Creatures of field and forest are benefitting from the planetary lockdown.

—John Fitzgerald

It’s a sad reflection on human behaviour that the planetary lockdown has proven beneficial to a wide variety of bird and animal species, with all sorts of creatures seemingly enjoying a respite from relentless persecution and industrial-scale destruction of their habitats.

Ireland is no exception to this pattern. It’s as if the creatures of field and forest have found a little breathing space thanks to our quite natural preoccupation with staying safe and alive during this pandemic.

I hope it won’t be just a case of business as usual in our treatment of those ‘lesser beings’ when lockdown ends. Please… no return to shameful under-resourcing of the Parks and Wildlife Service while horse and greyhound racing are heavily subsidized by the State. Or to the scandals of live hare coursing and foxhunting.

Over these past five weeks, families have explored the wonders of nature close to their homes. They have spotted hares in their natural habitat, untrammeled by human interference – an uncommon and uplifting sight. Foxes have been turning to the streets of towns and villages, grateful for the scraps of food donated by locked-down humans.

Surely, to resume the abuse of these magnificent wild creatures post-lockdown should be unthinkable? Having given ourselves time to appreciate their allotted place in our world let’s now respect their right to live their own humble lives in peace.

Because let’s face it: even socially distanced animal cruelty, masquerading as “sport”, would be an abomination.