Radio Animal in Lancaster Market Square, 23rd October

Radio Animal was in Lancaster on Friday 23rd October, conducting interviews with passing Lancastrians and visitors in which the focus was on contested human/non-human animal borders – in short, interspeciesspaces. People with stories of animal encounters within the home were invited to visit the mobile Radio Animal unit, bringing their ideas, perspectives or concerns regarding ‘encroachment’ and the sharing of space with the ‘animal other’.  In addition we spoke to a number of invited interviewees including an angler and hunt follower, the Bird Man of Torrisholme and an artist with a special interest in taxonomy and anthropology.

Thanks to Karen Slinger, Shona Harrison and Christian for all your help on the day


One Response to “Radio Animal in Lancaster Market Square, 23rd October”

  1. jane cox says:

    I have a story that I’m a bit ashamed of. When I was young we lived in a big old house round which there were outbuildings. One of these had been a byre with stalls for the beasts and in one of the stalls we had a wood store where timber, planks of all shapes and sizes were kept with no particular purpose in mind. Rats ran through and between these stalls and in those areas that were most crammed with material remaining undisturbed for long periods it was clear they were nesting and bringing up young. The dogs expressed a great deal of interest in these piles and would push deeper and deeper into them and beneath them in order to get close to the source of the scent. Occasionally when we’d go in late at night the dogs would find one out and either chase it back into the thick of the pile or even more rarely, catch one before it could escape. We would encourage the dogs by hissing sharply and loudly, exclaiming RATSssssssss, with a long emphasis on the hiss of the ‘s’. This would drive the dogs crazy and they would be all over the wood pile and into its deepest recesses. I think we were unequivocal about the rats being ‘a problem’ and although we did little else to discourage them and certainly rarely if ever put down poison, in this rather chaotic and frantic ‘sport’ the rats were seen as being ‘fair game’.
    One dark night when I was out in one of the side gardens I was closing up the chicken coop when I was aware of the dog being very excited by something in (or around) the compost heap. In the darkness I gave the customary vocal spur and she flew into a frenzy. Again and again I hissed the encouragement as again and again she seemed to lunge at something before stopping to whine and whimper. I saw nothing and therefore was only surprised that this went on – on the occasions that she’d caught a rat, she’d killed it quickly with a couple of shakes. My encouragement of her to go in repeatedly must have lasted 10 minutes or more with her alternately barking, fretting and whining and in the end curiosity overcame me and I went for a torch in order to see what was going on. On my return with the light I was able to see immediately that the dog’s muzzle was covered in blood and that her quarry was no rat but instead an unfortunate and much abused hedgehog, now close to death. I was mortified and what I’d done in my stupid and unthinking ignorance both to my dog and to the innocent animal who’d been attempting only to protect itself by curling up in a ball. I went in shame to clean up the dog and never told a soul.

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