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Home > Politics

Chantelle Nation

6 February 2006

Earlier this week a draft version of a new government bill was leaked. At first glance, many of the clauses in the proposed Animal Welfare Bill seem so stultifyingly obvious that you imagine the whole bill is a hoax; a cheeky satirical sideswipe at a Mary Poppins government who really do believe that without their guidance, we are all of us helpless and stupid. But it’s not a hoax. That is really what they think.

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs claim that the bill is the most significant animal welfare legislation for almost a century. Not only does it extend the powers of police and council officials to raid houses where they ‘suspect’ animals are being mistreated - rather than making them wait for the necessary evidence, as is the case at the moment - the bill also enshrines in law five inalienable ‘animal rights’. (Incidentally, in order to avoid confusion, ‘animal’ is defined in the bill as ‘vertebrate animals other than man’. This apparently includes neither unborn animals nor cuddly toys.) The five animal rights relate to diet, living conditions, companionship (or privacy, as and when the animal in question needs to be alone), monitoring for abnormal (including anti-social) behaviour and protection from pain, disease and
unnecessary suffering, a.k.a. torture.

A spokesman for Defra explained: ‘The Bill is about ensuring pet owners understand that they have a duty of care towards their charges. It is aimed at the few who do not understand or care about the welfare of their animals.’ He then wedged his tongue behind his bottom lip, flapped his arms and made a huge groaning noise whilst belming at the assembled members of the press.

Also for those ‘do not understand or care’ is a list of guidelines aimed at developing a more harmonious existence between humans and animals, specifically dogs, cats and rabbits. This will be a kind of code of conduct for each individual pet, each with its own specially appointed minister. So far, only the guidelines for cats have been produced. They include: ‘Ensure that the animal has "mental stimulation" so that it does not become bored or frustrated’ and ‘Keep the animal indoors at night to protect it from other wildlife’. Failure to fall in line with these guidelines is likely to result in the offender being fined and in the most severe cases, served with a Stupid Fucking Spazbo and a curfew round the ear. But this is just the thin end of a horrifically cold iceberg. Yesterday morning TFT received a second leaked document detailing proposed guidelines for the following forthcoming government bills...



* Ensure that popular fruits such as the banana or orange are always peeled before consumption. Do not eat the skin, or "peel", of the fruit. It doesn’t taste quite as nice as the inside, or "fruit", and it may actually be poisonous. (See 3.1.2 Do not eat poison.)

* If you want to make an omelette, you’ll have to break a few eggs. Crack the eggs over the side of a glass bowl. Don’t eat the shell.


* Ensure that children and the elderly are not boiled to death in the bath or the shower by "harmonising" the temperature. This can be achieved by using water from both the hot and the cold taps at the same time. This is sometimes called "mixing".

* Those scabs on your legs are caused by bed-bugs. WASH YOUR SHEETS.


* Breathe out. Breathe in. Repeat till tired. Put the telly on. Sleep.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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