Although the Duke of Edinburgh’s attitude towards sport hunting may have softened over his long life it is said that ‘the duke had no time for criticism of country sports’ (The Times today). He was the president of the World Wildlife Fund since 1961. He saw no conflict in shooting birds and tigers and being a leading conservationist. He is described as being a keen conservationist and avid follower of country sports during his life, a euphemism for killing animals for fun. Was he a genuine person? Could he be genuine if he bahaved like this?
In The Times today he is seen holding pheasants he’d shot. We are told that he probably shot more than 30,000 game birds in his lifetime. Hardly something to be praised. It is not simply the killing of birds for entertainment which is outmoded but the fact that the birds are often thrown away when killed as there is not enough outlets for their carcasses. And the game bird businesses harms conservation.
In July 2015 the Mirror newspaper published a photo of him in India in 1961 behind a tiger he’d shot on a three day hunt. Despite protestations against it he went ahead with the hunt. He also shot a crocodile and six mountain sheep on the trip. The queen accompanied him and is in the said photo.
The duke has been widely praised as being an intelligent man who was hugely supportive of the Queen and who did some wonderful works such as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme which has improved the lives of 6.7 million British young men and women over the years. And many more overseas.
I like the man. His life was one of service to the nation and his wife. He was the head of the royal family and he managed the estates. He was a ground breaker in terms of what a Queen’s consort should do and achieve. He created the rule book but it is time to criticise him.
On the killing of animals for pleasure he demonstrated an elite ignorance of animal welfare and the objectives of living in harmony with nature and our fellow creatures with whom we share the planet. He lacked enlightenment.
He was not that intelligent otherwise he’d have seen the error of his ways. Perhaps he was too entitled and arrogant to be objective about his behaviour; unpleasant behaviour in shooting animals for his gratification.