The Fellowship of Life
a Christian-based vegetarian group founded in 1973


'Catholic Herald' Debate (1980)Letters

Shedding wildlife's innocent blood

It is said the Devil finds work for idle hands and nowhere is this more evident than in the shedding of innocent blood known euphemistically as sport.

With the end of the partridge and pheasant shooting season on February 1 it would be pleasant to contemplate that for the next seven to eight months peace would reign; but past experience has shown that the itch of trigger-happy fingers, like other irritations, needs relief, which will be amply provided by other kinds of wildlife that inhabit our countryside.

After all, what did God put the animals there for, if not to be shot at? Certainly, this view seems to be held by certain dignitaries of the Church and slavishly supported by people calling themselves Christians, who seek baptism, marriage and burial in the sight of God, and who presumably love their spouses, children and domestic pets, but little else.

I am no Bible scholar but I was under the impression that God is Love, and that the sixth commandment states categorically "Thou shalt not kill", both of which seem to be conveniently forgotten in the heat of the chase. Of course, manipulation of religious beliefs for personal ends is nothing new, and ridicule and victimisation have always been the lot of those people who speak out against unholy practices. It happened in Jesus's time and it still happens today, as I know from personal experience.

I lay no great claim to religious fervour but I do believe man exploits God's creation at his own peril and to my certain knowledge the prophecy in Galatians Chapter 6 verse 7 has come true for some Christian sportsmen. But I regret that for most of these people there is no fear of Nemesis strong enough to counter the thrill of firing at a living target and watching it explode in a flurry of feathers before bouncing like a grotesque ball as it hits the ground.

If God really does care what happens to every sparrow that falls, how great must be His concern over the countless game birds killed each year by the custodians of His creation?

(Mrs) B. E. Hardwick

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