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This vohwte is published by 
Messrs. G. Bell & Sons 
for the Humanitarian League. 





Edited by HENRY S. SALT 








During the past twenty-five years, chiefly owing 
to the action of the Humanitarian League in 
giving continuity to what had previously been 
only an occasional protest, the subject of certain 
cruel pastimes, called by the name of " sports," 
has attracted a large share of public attention. 
The position of the League as regards the whole 
question of " sport " — i.e., the diversions and 
amusements of the people — is this, that while 
heartily approving all such fair and manly 
recreations as cricket, rowing, football, cycling, 
the drag-hunt, etc., it would place in an altogether 
different category what may be called " blood- 
sports " — i.e.y those amusements which involve 
the death or torture of sentient beings. 

But as it is recognised that humane reform can 
only come by instalment, and that legislation 
cannot outrun a ripe public opinion, the League 
has asked for legislative action only in the case of 
the worst and most demoralising forms of " blood- 
sports" — viz., those which make use of a tame 

vi NOTE 

or captured animal, and not one that is really 
wild and free. For the same reason the League 
pressed, and pressed successfully, for the abolition 
of the Royal Buckhounds, not because that par- 
ticular hunt was in itself more cruel than others, 
but because it stood as the recognised and State- 
supported type of a very degraded pastime. 
" Your efforts have gained their reward," wrote 
George Meredith to the League on the occasion of 
the Buckhounds' fall, " and it will encourage you 
to pursue them in all fields where the good cause 
of Sport, or any good cause, has to be cleansed of 
blood and cruelty. So you make steps in our 

But these steps in civilisation have not been 
easily made. It is not as widely known as it 
ought to be that since the prohibition of bull and 
bear baiting, more than half a century ago, there 
has been practically no further mitigation of those 
so-called sports which in this country absorb a 
great part of the thoughts and energies of the 
wealthier classes. The Acts of 1849 ^^^ 1854, 
which prohibited the ill-usage of domestic animals, 
gave no protection to animals fercB naturce, except 
from being " fought," or baited; and the Cruelty 
to Wild Animals in Captivity Act, of 1900, applies 
only to those animals that are actually in confine- 
ment, or are released in a maimed condition to be 

NOTE vii 

hunted or shot. Thus, while humane feeling has 
steadily progressed, legislative action has obstin- 
ately stood still ; and while we shake our heads at 
the cruel sports of our great-grandfathers, we are 
ourselves powerless to stop present brutalities 
which are as intolerable to humane thinkers now 
as were bull and bear baiting then. 

In a civilised community, where the services of 
the hunter are no longer required, blood- sports are 
simply an anachronism, a relic of savagery which 
time will gradually remove; and the appeal 
against them is not to the interested parties whose 
practices are arraigned — not to the belated Nim- 
rods who find a pleasure in killing — but to that 
force of public opinion which put down bear- 
baiting, and which will in like manner put down 
the kindred sports (for all these barbarities are 
essentially akin) which are defended by similar 

At a time when widespread attention is being 
drawn to questions concerning the land, it is 
especially fitting that the part played by the 
sportsman should not be overlooked, and that not 
only the cruelty, but the wastefulness of the prac- 
tice of breeding and killing animals for mere 
amusement, should be made clear. 

By including in this volume a number of 
recent essays, the work of several writers (each 

viii NOTE 

of whom is responsible only for the views ex- 
pressed by himself), it has been possible to 
present the subject of sport as regarded from 
various standpoints, and in a fuller light than 
has ever been done before. The book, in fact, 
is the first one in which the humanitarian and 
economic objections to blood-sports have been 
adequately set forth. 




M.P. ...... I 











II. "blooding" - - - - - 155 



REV. J. STRATTON - - - - 166 

VI. COURSING - - - - - - 170 

VII. THE GENTLE CRAFT - - - - 174 


INDEX - - - - - - 183 




Sport is a difficult subject to deal with honestly. 
It is easy for the humanitarian to moralize against 
it; and any fool on its side can gush about its 
glorious breezy pleasures and the virtues it 
nourishes. But neither the moralizings nor the 
gushings are supported by facts: indeed they are 
mostly violently contradicted by them. Sports- 
men are not crueller than other people. Humani- 
tarians are not more humane than other people. 
The pleasures of sport are fatigues and hardships : 
nobody gets out of bed before sunrise on a drizzling 
wintry morning and rides off into darkness, cold, 
and rain, either for luxury or thirst for the blood 
of a fox cub. The humanitarian and the sports- 
man are often the self-same person drawing alto- 
gether unaccountable lines between pheasants 
and pigeons, between hares and foxes, between 
tame stags from the cart and wild ones from the 
heather, between lobsters or pate de foie gras and 
beefsteaks : above all, between man and the lower 
animals ; for people who are sickened by the figures 
of a battue do not turn a hair over the infantile 
deathrate in Lisson Grove or the slums of Dundee. 
Clearly the world of sport is a crystal palace 

* Copyright, George Bernard Shaw, 1914, U.S.A. 


in which we had better not throw stones unless 
we are prepared to have our own faces cut by the 
falling glass. My own pursuits as a critic and as 
a castigator of morals by ridicule (otherwise a 
writer of comedies) are so cruel that in point of 
giving pain to many worthy people I can hold 
my own with most dentists, and beat a skilful 
sportsman hollow. I know many sportsmen; and 
none of them are ferocious. I know several 
humanitarians; and they are all ferocious. No 
book of sport breathes such a wrathful spirit as 
this book of humanity. No sportsman wants to 
kill the fox or the pheasant as I want to kill 
him when I see him doing it. Callousness is not 
cruel. Stupidity is not cruel. Love of exercise 
and of feats of skill is not cruel. They may and 
do produce more destruction and suffering than 
all the neuroses of all the Neros. But they are 
characteristic of quite amiable and cheerful 
people, mostly lovers of pet animals. On the 
other hand, humane sensitiveness is impatient, 
angry, ruthless, and murderous. Marat was a 
supersensitive humanitarian, by profession a 
doctor who had practised successfully in genteel 
circles in England. What Marat felt towards 
marquesses most humanitarians feel more or less 
towards sportsmen. Therefore let no sportsman 
who reads these pages accuse me of hypocrisy, or 
of claiming to be a more amiable person than he. 
And let him excuse me, if he will be so good, for 
beginning with an attempt to describe how I 
feel about sport. 


To begin with, sport soon bores me when it 
does not involve killing; and when it does, it 
affects me much as the murder of a human being 
would affect me, rather more than less; for just 
as the murder of a child is more shocking than 
the murder of an adult (because, I suppose, the 
child is so helpless and the breach of social faith 
therefore so unconscionable), the murder of an 
animal is an abuse of man's advantage over 
animals : the proof being that when the animal is 
powerful and dangerous, and the man unarmed, 
the repulsion vanishes and is replaced by con- 
gratulation. But quite humane and cultivated 
people seem unable to understand why I should 
bother about the feelings of animals. I have seen 
the most horrible pictures published in good faith 
as attractive in illustrated magazines. One of 
them, which I wish I could forget, was a photo- 
graph taken on a polar expedition, shewing a 
murdered bear with its living cub trying to make 
it attend to its maternal duties. I have seen a 
photograph of a criminal being cut into a thousand 
pieces by a Chinese executioner, which was by 
comparison amusing. I have also seen thrown 
on a screen for the entertainment of a large 
audience a photograph of an Arctic explorer 
taking away a sledge dog to shoot it for food, the 
dog jumping about joyously without the least 
suspicion of its human friend's intentions. If the 
doomed dog had been a man or a woman, I believe 
I should have had less sense of treachery. I do 
not say that this is reasonable: I simply state it 


as a fact. It was quite evident that the lecturer 
had no suspicion of the effect the picture was 
producing on me; and as far as I could see, his 
audience was just as callous; for if they had all 
felt as I felt there would have been at least a very 
perceptible shudder, if not an articulate protest. 
Now this was not a case of sport. It was neces- 
sary to shoot the dog : I should have shot it myself 
under the same circumstances. But I should 
have regarded the necessity as a horrible one ; and 
I should have presented it to the audience as 
a painful episode, like cannibalism in a crew of 
castaways, and not as a joke. For I must add 
that a good many people present regarded it as a 
bit of fun. I absolve the lecturer from this 
extremity of insensibility. The shooting of a dog 
was a trifle to what he had endured; and I did 
not blame him for thinking it by comparison a 
trivial matter. But to us, who had endured 
nothing, it might have seemed a little hard on 
the dog, and calling for some apology from the 

I am driven to the conclusion that my sense 
of kinship with animals is greater than most 
people feel. It amuses me to talk to animals in 
a sort of jargon I have invented for them; and 
it seems to me that it amuses them to be talked 
to, and that they respond to the tone of the con- 
versation, though its intellectual content may to 
some extent escape them. I am quite sure, 
having made the experiment several times on 
dogs left in my care as part of the furniture of 


hired houses, that an animal who has been treated 
as a brute, and is consequently undeveloped 
socially (as human beings remain socially unde- 
veloped under the same circumstances) will, on 
being talked to as a fellow-creature, become 
friendly and companionable in a very short time. 
This process has been described by some reproach- 
ful dog owners as spoiling the dog, and sincerely 
deplored by them, because I am glad to say it is 
easier to do than to undo except by brutalities 
of which few people are capable. But I find it 
impossible to associate with animals on any other 
terms. Further, it gives me extraordinary gratifi- 
cation to find a wild bird treating me with confi- 
dence, as robins sometimes do. It pleases me to 
conciliate an animal who is hostile to me. What 
is more, an animal who will not be conciliated 
offends me. There is at the Zoo a morose maned 
lion who will tear you to pieces if he gets half a 
chance. There is also a very handsome maneless 
lion with whom you may play more safely than 
with most St. Bernard dogs, as he seems to need 
nothing but plenty of attention and admiration 
to put him into the best of humors. I do not 
feel towards these two lions as a carpenter does 
towards two pieces of wood, one hard and knotty, 
and the other easy to work ; nor as I do towards 
two motor bicycles, one troublesome and danger- 
ous, and the other in perfect order. I feel towards 
the two lions as I should towards two men simi- 
larly diverse. I like one and dislike the other. 
If they got loose and were shot, I should be dis- 


tressed in the one case whilst in the other I 
should say " Serve the brute right !" This is 
clearly fellow-feeling. And it seems to me that 
the plea of the humanitarian is a plea for widening 
the range of fellow-feeling. 

The limits of fellow-feeling are puzzling. People 
who have it in a high degree for animals often 
seem utterly devoid of it for human beings of a 
different class. They will literally kill their dogs 
with kindness whilst behaving to their servants 
with such utter inconsideration that they have 
to change their domestic staff once a month or 
oftener. Or they hate horses and like snakes. 
One could fill pages with such inconsistencies. 
The lesson of these apparent contradictions is 
that fellow-feeling is a matter of dislikes as well 
as of likes. No man wants to destroy the engine 
which catches him in its cog-wheels and tears 
a limb from him. But many a man has tried 
to kill another man for a very trifling slight. 
The machine, not being our fellow, cannot be 
loved or hated. The man, being our fellow, 

Let us try to get down to the bottom of this 
matter. There is no use in saying that our fellow- 
creatures must not be killed. That is simply 
untrue; and the converse proposal that they must 
be killed is simply true. We see the Buddhist 
having his path swept before him lest he should 
tread on an insect and kill it; but we do not see 
what that Buddhist does when he catches a flea 
that has kept him awake for an hour; and we 


know that he has to except certain poisonous 
snakes from his forbearance. If mice get into 
your house and you do not kill them, they will 
end by killing you. If rabbits breed on your 
farm and you do not exterminate them, you will 
end by having no farm. If you keep deer in your 
park and do not thin them, your neighbors or 
the authorities will finally have to save you the 
trouble. If you hold the life of a mosquito 
sacred, malaria and yellow fever will not return 
the compliment. I have had an interview with 
an adder, in the course of which it struck repeat- 
edly and furiously at my stick; and I let it go 
unharmed; but if I were the mother of a family 
of young children, and I found a cobra in the 
garden, I would vote for *' La mort sans phrase," 
as many humane and honorable persons voted 
in the case, not of a serpent, but of an anointed 

I see no logical nor spiritual escape from the 
theory that evolution (not, please observe, 
Natural Selection) involves a deliberate intentional 
destruction by the higher forms of life of the 
lower. It is a dangerous and difficult business; 
for in the course of natural selection the lower 
forms may have become necessary to the exist- 
ence of the higher; and the gamekeeper shooting 
everything that could hurt his pheasants or 
their chicks may be behaving as foolishly as an 
Arab lunatic shooting horses and camels. But 
where Man comes, the megatherium must go as 
Surely as where the poultry farmer comes the 

xviii PREFACE 

fox must go unless the hunt will pay for the fox*s 
depredations. To plead for the tiger, the wolf, 
and the poisonous snake, is as useless as to plead 
for the spirochete or the tetanus bacillus: we 
must frankly class these as early and disastrous 
experiments in creation, and accept it as part of 
the mission of the later and more successful ex- 
periments to recognize them as superseded, and to 
destroy them purposely. We should, no doubt, 
be very careful how we jump from the indisput- 
able general law that the higher forms of life must 
exterminate or limit the lower, to the justification 
of any particular instance of the slaughter of non- 
human animals by men, or the slaughter of a low 
type of man by a high type of man. Still, when 
all due reservations are made, the fact remains 
that a war of extermination is being waged daily 
and necessarily by man against his rivals for 
possession of the earth, and that though an urban 
humanitarian and vegetarian who never has 
occasion to kill anything but a microbe may 
shudder at the callousness with which a farmer 
kills rats and rabbits and sparrows and moles 
and caterpillars and ladybirds and many more 
charming creatures, yet if he were in the farmer's 
place he would have to do exactly the same, or 

In that case why not make a pleasure of neces- 
sity, and a virtue of pleasure, as the sportsmen 
do ? I think we must own that there is no objec- 
tion from the point of view of the animals. On 
the contrary, it is quite easy to shew that there 


is a positive advantage to them in the organization 
of killing as sport. Fox hunting has saved the 
existing foxes from extermination; and if it were 
not for the civilization that makes fox hunting 
possible, the fox would still be hunted and killed 
by packs of wolves. I am so conscious of this 
that I have in another place suggested that chil- 
dren should be hunted or shot during certain 
months of the year, as they would then be fed 
and preserved by the sportsmen of the counties 
as generously and carefully as pheasants now 
are ; and the survivors would make a much better 
nation than our present slum products. And I 
go further. I maintain that the abolition of 
public executions was a very bad thing for the 
murderers. Before that time, we did exactly 
as our sportsmen now do. We made a pleasure 
of the necessity for exterminating murderers, 
and a virtue of the pleasure. Hanging was a 
popular sport, like racing. Huge crowds assem- 
bled to see it and paid large prices for seats. 
There would have been betting on the result if it 
had been at all uncertain. The criminal had 
what all criminals love: a large audience. He 
had a procession to Tyburn: he had a drink: he 
was allowed to make a speech if he could ; and if 
he could not, the speech was made for him and 
published and sold in great numbers. Above all, 
such fair play as an execution admits of was 
guaranteed to him by the presence of the public, 
whereas now he perishes in a horrible secrecy 
which lends itself to all the abuses of secrecy. 


Whether the creature slain be man or what we 
very invidiously call brute, there is no case to be 
made against sport on its behalf. Even cruelty 
can justify itself, as far as the victim is concerned, 
on the ground that it makes sport attractive to 
cruel people, and that sport is good for the quarry. 
The true objection to sport is the one taken 
by that wise and justly famous Puritan who 
objected to bear baiting not because it gave pain 
to the bear but because it gave pleasure to the 
spectators. He rightly saw that it was not im- 
portant that we should be men of pleasure, and 
that it was enormously important that we should 
be men of honor. What the bear would have said 
if it had had any say in the matter can only be 
conjectured. Its captors might have argued 
that if they could not have made money by 
keeping it alive whilst taking it to England to be 
baited, they would have killed it at sight in the 
Pyrenees; so that it owed several months of life, 
with free board and lodging, to the institution of 
bear baiting. The bear might have replied that 
if it had not been for the bear pit in England 
they would never have come to hunt for it in the 
Pyrenees, where it could have ended its days in 
a free and natural manner. Let us admit for the 
sake of a quiet life that the point is disputable. 
What is not disputable by any person who has 
ever seen sport of this character is that the 
man who enjoys it is degraded by it. We do not 
bait bears now (I do not quite know why); but 
we course rabbits in the manner described in one 


of the essays in this book. I lived for a time on 
the south slope of the Hog's Back; and every 
Sunday morning rabbits were coursed within 
earshot of me. And I noticed that it was quite 
impossible to distinguish the cries of the excited 
terriers from the cries of the sportsmen, although 
ordinarily the voice of a man is no more like the 
voice of a dog than like the voice of a nightingale. 
Sport reduced them all, men and terriers alike, 
to a common denominator of bestiality. The 
sound did not make me more humane: on the 
contrary, I felt that if I were an irresponsible 
despot with a park of artillery at my disposal, 
I should, (especially after seeing the sports- 
men on their way to and from their sport) have 
said: "These people have become subhuman, 
and will be better dead. Be kind enough to mow 
them down for me.'* 

As a matter of fact there is always a revulsion 
against these dehumanizing sports in which the 
killing can be seen, and the actual visible chase 
shared, by human beings: in short, the sports in 
which men revert to the excitements of beasts of 
prey. Several have been abolished by law: 
among them bear baiting and cock fighting : both 
of them sports in which the spectators shared at 
close quarters the excitement of the animals 
engaged. In the sports firmly established among 
us there is much less of this abomination. In fox 
hunting and shooting, predatory excitement is 
not a necessary part of the sport, and is indeed 
abhorred by many who practise it. Inveterate 


foxhunters have been distressed and put off their 
hunting for days by happening to see a fox in the 
last despairing stage of its run from the hounds : 
a sight which can be avoided, and often is, by 
the hunters, but which they may happen upon 
some day when they are not hunting. Such 
people hunt because they delight in meets and in 
gallops across country as social and healthy 
incidents of country life. They are proud of 
their horsemanship and their craftiness in taking 
a line. They like horses and dogs and exercise 
and wind and weather, and are unconscious of 
the fact that their expensive and well equipped 
hunting stables and kennels are horse prisons and 
dog prisons. It is useless to pretend that these 
ladies and gentlemen are fiends in human form: 
they clearly are not. By avoiding being in at 
the death they get all the good out of hunting 
without incurring the worst of the evil, and so 
come out with a balance in their favor. 

Shooting is subtler: it is a matter of skill with 
one's weapons. The expert at it is called, not a 
good chicken butcher, but a good shot. When I 
want, as I often do, to pick him off, I do so not 
because I feel that he is cruel or degraded but 
because he is a nuisance to me with the very 
disagreeable noise of his explosions, and because 
there is an unbearable stupidity in converting an 
interesting, amusing, prettily colored live wonder 
like a pheasant into a slovenly unhandsome corpse. 
But at least he does not yap like a terrier, and 
shake with a detestable excitement, and scream 
out frantic bets to bookmakers. His expression is 

PREFACE xxiii 

that of a man performing a skilled operation with 
an instrument of precision: an eminently human 
expression, quite incompatible with the flush of 
blood to the eyes and the uncovering of the dog- 
tooth that makes a man like a beast of prey. 
And this is why it is impossible to feel that skilled 
shooting or foxhunting are as abominable as 
rabbit coursing, hare-hunting with beagles, or 

And yet shooting depends for its toleration on 
custom as much as on the coolness with which it 
has to be performed. It may be illogical to 
forgive a man for shooting a pheasant and to 
loathe him for shooting a seagull ; but as a matter 
of plain fact one feels that a man who shoots 
seagulls is a cad, and soon makes him feel it if 
he attempts to do it on board a public ship, 
whereas the snipe shooter excites no such repul- 
sion. And '' fair game " must be skilfully shot if 
the maximum of toleration is to be enjoyed. 
Even then it is not easy for some of us to forget 
that many a bird must have been miserably 
maimed before the shooter perfected his skill. 
The late King Edward the Seventh, immedi- 
ately after his recovery from a serious opera- 
tion which stirred the whole nation to anxious 
sympathy with him, shot a stag, which got away 
to die of just such internal inflammation as its 
royal murderer had happily escaped. Many 
people read the account without the least emotion. 
Others thought it natural that the King should be 
ashamed, as a marksman, of his failure to kill, but 
rejected as sentimental nonsense the notion that 


he should feel any remorse on the stag's behalf. 
Had he deliberately shot a cow instead, everyone 
would have been astounded and horrified. Custom 
will reconcile people to any atrocity ; and fashion 
will drive them to acquire any custom. The 
English princess who sits on the throne of Spain 
goes to bullfights because it is the Spanish fashion. 
At first she averted her face, and probably gave 
offence by doing so. Now, no doubt, she is a 
connoisseuse of the sport. Yet neither she nor 
the late King Edward can be classed as cruel 
monsters. On the contrary, they are conspicuous 
examples of the power of cruel institutions to 
compel the support and finally win the tolerance 
and even the enjoyment of persons of full normal 

But this is not why I call shooting subtle. It 
fascinates even humane persons not only because 
it is a game of skill in the use of the most ingenious 
instrument in general use, but because killing by 
craft from a distance is a power that makes a 
man divine rather than human. 

" Oft have I struck 
Those that I never saw, and struck them dead " 

said the statesman to Jack Cade (who promptly 
hanged him) ; and something of the sense of power 
in that boast stimulates every boy with a catapult 
and every man with a gun. That is why there 
is an interest in weapons fathoms deeper than 
the interest in cricket bats and golf clubs. It is 
not a question of skill or risk. The men who go 


to Africa with cameras and obtain photographs 
and even cinematographs of the most dangerous 
animals at close quarters, shew much more skill 
and nerve than the gentlemen who disgust us 
with pictures of themselves sitting on the body 
of th^ huge creatures they have just killed with 
explosive bullets. Shooting " big game," like 
serving as a soldier in the field, is glorified con- 
ventiouolly as a proof of character and courage, 
though everyone knows that men can be found 
by the hundred thousand to face such ordeals* 
including several who would be afraid to walk 
down Bond Street in an unfashionable hat. The 
real point oi the business is neither character nor 
courage, but ability to kill. And the greater 
cowards and the feebler weaklings we are, the more 
important this power is to us. It is a matter of 
life and death to us to be able to kill our enemies 
without coming to handgrips with them; and 
the consequence is that our chief form of play 
is to pretend that something is our enemy and 
kill it. Even to pretend to kill it is some satis- 
faction: nay, the spectacle of other people pre- 
tending to do it is a substitute worth paying for. 
Nothing more supremely ridiculous as a subject 
of reasonable contemplation could be imagined 
than a sham fight in Earls Court between a tribe 
of North American Indians and a troop of cow- 
boys, both imported by Buffalo Bill as a theatrical 
speculation. To see these grown-up men behav- 
ing like children, galloping about and firing blank 
cartridges at one another, and pretending to fall 


down dead, was absurd and incredible enougt 
from any rational point of view; but that thous- 
ands of respectable middle - aged and elda^ly 
citizens and their wives, all perfectly sober, should 
pay to be allowed to look on, seems fiat madness. 
Yet the thing not only occurred in London, but 
occurs now daily in the cinema theatres and yearly 
at the Military Tournaments. And what honest 
man dare pretend that he gets no fun out of 
these spectacles ? Certainly not I. The/ revived 
enough of my boyish delight in stage fights and 
in the stories of Captain Mayne Reid to induce 
me to sit them out, conscious as I was of their 

Please do not revile me for telling you what I 
felt instead of what I ought to have felt. What 
prevents the sport question and every other 
question from getting squarely put before us is 
our habit of saying that the things we think 
should disgust us and fill us mth abhorrence 
actually do disgust us and fill us with abhorrence, 
and that the persons who, against all reason and 
decency, find some sort of delight in them, are 
vile wretches quite unlike ourselves, though, as 
everyone can see, we and they are as like as 
potatoes. You may not agree with Mr. Rudj^ard 
Kipling about war, or with Colonel Roosevelt 
about sport; but beware how you pretend that 
war does not interest and excite you more than 
printing, or that the thought of bringing down a 
springing tiger with a well-aimed shot does not 
interest you more than the thought of cleaning 

PREFACE xxvii 

your teeth. Men may be as the poles asunder in 
their speculative views. In their actual nervous 
and emotional reactions they are " members one 
of another " to a much greater extent than they 
choose to confess. The reason I have no patience 
with Colonel Roosevelt's tedious string of rhi- 
noceros murders in South Africa is not that I am 
not interested in weapons, in marksmanship, and 
in killing, but because my interest in life and 
creation is still greater than my interest in death 
and destruction, and because I have sufficient 
fellow-feeling with a rhinoceros to think it a 
frightful thing that it should be killed for fun. 

Consider a moment how one used to feel when 
an Irish peasant shot his landlord, or when a 
grand duke was blown to pieces in Russia, or 
when one read of how Charlotte Corday killed 
Marat . On the one hand we applauded the courage, 
the skill, the resolution of the assassin ; we exulted 
in the lesson taught to tyrants and in the over- 
throw of the strong oppressor by the weak 
victim; but we were horrified by the breach of 
law, by the killing of the accused at the decree of 
an irresponsible Ribbon Lodge under no proper 
public control, by the execution of the grand 
duke without trial and opportunity of defence, 
by the suspicion that Charlotte Corday was too 
like Marat in her lust for the blood of oppressors 
to have the right to kill him. Such cases are 
extremely complicated, except for those simple 
victims of political or class prejudice who think 
Charlotte Corday a saint because she killed a 

xxviii PREFACE 

Radical, and the Ribbonmen demons because 
they were common fellows who dared to kill 
country gentlemen. But however the cases catch 
us, there is always that peculiar interest in indi- 
vidual killing, and consequently in the means and 
weapons by which individuals can kill their 
enemies, which is at the root of the sport of 

It all comes back to fellow-feeling and appetite 
for fruitful activity and a high quality of life: 
there is nothing else to appeal to. No com- 
mandment can meet the case. It is no use saying 
" Thou shalt not kill " in one breath, and, in the 
next *' Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." 
Men must be killed and animals must be killed: 
nay, whole species of animals and types of men 
must be exterminated before the earth can become 
a tolerable place of habitation for decent folk. 
But among the men who will have to be wiped 
out stands the sportsman : the man without fellow- 
feeling, the man so primitive and uncritical in his 
tastes that the destruction of life is an amusement 
to him, the man whose outlook is as narrow as 
that of his dog. He is not even cruel: sport is 
partly a habit to which he has been brought up, 
and partly stupidity, which can always be 
measured by wastefulness and by lack of sense of 
the importance and glory of life. The horrible 
murk and grime of the Pottery towns is caused 
by indifference to a stupid waste of sunlight, 
natural beauty, cleanliness, and pleasant air, 
combined with a brutish appetite for money. A 


hattue is caused by indifference to the beauty 
and interest of bird life and song, and callousness 
to glazed eyes and blood-bedabled corpses, com- 
bined with a boyish love of shooting. All the 
people who waste beauty and life in this way are 
characterized by deficiency in fellow-feeling: not 
only have they none of St. Francis's feeling that 
the birds are of our kin, but they would be 
extremely indignant if a loader or a gamekeeper 
asserted any claim to belong to their species. 
Sport is a sign either of limitation or of timid 

And this disposes of the notion that sport is the 
training of a conquering race. Even if such 
things as conquering races existed, or would be 
tolerable if they did exist, they would not be 
races of sportsmen. The red scalp-hunting braves 
of North America were the sportingest race 
imaginable; and they were conquered as easily 
as the bisons they hunted. The French can 
boast more military glory to the square inch of 
history than any other nation; but until lately 
they were the standing butt of English humorists 
for their deficiencies as sportsmen. In the middle 
ages, when they fought as sportsmen and gentle- 
men, they were annihilated by small bodies of 
starving Englishmen who carefully avoided sports- 
manlike methods and made a laborious business 
(learnt at the village target) of killing them. As 
to becoming accustomed to risks, there are plenty 
of ways of doing that without killing anything 
except occasionally yourself. The motor-cyclist 


takes more trying risks than the foxhunter; and 
motor-cycling seems safety itself compared to 
aviation. A dive from a high springboard will 
daunt a man as effectually as a stone wall in the 
hunting field. The notion that if you have no 
sportsmen you will have no soldiers (as if more 
than the tiniest fraction of the armies of the world 
had ever been sportsmen) is as absurd as the 
notion that burglars and garrotters should be 
encouraged because they might make hardier and 
more venturesome soldiers than honest men; but 
since people foolishly do set up such arguments 
they may as well be mentioned in passing for 
what they are worth. 

The question then comes to this: which is the 
superior man ? the man whose pastime is slaughter, 
or the man whose pastime is creative or contem- 
plative ? I have no doubt about the matter 
myself, being on the creative and contemplative 
side by nature. Slaughter is necessary work, like 
scavenging; but the man who not only does it 
unnecessarily for love of it but actually makes as 
much of it as possible by breeding live things 
to slaughter, seems to me to be little more 
respectable than one who befouls the streets for 
the pleasure of sweeping them. I believe that 
the line of evolution leads to the prevention of 
the birth of creatures whose lives are not useful 
and enjoyable, and that the time will come when 
a gentleman found amusing himself with a gun 
will feel as compromised as he does now when 
found amusing himself with a whip at the expense 


of a child or an old lame horse covered with 
sores. Sport, like murder, is a bloody business; 
and the sportsmen will not always be able to 
outface that fact as they do at present. 

But there is something else. Killing, if it is to 
give us heroic emotions, must not be done for 
pleasure. Interesting though the slaying of one 
man by another may be, it is abhorrent when it 
is done merely for the fun of doing it (the sports- 
man's way) or to satisfy the envious spite of the 
worse man towards the better (Cain's way). 
When Charlotte Corday stabbed Marat, and when 
Hamilton of Bothwellhaugh shot the Regent 
Murray, they were stung by intolerable social 
wrongs for which the law offered them no redress. 
When Brutus and his fellow-conspirators killed 
Csesar, they had persuaded themselves that they 
were saving Rome. When Samson slew the lion, 
he had every reason to feel convinced that if he 
did not, the lion would slay him. Conceive 
Charlotte Corday stabbing Marat as an exercise 
of manual and anatomical skill, or Hamilton 
bringing down the Regent as a feat of marksman- 
ship ! Their deeds at once become, not less, but 
more horrifying than if they had done them from 
a love of killing. Jack the Ripper was a mad- 
man of the most appalling sort; but the fascina- 
tion of murder for him must have been com- 
pounded of dread, of horror, and of a frightful 
perversion of an instinct which in its natural con- 
dition is a kindly one. He was a ghastly mur- 
derer; but he was a hot-blooded one. The per- 

xxxii PREFACE 

fection of callousness is not reached until a life 
is sacrificed, and often cruelly sacrificed, solely 
as a feat of skill. Peter the Great amusing him- 
self by torturing his son to death was a revolting 
monster; but he was not so utterly inhuman in 
that crime as he was when, on being interested 
by a machine for executing criminals which he 
saw in a museum on his travels, he proposed to 
execute one of his retinue to see how the machine 
worked, and could with difficulty be brought to 
understand that there was a sentimental objection 
to the proceeding on the part of his hosts which 
made the experiment impossible. When he tor- 
tured his son he knew that he was committing an 
abomination. When he wanted to try an experi- 
ment at the cost of a servant's life he was uncon- 
scious of doing anything that was not a matter 
of course for any nobleman. And in this he was 
worse than abominable : he was deficient, imbecile, 
less than human. Just so is the sportsman, 
shooting quite skilfully and coolly without the 
faintest sense of any murderous excitement, and 
with no personal feeling against the birds, really 
further from salvation than the man who is 
humane enough to get some sense of wickedness 
out of his sport. To have one's fellow-feeling cor- 
rupted and perverted into a lust for cruelty and 
murder is hideous; but to have no fellow-feeling 
at all is to be something less than even a murderer. 
The man who sees red is more complete than the 
man who is blind. 

The triviality of sport as compared with the 

PREFACE xxxiii 

risk and trouble of its pursuit and the gravity of its 
results makes it much sillier than crime. The idler 
who can find nothing better to do than to kill is 
past our patience. If a man takes on himself the 
heavy responsibility of killing, he should not do it 
for pastime. Pastimes are very necessary; for 
though a busy man can always find something to 
do, there comes a point at which his health, his 
sanity, his very existence may depend on his doing 
nothing of the smallest importance; and yet he 
cannot sit still and twiddle his thumbs: besides, 
he requires bodily exercise. He needs an idle pas- 
time. Now " Satan finds some mischief still for idle 
hands to do " if the idler lets his conscience go to 
sleep. But he need not let it go to sleep. There 
are plenty of innocent idle pastimes for him. He 
can read detective stories. He can play tennis. 
He can drive a motor-car if he can afford one. 
He can fly. Satan may suggest that it would be 
a little more interesting to kill something; but 
surely only an outrageous indifference to the 
sacredness of life and the horrors of suffering and 
terror, combined with a monstrously selfish greed 
for sensation, could drive a man to accept the 
Satanic suggestion if sport were not organized for 
him as a social institution. Even as it is, there 
are now so many other pastimes available that 
the choice of killing is becoming more and more 
a disgrace to the chooser. The wantonness of 
the choice is beyond excuse. To kill as the 
poacher does, to sell or eat the victim, is at least 
to act reasonably. To kill from hatred or revenge 

xxxiv PREFACE 

is at least to behave passionately. To kill in 
gratification of a lust for death is at least to 
behave villainously. Reason, passion, and vil- 
lainy are all human. But to kill, being all the 
time quite a good sort of fellow, merely to pass 
away the time when there are a dozen harmless 
ways of doing it equally available, is to behave 
like an idiot or a silly imitative sheep. 

Surely the broad outlook and deepened con- 
sciousness which admits all living things to the 
commonwealth of fellow-feeling, and the appetite 
for fruitful activity and generous life which come 
with it, are better than this foolish doing of 
unamiable deeds by people who are not in the 
least unamiable. 

G. B. S. 

March, 1914- 




It is a favourite rhetorical device of the vivi- 
sectionists to divert argument from the main 
question into side issues by instituting a com- 
parison between vivisection and the various forms 
of field-sports, such as pheasant-shooting, for 
example. It is hardly necessary that I should 
point out the futility of such controversial 
methods; for, as Horace long ago taught us, there 
is no use in an illustration which merely substi- 
tutes one dispute for another. Vivisection may 
be wrong, though pheasant-shooting be right; 
while if pheasant-shooting be wrong, it is ob- 
viously absurd to appeal to it in aid of the cause 
of vivisection. 

But for those who recognise that it is the duty 
of man to abstain from all practices which involve 
cruelty to the lower animals, it is important to 
consider the whole question of sport, and to endea- 
vour to arrive at just and logical conclusions upon 
the ethical issues which are raised by its pursuit. 

Here, at the outset, I think it is necessary, in 


order to avoid confusion, to attempt some defin- 
ition of the word " cruelty." By so doing we 
shall escape the absurdities of those who tell us 
that all sport is cruel, and yet that its pursuit can, 
nevertheless, be justified by other considerations. 
The late Professor Freeman long ago pointed out 
that those who speak in this slipshod fashion are 
ignorant of the very elements of logical reasoning. 
" Cruelty " is a word which carries its own con- 
demnation with it. It denotes something which 
is morally unjustifiable, just as the word " lie " 
denotes a morally unjustifiable falsehood. Justi- 
fiable falsehoods are not lies, neither can a lie ever 
be a justifiable falsehood. For the purposes of 
this paper, therefore, I am content to define 
" cruelty " as " the unjustifiable infliction of 
pain." I think that is better than defining it as 
" the unnecessary infliction of pain." For, to take 
an example, the shooting of a partridge can hardly, 
in any ordinary case, be looked upon as a necessary 
act. To define cruelty, therefore, as " the un- 
necessary infliction of pain " would be to settle 
the question — or, rather to beg it — in such a case, 
by means of a definition. It is true that the 
definition which I have preferred leaves the 
question what is or is not justifiable, in any given 
case, open for discussion; but that is, of course, 
inevitable, whatever definition we may adopt. 

If, then, we are compelled to say of any sport 
that it is cruel, we are compelled also to admit 
that such sport is morally unjustifiable. Now, 
sport, according to the general acceptation of that 


term, is of two kinds. There are, first, sports 
such as cricket, football, golf, rowing, and many 
others, which do not involve the taking of animal 
life; and, secondly, there are the sports of hunting, 
coursing, and shooting, in all their various 
branches, which are frequently denoted by the 
compendious term of "blood-sports"; and it is 
with the latter class of sports only that this 
essay is concerned. 

Let us, therefore, examine these blood-sports, 
and ask ourselves in each case whether they are 
cruel, and therefore unjustifiable, or whether, 
notwithstanding the pain and suffering which they 
necessarily involve, they are, nevertheless, justi- 
fiable forms of amusement and recreation, such as 
a humane and thinking man need not scruple to 
indulge in. 

But before proceeding farther with the dis- 
cussion, I must own that I am not a little appalled 
at the audacity of undertaking such an inquisition. 
For is it not the boast of our countrymen that 
England is the home and the motherland of 
sport ? What appellation does an Englishman 
more ardently desire than that of " sportsman " ? 
" A good sportsman," " a good all-round sports- 
man," " a fine old sportsman " — what names are 
more honourable than these ? I have frequently 
heard it said of a man that " he was always ready 
for a bit of sport," and it was generally recognised 
that very high praise was implied by such a 
description. Fox-hunting, hare-hunting, rabbit- 
coursing, ferreting, ratting, badger-baiting — it 


was all one to him so long as he could get " a bit 
of sport " ! What higher character could a 
Briton possibly aspire to ? No wonder the man 
was so popular with his neighbours, and so highly 
esteemed ! 

And so, if we begin to question the humanity or 
the propriety of any of these forms of amusement, 
the crushing answer invariably is, " But it's 
sport /" Surely that is amply sufficient ! Surely 
that is final ! What more do you want ? Sport 
is always excellent. Sport is an end in itself. 
Sport is a god worshipped in a thousand temples 
throughout the length and breadth of the United 
Kingdom. Let us burn incense on those altars; 
let us reverently bow the knee at those shrines. 
Great is God Sport of the Britishers ! 

Nay, does not our very Empire depend on 
Sport ? Is it not Sport that knits the fibres and 
fashions the sinews of an Imperial race ? It were 
almost as well, then, to speak disrespectfully of 
religion itself as to speak slightingly of Sport. 
And yet, as philosophers, as social students, as 
humanitarians, we must nerve ourselves even for 
this perilous quest. We must not shrink. We 
must not be deterred from pushing our investiga- 
tion even into the Holy of Holies of this great god 
which the people of England have set up. 

And let us face our worst dangers at once. 
First, then, I would say a few words about the 
most honoured and the most celebrated of all our 
British sports, " the noble science," as it has been 
called — the glorious sport of fox-hunting. 



Now, fox-hunting seems to most of us almost a 
part of the British Constitution. It takes rank 
among the best-estabhshed of our time-honoured 
institutions. What would become of the glory of 
England, were it not for fox-hunting ? And speak- 
ing as one who in days gone by was, so far as time 
and opportunity and a shallow purse allowed, a 
votary of the chase, I can honestly say that the 
sport has more to say for itself than some who 
have never fallen under the sway of its fascination 
are able to realise or understand. Let us see what 
can be said for it. 

Great and undeniable are the pleasures of the 
meet ; great the delights of the country-side as the 
hounds are thrown joyfully into cover, with a 
burst of melodious chiding. What a picturesque 
sight ! The busy, eager, indefatigable pack ; 
gallant steeds impatient for the coming race, and 
scarlet coats lighting up the wintry woodland 
scene ! Then the excitement of the " find "; the 
still greater excitement of the cry, " Gone away ! 
gone away !" hounds in full cry, and the cheery 
blasts of the huntsman's horn to rally the 
stragglers in the rear ! 

And if there be anything at all which can in any 
way justify the high-sounding title of " the noble 
science," we may look for it now. For the man 
who can ride straight to hounds and hold his own 
over a stiff country must possess some qualities 
which are not to be despised. He must not only 


be a fine horseman — and fine horsemen are few and 
far between — but he must know how to combine 
courage with judgment, prompt decision with 
sound discretion. Here for the good rider, whose 
heart is in the right place, are the true pleasures 
of the chase. 

But let us now look at the other side of the 
picture. It has been a splendid run, but the end 
approaches. The fox has been viewed dead-beat, 
painfully crawling into a hedgerow, with coat 
muddy and staring, tongue hanging out of his 
mouth, brush trailing on the ground. What sight 
more piteous can be conceived ? A few minutes 
more and his merciless pursuers are upon him; 
and, to use the words of Whyte Melville, the 
Laureate of the chase, 

" 'Twas a stout hill-fox when we found him, but now 
'Tis a thousand tatters of brown !" 

This, then, is the end, and aim, and object of 
our sport — " the kill " ! It is our pride to be 
"in at the death." I confess I have often felt 
no little ashamed of my brother-man — man, that 
" paragon of animals," " in action how like an 
angel! in apprehension how like a god!" — as I 
have listened to those wild shrieks and yells of 
" Who-whoop " that proclaim — what ? That a 
little animal has been hunted to its death. And 
it is this thought from which the thinking man 
can never escape, and which is to his enjoyment 
as the canker to the bud — the thought that it is 
necessary for his pleasure that a poor little 



animal, in all the agony of terror and exhaustion, 
should be running for its life before him ! And 
since this is the inevitable concomitant of the 
sport — even the great and glorious sport of fox- 
hunting — the thinking man must ask himself, 
" Am I justified — morally justified — in purchasing 
my pleasure at such a price ?" Can we for a 
moment doubt what the answer of the thinking 
man must be ? I do not say that all fox-hunters 
are cruel men ; it would be absurd, indeed, to bring 
such a charge. Many good and humane men — 
men who would shrink from and abhor anything 
that they recognised as cruel — are, nevertheless, 
habitual followers of the hounds. They have per- 
suaded themselves — it is so easy to persuade one- 
self in accordance with one's inclination, especially 
when the object to which one is inclined has all 
the sanction of custom and long usage — they 
have persuaded themselves that the sport is 
justifiable in spite of the suffering which is its 
necessary accompaniment and result. Or, per- 
haps, especially if they are young men, they have 
not thought about it at all. But I cannot help 
the belief that, as thought and true civilisation 
advance, it will be recognised that to seek pleasure 
in the hunting of any animal to its death is un- 
worthy of a thinking and humane man. If the 
humane man can do these things, it must be 
because he has not yet become a thinking man. 
If the thinking man can do them, it must be 
because he is not a humane man. 

And this conclusion will, I think, be fortified if 


we consider, very briefly, some of the arguments 
by which it is sought to justify sport of this kind. 
We are frequently told that the fox is a thief and 
a marauder — a robber of hen-roosts — and that, 
therefore, he must be destroyed. The simple 
answer to this is that the fox is carefully pre- 
served; that when foxes are scarce in a hunting 
country they are imported from elsewhere; and 
that the man who shoots a fox is held up to odium 
and scorn as guilty of the heinous crime of 
" vulpicide." 

But we have no sooner answered this flimsy 
argument than we are met by another of a quite 
different character. We are told that if foxes 
were not preserved to be hunted they would be 
exterminated; and that a fox, if given his choice, 
would much prefer to take his chance of escaping 
the hounds to the alternative of extermination. 
This is certainly a quaint specimen of the sports- 
man's logic. We are asked, in the first place, to 
assume an impossibility — namely, that a fox 
should be endowed with reason to enable him to 
consider and come to a decision upon the suggested 
question ; secondly, we have to assume what his 
answer would be ; thirdly, that that answer would 
be a wise one for the foxes; and, fourthly, that 
man ought to be bound by it. To this puerile 
argument it is sufficient to say that the question 
before us is not what a fox might, in an imaginary 
and impossible contingency, conceivably think 
best for himself, but what is right for man to do. 
If, therefore, the alternative be between the 


extermination of foxes, by methods as painless as 
may be, and their preservation to be hunted by 
man, I cannot doubt in what direction the true 
interests of humanity will be found to lie. 

To this conclusion, then, I think our reason 
must inevitably lead us, even with regard to the 
best and most popular of blood-sports as practised 
in this country. I do not hesitate to confess that 
I was brought to it with reluctance, knowing full 
well the pleasures of riding over a country with 
hounds in front and a good horse under me. But, 
in truth, the case seems too clear for argument. 
On one side are inclination and pleasure, and pre- 
scription, and the false glamour of " sport "; on 
the other side are " that incomparable pair " — 
humanity and reason.* 

* One of the strongest objections to fox-hunting con- 
sists in this, that each season must necessaril}^ be pre- 
ceded (so at least we are told) by the barbarities of "cub- 
hunting." The slaughter of these poor little cubs is 
cruel and pitiful work. Sometimes, too, a vixen falls a 
victim to the hounds while her cubs are still dependent 
on her for their food. No doubt an early ride on a fine 
September or October morning is a pleasant thing, and 
the " sportsman " need not know much about what goes 
on in the coverts, or trouble himself to think about it ! 
But the fact remains that this is a miserable and cruel 
form of " sport." And what shall we say of the prac- 
tice of " digging out " a wretched fox when, perhaps 
after a long run, he has sought refuge by " going to 
ground " ? Can anything be conceived more callous 
or more cowardly ? Yet educated, and, presumably, 
thinking men, and women too — Heaven save the mark ! 
— stand by and enjoy the fun ! Such is the debasing 
effect of " sport " upon the human mind and character ! 


The Wild Stag Hunt. 

But if the inexorable laws of reason and of 
ethics compel us to cast our vote against "the 
noble science " of fox-hunting, what shall we say 
of such sport as the hunting of the red deer in the 
West of England ? Its votaries would fain cast 
over it the glamour of poetry. They dilate on the 
glorious country — the woods of Porlock, the 
bright heaths of Exmoor, the exhilaration and 
excitement of a wild gallop over a wild country 
in pursuit of this magnificent wild creature — 
" the an tiered monarch of the waste." But we 
have only to turn to the acknowledged textbooks 
on the subject (such as Collyns's " Chase of the 
Wild Red Deer," for example) to learn of the 
horrible cruelties which are the inevitable concom- 
itants of this much-extolled sport — to learn how 
the hunted animal, in its terror and despair, will 
dash over cliffs into the sea, or vainly seek refuge 
in the waves from its merciless pursuers upon the 
land. I will not waste time and words over it. 
I regard it as a cruel form of pleasure which every 
humane man should shun and shrink from. A 
relative of mine, who for many years acted as 
secretary to a fox-hunt in the West of England, 
and who had a great reputation as a rider to 
hounds, told me that he had once gone to see the 
sport on Exmoor, and that nothing would induce 
him to repeat that experience, so terrible and so 
disgusting were some of the things which he 
witnessed there. Alas ! that woman should be a 


participator in such cruel deeds — ay, and pride 
herself on her rivalry with brutal man ! But we 
know the type. Their eyes are blinded lest they 
should see, and their ears closed lest they should 
hear. They know no better. They have never 
learned to think !* 

Here again we are told there is only one alterna- 
tive: either these deer must be preserved to be 
hunted or they must be exterminated. But 
again, also, there can be no doubt as to what 
our choice should be. We should lament the loss 
of these wild denizens of the forest and the moor ; 
but better, far better, would it be that their lives 
should be ended, as painlessly as may be, by the 
rifle, than that they should be preserved for a 
sport which is an outrage upon humanity. 


I have touched upon hunting; let us now con- 
sider the twin-sport of shooting, and let us first 
consider it in its most favourable aspect. How 
well do I remember those bright September even- 
ings, long ago, when the rays of the westering sun, 
striking obliquely on the ruddy clover-heads, 
bathed them in the rosy light of a summer that 

* In the Westminster Gazette of August 15, 1908, a 
woman wrote on " The Enchantments of the New 
Forest," and this is what she says: " Anyone with a drop 
of sport-love in them, given a nag of some kind, will not 
be a day in the forest before he finds himself chasing 
some animal, alive or dead." The sentiment is surely 
even more deplorable than the grammar. 


still lingered on " the happy autumn fields " ! 
Youth, health, and hope were ours then — youth, 
health, and hope, and friends ! Life lay all 
before us ; and, what was more to the purpose for 
the present moment, before us, too, were the 
partridges — a covey scattered among those smiling 
clover-heads. We go forward to beat them up 
with all the joy and excitement of that golden 
time when life has not yet been saddened by the 
pale cast of thought. The birds rise before us, 
singly, or in twos. The last shots are fired. The 
old retriever picks up the fallen game. Then we 
turn homewards, just as the glorious sun sinks at 
last behind the high Hampshire hills, and " barred 
clouds bloom the soft-dying day." Were we then 
guilty of cruelty ? I answer "No," because the 
moral qualities of an act exist only in the mind 
of the agent, 

" For there is nothing either good or bad 
But thinking makes it so;" 

and it had never occurred to us to question the 
morality of a sport which gave us such days of 
happiness, such nights of unbroken repose. 

And truly, if we admit, for the sake of argu- 
ment, at any rate, and making no assumption as 
against the vegetarian, that it is legitimate for 
man to use birds and beasts for his food, I see not 
much that can be justly said in condemnation of 
shooting such as this. If birds may be used for 
food, how better can they be killed than by the 
gun ? And thus it appears that it is that much- 



maligned and much-ridiculed individual the " pot- 
hunter " who is the best justified of all the shooting 
confraternity ! 

Again, if rabbits must be kept under for the sake 
of agriculture (a proposition which few will be 
found to dispute), it is certainly far better that 
they should be shot than be taken by that hideous 
instrument of torture, the steel trap, or the hardly 
less cruel contrivance known as " the wire." 

But when we come to the shooting of artificially 
reared and carefully preserved pheasants, and 
especially to what is known as " battue shooting," 
very different considerations arise. Let us take 
an instance. 

The short December day has drawn to a close. 
There has been warm work in the coverts. A 
thousand head of game — pheasants, hares, and 
rabbits — have been brought to bag. In fact, we 
have had, not indeed a tremendous battue, as 
these things are reckoned nowadays, but simply 
*' a jolly day's covert-shooting." But now dark- 
ness — thick, gloomy, winter darkness — has settled 
down like a pall upon the woods. There is some 
snow upon the ground, and with the night has 
come a sharper frost and a bitter, piercing wind. 
But what is that to us as we gather together in the 
warm dining-room, where the lamps are so bright, 
where the logs burn so keenly, and where thick 
curtains ward off the draughts of that nipping, 
eager air, and deaden the sound of the gusts 
moaning fitfully without ? How delightful a 
festive dinner like this after our day of woodland 


sport ! And yet, as I have raised the first glass 
of champagne to my lips, a thought has some- 
times come to me which has gone nigh to spoil 
my pleasure. It is the thought of that cover 
where the fun was so fast and furious, and which 
literally seemed to swarm with game. I picture 
it as it is now under the darkness of night. There, 
within sight of the bright lights around which we 
are so joyously gathered, there are scores — hun- 
dreds may be — of miserable creatures with 
mangled limbs and bleeding wounds; some with 
hind-legs broken, dragging themselves piteously 
over the frosty ground; some writhing in agony 
which death comes all too slowly to relieve. Ah, 
if that wounded hare could speak, as she looks at 
the line of light streaming from our dining-room 
windows, what a curse might she not breathe 
against the cruel savages within ! What a con- 
trast ! Here, light, warmth, and pleasure ; there, 
darkness, cold, and pain unspeakable ! Are 
not these considerations which should give us 
pause ? 

And can it be denied that the man who has 
learnt to stand at " a warm corner " unmoved 
while wounded beasts and birds are struggling or 
piteously crawling in agony all around him, who 
can listen unmoved to the terrible cry of the 
wounded hare — a cry like that of a child in pain — 
can it be denied that that man, who has so dead- 
ened his susceptibility to the sufferings of his 
humble and helpless kindred of the animal world, 
has himself suffered grievous injury to that which 


is best in human nature — that sacred instinct of 
compassion, wherein some thinkers of no mean 
order have thought they discerned the origin and 
the very basis of morahty ? 

And what a curse to our country is this selfish 
mania for the preservation of game — preservation 
for the purpose of destruction ! For this are the 
country-folk warned off from the quiet woodland 
ways; for this are the children prohibited from 
entering the copses to gather wild-flowers; for 
this are enclosures made, barbed-wire fences 
erected, footpaths and commons filched from the 
public, and the landless still further excluded 
from the land; for this must temptation be con- 
stantly set before the eyes of the labourer; for 
this must the offender against the game laws be 
called up for sentence before a tribunal of game- 
preservers; for this must the woods and the 
country-side be denuded of their most delightful 
inhabitants — the jay and the magpie, with their 
lustrous plumage and wild cries; the squirrel, 
embodiment of life and graceful activity, with his 
curious winning ways; the quaint, harmless, and 
interesting little hedgehog; the owl, with its long- 
drawn melancholy note, as it hawks in the 
summer moonlight — for this must wood-sides be 
disfigured by impudent notice-boards, telling us, 
in the arrogant language of the rich Philistine, 
that " All trespassers will be prosecuted, all dogs 
destroyed " ; for this must millions of innocent 
creatures be pitilessly condemned to shocking 
mutilations and atrocious agonies, long drawn 


out. Such is " Merry England " under the rule 
of the game-preserver ! 

" Strange that where Nature loved to trace 
As if for gods a dwelling-place, 
There man, enamoured of distress, 
Should mar it into wilderness." 

I have now briefly considered those blood-sports 
which are generally spoken of as " legitimate " 
sports — namely, hunting and shooting. " But," 
someone will ask me, " what of hare-hunting, and 
coursing, and otter-hunting — are not these ' legiti- 
mate ' sports also ?" 

Well, over these I care not to delay ; a few words 
will suffice for each. 

Hare-Hunting and Otter-Hunting. 

Well has it been said that 

" Poor is the triumph o'er the timid hare." 

It is to my mind indeed a pitiable form of pleasure 
that men should go forth to hunt to death this, 
the most timorous of animals. Even in the days 
of bluff King Hal, when humanitarians were 
indeed few and far between, and it was hardly 
recognised that men had any duties to the lower 
animals, there was found a great and good and 
enlightened man to raise his voice in protest 
against this sport. " What greater pleasure is 
there to be felt," wrote Sir Thomas More in his 
" Utopia," " when a dog followeth a hare than 
when a dog followeth a dog ? For one thing is 


done in both — that is to say, running, if thou hast 
pleasure therein. But if the hope of slaughter 
and the expectation of tearing in pieces the beast 
doth please thee, thou shouldest rather be moved 
with pity to see a silly, innocent hare murdered of 
a dog, the weak of the stronger, the fearful of the 
fierce, the innocent of the cruel and unmerciful." 

Ought we not to feel some shame if we have not 
advanced farther than this old teacher of nearly 
four hundred years ago ? But it seems that the 
age of King George V. has still something to learn 
from the age of King Henry VIII. 

And but a few years later, in the reign of that 
famous King's still more famous daughter, in '* the 
spacious times," when kindness to poor animals 
was but little thought of, do we not hear the voice 
of the great poet who is not of an age, but for all 
time, in an exquisite description of the miseries 
of the hunted hare ? — 

" By this, poor Wat, far off upon a hill, 

Stands on his hinder legs, with listening ear, 
To hearken if his foes pursue him still. 

Anon their loud alarums he doth hear ; 
And now his grief may be compared well 
To one sore sick that hears the passing-bell. 

" Then shalt thou see the dew-bedabbled wretch 
Turn and return, indenting with the way; 
Each envious briar his weary legs doth scratch ; 
Each shadow makes him stop, each murmur 
For misery is trodden on by many, 
And, being low, never reUeved by any." 

And here let me say that, if some of us have 
been loud in our protest against hare-hunting by 


schoolboj^s (and I refer especially to the case of 
the Eton beagles) , it is because we believe it to be 
of paramount importance that this duty of kind- 
ness to animals should be inculcated upon the 
young; that this sacred instinct of compassion 
should be fostered in young minds ; and that boys 
should be restrained from pursuits which tend to 
deaden this best of all human feelings. 

" 'Tis education forms the common mind; 
Just as the twig is bent, the tree's inchned." 

And who shall say what harm may be done to 
character, if the men who are responsible for 
education allow it to be supposed by those under 
their charge that animal suffering is a thing of no 
account ? 

As to otter-hunting, or the '' otter- worry," as 
it is better called, it is a kind of sport of which I 
have seen a good deal in bygone days, but which 
I always found abominable. Let me give one 
example from my own experience. It is a lovely 
day and a lovely country. The beautiful River 
Plym is flowing clear and cool in its lower valley 
depths, between wood-clad hills. I see before me 
an old quarry-pool. Precipitous rocks stand over 
it. One little stream, or adit, alone connects it 
with the river. At the farther end, away from 
the entrance of this adit, the hillside slopes more 
gradually, and is covered with broken fragments of 
rock and quarried stone. On my left the pool 
lies open to the woods. We had found an otter 
in the morning, and it was supposed that the 


creature had taken refuge in the " clitter of 
rocks " above the pool. Accordingly, men armed 
with otter-spears, and aided by terriers, endeavour 
to dislodge it. Suddenly another otter, much 
larger than the one we have been hunting, emerges 
from this retreat and dashes into the water. 
Instantly the pool is surrounded by excited 
hunters. A man with a spear stands at the adit- 
head, blocking that way of escape. The water 
is alive with swimming hounds, while others 
stand baying on the banks. Now, an otter can 
stay long under water, but it must rise at intervals 
for breath ; so, after a pause, we hear the shout of 
" Hoo, gaze !" and I catch sight of a small dark 
face and large brown eyes for one moment above 
the surface of the pool. Again and again, at ever- 
shortening intervals, I see that face appear and 
disappear. I can never forget it — that wild, 
scared face, and the terror of those hunted eyes ! 
There is no possibility of escape. Hounds and 
" sportsmen " — yes, and " sportswomen " too — 
surround the pool, and the only exit is care- 
fully and effectually guarded. The otter, wild- 
est and most timid of animals, must either 
attempt to run the gauntlet or be actually 
drowned in the pool. Only one thought possesses 
me — that of sickening compassion for this poor, 
beautiful, hunted creature. Men — and, good 
heavens ! women too — seem frenzied with the 
desire to kill. No thought of pity seems to dawn 
upon their minds. So at length, amid yeUing men 
and baying hounds, the wretched " beast of the 


chase " is forced for dear life's sake to try the 
desperate shift of taking to the land, in the vain 
hope of finding sanctuary in the friendly waters of 
the Plym, that are so near and yet so far. Vain 
hope indeed ! Scarce twenty yards of flight, and 
the hounds roll her over. From the carcass thus 
barbarously done to death the " pads " are cut off 
as trophies by the huntsman, and the master goes 
through the ceremony of '' blooding " his little 
son, who has now seen his first " kill." The boy's 
cheeks and forehead are smeared with blood from 
one of the dripping ** pads," and the " young 
barbarian " goes home swelling with pride at this 
savage decoration. What a lesson for him ! Thus 
is the rising generation taught to be gentle and 
compassionate, and to love " all things, both great 
and small " ! O Sport, what horrible things are 
done in thy name ! How long shall the nation 
continue to bow the knee to this false god — this 
bloody Moloch of Sport ? 

Spurious Sports. 

But of all the sports of killing which we have 
hitherto reviewed, this much at least may be said 
— namely, that they are concerned with the 
hunting or shooting of wild animals at liberty, in 
their native haunts. We now have to consider 
certain other blood-sports, the differentiating 
feature of which is that they are concerned with 
the hunting or shooting of animals liberated from 
captivity for that purpose. Such are rabbit- 


coursing, the hunting of carted deer, and the 
shooting of pigeons from traps, which are very 
commonly referred to as " spurious sports " — a 
title which they most justly merit. 

On pigeon-shooting I will not waste many words. 
To shoot a strong " blue rock," released from one 
of five traps, at a rise of between twenty and thirty 
yards, is not, as some people think, an easy thing 
to do. On the contrary, it is a very difficult thing 
to do, the result being that, even when good shots 
are competing, many birds get away wounded, to 
die a lingering death. Moreover, if a test of skill 
be all that is required, the clay pigeon answers the 
purpose quite as well as, if not better than, the 
living bird. I might dwell, too, on the injuries 
sometimes done to the birds when closely packed 
in hampers for transport purposes. But it is, I 
think, sufficient to say that it is now generally 
recognised in this country that the practice of 
shooting captive birds from traps has about it 
none of the elements of " sport " properly so- 
called. It is a mere medium for betting and 
money-making, or money-losing, without any of 
those healthy, invigorating, and athletic concom- 
itants which do something to redeem genuine 
" sport " from the reproach of ciraelty; and if 
cruelty be the unjustifiable infliction of pain, then 
it can, I think, hardly be doubted that pigeon- 
shooting must be classed among cruel sports. Of 
this opinion was the House of Commons thirty- 
one years ago ; for in the year 1883 a Bill passed 
through that House, on second reading, to put 


down this spurious sport by law. And to show 
how poorly it is now esteemed, even in fashionable 
circles, it may be mentioned that the Hurlingham 
Club, where pigeon-shooting was once regularly 
carried on, some years ago decided to prohibit 
this unworthy practice in their grounds. 

It remains to consider the two spurious sports 
of rabbit- coursing and the hunting of carted deer. 
Let us take the latter first. 

What are the animals employed for this form 
of fashionable amusement ? They are park-bred 
deer, kept in paddocks or stables, and carefully 
fed and exercised. It is said on behalf of the 
" stag-hunters " (so called) that to do the deer 
any injury is the last thing they wish for; on the 
contrary, their desire is to recapture the animal 
alive and well, in order that he or she may afford 
sport another day. This, doubtless, is true 
enough; but, unfortunately, the deer is terrified 
by the chase, and becomes exhausted in the course 
of it. Unfortunately, too, there are such things 
as spiked iron railings and barbed-wire fences, to 
say nothing of walls and other obstacles with 
which the hunted deer is confronted in his cross- 
country flight. The result is inevitable, and such 
as all reasoning men know to be inevitable — 
namely, that from time to time terrible '* acci- 
dents," as they are euphemistically called, take 
place, some of which, but by no means all, find 
their way into the columns of our newspapers. 
Thus, to give an example, it twice happened 
within a period of eight months that a miser- 


able hunted deer impaled itself upon a spiked 
iron fence at Reading, which in its terror it 
essayed to jump, but which in its exhaustion it 
failed to clear. I could give case after case in 
which a hunted deer has lacerated itself in the 
attempt to leap a barbed- wire fence; broken a 
leg, or perhaps (more mercifully) its neck, in trying 
to clear a gate or wall; cut and wounded itself 
by jumping on a greenhouse or glass frames; 
fallen exhausted before the hounds, and been 
bitten and torn by them ; sought refuge in a river, 
canal, or pond, and been drowned by the pursuing 
pack. Ten such cases are known to have occurred 
in six months with one pack only, hunting in the 
Home Counties, and six tame deer were done to 
death by that same pack within that period. 

These cases formed the subject of questions 
put by me to the late Prime Minister, Sir Henry 
Campbell-Bannerman, in the House of Commons. 
I should like to quote his answer given to one of 
such questions on March 14, 1907: "If such 
cruelties are perpetrated, and we can do anything 
to stop them, I shall be very glad. I am against 
cruelty of any sort, whether under the name of 
sport or otherwise. I like it rather less under 
the cloak of sport than otherwise." Nay, this 
cruel and contemptible travesty of sport was once, 
in a lucid interval, condemned, even by that well- 
known and recognised organ of sport. The Field, 
** the country gentleman's newspaper." For in 
The Field of September 3, 1892, we read as 
follows : 


** If we look at this fiction of chase from an unpreju- 
diced standpoint, we must admit that it is only prescrip- 
tion and usage which enable us to retain it in our sporting 
schedule and to tolerate it as legitimate. Strictly 
speaking, it stands on the same footing as bull and bear 
baiting, both of which have had to go to the wall under 
the influence of what is called the march of civilization/'* 

Need I say more ? Surely the case is too clear 
for argument — except, indeed, for certain peers 
in the Gilded Chamber, whose hidebound prejudice 
seems to be impervious to reason ! 

So much for the hunting of carted deer, the 
spurious sport of the rich. What shall we say of 
rabbit-coursing, which has been described as the 
sport of the poor, but which would, I think, be 
better called " the spurious sport of the spurious 
poor " ? Here, too, I can speak as an eye- 
witness, and I will repeat the description of what 
I saw, as it appeared in a London newspaper : 

" Wishing to see for myself what goes on at the 
* sport ' of rabbit-coursing, I took train on Sunday 
morning to Worcester Park Station, whence a 
walk of about a mile leads to the field where the 
entertainment is provided. Here was soon gath- 
ered together an assembly of about three hundred 

* It must in fairness be added that the article from 
which the above extract is made was subsequently re- 
pudiated by the editor as being " quite opposed to the 
line which The Field has always taken." It seems that 
"by an oversight the article was inserted during the 
absence of the departmental editor." I quote it, never- 
theless, as showing that over twenty years ago the 
truth as to this matter had dawned upon the mind of at 
least one of the leader-writers of a great sporting paper. 


* sportsmen,' mostly lads and larrikins. There 
was a large number of dogs, chiefly of the ' whip- 
pet ' breed, and many of them carefully clothed 
after the manner of greyhounds. The ear was 
assailed by the noise of continual barking, and 
the nose by whiffs from a neighbouring sewage 
farm. After we had waited some little time a 
van was drawn on the ground heavily laden with 
large shallow hampers packed with live rabbits. 
Three or four of these hampers were brought 
forward to the starting-point; a stout gentleman 
who carried a revolver and appeared to ' boss the 
show,' gave the order * to get behind the ropes,' 
some juvenile and promising bookmakers mounted 
stools, and the fun commenced. 

" Two dogs are led to the starting-point amidst 
shouts of ' I'll lay three to one,' ' I'll lay seven to 
four,' etc., quite in the approved sporting style. 
A man opens a sort of trap-door in the lid of one 
of the hampers, seizes one of the cowering rabbits 
by the skin of the back, presents it to each dog 
alternately, in order, I presume, to excite him to 
the utmost, runs with it, still held in one hand by 
the skin of the back, some thirty-five yards, and 
then flings it down, whereupon a shot is fired 
from the revolver, the dogs are released and rush 
madly for the prey. What follows requires some 
explanation. Let it be remembered that these 
are, or were, wild rabbits, among the most 
timorous of wild creatures; that they have prob- 
ably undergone the horrible experience of being 
driven from their burrows by the ferret some days 


(and who shall sslj how many days ?) before; 
that they have been sent by rail to town; that 
they are carted to the scene of action closely 
packed in hampers ; that they are, for a long time 
previously to being ' coursed,' surrounded by 
shouting men and barking dogs, and that after 
all this, weak, dazed, and half paralysed with 
fear, the victim is * dumped down ' in the 
middle of a strange field. 

" The result is what might be expected. He 
can hardly run, and knows not where to run. 
Some come straight back into the mouths of the 
dogs, others make a feeble attempt to seek shelter 
in the distant hedge. But the result is always the 
same. In a few seconds the dogs are upon him. 
The first seizes him by the back or hind-quarters ; 
the second, overtaking the first, and not to be 
balked of his share of the prey, grabs the victim 
by the head and shoulders. Then ensues a tug of 
war, during which the miserable rabbit is fre- 
quently more than half disembowelled before he 
is taken, still alive, or half alive, from the jaws of 
the dogs. Not one escapes; he is not given a 
chance. One that was put down a few yards in 
front of two very young dogs, who were evidently 
new to the business, might have got away, but 
when this was seen a large dog was at once sent 
after the fugitive. I am told that at North 
Country meetings when a puppy is entered a 
rabbit is frequently mutilated by having a leg 
broken or an eye put out; but I saw nothing of 
this at Worcester Park. 


" I should mention that I was joined by a friend 
from New Maiden, well known in the neighbour- 
hood for humanitarian efforts, and that we were 
at once ' spotted ' as alien interlopers, and looked 
at askance in consequence. Possibly the result 
was greater caution in the management of the 
proceedings. But we saw quite enough. Fifteen 
wretched creatures were done to death in forty- 
five minutes, and the ' sport ' goes on all day and 
every Sunday. I counted the steps taken by the 
man who ran forward with each rabbit, and 
never did they exceed thirty-five. A really wild 
rabbit in his own familiar haunts might have 
some chance at that. But these poor cowering 
things, tortured to make a hooligans' holiday 1 
The mere monotony of it was sickening. And 
yet when a Bill is brought into Parliament to 
make such abominations illegal, a noble lord, one 
of the pillars of the Jockey Club, opposes it 
because it * would affect the poorer classes far 
more than themselves,' and because it is ' a piece 
of class legislation ' (Lord Durham in the House 
of Lords, The Times, March 4, 1902). Why not 
go back to cock-fighting and bull-baiting at 
once ?"* 

* Moreover, there is a sport which, as the Rev. J. 
Stratton has pointed out, might well supersede rabbit- 
coursing — viz., whippet - racing. "It cannot be 
pleaded," he says, " that if we were to stop the coursing 
of captured rabbits we should be unduly depriving work- 
men of recreation, for ' whippets ' could be employed 
just as well in races as in chasing rabbits. Of the first 
of these sports I can speak as an eye-witness. In 


Such are the sports that make England great, 
that strengthen the muscles and sinews of a 
conquering Imperial race ! Let us rejoice, then, 
that we have an Hereditary Chamber, where 
faddists and fanatics are unknown, to throw the 
aegis of its protection over the pleasures of rich 
and poor alike, and where the high-souled, high- 
bred scions of a time-honoured aristocracy mag- 
nanimously defend the cherished institutions of 
our forefathers against the attacks both of blatant 
democrats and sickly sentimentalists ! 

The Ethics of Sport. 

It was said by a noble lord in the Upper House 
not long ago that " Physical courage and love of 

whippet-racing a course is formed, which is kept free 
for the dogs by ropes on either side. At one end, men 
have in hand the whippets that are about to compete, 
and here stands the starter, holding his pistol. * Run- 
ners-up ' now come on to the course, carrying in their 
hands a towel or scarf, and starting from the front of 
the dogs, and frantically waving the article they hold, 
and whistling, and calling to the animals, they begin to 
run towards the far end of the course, where the winning- 
line is marked out and the judge has taken up his post. 
When the right moment has arrived, the pistol is fired, 
and the whippets are liberated, and commence to travel 
the course with the speed of the wind, the ' runners-up * 
always getting well beyond the winning-point before the 
dogs overtake them, in order that the latter may pass it 
at their utmost pace. It is altogether a remarkable 
sight, and had I never seen the thing, I could not have 
believed that the little dogs would enter into the contest 
with the ardour they do." 


sport have been for centuries the distinguishing 
characteristics of the British race." Is there any 
necessary relation between these two things ? I 
take leave to doubt it — indeed, I entirely deny it 
— if by " sport " these '' blood-sports " are in- 
tended. But let us set beside this wonderful 
pronouncement the statement of a cultivated and 
enlightened Englishman who was for many years 
resident in Burmah. In that charming book, 
" The Soul of a People," Mr. H. Fielding writes 
as follows: 

" It has been inculcated in us from childhood that it is 
a manly thing to be indifferent to pain — not to our own 
pain only, but to that of all others. To be sorry for a 
hunted hare, to compassionate the wounded deer, to 
shrink from torturing the brute creation, has been ac- 
counted by us a namby-pamby sentimentalism, not fit 
for man, fit only for a squeamish woman. To the Bur- 
man it is one of the highest of all virtues. He believes 
that all that is beautiful in life is founded on compassion, 
and kindness, and sympathy — that nothing of great 
value can exist without them." 

May not our much-vaunted Christianity learn 
something from this despised religion of the 
Buddha, first taught by Gautama on the banks of 
the Ganges some six hundred years before Christ ? 
For what is it that Buddhism teaches us ? It 
teaches as a first principle to do no harm to any 
living thing; it teaches mercy without limit, and 
compassion without stint. Of the Burmese Bud- 
dhists we read: " They learn how it is the noblest 
duty of man, who is strong, to be kind and loving 
to his weaker brothers, the animals." 


Contrast with that the following, taken at 
random from among my newspaper cuttings (it is 
a paragraph from the Morning Post) : 

June 14, 1904. 
" The Carlisle Otter Hounds met at Longtown yester- 
day, and had the best hunt that has taken place in the 
Esk for fifty years. A splendid otter was put up at Red 
Scaur, and for four hours he kept men, hounds, and 
terriers at bay. He left the river several times for the 
woods and rocks, and ran the woods as cunningly as a 
fox. Eventually, when climbing a steep rock for a hole, 
he fell back exhausted into the water, and the hounds 
despatched him. His body was presented to Sir Richard 

No thought of pity here for the poor wild 
creature, hunted, harried, and remorselessly pur- 
sued by men and hounds for four mortal hours — 
in water, through woods, over rocks, ever flying 
in all the agony of fear, till the last dregs of 
strength are exhausted, and, on the very thres- 
hold of the longed-for refuge, he falls, hopeless 
and helpless, in the stream, where " the hounds 
despatched him." Such is a " grand otter hunt," 
the best that had taken place in the Esk for fifty 
years ! Truly we may smile at those holy men 
of the Buddhists who carried bells on their shoes 
in order to give warning as they walked to the 
little creatures in the long grass ; but for my part 
I own that, upon the whole, I would far sooner 
be classed with these poor sentimentalists, who 
have seen in their hearts the coming of that 
** milder day " for which the great poet who sang 
of ** Hartleap Well " so devoutly longed, than 


with that flower of muscular Christianity, the 
stalwart Britisher, so distinguished for his love of 
sport and his contempt for pain — his own 
generally excepted ! 

How, then, stands this question of sport con- 
sidered as a question of ethics ? A great German 
thinker, as we all know, believed that he had 
found the very basis of morality in the sacred 
instinct of compassion. I will not argue whether 
Schopenhauer was right or wrong in that con- 
tention, but this, at any rate, we must all admit — 
namely, that without compassion all our boasted 
morality would be but as sounding brass and as 
a tinkling cymbal. Nay, whether it be or be not 
the basis of morality, this at least is true that, 
without compassion, no morality worth having 
could exist at all. 

Let us listen for a moment to Rousseau on this 
matter : 

** Mandeville was right in thinking that, with all their 
systems of morality, men would never have been any- 
thing but monsters if Nature had not given them com- 
passion to support their reason ; but he failed to see that 
from this one quality spring all the social virtues which he 
was unwilling to credit mankind with. In reality, what 
is generosity, clemency, humanity, if not compassion, 
applied to the weak, to the guilty, or to the human race 
as a whole ? Even benevolence and friendship, if we 
look at the matter rightly, are seen to result from a con- 
stant compassion, directed upon a particular object; 
for to desire that someone should not suffer is nothing 
else than to desire that he should be happy. . . . The 
more closely the living spectator identifies himself 
with the living sufferer, the more active does pity 


And again: 

" How is it that we let ourselves be moved to pity if 
not by getting out of our own consciousness, and be- 
coming identified with the living sufferer; by leaving, so 
to say, our own being and entering into his ? We do not 
suffer except as we suppose he suffers; it is not in us, it 
is in him, that we suffer. . . . Offer a young man ob- 
jects on which the expansive force of his heart can act — 
objects such as may enlarge his nature, and incline it to 
go out to other beings, in whom he may everywhere find 
himself again. Keep carefully away those things which 
narrow his view, and make him self-centred, and tighten 
the strings of the human ego.** 

It is upon this theme that Schopenhauer be- 
comes so eloquent, and with larger view even than 
that of Rousseau, as it seems, he brings the lower 
animals within the protection of his moral system. 

** There is nothing that revolts our moral sense so 
much as cruelty. Every other offence we can pardon, 
but not cruelty. The reason is found in the fact that 
cruelty is the exact opposite of compassion — viz., the 
direct participation, independent of all ulterior con- 
siderations, in the sufferings of another, leading to 55^11- 
pathetic assistance in the effort to prevent or remove 
them; whereon, in the last resort, all satisfaction and 
all well-being and happiness depend. It is this compas- 
sion alone which is the real basis of all voluntary justice 
and all genuine loving-kindness. . . . There is another 
proof that the moral incentive disclosed by me is the 
true one. I mean the fact that animals also are included 
under its protecting aegis. In the other European 
systems of ethics no place is found for them, strange and 
inexcusable as this may appear. It is asserted that 
beasts have no rights ; the illusion is harboured that our 
conduct, so far as they are concerned, has no moral 
significance ; or, as it is put in the language of these 
codes, that there are no duties to be fulfilled towards 


animals. Such a view is one of revolting coarseness — 
a barbarism of the West. . . . Compassion for animals 
is intimately connected with goodness of character, and 
it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to 
living creatures cannot be a good man."* 

So wrote a young German philosopher some 
seventy years ago ; and all that has since happened 
in the world of thought has but served to 
strengthen his teaching as to our duty towards 
the lower animals. For since he wrote science 
and thought have become profoundly modified 
by one of those epoch-making inductions which, 
at very rare intervals, some great thinker is 
inspired to make. We have seen the establish- 
ment and the almost universal acceptance of the 
doctrine of evolution, involving as one of its 
corollaries the unity of life and the " universal 
kinship " of man with his humbler brethren — or 
cousins, if you will — of the animal world. 

I venture, then, to offer this teaching for my 
readers' consideration. In its light I would ask 
them to view these questions, and if they shall 
think that that light is the light of reason and 
truth, then to follow it wheresoever it may lead. 
I do not think it will lead them to offer fresh 
hecatombs upon the blood-stained altar of Sport. 

* My quotations are from Mr. A. B. Bullock's transla- 
tion of "The Basis of Morality," see pp. 170, 208, 218, 



It has frequently been pointed out that the 
enthusiasm for " sport " is the relic of a very 
primitive instinct in man. In that sense it is 
quite natural. In early days the sheer necessity 
of pursuing and killing animals for food, or of 
hunting down and destroying beasts of prey, must 
have become very deeply ingrained; and the 
satisfaction of that need became an instinctive 
pleasure, so much so that oftentimes nowadays 
the pleasure remains, though the need has long 

In the village where I live there is a countryman 
of a very primitive type, who goes almost mad 
with excitement when the hunt is out. Though 
over forty years of age, he has been known more 
than once to leave his horses with the plough in 
the field and career wildly after the hounds for 
two or three hours on end, careless of what might 
happen to his deserted team. At the public- 
house afterwards in the evening he recounts in a 
shrill voice every detail of the " find " or the 
" kill." " Talk about your oratorios and con- 
certs," he shouts, " there's no music, I say, like the 
^oundsT' On one occasion when the hunt was 



baffled by the fox getting into a narrow cleft in 
some rocks, and with the fall of evening the 
hounds had to be drawn off, this man positively 
remained on the spot, watching, all night; and 
when the huntsmen returned in the morning with 
a terrier, he followed the terrier as far as ever he 
could — head and shoulders — into the hole, helped 
the dog to clutch the fox, and all three — dog, fox, 
and man — suddenly freed, rolled together down 
the steep cliff-side into a stream below ! Such is 
the force of the old instinct, and the story helps 
one to realise the strange conditions of sheer 
necessity under which primitive man lived, though 
in the light of actual life and the present day it is 
ludicrous enough, even if not revolting in its 

So far from there being any necessity in this 
case to rid the country-side from a beast of prey, 
it is quite probable that the fox in question had 
been imported from Germany — as a certain num- 
ber undoutedly are — simply in order to provide 
a country squire's holiday ! A French lady, herself 
very fond of riding, told me lately that in her 
native Burgundy foxes are still very numerous, 
and have to be hunted down in consequence of 
the damage they do ; but when I informed her that 
our foxes are largely "made in Germany," and 
brought over in order to do artificial damage and 
so be artificially hunted, she laughed almost 
hysterically — as surely she was entitled to do. 

There is this futile artificiality about almost all 
our " sport." It is one thing to sit all night in 


the lower branches of a spreading tree just outside 
some little Indian village, in order to get a chance 
of shooting the dangerous man-eating tiger as he 
comes forth from the jungle, and quite another to 
pot tame pheasants at the corner of a wood, or 
half-tame grouse as they fly over the " battery " 
in which you (and a gamekeeper) are safely 
ensconced. The pheasants have been reared 
under a barnyard hen and fed by hand till they 
are as tame as fowls, and the grouse can only be 
persuaded to fly to the guns by a quarter-mile- 
long line of " drivers," who with much shouting 
and waving of flags compel them to rise from the 
heather. The gamekeeper gets his guinea tip, 
and you in return get the credit of a large bag 
secured by his kind assistance ! The force of 
humbug could no further go. The truth is, all this 
modern " sport " is a simple playing at hunting 
and shooting. 

And if it were merely playing, though it might 
be somewhat laughable, there would be no need 
to protest. But, unfortunately, there are two 
serious considerations involved, which are by no 
means " play " to those concerned. One (which 
has been touched on elsewhere) is the needless 
cruelty to the animals; the other is the serious 
ruin of our agriculture and detriment to our 
farm populations. 

The damage done by fox-hunting to fences and 
crops is obvious enough to everyone. But there 
are other complications. In a hunting district 
the tenants far and wide are invited to find homes 


for the puppies which are being reared for the 
replenishment of the pack. It is an ungrateful 
task. The puppy is a pest on the farm; it is in 
everybody's way, and it has its muzzle eternally 
in the milk-buckets. Its board and lodging are 
not paid for; but — oh, gracious compensation ! — 
the farmers who " walk puppies " are given a 
dinner at the end of the puppy-rearing season, and 
get their chance of a prize for the best exhibited. 
Partly in consideration of these favours, but more 
because they do not want to offend the gentry in 
general or their own landlords in particular, the 
tenants put up with these obnoxious additions to 
their households. Furthermore, as foxes must 
on no account be killed by private hands, even 
though they are constantly raiding the farmyards, 
the owners of the hunt offer compensation for 
fowls killed or wounded, as they also, of course, 
do for fences and crops damaged. 

But what a situation for any self-respecting 
farmer ! To see a tribe of " gentlemen and 
ladies " tearing over his land and making havoc 
of his new-sown wheat, to find half a dozen fowls 
some morning with their heads bitten off, to have 
his wife at her work tumbling over an intruding 
puppy — and then to have to go, cap in hand, to 
ask for compensation for all these things ! What 
an unworthy position for him to be in, and how 
galling to think that his life-work and the very 
dignity of his profession are so lightly regarded, 
or that the loss of them can be counted as easily 
atoned for by a few shillings. 


Growing Grouse. 

As to the grouse moors, the damage done to 
agriculture and to the popular interest in con- 
nection with them — though it might not appear 
obvious at first — is very considerable. A hundred 
years ago the moors in my neighbourhood — as in 
many other parts of the country — were common 
lands. The people had rights of pasture over 
them for their cattle and sheep, they kept down 
the rabbits, using the latter largely for food, and 
they were able to grow farm crops up to the very 
edge of the heather. To-day these same lands — 
enclosed on the plea of public benefit ! — are given 
over to grouse. The rabbits have become to a 
great extent the gamekeepers' perquisites, and 
very valuable " perks " too. They are allowed to 
swarm, and consequently they not only destroy 
what pasturage there is on the moors, but, pene- 
trating into the farms along the moor edges, they 
damage very seriously the cereal and other crops. 
I know places where I am credibly informed that 
a hundred years ago oats were commonly grown, 
but which now are quite impossible for such a 
purpose. And — such is the sway of the insti- 
tution — young farmers desiring to shoot the 
rabbits on their own tenancies are looked askance 
at and discouraged from doing so for fear they 
might possibly bag a brace of grouse ! When we 
consider the well-known expense involved in 
rearing and shooting these sacred birds, and at the 
same time the damage, just described, to ordinary 


agriculture, we have again a sad picture of the 
prevaihng futility. On some farms — especially, I 
believe, in Devonshire — where grouse are not con- 
cerned, but where rabbit-shooting is a favourite 
recreation of the landlord class — the spinneys and 
copses are allowed to become so infested with 
bunnies that general farming is greatly paralyzed 
in consequence. 

Indirectly in a similar way does pheasant- 
shooting lead to agricultural damage. In the 
present day — partly out of fear of Lloyd George 
and all his works — the tendency of landowners is 
to sell and make ready money from the old oak 
and other timber in their woods, and by planting 
plentiful spruce and fir to turn the plantations into 
pheasant covers. The number of gamekeepers 
charged with preserving these plantations multi- 
plies,* and their idea of duty consists in the 

* The following is quoted from Mr. Lloyd George's 
speech at Bedford (October, 191 3): 

" In 1851 you had in this country 9,000 gamekeepers; 
in 191 1 there were 23,000. During that period the 
number of labourers on the soil went down by 600,000. 
The number of gamekeepers went up by 250 per cent., 
and the number of labourers down by 600,000. Pick 
up a copy of the Field and look at the advertisements 
there, and you will realise the extent of the evil. Here 
is one advertising shooting rights for estates where last 
year 5,000 pheasants were shot. Here is a sportsman 
who advertises 1,000 acres, with coverts to hold 7,000 
rabbits on his estate. You try a small holding there ! 
Agriculture has had a bad time. It has had to pass 
through a time of great crisis. What would have been 
done in any other trade if it had to face the difficulties 
which agriculture had ? A great capitalist would have 


destruction of any and every winged and four- 
footed creature that might possibly be harmful 
to the pheasants or their eggs. It would prob- 
ably surprise the reader to have a complete list 
of such — and I do not presume to supply it — but 
it includes hawks and owls of various kinds, jays, 
magpies, stoats, weasels, and even the beautiful 
and probably innocent squirrel. All these fall 
victims to the gun or the trap, and, needless to 
say, the balance of Nature is seriously upset in 
many directions. For our purpose here we need 
only point out the consequent and ruinous swarm- 
ing of mice and sparrows. The destruction of 
hawks and owls in particular has led to this 
result. Clouds of sparrows, ever multiplying, 
occupy the hedgerows and descend upon the corn- 
fields as soon as ever the corn is ripe, doing count- 
less damage — to which the mice contribute their 
share. No one who has not witnessed it with his 
own eyes could believe the loss to the farmer 
from this cause alone. And again we are struck 
with the foolishness which allows this to go on 

introduced new machinery, got the best labour, and 
would have put the whole of his energy, brain, and enter- 
prise into restoring that industry. He would have gone, 
if necessary, for years without any return, and at last 
he would have pulled through. That is what has hap- 
pened in many industries in this country. What has 
happened here ? What has the great capitalist done in 
agriculture ? He has trebled the number of his game- 
keepers, he has put land out of cultivation, he has in- 
creased enormously the number of pheasants which have 
been turned on to the land." 


merely for the sake of breeding tame birds for the 
guns of very tame sportsmen. 

The pheasant is a very beautiful bird, and if 
allowed to breed in our woods under natural 
conditions, would hold its own in a modest way, 
and with the other denizens of the woodlands, 
the squirrels and the jays and the owls and the 
hawks, would render these places really interest- 
ing and delightful resorts. It seems sad that all 
these animal possibilities should be destroyed 
for the sake of what is often little more than 
human brag and bag ! As an instance of the 
unintelligent way in which these things are 
worked, it may be mentioned that even that 
stately bird, the heron, is a mark for, and is 
commonly shot down by, the gamekeeper. And 
why ? Because, forsooth ! it not unfrequently 
feeds upon trout. The trout is a sacred fish, and 
therefore the glorious heron must be shot ! 
Whether the gamekeeper wars upon the king- 
fisher for the same reason I do not know. But 
it seems quite possible that he does, for beauty 
and rarity are no defence. 

Pheasant or Peasant ? 

There is another aspect of the subject which 
must not be passed over. To-day the small- 
holding question is coming very much to the fore. 
The splendid results obtained by a combination 
of small farms and agricultural co-operation, 
already conspicuous in Denmark, and coming 


into sight in Ireland, are strongly urging us in 
England in the same direction. A large multi- 
plication of small-holders, with facilities for their 
combined action and co-operation, is to-day the 
one promising outlook for British agriculture. 
Yet it is notorious that the County Councils are 
much more inclined to hinder than to help this 
movement. And why ? There may be different 
reasons ; but undoubtedly one of the most power- 
ful is — sport. It is obvious that a population of 
small holders — particularly if associated and 
combined — would form a very serious obstacle 
to the latter. A squire with three or four farms 
under him, of 500 acres each, can easily make 
terms with his tenants, and persuade or compel 
them to favour the hunting and shooting; but 
what would he do with fifty small-holders ? It 
would be a very different pair of shoes, and he 
would have to walk (like Agag) somewhat 
delicately. The compensations, and the ob- 
structions, and the complications generally, would 
bring the old order to an end. 

Thus we come very clearly, I think, to a certain 
parting of the ways in the matter of our agricul- 
tural future in this country. It all comes to this: 
Are we going to continue for ever playing at the 
land question — that question whose vitality and 
importance we daily more and more perceive — 
or are we going to be serious about it ? We cannot 
take both ways. On the one hand, we have the 
Scottish Highlands depopulated for the sake of 
deer ; we have English farms more or less ravaged, 


and farmers terrorised for the sake of fox-hunting ; 
we have grouse-moors and pheasant-covers, with 
their concomitant evils, let to rich Americans 
and titled grocers ; and, on the other hand we 
may have a real live agriculture and a brisk in- 
dependent rural population. We cannot have 
both. If we retain the present system — con- 
ducing, no doubt, to a healthy schoolboy type 
of squire — it means a downcast, stupefied, un- 
enterprising peasantry. If we turn seriously to 
the re-establishment of agriculture, and of a real 
live, manly population on the land, that will 
undoubtedly mean the abandonment of a good 
deal that goes by the name of sport.* 

The time grows short, for indeed anxious prob- 
lems lie in the near future before this country, 
and a choice has to be made — a choice that may 
have a good deal to do with the position of 
England in the world. The country-sides have 
got to stop playing at rural life, and to take it 
up seriously. Nor, after all, would the abandon- 
ment of sport as the chief object of the country 

* See the " Report of the Land Enquiry Committee," 
vol. i, 19 1 3, which in its chapter on "Game" contains 
a severe condemnation of the practice of excessive game 
preserving. " The damage done by game is too serious 
to be overlooked. Even when the tenant farmer is fully 
compensated the damage amounts to a national loss. 
. , . Not merely is land under-cultivated, but large 
areas are altogether out of cultivation owing to the pre- 
servation of game. This land, instead of providing food 
for the people, provides sport and delicacies for the few, 
and is the source of much damage and annoyance to 
neighbouring farmers." 


gentleman's existence mean the abandonment 
or discouragement of all wild life. Rather the 
contrary. We all in these over-civilised times 
appreciate the value and importance of wild 
nature; and however effective and widespread 
we may make our agriculture, we shall surely also 
demand the establishment of extensive natural 
reserves for all kinds of free plants and creatures. 
We have seen that " sport " is not really favour- 
able to wild nature life, but only to some very 
artificial and limited forms. With the abandon- 
ment of sport in its present shape, it is possible 
that the landowners of the future — whether 
private individuals or public bodies — will turn 
their attention to the making of splendid nature- 
resorts in wood and mountain and moor, where 
every kind of creature may have free access and 
free play, unharmed by man, and open to his 
friendly companionship and sympathetic study. 



" Now Dives daily feasted and was gorgeously arrayed, 
Not at all because he liked it, but because 'twas good 

for trade; 
That the people might have calico, he clothed himself 

in silk. 
And surfeited himself on cream, that they might get 

the milk; 
He fed five hundred servants, that the poor might not 

lack bread. 
And had his vessels made of gold that they might get 

more lead : 
And e'en to show his sympathy with the deserving poor, 
He did no useful work himself that they might do the 


Ernest Bilton. 

In a tract entitled " Sport, A National Bene- 
factor/' dedicated to the sportsmen of the nation, 
Mr. Henry R. Sargent gives elaborate statistics to 
prove that large sums of money are devoted to the 
maintenance of sport, while about £25,000,000 
are annually spent upon it. Of this amount he 
estimates that wages absorb some £6,000,000. 
Rents of shootings and fishings, and the price of 
race-horses, come to £5,500,000, which sum, though 
" going principally to the upper classes, is re- 
circulated in various ways," while, " except the 
few pounds paid for dead horses, we have from 



hunting, shooting, and racing, over £6,000,000 a 
year paid for oats, meal, hay, straw, beans, and 
bran; and let it be understood that it is all British 
produce. No infernal foreign stuff is given to our 
hounds or horses, though we may eat it ourselves, 
and thus encourage Free Trade — that curse of our 

After we have thus been shown *' what a 
gigantic medium sport is for the circulation of 
money — the vertebrae {sic) of our common weal," 
we are not surprised that " to these facts and 
figures, which no sophistry can dispute and no 
method of statement darken," Mr. Sargent should 
" draw the attention ahke of sportsmen, prigs, 
prudes, and the public," and should " invite the 
consideration of Radicals and Socialists " to the 
subject. For he continues gravely: " Let these 
political step-brethren ponder well before they 
strive to injure the classes who maintain our 
sports. Let them recognise the fact that as a 
universal benefactor in bringing to the poor the 
rich man's money, a substitute for sport can never 
be found. These revolutionists should also assure 
themselves of the fact that never can they devise 
a system which will carry out the principles of 
Communism as practically and universally as that 
which has always been adopted by our resident 
landlords. Be it £5,000, £20,000, or £100,000 a 
year, which may be focussed in the one individual, 
he spends it all among the community. Yet 
these are the men who are marked for destruction 
by the Radical, the Sociahst, and the Anarchist ; 


and not the landlords alone, but all moneyed men, 
no matter of what class." 

It is small wonder, then, that the heart within 
him is grieved when he thinks of those bold bad 
men, the agitators, for they, he informs us tear- 
fully, *' as a rule, dislike the upper classes," while 
those pre-eminently wicked men, the land agita- 
tors, to a man, " hate them with ferocity." It 
was to gratify that hatred, as our author is assured, 
'* and not so much to benefit either the land 
tenants or crofters, that agitation has been got up 
in Ireland and Scotland." 

" In Ireland hunting was attacked, as was openly 
avowed, to drive the landlords out of the country, but 
happily hunting is as strong there as ever, except in 
Waterford ; and although they be not so well off as for- 
merly, we still have the landlords. In Scotland the same 
game is being played by the agitators. Although they 
strive to hide the motive under the kilt of the crofter, 
they have no desire but to injure the landlords through 
means of attacking the shooting. Hunting was also 
assailed by other parties, in alleging that cruelty was 
practised by hunting carted deer ! An outcry is also 
raised for the tourists, that in pursuit of their vocation 
they are, forsooth, to be allowed to disturb the Highland 
forests, and so scare away the wild red-deer, animals 
which the agitators know well cannot abide the sight 
of a human being, much less the slightest noise. What 
do agitators care for tourists, anyway ? Then comes 
this raid upon racing. Of a truth, therefore, it is high 
time that all sportsmen, from the peer to the pantry-boy, 
should coalesce and defend themselves in organised 
phalanx against those who, with intolerance and im- 
pertinence, gratuitously assail us." 

For just consider the money spent on racing, 
and the number of men employed. Some 8,000 


young men, says Mr. Sargent, *' are employed in the 
racing stables of the kingdom — a number equal 
to that of more than ten regiments of the line." 

" When we come to consider what has been spent upon 
the stables at Newmarket, and other places . . . the 
amount becomes absolutely appalling ! The sum has to 
be counted in thousands — and it runs into millions — all 
of which is spent in labour and material. As do the 
other branches of sport which I have dealt with, racing 
sends money flowing from the rich to the poor man's 
pocket, but at the same time nearly all classes derive 
monetary benefit through this special branch of sport." 

One seems to have heard something of gambling 
at races, but our author tells us that "it is the 
misfortune of racing, and not its fault, that 
betting should be connected with it," but he holds 
that " to stop gambling on the Turf, which has 
existed from time immemorial, is an impossibility : 
so no one need attempt to do so." With the true 
democratic feeling engendered by the " principle 
of Communism " animating sport, he asserts that 
" no man abhors gambling more than I do, and 
I would, if I could, put a stop upon the shop-boys 
and humble classes indulging in the vice, but I 
would let the others do as they choose." For the 
author is sure that " to interfere with any old- 
established institution which is working well is a 
most dangerous thing." " God knows," he ex- 
claims in despair, *' what would be the result, if 
these latter-day saints, who are now on the prowl, 
were to succeed in their attempt to interfere with 
racing, even if only so far as betting is concerned." 


Giving Employment. 

The pamphlet from which the foregoing extracts 
have been taken is not, as one might imagine, a 
huge joke, nor is it a sly attempt to pour ridicule 
upon sport. It was published by the Sporting 
League — on the executive committee of which we 
find the names of many noble lords and dis- 
tinguished commoners — apparently with the 
serious intention of furthering the fifth of the 
League's praiseworthy objects — '' Generally to do 
whatever may from time to time seem advisable 
for counteracting the pernicious influence of 
' faddists.' " It seems that we can hardly reckon 
a sense of humour among the many " inestimable 
benefits " that sport bestows on its devotees, 
however much food for laughter the publications 
of the League may give to '' faddists " and the 

Although this tract was published some years 
ago, its arguments have not deteriorated with 
age, since we find them essentially reproduced in 
an address delivered in November, 1908, at the 
Surveyors' Institute, by the President, Mr. 
Howard Martin, and commented on with approval 
by The Field. Mr. Martin, like the author of the 
tract, seriously insists on the great benefits which 
agriculture and business derive from fox-hunting. 
He estimates that on the upkeep of hunters 
£3,500,000 a year are spent. Shooting also in- 
volves a large outlay for the feeding and rearing 
of birds, and attracts much cash to the pockets 



of residents in the country. And, further, the 
prosperity due to sport radiates in all directions. 
Not merely farmers and farm-hands, but local inn- 
keepers, country fly-drivers, and village shop- 
keepers share in the stream of wealth which sport 
pours forth over the country. There are even 
tips for the inn-servants and the porters at the 
railway-stations ! Indeed, Mr. Martin declared 
that he had taken great pains to get at reliable 
facts and figures on which to ground his argu- 
ments, and his conclusion was that not only did 
hunting and the preservation of foxes generally 
benefit agricultural districts, but that hunting 
and the exercise of shooting rights indirectly 
benefited the country at large " by checking rural 
depopulation." The Field is not unmindful of 
the rich physical and moral gains which the game- 
keepers, beaters, and others ministering to sport, 
derive from a shooting-party. " They are all of 
them fond of sport; they like to see birds well 
killed, they enjoy the pick-up, they enjoy (a 
matter of no little moment) a good beaters' lunch, 
they like a good glass of ale at the close of the day, 
and are better off in mind and pocket for a few 
hours which interrupt the routine of their ordinary 
life like a holiday." 

It is amusing to note how largely the anti- 
Budget protests of the distressed Dukes and other 
wealthy persons were based on the egregious fal- 
lacy that " giving employment " is conducive to 
the welfare of the community, without regard to 
the character of the employment given. Nothing, 


for instance, could be more absurd than the 
remarks made by Lord Londonderry on August 23, 
1909, and solemnly reported in The Times : 

" What was his position if he had to curtail his ex- 
penditure, as he was toid by his Radical friends that he 
must do ? The great interest in the property to him 
was the shooting and gardens, which gave employment 
to a large number of men. Could it be said that these 
two enjoyments were to him absolutely selfish ? He 
was able to send out large consignments of game as 
presents, and was also able to benefit those out of em- 
ployment in times of depression. Therefore that 
amusement was not a selfish one." 

The fact that Lord Londonderry's shooting gives 
employment to a large number of persons is in 
truth its greatest condemnation; for though the 
individuals employed may be glad of the work, 
the community loses by the waste of time, labour, 
and money involved in such a perfectly futile 
occupation as that of game-preserving, in which 
every pheasant killed has cost far more than its 
own food- value. 

Here, again, is a delightful extract from a 
sporting paper, October 6, 1909: 

" Rearing of pheasants is a very costly matter, and 
one which I anticipate will be seriously curtailed in the 
near future if this so-called * Working Man's Budget ' 
is passed. County gentlemen will be very hardly hit 
if this iniquitous Bill becomes law, and they will conse- 
quently have to effect economies in every direction. 
One of the very first will be in reducing their shootings^ 
or in giving up rearing birds altogether. Pheasants 
which are hand-reared cost about 4s. each to feed, 
from start to finish. Thus it is easy to understand what 
sums of money find their way into farmers' and trades- 


men's pockets for the purchase of food alone, for hun- 
dreds of thousands of pheasants all over the kingdom 
have to be fed for months every year. The money 
which is expended one way or another over shooting is 
quite enormous, for it must be remembered that, in 
addition to the purchase of eggs and food, there are 
wages, clothes, and fuel for keepers; there are also end- 
less expenses in connection with rearing. When the 
shooting commences, there are beaters at 2S. 6d. and 3s. 
per day, with meat, bread, cheese, and beer. And there 
is the expense of hospitality to guests. Take it all in 
all, the old saying that each pheasant shot costs, one 
way and another, a guinea, is not far wrong. 

** Now, who benefits from all this ? The poor owner 
certainly does not, for it is all pay, pay, pay with him, 
and if he does sell his surplus birds, he will only get 
back 2s. to 2s. 6d. a bird. But the public gets the 
benefit, for they can purchase these costly-reared birds 
for the price of chickens. One day those people, the 
farmers, tradesmen, working-classes, and labourers, will 
wake up to what they have lost, when they find the 
country house shut up, and shooting, as it used to be, a 
thing of the past." 

No doubt all these crumbs of blessing fall from 
the rich man's pocket on the happy gamekeepers, 
beaters, and others who are employed by a shoot- 
ing-party. No doubt the country lads, servants, 
and porters rejoice in the tips they receive. Much 
money is spent on sport, and a great deal of it 
finds its way as wages and gratuities into the 
pockets of dependents, but to contend seriously 
that sport checks depopulation is ludicrous. It 
is an insult to our intelligence to argue that the 
country is more prosperous and supports a larger 
population when the land is portioned out in great 
estates, many of which are only farmed to the 


degree necessary to keep the game on the land; 
when the people are driven from the country-side 
into the town; when in Scotland whole counties 
have been cleared of inhabitants in order to form 
vast deer forests for the sport of a few rich men. 

The Reality. 

Of the 56,000,000 acres in Great Britain some- 
thing less than 15,000,000 are actually cultivated, 
although there are 35,000,000 acres of cultivable 
land. Thirty years ago there were more than 
2,000,000 agricultural labourers in Great Britain, 
but in 1907 they had decreased to 1,311,000. In 
the same year there were more than 17,000,000 
acres of pasture. In " Fields, Factories, and 
Workshops," Prince Kropotkin estimates that the 
soil of the United Kingdom would produce enough 
food for 24,000,000 people, instead of for only 
17,000,000 as at present, if it were cultivated as 
thoroughly as it was only thirty-five years ago, 
while if it were cultivated as thoroughly as Bel- 
gium it would produce enough to feed 37,000,000. 

Take, again, the question of Afforestation. 
The Report of the Royal Commission, issued on 
January 15, 1909, is a most important paper in 
many ways. Of special interest are the references 
made by the Commissioners to the responsibility 
of blood-sports for much of the bad condition of 
our woodlands. 

" Considerations of sport have played an important 
part in determining the method of management of our 
woods. Clean boles, with high-pitched crowns, the ex- 


elusion of the sun's rays, and ground destitute of grass, 
weeds, and bushes, are not conditions favourable to either 
ground or winged game. On the contrary, trees that 
are semi-isolated, and with low-reaching branches, and 
a wood that is full of bracken, brambles, and similar 
undergrowth, present conditions much more attractive 
to the sportsman, and it is these conditions that many 
landowners have arranged to secure. Ground game, 
too, has been the cause of immense destruction amongst 
the young trees, and thus it has, in a measure, directly 
brought about that condition of under-stocking which 
is so inimical to the growth of good timber and to the 
successful results of forestry. Nor is it possible in the 
presence of even a moderate head of ground game to 
secure natural regeneration of woodlands, the young 
seedling trees being nibbled over almost as soon as they 
appear above ground. So intimate is the association in 
the United Kingdom between sport and forestry that 
even on an estate that is considered to possess some of 
the best-managed woods in England, the sylvicultural 
details have to be accommodated to the hunting and 
shooting, and trees must be taken down in different 
places to make cover for foxes, and so on." 

If, then, the land of our country, instead of 
lying almost idle or in permanent pasture inter- 
spersed with parks and copses as cover for game, 
or left desolate as moor and deer forest, were 
covered with the small farms of prosperous 
peasants, like Belgium or Denmark, and the more 
rugged and uncultivable districts turned into 
national forests giving regular and healthy em- 
ployment to large numbers of men, would not far 
better results be obtained, even from the purely 
economic point of view ? Now we have a few 
gamekeepers and beaters, a few grooms, jockeys, 
stablemen, and horse-dealers, and other depen- 


dents of the sportsmen, and a few farmers, 
breeding horses and growing fodder for them, 
while the labourers are turned out of their native 
village for want of work and house-room, and 
drift into the already overcrowded and hideous 
towns which daily absorb more and more of the 
country, or are even forced to leave their native 
land altogether and seek a livelihood in lands 
beyond the sea, free, as yet, from the blessings of 
sport; then we should have some millions of free 
men earning an honest living in healthful sur- 
roundings, and producing a thousandfold more 
wealth for themselves than is distributed by the 
aristocrats and plutocrats, who, according to the 
protagonist of the Sporting League, so fully 
" carry out the principles of Communism." 

But it is surely needless to labour the point. 
The arguments of the economic defenders of sport 
are so grotesque that it is difficult to believe that 
a sensible man of business like Mr. Martin can 
really be in earnest in his advocacy of sport as a 
means of finding employment for the people. 

But sports, and especially blood-sports, are not 
only defended on the ground that they give 
employment, circulate money, and confer other 
economic advantages on an ungrateful nation. 
As The Field contends, there are " assets which 
cannot be calculated in shillings and pence," and 
the author of our entertaining tract challenges 
those "who, with the bigotry characteristic of all 
faddists," attack the chasing of hares and foxes, 
or the worship of the sacred bird, to " look at the 


matter straight and see what inestimable benefit 
sport is to the nation. Should we ever lose our 
love for sport," he continues, " or be prevented 
indulging it, we shall assuredly lose our manliness, 
and very likely our wealth, and then what will 
become of the nation ?" 

The word " sport " is a very loose and indefinite 
word. It covers all kind of healthful and innocent 
exercises as well as hunting, shooting, and racing. 
No one doubts that an open-air life is a natural 
and healthy life; that running and riding, and 
swimming and sailing, and other outdoor exer- 
cises and games, are good both for mind and body ; 
but the " moral and intellectual damages " of all 
blood-sports are a very serious set-off against any 
physical advantages they may have. 

A staunch defender of sport was once dwelling 
— in debate — on the glories of a day with the 
hounds, and describing how a ride across country 
in the fresh frosty air swept the cobwebs from the 
brain of the jaded city man and sent the blood 
coursing healthily through his veins. He was 
met by the rejoinder that all these advantages 
could be got by a gallop over the downs, or, at 
any rate, by a " drag " hunt. " Ah, but that's 
not all," he cried, " one must have the zest of 
running down and killing an animal, and thus 
satisfying a natural instinct." The reply that 
such an instinct was an echo of primeval savagery, 
and just one of those which hinder the upward 
progress of the race — one, also, more completely 
gratified by the butcher or the slaughter-man — 


only provoked the anger of the sportsman, and 
failed to shake his rooted belief in the blessings of 


'* Ah, Sport is the pride of the nation ! 

It made Britons the men that they be; 
It does good to the whole population. 
And knows neither class nor degree. '^ 

This doggerel, with which Mr. Sargent concludes 
his tract on sport, encourages the notion that 
blood-sports develop manliness, and that if 
Englishmen ceased to ride to hounds, to hunt the 
hare or otter, or shoot the pheasant and partridge, 
they would become effeminate. This super- 
stition ought surely to have received its death- 
blow by the events of the Russo-Japanese war. 
When we hear of the rice-eating, gentle Japanese, 
who prefer taming wild creatures by kindness to 
shooting or mangling them, performing prodigies 
of valour apparently quite beyond the capacity of 
the fiercer nations of the West, it is surely time 
to revise our conceptions of what true courage is, 
and how it is nurtured. 

And any manliness which might be nurtured by 
sport is steadily being reduced to a minimum. 
The author of our ingenuous tract descants, indeed, 
on the hardships endured by fox-hunters, grouse- 
shooters, and deer-stalkers, but says nothing of 
the noble sportsmen who merely wait till the 
pheasants are driven past them, to slaughter them 
at their ease as fast as loaded guns can be handed 
them, or of those who find a manly pastime in 
shooting pigeons let loose from cages. Shall we 


form a high opinion of the manly virtues of 
the well-to-do cowards who chase tame stags, 
or of the low-class ruffians who let frightened 
and dazed rabbits out of bags for a hopeless 
run for life before savage dogs ? The insensi- 
bility which delights in seeing a fox torn to 
pieces by hounds, or which feels no pain when that 
excessively sensitive and timorous creature, the 
hare, is seen dropping from exhaustion with a 
pack of harriers in full cry on its track, is not an 
element of true manliness, but a survival from a 
pre-human state. In the savage state the mighty 
hunter was a hero because he bravely risked his 
life for the defence of wife and child against 
strong and fierce beasts that might else have 
devoured them, or endured toil and hardship, and 
encountered danger in the search for food and 
clothing. But in England to-day hunting is an 
anachronism, which survives only because land- 
monopoly, and an unjust distribution of the 
national inheritance, have kd our "splendid bar- 
barians," in the absence of the need for work, 
through the pressure of social distinctions, and 
the want of higher mental development, to seek 
release from boredom and fill up an aimless life by 
the indulgence and artificial stimulation of sub- 
human instincts. 

Even those sports which, like cricket and foot- 
ball, take the form of health-giving games in the 
open air, and may really help to develop manliness, 
are to a large extent spoiled by the rise of pro- 
fessionalism and gambling. The great crowds 


which assemble to see other men engage in the 
hazardous game of football, and to exercise them- 
selves merely in betting on the players, are being 
trained neither in manliness nor morals. We 
should indeed do all in our power to cultivate 
manliness, but it must be the quality which truly 
answers to the name ; a fortitude capable of endur- 
ing hardships without whining, and a deliberate 
human courage which realises the danger, and 
consciously and resolutely faces it, not the mere 
brute fearlessness of animal excitement, insensi- 
bility, and stupidity. 

It behoves all, therefore, who have the interest 
of humanity at heart, and are striving to help it 
on its upward way, to set themselves resolutely 
against blood-sports in any form, as a relic of 
savagery and an enemy to true manliness, and to 
endeavour to dissociate manly and health-giving 
sports from gambling, and to abolish the pro- 
fessional. To do all this effectively we must work 
for the abolition of the parasitic classes ; we must 
strive to give all a share in the national inheri- 
tance, and such an education, mental, moral, and 
physical, as may fit them for the work of life, and 
for a wise and healthy use of the increased leisure 
in which all should share. 


By W. H. S. MONCK 

It is often maintained that hunting, whatever 
objections may be raised to it on grounds of 
humanity, is beneficial to the pubhc. The 
reasoning by which it is sought to estabHsh this 
thesis reminds one of that by which Dr. Mande- 
ville endeavoured to prove that private vices 
were pubHc benefits; but it is proposed in this 
article to examine the subject more fully. Cruel 
sports, generally speaking, are not, I believe, 
public benefits, even from the pecuniary point of 
view; but as the grounds for this assertion are not 
the same in all instances, they cannot all be dealt 
with in a single article. Nor do I propose in the 
present instance to deal with all sports that come 
under the head of hunting. I shall confine myself 
to hunting animals with hounds, the men and 
women who participate in the sport being usually 

Labour generally may be referred economically 
to the two heads of productive and unproductive. 
It is productive if it produces more than the cost 
of the labourer's maintenance (taking his past 
maintenance preparatory to his work into con- 
sideration), and unproductive if it produces less. 



And in general there is an objection to employing 
labour in a less productive manner than it might 
otherwise be employed. A great author or a 
great statesman might be able to earn more than 
his bread by breaking stones on a road, but 
everyone would regard forcibly employing him 
in this manner as a waste of labour. Horse- 
labour and even dog-labour may be similarly 
regarded; or, to put it otherwise, the labour of 
every horse and every dog represents a certain 
amount of human labour which must be regarded 
as usefully employed or as wasted, according to 
the work which the horse or dog does. If I set 
a horse to draw a big stone to the top of a hill 
and then down again, everyone would regard this 
amount of horse-labour as wasted; but it would 
be different if the same horse were employed in 
drawing stones to the site of a building where they 
were required. And in estimating the productive- 
ness or unproductiveness of labour in any given 
case, we must have regard to the value of what 
it produces to society in general, and not merely 
to the amount which the labourer receives for 
producing it. One might earn £ioo by walking 
a mile in the shortest period on record without 
producing anything of the slightest utility to 

Human labour, however, in a country like this, 
is capable of producing more than is required to 
feed and clothe the population and to supply 
them with fire and shelter. There remains a 
surplus which may be devoted to mental im- 


provemen t or to any innocent recreation . Recrea- 
tion must be regarded as a good thing, and labour 
employed in producing recreation cannot be re- 
garded as absolutely unproductive. It may, 
however, be unproductive in the wider sense in 
which I have used the term — viz., the value of 
the product does not suffice to pay for the main- 
tenance of the labourers. I mean, of course, 
the value of the labour to society. Those who 
employ it, I presume, consider it worth what they 
expend on it — to themselves. But they might be 
of a different opinion if they had less money to 

Turning then to our recreations, I think I 
may lay down in the first instance that the best 
recreations are those in which the largest number 
of persons can participate. And it is more 
especially desirable that the working-classes 
should participate in them, for the man who 
spends most of his available time at hard labour 
stands in much greater need of recreation than 
the man or woman who has little or nothing to do 
— whose ordinary life, perhaps, includes more 
recreation (or, at least, idleness) than labour. 
But working men cannot afford to keep or to 
hire horses, and seldom possess any skill in horse- 
manship; and if one of them did happen to 
obtain a mount and was able to ride successfully, 
his presence at a hunt would be resented as an 
intrusion. Hunts are recreations for the wealthy 
classes only, and this mainly results from their 
expensiveness. The poor could not join in a hunt 


without paying more than they could afford to 
pay. But money always represents labour, and 
an expensive recreation means a recreation on 
which a large amount of labour has been ex- 
pended without any useful result except this 

In these last remarks I have anticipated the 
next condition of a good recreation — viz., that 
the expenditure of labour on it should be small. 
The more labour we can spare from recreation for 
works of more abiding utility, the better. But 
hunting is very expensive, and the promoters 
are not philanthropic enough to expend the 
additional sum which might enable a greater 
number of persons to participate in it. The 
hounds consume a large amount of food which 
could be used to better purpose if they were out 
of the way. A number of persons are employed 
in looking after the hounds whose labour has no 
productive result except in contributing remotely 
to the pleasures of the chase. Kennels have to 
be erected for keeping them, and horses and 
machines are required for moving them. Great 
numbers of horses used in hunting do no other 
useful work whatever, and these are often high- 
class and high-priced horses. Then there are 
huntsmen, whippers-in, etc., to say nothing of the 
food supplied to the horses, and of the persons 
employed to look after the foxes or other animals 
intended for the chase. Fox-coverts often occupy 
land that would otherwise be valuable, and the 
preservation of deer and hares prevents land from 


being put to the best agricultural uses. That 
hunting always reduces, and very materially 
reduces, the proceeds of labour available for the 
use of the public cannot, I think, be seriously 
disputed; and in many cases labour is diverted 
from these productive uses to the production of 
recreation for others, in which the labourer 
himself does not participate. A similar remark 
is often applicable to grooms. 

Another condition of a good recreation is that 
it should do no harm to others. But can this 
be said of hunting ? As regards fox-hunting in 
particular, the fox is a mischievous animal, and 
would have been exterminated like the wolf long 
ago if he had not been preserved for the pleasure 
of hunting him. He kills young lambs, fowl, 
and anything of the kind that comes in his way; 
and woe to the farmer who revenges himself by 
killing the depredator ! Even the hare and the 
deer are far from innocuous. But the hunt 
does more mischief than the animals that are 
hunted. The hunters break down the farmer's 
fences and frighten his cattle and sheep, often 
causing the loss of his calves or lambs, and injure 
his crops, while he has no redress because the 
landlord has reserved the right of hunting over 
the land. 

The Recreation of the Few. 

We are told that hunting necessitates a large 
expenditure of money in the district. Every 
expensive amusement must do that. But if the 


most expensive amusement was the most valu- 
able to society, it would follow that the way to 
benefit society was to increase the amount of 
unproductive labour. But even with productive 
labour our great object is to obtain the desired 
product with as little labour — as little expense — 
as possible. The more cheaply we can produce 
the necessaries and conveniences of life, the 
better it will be for the people. This will hardly 
be disputed. Why, then, should we apply a 
contrary rule to recreations, and lay down that 
the more expensive they are, the more beneficial 
they will prove to society ? Granted that a hunt 
produces a large expenditure of money in the 
district, that some deserving shopkeepers and 
tradesmen make a profit thereby, and some 
honest labourers are employed at better wages 
than they would receive if the money in question 
were not expended — what then ? What would 
become of the money thus expended if there 
were no hunt ? It is almost certain that it 
would be expended in a manner more advan- 
tageous to the community. Even if the owner 
of the money wished to invest it rather than to 
spend it, he would probably do so by employing 
it in the working of a railway, or a mine, or some 
other work of public utility. If he simply 
lodged it in a bank it would enable the bank to 
lend more money to its customers to be employed 
by them for useful purposes ; and if he kept it in 
his house in bank-notes the results would be pretty 
much the same as if he had lodged it in the bank. 



It might not, of course, be expended in the 
district, but we should look to the interests of the 
kingdom rather than those of the district. But 
save in the few cases in which persons come from 
a distance to enjoy the pleasures of hunting in 
a particular district, I believe the money would 
usually be expended in the same district, and 
with greater advantage to the inhabitants, if there 
were no hunt. The comparison should not be 
made between the district with this expenditure 
and the same district without it, but between the 
district with this expenditure and the same dis- 
trict with the same sum expended in a different 
manner. Would the same sum, if otherwise ex- 
pended, be likely to prove less beneficial to the 
district ? I think not. 

Hunting is, therefore, objectionable as a recrea- 
tion on many distinct grounds. It affords recrea- 
tion to only a small number of persons, these 
being the very persons who are least in need of 
recreation. It involves the expenditure of a 
large amount of labour (direct or indirect) as 
compared with the amount of recreation produced ; 
and, passing over the sufferings of the hunted 
animal altogether, it involves no small amount of 
injury and accidents both to men and animals. 
But, in the wider view of the modern economist, 
it is also objectionable as cultivating a callousness 
of feeling and disregard of suffering which is in 
the last degree undesirable — and especially as 
cultivating this feeling among the class from 
which our legislators are largely drawn. They 


become inured to regard with indifference not 
only the sufferings of the hunted animal, but 
those of other animals and even people which they 
witness. If there were less hunting and shooting 
among the class from which the majority of the 
legislature is drawn, the humanitarian cause would 
receive a fairer hearing in Parliament, as would also 
be the case if flogging were abolished at the public 
schools, where the members of this class are for 
the most part educated. But what are we to 
think of education at a school like Eton, where 
flogging is supplemented by a pack of beagles ? 
I would rather " teach the young idea how to 
shoot " than how to hunt, or how to flog. How 
often do we hear the argument — stated in some- 
what more circuitous terms — " I hunt, and there- 
fore hunting must be right. I was flogged, and 
therefore flogging must be right !" 

We have only to break down the barriers 
between the different classes somewhat farther, in 
order to put an end to all such class-amusements 
as hunting undoubtedly is. In cricket, for ex- 
ample, we see gentlemen and professionals playing 
side by side and vying with each other as to who 
will do the best service for his county, while 
thousands of spectators of all ranks assemble to 
watch the play. But in games conducted on 
horseback the public can rarely participate. 
When, like polo, they are conducted in a con- 
fined space, the public can look on, but they 
cannot keep the hunt in view for any considerable 


In dealing with sports and their cost, there is 
a principle which we must never lose sight of: 
Sports do not produce money or wealth. Their 
function is merely to distribute money or wealth 
when otherwise produced. Is the mode of dis- 
tribution which we are considering a good one ? 
It is certain that those who decided on expending 
their money in this manner were not actuated 
solely or chiefly by considerations of public 
utility; and considering how difficult it often is 
to determine what mode of expending a given 
sum will on the whole prove most beneficial to 
the public, the chance of our hitting on an 
almost perfect distribution, when we are looking 
at the whole subject from a totally different 
standpoint, seems rather remote. This unde- 
signed coincidence may have taken place, but 
it is one which, in the circumstances, requires to 
be strictly proved. I assume that the majority 
of sportsmen are not fools or bad people. How 
would such men and women as they are have 
spent this money if the hunting-field had been 
closed against them ? And would this new mode 
of spending it be better or worse for the public 
than the present one ? 



" The Game Laws are the tribute paid by the over- 
worked and over-taxed people of England to the Lords 
of the Bread — to the predatory classes who have appro- 
priated the land and depopulated the hills and valleys, 
to increase their own selfish pleasures. The destruction 
of the Game Laws is as inevitable in the long-run as was 
the destruction of Slavery, the repeal of the Corn Laws, 
the overthrow of an alien Church in the sister isle; but 
the fight will be a stiff one between the freemen of this 
country and our savage or only semi- civilised aristocracy 
and plutocracy.*' — Robert Buchanan. 

By the common law of England and Scotland, 
following that of Rome, wild animals in a state 
of nature are common to all mankind. A legal 
writer says: "By the very nature of the case 
wild animals cannot be made the subject of that 
absolute kind of ownership which is generally 
signified by the term property. The substantial 
basis of the law of property is physical possession, 
the actual power of dealing with things as we see 
fit, and we can have no such power over animals 
in a state of nature." 

It is, for instance, impossible to confine 
pheasants, partridges, grouse, etc., to a particu- 
lar estate, and, taking fences as they are, the 



same may be said of the great majority of hares 
and deer in this country. Moreover, the in- 
dividuals of each species are so much ahke that 
it is impossible for anyone to identify them as 
his property. All legal writers without exception 
acknowledge that living wild creatures are not 
property. Nevertheless, the Game Laws were 
placed on the Statute Book to establish a pro- 
prietary right in those animals, and, as Mr. 
Barclay, Sheriff of Perthshire, once told a House of 
Commons Committee, they " put game, which 
was not property, in a higher scale than property." 
They did this by means of a system of licences for 
killing and selling game, and by making trespass, 
which, in itself, is only a civil offence, a criminal 
offence of great magnitude. 

At an early stage it was discovered that a free 
right of hunting was incompatible with the 
preservation of game in sufficient numbers to 
afford enough sport to the monarch and the 
nobles, and accordingly a series of laws known 
as the Forest Laws were enacted, by means of 
which certain districts were reserved for pur- 
poses of sport to the sovereign. The increase of 
population soon rendered protection necessary 
for areas outside the Royal Forests if the supply 
of game was to be kept up, and the result was 
a series of enactments known as the Game Laws. 
It will thus be seen that the right of taking wild 
animals, which originally belonged to the whole 
people, was filched from them by a selfish and 
privileged class, who, we need hardly add, stole 


the common lands, by means of " Enclosure 
Acts," in much the same manner. It is strange 
but true that, except in Ireland, and in the north 
of Scotland, the people have come to acquiesce 
more readily in the robbery of the land than in 
the robbery of the game. 

The Act which is considered the first or oldest 
of the Game Laws became law in the thirteenth 
year of Richard II., and it is interesting to ob- 
serve the reasons for placing it on the Statute 
Book which the legislators of the time advanced. 
Said they: 

" It is the practice of divers artificers, labourers, ser- 
vants, and grooms to keep greyhounds and other dogs, 
and on the hohdays when good Christian people be at 
church, hearing Divine service, they go hunting in parks, 
warrens, etc., of lords and others, to the very great 
destruction of the game." 

We know hundreds of districts, from Kent to 
Caithness, of which the same might be written 
to-day, thus showing that the Game Laws have 
utterly failed to obtain a moral sway over the 

The term " game " includes hares, pheasants, 
partridges, grouse, black-game, ptarmigan, and 
bustards. In addition to these there are a number 
of animals to which one or other of the game 
statutes extends protection. These are rabbits, 
deer, roe, woodcock, snipe, quail, landrails, and 
wild duck. Although there is no property in 
wild animals, it has been settled by the Courts 


that the right to pursue or take game is a private 
privilege. In England this privilege belongs to 
the occupier of the soil, in the absence of any 
agreement to the contrary, and in Scotland to 
the owner. In the former country agreements re- 
serving the game to the owner are almost universal. 
The occupier or the owner of the soil has the right 
to claim any game killed on his land ; but such is 
the curious state of the law that the poacher 
who takes away what he kills is not guilty of 

The Game Laws are held in abhorrence by the 
majority of people, chiefly for two reasons: first, 
on account of their injurious economic effects, and, 
second, because of the harsh punishments which 
they inflict for trivial offences. By their action 
large tracts of land have been rendered almost 
totally unproductive, cultivation has been aban- 
doned and immense numbers of labourers thrown 
out of employment; the crops of farmers near 
preserves, although often on a different estate, 
have been injured or even destroyed; ill-feeling 
has been engendered between the authors and 
the victims of game preserving, and not infre- 
quently the landless, workless labourer has been 
driven to break the law in order to procure food, 
thus landing himself in violence, or even murder. 
In addition to all this, the irrepressible sporting 
appetite of the people, sustained by a conscious- 
ness of having moral right on its side, leads to 
a reckless love of breaking laws which are unjust, 
unfair, and injurious. No believer in democratic 


government, no lover of order, can uphold 
statutes which demoralise those who live under 

Administration of the Game Laws. 

But bad as are the Game Laws in essence, the 
manner in which they are administered makes them 
far worse and more hateful. It is notorious that 
a large number of Justices of the Peace are game 
preservers. The people who break the Game Laws 
almost all belong to one class, the people who 
sit in judgment on them almost all belong to 
another and hostile class. The effect of this ar- 
rangement is made very clear by the following 
questions and answers: — 

When Mr. J. S. Nowlson was asked by a Select Com- 
mittee of the House of Commons, " Do game preservers 
ever act as magistrates in cases of offences against the 
Game Laws ?" he repUed, " Yes, but not in their own 
cases. For instance, if A has got a case B will take it, 
and if B has got a case A will take it." Again, " In 
case a man was brought up for an offence against the 
Game Laws, and there was a certain amount of evidence 
given, do you think he would stand a greater chance of 
conviction than if it were an offence against some other 
law ?" Reply: " We do consider so." 

Everybody acquainted with agricultural la- 
bourers is aware that a strong feeling prevails 
among them that justice is not to be expected in 

* See the " Report of the Land Enquiry Committee," 
vol. i. (1913), Ch. "Game." Also, for some descriptions 
of Highland "Clearances," the Rev. Donald Sage's book, 
"Memorabilia Domestica," and " Gloomy Memories," 
by Donald McLeod. 


cases of offence against the Game Laws. A House 
of Commons Committee reported that " very 
few of the Game Law convictions are regular in 
point of form, and they would have to be set 
aside had they gone before the Judges." It was 
a common occurrence for justices to sentence 
poachers to longer terms of imprisonment than 
the law allowed. For this and other reasons the 
Home Office has liberated a vastly greater pro- 
portion of offenders against -the Game Laws than 
of any other class of offenders. An impartial 
observer might be excused for thinking that the 
penalties for poaching are high enough to satisfy 
the most exacting. For instance, the penalty for 
trespass in pursuit of game in the daytime is a 
fine of two pounds with imprisonment in default, 
and if the offence be committed by a party of five 
or more the penalty is five pounds each with im- 
prisonment in default. In the case of night 
poaching, the penalty for a first offence is three 
months' imprisonment with hard labour, and at 
the expiration of that period the offender is com- 
pelled to find sureties for his good behaviour for 
a year, or undergo a further imprisonment for 
six months with hard labour. For a second 
offence the penalty is six months' imprisonment 
with hard labour, and at the end of that time the 
offender must find sureties for his good behaviour 
for two years or undergo a further twelve months' 
imprisonment with hard labour. For a third 
offence the penalty is seven years' penal servitude. 
But this is not all. If a party of three or more 


enter land at night for the purpose of taking 
game or rabbits, and if any of the party be armed 
with gun, crossbow, firearms, bludgeons, or any 
offensive weapon, each and everyone of such 
persons shall be liable to penal servitude for 
fourteen years. 

Yet there are persons who think that those 
laws are not severe enough. A witness, for 
instance, before that Select Committee cheerfully 
proposed that poaching be made felony all round. 
It is needless to say that the harshness, or rather 
barbarity, of the punishment in store for them 
renders poachers but little inclined to yield them- 
selves up when they find themselves confronted 
by gamekeepers. This accounts for much of the 
bloodshed of which we read in connection with 
poaching. It also accounts for much of the 
sympathy which is felt for poachers by all classes 
of the population except game preservers and 
their agents. 

The Gamekeeper. 

Among the many unsatisfactory products of 
the Game Laws not the least objectionable is 
the gamekeeper. Mr. Joseph Arch once said: 
" Keepers are generally taken from the louting 
men one sees idling about." The knowledge 
that their masters sit on the Bench of Justice, 
and that their evidence will be believed in prefer- 
ence to that of trespassers, frequently emboldens 
them to acts of the worst brutality. Some years 
ago, in charging a Grand Jury at the Nottingham 


Assizes on certain indictments for malicious 
wounding and murder, arising out of poaching 
affrays, Mr. Justice Vaughan Williams com- 
mented on the way in which these private police 
of individuals go out armed to the teeth, accom- 
panied by savage dogs, and without any code of 
instructions to regulate their proceedings. Dr. 
Alfred Russel Wallace, referring to arrests, etc., 
said: "I believe myself that in three cases out 
of four, the gamekeepers act illegally." What- 
ever the men may have been originally, it is 
certain that their method of living demoralises 
the great majority of keepers. They are often 
selected at first because of their brutality. A 
humane man would be useless in such a post. 
Head-keepers, who are generally well paid, as a 
rule act honestly by their employers, but it is 
a fact known to the writer that the more poorly 
paid ones not only take game for their own use, 
but frequently sell it in order to provide them- 
selves with drink. In almost every district in 
which game is preserved it is well known to the 
working people that the keepers will purchase, 
on behalf of their masters, eggs which they know 
to have been stolen. 

In August, 1900, a show of gamekeepers' dogs 
was held at the Royal Aquarium, London. We 
quote from a London paper : 

" I would rather have one of these dogs with me in a 
night row than three men," said Mr. W. Burton to a 
representative yesterday. He was gazing fondly at five 
ferocious-looking bull mastiffs in the Westminster 


Aquarium, where a show of gamekeepers* dogs is being 
held. " If they were unmuzzled, " he added, " one alone 
could tear a strong man to pieces in five minutes. At 
Thorne3rwood Kennels, Nottingham, I have trained these 
dogs to help the gamekeeper in catching night poachers, 
and although they are kept muzzled a man has no chance 
with them. If he attempts to run away he is knocked 
down instantly and kept a prisoner until the keeper 
arrives. They are the same breed of dogs that were used 
for bull-baiting in the last century." 

With long imprisonment, or even penal servi- 
tude staring him in the face, and the prospect 
of immediate violence from man, or dog, or both, 
it is not to be wondered at that the poacher often 
turns out " a rough handful." All will remember 
Kingsley's lines: 

'* There's blood on your new foreign shrubs, squire, 
There's blood on your pointer's feet; 
There's blood on the game you sell, squire, 
And there's blood on the game you eat." 

It is probably not too much to say that hundreds 
of encounters between poachers and gamekeepers 
occur every winter in this country. Except in 
cases where life is lost, the London papers do 
not report them, and even then they do not 
always do so. Local papers, published in districts 
where game is preserved, are the sheets to search 
for such records. 

It may be mentioned here that in the neighbour- 
hood of London gamekeepers are much less aggres- 
sive and brutal than in remote districts. Near 
London they seldom attempt to arrest poachers. 
Acting under orders, presumably, they content 


themselves with following poachers and identi- 
fying them if possible, for the purpose of sum- 
moning them afterwards. Moreover, the punish- 
ment meted out to poachers in the neighbourhood 
of the Metropolis is much lighter, as a rule, than in 
the provinces. This is believed on all hands to be 
due to the criticism and denunciation of harsh 
sentences by Reynolds's Newspaper and other 
Radical organs. Such is the effect of this criti- 
cism that some years ago, after the occurrence of 
some bloody affrays, orders were given on some 
estates near Croydon, that in future poachers 
were to be simply ordered off the land, and were 
not even to be summoned unless they resorted to 
violence. These orders were afterwards with- 
drawn, but the fact that they were given shows 
that game-preservers are fearful of losing their 
privileges if public attention is directed to them. 
In reading reports of poaching affrays it is well 
to remember that it is almost invariably the game- 
keeper's side of the case that is presented to the 
public. If the poacher escapes, he of course is 
never heard from. Even if he be caught he is 
seldom believed, and his description of the en- 
counter seldom reported. There are exceptions 
to every rule, but it is the sincere belief of the 
present writer that, when they find themselves 
confronted by keepers, the vast majority of 
poachers would go away quietly if allowed. The 
abolition of the power of arrest would, therefore, 
be a long step in the direction of peace. The 
poacher, whether he poach for food or for sport, 


never believes that he is guilty of a moral crime. 
For this reason, the gamekeeper will never com- 
mand the respect which is almost invariably 
accorded the policeman, even by the most hard- 
ened criminals. Policemen, as a rule, are humane 
in their treatment of prisoners, and chiefly because 
they do not suffer from any sense of personal 
wrong. With gamekeepers the case is widely 
different. From the depredations of the poacher 
they suffer, or think they may suffer, in repute or 
convenience, or even in pocket. In the circum- 
stances it is little wonder that they frequently act 
brutally. As there are exceptions to all rules, 
there are, of course, exceptional magistrates who 
occasionally let light in on the dark ways of 
game - preserving. The following paragraph, 
culled from the Airdrie Advertiser of March 5, 1898, 
reveals a case in point : 

"Charge against Gamekeepers. — On Thursday, 
before Sheriff Mair, at Airdrie, Robert Connor M'Guire, 
steelworker, 14, Watt Street, Mossend, pleaded guilty 
to a charge of daylight poaching. He was fined 
3 IS., including expenses. Accused complained to the 
Sheriff that he had been assaulted by the two game- 
keepers, and that he still bore marks of their violence 
upon his arms, which he was desirous of showing. The 
gamekeepers were called in and appeared to treat the 
accusation lightly, one of them remarking that * it was 
immaterial to him.* The Sheriff sent for the Inspector 
of Police, whom he directed to take the gamekeepers 
into custody and M'Guire to make the charge of assault 
against them." 

We may here mention that all appointments of 
gamekeepers are invalid unless registered with the 


Clerk of the Peace. Very many of them are not 
so registered, and, therefore, their arrests, and 
attempted arrests, of poachers are illegal. The 
truth is that on many preserves nearly all the 
young labourers are keepers' assistants. Many of 
them are desirous of getting appointed as keepers 
so as to escape from hard work, and these are 
often anxious to distinguish themselves by brutal 
conduct towards not only poachers, but the most 
harmless trespassers. 

The Poacher. 

And what sort of man is he against whom all 
this machinery of law and authority and brutality 
is directed ? We refer to the poacher. There is 
probably no better-abused individual on earth; 
but abuse is not argument, and still less is it 
evidence. If the reader will turn to the report 
of the Select Committee of 1846, he will see that 
after carefully sifting the evidence the con- 
clusions arrived at were: (i) That the poacher 
was generally far superior to the average agri- 
cultural labourer in intelligence and activity; 
(2) that the great majority of poachers would 
break no law other than the Game Laws; (3) that 
the poacher was not regarded as a criminal, either 
by himself or the people amongst whom he lived ; 
and (4) that this opinion was shared even by the 
game-preserver, who not infrequently offered him 
employment as gamekeeper. The reader may not 
be aware that many poachers become keepers. 


The well-known writer, " Stonehenge," remarks 
on this: 

" Reformed poachers, if really reformed, make the 
best keepers, but it is only when worn out as poachers 
that they think of turning round and becoming keepers." 

It is worthy of remark that every writer on 
sport of any ability (as far as we are aware) feels 
himself constrained to say a good word of the 
poacher. We have just now at our elbow a well- 
known and standard work, entitled " The Moor 
and the Loch," by John Colquhoun. Writing of 
poachers in bulk (so to speak) the author de- 
nounces them in unmeasured terms, but when he 
comes to speak of individual poachers whom he 
had known, his tone is altogether different. We 
quote from vol. ii., p. 146: 

"When I first knew Gregor More, of Callander, his 
poaching days were over, for he had a mortal disease 
from having lain out in the fields one cold night. He 
still managed to saunter down the river and give those 
beautiful sweeps with his line and salmon fiy which were 
the admiration of the whole clachan. ... I looked at 
him with some curiosity; a nobler specimen of manhood 
I never beheld. Upwards of six feet high, of the finest 
herculean proportions, and straight as an arrow, he 
seemed equally formed for activity and strength. There 
was nothing mean or sneaking about his manner. His 
face was open and manly, and, despite the sad discipline 
to which he had exposed both mind and body, he had 
not effaced the natural and sure marks of force and truth 
from his countenance. Although wan and emaciated^ 
there was a coolness, a will to dare in his eye, backed 
by his tremendous shoulders and still powerful frame, 
so that I could not look at him without thinking of the 
words, ' Majestic though in ruins.' 



" Very unlike Gregor More was . Strange'to say, 

he had once been a placed minister of the Kirk (answer- 
ing to a beneficed clergyman), and although he often 
returned late on the Saturday night, after being all the 
week poaching the deer, his sermons were both clever 
and popular. I met him once when traversing a wild 
range of hills, and was impressed both with his general 
information and the courtesy of his address." 

Some Results of Game-Preserving. 

Among the evils incidental to game-preserving, 
not the least is the destruction of rare and beauti- 
ful birds and beasts. I remember how there was 
on exhibition in the window of a Liverpool tax- 
idermist a splendid specimen of the golden eagle, 
measuring 7 feet 2 inches from tip to tip of the 
wings, and 3 feet 2 inches from beak to tail. It 
had built its eyrie in a small cave in the face of a 
high cliff at Benula Forest, Glencannich, Beauly, 
N.B. It was watched by a keeper, who descended 
the face of the cliff after dark, killed the mother 
bird, and carried away the only eaglet from the 

In most preserves steel traps are set for the 
purpose of catching birds or beasts of prey. When 
they are caught they are often allowed to linger 
in agony for hours, or even days before being 
despatched. The writer has seen dozens of hares 
which had each lost a leg in these traps. When a 
fox is caught in this manner it will often gnaw the 
leg off. 

The horrors of the battue have been described 
and denounced so often that little need be said 


about it here. It is simple butchery, often very 
clumsily performed. For days after a battue 
hares may be seen with broken backs, dragging 
their hind-quarters after them among the bushes, 
and pheasants may be seen running about with 
broken wings trailing the ground. Pigeon-shoot- 
ing from traps is justly condemned, but the evils 
attending it are small compared with those 
inseparable from the battue. Mr. Frederick Gale, 
in " Modem English Sports," says: " At the Gun 
Club Grounds and similar places, which are fre- 
quented by noblemen and gentlemen, the cruelty 
is comparatively nil to that occasioned by the 
battue." It is within our knowledge that the 
battue is condemned even by gamekeepers. They 
cannot be expected to speak their minds freely 
before their employers, but if questioned privately 
many will be found to condemn it as affording no 
test of marksmanship, no opportunity for exercise 
or excitement, and as being wasteful of the game. 
The animals that escape wounded often become 
emaciated, or even die of hunger before being 

The game preservers are never tired of arguing 
that the preservation of game increases the food- 
supply of the people. To this there are two 
answers, either of which is crushing. In the first 
place, with the exception of rabbits, game is 
scarcely ever touched by the masses, for the very 
good reason that its price is far beyond their 
ability to pay. In the second place, that which 
they do buy occasionally, rabbit, in order to come 


within their reach has to be sold at a price far 
below its cost of production. This is equivalent 
to saying that the same amount of time, energy, 
capital, etc., employed in the production of any 
other sort of food, would increase the food-supply 
to a much greater extent. 

It seems impossible to obtain an accurate esti- 
mate of the loss and damage occasioned by game- 
preserving. We know, however, that the Scottish 
deer forests alone cover an area of over two million 
acres, and the best authorities assure us that all 
land which will rear deer will rear sheep. The 
latter are vastly more profitable to the com- 
munity, although not always so to the landowner. 
But all must be sacrificed to game-preserving. For 
this purpose are footpaths closed, and labourers 
compelled to walk long distances to their work. 
For this are children debarred from playing or 
picking flowers in the woods or the glens. For 
this is the factory-worker or the slum-dweller 
forbidden to breathe the pure air of the hills. 
For this are vast areas kept barren, whilst millions 
hunger for the produce which they might have 
yielded, and willing hands, only too anxious to 
till them, are driven to seek employment in the 
already overcrowded docks. 
And we think ourselves a practical people ! 



There is one most regrettable result of killing 
for sport (and more especially of game-bird 
shooting) which, though important in itself, is 
yet frequently overlooked in discussing the 
question. This is the destruction of wild life in- 
volved, other than those forms directly slaughtered 
for pleasure. Sir Harry Johnston has written 
forcibly of the necessity of insisting on the 
aesthetic value of wild animals in our landscape, 
and the desirability of preserving the species 
that remain, because they are beautiful and 
intellectually stimulating;* and the ordinary 
Nature lover, not to mention the naturalist, 
cannot but regard with detestation the ceaseless 
war of extermination waged by the devotees of 
" shooting " on so many of our finest and most 
interesting birds and mammals. Indeed, numbers 
of so-called bird-lovers not actively opposed to 
shooting might change their views if they would 
but reflect seriously on the damage to our native 
fauna, and the consequent dulling of the charm 
of our countryside, which game-preserving inevit- 

* " British Mammals," 1903. 



ably brings in its train. For — putting on one 
side the moral issue — our British " game birds " 
cannot compare, for interest and beauty, with 
many of the species which are sacrificed on their 
behalf, or rather on behalf of the thoughtless folk 
who slaughter them for amusement. Moreover, 
it must be remembered that we do not even 
possess any great tract of natural country as a 
National Park or reserve, such as Yellowstone 
Park in the United States of America, or its 
Canadian equivalent, or the grand Swedish Wild 
Park in Lapland. 

The gamekeeper, generally speaking, is the 
most ruthless of beasts of prey. If he is a good 
gamekeeper his great aim is to see that there is 
always a plentiful supply of partridges in his 
master's fields, pheasants in his master's coverts, 
or grouse on his master's moors, as the case may 
be. With this object in view he endeavours to 
extirpate all wild life which either is, or is sup- 
posed by him to be, in any way inimical to the 
birds in his charge; and, unfortunately, owing to 
the abysmal ignorance of the average keeper in 
all that relates to Nature's intricate interplay of 
what we choose to call useful, harmless, and 
harmful forms, the list of supposed enemies is a 
long one.* Moreover, the special position occupied 

* I can speak from a fairly extensive acquaintance 
with keepers in various districts ; and (to quote impartial 
opinion) a pheasant-shooting friend lately observed to 
me, while discussing the absurd destruction of kestrels: 
" The English gamekeeper is a fool: there's nothing to 


by the gamekeeper gives him the power (a power 
all too frequently exercised) of shooting, either 
for amusement or profit, any strange or rare bird 
that strikes his fancy, besides making it very 
difficult to restrain his murderous propensities 
even in the case of legally protected species. On 
the whole it may safely be said that gamekeepers 
as a class are just as unappreciative of the true 
beauty and interest of animal life as are their 
masters the sportsmen. To quote one who, among 
all living writers, is probably at once the most 
sympathetic and penetrating observer and the 
most delightful interpreter of wild bird life : 
" The gentleman, like the gamekeeper, cannot 
escape the reflex action of the gun in his hand. 
He, too, has grown incapable of pleasure in any 
rare or noble or beautiful form of life until he 
has it in his hand — until he has exercised his 
awful power and blotted out its existence."* 

Some " Vermin." 

To come now to the species which are thus 
warred upon on the plea of facilitating " sport." 
Taking the mammals first — and the list of our 
British mammals is at best a miserably scanty 
one — we find that, leaving out of consideration 

be said for him." And Mr. J. G. Millais, another 
sportsman, in his great work on "British Mammals,'* 
remarks that "gamekeepers are often among the most 
unobservant of men" (vol. ii., 1905). Cf. also, e.g., 
Seebohm's " British Birds " (Falconidae, passim). 
* W. H. Hudson, " The Land's End," 1908. 


such exceedingly scarce ones as the wild cat, 
polecat, and pine-marten, and such admitted 
marauders as the stoat and rat, there still remain 
among those classed by gamekeepers as " ver- 
min," the badger, the weasel, and the hedgehog: 
the first perhaps the most interesting of all our 
wild quadrupeds, the two latter certainly not 
the least interesting and charming. Yet although 
the best authorities are agreed that the harm 
done by the badger to " game" is almost infini- 
tesimal, the keeper is usually his sworn foe.* 
Badgers also suffer at the hands of the fox- 
hunting fraternity, being destroyed because they 
are said to be harmful to young foxes, and because 
they sometimes open up fox-earths which have 
been "stopped" in readiness for the hunt.f 
This, it may be noted, affords another example of 
the falseness of the argument so often advanced 
that fox-hunting is *'* fair" because the fox has 
every chance left him to escape. Fortunately 
the badger is a very shy, nocturnal animal, 
exceedingly wary and clever, and in some few 
districts the landlords are enlightened enough to 
see to it that he is left in peace. 

The fiery little weasel — ruthlessly persecuted — 
is one of the farmers' most trusty allies, for its food 
consists chiefly of voles, mice, and rats. As for the 
hedgehog, deadly enemy of slugs and snails and 

* See, e.g., Sir A. Pease, " The Badger," 1896. 

t Similarly, one of the reasons often given for otter- 
hunting is that otters eat trout and salmon, and so 
lessen the angler's chance of killing more of them. 


insects though it be, the fact that it will suck eggs 
if it gets the chance suffices to make its corpse a 
welcome addition to the gamekeeper's museum — 
that collection of the rotting bodies of birds and 
small mammals nailed or hung on to a tree or 
fence, with which all who have rambled much in 
the woods and fields of our country-side must be 
familiar. What a motley company may often 
be seen thus strung up on one of these gibbets in 
some upland hedgerow or woodland glade : a selec- 
tion of stoats, weasels, moles, hedgehogs, crows, 
jackdaws, magpies, jays, owls, sparrow-hawks, 
kestrels, merlins, and so forth, according to the 
locality. The writer has actually seen — and it is 
not an isolated instance — that delightful bird, 
the green woodpecker, occupying a place among 
these trophies of the keeper's prowess; and with 
regard to another victim, the harmless nightjar 
(Wordsworth's *' buzzing dor-hawk, twirling his 
watchman's rattle about "), whose strange, churn- 
ing note is so pleasant a feature of an evening 
ramble in woody or heathy districts, one keeper 
told Mr. Hudson: ** I don't believe a word about 
their swallowing pheasants' eggs, though many 
keepers think they do. I shoot them, it's true, 
but only for pleasure."* The kestrel again — the 
expressively named ''windhover," which hangs 
aloft poised so gracefully against the wind — 

"As if let down from heaven there 
By a viewless silken thread " — 

* " Adventures among Birds," 1912. 


a little hawk which preys almost exclusively on 
voles, mice, insects, etc., is a valuable friend to 
the farmer, and certainly no enemy to the game- 
keeper. Yet large numbers are destroyed by 
the latter; for as Charles St. John, himself an 
ardent sportsman, wrote in his well-known 
'*Wild Sports of the Highlands":* ''It is im- 
possible to persuade a keeper that any bird 
called a hawk can be harmless; much less . . . 
that a hawk can be useful." And much the same 
still applies, it is shameful to relate, to other 
extremely useful species, such as the barn-owl — 
which farmers ought to encourage — and the 
tawny-owl, etc. Worse than this: incredible as 
it may sound, there are several well-authenticated 
cases of nightingales having been destroyed by 
keepers because their singing kept the pheasants 
awake at night ! And Mr. Hudson, among other 
instances, records a case where a whole heronry 
was blotted out, the birds being shot on their 
nests after breeding had begun, because their 
cries disturbed the pheasants; and yet another, 
where a whole tract of woodland estate was de- 
nuded of doves, woodpeckers, nuthatches, black- 
birds, missel and song thrushes, chaffinches, and 
many other smaller birds, all of which were shot, 
any nests found being also destroyed. The 
keeper said he was not going to have the place 
swarming with birds that were no good for any- 
thing, and were always eating the pheasants' food-t 

* Ninth edition, 1907. 

t " Adventures among Birds," 191 2. 


Though these, of course, are extreme cases, they 
are notable as showing to what lengths this folly 
may be carried — what monstrous sacrifices are 
made to the insatiable Moloch of game-preserving. 
Besides such striking birds as the brilliant, 
eager jay, the elvish magpie, the crows, the fierce 
sparrow-hawk, and the bold little merlin, which 
are still, relatively speaking, common, and the 
various beautiful birds of prey — the kite, the 
harriers, the peregrine falcon, and many others 
now almost exterminated — the British craze for 
game-preserving has led to the bitter persecution 
of two especially fine species, both of which have 
been almost extirpated in Southern England, at 
any rate — the raven and the absolutely innocent 
buzzard. The former, round which centres so 
much of myth, legend, and story, is now seldom 
met with, save in a few secluded mountainous 
districts, though less than forty years ago the 
head-keeper of Exmoor Forest was able to record 
the destruction of fifty-two of these grand birds 
in a single year;* while the Common Buzzard, 
which in virtue of its voice, appearance, large size, 
and grandeur of flight, is about the nearest 
approach to the eagle still left to us, is now, alas ! 
exceedingly uncommon. Not long ago, while 
wandering near Dartmoor, I was fortunate enough 
to watch six buzzards floating high in the air 
together, circling round above one another in 
great spirals, and uttering from time to time 
their wild plaintive cry: an extremely rare sight 

* W. H. Hudson, ** Birds and Man," 1901. 


in England to-day, and one the beauty and 
impressiveness of which I shall not soon forget. 
Any true nature -lover who has watched these 
splendid soaring birds on the wing will readily 
understand what an irreparable loss the game- 
keeper's ban on them is inflicting on our land- 
scape, more especially in these days when, in 
spite of the trammels of modern civilisation, an 
ever-increasing number of people are learning to 
appreciate the joy of a more direct communion 
with wild nature, and, incidentally, are dis- 
covering the truth of the poet's words: 

"... that such beauty varying in the Hght 
Of Hving Nature, cannot be portrayed 
By words, nor by the pencil's silent skill; 
But is the property of him alone 
Who hath beheld it, noted it with care. 
And in his mind recorded it with love." 

The Killing Mania. 

Next to the gamekeeper, who, after all, is but 
the instrument of the game-shooter, and the 
" collector " (whose crimes in respect of our 
rarer avifauna would fill a volume), the worst 
sinners are those gun-sportsmen whose amuse- 
ment is the wanton destruction of wild life, 
without even the flimsy pretext that their victims 
are eatable. Nothing comes amiss to them — 
from seals,* and rare birds like the osprey and the 

* Here is one instance selected from many. "During 
a yachting cruise in the summer of 1902, the suite ac- 
companying ' very distinguished persons ' gleefully took 


great northern diver, to sea-gulls, shore-birds, 
and waders, and even poor little pipits and 
thrushes. These are the folk of whom Sir Harry 
Johnston has truly observed that " they are 
often not nearly so interesting, physically and 
mentally, as the creatures they destroy." They 
are dingy-souled Philistines, to whom a dead bird 
in the hand is worth more than many living birds 
in the bush. Some even profess themselves bird- 
lovers.* A West Country farmer's wife once 
observed to me: " My husband is a great lover of 
birds; he's got several cases full of stuffed ones 
that he shot himself." This is as though one 
should prefer an ancient Egyptian mummy to the 
chance of watching and studying a living breath- 
ing being of that race. Little wonder if, when 
thinking of this senseless and careless and callous 
destruction of so much feathered lovehness, we 
should feel inclined to echo Robert Burns' s angry 
words : 

" Inhuman man, curse on thy barb'rous art, 
And blasted be thy murder-aiming eye." 

Moreover, the " deep-rooted instinct," about 
which we hear so much, can easily be diverted to 

advantage of their proximity to little frequented Scotch 
islands, to shoot and leave, to kill uselessly without 
excuse, quite a large number of the seals which still 
remain in Scottish waters " (Sir H. H. Johnston, op. ciU). 
* Perhaps from similar causes to those which lead Sir 
Alfred Pease, in defending his hunting habits, to inform 
us, "I hunt, paradoxical as it seems, because I love the 
animals" (see "The Badger," 1896). 


a far finer, more beautiful, and more useful 
pleasure than the absurd, antiquated, and useless 
one of killing for sport. I can speak from my 
own personal experience in saying that the actual 
thrill and joy of tracking and watching wild 
creatures for study and observation is far superior 
to that which is derived from tracking and watch- 
ing them for slaughter. In other words, hunting 
animals to see how they live is finer sport than 
hunting them to see how they die. 

It seems, therefore, that the real issue is be- 
tween Natural History as opposed to Unnatural 
History. On the one hand, grouse, pheasants 
("semi-domesticated exotics"), and partridges 
(very likely imported), reared at immense cost 
for slaughter: on the other, all these infinitely 
more varied and natural and gracious creatures — 
the true sylphs and elves of our woodlands — whose 
glad, free beauty so thrilled Meredith, and drew 
from him that impassioned cry : 

" For joy in the beating of wings on high, 

My soul shoots into the breast of a bird, 

As it will for sheer love till the last long sigh." 

And all this wild, winged life possesses a twofold 
beauty: for it is beautiful both in itself, and — as 
poetry all down the ages has borne witness — in its 
influence on the mind of man. 



Undoubtedly we are a complacent and unimagi- 
native nation, which defects probably explain and 
excuse certain indictments brought against us by 

Complacency and practicality may have raised 
us commercially and politically, but they do not 
breed the finer graces, and they are apt to mis- 
represent us. No one, for example, would say 
that the English or British race was callous or 
cruel in comparison with other races. On the 
contrary, its reputation for kind - heartedness 
stands higher than that of its compeers and 
rivals. Yet this same race is engaged to-day in 
the practice and pursuit of the most brutal sport 

Of bull-baiting, of cock-fighting, of various bar- 
barous pastimes of our fathers we know nothing 
now save by hearsay; but it is safe to say that 
whereas bull-baiting and cock-mains have long 
been prohibited by law, the most cruel sport re- 
mains unpenalised and undiscouraged ; nay, even 
protected by the law. I can only attribute the 

* This article originally appeared in the Daily Mail 
of February 8, 1905. 



continued existence of fox-hunting to that lack 
of imagination to which I have referred. 

It is necessary for one making a desperate pro- 
test of this kind against an inhuman sport to 
dissociate himself at the outset from sentiment- 
alism and the sentimentalist. Death is inevit- 
able. We must look facts in the face. The law 
of life is Death, and Nature has ordained that 
the strong should prey on the weak throughout 
her serried ranks of organic life. The senti- 
mentalist will shriek in vain against the destruc- 
tion of animal life, simply because he is shrieking 
against an ultimate law of Nature. Nature de- 
stroys ruthlessly, and so does man, who is part of 
Nature. But what civilisation may and must 
demand, what humanitarianism should and does 
demand, is that this inevitable accomplishment of 
death should happen with the least possible pain. 

Death, in short, is necessary, but torture is not. 
And fox-hunting is framed to produce the maxi- 
mum of torture to the quarry. A fox is " vermin," 
they say; then in Heaven's name let it be classed 
as vermin, and destroyed as such. But what 
happens is precisely the reverse of this. Foxes 
are carefully preserved in order that they may be 
hounded to a hapless, miserable death, the con- 
ception of which transcends any ordinary imagina- 
tion. Gamekeepers and farmers, to whom foxes 
are a grave nuisance, are paid not to destroy them 
painlessly by gun or otherwise. Gamekeepers, 
indeed, receive so much for each fox found on their 


The object, then, of the hunt is to keep foxes 
from being destroyed in the natural course of 
that warfare between item and item of human and 
feral life, and to preserve them for a more cruel 
fate. Let us see how cruel that is. The game- 
keeper on land which is announced to be hunted 
on a certain day has carefully during the night 
earthed up a fox's hole so that the beast cannot 
get back to it in the morning. At a certain hour 
pack and company arrive, and the master learns 
from the gamekeeper that he is likely to " find " 
in such and such a spinney. Thither all proceed, 
gay ladies and fresh-coloured men, and presently 
hounds give tongue and are in cry. They have 
" found." 

Immediately the field is in commotion. Gay 
ladies and fresh-faced men thunder off irregu- 
larly. The fun has begun; they are going to 
enjoy themselves. But what is the fun ? To each 
of those amiable people it no doubt is involved 
in the music of the hoimds, in the company, in 
the cross-country ride, in the excitements and 
hazards and humours of the run. To the master 
and his huntsmen it involves in addition the 
responsibility for keeping hounds in hand — a 
matter of considerable skill. 

But what does it involve to the fox ? This 
sleek, furry creature that steals chickens and 
ducks, and young pheasants and partridges, who 
is a nuisance to farmer and gamekeeper alike, 
but to preserve whom is made worth their while — 
this poor " vermin," having no " earth " to hide in, 



is flying for his life before a pack of strong dogs, 
any one of which would be capable of answering 
for him. 

The Death. 

He has (it may be) three or four hours' run 
before him, with that terrible bell-tongued chorus 
behind him. One can conceive him towards the 
close, his strength failing, even his vulpine cun- 
ning, his eyes starting from his head and glassy 
with terror, his jaws dropping foam, his heart 
like a hammer that must break, straining — strain- 
ing, helplessly, hopelessly towards some covert 
that he knows now is not. And upon that at 
last the more merciful rush, the feeble turn at bay 
of an exhausted creature, the mellay of hounds, 
and — Death. Is it possible to conceive that to a 
creature any greater torture could be applied ? 

Is it really necessary to deal with that fatuous 
argument — the argument of minds that are either 
wholly dishonest or ignobly unintelligent — that 
the fox is ** vermin," and that he enjoys the run ? 
Surely it has only to be stated to glare at one in 
all its farcical absurdity. I know of a household 
in which it is considered cruel to allow the cat 
to play with the mouse she has caught, and yet 
this household — men and women — is engaged in 
hunting other "vermin" — the fox — three days a 
week during the season. 

Is it credible ? But it is true. Women, who 
I have no reason to suppose are not kind daughters 
and affectionate mothers, will gleefully boast how 


they were in at the death — to see, that is, one 
poor furry creature torn into pieces by a swarm 
of hounds while in the throes of exhaustion, of 
terror, and of despair. Is it lack of imagination, 
or is it worse ? 

And that time-worn defence of all sport is no 
defence here — I mean the plea that men are im- 
proved in health and certain lofty animal qualities 
by the pursuit of this savage sport. For, to speak 
plainly, the fox is wholly unnecessary. The 
essentials of hunting are the hounds, who enjoy 
themselves, the horses, who as a rule must be 
admitted to do likewise, unless over-ridden, and 
the hunters, to whom the gratification of the hunt 
is the ride through brisk air, the cross-country 
fences, the air of adventure surrounding the rim. 

All these essentials are found equally in a drag 
hunt. Those who have had experience of drag 
hunts (from which an animal quarry is elimi- 
nated) will admit that there is as much pleasure 
in them as in the fox-hunt. Nay, they are more 
advantageous, and for two reasons. In a " drag " 
you are sure of a run ; you are not dependent on 
the accident of a " find." And, secondly, you 
have the benefit of knowing when you may order 
your change to meet you, and thus avoid inflicting 
pain on your horse. The drag obviates all cruelty 
in a sport which is otherwise invigorating and 
virile. Therefore, in Heaven's name, let the 
masters of hounds, who are also men of feeling, 
cease to preserve the fox, and cultivate the 


The abolition of the Royal Buckhounds did 
much to throw into disfavour the abominable 
sport of hunting a tame stag, and it is known 
that aristocratic circles do not look with favour 
on the atrocious sport of coursing. Is it impos- 
sible to enlist the sense of the upper classes in 
this country in the abolition of fox-hunting ? 



"If asked why I had gone elephant-hunting at the 
age of nineteen, I would say that it is simply because I 
am the lineal descendant of a prehistoric man." 

F. C. Selous. 

Apparently there is a considerable public who 
like reading books about the slaughter of what 
is called " big game," or we should hardly have 
such a continuous supply of them issued from the 
press. As, however, vanity is apparently no small 
incentive to the deeds of the big-game hunters, 
it is perhaps a fair deduction that the same feeling 
may have something to do with the publication 
of their records, and that such books are in fact 
not always speculations on the part of publishers, 
but are sometimes printed by the authors them- 

Certainly the unbiassed reader might be excused 
for agreeing with the sentiment expressed in the 
preface of one of the exponents of the art, when he 
writes: " I shall guard myself against the desire to 
make the reader be present at the death of my 
500 victims, which would be very monotonous to 
him, for after all, though circumstances may vary, 
the result of a hunt after wild animals is always 

the same." 



A study of several books of the sort certainly 
confirms the impression that the subject is a very 
monotonous one. The illustrations also share 
the same want of variety, for almost all represent 
dead animals, varied only by the arrangement 
of guns and naked savages about them. They 
apparently illustrate nothing at all but the one 
fact — which one would think was neither sur- 
prising nor creditable — that the perpetrators, 
with the aid of Express double-barrelled rifles, 
Winchester six-shot repeaters, revolvers, ex- 
plosive bullets, smokeless powder, rockets, the 
electric projector, Bengal lights, etc., and a 
band of natives to load and work the machinery, 
succeed in destroying the lives of some more 
beautiful animals. As it is expressed by one 
author: " At the very spot where a minute before 
there rose, in all its savage beauty, this majestic 
conception of Nature, the largest and the most 
powerful of the animals of the earth, nothing 
more than a mass of grey flesh appears in the 
blood-spattered grass." The climax is reached 
when we see the " hero," as sometimes happens, 
sitting with proud mien on the top of some huge 
animal, not appearently realizing that the same 
juxtaposition which brings out the size of the 
animal is apt to suggest also the smallness of the 
man whose greatest pride and delight can be 
wantonly to destroy so grand a creature. We 
must beg to differ with this writer's enthusiastic 
exclamation that elephant-hunting is certainly 
" the greatest and noblest sport in the world." 


Rather we should be inclined to call it the meanest 
and most contemptible abuse of man's superior 

Explosive Bullets. 

Of the means employed to accomplish the 
hunters' ends let us say a few words. Explosive 
bullets we know have been universally condemned 
in human warfare on account of their barbarity, 
but against defenceless animals they are still held 
to be legitimate by so-called sportsmen. Thus, 
we read : " The impact causes the bullet to expand. 
Often it breaks into pieces or else takes a mush- 
room shape, the head in its tremendous velocity 
dragging and catching with its edges the flesh and 
viscera ; and it often happens in the case of delicate 
animals that upon leaving the body it makes a hole 
as big as the crown of a hat." That a sportsman 
writing for other sportsmen should feel no shame 
in making such a statement shows only how we 
take our morality from our surroundings, and how 
demoralising in this case the surroundings must 
be. After this, we cannot expect to find much 
chivalry displayed in this " the greatest and 
noblest " of sports, and we cannot be surprised 
to find the author telling us with pleasure how 
in pure wantonness he hid behind a tree within 
10 yards of a female elephant and lodged a bullet 
in her heart. This, however, is outdone by an 
incident in another volume we remember, where 
we were told that the finest stag was shot by a 
certain Grand Duke, " while it was asleep, at 


20 yards." In fact, most big-game hunters seem 
— perhaps not unnaturally — to suffer from a 
similar want of chivalry. We find Mr. Seton- 
Karr, an authority on the subject, relating how 
one of his party imitated the young fawn's cry 
of distress, when, as he says: "The immediate 
result was to entice within range numbers of 
Virginian deer or blacktail, most of them does, 
and eight fell victims to this somewhat un- 
sportsmanlike device." Whether such treachery 
is to be considered " unsportsmanlike " must 
depend on what meaning we attach to the word, 
but if it means " unlike a sportsman," we fear the 
word is misused here. 

Of the impartiality of the big-game hunter in 
his slaughter we have many instances. Any 
creature that can be shot is fitting game for him, 
and he delights in shooting it. One well-known 
writer gives the following list of creatures killed by 
him during six weeks : 

" Five elephants, 2 lions (male), 8 leopards, 2 wart 
hogs, 1 1 great spotted hyaenas, 7 striped hyaenas, 4 oryx 
beisa antelope, 10 awal antelope, 2 common gazelle, 
2 bottlenose antelope, 2 gerenuk antelope, i lesser koo- 
doo, 18 dig-dig antelope, 4 bustard, 2 small bustard, 
2 sand grouse, 3 genet, 14 guinea fowl, 22 partridge, 
4 hares, 30 various." 

Thus 155 animals — mostly wholly unoffending 
creatures — were slaughtered by one man in six 
weeks. We are assured that on a second expedi- 
tion much the same bag was made, but that he 
then got no elephants (which are rapidly being 


exterminated in that country). To further whet 
the appetite, the would-be young slaughterer is 
favoured with a view of a room in the mighty 
hunter's house, which is decorated (or disfigured) 
apparently from floor to ceiling with the heads, 
skulls, and skins of these slaughtered animals — 
" trophies," they are called — with a lavishness 
hardly inferior to that exhibited in a butcher's or 
poulterer's shop at the season when we com- 
memorate the birth of Christ. 

Temporary Remorse. 

Of the actual cruelty involved in this kind of 
amusement — for it professes to be nothing more — 
we may give a few specimens : 

** My victim, which I see only through a curtain of 
raindrops, visibly suffers, her flank swelling out abnor- 
mally and then subsiding; she is shot in the lungs. We 
pass round her in such a way that she shall not see us 
approach, but she seems more taken up with her suffer- 
ings than with us, and at the moment I am going to fire 
she falls down on the grass, still breathing. I draw 
near and give her the coup de grace behind the ear. 
Around her is a large pool of blood, which the rain carries 
in a red stream towards the bottom of the little valley. 

" It is the male at which I fired first of all. As I after- 
wards found, his shoulder was broken. Maddened by 
pain and his feeble efforts, the animal roars with rage, 
and, blowing furiously with his trunk, tears at every- 
thing within reach. . . . His cries and groans become 
so terrible that they must be heard a mile away." 

" Poor beast ! . . . Never have I been able to con- 
template so near the death of an elephant in all its 
details. She is lying eight yards from us in the full sun- 
light at the edge of the water, which is tinged with red. 


and we look on in silence while life leaves the enormous 
body; her flank heaves, blood flows from breast and 
shoulder, her mouth opens and shuts, her lip trembles, 
tears flow from her eyes, her limbs quiver; with her 
trunk hanging down, her head low, she sways to right 
and left, then falls heavily on one side, shaking the 
ground and spattering blood in every direction. . . . 
All is over ! 

" Such a spectacle is enough to make the most hard- 
ened hunter feel remorse. It seemed to me that I had 
done a bad action. Several times have I said to myself, 
upon seeing those splendid animals sufler, that I ought 
to place my rifle in the gun-rack for ever." 

That a man who has spent several years in 
little else but the destruction of animals for his 
own pleasure should feel even a temporary remorse 
is evidence of the brutality of this particular 
scene, but we do not know how to characterise 
the combination of easy sentiment, costing 
nothing, with the cruel selfishness which immedi- 
ately turns to the account of fresh slaughter. 

The Hunter's Joy. 

Or take the following bloody tale, told with 
evident pride: 

" As I came round a bush, I saw at the bottom of a 
kind of natural alley in the forest, framed in like a picture 
by the trees, a massive old female rhinoceros. She was 
facing me, and standing half in sunshine, half in shadow. 
From a bush protruded the hind-quarters of another. 
The distance was about seventy yards. I at once sat 
down and ' drew a bead ' upon her chest. However, she 
swerved off, and the two broke away across the forest, 
crash after crash, dying away in the distance, marking 
their course as they receded. I followed, and once 


again caught sight of the animal standing motionless 
behind a bush; I fired, and the shot was followed by a 
couple of short, angry snorts, the stamp of heavy feet, 
and an appalling crashing which advanced and then 
swept round toward the left. A shot delivered standing, 
from the shoulder, was followed by two shrill squeaks, 
as the animal tottered a few paces and fell over on its 
side; I shall not easily forget that cry, a sound most 
disproportionate to the size and bulk of so large a crea- 
ture, but which I instantly recognised, from Sir Samuel 
Baker's description, as the death-cry of the rhinoceros; 
and the hearing of it filled me with a hunter's joy !" 

The hunter's joy is in the death-cry of his 
victim, and he glories in the fact that he is the 
descendant of a Hne of prehistoric savages. What 
more evidence can we want of the barbarity of 
the whole proceeding ? 

Or, again, take and ponder the following ex- 
tract from Ex-President Roosevelt's recent book, 
" African Game Trails " : 

** Right in front of me, thirty yards off, there appeared 
from behind the bushes, which had first screened him 
from my eyes, the tawny, galloping form of a big mane- 
less lion. Crack! the Winchester spoke; and as the 
soft-nosed bullet ploughed forward through his flank 
the lion swerved so that I missed him with the second 
shot; but my third bullet went through the spine and 
forward into his chest. Down he came, sixty yards off, 
his hind-quarters dragging, his head up, his ears back, 
his jaws open, and lips drawn up in a prodigious snarl, 
as he endeavoured to turn to face us. His back was 
broken, but of this we could not at the moment be sure; 
and if it had merely been grazed he might have recovered, 
and then, even though dying, his charge might have 
done mischief. So Kermit, Sir Alfred, and I fired, 
almost together, into his chest. His head sank, and he 


Is it right, seriously speaking, that people who, 
by their own admission, are still under the influence 
of very primitive impulses, should be allowed to 
take their pleasure in this barbarous fashion 
without some voice being raised on behalf of the 
innocent victims ? 

" Live Bait." 

It appears that there are various ways of hunt- 
ing the lion. One is to track him to some thick 
part of the jungle, and having set fire to it at one 
end to wait at the other with several guns until 
the terrified beast rushes out and meets his fate. 

Another method, which seems to us a specially 
dastardly one, is the tying up of some domestic 
animal — donkey, bullock, or goat — as a "live 
bait " for the larger camivora, while the sports- 
man lies in wait, safely concealed, to shoot the 
" game " or afterwards to track him out to his 
lair. We read in one instance as follows : 

*' I woke up to find myself being vigorously shaken 
by the watchman. A terrible struggle was going on 
between the donkey and the lion, but a cloud of dust 
completely obscured them, notwithstanding the brilliant 
light of a tropical moon. The lion succeeded in breaking 
the ropes and carrying off the struggling animal for some 
distance. The latter, however, gaining his legs, emerged 
from the cloud of dust and made slowly for the camp. 
Before he had gone many yards the lion had got him 
again, and this time he killed him without giving me a 
chance of aiming at all on account of the great cloud of 

This practice is also mentioned in the Hon. J. 
Fortescue's " Narrative of the Visit to India of 



Their Majesties King George V. and Queen Mary," 
where we read : 

" Overnight, or in the afternoon, bullocks are tied up 
in likely places for a tiger, generally at the edge of thick 
jungle; and in the morning the shikaris (or gamekeepers, 
as we should call them) go round to see if any of these 
have been killed." 

Mr. Fortescue mentions that " the reports of 
the morning of December 26 set forth that, 
though sixty bullocks had been tethered in the 
jungle on the previous night, only one had been 
killed." The paucity of the kills on this occasion 
is explained by the fact that many tigers had 
already been shot and the " game " was becoming 
scarce. It is not stated how many oxen in all 
were thus sacrificed. 

Now we submit that, whatever may be said in 
defence of big-game shooting in general, this usage 
of domestic animals — animals towards whom in 
all civihsed countries it is recognised that man- 
kind has moral, and often legal, obligations — is a 
very shocking malpractice. 

That the actual suffering witnessed and chroni- 
cled is a small part only of the whole is every- 
where obvious. These books teem with cases in 
which the animals escape wounded, to linger for 
days, or perhaps weeks. We read, for instance: 
" I kill a big male (elephant). As to the other 
male and a female, I wound but lose them both 
after a day's pursuit. However, as the male 
seemed to me to be doomed, I send four men in 
search of it. They return without result after 


passing the night out of doors. I found this 
elephant dead on the 26th " — that is, after seven- 
teen days in a climate where bodies do not lie 
long on the ground. We can quite believe that 
this author does not overstate the case when he 
candidly admits: " A good hunter, however care- 
ful, adroit, or well seconded he may be, must 
count one out of every two animals which he 
pursues as lost, owing to the many difficulties of 
his profession. This is the minimum, for how 
many wound or miss three or four animals before 
killing one!" 

Primitive Instincts. 
It remains only to say a few words about the 
morality of this form of amusement. It is often 
said amongst humane people that hunting is only 
a relic of more barbarous times, but it seems to 
us to be something more than this. It may have 
taken its origin with primitive man, but it has 
certainly made important developments of its own 
in recent times. There is little in common 
between the act of the primitive savage, who, for 
the sake of his food, pitted his strength and skill 
against an animal, and the wholesale and reckless 
slaughter, aided by the appliances of modern 
science, and carried on merely for the pleasure 
of killing. Acts otherwise disagreeable and dis- 
gusting may sometimes be justified by the motive, 
but a search through several volumes devoted to 
this sport has failed to reveal any more exalted 
motive than the desire for trophies — as they are 


called — to show to admiring friends, and the love 
of killing. " At daylight we start on the trail, 
on which there are spots of blood, followed by 
spirts and large clots. When we see that, ' the 
heart laughs,' as the natives say, and victory is 
almost certain." We learn that " to bring down 
an animal as big as an omnibus horse with each 
barrel, to roll it over as though it were a rabbit, is a 
pleasure which one does not often experience"; 
and we are also told how the author had " the 
pleasure of looking at a magnificent maneless lion 
stretched in a pool of blood." 

Of the real motive there can unfortunately be 
little doubt, and the excuses that are made by 
the perpetrators for their murderous work are 
hardly worthy of serious consideration. 

The moral defences for this kind of sport are of 
the same nature as the famous snakes in Iceland — 
there are none; and the flounderings of the big- 
game hunter, when he tries to defend himself, 
show that his ethics and theology are of the same 
primitive kind as are his other springs of action, 
handed down from barbarous ancestors. 

One writer quoted above tells us, of course, 
that he gives place to no one in his " love of all 
dumb creatures collectively " — whatever that may 
mean — which he seems to think justifies his put- 
ting bullets into them individually whenever he 
has a chance, and letting them crash through the 
forests, as he describes, in pain and terror, very 
likely to die in agonies days afterwards. 

Another excuse urged is that the hunting instinct 


in us has been given us by God, and therefore 
should be followed. It apparently never occurred 
to the writer that pity for the unoffending animals 
" butchered to make a sportsman's holiday " may 
also be a God-planted instinct, no less than the 
love of slaughtering them, though apparently he 
vastly prefers the latter. 

That blood-sports develop and encourage a 
manly spirit, necessary for the progress of the 
race and especially of the British nation, is per- 
haps the most common. But here, surely, at the 
outset we need a definition of terms. If manli- 
ness is sjmonymous with indifference to the 
suffering of the weaker, and selfish gratification 
at the cost of others, if it is manly to blow a piece 
" as big as the crown of a hat " out of the side 
of a timid deer, just for amusement, then cer- 
tainly this sport is eminently manly. If, on the 
other hand, the qualities which differentiate the 
civilised man from the barbarian are a greater 
regard for the rights of the weak and a deeper 
sympathy with the feelings of others, then without 
doubt these amateur butchers should be regarded 
as an anachronism in civilised communities. 

The chocolate-coloured native, we read in one 
book, " would not and could not understand that 
we had not come to fight elephants and lions like 
gladiators in the arena, but to overcome them by 
superior tactics without more risk than was neces- 
sary, and by the judicious handling of arms of 
precision " (italics ours). Certainly we think the 
naked savage here shows a finer instinct for what 


may be noble and manly in warfare than his so- 
called civilised brother. For the gladiator who 
has the hardihood to meet his enemy in fair single 
combat, at mortal risk to himself, we can feel some 
admiration, even though the game is a barbarous 
one ; but for the butcher who skulks behind a tree 
and slays his innocuous victim by mechanical con- 
trivances with as little risk to himself as possible, 
we can feel nothing but contempt. " In a short 
time," we are told by our hero, " four elephants 
were lying dead, shot through the head or heart, 
never having caught sight of us. The remainder 
of the herd decamped." A glorious achievement 
in the estimation of the perpetrators apparently, 
but one to which we personally should be ashamed 
to see our name attached. 

The Blood Lust. 
In the preface to one of the books from which 
we have quoted, we are told the story of a certain 
French hunter who, having been made an officer, 
was asked by a friend if he intended now to give 
up killing lions, to which he replied: "It is im- 
possible ; it seizes me like a fever, and then I abso- 
lutely must go and lie in wait." This does seem 
in some cases to be the most charitable explana- 
tion of a strange mental condition, and in view 
of the harm which these so-called sportsmen are 
doing, it is becoming a question for the com- 
munity, whether they should not be temporarily 
confined, like others suffering from dangerous and 
destructive mania. With shooting-galleries and 


a continuous series of tin elephants and antelopes 
they could be allowed to indulge their mania quite 
harmlessly, and in the evenings they could write 
up their diaries and chronicle their wonderful 
adventures without fear of contradiction. 

Apart from the question of the cruelty involved, 
we have now the sad spectacle of the rapid 
extermination of many animals merely for the 
selfish gratification of a very small section of the 
public. The recent efforts of Governments to 
save them are not likely to have much effect. 
They are not based on any humane principles, of 
course, but are directed apparently to preventing 
the total extermination of certain animals, in order, 
at any rate partly, that a favoured few may still 
have the pleasure of killing them under game 

Thus The Times drew attention to the fact that 
in Nyasaland for a £io licence you may kill 6 
buffaloes, 4 hippopotamus, 6 eland, and so on 
up to a total of 94 animals. For £10 you may 
buy the privilege to deprive the world of i ele- 
phant, while you may kill 4 for £60. The writer 
of the article from which we quote tries to show 
that the ivory of the tusks will pay expenses. 

We may quote here the following from an 
article by Sir H. H. Johnston, on " The Protection 
of Fauna, Flora, and Scenery," in the Nineteenth 
Century J of September, 1913 : 

" An agitation is again arising for leave to destroy the 
big game of Africa — especially in Rhodesia, Nyasaland, 
and East Africa — wherever there are possibilities of 


European settlement. The plea advanced now is that 
the big game, more than man or the smaller mammals and 
birds, serve as reservoirs for trypanosomatous or bacillic 
disease-germs, which are then conveyed by tsetse-flies 
or ticks to the blood of domestic animals and man. 
This argument should be examined with scientific im- 
partiality, because so great is the blood-lust on the part 
of young Englishmen or their Colonial-born cousins that 
they are for ever trying to find some excuse to destroy 
whatever is large or striking in the local fauna." 

The only method which would have any likeli- 
hood of really protecting the animals would be to 
make it penal for anyone to kill any of them, or 
to have in his possession any skin, skull, or other 
" souvenir." Without their trophies and without 
the possibility of recounting their exploits to their 
admiring readers, the big-game hunters would 
lose their main stimulus, and might devote their 
time and energies to some more useful and less 
barbarous pursuit. 


The Eton Hare-Hunt. 

We are often told that the true way to teach 
kindness to animals is " to begin with the young." 
Let us see how they begin with the young at the 
chief of English public schools. 

** I have told the Master of the Beagles that he must 
not do anjrthing which is unlawful. I am sure that he 
would not do anything cruel willingly. But until the 
common sense of the nation expresses itself in the shape 
of a law forbidding the hunting of wild animals, I cannot 
interfere with the Beagles, which are here an old institu- 

Such were the terms in which Dr. Warre, when 
Headmaster of Eton, expressed his refusal-— his 
first of many refusals — to substitute a drag-hunt 
for the hare-hunt now in favour at Eton College ; 
and his argument has since been the subject of 
much humanitarian protest, and of not a few 
memorials to the Governing Body. But there is 
one point concerning Dr. Warre's remarks which 
seems to have almost escaped attention — that 
the Eton Beagles are not, after all, so old an 
" institution " as his words would imply, in the 
sense of being recognised and encouraged by the 
school authorities, for, as a matter of fact, they 



have only been openly permitted since about 
sixty years ago, and they were not actually 
legalised until 1871. In the old Eton Statutes of 
Henry VI. it was ordained under the head of 
" Discipline " that " no one shall keep in the 
college any hounds, nets, ferrets, hawks, or falcons 
for sport," and for this reason the authorities long 
refused to give official recognition to the Beagles. 
In the reign of Dr. Keate the hunt, according to 
Mr. Wasey Sterry's book on Eton, was " unlawful, 
though winked at," and this state of affairs con- 
tinued until about the middle of the past century, 
when the Beagles began to be regarded as on a 
par with cricket and football. At last, under the 
revised Statutes framed by the new Governing 
Body, which was called into being by the Public 
Schools Act of 1868, all earlier regulations were 
repealed, and the Beagles became legalised, having 
thus passed through the three successive stages 
of being prohibited, winked at, and recognised as 
" an old Eton institution." 

It may seem strange that the sporting pro- 
pensity of schoolboys should have thus defied and 
survived the ban placed upon it by the pious 
Founder ; but the history of Eton shows it to have 
been always the home of cruel sports. We are 
told by Sir H. Maxwell Lyte, the historian of the 
school, that " sports which would now be con- 
sidered reprehensible were tolerated and even 
encouraged at Eton in the seventeenth and 
eighteenth centuries." " No work," he says, 
" was done on Shrove Tuesday after 8 a.m., and 


at Eton, as elsewhere on this day, the practice 
prevailed of torturing some live bird. The 
college cook carried off a crow from its nest, and, 
fastening it to a pancake, hung it up on the school 
door, doubtless to serve as a target." Then, 
again, there was the once famous and popular 
ram-hunt. " The college butcher had to provide 
a ram annually at election-tide, to be hunted and 
killed by the scholars," the unfortunate animal 
being hamstrung and beaten to death in Weston's 
Yard. Even in the nineteenth century such 
sports as bull-baiting, badger-baits, dog-fights, 
and cat and duck hunts, were " organised for the 
special edification of the Eton boys." 

It is from these good old times that the present 
hare-hunt is a survival, and though it may now be 
conducted, as Dr. Warre has stated, in a legal and 
" sportsmanlike " manner, this certainly was not 
the case at a period no more remote than the 
headmastership of Dr. Balston (1857-1864), as we 
learn from Mr. Brinsley Richards' well-known 
book, " Seven Years at Eton," from which the 
following passage is quoted : 

"It is not pleasant to have to write that the Beagles 
were often made to hunt a miserable trapped fox which 
had lost one of its pads. Those who bought maimed 
foxes, as more convenient for beagles to hunt than strong, 
sound foxes, should have reflected that they might 
thereby tempt their purveyors to mutilate these animals. 
How could it be ascertained whether the fox supplied 
by a Brocas ' cad ' had been maimed by accident or 
design ? It was an exciting thing for jumping parties 
of Lower Boys, when out in the fields they saw the 
beagle-hunt pass them in full cry — first the fox, lolloping 


along as best he could, but contriving somehow to keep 
ahead of his pursuers; then the pack of about ten couples 
of short, long-eared, piebald, or liver-streaked hounds, 
all yelping ; then the Master of the Hunt, with his short 
copper horn; the Whips, who cracked their hunting- 
crops and bawled admonition to the dogs with perhaps 
unnecessary vehemence; and lastly the Field of about 

It is specially worthy of note, as bearing upon 
a later controversy, that Mr. Brinsley Richards 
states that " runs were far better when a man was 
sent out with a drag." The drag is thus proved 
to have been in successful use at Eton almost as 
long ago as when the Beagles were first openly 

The prohibition once being cancelled, the popu- 
larity of the hare-hunt grew apace until it reached 
its zenith in the reign of Dr. Warre, when the 
doings of the hunt were regularly reported — in 
choice sporting jargon — in the Eton College 
Chronicle, so that the whole school, even to the 
youngest boys, was made aware of them. A 
reference to old numbers of the Chronicle will 
show plenty of instances. Here are one or two 
extracts taken almost at random from these 
records of the chase : 

" March 20, 1897, — A hare was soon put up in the 
first wheat-field, and, running back through two small 
spinneys in the field she was found in, went away towards 
Ditton Park. Hounds ran very fast over the Bath Road 
and straight away into Turner's gardens. After being 
bustled about for fifteen minutes in the gardens, our hare 
went away at the far end. Turning left-handed, our 
hare was viewed running parallel with the road and into 


some brickfields. . , 
round for some time without success among the rows of 
bricks, hounds were taken back into a small hut. Hardly 
had they got inside before old Varlet pulled her out from 
under a rafter, absolutely stiff." 

"February 23, 1899. — Time, one hour, fifty minutes. 
A very good hunt, since scent was only fair, and we 
were especially unlucky to lose this hare, which was beat 
when she got back to Salt Hill. On the next day we 
heard that our hare had crawled up the High Street to 
Burnham, and entered a public-house so done that it 
could not stand, and was caught by some boys, who came 
to tell us half an hour afterwards, but we had just gone 
home. Too bad luck for words !" 

And SO on, with repeated references to " break- 
ing her up," and hounds " thoroughly deserving 

Here, again, is the published testimony of a 
spectator of one of these successful runs : 

" On February 4, 1899, being in the vicinity of Eton, 
I had an opportunity of seeing one of these hare-hunts, 
and I will give a short and exact description of what took 

" At three o'clock some 180 boys, many of them quite 
young, sallied forth for an afternoon's sport with eight 
couples of the College Beagles. A hare was found at 
3.15 near the main road leading to Slough. It was chased 
through the churchyard and workhouse grounds at this 

* It should not be forgotten that hare-hunting is also 
carried on by our naval cadets. Here is an extract from 
the Naval and Military Record of March i, 1906, de- 
scribing a run with the Dartmouth (" Britannia ") 
Beagles: " Just outside the covert a hare was moved in 
the ploughing by hounds, and gave a most exciting 
chase around two fields, and when killed was found 
to have only three legs." A fine sport for our future 
naval officers ! 


town into a domain dotted with villas, called Upton 
Park. Escaping from this spot, it ran towards Eton, 
but soon doubled back to Upton Park, the numerous 
onlookers in the Slough Road lustily shouting at the 
dazed creature all the time. These circular chases were 
thrice repeated, the hare always getting back to Upton 

" Twice did the animal come within a few paces of 
where I was standing, and its condition of terror and 
exhaustion was painful to behold. The boys, running 
after the hounds, were thoroughly enjoying the thing, 
and two masters of the College, I was told, were amongst 
them. Now for the final scene, at which a friend of mine 
was present. 

" The hare, which had been hunted for two hours, 
having got into a corner at Upton Park which was 
bounded with wire-netting, was seized by the hounds and 
torn. The master of the pack then ran up, got hold of 
her, and broke her neck. The carcass was handed to 
one of the dog-keepers, who cut off the head and feet, 
which trophies were divided among the followers. The 
keeper with his knife then opened the body, and the 
master, taking it in his hands and holding it high above 
the hounds, rallied them with cries, and finally threw 
it into their midst, as they had, in the language of the 
Eton College Chronicle, 'thoroughly deserved blood.' 

" I make no comments upon these doings; I only say 
that I think the British public ought to know how boys 
are being trained at our foremost school in respect to 
the cultivation of compassionate instincts towards the 
beings beneath us." 

It is not surprising that the Humanitarian 
League should have addressed remonstrances to 
Dr. Warre on the subject of the Beagles; one 
wonders rather that this " old Eton institution " 
should have so long remained unchallenged by 
societies which profess to protect animals from 
injury, and to teach humanity to the young, 


especially as Dr. Warre was himself a member of 
the committee of the Windsor and Eton Branch 
of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty 
to Animals, and as Etonian subscriptions go 
yearly to provide a fund for prosecuting carters 
and drovers who ill-use the animals under their 
charge ! 

The Liberty of the Boys. 

To all these protests Dr. Warre had practically 
but one answer — that hare-hunting not being 
illegal, he could not interfere with the liberty of 
the boys in the matter, many of whom, he stated, 
are in the habit of hunting " when at home in the 
holidays, and with the approval of their parents." 
But this plea is at once invalidated by the fact 
that many things are prohibited to schoolboys 
which may (or may not) be permitted to them at 
home, and which are not in themselves illegal. 
Some of the elder boys, for example, smoke when 
at home in the holidays, and with the approval of 
their parents; yet if these young gentlemen, 
relying on Dr. Warre's argument, had started a 
smoking-club at Eton, he would not have hesitated 
to interfere very promptly with their freedom. 
Why, then, should an excuse which is not nearly 
good enough to justify a smoking-club be seriously 
put forward by the headmaster of a great public 
school when a cruelty-club is in question ? 

On one point only would Dr. Warre make any 
concession — viz., with regard to the reports that 
appeared in the Eton College Chronicle of the 


" breaking up " of hares and the " blooding " of 
hounds. " The phrases in question," he said, 
" are among those current in sporting papers, and 
I regret that they should have foimd their way 
into the pages of the Eton College Chronicle, being 
objectionable in sound, and liable to misinterpre- 
tation. I understand, however, that these phrases 
do not imply anything more than that the dead 
hare is devoured by the hounds." This led to a 
pertinent inquiry in the press, whether the Eton 
boys were in the habit of hunting " a dead hare." 
The cruelty of the sport obviously consists less in 
the actual killing of the hunted animal than in 
the prolonged torture of the hunt that precedes 
the death — the " bustling " which, as we have 
seen in the extracts from the Eton College 
Chronicle, often renders the panic-stricken little 
animal "dead beat," "absolutely stiff," "so 
done that it cannot stand." And, really, if the 
boys are encouraged to do this thing, it is a some- 
what dubious morality which is content with for- 
bidding them to speak of it ! " Objectionable in 
sound " such practices are, beyond question; but 
are they not also somewhat objectionable in fact ? 
Thus, while on the one side Dr. Warre hard- 
ened his heart and would not lay a sacrilegious 
finger on the time-honoured institution which had 
been forbidden in the Statutes of the Founder, 
humanitarian feeling, on the other side, became 
more and more aroused, and memorial after 
memorial was presented to the Eton authorities, 
suggesting that, " as there is now an increasing 


tendency among teachers to inclucate a more 
sympathetic regard for animals, it is desirable that 
Eton College should no longer stand aloof from 
this humane spirit." It is significant of the 
growth of public opinion on this subject that, 
whereas, some twenty years ago, the very exist- 
ence of the Eton Hunt was unknown to many 
except Etonians, we now find among the signa- 
tures appended from time to time to these 
memorials such diverse names as those of Mr. 
Herbert Spencer, Archbishop Temple, the Bishops 
of Durham, Ely, and Newcastle, Dr. Clifford, Mr. 
Thomas Hardy, Mr. William Watson, Mr. Frederic 
Harrison, Sir A. Conan Doyle, Sir John Gorst, Sir 
Frederick Treves, and Lord Wolseley, also a 
number of heads of colleges at Oxford and Cam- 
bridge, the headmasters of numerous grammar 
schools and training colleges, officials of the 
branches of the Royal Society for the Prevention 
of Cruelty to Animals, and many distinguished 
clergy and laymen, representative of almost every 
shade of opinion.* 

When it was known that Mr. Lyttelton was to 
be Dr. Warre's successor in the headmastership 
of Eton, it was thought probable that his notorious 
humanitarian sympathies would lead him to the 

* It is also worthy of note that a memorial against 
the Dartmouth Beagles, presented to the First Lord of 
the Admiralty by the Humanitarian League in 1907, was 
signed by no fewer than twenty-five headmasters of 
public schools. As a result of the League's protests, 
the grant of public money for the maintenance of this 
sport was withdrawn. 


desired reform; but these expectations proved to 
be too sanguine. The immense stabihty of an 
" old institution," in so conservative a stronghold 
as Eton, is a fact that must be reckoned with ; for 
Eton is not like Rugby, where a reforming head- 
master might venture, as Dr. Arnold did, to sweep 
away at a stroke an ancient sporting custom which 
had nothing but its age to recommend it. We all 
know the passage in " Tom Brown's Schooldays " 
— the speech of " old Brooke " — where Arnold's 
abolition of the Rugby Beagles is incidentally 
referred to : 

" A lot of you think and say, for I've heard you, 
* There's this new doctor hasn't been here so long as some 
of us, and he's changing all the old customs. . . .' But 
come, now, any of you, name a custom that he has put 

" ' The hounds,' calls out a fifth-form boy, clad in a 
green cutaway, with brass buttons, and cord trousers, 
the leader of the sporting interest. 

" Well, we had six or seven mangy harriers and 
beagles, I'll allow, and had had them for years, and the 
doctor put them down. But what good ever came of 
them ? Only rows with all the keepers for ten miles 
round ; and big-side Hare and Hounds is better fun ten 
times over." 

If we compare this passage with the report of 
Mr. Lyttelton's address to the Eton boys at the 
commencement of his headmastership, in which 
he frankly avowed his own " strong opinions " on 
the subject of the hare-hunt, but added that he 
did not hold these views in his boyhood, and did 
not see why he should force them on the boys, we 
see the difference, not so much between an Arnold 


and a Lyttelton, as between a Rugby and an 
Eton. It is doubtful if even an Arnold could 
have safely flouted Etonian susceptibilities in 
this matter of worrying hares with hounds. The 
reason given by Mr. Lyttelton for allowing the 
hare-hunt to continue is that all legislation which 
outstrips " public opinion " is injurious and un- 
wise, by which he presumably means the " public 
opinion " of Eton itself — for it is certain enough 
that public opinion outside Eton would bear the 
disappearance of the hare-hunt with equanimity 
— and undoubtedly Eton opinion, to those who 
dwell under the shadow of the " antique towers," 
is a matter of serious consideration, however 
medieval it may be. It is a curious fact that the 
large majority of Etonians, though nowadays a 
bit ashamed of the ram-hunt and other sporting 
pleasantries of a bygone period, do not in the 
least suspect that their beloved hare-hunt belongs 
in effect to the same category of amusement. 
Thus, Sir H. Maxwell Lyte, in his history of the 
school, referring to the earlier barbarities, remarks 
that "it is evident that in the time of Elizabeth 
cruelty to animals was not counted among the 
sins for which penitents require to be shriven." 
But what, it may be asked, of the time of 
George V. ? It is entertaining to find the Eton 
College Chronicle itself referring to the ram-hunt 
of the eighteenth century as a " brutal custom," 
and remarking that Etonians were " once so 
barbarous." Once ! 


Moral Instruction of the Young. 

The value of the moral instruction given at 
Eton, as far as the duties of mankind towards the 
lower races are concerned, may be estimated from 
the following sentiment of an Eton boy, quoted 
from a letter of dignified remonstrance addressed 
to the interfering humanitarians: "A hare is a 
useless animal, you must own, and the only use to 
be made of it is for the exercise of human beings." 
It will be seen that Etonian philosophy is still 
decidedly in the anthropocentric stage. It is not 
easy, even for the most progressively minded 
headmaster, to make any immediate impression 
on such dense and colossal prejudice. 

But let us at least take courage from the fact 
that the ram-hunt is no more, that the college 
cook no longer hangs up a live crow to be pelted 
to death on Shrove Tuesday, and that the Eton 
boys are not now invited to indulge in the manly 
sports of bull-baiting, dog-fighting, and cat-hunts. 
These recreations have gone, never to return, and 
it is equally certain that, sooner or later, the hare- 
hunt will also have to go. It is not to be supposed 
that Mr. Lyttelton, who is keenly alive to the 
best and most humane tendencies of the age, is 
insensible to the discredit which Eton incurs by 
thus prolonging into the twentieth century a 
piece of savagery which Rugby, Harrow, and the 
other great public schools have long outgrown and 
abandoned; or that he does not feel the sting of 
Mr. W. J. Stillman's remark that " the permission 


given to the boys of Eton to begin their education 
in brutality, when they ought to be learning to 
say their prayers, is the crowning disgrace of all 
the educational abuses of a nation which insti- 
tuted the Royal Society for the Prevention of 
Cruelty to Animals." 

To those, of course, who regard blood-sports as 
not only a proper pastime for men, but a desirable 
recreation for schoolboys, and a fit form of training 
for military service, the whole protest against the 
Eton hare-hunts must needs seem ridiculous ; but 
even these thoroughgoing sportsmen will have to 
admit that the trend of public opinion is against 
them, else why does Eton now stand alone among 
public schools in this matter ? If the reasoning of 
the Etonian apologists be sound, the absence of 
Beagles at Rugby, Harrow, and the other great 
schools, is a glaring defect in their system which 
ought speedily to be remedied; yet we have not 
heard that any enthusiast has gone so far as to 
suggest that the schools which have long since 
abandoned hare-hunting should now make a return 
to it, and short of this complete approval of the 
sport the excuses put forward on its behalf are 
about as feeble as could be imagined. 

It cannot, for instance, be seriously argued that 
boys whose studies are notoriously endangered 
by the very numerous athletic exercises — cricket, 
rowing, football, fives, racquets, rimning, etc. — 
in which they are able to indulge, are in need of 
yet another pastime in the form of hunting hares. 
Granted that it would be inadvisable for the 


school authorities to preach advanced humani- 
tarian doctrines to boys whose family traditions 
and prejudices they are bound to consider, still, 
it is not necessary to go to the other extreme of 
encouraging them in familiarity with sights and 
scenes which must tend to deaden the sense of 
compassion. From the moral standpoint, blood- 
sports cannot be regarded in quite the same light 
as athletic exercises ; and there are many persons 
nowadays who, without raising the question of 
the morality of field sports for adults, think that 
the license given to young boys to spend their 
half -holidays in the " breaking up " of hares is 
as great a stain on the English public-school 
system as any of the admitted " immoralities " 
by which that system is undermined. 

There is, in the opinion of humanitarians, a grave 
inconsistency between the insistence of preachers 
and teachers on the duty of kindness and con- 
sideration, and the sanction accorded by the school 
authorities to practices the very reverse of these. 
Unconsciously, perhaps, but none the less surely, 
the youthful minds which are trained under such 
influences are affected in their turn, and learn to 
conform superficially to maxims of piety and 
honour, while practically in their own lives they 
are setting those virtues at defiance. 


By henry S. salt 

Everyone knows the old story of the Wildgrave, 
that spectral huntsman who, for the wrongs done 
by him in the past to his suffering fellow-creatures, 
was doomed to provide nightly sport for a troop 
of ghostly pursuers. 

" The Wildgrave flies o'er bush and thorn, 
With many a shriek of helpless woe ; 
Behind him hound, and horse, and horn, 
And ' Hark away !' and * Holla ho !' " 

If we may judge by the signs of the times, a 
similar fate has now overtaken the modem sports- 
man, who finds to his dismay that his proud voca- 
tion no longer goes unchallenged, but that he is 
compelled to stand on his defence before the force 
of ethical opinion, and to play the part less of the 
pursuer than of the pursued. Nowadays it is the 
humanitarians who, in the intellectual discussion 
of sport, derive keen enjoyment from the " pleas- 
ures of the chase," and having " broken up " the 
Royal Buckhounds after a ten years' run, are 
hunting the sportsman from cover to cover, from 
argument to argument. 

The sportsman, in fact, is now himself standing 
" at bay " ; and it may be worth while to consider 



what value, if any, attaches to the excuses com- 
monly put forward by him in justification of his 
favourite pastime. On what moral grounds are 
we asked to approve, in this twentieth century, 
such seemingly barbarous practices as the hunting 
to death of stags, foxes, and hares; the worrying 
of otters and rabbits; or the shooting of vast 
numbers of game birds in the battue ? The 
hunted fox, as we know, has many wily resources 
for throwing his pursuers off the scent. What 
are the corresponding shifts and wiles of the 
hunted sportsman ?* 

The Appeal to " Nature." 

The first, perhaps, that demands notice is the 
frequent appeal to " Nature," and even (when the 
hunter happens to be a man of marked piety) to 
the savage instincts which " the Creator," it is 
assumed, has implanted. " Were not otter 
hounds created to hunt and kill otters ?" asked a 
devout correspondent of the Newcastle Daily 
Journal. " Therefore," he continued, " let me 
ask these persons (the opponents of sport) what 
right they have to place their own peculiar f addism 
against the wisdom of the Creator ?" In like 
manner a distinguished hunter of big game, Mr. 
H. W. Seton-Karr, has defended himself as follows 
in the Daily Chronicle : 

* Some of these fallacies have been incidentally re- 
ferred to in preceding chapters, but it is convenient, at 
the expense of a little overlapping, that they should 
here be treated together. 


" If a person experiences pleasure in the chase, such 
as in fox-hunting or deer-stalking, or even in lion- 
hunting, the rights and wrongs of that natural instinct 
are a personal matter between that man and his God. 
That, in common with all carnivorous creatures, we do 
possess God-planted instincts of the chase is a fact. 
Why did Almighty God create lions to prey nightly on 
harmless animals ? And should we not, even at the 
expense of a donkey as a bait, be justified in reducing 
their number, sacrificing one for the good of many ?" 

The answer to all this pious verbiage is, of 
course, very simple. In view of the fact that the 
sportsman of the present day professes to be 
civilised, and is at any rate nominally a member 
of a civilised State, it is quite irrelevant to plead 
that the propensity to hunt is natural to the 
savage man. We are continually striving in other 
departments of life to get rid of ferocious instincts, 
an inheritance from a savage past, which may or 
may not be " God-planted," but are certainly 
very much out of place in a society which regards 
itself as humane. Why, then, should it be 
assumed that an exception is to be made in favour 
of the hunting instinct ? The charge against 
modern blood -sports is that they are an an- 
achronism, a survival of a barbarous habit into a 
civilised age; nor can it possibly be any justifica- 
tion of them to show that Nature herself is cruel, 
for as we do not make savage Nature our examplar 
in other respects, there is no reason why we should 
do so in this. And as for the statement that a 
man's treatment of the lower animals is a " per- 
sonal " affair " between that man and his God," 


it can only provoke a smile. For man is a social 
being, and not even the sportsman, belated bar- 
barian though he may be, can be allowed the 
privilege of thus evading the responsibility which 
he owes to his fellow-citizens in a matter affecting 
the common conscience of the race. 

But the wild animals, it is argued, put them- 
selves outside the pale of consideration because 
they prey on one another. One searches in vain 
for justice and mercy among the lower animals — 
such is the strange reason advanced as an excuse 
for showing no justice or mercy to them* But, 
in the first place, it is not a fact that these quali- 
ties are non-existent in the lower races, where 
co-operation is as much a law of life as competi- 
tion ; and, secondly, if it were a fact, it would have 
no bearing whatever on the morality of sport. 
For why should we base human ethics on animal 
conduct ? Still more, why should we imitate the 
predatory animals rather than the sociable ? 
And finally, why, because some animals kill for 
food, should we kill for pleasure ? The cruelty 
of Nature can afford no possible justification for 
the cruelty of Man, for, as Leigh Hunt wrote in 
that trenchant couplet which may be commended 
to the notice of the sportsman — 

*' That there is pain and evil is no rule 
That I should make it greater, like a fool." 

Next we come to the kindred sophism drawn 
from " the necessity of taking life." To kill, we 

* Blackwood's Magazine, August, 1899. 


are reminded, is unavoidable; for wild animals 
must be " kept down," or the balance of Nature 
would be deranged. That, of course, is un- 
deniable; but, unfortunately for the sportsman's 
argument, it is a fact that the breed of foxes, 
rabbits, pheasants, and other victims of sport, is 
artificially kept up, not down, in order that there 
may be plenty of hunting and shooting for the idle 
classes to amuse themselves with. So far from 
securing the effective destruction of noxious 
animals, sport indirectly prevents it; more than 
that, it causes the killing to be done not only 
ineffectively, but in the most demoralising way, 
by making a pastime out of what, if done at all, 
should be done as a disagreeable duty. But here 
we must in justice mention a new and ingenious 
excuse for blood-sports which (to add to its zest) 
was put forward by a clergyman. It is necessary 
to take life, he argued, and what is necessary is a 
duty, and it is right, as far as possible, to make a 
pleasure of one's duties, and therefore — but the 
conclusion is plain ! Presumably the reverend 
gentleman, had he lived a century back, would 
have found the same pious justification for the 
practice of making up pleasure parties to see 
felons hanged. 

Sport a Blessing to Men. 

Speaking generally, we may class the remaining 
arguments under two heads : those which aim at 
showing that sport is of benefit to mankind, or at 


least not a symptom of cruelty in the sportsman ; 
and those which actually discover it to be a 
blessing to the animals themselves.* In the former 
and more prosaic category must be placed the 
queer assertion that sport " adds to the food- 
supply " of the nation. We have all read how, 
after some aristocratic " shoot," a number of 
pheasants or other palatable game were presented 
to the local hospital. Sport, it is seen, goes hand 
in hand with the charitable and the philanthropic 
— truly a touching picture ! But the fact re- 
mains that the cost of the animals thus reared 
primarily for sport, and secondarily for the 
table, is far in excess of their market value as 
food, and this at once knocks the bottom out of 
the sportsman's patriotic contention. Every stag 
that is stalked, every pheasant that is mown down 
in the battue, and every hare or rabbit that is 
knocked over in covert-shooting, has cost the 
country much more to produce than it is worth 

* Both these lines of argument were followed by Dr. 
Lang, Archbishop of York, when on a recent occasion 
(November i6, 191 3) he pronounced what may be called 
the Foxology at the dedication of a stained window to the 
memory of an aged blood-sportsman who was killed in 
the hunting-field. That a Christian minister should 
have been "launched into eternity," as the phrase is, 
while engaged in hunting a fox, might have been ex- 
pected to cause a sense of very deep pain, and even of 
shame, to his co-rehgionists. What actually happened 
was that an Archbishop was found willing to eulogise, 
in a consecrated place of worship, not only the reverend 
gentleman whose life was thus thrown away, but the 
sport of fox-hunting itself ! 


when butchered ; and the game-preserver, far from 
being helpful to the community in this respect, 
is a positive encumbrance to it, as wasting labour 
in the production of what is not a food, but a 
luxury. Game is reared not for the benefit of the 
many, but at the cost of the many, to gratify the 
idle and cruel instincts of the few. 

Not less illusory is the plea so frequently made 
in sporting journals as a justification of sport, 
that hunting and shooting " give employment " 
to a large number of people. "Do these hyper- 
humane faddists," asks the Irish Field, " ever 
consider how, by doing away with many of what 
they are pleased to call spurious sports, they 
would be taking the actual bread-and-butter out 
of the mouths of thousands of men and their 
families ? Hunting, shooting, and other sports 
give employment to such a vast number of people, 
directly and indirectly, that it would be nothing 
short of a national calamity if they were discon- 
tinued for any cause." What is really proved by 
such apologists is that blood-sports are a terrible 
drain on the resources of the nation, and that 
millions are annually diverted from productive 
labour to be employed on the silliest form of 
luxury — the killing of animals for the mere amuse- 
ment of rich people. It is the old fallacy of sup- 
posing that all expenditure of money, without 
regard to the nature of the commodities produced, 
is beneficial to the community at large. 

Then there is the much- vaunted " manliness " 
of sport, so important a quality, we are told, in an 


imperial and military nation. Yet what could be 
more flagrantly and miserably womanly than for 
a crowd of men to sally forth, in perfect security 
themselves, armed or mounted, with every ad- 
vantage of power and skill on their side, to do to 
death with dogs or guns some poor skulking, 
terrified little habitant of woodside or hedgerow ? 
This is what Sir Henry Seton-Karr has to say on 
this point : 

** Only those who have experienced it can reaUse the 
strength of the hunter's lust to kill the hunted, though 
they may find it difficult to explain. It is certain that 
no race of men possess this desire more strongly than 
the Anglo-Saxons. . . . Let us take it that in our case 
this passion is an inherited instinct — which civilisation 
cannot eradicate — of a virile and dominant race, and 
that it forms a healthy natural antidote to the enervating 
refinements of modern life."* 

The obvious answer to this claim is that 
civilisation is eradicating the destructive in- 
stincts of sport — with extreme slowness, no doubt, 
as in the case of all barbarous inherited tendencies, 
but surely and certainly nevertheless ; and 'the fact 
that blood-sports are already condemned by many 
thoughtful people is a clear indication of what 
verdict the future will pass on the profession of 
killing for " fun." That good physical exercise 
is provided by field sports none will deny, but it 
is just as undeniable that such exercise can be as 
well or better provided in other ways — by the 
equally healthy and far more manly sports of the 

* "My Sporting Holidays," by Sir H. Seton-Karr, 


gjminasium and the playing-field, which, be it 
noted, are capable of being utilised by a much 
larger number of people than the privileged pas- 
times of the crack huntsman and " shot." There 
is no reason why the mass of the population 
should not, under a juster social system, have 
leisure to derive benefit from cricket, football, 
boating, hockey, and the other rational sports; 
but it is very evident that only a very few can 
ever find recreation in those blood-sports which 
are absurdly called " national." The rational 
and humane sports may be for the many; the 
" national " and cruel sports must be for the 
few : that is not the least of the striking differences 
that distinguish them.* 

To contend that blood-sports have no injurious 
influence on the minds of those who practise 
them seems about as reasonable as to assert that 
effect does not follow cause. Yet it is frequently 
urged, in defence of sport, that the pleasure is 
found not in the " kill," but in the chase. That 
may be true in a sense. What humanitarians 
hold is not that sportsmen derive pleasure from the 
mere infliction of pain, but that they seek excite- 
ment without sufficient regard to the pain inflicted, 
and that this is apt, in some cases, to breed a posi- 
tive love of killing, a real " blood-lust." Take, 

* But let us not forget the delightful remark of the 
Archbishop of York, that "even the labourer, when he 
felt the stir of the Meet, got just one of those fresh 
events, excitements, and interests that he needed in 
what otherwise was often a very monotonous life." 


for example, the following remark quoted from 
the Eton College Chronicle : "At the time we are 
writing, the Beagles have killed but twice, though 
by the time the Chronicle appears they may have 
increased this number by one." Here it will be 
seen that what the boys' journal dwells on is pre- 
cisely the killing — surely a significant side-light 
on the influence of the sport. There is no escaping 
this question, whether at Eton or elsewhere: 
Why, if the painful pursuit of a sentient animal be 
not an essential part of the amusement, is the 
drag-hunt refused as a substitute ? And if the 
drag be disdained as not sufficiently exciting, how 
can the inference be avoided that the zest of the 
pastime is enhanced by the peril of the quarry ? 

Sport a Blessing to the Animals. 

But it is when he is demonstrating that sport 
comes as a boon and a blessing to the non-human 
races which are the victims of it that the sports- 
man is most entertaining. " They like it," he 
asserts, when any pity is expressed for the hunted 

" Happy the hounds, loud-baying on his track ! 

Happy the huntsmen with their murderous call ! 
But the spent fox, dead-beat before the pack — 
His are the sweetest, strangest joys of all !" - 

This love on the part of certain animals for 
being hunted to death is surely one of the most 
curious facts in natural history, and makes it 


seem almost an injustice to horses, cows, pigs, and 
other domestic creatures, that they are denied a 
privilege which is so freely accorded to their wilder 
brethren. Why should deer, for instance, be 
specially favoured in this respect ? The stag, as 
a noble lord once remarked, is a most pampered 
animal. " When he was going to be hunted he 
was carried to the meet in a comfortable cart. 
When set down, the first thing he did was to crop 
the grass. When the hounds got too near, they 
were stopped. By-and-by he lay down, and was 
wheeled back to his comfortable home. It was a 
life that many would like to live." It appears, 
therefore, that it is a loss, a deprivation, not to be 
hunted over a country full of barbed wire and 
broken bottles by a pack of stag-hounds. Life is 
mean and poor without it; for, to humans and 
non-humans alike, sport, as the same nobleman 
expressed it, is " the gift of God." 

But the sportsman can be very " slim " when 
hard pressed in controversy by his implacable 
pursuers, and among his many devices for con- 
fusing the issue, the most subtle, perhaps, is the 
metaphysical argument which pleads that it is 
better for the animals to be bred and killed in 
sport than not to be bred at all, and that it 
is to the " preservation " which sport affords 
that certain species owe their escape from 
extinction. Mr. R. A. Sanders, late Master of 
the Devon and Somerset Staghounds, has thus 
written of the stag {Nineteenth Century, August, 
1908) : 


" He has lived a life of luxury for years, and has a 
bad half -hour at the end. From his point of view surely 
the pleasure predominates over the pain. For if it were 
not for the hunting, he would not exist at all." 

When a Bill was introduced in Parliament in 
1883 for "the prohibition of the cruel sport of 
pigeon-shooting, it was opposed by Sir Herbert 
Maxwell on the ground that a pigeon would rather 
accept life, " under the condition of his life being 
a short and happy one, violently terminated," 
than not be brought into existence ; and the same 
sportsman has since stated, as a "salient para- 
dox," that one who takes delight in pursuing and 
slaying wild animals may claim to rank among 
their best friends. It escaped his notice, as it 
escapes the notice of all who seek refuge in this 
amusing piece of sophistry, that it is beyond our 
power to ascertain the feelings or the preferences 
of a pigeon, or of any other being, before he is in 
existence; what we have to deal with is the sen- 
tience of animals that already exist. 

And as for the contention that animals are 
" preserved " by sport, it is sufficient to point out 
that it rests on a mental confusion between the 
individual animal and the species. It would be 
little comfort to the individual fox who is torn to 
pieces by the hounds to know, if he could know, 
that his species is preserved by his tormentors, 
and that the same process of death-dealing will 
thus be perpetuated. When it is asserted that 
but for fox-hunting the fox would have been 
exterminated in England like the wolf, the answer 


of course is that of the two methods extermination 
is far the more merciful. Can it be pretended 
that it would have been kinder to wolves to keep 
a number of them alive in order that sportsmen 
might for ever pursue and break them up ? 

And, really, if it is so kind to animals to preserve 
them that they may be worried with hounds, we 
ought to feel some compunction at having allowed 
the humane old sport of bear-baiting to be 
abolished; for, according to the same "salient 
paradox," the bear-baiter was Bruin's best friend. 
It is sad to think that there used to be bears in 
many an English village where now they are never 
seen ! 

It is for the fox, perhaps, that the sportsman's 
solicitude is most touching and most charac- 
teristic. "If we stay fox-hunting," it has been 
said, " foxes will die far more brutal deaths in 
cruel vermin traps, until there are none left to 
die." How tender, how considerate, is this dis- 
interested regard for the welfare of the hunted 
animal I* The merciful sportsman steps in to 
save a noxious species from extinction, and in 

* This humane aspect of sport may be aptly illustrated 
by a passage in De Quincey's essay on "Murder con- 
sidered as one of the Fine Arts " : 

" The subject chosen ought to be in good health, for 
it is absolutely barbarous to murder a sick person, who 
is usually quite unable to bear it. And here, in this 
benign attention to the comfort of sick people, you will 
observe the usual effect of a fine art to soften and refine 
the feelings. From our art, as from all the other liberal 
arts, when thoroughly mastered, the result is to humanise 
the heart." 


return for such " preservation " demands that 
the grateful fox shall be hunted and worried and 
dismembered for the amusement of his gentle 
benefactor. But are not our fox-hunting friends 
just a trifle too clever in making, at one and the 
same time, two quite incompatible and con- 
tradictory claims for their beloved profession — 
first, that it saves the fox from extermination; 
and, secondly, that it rids the country-side of a 
very mischievous animal ? " For six good 
months," says the Sportsman, "he is allowed to 
frolic at his ease, with all his poultry-bills paid 
for him." The argument here is that there can 
be no cruelty in fox-hunting, because the fox is 
preserved; but, in that case, what about the 
following defence of fox-hunting by the editor 
of the " Badminton Library " ? " The senti- 
mentalist," he says, "does not consider those other 
tragedies for which the fox is responsible — the 
rabbits, leverets, poultry, and game birds that he 
devours daily. The death of a fox is indeed the 
salvation of much life." 

So the farmer is to be grateful to the fox-hunter 
because the fox is killed, and the fox himself is to 
be grateful to the same person because he is not 
killed ! It is obvious that the sporting folk cannot 
have it both ways; they cannot take credit for 
the destruction of a pest and also for preventing 
that pest being exterminated by the injured 
farmer. Let them choose one of the alternative 
arguments and keep to it. 


" Hark ye, then, whose profession or pastime is killing ! 
To dispel your benignant illusions I'm loth; 
But be one or the other, my double-faced brother — 
Be saviour or slayer — you cannot be both !" 

The more one considers it, one cannot but smile 
at the sportsman's " love " for the animals whom 
he so persecutes and worries. Tom Tulliver, we 
remember, was described by George Eliot as " fond 
of animals — fond, that is, of throwing stones at 
them"; and so it is with this affection of the 
sportsman's. " What name should we bestow," 
says an old writer, " on a superior being who, 
without provocation or advantage, should con- 
tinue from day to day, void of all pity or remorse, 
to torment mankind for diversion, and at the 
same time endeavour with the utmost care to 
preserve their lives and to propagate their species 
in order to increase the number of victims devoted 
to his malevolence, and be delighted in proportion 
to the miseries which he occasioned ? I say, 
what name detestable enough could we find for 
such a being ? Yet if we impartially consider the 
case, we must acknowledge that, with regard to 
the inferior animals, just such a being is the 

Trust the Specialist. 

Such, then, are the arguments which are ad- 
vanced in all seriousness, and without a suspicion 
or twinkle of humour, to prove that blood-sports 

* Soame Jenyns, 1782. 


are a benefit to mankind and to the lower races 
alike. But before concluding I must mention 
one other piece of reasoning which is as amusing 
as any specimen of sportsman's logic — the " trust 
the specialist " fallacy, which asserts that none 
but sportsmen can fairly pass judgment on sport. 
For example, when a memorial was presented to 
a former Prime Minister against the Royal Buck- 
hounds, a certain paper gravely remarked that 
'' what proportion of the protesting gentlemen had 
ever been on horseback, it was not easy to deter- 
mine." The assumption, it will be seen, is that 
when any cruel practice is arraigned before public 
opinion, we are not merely to trust the specialist 
on technical matters that rightly lie within his 
ken, but we are to let him decide the wider ethical 
issues, on which, being no more than human, he is 
certain to have the strongest professional prejudice. 
It is an argument worthy of the Sublime Porte itself. 

In like manner Lord Ribblesdale, when defend- 
ing stag-hunting in his book on " The Queen's 
Hounds," expressed the sportsman's case as 
follows: " Most people will agree that conclusions 
founded on practice must always have a slight 
pull when placed in the scales with conclusions 
based upon theory, hearsay, or conjecture — even 
granting the fullest credit for sincerity and bona 
fides to the opponents of stag-hunting." 

Now, it is, of course, absurd to represent the 
ethical objections to sport as " based upon theory, 
hearsay, or conjecture," for the methods of 
sportsmen are well known and beyond dispute, 



and many of those who most strongly condemn 
such practices have been sportsmen themselves 
and are thoroughly conversant with the facts. 
But what I wish to point out is that Lord Ribbles- 
dale's description of the sportsman's defence of 
sport as "a conclusion founded on practice " 
might be just as logically applied to the criminal's 
defence of crime. To invoke the judgment of an 
expert on the morality of a practice in which he 
is professionally interested is an error similar to 
that of setting the cat to watch the cream. 

On the whole, it is not surprising that the 
sportsman who can devise no cleverer modes of 
escape from his humanitarian pursuers than the 
sophisms above mentioned is already being 
brought to bay, and stands in imminent danger 
of being, controversially, "broken up." Indeed, 
considering the nature of the arguments adduced 
in its favour, one is inclined to think that sport 
must be not only cruel to the victims of the chase, 
but ruinous to the mental capacity of the gentle- 
men who indulge in it. It can hardly be doubted 
that the ludicrous aspect of modem sport will more 
and more present itself to those who possess the 
sense of humour ; and we may even hope that the 
poverty-stricken caricaturists of our comic papers 
will some day relinquish their threadbare jokes 
over the blunders of the hunting-field and the 
shooting-box, to discover that the subject of sport 
is rich in another kind of comedy — the essential 
silliness of the habit itself, and the crass absurdity 
of the arguments put forward by its apologists. 




II. "BLOODING" - - - - - 155 



VI. COURSING - - - - - - 170 

VII. THE GENTLE CRAFT - - - - 174 





It is often said, in attempted justification of 
" sport," that it is the best training for war. This 
is true only in the sense that as far as concerns the 
creation and the perpetuation of a certain aggres- 
sive spirit, war and sport are certainly kindred 
pastimes with a good deal in common. They both 
date from a pre-historic period when man 

" Butted his rough brother-brute 
For lust or lusty blood or provender," 

and both, having been prolonged into an age 
which ought to have left them far behind with 
other antiquated barbarisms, are now defended 
by the same moral and economic fallacies, as 
being, in the first place, part of the great " struggle 
for existence," " survival of the fittest," and so 
forth, and, secondly, as " good for trade." Good 
for trade they both are, in the sense that they 
help the few to snatch a temporary profit at the 
expense of the many; and as for the survival of 
the fittest, if you are determined to wrest that 
theory from its true meaning, it may be made to 



cover both war and sport at a stretch. As Robert 
Buchanan said: 

** Under the fostering wing of Imperialism, brute force 
is developing more and more into a political science. 
There is no excess of rapacity, no extreme of selfishness, 
no indifference to the rights of the weak and helpless, 
which Christian materialism is not ready to justify. The 
Englishman, both as soldier and colonist, is a typical 
sportsmen; he seizes his prey wherever he finds it with 
the hunter's privilege. He is lost in amazement when men 
speak of the rights of inferior races, just as the sports- 
man at home is lost in amazement when we talk of the 
rights of the lower orders. Here, as yonder, he is kindly, 
blatant, good-humoured, aggressive, selfish, and funda- 
mentally savage." 

We may take it for granted that, in the long 
run, as we treat our fellow-beings, " the animals," 
so shall we treat our fellow-men. In spite of all 
the barriers and divisions that prejudice and 
superstition have so industriously heaped up 
between the human and the non-human, the fact 
remains that the lower animals hold their lives 
by the same tenure as men do, and that there is 
no essential difference between the killing of one 
race and of the other. The tiger that lurks in all 
of us will not easily be tamed, so long as the de- 
liberate murder of harmless creatures for " sport " 
is a recognised amusement in every " civilised " 
country. Once open your eyes to the kinship 
that links all sentient life, and you will see very 
clearly the relation that subsists between the 
sportsman and the soldier. 

We recall an incident related some years ago at 
a Humanitarian League meeting, where the craze 


for " big-game " shooting was being discussed. 
Everyone knows how the possessors of such 
" trophies " as the heads and horns of " big 
game " love to decorate their houses with these 
treasured mementoes of the chase. It had been 
the fortune — good or bad — of the narrator of the 
story to visit a house which was not only beauti- 
fied in this way, but also contained a human head 
that had been sent home by a member of a certain 
African expedition and " preserved " by the skill 
of the taxidermist. When the owner of the head 
— the second owner — invited the humanitarian 
visitor to see the trophy, it was with some trepi- 
dation that he acquiesced. But when, after 
passing up a staircase between walls literally 
plastered with portions of the carcases of elephant, 
rhinoceros, antelope, etc., he came to a landing 
where, under a glass case, stood the head of a 
pleasant-looking young negro, he felt no special 
repugnance at the sight. It was simply a part — 
and, as it seemed, not especially dreadful or 
loathsome part — of the surrounding dead-house; 
and he understood how mankind itself is nothing 
more or less than " big game " to our soldier- 
sportsmen, when they find themselves in some 
conveniently remote region where the restric- 
tions of morality are unknown. The absolute 
difference between human and non-human is a 
fiction which will not bear the test either of 
fearless thought in the study or of rough expe- 
rience in the wilds. 

The temper which makes war still possible in 


the twentieth century is that which is kept alive 
and fostered in so-called times of peace by the 
practice, among other practices (for we do not, 
of course, assert that sport is the only accessory 
to war), of doing to death thousands upon thou- 
sands of helpless animals for purposes of mere 
recreation. Peace advocates who declaim against 
the infamies of war, without taking note of the 
kindred infamies of sport, have, to say the least 
of it, not looked very deeply into the subject of 
their propaganda;* and precisely the same holds 
good of those " lovers of animals " who are horri- 
fied at the idea of running a fox to death, but are 
ready to accept the flimsiest of flimsy sophisms 
as an excuse for going to war. Sport is, in truth, 
a form of war, and war is a form of sport; and 
those who defend such institutions as the Eton 
Beagles, on the ground that the schoolboys who 
indulge in them are thereby trained to be the 
future stalwarts of Imperialism, are fully justified 
in their contention — provided only that they look 
the facts of war and of Imperialism in the face. 
The Etonians who, in the eighteenth century, 
used to beat rams to death with clubs, and who 
now break up hares as a half-holiday pastime, 
have always furnished a large contingent of officers 

* Here, for example, is a suggestive heading of an 
article in a London paper (October 27, 1913) in reference 
to a meeting of the German Emperor and the Emperor 
Francis Joseph for the purpose of promoting peace: 
"Peace Emperors Meet. The Kaiser shoots 1,100 
Pheasants with the Austrian Archduke." A strange 
way of inaugurating peace ! 


to the British Army. Need we wonder that wars 
flourish without regard to moraUty or justice ? 

But when we turn to the assertion that the 
practice of sport is, actually, the best training for 
war, we find it to be contradicted by facts. On 
this point we cannot do better than quote from a 
letter addressed to the Humanitarian by Mr. R. B. 
Cunninghame-Graham : 

" The rise of Japan and the fighting quaUties of the 
Japanese have shaken sportsmen from their * sport-the- 
image-of-war ' position. It is well known that not only- 
are the majority of Japanese vegetarians, but that such a 
thing as a sportsman is unknown amongst them. Yet, 
without wishing to disparage the prowess of European 
soldiers, how many ' sportsmen ' would wager much 
money on the chances of a thousand picked Europeans 
if opposed to a thousand Japanese soldiers in an open 
plain with no weapons but swords ? 

" The Boer War, and the miserable figure cut by our 
of&cers in comparison with the Boer of&cers in both 
shooting and riding, disposed conclusively of the * sport- 
the-preparation-for-war ' argument, so dear to sports- 
men. In fact, * sport ' as understood in England cannot 
prepare men for war, even if they ride to hounds three 
days a week, shoot the other three, and read the Pink 
Un on Sunday. English sport and war are different in 
their essence, and one has no analogy to the other. 

" In the one case men rise from a comfortable bed, 
bathe, and breakfast, and even if they are exposed to 
weather during the day, return at night to a well-cooked 
dinner and comfortable bed. The horses they ride are 
valuable, highly- trained animals, who are expected to put 
out their full strength for at most two or three hours, 
and are perhaps not required again for two or three days, 
or even expected to be required. The shooting is done 
under the same conditions, and though requiring skill 
(as does the riding in fox-hunting), is not of a nature to 
be useful in war. 


" In neither case does the 'diversion ' conduce to the 
self-denying or abstemious habits so essential in war. 
Of course, I do not mean that sportsmen are of necessity 
of intemperate habits, but in war the conditions are 
different from those of sport. In the latter case the 
soldier rises, perhaps from a night of rain round a camp- 
fire, gets, without breakfast, on his half-starving horse, 
and jogs along all day at a footspace, to sleep, supposing 
there is no fighting and he has not been killed, once more 
by a camp-fire, perhaps again in rain, or in a driving 

" Every condition under which the sportsman plays 
is different from those under which the soldier works. 
As in the Roman times regiments of gladiators proved 
the most useless at the front, so I believe a regiment all 
composed of sportsmen would make a miserable show 
before a thousand quite unsporting Japanese." 

To the same effect is the opinion of Sir H. H. 
Johnston, as expressed in an article in the Nine- 
teenth Century of September, 1913. 

" One is told that fox-hunting is a splendid school for 
riders, the making of our cavalry, etc. Rubbish ! Very 
few of our great cavalry officers have been fox-hunters, 
or willing fox-hunters, and practically none of the 
troopers. A large proportion of our mounted soldiers 
are recruited from townsmen who never learned to ride 
until they entered the riding-school. The Boers were 
admittedly the cunningest, most enduring riders recent 
warfare has known, but they, like their cousins of the 
Wild West, would probably show themselves duffers in 
the hunting-field; at any rate, they never practised in 
this school of steeplechasing. The last thing I desire to 
do is to undervalue riding as an exercise, an accomplish- 
ment, a necessary art in warfare, a school for teaching 
suppleness, coolness, and courage. But the fox is not 
a necessary ingredient in the curriculum." 

We conclude, then, that Sport, considered as 
a school for War, is doubly to be condemned. 


inasmuch as, while it breeds the aggressive and 
cruel spirit of militarism, it does not furnish that 
practical military training which is essential to 
successful warfare. Sport may make a man a 
savage ; it does not make him a soldier. 



The Blooding of Children. 

Of all practices connected with " sport " none are 
more loathsome than those known as " blooding," 
whether it be the " blooding " of children, which 
consists in a sort of gruesome parody of the rite 
of baptism, or the " blooding " of hounds — viz., 
the turning out of some decrepit animal to be 
pulled down by the pack, by way of stimulating 
their blood-lust. Here are a few examples: 

On January 4, 19 10, the Daily Mirror published 
an account of the " blooding " of the Marquis of 
Worcester, the ten-year-old son of the Duke of 
Beaufort. In a front-page illustration the child 
was shown with blood-bedaubed cheeks, holding 
up a dead hare for the hounds, while a number 
of ladies and gentlemen were smiling approval 
in the rear. 

Here, again, is an extract from the Cheltenham 
Examiner of March 25, 1909, in reference to the 
' ' eviction "and butchery of a fox which had taken 
refuge in a drain. 


" Captain Elwes's two children being present at the 
death of a fox on their father's preserves, the old hunting 
custom of * blooding ' was duly performed by Charlie 
Beacham, who, after dipping the brush of the fox in 
his own [sic] blood, sprinkled the foreheads of both 
children, hoping they would be aspirants to the * sport 
of kings.' " 

Presumably the blood in which the brush was 
dipped was that of the fox, not of Mr. Charles 
Beacham. But what a ceremony in a civilised 
age ! One would have thought that twentieth- 
century sportsmen, even if they would not spare 
the fox, might spare their own children ! 

The following paragraph also appeared in a 
London paper in 1909 : 

" A pretty little girl on a chestnut cob, with masses 
of fair curls falling over her navy-blue habit, was the 
chief centre of attraction at a meet of the West Norfolk 
Fox-Hounds at Necton. The pretty little girl was 
Princess Mary of Wales, and the day will be a memorable 
one in her life. She motored back to Sandringham 
carrying her first brush. . . . Princess Mary was 
* blooded ' by the huntsmen, and was presented with the 
brush, which was hung on her saddle." 

In connection with deer-stalking, the practice 
of " blooding " has been described as " a hunting 
tradition which goes back to the Middle Ages, and 
recalls the days when the gentle craft of venery 
was the most cherished accomplishment of our 


The Blooding of Hounds. 

In the prosecution of Mr. Alexander Ormrod, 
joint Master of the Ribblesdale Buckhounds, 
by the R.S.P.C.A. on November 11, 1912, for 
cruelty to a doe, there was evidence that the 
unfortunate deer, turned out in private to 
" blood " a new pack of hounds, was lame and 
wholly out of condition ; and, as Truth remarked, 
" the mere fact that the animal, although given a 
good start, only managed to get two or three 
hundred yards away before being pulled down, 
' screaming like a child,' was quite sufficient to 
show that she was incapable of escape." Take the 
following : 

" Mr. Marmaduke Wright, of Bolton Hall, a member 
of the Hunt, said he saw Oddie (a hunt servant) the day 
before the hunt took place. Oddie said they were going 
to let a lame deer out of the pen to blood the young 
hounds, and witness said he would not go out, as he did 
not care about hunting tame calves, much less a lame 

The statement of John James Macauley, an 
eye-witness, was that the deer " scarcely put her 
hind-leg on the ground." 

** She was followed by the hounds for a distance of 
about two hundred yards. . . . When the doe could see 
she was overtaken, she stopped, and he heard the poor 
little thing screaming like a child." 

Lord Ribblesdale, called to speak as to the 
practice of blooding hounds, condemned the 
method adopted by his colleague. 


" If blooding had been the object, his opinion was 
that there should have been a sudden, sharp, and decisive 
transaction [sic], which would have made the hounds, 
whenever they saw a deer, go at it. If they intended 
to blood hounds, the method pursued by Mr. Ormrod 
was most fooHsh. It was not an uncommon thing to 
blood hounds, and with regard to the question of cruelty, 
if they argued from elemental principles, all sport was 
cruel. He had hunted carted deer, and there had been 
no cruelty." 

Asked whether, if a lame, emaciated, and 
weakened deer were released from a pen, it would 
be an unreasonable thing to hunt it. Lord Ribbles- 
dale replied — 

" With the * if,' yes. This was a weak deer; therefore 
I should have blooded hounds with it." 

The magistrates decided that " there was not 
enough evidence to convict," but the prosecution 
did great service in showing what horrible prac- 
tices are still carried on under the name of 



Whatever differences of opinion may exist as to 
the morality of " blood-sports " in general, there 
is one recurring feature of such sports which, 
whether regarded from the humanitarian's or from 
the sportsman's point of view, is almost equally 
repulsive. We refer to the hunting, in some 
cases accidental, in others deliberate, of gravid 


animals. That such hunting — of the hare, of the 
otter, of the hind— takes place, there is no question 
whatever, as is proved by the following facts. 

It is quite a common practice to continue the 
hunting of hares with beagles until the middle, or 
even to the end of March, by which time many 
of the doe hares are heavy with young. Owing to 
the remonstrances addressed to the headmaster of 
Eton by the Humanitarian League, the Eton hunt- 
ing season has now been curtailed, but it is still pro- 
longed beyond the date which has been suggested 
by the better class of sportsmen. The experience 
recorded in the County Gentleman (1906) by the 
writer of the following letter, Mr. John A. Doyle, 
of Pendarren, Crickhowell, seems conclusive : 

** The question you raise is one in which I feel a good 
deal of interest. I have not only been for some years 
master of a pack of harriers (foot), but I am also an Old 
Etonian, and have always felt much interested in the 
doings of the school beagles, and sympathy with them. 
Indeed, before I got your letter I had thought of writing 
to the headmaster, with whom I am — perhaps I should 
say was, a long time back — slightly acquainted. 

" My own practice has always been to have one meet 
the first week in March, and then end the season. I was 
once or twice tempted to go on later, and once killed a 
doe in kindle. Since then I have kept to my rule. She 
gave us a sharp run of twenty minutes or half an hour. 
This, I think, disposes of the theory that a pregnant 
hare has no scent. Possibly she has less than she would 
have normally. But per contra she must be handicapped 
by her condition. Then there is the risk of a chop. And 
it cannot be good for an animal big with young to be 
bustled and frightened. 

" There is yet a worse danger. In some forward 
seasons there may be leverets by the second week in 


March. The dam might be killed, and the leverets left 
to die. I would almost sooner never hunt again than 
run such a risk. Of course, one might hunt through 
March for several seasons and none of these things 
happen ; but there must be a risk, and I do not myself 
think that one is justified in running it." 

What is true of the Eton beagles is true of 
every hare-hunt throughout the country. The 
sport ought to be brought to a close on the last 
day of February, as, indeed, used to be the 
custom. " Coursing still goes on among a few," 
wrote the author of the " Sporting Almanack " 
for March, 1843, " but in our opinion the fair 
sportsman will hold hard as soon as March sets in."* 
Much, then, of the hare-hunting of the present 
time is not fair. 

Still worse is the case of otter-hunting, which 
is carried on from springtime till autumn, with 
the result that females heavy with young must 
occasionally be worried, though sportsmen plead 
that this is never intentional. An instance that 
has often been quoted is recorded in the Hon. 
Grantley F. Berkeley's " Life and Recollections," 
where the story is told of a female otter disturbed 
by the hounds " in the act of making a couch for 
her young." 

" At her we went for seven hours, with constant views, 
and during that time, on a stump overhanging the river, 
she miscarried and gave birth to two cubs, bom only a 

* Quoted in Fry's Magazine, June, 191 1, in an ad- 
mirable article entitled " Shabby Blood-Sports Worth 


few days before their time. A hound fo und them, and 
when I took one in my hand it was scarcely cold. She 
beat us for want of light, and well she deserved to 

Similar instances are recorded from time to 
time, as by a correspondent of the Morning 
Leader, who told how in Devonshire, in 1891, a 
female otter, after being worried for nearly four 
hours, had given birth to two dead whelps. 

But of all such malpractices the chasing of in- 
calf hinds is the most deliberate and the worst. 
If it be true, as we are informed, that tenant- 
farmers in the Devon and Somerset district com- 
plain bitterly of the damage done by deer, what 
possible reason can be given against the shooting 
(when necessary) of the hinds, in place of the 
disgusting and barbarous custom of hunting them ? 
A few years ago the Rev. J. Stratton, after per- 
sonally investigating the matter, described some 
of the inevitable results of hind-hunting till the 
end of March, instead of stopping the " sport," as 
ought to be done, at the beginning of March at 
the latest, and gave specific cases in which, when 
the dead hinds were " broken up " to feed the 
hounds, calves as large as hares were seen to be 
taken from the bodies. Since that time there is 
reason to believe that, owing in part to the 
Humanitarian League's protests, there is a grow- 
ing local feeling against this especially cruel 
feature of the sport, and it is hoped that those 
landowners and residents who have humane 
scruples in the matter will use their influence to 



bring about the discontinuance of this disgraceful 
practice. The whole system of hunting these 
West Country deer is cruel enough — involving, as 
it does, the death of many of them by leaping 
from the cliffs on to the rocks, or being drowned 
in the sea, or being hung up on wire-fences and 
mangled by the hounds. But the hunting of the 
hinds, at a time when even savages might com- 
passionate them, is one of the very worst abomina- 
tions for which even " sport" is responsible. 



The fact is too often overlooked that a ready 
substitute for the savage chase of animals may be 
found in the drag-hunt, a form of sport which pre- 
serves all that is valuable in the way of exercise, 
while getting rid of one thing only — the cruelty 
to the tortured stag or fox or hare. As has been 
pointed out in the Sheffield Daily Telegraph, a 
paper favourable to sport : 

" There is little doubt that in time the drag-hunt will 
become the popular hunting pastime. For years it has 
been supported by the officers of the Guards, and, 
besides having the merit of disarming criticism on the 
part of the Humanitarian League, it can be enjoyed by 
thousands of sightseers, as it defines the tract of country 
over which the drag leads the hounds." 

The attempts of some sporting writers to be- 
little the value of the drag have been very in- 


felicitous. If they personally prefer a blood-sport 
to a bloodless pastime, let them say so — it is a 
matter on which we will take their word — but 
when they assert that a drag-hunt is not suitable 
for pedestrians, or for schoolboys, they only con- 
vict themselves of knowing as little about the 
practical as about the moral side of the contro- 
versy. The following statement was made by the 
late Lady Florence Dixie, who spoke with un- 
questionable authority : — 

** Drags can be fast run or slow run, according to the 
way they are laid. My husband owned a pack of 
harriers and a pack of beagles, and I was able to get him 
often to hunt them on drags, and have often ridden with 
the harriers and run with the beagles. When a very 
fast, non-hunting run was wanted with the harriers, the 
drag was laid straight and continuously, and hounds 
ran fast, and riding was like a steeplechase, without a 
pause, except when any of us came a cropper ! When a 
hunting run was required, we laid a catchy drag, twisting 
here and there, lifting the scent, and copying as near as 
possible the wily ways of Reynard. With the beagles 
we imitated the hare, who is a ringing, not straight- 
running animal, lifting the scent, doubling back, and so 
on, and, in fact, we brought thus two competitors into 
the sport — i.e., the drag-layer i;efsws the huntsman, and 
pitted their wiles and their cunning against each other. 
I may be accepted as an authority, as few have perhaps 
ridden in harder-fought hunting runs of all kinds than I 
— fox, stag, harrier, guanaco, ostrich, and suchlike — 
and I have had considerable experience with beagles as 
well, on foot."* 

* In like manner, Mr. W. H. Crofton, president of the 
Beagle Club, has admitted in The Times that the drag- 
hunt, ** run with skill by one who understands the art," 
can be made to yield " excellent exercise " for school- 


In face of this testimony, and of the fact re- 
corded by Brinsley Richards, in his " Seven 
Years at Eton," that a drag was successfully used 
at Eton half a century ago, it is absurd to pretend 
that it could not be used there again ; but if fur- 
ther proof be needed, it is, fortunately, available 
in the following letter from Mr. A. G. Grenfell, 
Headmaster of Mostyn House School, Parkgate, 
Cheshire. It will be seen that the idea, very 
commonly held, that the drag-hunt is suitable 
only for those following on horseback, and that 
it would too severely tax the energies of boys 
running on foot, is absolutely erroneous. 

"December 16,1903. 

" On the subject of Beagle Drag-Hunting at Schools, I 
think you will be pleased to know that we have owned 
and run a pack of beagles at this school for the last ten 
years on the lines that you suggest, and with the greatest 
success. The drag affords any amount of healthy and 
interesting exercise without cruelty. Ours is just an 
ordinary preparatory school, with ten masters and 
ninety boys. Our hounds are twenty-three or twenty- 
four in number. The sport of following them is very 
popular with all of us, and it would be hard to devise 
an easier or better form of school variant to the ever- 
lasting football. Not only does drag-hunting keep boys 
from tiring of the regulation game, but it is to the wind 
and endurance these runs give us that we owe the fact 
that we seldom, if ever, lose a match against boys of our 
own size and weight. The beauty of the drag-hunt is 
that you can pick your course, you can choose your 
jumps, you can regulate your checks and keep your field 
all together, and you can insure the maximum of sport 
and exercise." 


Here, too, is the testimony of another head- 
master of a preparatory school, Mr. F. H. Gresson, 
of The Grange, Crowborough. 

" March 23, 1909. 

" I can fully endorse all that Mr. Grenfell says with 
regard to the pleasure and amusement to be derived from 
a drag-hunt. I have kept a small pack of beagles and 
hunted a drag with them for the last five years with 
very successful results. In my opinion, it is a very 
suitable form of amusement for boys of the preparatory 
school age, as you can regulate the distance and the 
checks, and there is no fear of their getting overdone. 

" As one who is very keen upon both fox-hunting and 
hare-hunting, I cannot pretend to say that a drag com- 
pares in any way with either. At the same time, how- 
ever, I get a great amount of enjoyment out of it myself, 
in addition to the exercise, and I do not find it at all a 
dull sport." 

We do not, of course, compare the drag-hunt 
with the stag-hunt, the hare-hunt, or any other 
blood-sport, in the sense of saying that it yields 
equal excitement; it lacks, no doubt, the thrill 
of the life-and-death struggle that is going on in 
front of the hounds. But for those who are 
aware that such excitement is cruel and morbid, 
the drag-hunt may be made to provide an ex- 
cellent substitute for blood-sport, with plenty of 
skill as well as plenty of exercise ; and sportsmen 
who refuse such substitute merely give proof that 
their addiction to a barbarous practice is very 



By the Rev. J. STRATTON 

Pigeon-shooting is one of those practices which 
generous minds must regard with aversion. 
There is not a single element in it which culti- 
vates any good quality in mankind. 

The late Lord Randolph Churchill, in the 
House of Commons, 1883, alluding to Monte 
Carlo doings, gave an effective description of a 
pigeon-shooting scene : 

** He had had the opportunity, he said, of watching the 
sight at Monte Carlo, though he had never had the satis- 
faction of killing a pigeon himself. The pigeon-shooting 
at Monte Carlo was conducted on the same principles as 
that at Hurlingham, and under similar rules. He saw 
the birds taken out of the basket, and before being put 
into the trap a man cut their tails with a large pair of 
scissors. That probably was not very cruel, because he 
only cut the quill, though at times he seemed to cut very 
close. But worse followed. After cutting the tail, he 
saw the man take the bird in one hand, and with the 
other tear a great bunch of feathers from the breast and 
stomach of every pigeon. On asking the man what he 
did that for, he replied that it was to stimulate the birds, 
in order that, maddened by excitement and pain, they 
might take a more eccentric leap in the air, and increase 
the chance of the pigeon gamblers. 

*' He saw another very curious thing, too. One of 
the pigeons was struck and fell to the ground ; but when 
the dog went to pick it up, the wretched bird fluttered 
again in the air, and for an appreciable time it remained 
so fluttering, just a little higher than the dog could jump. 
While the bird's fate was thus trembling in the balance, 


the betting was fast and furious, and when at last the 
pigeon tumbled into the dog's jaws, he would never 
forget the shout of triumph and yell of execration that 
rose from the ring-men and gentlemen." 

Now, what honest-minded man can approve of 
such a performance as this ? Yet the so-called 
sport is in much favour still, from aristocratic 
gatherings down to those promoted by low public- 

It is surely of the nature of anything claiming 
to be legitimate sport, that the quarry should be 
in its natural, wild condition, and should have a 
chance of saving its life from its would-be de- 
stroyer. What chance of this kind has a dazed 
pigeon, fluttering from a box in the presence of 
guns ready to fire the moment it appears ? The 
whole thing is cowardly and contemptible, and 
should be suppressed by law. This fate it would 
have met in 1883 had the House of Lords done its 
duty as well as the House of Commons; for a Bill 
which aimed at its abolition was rejected in the 
former House after it had passed in the latter. 

More lately, however, there has occurred an 
event which proves that the views we hold 
respecting pigeon-shooting are beginning to find 
acceptance with the public. As everybody is 
aware, the Hurlingham Club used to lend its 
patronage to this sport, but recently a change in 
its policy took place. A meeting of members was 
held, and the question was put to the vote, whether 
the shooting of pigeons from traps should be any 
longer permitted in the grounds, A two-thirds 


majority decided that it should be aboHshed. 
The minority endeavoured to get this settlement 
reversed by law, but they were unsuccessful. 

It was instructive, as well as cheering, to ob- 
serve the favour with which the Press as a whole 
received the judgment delivered by Mr. Justice 
Joyce on the case submitted to him. 

As an example of newspaper utterances I may 
quote the comments of the Daily News of Feb- 
ruary 26, 1906: 

" All those who believe that 1906 is better as re- 
gards blood-sports than 1868 will rejoice that Hur- 
lingham is not to be bound fast to the older date, and its 
defective morality. Pigeon-shooting is emphatically not 
now — as Mr. Justice Joyce said it was considered in 1868 
—a manly sport, fit for gentlemen. It may seem a hard 
saying to those who, having acquired proficiency in the 
practice, have lost their sense of moral truth. The 
fashion at Hurlingham has slowly changed in deference 
to surrounding opinion. Pigeon-shooting has not only 
its negative side of unmanliness, but the positive side of 
cruelty, and we are glad that the Club is not so indis- 
solubly built on this base sport but that a two-thirds 
majority may decide when the time has come to 
abolish it." 


Supposing all shooting of birds from traps 
were prohibited by law, is there any kindred 
diversion which might take its place ? Yes; 
there is the clay-pigeon shoot, which affords good 
practice in gunnery and amuses its patrons by 
enabling them to meet and settle contests for 
prizes and so forth. It ought to satisfy all who 
have not got into the vicious habit of thinking 


that sport is poor work unless it inflicts agony or 
death on animals. 

The clay-pigeon, so-called, does not bear any 
resemblance to a living bird. It is like a small 
saucer, brown in colour, and brittle. 

One of the ways in which the artificial shoot is 
carried on is this. A pit is formed, deep enough to 
allow a man to stand in it and remain unseen. In 
the pit is placed machinery which a person can 
employ for projecting a " pigeon " to a consider- 
able distance, at a quick speed, and at any angle. 
The pigeon may be shot up in the air, or sent 
skimming along the ground, and fly to right or 
left. The shooter stands some yards behind the 
pit, gun in hand, waiting for the appearance of the 
object. And, not knowing what course the 
pigeon will take, he is kept on the qui vive. From 
the sporting point of view, this is so much to the 
good, as uncertainty is an element of enjoyment 
in the matter. 

At shooting grounds such as those of Messrs. 
Holland and Holland, of New Bond Street, 
situated at Kensal Rise, there are many diver- 
sities attached to the recreation. Birds are 
thrown, in many cases, from high structures, or 
go flying over trees, and move in a mode similar 
to that of pheasants or driven grouse or partridges. 
Then, further, at this establishment, the figures 
of birds with outstretched wings appear for a few 
seconds on a whitened screen, and form interest- 
ing objects to fire at. Across this screen, again, 
metal representations of rabbits are made to rim 


on an iron rod. From this it will be understood 
what a deal of variety may be introduced into this 
form of amusement. 

What humanitarians desire to see is the sub- 
stitution everywhere of this kind of shooting for 
that of firing at pigeons and starlings and other 
living birds liberated from traps. 

I ought to say that at Messrs. Holland and 
Holland's establishment live pigeons are kept for 
those who wish to fire at them, but I was pleased 
to learn that, for every living bird killed, a hun- 
dred clay birds are shot at. 



Coursing, the practice of chasing a hare with 
two greyhounds, slipped simultaneously from the 
leash, is one of the most ancient of blood-sports ; 
but the spirit of those who take part in it does not 
seem to have improved with time. It may be 
doubted whether modern patrons of the sport are 
as chivalrous as those referred to by the old 
writer Arrian, whose work on Coursing dates from 
the second century: 

** For coursers, such at least as are true sportsmen, 
do not take out their dogs for the sake of catching a hare, 
but for the contest and sport of coursing, and are glad 
if the hare escape; if she fly to any thin brake for con- 
cealment, though they may see her trembling and in the 
utmost distress, they will call off their dogs." 


What is the attraction of coursing ? The 
author of " The Encyclopaedia of Rural Sports " 
(1852) is forced to admit that coursing has been 
found dull: 

" We may be asked," he says, ** what pleasure there 
can be for people marshalled in a line, at certain dis- 
tances from each other, monotonously to walk or ride at 
a foot pace over a ploughed field or across a wide heath 
on a bleak November day, the eye anxiously directed 
hither and thither to catch the clod or the sidelong 
furrow that half conceals poor puss, or to espy the tuft 
she has parted to make her form in." 

But even so stupid a pastime as this has its 
charms for many people, when to the zest of seeing 
a timid animal's life at stake there is added the 
more modern excitement of betting on the prowess 
of the dogs. 

Of the cruelty of coursing, as practised in the 
chief contests, from the Waterloo Cup down, there 
can be no question. " What more aggravated 
form of torture is to be found," says Lady 
Florence Dixie, "than coursing with greyhounds 
— the awful terror of the hare depicting itself 
in the laid-back ears, convulsive doubles, and 
wild starting eyes which seem almost to burst 
from their sockets in the agony of tension which 
that piteous struggle for life entails ?" 

Open coursing is bad enough, on the score of 
inhumanity; but when the coursing is enclosed, 
or the hares are bagged ones turned out for the 
occasion, the case is still worse. The use of en- 
closed grounds dates from about 1876, and we 
learn from the volume on " Coursing " in the 


Badminton Library of Sports and Pastimes (1892), 
that " many of the old school opposed it strongly, 
and with the best reason, for it utterly lacked the 
elements of real sport." At the present time it 
is by a strict system of " preserving " hares 
rather than by keeping them in enclosures, that 
a sufficient supply is maintained for the great 
coursing matches. What an object-lesson in 
cruelty these meetings afford may be judged from 
the fact that at some of them, such as the com- 
petition for the Waterloo Cup, there is an attend- 
ance of several thousand spectators. 

Here is an " Impression of the Waterloo Meet- 
ing," by Mr. John Gulland, which appeared in 
the Morning Leader in 1911 : 

** Stretching away into the far country (if you use your 
eyes) may be seen two long, thin black lines, representing 
quite a little army of beaters. In a short while dozens 
of hares may be seen gaily sporting between these lines, 
in delightful ignorance of the terrible enemy which is 
lying in wait for them in front. It is the business of the 
beater to divert a good hare from his playful com- 
panions; and if you keep your eye well directed on the 
black lines, you will soon detect the white flutter of a 
handkerchief passing along the lines, and a brown shape 
leaping swiftly along the ground, nervously anxious to 
turn to one side or the other, but kept to an inexorable 
straight course by the living wall of beaters. A shout 
from the crowd, growing every moment more excited as 
the short drama is about to begin, proclaims the fact 
that the hare is in the battle-ground, and is about to 
meet his Waterloo. And, higher still, and louder than 
all, the raucous cry of the bookmaker, 'Take 7 to 2/ 
* Take 2 to i,' rises shrill in the air. 

** All this time a couple of greyhounds are held tight 
by a slipper in a box, open on two sides, in the middle 


of the field. As soon as the hare is beaten past the 
slipper's box the greyhounds tug and strain at the leash, 
almost dragging the slipper with them. When the hare 
has had about fifty yards' start the hounds are released, 
and off they dash together, looking at first like one. 
This is the most thrilling part of the game, and is watched 
in a few seconds of almost breathless silence. Pussy 
hasn't, however, much chance against a greyhound, and 
is soon overtaken ; but he still has a few arts at his com- 
mand. For, just as the dog is about to hurl himself on 
pussy's unoffending body, the little creature makes a 
deft turn aside, his pursuer flying harmlessly past. 
Then follow a series of turns, feints, dodges, and bounds. 
Puss may, indeed, lead his enemies a sorry dance for a 
little while, but it is an unequal contest. These grey- 
hounds at Altcar are the best and fastest of their kind, 
and it is seldom that a hare escapes their teeth on Water- 
loo Cup day. In half a minute — at the outside two 
minutes — all is over." 

The writer states that he thmks he has never 
seen " so many bookmakers and bookmakers' 
clerks per head of the population " as at the 
Waterloo coursing. " It was the merriest gam- 
bling I have seen for many a long day," for 
coursing "lends itself particularly well to betting." 




" It has been gravely said that a good angler must also 
be a good Christian. Without literalising the assertion, 
it may well be admitted that there is much in the con- 
templative character of his pursuit, and in the quiet 
scenes of beauty with which it brings him face to face, 
to soften and elevate as well as to humanise." 

Thus writes Mr. H. Cholmondeley-Pennell, a dis- 
tinguished authority on angling. We fear, how- 
ever, that an examination of the " gentle craft " 
will scarcely justify the assertion ; for the fact can- 
not be gainsaid that to kill fish for mere amuse- 
ment is to gratify one's own pleasure at the cost 
of another being's pain, and that, regarded from 
a moral standpoint, it will not materially affect 
the case to plead that the fisherman is " contem- 
plative," or that in the pursuit of his pastime he 
is brought into touch with the softening influences 
of nature. Unfortunately, as far as his sport 
(which is the only point in question) is concerned, 
there is no sign of this softening tendency on 
him. Contemplative he may be (in the intervals 
between " rises " or " bites "), but his contempla- 
tion has apparently not taken that introspective 
turn which would seem to be most needed. He 
may be gentle — in some relations of life; but in 
the matter of impaling live-bait and hooking fishes 
his gentleness is of a worse than dubious quality. 
One would have thought that a sense of humour 


would withhold fishermen from making these 
ludicrous claims to virtues in which, qua fisher- 
men, they are very signally deficient. "There 
are unquestionably," says Leigh Hunt, " many 
amiable men among sportsmen, who, as the phrase 
is, would not hurt a fiy, that is to say, on a 
window; at the end of a string the case is altered." 
The stories told by anglers of the alleged 
" insensibility " of fish — how a hooked salmon that 
has just broken away will sometimes return to 
the bait — do not prove very much; for that fish 
are less intelligent and less sensitive than warm- 
blooded animals is no excuse for torturing them 
to the extent of their feeling. And it is evident, 
on the showing of the fishermen themselves, that 
the process of " playing " a large fish is a very 
cruel one, since it means gradually and mercilessly 
wearing down the strength of the victim during a 
desperate struggle prolonged sometimes for hours. 
Reading, for example, such a passage as the 
following, taken from Dr. Hamilton's book on 
" Fly-Fishing," one marvels at the mood which 
can find enjoyment in so barbarous a sport: 

" I know of no greater excitement when, after casting 
the fly, a sudden swirl of the water tells you that a salmon 
has risen, and the tightening of your line that he is 
hooked. Then the mighty rush of a fresh-run fish; the 
rapid whirl (sweet music !) of the reel, as the line is 
carried out; the tremendous leaps and tugs and efforts 
as the fish tries to free himself. Good fisherman as you 
may be, the chances are against you. You at one end 
of the line doing all you can, and putting all your experi- 
ence to the test, to keep and bring to bank the prize you 
covet. The fish at the other end, with all his knowledge 


of the rocks and bad places at the bottom of the river, 
doing all he can to circumvent you. . . . And then, 
after a slight pause, with skilful management the strain 
is put on. An anxious moment; he gives, but oh ! how 
slowly, how reluctantly. The question is, who is to 
conquer. You feel your power as you wind up; you see 
his silver side; you know there will be yet one or two 
terrific struggles for life as he gets a glimpse of you and 
the gaff; then comes the final rush, the line paying out 
inch by inch. It is over ! Another roll or two, and he 
is on the bank — and then the soothing pipe while you 
study his fine proportions." 

Under some conditions the sport consists in 
practically drowning the fish in its own element. 
"The most killing place," says Dr. Hamilton, 
*' when the hook is well fast, is in the lower jaw. 
The strain of the line prevents in a great measure 
the free current of water through the gills, and 
the fish becomes suffocated." 

To what extravagance the angling mania can 
run may be seen from certain forms of sea-fishing. 
The tarpon, an inhabitant of the Gulf of Mexico, is 
a great fish of the herring kind, weighing from 
50 to 180 pounds, and measuring from 5 to 7 feet 
in length. It is not used as food by any but the 
negroes and " lower classes," and its chief value, 
we are told, is for " sporting " purposes. In The 
Queen of December 7, 1895, an account was given 
of "an angling feat" performed by a lady who 
caught a monster of this kind. " The lady's 
grip," we were told, " was firm," and defeated the 
endeavours of the fish " to shake the cruel hook 
from its throat." In this, and in all angling 
records, it will be observed that the cruelty is 


purely wanton — the killing being done not because 
it is necessary or useful, but because the sportsman 
enjoys it. 

Again, one of the most nauseous features of the 
" gentle craft " is the use of " live bait " — that is, 
of worms, maggots, flies, grasshoppers, frogs, and 
small fish. Here is one of the directions given by 
Mr. Cholmondeley-Pennell : 

** In using the lob-worm-tail only, the worm must be 
broken about the middle, longer or shorter according to 
circumstances, and the hook inserted at the point of the 
breakage, the worm being then run up the hook until 
the shank is somewhat more than covered and only the 
end of the tail remains at liberty." 

It is pointed out by Mr. Alexander Mackie in 
" The Art of Worm Fishing," that a " particularly 
beautiful " blue-nosed lob will account for as many 
as four trout, if cut in two parts and used succes- 
sively, and that no worm of this class should be 
thrown away when only " slightly shattered." 

The impaling of a worm or maggot is disgusting 
enough; but when live fish are used as bait the 
cruelty is still worse. It will be observed that it 
is the angler's object to prolong the misery of the 
living bait to the utmost extent. Thus Mr. 
Cholmondeley-Pennell, with reference to pike 
fishing : 

" With regard to live-baits, a good deal must of course 
depend upon the state of the water. Should it be very 
bright and clear, a gudgeon, which is also a very tough 
fish, will generally be found the best, and in extreme cases 
even a minnow used with a small float and a single gimp 
hook passed through its upper lip or back. . . . Probably 



the best live-bait of all for thick or clouded water is a 
medium-sized dace, as its scales are peculiarly brilliant, 
and the fish itself by no means easily killed. In case of 
waters in which the pike are over-fed, I should recom- 
mend my readers to try them with live gold-fish, . . . 
If gold-fish are not forthcoming, small carp form a very 
killing and long-lived bait. The bait should not be left 
too long in one place, but be kept gently moving. It 
should also be held as little as possible out of water, on 
to which, when cast, its fall should be as light as possible, 
to avoid injury and premature decease." 

A very cruel way of taking freshwater fish is by 
night-lines. The victims are often left for hours 
with large hooks in their mouths; and when at 
last taken from the water are exhausted or dead. 
This perhaps is a poacher's method rather than 
a sportsman's ; but it is to be observed that as 
a rule the despised poaching methods — such as 
the netting, wiring, or " tickling " of fish — are far 
less barbarous than those which are honoured as 
" sportsmanlike." 

It is clear, then, that the title of " the gentle 
craft " is an absurd misnomer when applied to 
angling, and that, if humaneness had been reck- 
oned among the virtues, we should not have seen 
the canonisation of Izaak Walton, the patron saint 
of fishermen. For as Byron says of him: 

** The quaint old cruel coxcomb in his guUet 
Should have a hook, and a small trout to pull it." 

" It would have taught him humanity at least," 
adds the poet in a footnote. "They may talk 
about the beauties of nature, but the angler merely 
thinks of his dish of fish; he has no leisure to take 


his eyes from off the streams, and a single * bite ' is 
worth to him more than all the scenery around. 
The whale, the shark, and the tunny fishery have 
somewhat of noble and perilous in them; even 
net-fishing, trawling, etc., are more humane and 
useful. But angling !" 



It is a grave charge that is brought against us 
humanitarians, of " spoiling other people's plea- 
sure." We are reproachfully bidden to look 
at " sport," for instance, and to ponder all the 
manifold enjoyment which it provides for its 
votaries — the pleasure of the riders, the pleasure 
of the horses, the pleasure of the hounds, the 
pleasure (some assert) even of the fox himself — 
or, if not exactly pleasure, at least a praiseworthy 
acquiescence in the role assigned him as the pur- 
veyor of amusement for others; for has he not, 
like Faust, purchased the happiness of a lifetime 
at the cost of this brief hour of pain ? And all 
this sum of pleasure the humanitarian would 
deliberately destroy ! No wonder that specula- 
tion is rife among sportsmen as to any intelligible 
reason for such malice. Are humanitarians in- 
sane ? Or is it a dog-in-the-manger instinct that 
prompts them to wreck a pleasure in which they 
themselves — poor joyless creatures that they are 
— can have no part ? 


We shall be expected, perhaps, in answer to 
these accusations, to plead some austere and 
weighty reasons, such as the danger of an excess 
of pleasure, the need of self-sacrifice, the duty of 
altruism, and the like. We shall do nothing of 
the kind. On the contrary, we shall point out 
that humanitarians seek not to diminish but to 
increase the pleasures of which life is capable ; for 
it is precisely because we, too, love pleasure, and 
regard it, when rightly understood, as the sum 
and purport of existence, that we deplore the 
absurd travesty of it which at present passes 
muster among the thoughtless. Our complaint 
against the sportsman and his like is not that they 
enjoy themselves, but that they prevent other 
persons from doing so, through their very rudi- 
mentary and barbarous notions of what enjoy- 
ment means. 

Consider, for instance, the exquisite pleasure, 
surely one of the greatest joys in life, of seeing 
perfect confidence and fearlessness in the beings 
around one — the intrepidity which is the special 
charm of children, when well-treated, and which 
is characteristic of animals also, in the rare cases 
when they have nothing to fear from man. We 
know with what child-like trust and guilelessness 
the primitive inhabitants of the West Indies 
greeted their Spanish discoverers, and how the 
wild animals in newly-found lands have often 
shown the same unguarded friendliness to man, 
until they knew better — or worse. The pleasure 
of the humanitarian consists in preserving and 


cherishing to the uttermost this friendly relation- 
ship; the pleasure of the sportsman consists in 
rending and shattering it, in making a hell out of 
a heaven, and is sowing distrust and terror where 
there might be confidence and love. Chacun d 
son gout. It is useless to dispute about tastes. 
But that the sportsman should proceed to denounce 
the humanitarian as being " a spoiler of pleasure " 
is a stroke of unintended humour from a very 
humourless source. 

The part which the sportsman plays in the 
animal world — that world which might be a 
source of much genuine pleasure to us — may be 
easily pictured if we look at one of the London 
parks where the bird-life is protected. There we 
see a truce reigning between human and non- 
human, with a vast amount of obvious human 
enjoyment as the result. Imagine what would 
happen if a man were to run with a gun or 
some other weapon among the unsuspecting ani- 
mals, and pride himself on the dexterity with 
which he reduced them from beautiful living 
creatures to limp and ugly carcases. He would 
be arrested as a lunatic, you say, by the park- 
keepers. True; yet that is exactly the way in 
which the sportsman is continually running amuck 
in this larger park of ours, the world, where un- 
fortunately there are as yet no park-keepers to 
restrain him. 

Nor is it only the sportsman, but everyone 
addicted to cruel practices of any sort, who makes 
the world a poorer and less happy place to live in. 


Centuries of persecution have, in fact, left so 
little real happiness in life that men have been 
fain to content themselves with these wretched 
beggarly amusements, which, from bull- and bear- 
baiting to stag-hunting, have disgraced our 
national " sports " from time immemorial, yet 
have always been defended on the ludicrous 
ground that their abolition would diminish the 
" pleasures " of the people. 

Who, then, is the mar-joy ? Surely not the 
humanitarian, whose desire it is that there should 
be far greater and wider means of enjoyment 
than at present, and who, far from discouraging 
the sports of the people, would establish in every 
part of the land facilities for manly and whole- 
some sports, such as cricket, football, rowing, 
swimming, running, and all kinds of athletic and 
gymnastic exercises. To humanitarians, pleasure 
— real pleasure — is the one precious thing; and 
it is just because there is so little real pleasure in 
the present conditions of life that we desire to 
see those conditions changed and ameliorated. 
Why else should we " agitate," sit in committees, 
write letters to newspapers, and organise public 
meetings to expound our principles ? Certainly, 
not because we enjoy such occupation in itself, 
for a more thankless task could scarcely be 
imagined; but because life is at present so nar- 
rowed and saddened by brutalitarian stupidity that 
to try to alter it, even in the smallest measure, is to 
us a necessary condition of any enjoyment at all. 


Accidents involved by hunt- 
ing, 66 

Adams, Maurice, on cost of 
sport, 45 et seq. 

Afforestation conflicts with 
game preservation, 53 

Agriculture ruined by sport, 

Athletic exercises compared 
with blood-sports, 129 

Badgers as " vermin," 88 
" Bag," a six weeks', 104 
Balance of Nature upset, 40 
" Battue," horrors of the, 83 
" Battue-shooting," 13 
Beagles: Eton, 18; Tom 
Brown on Rugby, 125; 
forbidden by original stat- 
utes, 117; not legalised 
untiliSyi, 117; Dr.Warre's 
attitude re, 116; strength 
of the opposition to, 124 
Big-game hunting: Mr. Er- 
nest Bell on, loi; mono- 
tony of, 1 01, 102 
" Blooding." 155 
Blood-sports: not manly, 56, 

112, 136; at schools, 116 
Buchanan, Robert, quoted, 

69. 150 

Buckhounds, abolition of 
Royal, 100, 130 

Buddha, humane teachings 
of, 29 

Burmese, the, and compas- 
sion, 29 

Burns, Robert. on shooting, 93 

Byron, Lord, on angling, 178 

Callousness of fox-hunting, 
the, 95 

Carlisle otter hounds, 30 

Carpenter, Edward, on sport 
and agriculture, 34 et seq. 

Carted deer, 22 

Civilised versus savage life, 

Clay-pigeons and live pigeons, 

Colquhoun, John, on the 
poacher, 81 

Compassion taught by Bud- 
dha, 29 

Compensation, farmers and, 


Cornfields damaged by mice 
and sparrows, 40 

Coursing, 170 

Cricket compared with hunt- 
ing, 67 

Cruel sports not public bene- 
fits, 60 

Cruelties of stag - hunting, 

Cruelty, definition of, 2 

" Cub-hunting," barbarities 
of, 9 

Cultivated area of Great 
Britain, 53 

Deer, carted, " accidents " 
to, 22 

Deer-forests: acreage of, 84; 
effects of, 84 

De Quincey's satire, 142 

Dixie. Lady Florence, quo- 
ted, 163. 

Dogs, gamekeepers', 76 




Drag-hunt versus stag-hunt, 

Drag-hunting a pleasurable 
sport, 99, 163 

Durham, Lord, defends rab- 
bit-coursing, 27 

Economics of hunting, 60 ei 

Elephants, extermination of, 


" Enclosure Act," 71 

Eton Beagles, 18; eminent 
opponents of, 124; hare- 
hunt, the, 116; sports, 
brutality of, 117 ei seq. 

Evolution and animal kin- 
ship, 33 

Expenditure on hunting, 65 

Explosive bullets, 113 

Farmers and compensation, 

Farmers injured by hunting, 

Field, The, on tame-deer 

hunting, 24 
Fishing, 174 
*' Food-supply " fallacy, the, 

Fortescue, Hon. J., quoted, 

Fox, the hunted, 6, 98 
Foxes " made in Germany," 


Fox-hunting, 5 et seq. ; ex- 
cuses for, 8; H. B. M. Wat- 
son on, 95 ; illogical, 97, 98 

" Foxology," Dr. Lang's, 135 

" Game," animals included 

as, 71 
Gamekeepers : brutality of, 

79, 86 ; Joseph Arch on, 75 ; 

Justice Vaughan Williams 

and, 76; increase of, 39; 

Mr. Lloyd George on, 39 
Game Laws : facts about the, 

69 et seq. ; a legal anomaly, 

70; raison d'Stre of, 71; 

popular dislike of, 72 

Grand Duke's exploit, 103 
Gravid animals, hunting of, 

Greenwood, George, M.P., on 

cruelty of sport, i et seq. 
Grouse-moors and f armers,38 

Hare-hunting, 16; Sir Thomas 

More on, 16 
Hedgehogs as " vermin," 88 
Heron, destruction of the, 41, 

Home Office, the, and Game 

Laws, 74 
Hudson, W. H., quoted, 87 

et seq. 
Hunt, Leigh, quoted, 133, 175 
Hunter, the, as a " lover of 

animals," 93 
Hunting : expensiveness of, 

62; a limited recreation, 

66 ; a rich man's sport, 62 


God - planted," 

Japanese, prowess of the, 57 
Johnston, Sir Harry: on big- 
game killing, 114; on gun- 
sportsmen, 93 ; on wild life, 

Justice ignored in Game Law 

administration, 74 
Justices of the Peace as 

game-preservers, 73 

Kropotkin's, Prince, esti- 
mate on produce of soil, 53 

Land, effect of Game Laws 
on, 72 

Legislation affected by hunt- 
ing, 67 

" Live bait," cruelty of using, 

Lloyd, E. B., on destruction 
of wild life, 85 et seq. 

Londonderry's, Lord, eco- 
nomic argument, 51 

" Lost " animals, sufferings 
of, no 



" Lust, the blood," 113 
Ljrte, Sir H. Maxwell, on 
Eton barbarities, 117, 126 

Martin, Howard, on benefits 

of sport, 49 
Meredith, George, quoted, 


Mice and cornfields, 40 

Modern sport not heroic, 

Monck, W. H. S., on econ- 
omics of hunting, 60 et seq. 

Moral defence of sport lack- 
ing, 7, III 

Natural versus wwnatural 

history, 94 
Nightingales, destruction of, 

Nyassaland licences, 114 

Otter hunt at Longtown, 30 
Otter hunting, 18, 19, 160 

Penal servitude for night 
poaching, 75 

Penalties for trespass, 74 

Pheasant shooting and vivi- 
section, I 

Pheasants, artificially reared, 
13. 36. 51. 94 

Pigeon-shooting : not true 
sport, 21; Lord Randolph 
Churchill on, 166; pro- 
hibited at Hurlingham, 22, 

Poacher: character of the, 
80; the, as gamekeeper, 
81; described, 81 

Poachers, illegal sentences 
on, 74 

Polo and hunting compared, 

Preservation of game, 15 

Professionalism spoiling 
sport, 59 

Rabbit-coursing, 24 
Rabbits, a nuisance to 
farmers, 39 

Recreations: best available 
to largest numbers, 62; 
essentials of, 62-64 
Remorse of the hunter, 106 
Reserves for wild animals, 

Ribblesdale, Lord, and stag- 
hunting, 145, 157 
Roosevelt, T., quoted, 107 
Rousseau, J. J., on compas- 
sion, 31, 32 

Salt, Henry S., on Spovts- 

men's fallacies, 130 et seq. 
Sargent, Henry R., defends 

sport, 45 
Schopenhauer and the basis 

of morality, 31, 32 
Select Committee of 1846, 80 
Sentimentalism versus hu- 

manitarianism, 96 
Seton-Karr, H. W., 131 
Seton-Karr's, Sir H., fallacy, 


Shooting, II etseq. 

Small holdings versus sport- 
ing interests, 42 

Sparrows and cornfields, 40 

Spoiling other people's plea- 
sure, 179 

Sport: importance of ethical 
issues, i; as a fetish, 4; 
cost of, 45-59; confusion 
in the use of the term, 56 

Sports: morally unjustifiable 
if cruel, 2 ; two kinds of, 3 ; 
spurious, 20 et seq., 58; 
and agriculture, Edward 
Carpenter on, 34 et seq. 

" Sportsman," a popular ap- 
pellation, 3 

Sportsmen's claims criti- 
cised, 139 et seq. ; logic, 8; 
fallacies, 130 

Stag-hunting, cruelties of, 10 

Steel traps, barbarity of, 82 

Torture unnecessary, 96 

Unmanliness of pheasant- 
shooting, 57 



Unregistered gamekeepers, 

Unsportsmanlike devices, 


" Vermin " exterminated by 
game-preservers, 88 

Vivisection and field sports 
compared, i 

Wallace, A. R., on game- 
keepers, 76 

War, sport as training for, 

Warre, Dr. : his defence of the 

Eton hare-hunt, 116, 123 
Watson, H. B. Marriott, on 

fox-hunting, 95 et seq. 
Weasels as " vermin," 88 
Wild life, destruction of, 85 

Women and hunting, n, 19 
Woodpecker destroyed by 

gamekeeper, 89 
Wounded victims of sport, 14 

Young, need of humane 
teaching for the, 18 




JUN 1 5 





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