Tag Archives: cruelty to animals

Two nations of animal lovers


The ancient Romans would have said that they were a nation of animal lovers. They doted on their household pets. Roman literature contains stories of dogs who were not just watchdogs but also much loved companions, and of pet starlings who were taught to talk by their adoring owners.

But these same devoted pet owners would visit the arena, where they would watch other animals – leopards, giraffes, antelopes, elephants – slaughtered for sport. Religious festivals, such as the mid-winter festival of Saturnalia, also involved the slaughter of animals, as sacrifices to the gods. The Romans seemed to see no connection between these animals, and their cherished pets.

We condemn the Romans as hypocrites, but are we in any position to judge?

The British are a nation of animal lovers. Like the Romans, we adore our household pets. Unlike the Romans, we do not slaughter animals in the arena for entertainment.

But many millions of pheasants are shot for “sport” in Britain each year. Far more than the number of animals killed each year in the arena in ancient Rome. It is true that most British people disapprove of pheasant shooting, and have nothing to do with it. Yet most just try not to think about it, rather than campaigning to try to stop it.

Posted in Op-eds | 52 Comments

Recent Comments

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    I'm also rather puzzled by Michael's post to me. In particular, I've said a couple of times that any job guarantee scheme would have to somehow provide for peop...
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    @Mick Taylor. What happened post 2010 is an entirely different matter. The best Target Seat campaign in the world would have made little difference to the self ...
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    @Mick Taylor. Except that what you say is totally untrue of the period I referred to. From 1997 to 2001 to 2005 to 2010 the number of Target Seats grew at each ...
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    Nonconformistradical I would define ready as having our candidates in place in all constituencies. I don’t know how far down the road we are on this across t...