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Pages: 60

Language: English

Publisher: (22 Aug. 2012)

By: W. H. Hudson (Author)

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Excerpt: ...of bird life are welcome. On this subject the Honourable Auberon Herbert has said, and his words are golden: 'For myself, legislation or no legislation, I would turn to the friends of animals in this country, and say, 'If you wish that the friendship between man and animals should become a better and truer thing than it is at present, you must make it so by countless individual efforts, by making thousands of centres of personal influence.'' The subject is a large one. In this paper the question of the introduction of exotic birds will be chiefly considered. Birds have been blown by the winds of chance over the whole globe, and have found rest for their feet. That a large number of species, suited to the conditions of this country, exist scattered about the world is not to be doubted, and by introducing a few of these we might accelerate the change so greatly to be desired. At present a very considerable amount of energy is spent in hunting down the small contingents of rare species that once inhabited our islands, and still resort annually to its shores, persistently endeavouring to re-establish their colonies. A less amount of labour and expense would serve to introduce a few foreign species each year, and the reward would be greater, and would not make us ashamed. We have generously given our own wild animals to other countries: and from time to time we receive cheering reports of an abundant increase in at least two of our exportations-to wit, the rabbit and the sparrow. We are surely entitled to some return. Dead animals, however rich their pelt or bright their plumage may be, are not a fair equivalent. Dead things are too much with us. London has become a mart for this kind of merchandise for the whole of Europe, and the traffic is not without a reflex effect on us: for life in the inferior animals has come or is coming to be merely a thing to be lightly taken by human hands, in order that its dropped garment may be sold for filthy lucre....

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