The royals have been widely criticised for hunting each year on Boxing Day and animals rights groups now claim the activity can cause young children to develop anti-social behaviour later in life. The Royal Family has a vast number of whacky traditions – some loved and others attracting a huge amount of criticism.
After the usual feasting on Christmas Day, the royals take out their rifles and all-weather gear for an afternoon of hunting. Like many royals before them, hunting has always been a favourite pastime – whether they are shooting stags, grouses or pheasants, reports MyLondon.
But the royals came under fire for taking Prince George to the event, with psychologists warning of a link between cruelty to animals in childhood and antisocial behaviour in adulthood. The annual season extends from August 12 to December 10 and is something which even the youngest royals go and watch. But the event this year was cancelled, so will they do the same for the Christmas shoot?
At the time, royal expert Richard Eden said that Balmoral was planning to join with other estates in postponing or cancelling the Glorious Twelfth. It was reported that the colder than normal temperatures had contributed to fewer animal births.
In the summer, a spokesman for the Royal Family told Eden they are “leaving it to the experts” to decide if they should open next week for the shoot. But cancelling the shoot wasn’t the main talking point of the news. It was instead the idea that Prince George, now eight, had attended the hunt at the tender age of five.
PETA director Mimi Bekhechi said few people in 2020 viewed shooting as “anything other than a violent perversion”. She continued: “For a child to be compelled to witness such casual killing – and by a parent he looks up to, no less – is potentially as harmful to his or her psyche as it is to the bird’s very life.
“It can desensitise children to the suffering of animals – which is cause for concern, given the well-established link between cruelty to animals in childhood and antisocial behaviour in adulthood – and could give George nightmares.
“To help him grow into a responsible, compassionate leader, his parents must teach him respect for all living beings.” The Duke of Cambridge was also previously criticised for his passion for hunting as he still remains a high-profile advocate for animal conservation.
In 2014, Prince William and Prince Harry were admonished for going on a boar hunting trip on the Duke of Westminster’s Spanish estate just days before joining a campaign against poaching and the illegal wildlife trade.
William, who is also the patron of Tusk, an African conservation initiative, was praised for his United For Wildlife campaign as it works to protect endangered species such as rhinos, tigers and elephants.
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