Henry Salt Archive

Henry Salt (1853-1939) was the author of the Life of Henry David Thoreau, Animals Rights and A Plea for Vegetarianism which inspired Gandhi for follow a vegetarian diet.

Killing for Sport

The Nation, June 17, 1915

In “Killing for Sport”. (London: G. Bell & Sons; 2s. 6d. net) members of the Humanitarian League, marshalled under a characteristic introduction by G. Bernard Shaw, represent the best artillery that could have been brought into play against the blood-sports popular and traditional in England, since nearly all the writers have, at some time or other, enthusiastically practiced the sports they now condemn. Fox, stag, and other hunting, the cruel sport of coursing, and, the shameful hunting of gravid animals come in for particular and acute discussion, and a sound economical argument is made against the raising of game-birds in immense preserves to the detriment of the neighboring farmers. From an American point of view the main difficulty would seem to be the existence of vague and undemocratic game-laws, or of game-laws which (as was once true of the parallel question of afforestization) are unintelligent, and do not specifically aim at the protection of animals during the breeding season, or during seasons when they have suffered from natural causes. If there can be advanced a partial view regarding hounds, the case of stag and hind hunting is certainly nearest the public heart. Especially does the custom of enIarging a deer that has been carted to the scene of chase merit universal scorn. In France and England the sport is conducted on a small scale, and the abolition of the Royal Buckhounds, which, until 1901, were maintained by Parliamentary grants, has led to an increasing sentiment in support of the drag-hunt so popular in this country. Sport with the “drag” is never uncertain, and an interesting line of country can always be taken with due consideration for the property rights of others, and for the important question of remounts. It is also largely due to American sportsmen that the “clay” pigeon is fast superseding the live bird in European clubs.