Nature and Nurture.

I’ve just been staying on a Somerset estate which has the largest herd of British White cattle in the world. Yesterday, they came right up to our window, a field full of nursing mothers and their spring born calves. While these cattle are distinguished by their white coats and the fact that they do not have horns that is not the reason for their gentle nature and lack of aggression. It is because the mothers are left undisturbed to feed and graze with their young until the age of nine months. Their herdsman explained this was the explanation for the lack of aggression amongst the female herd, which is not to be found amongst other breeds.

I always remember this tragic quote from when I read Milan Kundera’s, The Unbearable Lightness of Being:

Mankind’s true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it.

It is only as I write the phrase Nature and Nurture that I realise only one vowel distinguishes between the two nouns.