We Blues Are the Real Greens

Once I took part in a panel discussion on climate change at an Oxford literary festival. I began by explaining to the audience how very much I loved nature – probably at least as much as they did; how I liked nothing better than wild swimming in the River Wye, or striding across Scottish glens, with their patchwork-quilt browns, greens and purples, or riding across the matchlessly beautiful English countryside…

But really, I might just as well not have bothered, for the audience had already made up their minds. Because I’m a conservative, it naturally followed that I must be selfish, greedy, wedded to my unsustainable lifestyle, a denier of science, and hell-bent on economic growth at the expense of our planet’s future.

This caricature is a big problem for conservatives. Some of them get so desperate to prove their critics wrong that you see them embracing all manner of half-baked eco-nonsense, as we saw in Britain not so long ago when David Cameron campaigned under the slogan “Vote Blue, Go Green”. But it really isn’t necessary. The clue’s in the name: Conservatives are – and always have been – the world’s best conservationists.

Partly, it’s a function of our rural roots. Not all conservatives hunt, shoot, fish, or farm, of course, but the principles are in our DNA: a deep sympathy with and understanding of nature, but untainted by metropolitan sentimentality. If you’re rearing livestock, it’s clearly in your interests to breed healthy, contented animals; if you’re running a shooting estate or maintaining a fishing river, again it matters that your quarry and its environment are sustainably managed. You love and respect your animals but you’re not squeamish about killing them for sport, population management or food.

Read the rest in the Conservative.

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Prince William Defends Trophy Hunting. Brave Call

Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Prince William has bravely come out in defence of trophy hunting.

‘There is a place for commercial hunting in Africa as there is round the world,’ although he conceded: ‘It’s not everyone’s cup of tea.’

For this the heir to the British throne has inevitably been pilloried by the usual suspects.

The UK-based charity Lion Aid was among those leading the criticism, describing William’s comments as a “sad day”.

It added in a statement: “With likely less than 15,000 wild lions left in Africa, there is no place for commercial hunting of lions. With an estimated 1,500 wild male lions in existence and with current ‘offtake’ for trophy hunting of 300 per annum, continued trophy hunting cannot be deemed as sustainable.

But it’s the Prince who is talking sense on this occasion, not this two-bit animal charity. William has been getting an awful lot of stick, of late, in the UK media which has accused him of ducking his royal duties and being lazy. Under the circumstances, it would have been quite understandable if he’d taken the easy, populist line, rode the wave of post-Cecil-the-Lion hysteria and pretended to be frightfully upset by the idea of any big game being shot for pleasure ever again in Africa.

He didn’t take the coward’s way out, though. Instead William spoke the truth.

Trophy hunting brings millions of dollars a year into Africa’s wildlife conservation budget. Anyone who truly cares about wildlife should applaud it, not condemn it.

The only reason we don’t hear this more often is because of the vast and lucrative animal sentimentality industry. Aided and abetted by the bloviating of celebrities like Ricky Gervais, this industry makes millions of dollars every year by persuading rich, stupid people such as – I’m guessing, but fairly educatedly – the Kardashians to fork out gazillions for this endangered tiger or that threatened lion, bringing them the warm gooey feeling you always get when you think you’ve saved a cute, furry feline from being wiped off the planet. This industry does not deal in nuance (like, say, OK: how do we save all these animals given that natives who have to live alongside them consider them a dangerous pest?), only in raw emotion. You cross these animal-rights lunatics at your peril.

Read the rest at Breitbart.

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If Ricky Gervais Really Cared about Giraffes He’d Hunt Them

Comedian Ricky Gervais has decided that because we liked The Office, quite enjoyed a couple of sketches in Extras (the David Bowie one and the Lenny Henry one) and weren’t all driven to suicide by Night At The Museum, we should therefore care what he thinks about giraffe rights.

Gervais takes them so seriously that when he found a photograph of “extreme huntress” Rebecca Francis posing next to the body of a giraffe she had shot, he just couldn’t resist exposing her to the righteous wrath of his 7.5 million Twitter follows, earning the poor woman a string of death threats.

What Gervais clearly doesn’t appreciate – why should he?: his job is making people laugh and hanging out with smug Hollywood liberals, not reading or thinking – is that any intelligent person who really cares about Africa’s wildlife ought to be backing people like Rebecca Francis to the hilt.

If it weren’t for Africa’s game industry there’d be virtually no game left in Africa to photograph, let alone hunt.

That’s because it’s the hunters who significantly bankroll the conservation, breeding and protection programmes that keep the animals from being poached to extinction.

In the game reserves of Africa they well understand this.

Here, for example, is Alexander N Songworna, director of wildlife for the Tanzanian Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, pleading with the New York Times’s readership not to meddle with his country’s game industry.

In Tanzania, lions are hunted under a 21-day safari package. Hunters pay $9,800 in government fees for the opportunity. An average of about 200 lions are shot a year, generating about $1,960,000 in revenue. Money is also spent on camp fees, wages, local goods and transportation. And hunters almost always come to hunt more than one species, though the lion is often the most coveted trophy sought. All told, trophy hunting generated roughly $75 million for Tanzania’s economy from 2008 to 2011.

The same is true in Namibia, where permits to shoot black rhino raise $350,000 each – money which goes towards ensuring that there will still be black rhinos for future generations of Gervaises to gawp at and weep tears over.

If Gervais really cared about Africa’s wildlife, he’d put his money where his mouth is – as this fine upstanding hunter from Texas did recently, man up and go and bag himself a rhino. (Or, if he’s too chicken, a giraffe).

I know it’s not necessarily obvious, this paradox that in order to preserve animals it sometimes make sense to kill them. It’s a head thing, not a heart thing, unfortunately, which is why so many people of a liberal persuasion are so doomed never to get it.

Read the rest at Breitbart London

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