Up on South Parks Road, there is a sheet-metal covered barrier that is at least twelve feet high – topped with several strands of razor wire. In front, there are concrete blocks and along the top there are fixed and movable security cameras. This barricade is built around the Oxford Animal Lab, which hundreds of people have been protesting and which has gone through several building contractors because they keep getting scared off by death threats. The builders now wear balaclavas, for fear of being harassed when off the site.
Less than a kilometer away, as I was walking through the covered market in search of a shop where Louise told me I might find more kinds of tofu, I passed six dead wolves hanging from hooks. I was astonished. Six headless, fur-covered, quadrupedal corpses split down the middle and hanging along the edge of a pathway that people bustle down with bags of new shoes.
The obvious charge is one of hypocrisy, but my response to the dead creatures was nowhere near so rational. It was a shock and disgust that persists hours later – despite efforts to wash it away with organic cola (disgusting) and ciabatta with cheese and roast veggies.
Along with the rows of dead rabbits (their heads in plastic bags so as to help people avoid anthropomorphizing them), the quail, and all the rest of the meat, they produce a smell that permeates the whole market and that lingers in my nostrils. Colour me confirmed in my vegetarianism.
[Edited: 7:46pm] Having consulted a wolf expert in circumstances too strange to go into, the consensus if that the aforementioned quadrupeds are assuredly not wolves. My imperfect photos reveal fur that is the right colour, but legs that are decidedly too thick. Headless, they remain unidentified.