With a cry of “Yee Hah!”, fifty-two year old Ernie Peedie turns his horse and proceeds to chase down a wild woman as she tries to flee down a Wandsworth street at first light, finally lassoing her outside of Poundland. “Goddamn, they’re always at their most highly strung in the mornings,” he explains as he attempts to bring the terrified creature – which is lashing out at him wildly with its painted nails – under control. “They’re still suffering the effects of the alcohol and drugs from the night before – the sunlight just make it worse!” The woman, bloodshot eyes still rolling and nostrils flaring, is finally calmed sufficiently to be led back to the herd of thirty, or so, other feral females Peedie has already rounded up and corralled just off the High Street. Peedie and his men will shortly drive them to his ranch in West Drayton, where they will be broken in and domesticated before being returned to decent society. “It’s all done real humane,” he says, cracking his whip to get the women moving. “Before you know it, they’ll be demure young women, ready to settle down and get married, rather than being wild and independent party animals.” New government legislation on women’s rights has enabled men like Peedie to set up as ‘Woman Hunters’, in an attempt to curb the growing problem of wild women. “It was getting out of hand – our town centres were being turned into no-go areas after dark due to the explosion in the numbers of these so-called emancipated women,” claims Todd Fumbler, the government’s Minister for Women. “Packs of them would be running from watering hole to watering hole, drinking them dry, screaming and cackling insanely. It was only a matter of time before someone was trampled to death in one of their stampedes!” However, according to Fumbler, it was the increasing number of serious sexual assaults being perpetrated upon vulnerable young men by the wild women which eventually forced the government to take action. “It was ridiculous – it was getting to the stage that in some city centres it was impossible for a man to have a drink in a bar on his own, without being targeted by these predators,” he asserts. “Before he knew it, any single male would find himself being felt up by packs of women! In some extreme cases they had their trousers torn of and their genitals fumbled and bottoms pinched! All the time they’d be bombarded with lewd suggestions of a sexual nature! It’s quite outrageous – no man should have to be subjected to such harassment. It’s time we got tough on women and tough on the causes of women!”

Consequently, the government has introduced new legislation which makes it legal for licensed ‘Woman Hunters’ to round up and domesticate wild women. “Of course, ordinary decent women have nothing to fear from this new initiative – they will be able to go about their business as normal, without fear of being caught, branded and retrained,” Fumbler claims. “This only applies to unaccompanied women under the age of thirty-five found running wild in designated urban areas between dusk and dawn.” Fumbler is anxious to emphasise that the new Wild Women (Prevention) Act provides clear guidelines to woman Hunters in order to identify genuine wild women. “Obviously, whilst the level of inebriation is important, equally pertinent is the type of alcoholic beverages they’ve imbibed to reach this state,” he explains. “Alcopops are a key signifier of wildness, as are tequila slammers or neat vodka shots. Women drinking pints, particularly of strong continental lagers, is also a real giveaway. Proper domesticated women drink only dry white wine or Babycham.” The Minister also points to throwing up in the gutter, wearing low cut tops and high heels as other key identifiers of wild women. Not surprisingly, women’s activists have condemned the new legislation as crudely misogynistic. “All this nonsense about ‘wild women’ is simply an attempt to set women’s position in society back by fifty years under the guise of public safety,” declares top feminist writer Virginia Laycock. “This is really about the inability of many men to handle the concept of modern independent women who don’t feel the need to be defined by their relationships with men. They’re simply trying to re-institute the Victorian patriarchal society through the back door.” Pointing out that most alcohol-related crime is perpetrated by gangs of young men, Laycock has also questioned why the government has introduced no legislation to tackle this problem. “I should think it was bloody obvious,” retorts Fumble. “Drunken loutishness is perfectly normal behaviour for young men! Amongst young women, however, it is clearly aberrant behaviour. Their natural environment is not High Street bars and clubs, but rather the home, or a nice undemanding clerical or retail job – until they meet the right man and settle down to a life of domesticity, of course.”

There have also been allegations of poor conditions and inhumane treatment at the ranches where the so-called wild women are domesticated. Such accusations are dismissed by Ernie Peedie, who claims that his wild women are treated respectfully and humanely. “Goddamn, they’re kept in nice warm stables, not left outside in he corral, exposed to the elements, and fed and exercised in the yard regular, like,” he says. “Our domestication and retraining programme is one of the most humane there is – they’re given daily instruction in things like home economics, manners and elocution from some of the country’s top etiquette coaches. Within six weeks they’re fit to rejoin decent society.” However, rumours of maltreatment persist. “These etiquette coaches employ brutal methods to completely subjugate them,” asserts Virginia Laycock. “Forcing these poor girls to read asinine women’s style magazines under threat of punishment, making them parade around in ball gowns with books on their heads in order to impose the ‘right posture’ on them, not to mention the ghastly way they indoctrinate them into accepting traditional male-dominated concepts of romance and marriage through subjecting them to continuous showings of rom-coms starring Hugh Grant.” Laycock particularly objects to the way in which, when they are adjudged to have been sufficiently ‘domesticated’, the women are paraded in front of potential suitors – all of whom have paid for the privilege – and forced to participate in speed-dating events in order to ensure that they are married off and thereby restored to their proper place in polite society. “It’s no better than slavery,” she exclaims angrily. “They’re effectively being sold off to the highest bidder – it’s a clear infringement of their human rights!” Peedie vehemently rejects such a characterisation of his operations, pointing out that all of the ‘suitors’ who sign up for the service are carefully vetted. “Look, we make out sure we aren’t hooking our women up with any rapists, wife beaters or perverts,” he says. “They might be ugly, impotent or socially inept, but they’re basically just ordinary guys. Ordinary guys, that is, who are completely unable to get a woman any other way than by buying them. It’s no different to a dating agency, really.”