Posts tagged Hunting
The Boxing Day Meet

I'm still continuing my inquiry into the curious nature of our local hunt.

Here is an image of the hunters gathering in a local town square on Boxing Day.  They pull a good crowd; it really is quite a celebration.  Before they go off for the day the riders, horses and hounds spend an hour or so standing in the square and folk come along to see the spectacle, pet the animals and say hello.

Over 300,000 people took part in the Boxing Day hunts across the country. The occasion feels both gloriously anachronistic and a signifier of tradition and community - there is a sense of heritage and lineage in all of this. In this image I notice that the town square hasn't changed much in a few hundred years and it seems like this sport hasn't either. There will continue to be more riders literally taking up the reins...

And... I always feel a little edgy with this stuff.  OK, I know I'm carrying big cameras and I'm not just part of the crowd.  And I do feel that a sport like this is probably inappropriate these days (but, hey, I think the same about football ;-).  

And then a picture like this presents itself....



Tomorrow is the first day of this year's fox hunting season. I live out in the sticks and it's a prettty big deal here.

So, last night, as I was reading about the Banyan Deer in Geoff Mead's new book, "Coming Home to Story" a sharp juxtaposition began to strike me. The Banyan Deer is a Buddhist parable of courage and respect; you can find a shortened version of the story here.

Today, the news is about possible amendments to the fox-hunting bill. It is, it seems, a badly written, almost unenforceable piece of law.  Commentators are saying that we shouldn't waste Parliamentary time on the debate. I remember back to the days when fox hunting was configured along battle-lines of social class and privilege...

And so the debate is shifted from how we conduct ourselves in the world - within both human and 'other-than-human' relationships - to questions of technicality. The last time I used this image on P-D a commentator noted that the conversation, at that time, had simply become one of people telling others what was right or wrong. It seems to me that, dialogically, this kind of advocacy pattern is an easy 'let-off' for all of us.

As long as we can distract ourselves from the fundamental issues all is fine...

But the lesson of The Banyan Deer is to walk straight into the heart of the matter and then stand by your principles.

However, difficult that might be.