I have had a hectic week. My mind has been spinning with images of Boxing Day hunts and also biased views presented as the norm by whaling nations. In both cases, supporters of oppressive and violent behaviour towards animals have claimed tradition or culture gives them the right to continue hunting foxes and killing whales. There has been little if any interrogation in mainstream media about what ‘culture’ actually means. Culture is constructed and therefore it changes over time, space and generations. Where once it may have been acceptable to deny women education because the culture was to train them to be suitable only for housebound duties, these days, in many countries, this is no longer acceptable. I am not equating fox hunting and whaling with women’s liberation; but I am pointing out that culture is fluid and subject to change due to circumstances, socio-economic disruptions and political upheavals. ‘Culture’ is not set in stone somewhere and almost anyone who defends violent cultural practices of any kind is in a position of privilege and power to benefit from these practices. So when it comes to fox hunting and whaling, I would apply the same logic. Do we still need to express our class ascendancy by riding horses and getting packs of dogs to chase a fox and tear it to pieces for sport? Do the people of Japan really consume that much whale meat? Why is the press not reporting on the people in Japan who are protesting their own government action to start whaling again? There are lots of people in Japan who do not want whaling to continue.
The two collages below are an attempt for me to still my mind and also to pose the question, where do human beings want animals to go? They share our space on this planet – human beings do not own planet earth.