When did you last hear 'gas' and 'humane' in the same sentence?
This morning, I came across an item on the BBC website entitled: Princess Anne: Gassing badgers is most humane way to cull.
According to the piece, Princess Royal’s comments came after the British government said it would not expand badger culling from two pilot culls aimed at reducing TB in cattle.
Interest groups of course welcomed her remarks. As a representative of the National Farmers’ Union said in a BBC radio interview ‘The Princess Royal is noted for outspoken views and her forthright honesty. I think it’s an option that needs looking at. And provided we can tick all the boxes as far as humaneness goes then it would certainly be an option to consider.’
When was it the last time you saw ‘gassing’ and ‘humane’ juxtaposed?
The humanitarian argument was definitely advanced after the end of the First World War to justify the continuation of the chemical warfare programmes in Allied countries. (Germany lost its sovereign right to armament with the 1919 Versailles Treaty.)
Just check this little item in the The Lewiston Daily Sun of 4 June 1932:
Gas is championed as a humane weapon of war by Maj. Gen. Amos A. Fries, who was chief of chemical warfare for the United States during the world War. […]
General Fries said the humaneness of gas lies in the fact that, while it disables an enemy temporarily, it makes possible a high percentage of recoveries.
The irony shall not escape the badgers.