Sentience

A couple of weeks ago, George Eustice, elected MP and Environment Secretary, although no longer the favourite person of local fishermen, was regarded as a reliable pair of hands when it came to matters of farming and the countryside, largely because he comes from a family that has farmed the same glorious bit of West Cornwall for 150 years. Although a politician (a human shortcoming that we can all forgive sometimes) at least he spoke like a farmer, looked like a farmer, generally made common-sense farmer noises and looked straight into any camera.

Thus it was a little concerning when, just over a week ago, the press reported, typically, here, here and here, that Carrie Symonds, the angry lady-mullah and animal rights fundamentalist in a frock, the lady with her hand on the most important political Member in the land, had gone and done a Lady Macbeth number and tried to get good ‘ol George fired. Apparently, George was a bit too real life for her tastes and failed to support, with suitably enthusiastic Westminster brown nose, the fairy-dust requirements of Carrie’s unicorn and mermaid la-la animal beliefs. In short, he failed to take the knee for puffins and dolphins and birds and soft fluffy things of all kinds, the brute.

When the story emerged, somewhat unsurprisingly another unelected fundamentalist animal jelly-head and fellow eco-jihadist, Lord  “floater” Zac Goldsmith (who even described himself with a degree of truth during his maiden speech as the “turd that won’t flush”) immediately leapt to champion his lady and douse the growing embers of the story, explaining ominously that there was absolutely no truth in the rumour at all. None. And so, because of course Zac Goldsmith is an honest fellow, loved by the people (although not enough to be elected for long) and all-round good egg, the press promptly dropped the tale. When money talks, everything else falls silent. When that money is part of the unelected animal rights eco-mafia occupying the top table of Boris’  animal rights chumocracy and familia, the city scribblers put away their pens and slide beneath their desks.

So, that should have been that. Look away. Fake news. George Eustice MP was NOT the subject of a Carrie Curse. Carrie Antoinette did not finger him to the green Inquisitors. The Furious Frock did NOT try to have him kicked out for being a realist and farming pragmatist. It is NOT true. Nada. Geddit?

However, the following piece appeared in the May 9th “newslinks” of that blue jungle-drum, Conservativehome:

‘Animals to have their feelings protected by law in Queen’s Speech

“Animals with a backbone will have a legal right to feel happiness and suffering in a Government drive to raise welfare standards in Tuesday’s Queen’s Speech. An Animal Sentience Bill will enshrine in law that animals are aware of their feelings and emotions, and can experience joy and pleasure, as well as pain and suffering. “Sentience” will apply to “vertebrate animals – anything with a spinal cord”, Environment secretary George Eustice told The Telegraph in an exclusive interview below. An existing committee of experts and civil servants in Defra will be tasked with ensuring Government’s policies take into account animal sentience. Ministers were criticised in 2018 when the duty was not carried across into UK law from the European Union after Brexit.” – Sunday Telegraph’

It would appear that George Eustice had fallen off the farm cart and undergone an epiphany, a veritable Carrie Conversion, suddenly becoming an advocate of animal rights.  How suspicious is that? The government has decided we can all hug again after the covid restrictions but extending that to bunny-hugging is a bit extreme. Now, I am not for one moment suggesting that his sudden born-again green-ness is the result of any hexing he didn’t get from Carrie, nor am I suggesting that there was a political Goldsmith pistol pointed at his head off camera as he spoke, but then again, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the imprint of an expensive high-heeled shoe in George’s backside.

What sort of pressure must George be under to perform such a triple salchow and spout such infantile mental feculence?  It reminds us of one of those Communist show trials where the accused profusely admits his guilt. Rather too profusely. And not a mark on him, m’lud.

And so, it came to pass, that when Her Majesty read the Blessed Political Tripe at The Riverside Asylum on Tuesday, the animal sentience bit was, as expected, carefully enrobed in warm and fluffy ambrosia about animal welfare standards, so the peasantry wouldn’t smell a rat, let alone harm one. Of course, sentience has nothing to do with animal welfare and everything to do with the public folly of animal rights, that is, to its puppet-masters, a limitless source of false piety, intercepted donations and gloriously myth-based lawyers’ fees.

Any fule kno’ that all this latest animal rights scrota is a subterfuge, aimed at imposing jelly-head metropolitan dreams on farming and field sports. Apparently, the legal right to happiness does not extend to farmers, game keepers, hunters or fishermen.

The reality, Dear Reader, is that all living things (even plants) tend to grow towards things that sustain them and away from things that will harm them, a scientifically proven fact that, if protected by law as an inalienable right, would turn even a vegetarian pacifist into a sociopath and lettuce-killer. Thus, it may be argued, for example, that slime moulds, in avoiding unpleasant surroundings and moving towards comfort, exhibit feelings and therefore sentience. Of course, to anyone with a brain, it suggests that there is a continuum of sentience that ranges from none in a virus to lots in most humans outside Westminster. And so, since we cannot exist without upsetting a few trillion life-forms, we simply have to be a bit grown-up and adult about it and, in promoting human welfare, understand that other creatures’ welfare will inevitably be compromised to some degree. Where you choose to draw your line on that continuum is a matter for your conscience, not the law. And yes, we should all strive to reduce suffering, but that is a matter of animal welfare, not animal rights.

It would make life a tad difficult if we awarded everything, from slime-moulds upwards, the right to enjoy life without stress, so to avoid looking like village idiots, animal rights advocates have now come up with the brilliant idea that we only have to be kind to things with a spine. Like most idiotic philosophies that have little connection with reality, that brings even more problems. A rat is super intelligent, has feelings and a spine but we poison millions to die in agony every day;  an octopus is demonstrably intelligent, yet has no spine, although one can imagine it’s not too pleased when dragged from the sea, diced up alive and barbecued. We can try to provide happiness as a pursuit, but never as a right for anything other than humans.

It also begs the question for George… that if animals are going to have their emotions, fears and joys enshrined in UK law, it will make farming down in Cornwall a bit difficult. Cows will now be seen to grieve deeply and mourn when their calves are taken away, so milk is off the menu unless you want a court battle. When George’s family fence off their fields of Cornish cauliflowers, the local deer will be all hungry and upset as they peer, excluded, through the wire at all that yummy food, and probably even more upset when some bucolic hairy-arse blows a hole in them with a .308 without the deers’ permission and agreement.

And it might dawn on George that the pigs and cattle being converted into delicious rib-splitting helpings of food in his family’s fine Trevaskis restaurant might be more than a little upset by the conversion process and find their feelings being defended in court by lawyers.

It might also make poisoning any rats and mice around the family restaurant a wee bit difficult, since the intelligent little rodents, having backbones, could claim the protection of the law and thus legal representation.  If a rat moved into the restaurant, would it have squatter’s rights, since eviction might hurt its feelings?  I am reminded of the thunder of the approaching Zulu horde in the film of that name, only this time it is the sound of hordes of compensation lawyers and animal advocates, their blood-lust raised by the financial prospect of unending opportunities to defend fairy dust.

You see, Dear Reader, you were warned about Carrie.  You were warned about animal rights. Now the lunatics have taken over the asylum.

John Nash grew up in West Cornwall and was a £10 pom to Johannesburg in the early 1960’s. He started well in construction project management, mainly high rise buildings but it wasn’t really Africa, so he went bush, prospecting and trading around the murkier bits of the bottom half of the continent. Now retired back in Cornwall among all the other evil old pirates. His interests are still sustainable resources, wildlife management and the utilitarian needs of rural Africa.

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