His crime? Hunting:
His hunting credentials include pheasant-seeking missions to Wiltshire with Jeremy Clarkson, and trigger-happy deliberations with the chef Marco Pierre White moments before they despatched a deer.Oh noes!
But now AA Gill, the outspoken restaurant critic and self-appointed arbiter of British culinary standards, might have just taken a pop too far with a column revelling in the demise of his latest gunshot victim – an entirely inedible African baboon.You mean, if he’d eaten it, it would have been perfectly ok with you?
And since when have apes and monkeys been ‘inedible’? If you meant ‘unpalatable to Western tastes’, then fine.
Never heard of bushmeat, ‘Indy’?
Writing in yesterday's Sunday Times Style Magazine, Gill described a trip to Tanzania where, driven by the urge to embody a "recreational primate killer", he shot the ape during a safari.And fun, naughty or otherwise, is to be frowned on…
"I know perfectly well there is absolutely no excuse for this," he said. "Baboon isn't good to eat, unless you're a leopard. The feeble argument for cull and control is much the same as for foxes: a veil of naughty fun."
The comments, which to his critics will smack of Oscar Wilde's famous quotation about fox-hunters ("the unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable"), have angered animal welfare charities, which yesterday brandished the act "utterly morally reprehensible".To them. To others, not so much.
And it doesn’t prevent them from lying to advance their cause:
Douglas Batchelor, chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, said: "There is no excuse for taking potshots at such endangered species."Endangered species?
Hardly. The Hamadryas is, but that's hardly likely to have been the species Gill shot. More likely, this was a yellow (or olive) baboon. They are a known crop pest in Africa.
But a spokesman for the International Fund for Animal Welfare said the incident highlighted the growing perception of Africa's baboons as vermin or problem animals. "We are working to shift this perception and are completely opposed to the act of cold killing, which is especially rife among farmers in Africa," he added.The act of hot killing is presumably ok?
Mr Batchelor went even further, saying: "Baboons might not be in the same league as endangered elephants but that's not the point. Even if the world was overrun with such animals, it is not for a journalist to make the call of culling them."And why not? They seem to call for all other things that tickle their fancy or happen to coincide with their own prejudices, and I don’t see you attacking them.
I suppose it’s different when it’s your
Not that Gill is going to worry unduly, possessed as he is of quite a good sense of humour:
In a column in 2003, Gill wrote: "Somebody asked me what I was going to do in Scotland. Stalking, I said. 'Oh, how exciting. Who?' 'Who? No, I'm shooting.' 'Ooh, with a long lens? I suppose it's Balmoral. You journalists are real scum.' 'No, no, I'm stalking deer and shooting them with bullets. 'Oh God, not Bambi's mother? 'No, no, of course not – Bambi's absentee father.'"Heh…
And just because this happened perfectly legally in a land far, far away, don’t think the UK’s premier lobbying industry wanted to miss out on the hounding:
A spokesman for the RSPCA also condemned Gill's actions but said it could not act against him because the shooting took place beyond its UK jurisdiction.Not because they’ve no proof any cruelty occurred, you note…
And would this be that same RSPCA who recently blotted its copybook with the slaughter of ten Alsatians by non-approved methods, for convenience’s sake?
The dogs, which had been kept indoors for several weeks and were said to be aggressive and in poor condition, were killed with a captive bolt gun of the kind used in abattoirs to stun livestock before slaughter. The use of captive bolt guns is deemed “inhumane” and “unacceptable” for the destruction of dogs by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA).Whoops!
This incident has prompted a campaign against the RSPCA by various dog charities, both for their lack of re-homing effort and the method of destruction.
The charity says that it would have been impossible to rehome the dogs and there was no alternative to having them destroyed.But instead of being put down with a pain-free injection, they were caught with a “grab” pole — a noose at the end of a stick — before being dragged outside and shot in the head with the bolt gun, which fires a metal bar about three inches long into the animal’s brain. In an abattoir, stunning is followed either by bleeding or use of a “pithing” stick to destroy the brain, causing instant death.So how does the RSPCA justify it?
According to the WSPA, use of the captive bolt gun to put down domestic animals is “unacceptable” because of the difficulty of ensuring a clean kill. It states that it is “not recommended for euthanasia, as other methods are more practicable and humane”.
Well, apparently, nothing is inhumane if you can get enough senior managers to agree with it:
An RSPCA spokesman said: “It was an absolutely extreme case. I have never heard of this method being used before but apparently eight inspectors, including some very senior and experienced, decided it was the best course of action.”So, you can’t have any objection to the Facebook campaign against you, can you?
Since you’ve already established that the will of the majority rules….