I imagine that working in an abattoir must be the worst job in the world. If you are in the slaughter business, what is one’s career plan? When your boss asks you the proverbial “Where do you see yourself in five years from now?”, what can you say? “I’d like to have moved onto bigger and better animals, perhaps some large buck, or even an elephant or two, if things go according to plan”? Poacher, maybe? Perhaps you would say that, in your daydreams about the future, you see yourself as socalled dentist Walter James Palmer, taking out Cecil the Lion and entire herds of

Perhaps you would say that, in your daydreams about the future, you see yourself as so called dentist Walter James Palmer, taking out Cecil the Lion and entire herds of
interesting and exotic creatures. But, for now, you say, you would be happy with a step up from pigs and chickens to sheep and cows.

Of course, it never surprised anyone that our former “minister of environment” has a history of hunting. Indeed, everything has been fair game for old Shorty Pants who else do you know who can boast an entire family of skulls on his wall? I can just imagine his bar. But, disturbingly, he is by no means alone, or even in the minority.

Not that it’s any consolation, but the Australians are having a similar problem. Their “environmental minister” too has condoned the hunting of one of their national animals, the kangaroo. The marsupials have apparently set up camp on a military base, which must be very convenient for the army’s shooting exercises. Fortunately, our elephants’ memories are long enough for them not to think it’s okay to move to Vlakplaas. Bloodsport in South Africa

Bloodsport in South Africa has plumbed new depths, and killing animals has paled into anaemic insignificance in comparison to the child hunting plague that has descended upon us.

Yet I could not stop the blood draining from my head last week when I came across photos on a media database of hunters with their kills. Let me state now that I am not squeamish. I have worked in a mortuary. Blood does not faze me and gory conversation does not deter me from my food. Come to think of it, nothing does.

No, what really got my goat was the expressions of sheer delight on the hunters’ socalled faces as they got stuck into the freshly struck down buck’s insides. Indeed, so ecstatic were they that they were painting each others’ faces with the blood of the slaughter.

Now, I know what you are thinking. Am I a vegetarian then? The answer is no (although I do try intermittently). But before you convict me of hypocrisy, allow me to explain. Unfortunately I like meat as much as the next person, but I do not relish the thought of shooting it, maiming it or hacking it apart. I would, of course, hunt down a baby rabbit if my family’s lives depended upon it, but I would not be delighted. I would not whoop with joy as if I had won the Booker prize. Much less would I spend my disposable income on gadgets and goodies for weapons and take my holidays in a hunting park saturated with the last breaths of the dying. Please. I live in Hermanus. And it is this sick enjoyment of killing and death that hunters clearly have that reveals the source of society’s tolerance for violence. It is not death that is the issue – that will always be with us – but the lust for killing.

This is not a girl thing, in case some of you were heading in that direction. Some of the most despicable culprits of hunting are “women”, and I use the word loosely. I wouldn’t let any of them look after my child. Normal people do not mentally enjoy picturing their meal being shot through the head with a bolt in a warehouse in Maitland.

This is not to say that we should not face facts. Yes, animals are being killed in order for us to eat in the South African way, but let us rather take pleasure in living things and leave the slaughter to those poor sods who are paid to do it because they cannot do any better.