A light has just dawned for me, and it’s not a pretty sight. A bunch of teens brutalise a defenceless creature in a suburban park, and we’re unequivocally sickened and outraged, and rightly. But it’s happened in the middle of both a duck hunting and a jumps racing season. These “sports” elicit outrage too, but the interests are much more sectional. Why the difference?
Probably it’s because the former is far closer to home, in several senses. This didn’t occur out in the sticks or even in a provincial centre; it happened in inner suburban Melbourne. And if it actually took place among local neighbourhood kids in Moonee Ponds, it might just as well have happened with someone’s kids in Moorabbin, Montmorency or Moreland. Again, hunting and racing are pretty removed from all but a few in our community, but anyone can take a walk in a park. Lastly, organised activities are formally monitored by public authorities. So we can calmly leave it to the politicians, the RSPCA and the “sporting” fraternities to fight it out.
But there’s no difference, is there?