Dead Bodies Hung In The Field
It was like a scene from Medieval England. Dead bodies hung in the field, nailed onto posts as a deterrent to others.
A soft wind blew the bodies back and forth where they hung. Back and forth. Endlessly.
Suspended upside down, their mouths open in silent, agonised screams of death, their sightless eyes stared in horror across the empty, barren fields.
Their crime? Foraging crops from the field to survive, and to feed their hungry children. Something the landowner wouldn’t tolerate. Where money is involved, every grain is jealously guarded.
To the farmer they were ‘just crows’. Expendable. Worth less than nothing. Scraps of feather and sinew which would be tossed away like pieces of rubbish once they’d served their purpose as a deterrent to others of their kind who might be tempted to feed there.
And it may well deter them, for crows, according to the most up to date scientific research, are among only a very tiny handful of species who are known to be self aware. In fact, only humans and macaque monkeys have been shown to have such a high level of self-awareness. And almost no other species are so intelligent.
Crows will even mourn dead friends and family members with complex rituals, much in the way we ourselves do.
They are, without a shadow of doubt, persons. Individuals.
Yet, they are labelled ‘vermin’ and persecuted relentlessly. Like the two described above, hung in a field opposite my home and visible from my garden, many are shot at this time of year and hung or nailed to posts as macabre ‘scarecrows’ without any thought that they may have chicks waiting back at the nest who will starve to death slowly and painfully.
If these were cats or dogs, foxes or badgers hung up in the fields like this, there would be a public outcry and, indeed, times are changing, albeit slowly. Attitudes are, thankfully, becoming more enlightened and the fact that something has been done for generations now sounds more like a feeble excuse than a valid justification. Farmers and landowners are beginning to realise they must change their ways.