27/05/2014

We would appear to have a coypu in our pond. This is both good and bad news. Good, because we can make some more pâté and tanning-of-skin; and bad, because these animals are very habitat-destructive. We can do without ring-barked trees and increased erosion of the pond banks due to tunneling, thank you very much. I’ll need to set up the aged FIL’s live trap tomorrow. This is a wire cage with a baseplate linked to sliding doors at both ends. When an animal steps on the baseplate, the doors shut. Unfortunately disposing of the animal humanely is going to be a problem.

A long, long, time ago I owned a .22LR pistol, which I enjoyed using for occasional target shooting. Unfortunately the UK government decided this was A Bad Thing, and banned pistol ownership. Of course this meant the end of gun crime in the UK.

Oh, wait, wrong universe. Of course it didn’t.

Anyway, I switched to owning a .22LR rifle instead. Unfortunately the UK government then decided this was also A Bad Thing, and changed the rules. One had to be a member of a shooting club, and attend regular meetings (regular as in weekly). Due to time constraints at the time, I was unable to comply with the weekly requirement, so that was the end of my target shooting days. .22 ownership is Frowned Upon in France; I could apply for a hunting licence, and get a shotgun or larger calibre rifle – but I don’t have the time or finances at the moment.

The point is, I am left without a humane way of dispatching the possibly-caught coypu. As it is an environmental destroyer, releasing it elsewhere is not an option. And even if I had a shotgun, this would damage both the meat and the pelt. Whacking it on the head with an iron bar could be dangerous; these animals can inflict a nasty bite when cornered. I’ll say no more, but I’m afraid there will be no quick method employed, if the animal is unfortunate enough to get caught in the trap.

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