By julie Burchill,
One of the more disappointing developments in British politics over the past two decades – apart from the strange desire of most parties to pander to the tiny transvestite vote, never seen as vital in the past – has been the decline of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party, after the death of its founder, Screaming Lord Sutch, in 1999. Still, with the Greens behaving in an increasingly unhinged manner, maybe they might merge? Green is such a lovely colour – not a bit descriptive of a party which seems, like the nature it worships, increasingly red in tooth and claw. The late lord’s party’s handle seems far more appropriate.
The latest eco-insanity comes from Ireland, where the government has proposed a mass cull of cattle in order to meet its Net Zero targets. Ireland has often held somewhat eccentric views in recent times, such as that unmarried mothers should be treated as dangerous criminals and set to work in forced labour camps. Brendan O’Neill has written of Ireland’s eagerness to jump from one bad religion to another, from Catholicism to transgenderism, both of which are linked by magical thinking and the belief in transubstantiation. And it seems Ireland has embraced the modern green religion, too.
The Irish department of agriculture has suggested spending around €600million on killing 200,000 dairy cattle. This is to punish them for being flatulent and thus accounting for more than half of Ireland’s greenhouse-gas emissions. Considering that Ireland is an agrarian society, this doesn’t seem a very clever move. Its dairy industry makes more than €13 billion a year. As a baffled farmer complained to national broadcaster RTÉ News: ‘We’re being made out as if we’re killing the planet.’ They’ll come for the beef cattle next, no doubt, meaning that cheap beef from Brazil will be flying across the world, when once could have been sent a few miles down the road in a lorry.
Was ever an animal as blameless as the cow? ‘Bovine’ means dull, but that’s not fair. Cows just know their limitations, don’t ask for much from life and, as people often say of fat girls, they’ve got lovely eyes. No, the real problem greens have with dairy cows is that they give humanity something it loves – cheese – and any animal which does this is obviously a collaborator and needs to be executed.
Animals give humans pleasure in all kinds of ways. Some people – not me – get pleasure from eating them, which is admittedly a little one-sided. But they also provide us with clothing. You’d think that a sheep was even less evil than a cow, but mean greens like eco-maniac George Monbiot have been gunning for them for quite some time, calling them ‘the white plague’. He claims that sheep have done more damage to the ecology of Britain than all the buildings, all the pollution and all the climate change put together. But I think he’s just angry at the thought of all those lovely Christmas jumpers they’ve contributed to, which bring smiles to our little faces as we celebrate a festival he probably believes should be banned because of all that demonic wrapping paper.
Monbiot’s hatred of the modern world appears unhinged at times. He fetishises poverty in the way only those from exceedingly wealthy backgrounds can, at one point coming out with that old chestnut about how happy those with nothing are, specifically in Ethiopia. This once led Mark Steyn to comment: ‘In Ethiopia, male life expectancy is 43 years. George was born in 1963. If the streets and fields are crackling with laughter, maybe it’s because the happy peasants are reading his column.’
With similar disregard for how the working people in his own country actually live, Monbiot is obsessed with shutting down the livelihoods of sheep farmers in particular and of farmers in general. He says their efforts to feed the people on this island should be thrown on the vanity bonfire of ‘rewilding’ – definitely something Marie Antoinette would be up for if she was around today. He would replace our benign sweater-growing chums with wild animals – not just with wolves (about whom he writes with the frothy-mouthed fandom of a girl blogging about Harry Styles), but with lynxes, too. Some mean greens advocate for bears and even lions to be introduced to the British countryside. Quite how this would affect children, the elderly and other people who can’t run very fast is never elaborated on. But, hey, survival of the fittest and all that.
There is a deep misanthropy at the root of much nature worship. Most of those who obsess over ecology today are cleverer about keeping this quiet than daft old DH Lawrence was back in the day. As he wrote in ‘Mountain Lion’:
‘And I think in this empty world there was room for me and a mountain lion.
And I think in the world beyond how easily we might spare a million or two of humans
And never miss them.’
But if there’s one thing which marks greens out as being truly crazed, it’s the fact that they don’t like pets. The Guardian, of course, is at the forefront of the anti-animal companion war, scolding:
‘A tortoise needs its heat and lighting; a horse needs shoeing and a regular supply of straw; an iguana needs its supply of insects; a chicken needs grit and corn; a dog needs its delousing powder; a cat needs a scratch tower. And then there’s the insurance, the vet’s fees and the annual cost of food and bedding. It’s little wonder that some pets are described as being as big a commitment as having a child in the home. So it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that some are now viewing pets as having a similar environmental impact to that of a small person.’
Even more fun is the animal-rights advocate, Professor Gary Francione, who preaches against pet ownership but has a whopping six rescue dogs, which he calls ‘refugees’.
I think of the domestication of animals as one of the great leaps forward in evolution – one of the great darings, when the first caveman put out his hand to the first wolf who dared break away from the pack. That wolf went towards the fire, conquering its fear, as did the man who held out food to it – just to try something new. But then, I love mixing, and mongrels, and modernism, because I am self-made. I can understand why scared little posh men, losing their grasp on their feudal privilege, long for a time when everyone and everything knew their place in the pecking order.
I prefer to think of animals as our comrades in progress. Let’s not bite the hand that feeds us – but let’s definitely take a chunk out of the monster raving mean greens who seek to muzzle and re-peasant us, as part of their retrogressive and repressive Arcadian fantasies.
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