For the past few weeks my daily walk to the sea has involved witnessing an alarming cry from this herd of cows.
On closer inspection I recognised that all the cows were females & separated from their sons.
The sons having been contained in the green roofed hanger down the road & are equally vocal. I have no qualifications on animal psychology but nevertheless, my intuition has been telling me that both are protesting at the injustice of this painful separation.
To humans the sons are commodified as ‘bullocks’ ready for the slaughter-house.
And then there is Game shooting, which has become increasingly popular in recent decades. There is an exclusive hunting lodge immediately neighbouring Logan Botanic Garden & groups of rich shooters from all over the world have been steadily flowing up here since October to shoot pheasant, partridge, geese & duck. The cottage I live in directly overlooks fields where there is currently shooting going on – its right on my door step! All the animals shot have been brought in, mainly from France & are reared for this season of shooting till February. How does this nurture sustainable biodiversity?
I find ‘Idyllic’ rural country life in the UK is often punctured with episodes of this kind.
As far as the eye can see there is nothing but deforested grass fields with continued grazing, keeping the land devoid of trees.
But this was not always the case. For about 7000 years, following the end of the last Ice Age, nearly the whole of Britain was covered with forest mostly consisting of broad-leaved trees such as oak & elm. Then, about 5,000 years ago, Neolithic tribes in Britain began to clear the forests using flint axes. Later the Celts arrived with their more advanced farming techniques. They began to create fields for crops & meadows for cattle. Much of our remaining forest disappeared during the 16th & 17th centuries to provide timber for boats & charcoal for the iron industry. During this century, even more of our woodlands have been cleared. Very few to today’s scattered woodlands date back to prehistoric times, except remnants of the ancient Caledonian pine forests of Scotland, made up mainly of coniferous Scots Pine.
And deforestation continues on a global scale. So much rich abundant ecologically sound forested land is destroyed & designated to rear cattle despite damning reports from the UN stating how rearing cattle produces more greenhouses gases than driving a car!
With affluence comes increased consumption of meat & dairy – but the earth simply cannot sustain it.
I am inviting us all to consider our consumption & perhaps to limit it, modify it, simplify choices that are respectful of all sentient life & their dignity.
What we can do to stop deforestation: