22 MARCH 1930, Page 17


The waning of the hunting season has synchronized with the second reading of a Bill for the total prevention of certain sorts of hunting. " Nature, red in tooth and claw," is a condition of our life ; but there are forms of hunting which have nothing natural, or elemental, about them. They are a morbid by-product of civilization so called. Two of these are the hunting of the captured and carted animals, whether deer or rabbits. It is chiefly against these that Mr. Lovat Fraser has directed his Bill. A sportsman cannot be also a humanitarian, in the technical sense ; but, throwing all logic overboard, he may express his repulsion at such organized cruelty. There flourished a few years ago a type of small public house with paddocks where captured starlings were shot for amusement—and money—on holiday after- noons. The sport was nearly as repulsive as the pigeon- shooting at the more plutocratic centre of Monte Carlo. The coursing of the netted rabbit and hunting of the cartel deer are similar to such starling and pigeon shooting. They offend against the common decency of things, which is said to be the ultimate creed of Englishmen who profess no other. The sooner they offend the law as they now offend the public conscience the better—the better even for sport.