October 24, 2006

Great Diocles The Boar Has Killed

The title is from the prelude, aria & chorus from the opening of Act 2 of "The Prophetess" (or "The History of Dioclesian" or "Dioclesian"). It's a dark comedy semi-opera (no that doesn't mean it involves 18 wheelers at dusk al la Cannonball Run) that Henry Purcell (1659-1695) wrote the music for back in 1690. In his 35 years on this world Purcell became known as one of England's finest composers (musicians never have been notorious for longevity) & his influence is still felt today in modern music (according to Pete Townsend among others). In any case it's the closest to an appropriate title I could come up with.

This is an odd one. Virginia state agents as well as the feds raided a man's property & slaughtered most of his herd of Russian boars. The circumstances seem mighty damn shakey for the level of treatment afforded the animals in question. & the agents involved (it seems especially the Dept. of Agriculture fellows) did a pretty good ATFU imitation:

"Cindi, too, laments what she brands as a lack of compassion by the agents, such as a 'hog down' cartoon on the back of a vehicle, or the high-fiving of four-wheeling agents as they killed another one of their animals."

Another incident similar to the one focused on is discussed as well:

"This seems to be the USDA's tactic to just go in very heavy-handed,' says the former Vermont sheep farmer, Linda Faillace. 'Why are they going in and treating farmers as criminals?' When her farm was raided five years ago, Fallaice says, 'They showed up with 27 armed federal agents, 13 USDA officials-- 40 people to get 125 sheep who would all line up in a row if you had a feed bucket."

It does seem like the ATFU has been giving lessons. Or at least a seminar.

Here's another article about the raids.

"When they tried to enter their preserves to observe the operations, Henshaw and Davis were told not to enter their properties or they would be arrested again. Security provided by the VDGIF was posted at the gates of the hunting preserves to ensure this. Henshaw and Davis had to watch and listen from afar as VDACS representatives and VDGIF officers subsequently killed their hogs."

From the two articles I've read (both linked above) it seems like an unreasonable exercise of power by the state & feds. If the animals were diseased then there was no reason not to share the evidence with the animal's owners. Or to wait from April till Spetember to take action if the risk of infection was so great. It'll be interesting to find out how this resolves.

I'm more of a cat person (it's been rumored that I have "easy mark" tattooed on my forehead in feline) & I am not adverse to dogs but I never considered myself a pig or sheep kinda guy. Still I have much sympathy for the folks involved as it seems there was a wrong done to them. & lest ye forget it was done with our tax dollars.

For the helluvit here's the Willis River website. The Big Oak Hunting Club doesn't have a site that I could find. But my guess is that a quick note of sympathy wouldn't hurt their feelings one bit if you're so inclined.

Posted by Publicola at October 24, 2006 02:46 AM | TrackBack
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