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Sunday, 2 August 2015

the armchair anarchist

I was going to call this post Saving Private Lion but I wasn't going to humour myself to that extent. The reason I chose that title is that I have been signing petitions all week to save the lions. Also to save the orca whales, the fox, the dolphins and possibly armadillos now that I've read that a hunter was taken to hospital when the bullet he fired at an armadillo ricochet off his shell and hit the guy in the jaw. Ha! Karma n'est pas?

Here is a lion that wasn't saved. Well it was saved and stuffed. It resides in the most adorable museum in Saffron Walden and was an exhibit in Wombwell's Royal Menagerie which boasted "An Assemblage of lions" no less. Also a pair of noble panthers, two royal elephants and the Ravenous Wolf of the alps. Novelty unequalled indeed.

There is another animal I'm petitioning to save - the fox. Here is one also saved and stuffed in the museum. What I like about this place is that nowhere is there a notice saying Do Not Touch the Exhibits.

Here is a noble panther not stuffed. Pocket, the Ravenous Cat(quarter Bengal) of Wiltshire.
The thing about both the fox and the lion is that in England(the fox) and Africa(the lion) these beautiful animals are bred to hunt. Which is curious in the fox's case as we are told they are hunted as vermin and to keep the numbers down. I know for a fact that many of them are taken from their earths as young cubs, shut in a barn and fed until one by one they are let out on hunt day. In Africa they do the same with the lions only it is bigger business. First they breed the cubs and make a lot of money from tourists paying to cuddle them. Then when they are bigger, they let them out one by one to be hunted by a rich tourist with a crossbow or a gun. Then they are skinned and their head chopped off to be sold as "trophies". Then the bones are sold for grinding up into some chinese medicines. Quite an industry. So you can see now why Saving Private Lion was a little glib for my post title.

When I've not been campaigning to save things I've been sitting with the horses trying out The Trust Technique. This is a brilliant method and I encourage any of you who want a better connection with your animals to go on their website. Basically you stand by them and meditate, then usually they fall asleep. The photo of the guy who teaches the technique shows him sitting in a field surrounded by masses of sleeping horses all lying down. I have tried a few times with Harry and Trude but usually they just nudge me with that "When are you going to move the fence so we can get more grub?"look on their faces. I'll have to try it wearing pyjamas I guess so they get the message.

It is true, as a friend recently pointed out, that all the pictures of Beezle show him sleeping. I don't need to do the Trust Technique with him. But as he and Alexander the Great would say" I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion."

The Jaguar

The apes yawn and adore their fleas in the sun.
The parrots shriek as if they were on fire, or strut
Like cheap tarts to attract the stroller with the nut.
Fatigued with indolence, tiger and lion

Lie still as the sun. The boa-constrictor’s coil
Is a fossil. Cage after cage seems empty, or
Stinks of sleepers from the breathing straw.
It might be painted on a nursery wall.

But who runs like the rest past these arrives
At a cage where the crowd stands, stares, mesmerized,
As a child at a dream, at a jaguar hurrying enraged
Through prison darkness after the drills of his eyes

On a short fierce fuse. Not in boredom –
The eye satisfied to be blind in fire,
By the bang of blood in the brain deaf of the ear –
He spins from the bars, but there’s no cage to him

More than to the visionary his cell:
His stride is wilderness of freedom:
The world rolls under the long thrust of his heel.
Over the cage floor the horizons come.

Ted Hughes

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