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Is the British Royal Family Getting the Message?

Kate Middleton learning to shoot in a photo from 2007

It’s going to be a no-kill Christmas for Kate Middleton. The Duchess of Cambridge, wife of Prince William, has made it known that she won’t be killing animals at the hunting party on December 26. According to the London Daily Telegraph:

“The Palace is very concerned to avoid any controversy,” says a courtier. “They do not want pictures of Catherine shooting to cause the same sort of complaints that we have had in recent years.”

Animal protection groups have been quite loud this year in their objections to the Royal Family’s hunting practices. There was also a major furor over Kate and William attending a rodeo during their visit to Canada this summer – including a plea from the Vancouver Humane Society.

The British aristocracy remains mired in antiquity and obsolescence when it comes to sport hunting. Fox hunting is now banned by law, but lords and ladies still dress up in red coats and top hats, mount their steeds, down a glass of champagne, release the hunting dogs, and go clippity-clopping off through the grounds of their stately homes to hunt down terrified foxes.

The Boxing Day (Dec 26th) hunt at Sandringham Castle is a bird shoot, and there are increasing protests about it. Two years ago, Prince William was accused of cruelty to animals when he was seen apparently lashing out at two dogs with a stick during a pheasant shoot. (The RSPCA later cleared him of the apparent misdeed.) But while the Royal Family would agree that it’s bad to hit dogs, they still consider it perfectly OK to shoot birds. Like with bullfighting, it’s all explained under the global justification of “tradition”.

Then again, compared to what happens at a factory farm, at least the grouse and the pheasants have a good life before they’re shot down.

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