From Michaela:

Although I have been silent recently, my thoughts are abuzz, many of them emerging via more disciplined correspondents. Most of them regarding the apparent futility of all our actions. I suppose for me life is best explained by the selfish gene concept and survival of the fittest I.e. the most suitable to survive given the environment in which we find ourselves. I am thinking the tide cannot be pushed back, globalisation and global warming are a fact. Termites and volcanoes produce more harmful emissions than the manmade ones. As someone else once said "the earth and its populations are like a car hurtling towards a brick wall. The best we can do is to take our foot off the throttle". Adapt or die. Its what we humans are very adept at and which is why we are still here when other life forms have vanished.

On a more local basis, I am not sorry to see some farmers disappear. The UK may have the most humane farming practice, but when one is aware of the level of sentience in the stock, general husbandry in many circumstances is a long way short of ideal. Those who have been filled with angst regarding instances of cruel slaughter really should visit an abattoir. Daily animals are dispatched in huge numbers and when operating a conveyer belt system there are bound to be glips resulting in suffering.

"We need another and a wiser and perhaps more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice, man in civilisation surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the sense we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren; they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth" -Henry Bestow

We humans are complex, full of contradictions; for myself a trained animal scientist, supposedly analytical and logical: I dont eat red meat, but wear leather shoes and an old fur jacket - rabbit, (50+yrs old) - inherited. What point in burning it? When I wear it I feel sad but I also feel grateful for the unique lightness and warmth is provides. The death of the animals who died to provide it, would be further wasted if I discarded it. I hunt, (more foxes are maimed and killed on our roads, than the few that suffer a quick death in the field). Those who do not support hunting: are you carnivores? Visit Africa and see life in the raw while the opportunity remains, both human and animal. Our apparent sophistication is a veneer.