Thursday, November 22, 2007

Cruel and unusual.

It is not often I am rendered speechless. I'm just not that sort of woman. But a chumley sent me a link to something this morning and after reading it my brow has lowered and I find myself filled with an emotion I normally reserve for Reiki.
Osserve.
"Saturday is "black cat day," in Italy, an initiative by an animal rights group to try to stop the killing of thousands of the cats by superstitious citizens convinced they bring bad luck.
Black cats have a bad name in many countries, but nowhere more so than Italy, where a papal edict in the middle ages declared they were instruments of the devil. Black cats were thrown into the fires to join witches burned at the stake.
The Italian Association for the Defense of Animals and the Environment (AIDAA) estimates 60,000 were killed last year, to ward off bad luck but also for use in satanic rites and in cosmetics laboratories where black fur gives the best results.
"We want to halt this massacre, educate people and restore dignity to black cats," said AIDAA President Lorenzo Croce.
The group has set up 200 information points in towns and cities around Italy, where passers-by will be given literature on black cats, asked to sign a petition and urged to adopt one of the 5,000 in cat refuges.
AIDAA has also sent a letter to Pope Benedict, a well known cat lover. "It would be great if he would speak out in recognition of our initiative and say the prejudice against black cats is a lot of nonsense,"

Okay, there is no accounting for the stupidity of people, and that's a fact. But killing an animal purely on the grounds of its coat colour? Fucking ridiculous.

But that's not all, oh no.

Observe some more.
Dog owners in Turin will be fined up to 500 euros ($650) if they don't walk their pets at least three times a day, under a new law from the city's council.

People will also be banned from dyeing their pets' fur or "any form of animal mutilation" for merely aesthetic motives such as docking dogs' tails, under the law about to be passed in the northern Italian city.

"In Turin it will be illegal to turn one's dog into a ridiculous fluffy toy," the city's La Stampa daily reported.

Italians can already be fined up to 10,000 euros and spend a year in prison if found guilty of torturing or abandoning their pets, but Turin's new rules go into much greater detail.

Dogs may be led for walks by people on bicycles, the rules say, "but not in a way that would tire the animal too much".

Italy considers itself an animal-loving nation and in many cities stray cats are protected by law. Still some 150,000 pet dogs and 200,000 cats are abandoned in Italy every year, according to animal rights groups.

To enforce the law, Turin police would rely largely on the help of tipsters spotting cruel treatment by their neighbours, La Stampa reported.

It said the 20-page rulebook gives Turin the most stringent animal protection rules in the country. It even bans fairgrounds from giving away goldfish in plastic bags."

And so the pendulum swings the other way. Fish in a bag, bad, killing black cats, cultural.

Actually I'm glad to see docking on there. Nothing divides dog people more than a debate on docking. I know a girl with an uncut boxer, and he has a fine tail and floppy ears. My own doberman had a docked tail, but I got him that way and never really gave it much thought until years after when it suddenly dawned on me that slicing the tail of a tiny puppy to achieve a look was pretty unreasonable behaviour. And I really hate ear docking, removing skin and re-stitching just to make a dog's ears stand up. I don't get it at all.
And speaking of cats, I must corral Puddy and take her to the vets for an ear clean. Ghastly business, they've got to knock her out to do it and at her age that scares me.

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35 Comments:

Anonymous sheepworrier said...

Feckin superstitious, backward, irrational belief systems... theres no limit to the stupidity of people.

I'm no animal lover, but thats just feckin ridiculous.

10:23 a.m.  
Blogger Caro said...

The Italian's aunt has two black cats. I must tell her to keep them locked up...

Docking is a disgusting practice. I don't see how they're going to enforce the dog-walking rule though.

10:40 a.m.  
Blogger PI said...

I'd better warn my sister. She is about to leave the States to settle in Italy - aged 80.

11:07 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Morning folks, SW you don't ahve to be an animal lover to recognise cruelty and that's for sure.
Caro me neither. How would they go about it? It's not like per owners have a card that gets stamped everytime they go out.
I've no idea what it is like in Italy, but in Spain there are a whole lot of dogs locked on balconies and terraces all day long, not small dogs either. Of course you get that here too. There used to be one across from my old flat. A young dog too, out on a tiny terrace morning noon and night. I can never understand people get a social animal like a dog and then let him live a miserable existence apart from the family 24/7. I just don't get it.

11:11 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Pat! We crossed. How brave and exciting of her. Is she going alone? Can she speak Italian? Has she taken up with a hot Italian?

11:12 a.m.  
Blogger Dr. James McInerney said...

Its an aside, but here is the science bit. Cat coat colour (CCC) is governed by a total of seven genes each of which is inherited in the same way as eye colour in humans (i.e. simple mendelian inheritance). So, it is not that they are sent from the devil, they simply have particular variants of genes.

When people traveled they brought their cats with them. So for instance if you go to New York and record cat coat colours of the wild cats in the streets (black coat, tabby, white socks etc.) you will find that the make-up of the cat population in New York is most similar to the genetic make-up of the cats of Amsterdam. This is because New York was colonised by the dutch, who originally called the city "New Amsterdam" and when the moved from The Netherlands, they brought their cats with them. So the two populations are very similar.

See? No superstition, just simple fact. I hate hocus pocus.

12:37 p.m.  
Blogger gimme a minute said...

So you're saying that the Dutch are evil and we should introduce a national day of killing them? They always seemed so nice with their tulips and their windmills and their drugs.

But science has spoken I guess.

12:59 p.m.  
Blogger Andraste said...

Amazing, isn't it, in 2007 we still have to worry about this supestitious idiocy. Over here, there is some lingering superstition about black cats - you can't even adopt one near Halloween because the shelters assume you're going to use it for some sick ritual or even a prank and then abandon or murder it. The rest of the year they linger in the shelters because of these stupid myths.

And don't get me started on docking.

oh, and declawing cats. Makes me SEETHE.

1:18 p.m.  
Blogger Caro said...

You can declaw a cat? Eurgh.

I read in the paper the other day that there are as many dogs as people in Milan (Metro, so should be taken with pinch of sensationalist salt). However the percentage of actual houses with gardens as opposed to apartments is far far lower than in Dublin, and it's considered perfectly acceptable to keep a dog on a small terrace or cooped in a tiny flat all day.

I'd love a dog but won't consider it until I have the space and time...

1:26 p.m.  
Blogger Andraste said...

Yes, Caro, they do it over here. I understand most vets in the UK refuse to do it, which I applaud.

It's not just taking out the claws - they amputate at the first knuckle. Thus making the cat unable to defend itself outdoors, and practically unable to groom itself either. If you must trim the claws, fine, but if your furniture is so important to you that you can disfigure a live animal for fear of a few scratches, then you should own fish.

Am I right?

1:36 p.m.  
Blogger Medbh said...

Yep, you're right, Andraste.

Just last week the animal shelter was having a big campaign to adopt black dogs and cats, saying that they are routinely overlooked and turnd down by people looking to adopt.
When I was 17 my brother came home one night shaken after seeing a bunch of boys throw a black cat into rush hour traffic on a busy street. I got him to come with me so I could clean the poor cat up. I will never forget what it looked like. If I had found them, I would have torn their faces off.

1:48 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Declawing is barbaric. A truly disgusting thing to do to a cat. I mean I mourn the nine million scrapes on my leather sofa but fuck it, it's only a sofa.
Docky2, you are a total mine of information.
I hope Puddy is coming round right about now. Honestly those bloody ears of hers are the bane of her life.

1:57 p.m.  
Blogger Dr. James McInerney said...

Gimme: The dutch are ginger.

Does this answer your question about killing them?

I thought so.

2:35 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Apparently the Dutch aren't the Dutch any longer.
http://sg.news.yahoo.com/ap/20071121/twl-netherlands-identity-crisis-1be00ca.html

2:58 p.m.  
Anonymous sheepworrier said...

"There's only two things I hate in this world. People who are intolerant of other people's cultures and the Dutch."


Sorry.

3:20 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Get yer coat!
I was in a bar on the weekend and there were two ould lads sitting at the bar going on and on about how terrible immigration was and sure it was 'destroying the country'
Now I could tune them out pretty well, but after a while I heard one of them as the other if his daughter was going to get over 'this way' for the christmas. Get over from where she was living in the states.
You just couldn't argue with that kind of logic.

3:38 p.m.  
Blogger Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Declawers should be defingernailed.

3:40 p.m.  
Anonymous Shebah said...

You would never find a vet in the UK who would declaw a cat. The British prefer animals to people, if there was a choice of saving a dog/cat or a person, the animal would win.

3:40 p.m.  
Anonymous Shebah said...

And it surely can't be legal. Who would think up such an incredible torture?

3:41 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Dunno, but they did it in Spain, I knew a teacher over there who had her cats done. Vile practice. I'm pretty sure it's not done here though and they are trying to make it illegal in the US too.

4:02 p.m.  
Blogger Twenty Major said...

Just last week the animal shelter was having a big campaign to adopt black dogs and cats, saying that they are routinely overlooked and turnd down by people looking to adopt.

Maybe if they could rap they'd be more widely accepted.

4:20 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I know you're trying to wind me up today, I can just tell.

4:30 p.m.  
Anonymous Shebah said...

FMC - he keeps us from taking ourselves too seriously. I laughed (but with a feeling of shame!)

5:10 p.m.  
Blogger Medbh said...

Hah! Twenty, until I heard the radio feature I never considered that racial profiling played a factor in animal adoption. Go figure.

5:33 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Shebah, I know I know, this is only the tip of the iceberg with him. He sent me something earlier that had me in gales of guilty yet toe curling laughter. I really think he's trying to do me in.

6:25 p.m.  
Anonymous Primal Sneeze said...

Cats are evil. Not just black ones. The white one here just stares at me in the mornings as if to say where's the food, dickhead? I want it now. Whereas the black dog says ah Primal, me best mate - there ya are. Let me give ya a lick. Any grub? No problem if you're busy. Just asking on the off chance like.

The cat eats then rambles off. Where are you off to now? ... I asked where are you off to? Jayzez, for the third time, where are you going? I plead.

To the neighbour's hayshed. Maybe. Not that it's any of your business, dickhead.

6:38 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

hah! I'd say you have translated that most perfectly indeed.
I have a short arsed one eyed tabby here who I am convinced has absolutely NOTHING going on in his head at all, nothing, maybe a faint 'beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee....' but that would be it.
Puddy however is a genuis, albeit a grumpy post anaesthetic genius this evening and can convey lots of different requests through plenty of different chirps and meows. I can tell the difference between 'I'm thirsty' 'I need to go out' 'I need food' 'Why hello there!' 'Leave me alone' 'wake up!' and a couple of other less distinct ones.
They are a funny bunch cats. I've never understood why people think them cold and unfriendly when they are anything but.

7:09 p.m.  
Blogger Dr Maroon said...

You never close your eyes anymore when I kiss your lips.
And there's no tenderness like before in your fingertips.
You're trying hard not to show it, (baby).
But baby, baby I know it...

7:26 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

That just makes me think of Tom Cruise, which makes me think of John Travolta, which makes me think of wigs, which makes me think of Elton John which makes me think of Robert Downey Junior, which makes me think of Nicole Kidman which makes me think of The Golden compass which makes me think of Daniel Craig which makes me think of tiny blue shorts...so yes please Docky! Sing away!

7:31 p.m.  
Blogger Caro said...

Primal's comment reminded me of Eddie Izzard's sketch about cats and dogs:

Dog: "Oooh walkies, my favourite!"
"OOh dog food, my favourite!"
"OOh frisbee, my favourite!"
"OOh scratches behind the ear, my favourite!"

Cat: "I'm going out." Sticks out paw, head turned in other direction "Keys?"

Doesn't work so well written down, but Eddie Izzard does it so well...

8:21 a.m.  
Blogger Dr Maroon said...

How can it make you think of Tom Cruise for Christ's sake? Jesus. You've put me off it now.
OK, Whatabout,
damn, can't think.
you've upset me with the Tom Cruise, Elton John thing.

Nicole Kidman?

I'm off to torture the budgie.

10:53 a.m.  
Blogger P1P said...

I am sure that the church will be reasonable. After all it's not as if they started a bunch of wars, ignored the holocaust and banned condoms in a country where people die like flies from aids.

Ah bollocks, without my sarcastic tone of voice this sort of post just doesn't work!

1:42 p.m.  
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