Vertical lateral thinking

Augustus the Strong
Augustus the Strong (1670–1733)

You can say what you like about Augustus the Strong, Elector of Saxony, but he was one hell of a tosser. At one tournament he presided over, 647 foxes, 533 hares, 34 badgers and 21 wildcats were killed for fun.

Animal tossing, most commonly fox tossing, was once a popular sport in certain parts of Europe—primarily amongst the aristocracy, obviously. Two toffs would take either end of a large sling and launch the wild creatures skywards, usually to deadly effect.

Fox tossing tournament
A fox tossing tournament of the early 18th century. (Note the quite high foxes.)

Unusually for a blood sport practised almost exclusively by the aristocracy, fox tossing went the way of blood sports popular amongst mere plebs, such as bear baiting, cock fighting, and goose pulling. Yes, goose pulling.

Well, call me controversial, but I think it might be time for an animal tossing revival. Only this week, we've heard how we need to cull 50% of the deer in the UK to protect the countryside. Personally, I'd re-introduce wolves to keep them in check, but I suspect I'm in the minority on that one. So why don't we launch our spare deer into the air instead? Can you imagine how cool it would be to toss a deer—to see it actually somersaulting through the air? I'd pay good money to see that. Then there's the invasive grey squirrels. Bastards! Up in the air with them too! And cats, obviously. Bloody, bloody cats!

Seriously, though, I'm struggling to see any drawbacks with this one: fewer deer, grey squirrels and cats ruining the countryside; still no wolves to worry about; and even the toffs are happy!

It's a win-win-win!

Richard Carter

A fat, bearded chap with a Charles Darwin fixation.


  1. You missed a key benefit: The publicity would bring in foreign journalists and right to life activists from around the world, supporting the UK's transportation and hospitality industries.

  2. It would also also lead to some quality job titles for the support staff involved:"Queen's Head Tosser" sounds like that know-it-all from down the pub but would look fabulous on a business card!

    There are a few practical drawbacks. Rebecca Loos aside, I suspect a considerable number of people are required to toss a deer. They're pretty heavy.And as for cats, or at least squirrels, I have a feeling that the terminal velocity of small furry things is insufficiently, erm, terminal to get the job done very effectively.

    Even so, I think this is an excellent plan, providing we can get Simon Cowell holding those ropes for the deer-tossing part!

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