Friday, 19 August 2011

More of a man than Philip Larkin (Warning:contains disturbing images)

Today I killed an animal knowingly.

In 1978, I claimed to have shot a sparrow with my uncle's air-rifle;
but on reflection I clipped its wing at best.
I was 11 years old.

I am now 44, and I have never killed, or attempted to kill, another animal knowingly.

Until today.

Today, I bludgeoned a rabbit with a piece of metal scaffolding.

I missed its head and neck with the first blow, and it squealed.
(Rabbits don't make noises in everyday life)
I broke its back, before despatching a blow to the head, and rendering it unconscious.
I continued to batter it repeatedly, in order to ensure the swiftness of deaths, that a man of little skill could best administer.

And tonight, I know I will have nightmares.

Of the thousands of rabbits that burrow and forage the grounds of Geldeston Hall, only a small percentage are blighted with myxomatosis.
But it's in the summer months when these poor, ravaged creatures are at their most apparent.
Grazing the lush verdant pasture at dusk, within the safety of the numbers from their warren, it's hard to distinguish the weak from the plenty.
It's only when they scatter, in flight and in fear, that the diseased are exposed.
Oblivious to sight or sound, blinded and deaf to approaching danger, these half-dead lagomorphs dribble on grass with no sense of impending mortality, or anything other than cruel raison d'etre.
Myxomatosis makes zombies out of rabbits.

Today I had to 'poo-pick' my wife's horses' field.
With a radio blaring out Test Match Special, and a determined stride, I entered the field with purpose and a desire to be done as soon as possible.
Rabbits scarpered and crows flew away.

Except for one.

I knew immediately that Benjamin Bunny was a myxi-case.
Oblivious to my grumblings and the trundling of the wheelbarrow, BB continued to nuzzle the nettles that littered the shallow hollows, that discredit East Anglia's claim to 'flatness'.
On closer inspection, BB had only half a face.
No cheek. No chin.
Tumours covering the remaining flea-bitten fur.

His eye complete in its decay, the lower jaw was exposed and his rotting gums were bleeding and raw.
The rest of BB's afflictions are too painful to describe, let alone endure.

I left the field and sought about procuring a weapon that would bring an end to BB's suffering.
A pile of builders' scaffolding poles provided the implement that would bestow upon me the title of 'God' for the next five minutes.

When I had finished, and was sure that the suffering had ended, I scooped up the carcass and dumped it with the horse-shit on the compost heap.

The right thing had been done.
I was shaking and I was numb.
But I was sure the right thing had been done.

I then went home and cried.

For BB - RIP.

1 comment:

  1. You did the right thing. No creature deserves to suffer in life or death.