Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

William Has Killed a Part of Himself

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

William Has Killed a Part of Himself

Article excerpt

Byline: AMANDA PLATELL

I AM not quite sure what's more barbaric, hunting down and killing a fully-grown deer or a 14-inch one. Now our future King, Prince William, can boast he's done both, having successfully tracked and speared a tiny dik dik during his holiday in Kenya.

The dik-dik is, like William, a shy and gentle creature, hunted but as yet not endangered. When threatened it will hide rather than run.

I suspect the spearing of this little creature would have taken about as much skill as skewering my fat ginger cat Jim, yet spear one William did to the approval no doubt of his father, who loves blood sports, and those who regard stalking deer as a noble pursuit. I am not one of them.

But I'm no stranger to the hunting-and-shooting mentality either. Having been brought up on it, I feel I am better placed to understand and reject it.

My first shooting lesson was at 12 years old in a farm in the Australian outback. My brothers went on ahead to hunt kangaroo, rabbit and fox, all considered vermin and fine sport, especially the roos. I progressed from a .22 rifle to a double-barrel shotgun at the age of 14.

I have never shot an animal, nor was I expected to, being a girl. But the boys had to behave like men, which meant shooting to kill. And the only thing I do know from watching the young boys I grew up with is that it kills something inside them too.

Some grow to love it, some to hate it, but it brutalises all of them.

I've seen teenage boys turning their faces from the men to hide their tears after a kill. In these circles, only girls cry. I have seen them rip their bloodstained clothes off and throw themselves on their beds sobbing after a day's shooting.

It was different when my dad was a boy. In Australia in the Twenties and Thirties they shot for food. …

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