Do I enjoy killing
I often get asked, do I enjoy killing and do you enjoy your job? Most of the time I get the animal lovers and other enterprises emailing us and commenting on social media about how I must love killing animals to be able to do my job.
Most of the time it is like water off a duck’s back, but one quite recently struck a cord with me in particular.
It made me think of a school trip to a local river for a biology class. I watched in absolute horror as an unsupervised student dropped a huge rock on a recently beached fish. The fish was still alive, just, and this kid chose to smite it like an angry god. I was too late to stop it but watched as the pitiful dying animal exploded into a slimy mess. I shot angry words at him, “Why did you do that?!” He said, calm as an accountant explaining a W-9, “I wanted to see what would happen? He was going to die anyway.” At that moment I wanted to punch him as hard as I could, but was too afraid of him to take a step forward. I was disgusted at the unnecessary act of violence, but his calm reasoning for such horror scared me.
Decades later, sitting out in a field on the edge of a farmers buildings, waiting to shoot rats, I was anticipating taking a life on purpose. Had I become that calculating boy with the rock?
You enjoy killing… The words make me shudder. And yet there I was, waiting to shoot potentially hundreds of rats in the name of pest control. This year I have removed rabbits from golf courses, moles from caravan sites, implemented a deer cull for a local estate. In my circles especially when I work with farmers death is just normal. It is temporarily unpleasant, but natural, normal, and most of all necessary. It does happen and I’m glad it does. Without what I do, farmers would go out of business, disease would spread throughout communities, animals would needlessly be slaughtered due to injuries.
Life, with a capital L, is a constant cycle we are supporting characters in (at best). Those of us who forget that, or have never learned that, can draw hard lines in the sand based on species, but not many small farmers and business owners can. I have learned being glad about taking lives to help towards the greater good is not the same as enjoying killing.
While there are plenty of people living in cities who understand agriculture and its relationship with ecology, there are plenty who do not. Of course most of the shouting comes from those who don’t understand. From my basic research the current animal rights movement appears to be a collection enthusiastic pet owners far removed from a full time life with non-domestic animals. When I talk about a life with animals I mean living with and alongside nature and having to compete with other species to make a living. The people who criticize me are not normally dealing with the food chain unless they are ordering off a menu.
Let us look at wildlife management and certain pest control, Deer culls and rat control. With Deer culls there are numerous ways of looking at it. The farmer breeds them for food and I appreciate that not everyone will eat the meat, alternatively on some estates they are culled because now they no longer have any natural predators and would just continue to breed and because we generate so much food for them in the shape of farming their population would explode and soon people would complain if there was not enough fruit and vegetables to eat.
Moving on to rats, if us humans were not providing so much food and shelter for them, there would not be a rat problem. If we did not provide their natural predetors with an easier alternative to eating rats there would not be a problem. Therefor there is a need for people like us to control the population of rats.