By C. Michael Forsyth
LONDON — Britain’s big-hearted Prince William is spearheading a campaign to ban the controversial English sport of werewolf hunting once and for all!
Delighted animal-rights activists are hailing the royal for following in the footsteps of his mother, Princess Di, known as “The People’s Princess.”
“Princess Diana devoted herself to humanitarian causes such as the eradication of land mines,” notes Kimba Ellington-Hyde, of the London-based Animal Protection League. “Prince William, in leading the charge against the inhumane practice of werewolf-hunting, shows that he has inherited her concern for the less fortunate.”
But aristocrats whose families have taken part in the festive weekend hunting jaunts for generations are up in arms, denouncing the handsome blueblood as a traitor to his class.
“If the Prince lacks the fortitude to join in the hunts, and prefers to stay at home tending to his tulip garden, that is all well and good,” says a prominent baron, who requested anonymity. “But to try to put an end to a sport that generations of English gentlemen have enjoyed, and in which countless young men have proved their mettle, is outrageous. First bear-baiting, then fox hunting. What fine old English tradition will these meddling do-gooders try to take away next? Cricket or afternoon tea?”
Werewolf hunts have been documented in England and France since the Middle Ages. Indeed, in feudal times it was considered part of a nobleman’s duty to put down any werewolf stalking his lands.
“It was an essential element of noblesse oblige, meaning a local lord’s obligation to his vassals,” reveals historian Colin Helfwich. “There are tapestries dating back to the 13th century that show mounted knights chasing down werewolves with the aid of hunting dogs and slaying them with silver lances.”
King Henry VIII was a prodigious hunter and was never seen without his trademark werewolf pelt vest or a strip of the creatures’ fur hanging from his belt beside his codpiece. The hunts were so successful that by 1760, werewolves were virtually extinct in the British Isles, along with ordinary wolves that were caught in the crossfire.
“After werewolves were eliminated as a threat to the common good, hunting them became more of a sport,” Helfwich explains. “Lords and ladies would gather at a country estate when word reached them that a werewolf was afoot in the vicinity. They enjoyed a lavish outdoor buffet, sipped champagne, and then took off on horseback to the hearty cry of ‘tally ho!’ With hounds following the scent, they’d pursue the creature across the moors and countryside, until it was cornered in the brush and dispatched.”
The Royal Family remained avid supporters of the hunts until recently. A famous 1935 photograph shows King Edward VII holding aloft a werewolf head after a hunt. He presented the grisly trophy to his houseguest Wallis Simpson, the divorcee for whom he would abdicate the throne a short time later. Close chums and relatives of royals routinely joined them on hunts. Legendary war hero Lord Mountbatten is said to have carried the stump of a werewolf tail in his pocket for years as a lucky charm.
“Perhaps the key chain really worked because he survived many of the bloodiest naval battles of World War II by the skin of his teeth,” notes the historian. “The first time he went to sea without the charm, in 1979, his yacht was blown to smithereens by the IRA.”
Prince Phillip and Queen Elizabeth are known to have participated in at least six hunts. But in a 1980 interview nature-lover Prince Charles publicly expressed concern that the hunts violated human rights, since “after all, the poor devils are human, if you follow me.”
Animal-rights activists have been battling to outlaw the practice for decades, forcing aristocrats to conduct them out of the public eye, with little fanfare and no press coverage permitted.
“Although hunters are armed with rifles loaded with silver bullets, it is tradition that silver pikes be used to kill the surrounded werewolf,” explains animal-rights crusader Ellington-Hyde.
“I assure you, any American who saw a terrified, helpless werewolf being slowly butchered this way would be repulsed and appalled.”
Evidently, sons William and Harry picked up their father’s aversion to the sport. While frequently pictured in the press playing polo and rugby, neither has ever been photographed in werewolf-hunting attire.
Shortly after returning from his honeymoon, Prince William’s first order of business was to state in a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron that he supports “an immediate and comprehensive ban on the hunting of lycanthropes.”
The ban would impose hefty 130,000 pound fine on anyone who shoots a werewolf except in self defense.The measure is moving through Parliament and could come up for a vote as early as next month. If passed, England would be only the second U.N. country where the killing of a monster is outlawed. Shooting a zombie in the head has been a violation of Haitian law since 1988.
Opponents vow to fight the law tooth and nail.
“Perhaps when Great Britain is once again overrun by packs of bloodthirsty werewolves ravaging the countryside, the wisdom of our forefathers in holding these hunts will at last be understood,” declared the baron.
Copyright C. Michael Forsyth
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