Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Dog Cull

It's funny how something inocuous sparks off a distant memory. Today I saw a dog running in and out of the traffic along the road outside my gaff. It was lost and confused. It had a collar so someone owned it. But it made me think of an event many years ago when I was young.
I was nine years old and living in Cyprus on a Sovereign Base Area. R.A.F. Episkopi. Being a nine year old living in the Meditteranean was heaven. I had no worries and every day was a holiday even going to school wasn't a trial because we started school at 7:00am and we were back home by 1:00 in the afternoon. Then it was a run down to the beach and a swim. Bliss.

One week we had a letter sent round to every house warning us that if we owned a dog we had to keep it locked up on a certain day because the Army would be rounding up the strays. I didn't think much of it until the day.
That day it was hot. The air was still and it was like everyone was waiting for something to happen. My friends and I stood in our front garden watching the road waiting. Nothing happened. There were fewer cars than normal it was like a dead Sunday afternoon when you fancied you could hear the sunlight hitting the ground and scorching it. Games were postponed. Treks into the bondoo abandonned. Trips to the beach forgotten. Suddenly we heard a roar and a soft top Landrover sped past, then another. It had started. In the distance we heard the landrovers speeding about the estate. A dog came running down our road persued by a Landrover, the dog didn't have a collar, it was big, light brown and scrawny. The Landrover overtook the dog as it ran past our corner house. A soldier hanging out the back of the landrover took aim and blamm. The dog flew sideways with a sickening yelp. It hit the ground sideways and struggled to get up, it staggered across the main road, howling. The Landrover swung round. The soldiers were shouting and whooping and hollering. The dog stopped by the side of a ditch the other side of the road to my house and the Soldier took aim. I wanted to shout at him to stop but my mouth was dry and nothing came out. He pulled the trigger and like it was being pulled by a bungee rope, the dog flew into the ditch. Another soldier jumped out and into the ditch, grabbed the bloody dog by it's legs dragged it out and swung it into the back of the landrover and they sped off. All was quiet again. The sun was shining and the crickets chirped in the long dry grass outside our house. We looked at each other. Sean said "Hey let's go swimming at the beach."
We laughed. It was better than feeling sick. We ran all the way to the beach and threw ourselves into the Meditteranean sea. We didn't have cozzies. We jumped in fully clothed. We had to wash the sin from our bodies clothes an all. And then it was alright. We laughed we played and thought nothing more about it. Until now.

I wonder what people would think of that if this happened here in England. There's stuff I've seen and experienced that I took for granted back then. This is what happens this is how life is. There was never any mention of political correctness. Things were done because they had to be done. You accepted it. It was part of life. You never questioned it. I remember reading about an asian who was arrested in this country for slitting the throat of a goat over the gutter of a main road in readiness for a feast. To this family that would have been normal. To these people that's normal. It's what you do. But today here and now we don't want to upset anyone. We don't want to offend anyone. We live in a clinically clean society with rules and regulations. I don't condone the dog cull I don't condone the slitting of a goats throat over a gutter on a main road. But I've seen the host of a dinner party I went to, go to the garden of the farm and chose a chicken, wring it's neck and within minutes had it plucked and eviscerated ready for the oven. Then we all sat round a table and ate it along with a fine red wine and good conversation. It seems to me that today eating meat has lost it's meaning. We are presented with polystyrene trays cling film wrapped, full of "meat". Where it comes from we don't care. We don't want to know. It's safe. We haven't participated in the slaughter. The death of the animal means nothing to us now. What we buy is now just a commodity. We haven't experienced the Auschwitz that is the slaughter house. I'm wondering where this is going. I'm not a vegetarian. I don't intend to be. But maybe people should get real and accept that there are realities to life. We aren't all clingfilm and sterile. Animals die so we can eat. We should acknowledge this instead of hiding it. Be honest.

I'm not sure I've articulated this exactly, perhaps you guys can help me out here. Meanwhile

Rock on dudes


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