This morning I woke drowsily to Radio 4s Farming Programme. I love horses, so my attention was immediately caught by a discussion about the feasibility of injecting a contraceptive into Dartmoor mares to prevent them from foaling.
In the old days people could be relied upon to buy young ponies for their children to ride. Due the recession, all those computer games and hours spent on Facebook, that’s yesterday’s fad. However, since mares and stallions naturally do what they do, the numbers of these gorgeous creatures are out of control, with the result that up to a thousand unsold ponies have been reportedly shot over the past two years.
I used to own a horse. The thought of looking one in the eye, and then shooting it is for me horrendous. Then again, we human beings have been culling animals for hundreds of years in order to maintain command over our environment.
Radio 4s Today Programme followed. Professor Lisa Jardine, champion of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has been campaigning for women donors to receive a flat fee of £750 per fertility cycle. She believes this will encourage more women to become donors, so that increasing numbers of women unable to conceive naturally can become pregnant.
Listening to Jardine, I felt rising indignation on behalf of the Dartmoor ponies. The UK’s population is 60 plus million, set to reach 70 million alarmingly soon. Across the globe, human population numbers have almost reached 7 billion. Watching that population counter increasing every second is very scary indeed.
I don’t have to spell out the social, economical or environmental disasters that we face in the UK, and around the world, caused by our ever increasing population numbers.
Why are we refusing to acknoweldge, admit, or accept the massive challenge this presents to human, and indeed all life, on this planet?
I know it’s not a political vote-winner to start confronting people’s rights to have a baby. But, personally I don’t believe anyone has that ‘right’. Yes, it’s tragic for those who can’t, but nature is built on the principles of natural selection. That’s what produces environment stability, enabling – until we homo-sapiens took over – a vast range of species to live alongside each other in the most miraculously complex web of planetary life.
Harmony and balance are not something that we humans seem capable of respecting. Instead, we have overwhelmed nature. And now, as many eminent scientists and naturalists, including David Attenborough, himself, have warned, our beleaguered and ravaged environment is fighting back. Humanity – unless we accept that we must control our numbers – is on the brink of mass collapse.
I hear equine snorting from Dartmoor.