When eating meat becomes a crime

Picture this – after some of the most fabulous food I had ever tasted in excellent company, I was smuggled out of the back entrance of the venue. You might picture a celebrity being quickly covered in a shawl to disguise her or on the other extreme, a fire alarm going off and guests being rushed to safety. I can assure you now, I am not a celebrity and the fire alarm did not go off. All I did was attend BASC’s Taste of Game evening at Derby Museum – an event which a handful of Derby Hunt Saboteurs had done their utmost to get meat off the menu.

Leaving by the same escape door was a gentleman who had probably done more for animal welfare than any of the balaclava-clad, angry yelling mob who had done their best to get the event cancelled.

The gentleman in question had pioneered a way to prevent chickens from pecking at each other in chicken sheds. Yes, we all want to think of free-range chickens enjoying their life browsing free don’t we. But, we also don’t want to pay more than £3.99 for a dead one.

Herein lies the issue: the food we ate on the evening was ethically and sustainably sourced. How many of the saboteurs can claim that about the food that they had eaten that day? Perhaps an avocado flown halfway around the world, sold for such a price that those who grow them cannot afford them for themselves and their families. Yet unbelievably, the vegan-saboteurs still claim the moral high ground – how exactly?

Despite their attempts to intimidate and threaten, and possibly because of that, the evening was a roaring success. Well-attended by sociable, dignified, respectful people from all walks of life. Over 40 diners enjoyed Ralph Skripek (The Wild Chef)’s stunning menu which included rabbit, mallard, venison and wild boar as follows:


Rabbit & Pistachio Terrine

Derbyshire ‘Wild Chef’ shot rabbit with pistachio terrine served on sautéed oyster mushroom and kale with pea puree, roast beets & crisp wafer.

Smoked Breast of Mallard on Pulled Crispy Leg

Lightly home smoked slices of mallard pulled crispy leg, finished on parsnip puree and slices of mulled poached pear, drizzled with a reduced quince stock sauce.

Saddle of Venison on Braised Haunch of Wild Boar

Saddle of venison wrapped with thyme, smoked pancetta and puff pastry, oven roasted light pink, finished on slices of braised haunch of wild boar, caramelised red cabbage & walnuts, served with a reduced red currant stock jus.

Marmalade Bread & Butter Pudding

A light, creamy marmalade bread & butter pudding, finished on salted whisky caramel sauce & vanilla pod sauce with shards of nut brittle with a vanilla, whiskey and honey sauce, topped with caramelised pecan nuts.

With renewed vigour from the intimidation outside, the auction raised over £2,000 – money which will go directly towards the cost of a number of shooting experiences for youngsters in 2020. The shooting simulator was well used all evening as was the dance floor, and much thanks must go to the evening’s sponsors.

Derby Museum staff were incredible in their continued professionalism and ability to consistently help guests to feel safe inside the museum after the hostility encountered getting to and into the venue.

Some guests were followed through the streets and intimidated on their way to the museum; others, including myself had members of the angry mob shouting in their faces as they tried to go about their evening peacefully and lawfully, on a public highway, in the United Kingdom.

The gentleman and his wife who left the venue at the same time as me, escorted me to their car in a secure car park, drove me to my hotel and watched as I safely went inside. I invite any sane individual to argue who, on the night, managed to claim the moral high ground. If this is all the antis can muster than their campaign has wilfully misfired.

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