They're killing grey squirrels in southern Scotland, and they think they can soften the reality of it by changing a vowel and using an alternate consonant. They call it a 'cull'. It is an effort to increase the red squirrel population in the area. The grey squirrels apparently carry some kind of squirrelpox virus, which has no effect on them but kills off red squirrels.
Naturalists and landowners are joining forces today in a drive to effectively wipe out the grey squirrel from northern Scotland. It is believed to be the largest cull of a mammal yet seen in the UK, with many tens of thousands of grey squirrels expected to be trapped and killed under the government-sponsored project and shot on sight, legally, by landowners.
I was followed around Kew Gardens in London for a whole day by a pair of red squirrels. It was my birthday and I spent it jiving with some squirrels, feeding them brazil nuts, until we met a peacock who felt he deserved them better. He didn't get any. His wife snatched my last brazil nut out of my hand and swallowed it down while I learned something about practicality and the distractions of prettiness. I also got a very sore thumb from chipping at the nuts with my thumbnail. Brazil nuts are hard.
I think it is a terrible pity that humans are intervening in the natural wild profligacy of our friend, personally known to me as the Brooklyn Squirrel. I wonder if Tate and Thea have heard about this? They live in London now. They would HAPPILY make the journey north to help in any way they could to save the noble red squirrels from the pestilent grey one. Um, and then they will HAPPILY eat the red one too, because, uh, you never know.
But really, what are they using: baseball bats? Is this like a baby seal thing? I hear there's a shoot on sight policy. Shooting squirrels? Don't they see how this will be hijacked as a license to vent violent energies without fear of chastisement? Is this why they are really doing it?
And what will be done with the meat?