Anorak News | Pet Hates

Pet Hates

by | 13th, October 2005

‘NEXT time Fido brings you the morning paper in his drooling chops, take a look at the corners. Are they slightly torn, as if, perhaps, a small, licked paw has been flicking through the pages.

But what about the pets?

We ask this because the papers seem to be wooing animal readers. In “ONLY A MOTHER COULD LOVE THEM”, the Express publishes a double-page feature on baby animals.

And not just any puppies and cubs, but the not so good looking ones – the animals that were less invited to chase the ugly stick than they were coshed repeatedly over the head with it.

Look at Reggie the bald baboon, born in Paignton Zoo, Devon, three weeks ago. His mum loved him so much she licked all the hair off his head.

Get a load of that ratty newborn swamp wallaby. The baby wombat making a “dodgy start”. The alpaca calf with the bad hair. And the Douroucouli monkey, born at Marwell Zoo last year, who looks like the brother of Gollum from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

But while the Express launches its equal opportunities programme for animals, its attempt to alter media-generated conceptions of what animal beauty is, the Sun launches a tough campaign of its own.

On the Sun’s front page appear the heads of two dogs, two pouting cats and a horse. These are not some new reality TV show pop group, rather a sample of the “200 pets killed or maimed every day”. It’s time to “STAMP IT OUT”.

Congratulations to the Sun for bringing this wrong to the attention of us all. With Omar Bakri ousted, the Sun needs a new cause.

While other papers spent the earlier part of the week leading with news of the thousands of humans feared dead in the Asian earthquake, the Sun used it front page to focus on the bigger story.

The paper knew that what would touch its readers more than scenes of men, women and children injured, their lives in ruins, was Spot the dog.

Spot was the dalmation puppy left hanging from a tree by sick thugs. The Sun produced a photo of this heinous crime on its cover. It “outraged the nation”.

Never again, says the Sun. And over two pages inside the paper, the Sun focuses on animal abuse and its plan to end it once and for all.

The paper’s crime writer is despatched to South Yorkshire, where Spot’s owner, “heartbroken mum” Becky Lynch, is at home.

“If they catch the people responsible they should lock them up and throw away the key,” says she. But it’s unlikely Becky’ll get what she wants under the current legislation – the maximum penalty for such a crime is six months in jail or a 5,000 fine.

Perhaps the Sun can bring about the necessary change in the law? Looking past shots of abused and killed animals, we get to the Sun’s petition.

“Addressed to Margaret Beckett, the Environment Secretary, the pre-written complaint runs: “I demand the Government acts urgently to reform the outdated laws on animal cruelty.”

You the reader want the Government to “INCREASE” the maximum jail sentence for animal cruelly. You want the powers that be to “ENFORCE lifetime bans on anyone found guilty of deliberate cruelty”. (Presumably this is a ban on owning animals, although don’t rule out banning culprits from watching England football matches and smoking in pubs.)

You call on Beckett to “INTRODUCE” a “duty of care”, making animal owners legally obliged to look after the critter’s welfare. And you want Tony Blair and his gang to “UPDATE” the “archaic” 1911 Protection of Animals Act.

You are then invited to sign the petition – either with a pen, if, say, you’re a chimpanzee, or by sticking your paw in a large pot of ink…’

Posted: 13th, October 2005 | In: Tabloids Comment | TrackBack | Permalink