett-surveying’. This involves walking around the ‘cull-zone’ looking for badger setts (holes in the ground) and finding the ‘runs’ where the badgers leave the woodland at night to go into the open fields where they will likely meet their death by a well trained gun pointed from across the field.
At every turn sun leaked through fresh spring leaves and it was hard to imagine this would be the scene of mass killing in a few days. But such is the way of so much animal cruelty – it lies quietly in our midst, whether in the lanes of pristine supermarkets or the idyllic fields of the countryside.
Giving up meat
I am impressed by the rigour and organisation of the activists. No one is aggressive or difficult, they are determined and passionate. So when they asked if I was vegan I wilted inside like undercooked bacon.
‘Er, no I am not’ I said, not daring to admit that I still eat the occasional bit of meat or fish…but not, er, very much. I felt like a fully clothed person turning up to a nudist camp. Or maybe a naked person turning up to a fully clothed dinner party. ‘The purpose of this year is for me to confront some of those issues’ I said, sounding unconvincing.
As we walked around the lush woodland I got talking to one of the vegan women. She was slender, extremely energetic for her age and had a tiny bit of dirt under her nails, all of which, in my simplistic mind, seemed fitting for a vegan – which is of course incredibly stupid, but its interesting how quickly prejudices crop up. But I also found her impressive and persuasive.
She posed a question to me:
‘Ask yourself this: what if a more powerful, intelligent species landed on Earth and decided to skin us, farm us and eat us. Would they have a right to do so?’
Ha! I thought. This sounds like a poor dinner table argument that can be easily countered. I looked up at the bright sun and drew upon my three years of philosophy MA studies at Edinburgh university but nothing came to me . I then looked around the silent forest. ‘No, of course not’ I said.
She didn’t need to say any more.
In that moment I decided to give up all meat for good. I don’t think it was a logical decision, rather a feeling. Something to do with the quietness of the forest that will, in a few days, become a killing zone.
I am by no means a vegan as yet, but as you know, this year is a journey.