I'd rather be a pheasant than a cow, yes I would

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The Independent Online
IN A recent interview Spike Milligan berated the Royal Family for its love of blood sports. I can understand why people don't like fox hunting, but I really can't see why anyone other than vegans can object to game shooting. If I had to be any of God's creatures killed for the table, I'd like to be a pheasant. Having been reared in captivity, I'd be set free to spend a few months romping around the countryside making klaxon noises, trying to get myself run over by cars, and placing my neck and head firmly on the ground in the belief that this makes my fat body invisible to predators. One day I'd hear the strange noise of the beaters and fly into the air. Then bang! I'm shot, fall to earth and break my neck on impact. Not such a bad life is it, really? The worst bit is being shot, but Auberon Waugh shot himself eight times in the chest with a machine gun and he says it doesn't hurt at all. How much better to be a pheasant or grouse or duck than a chicken or cow or sheep, sent in a truck to the slaughterhouse where you smell death from the moment of arrival and slip on the blood of your brothers and sisters.

Spike went on to condemn the Queen: "She likes hunting and shooting, which is just murder." The worst clich people come out with is that battery hens are kept in "concentration camp" conditions. I worked in a battery-hen farm as a teenager and I do not consider myself on a par with an SS guard. We cannot compare the keeping of hens, in whatever conditions, with the extermination of 6 million innocent human beings. All comparisons between the slaughter of animals and the murder of humans cheapen the value we put on human life and Spike Milligan should remember this, the deranged little bastard.

EVERYONE who attended the conference last week on Britain's place in the world agreed on one thing, that our language was an advantage to us - everyone else in the world wants to speak English. Wrong. They want to speak American. The chief reason for our current national identity crisis is not that we are still coming to terms with losing an empire, but that we share a language with the biggest economy in the world. America exports its culture world-wide but with us they don't have to surmount a language barrier, and therefore they swamp us. While other European cultures are protected from erosion by their languages, ours is not. The older generation may see us as plucky little Britain, on the Edge of Europe. But more and more of the post-war generation see Britain as a less beautiful, more cramped, more snobbish, less glamorous version of America.

MY KIND and beautiful elder sister rang me last night to congratulate me on winning an Oscar, which surprised me somewhat as I didn't know I had. Apparently, Alison Snowden and David Fine, producers of the Best Short Foreign Animation, thanked me at the Oscar ceremony, which was kind of them as I did my best to ruin their film. They got me in originally to do the voice of the hero, Bob. After they'd listened to the recording, they realised my "Bob" was hopeless, but because I'm so greedy they'd already spent their whole voice-over budget on my fat fee, and couldn't afford another actor. So they had to get me back to do it properly. I started thrashing round the tiny studio ranting and raving like a mad King George, and yelling at the producer and director as if it was their fault. Baffled by my schizophrenic behaviour, they let me go, and dug into their own pockets to get my replacement, Andy Hamilton, who gave them the Oscar-winning performance they required. My role was reduced to doing all the minor characters who say "hallo Bob" and things like that. Anyway, I'm still very pleased with myself.

I'M SORRY Nigel Hawthorne didn't get an Oscar for being Mad King George, but I'm not surprised. When looking for an Oscar-winning performance Americans demand not mental instability but mental disability, ie Tom Hanks playing a simpleton or Dustin Hoffman as an autistic man. The Yanks are suckers for such patronising tosh. What's up for next year's Oscars? Arnie Schwarzenegger as a Down's Syndrome sufferer taken on a fishing trip by a blind Sly Stallone? They would sweep the board.

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