A Response To The Dumping Of Carcasses On An Orkney Beach

By Bernie Bell

I logged on to my computer, to have a last look at incomings before ‘switching off’ for the evening, to find the following  article………   https://theorkneynews.scot/2020/12/04/bodies-of-geese-dumped-on-orkney-beach-image-warning/

Putting aside the rights and wrongs of hunting, of which I have I have previously expressed my views in the comments to this article…….  https://theorkneynews.scot/2017/12/31/wi-a-skreck-an-a-scud-across-the-sky/, this incident prompts me to re-post my comments as a separate article, and to add……

We are supposed to be living in civilized times – bits of people and other animals, are no longer left hanging about to rot, and disturb those unused to such sights.

Picture it – someone says to their child – “Let’s go for a walk by the loch” – Child is excited and expectant, hoping to maybe see some birds. Then they get there, and……bloody carcasses litter the foreshore.

One accidental dead bird or animal can’t be helped. This was done on purpose.

Someone knows who did this. If you do, please – speak up. Name and Shame.
It just won’t do – it’s not civilized behaviour.

And here is what I wrote previously….

“A couple of other angles on this, for which I may draw down the wrath of some.
In my pieces of writing, I have often mentioned Fiona-Next-Door. When we moved in next door, nearly 11 years ago, Fiona had various ‘fowls’, including two big, domestic geese ( Ali and Jesse) and one wild goose which she had found with a hurt wing, and looked after. This was called Spike, and he never lost his wild ways – he accepted me feeding him, but would never be my friend. Sometime later, when Fiona was working at Woodwick House, another hurt goose was found there, and she brought that one home and looked after it, too. Fiona called it Gordon, but I called it Woodwick. (I called Ali and Jesse – Wobble-chops and Gobbler – because………..) I’m telling this, as a heartening tale of a human being whose response to a bird isn’t to pointlessly kill it, but to help it to live.
I did used to wonder what Fiona’s two wild geese made of it, when the wild birds flew over each winter and spring. Presumably, they would still have had the same impulse to migrate, but could only stand and watch their wild relations, flying over in neat V form. Still, better than being deed – they were very comfortable in their enclosure, being fed and cuddled by Fiona.
I love to see and hear the wild geese arrive in the winter. Hearing them, especially in the evening, has a great charm to it. Seeing them, at any time, skeining across the sky – anyone with any kind of soul, any love of LIFE, stands and looks up and follows their flight. Maybe we even pick up some of their feeling, and have a hankering to sweep away, across the sky ourselves. To quote Robert Plant again, “If you’re troubled, send your mind out on vacation, let it wander like the wild geese in the west.”
Each year, I forget about the hunters, and, when the banging starts, I wonder what’s happening. Then Mike reminds me that the hunters will have arrived.
OK, it could be said that they bring income to the islands. I suppose they do, and they could say that I’m just a soppy old biddy, who doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Fiona’s article (Fiona G. that is), covers whether or not there is any actual need for the cull, so I won’t go into that. What I will say is – money isn’t everything, and I’d rather be a soppy old biddy, than someone who likes to/needs to pointlessly kill things, to bolster their own low self-image. That’s how I see them. They see themselves, as Rambo figures, in their camouflage gear. I see them as…well…..nasty little boys who might learn to be better.
Bird watchers bring as much, if not more income, and hurt nothing.

Here’s where I might really get into trouble. Sometimes, we go to the Standing Stones Hotel, which appears to be a regular haunt of these mistaken folk. Their mud-spattered camouflaged jeeps are outside – they sit about in the bar, in their camouflage gear, talking about …….killing. It is a public house, so, any member of the public can sit there and talk about whatever they choose. But……I hate to hear that talk. It offends me. I leave. They might possibly be just as offended by my going on about not killing things, if they paid it any mind – that’s up to them.
I avoid the Standing Stones Hotel, in killing season.

And so, I come to two very good, clear thinking, intelligent, good hearted folk who were killers, who were very good at it, too, but who learnt to be better and to have a bit more regard for themselves and the world around them. Peter Scott and T. H. White. Both started as hunters, then learnt to question what they were doing, and, in Peter Scott’s case, became a conservationist. They grew up. I wish those people who come here to kill would so the same.

Let’s have more folk with Fiona’s (Next-Door that is) response of kindness and care, and less of these silly little boys and their guns.

That, as usual, is just my opinion.
I repeat, I’d rather be a soppy old biddy, than an insecure killer.

If a cull is needed, of anything, then it’s needed. (I’m not even going there, re. humans and what they are doing to the world, and the land, and the seas!))

Also, if a person needs to kill, to eat, then, that’s needed, too. They don’t tend to dress up and go about in gaggles, to do so.
It’s the urge to kill for ‘fun’ that I find questionable. That, and the paraphernalia and posturing that goes with it.

A cull, is a cull, and is usually done for a reason. Killing for ‘sport’ is…killing for sport, and I genuinely wonder about the state of mind of those who choose to do so.”

I know it’s wrong to curse people – Lord, but I’m tempted sometimes. Two wrongs don’t make a right, so I won’t.

credit Fiona Driver

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2 replies »

  1. Bernie, help me, but aren’t farmers allowed under licence to cull a certain number of geese?

    • Yes, they are – see Fiona’s original article – but what happened here is very, very different.

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