Armchair Experts April 2020

Posted on Thursday, April 23, 2020
In: Editorial
Written by: The Editor

Picture the scene in a media company. The ‘hands on’ Editor is not well but desperately trying to herd his troops by webcam “As we know everyone, there’s another crises, drop whatever else you are doing and apply finger to keyboard or get out there and interview someone”
“But we can’t boss , we are on ‘lockdown’ that means no contact with the public”
“Didn’t your Granny work as a nurse?”
“Not really boss, she managed the shop in a hospital years ago…”
“Doesn’t matter, we must get exclusive comment, and, as you constantly moan about the fact that she lives with you, it should easy.”
At this point the Editor pauses, coughing as quietly as he can before staring,  once again, at his webcam. “Get out there and find me someone with an opinion!”
“ You” he said to the next hapless individual that came into focus
“What are YOU STILL DOING HERE?”  “ I’m Senior Sports Reporter boss.. there aren’t any….” The rest of the reporters response was missed by the webcam which had dropped to a much lower bandwidth, all he heard from the now black screen was  “FPPPPHHPppp….!!” , a sort of half-cough, half-expletive.
“You did science at College didn’t you?”
“ Umm, it was Sports Science Boss… It only needed a ‘C’ in Biology at GCSE and meant I could play football 4 days a week”
“ So you have an actual qualification in Biology? Great! Get in touch with our Science Editor and tell him to expect an interview on how a sports stars social life has been ruined by being expected to comply with the rules, but makes sure your articles aren’t too boring. The ones from the science geeks often are. They are also far too complex and not dramatic enough. Throw a bit of back page ‘David and Goliath second leg’ drama into it.”
Then, after a few more coughs accompanied by a rasping sound as he struggles to smoke and breathe at the same time the Editor gives what he feels, is under the circumstances, a real ‘pep talk’ to the virtual attendees.
“I am counting on you. Remember people, I don’t want reports – I want stories, and don’t let the facts get in the way of a headline. We can always claim it came from an ‘informed source’ and correct it quietly much later  ….if we are forced to.”

Is the above scenario fanciful? Perhaps.
But there are direct parallels to be drawn from this ‘feeding’ of the masses with ‘stuff’ they find easy to consume and which is designed to reinforce their prejudices, and our arm chair opponents continued fixation with mis reporting anything in relation to hunting with hounds and Animal Rights in general. Who cares if a fox that was ‘killed by hounds ‘is once again featured in images accompanying emotional postings. The corpse has been used so often it now has freezer burns and is deserving of a posthumous animal equivalent of an Equity card ‘for services to fund raising’.
The media’s quest for readers at all costs and the lack of sanity checking has allowed such claims as ‘Vegans cannot get infected by the Corona virus’ to an increase in the ‘template’ letter in the correspondence pages of provincial news outlets stating the same statistics and embellishing them with humanised traits. In the political sphere, FACE, the body that represents hunting in Europe, successfully defeated what was a cynical manoeuvre by the European United Left/Nordic Green Left group:

[ Highlights that the trading and farming of wild animals amplifies risks for public health, combining critical factors for the occurrence of zoonosis; calls on the Commission and on the EU Member States to advocate a global ban on wildlife markets and on the use of wildlife in traditional medicine; urges the Commission to present legal proposals to ban the import, the trade and the keeping and consumption of wildlife in the EU, in order to reduce the risk of future zoonosis outbreaks ]
However, the  result of the vote sent a clear message to animal rights groups, which are attempting to exploit all means to restrict hunting and other sustainable use activities in Europe in light of COVID-19:
186 MEPs in favour, 53 abstentions, 449 against.

FACE contacted all MEPs pointing out that:-

  • There are already existing strict harmonised rules in the EU such as the EU animal health and food safety regulations and the animal by-products regulations that set high standards on public health with regard to trade in wild animals both within the EU and animal products being imported from third countries into the EU, combining critical factors for the occurrence of zoonosis.
  • Wildlife trade is already well-regulated in the EU.
  • Banning the consumption of wildlife in the EU would have far reaching consequences for nature conservation in the EU and globally and would negatively affect activities such as hunting and fishing, which are well-regulated a national level

There will be a time in the future when it might be necessary to remind our own politicians of the strength of the defeat of such cynical AR driven ploys but today is not it. Nor must we allow our frustration at the current restrictions to lead us to lash out at our opponents, or be daft enough to post online any image or comment which can be deliberately misconstrued by an audience that has a vested interest in encouraging a belief that hunting is ‘BAD’. After all, many of them cannot accept that if urban foxes cannot get their easy meals from the waste bins from food retailers then they will come looking for other sources of food, and historically the result of the ‘local derby’ between Vulpes and the house cat has not given the cat side more than an occasional goalless draw; a fact which the keyboard warriors are quick to brush under the carpet in the hope of furthering their own agenda.

Whilst it self evident that everyone will have an opinion on the current situation and the post pandemic World will be different, very few of the commentators in the media or the ‘virtual pubs’ that have rapidly appeared have anything remotely useful to add, but add it they do, much like our own armchair bound opponents. After all who needs facts when you have an emotion driven tale to tell?