I WATCHED Countryfile on Sunday (BBC1) in which John Craven presented an investigation into wildlife crime.

Horrific scenes of badger baiting, hare coursing, and deer hunting were shown. The perpetrators of these crimes against animals were not satisfied with these forms of hunting but actually trained their dogs to fight one another in order to satisfy their sadistic pleasure.

The programme reminded me of a poem I wrote in ‘69 that gives a glimpse of the terror hunted animals must experience before they are torn to pieces.

The ‘sport’ that was actively enjoyed in 1969 has not been adequately dealt with by the law but is according to the programme on the increase by ‘men’ who travel across several counties whenever a meet is arranged.

A pat on the back should go to the producers of the usually innocuous programme of Countryfile for including these crimes against wildlife and especially to John Craven who fearlessly tackled these ‘men’ and sent them on their way.


Shaftesbury Avenue



The March wind blows

The virgin grass in waves

In the hollow, the warm earth

Comforts him that crouches still.

The distant sound of baying hounds

Sends fresh blood

Coursing thro’ his veins

On trembling legs he flees.

Which way? Anyway, but hurry!

Time is short for him that flees

Time is now for him that flees.

Hot breath fans his ear

Pink mouths open, white flecks appear

Snapping jaws miss his scut

Then the first sickening crunch is heard

And felt - no more.

No more pain

Only peace follows

For him that flees.


June 1969