18 Dec 2012

Falconry Season in Qatar

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In Qatar, you can buy falcons at a shop in the mall.

Condé Nast Traveller has an interesting photo essay illustrating the centrality of the sport of falconry to Arab culture in Qatar.

In the US, falconry is so buried under a preposterous and massively burdensome regulatory regime that only an infinitesimally small community of total fanatics can participate. (There are something like 4000 licensed falconers out of an American population of 300 million.) In the United States, you can go right out there and buy a horse any time you like and take him home, but not a falcon. Unlike horses, you see, raptors are sacred and they all really belong to our federal government and various international conservancy committees. You must have special permission at both the state and federal level to borrow one of their birds. You are required to take a federal exam, sign up for a multi-year apprenticeship under a licensed falconer, and open your home to federal inspection to even possess your first hawk, and your choice of falcon is restricted to only 2 (in some regions, 3) species until you achieve a more advanced license level.

Can you imagine a dog ownership regime that would require federal licensing and then would allow you only to own a chihuahua or a Golden Retriever until you had been a licensed dog for two years? Then you become a “general dog owner” and can own two dogs at the same time, including such more interesting breeds as poodles, Labrador Retrievers, and German Shepherds. You would need to be licensed for five years before you could be a “master dog owner” and own three dogs at the same time or be permitted to possess the more exotic and desirable salukis, borzois, and Akitas.

It’s different in Arab countries, where falconry is a far more prominent and mainstream sporting activity.

Hat tip to Sari Mantila.

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COL Goff

Funny thing, there are no shortage of cats and dogs here in the US and there appears to be no shortage of birds of prey in the Middle East. Perhaps our shortage is by design? Seems to me the best thing you can do for an animal’s reproduction rates is allow humans to practice husbandry and profit from that husbandry. The whole falconry thing has always irked me. I grew up with parrots and loved owning birds. I now have a squirel problem and would love to entice a few hawks or owls to take up residence – I would like even more to be able to purchase one and delight in watching him take his meal from the over populated tree-rats that pester my home and hearth. Home of the free?



Maggie's Farm

Weds. morning links…

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