Saturday, July 31, 2010

Saving the Planet - Human and Canine Animals

Almost every day  expressions of wonder and concern about the flora fauna fish mamalian and reptilian life on the planet are made - biodiversity is I think the technical term. The concerns about mankind's recklessness as to the effects on other life on the planet by  questing for more and more creature comforts for ourselves, usually take the form of generalised expressions of angst about endangering species or polluting the seas as is the case with the BP Oil accident in the Gulf of Mexico  or about the ostentatious ways of life of one or two individuals. As an aside there was a wonderfully amusing photograph in one of the newspapers earlier this week, of two identical blue sports cars each worth reportedly upwards of £1,500,000  parked outside London's Harrod's -  itself imho a monument to   ostentatiousness anyway. The cars are apparently owned by two foreign princes who have recently also bought Harrods. Both cars  had been clamped by Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea parking attendants for illegal parking presumably caused by their owners not paying the parking fees.

A few rich boys alone,  with their expensive toys are  however hardly going to damage life on the planet other perhaps than by setting such  poor example for the rest of us. Far more damaging are the actions of millions of individuals which cumulatively wreak havoc with balance of life both wild and human on earth. 

We are exhorted to recycle; avoid using plastic shopping bags, cycle to work or let the train take  the strain but I wonder if the time has come for  a more structural and personal approach to human life to be considered.

I have wondered before about the way in which car ownership and use is supported in the UK (eg the last government's scrappage scheme) and the argument about that continues but while away in Cornwall I speculated about  whether the 'right' of humans to own as pets other animals should be reviewed. Dog ownership in particular seems to be on the increase. Concerns about dogs  include:

The idea of  using and breeding another living animal species for use like making and playing with  human children's inanimate dolls is anathema;
 I'd guess that dogs  add huge amounts of CO2  not to mention H2S to the atmosphere. 
Acres of  space is  dedicated to selling dogfood and playstuffs and even living dogs. Many human infants and not a few adults are hurt by dogs; dog faeces foul the place; humans who become bored with dogs let them loose to roam in wild packs in some areas. They  frequently yap lick  create noise  pandamonium and  irritate many. Large numbers of dogs are kept in domestic houses or locked into cars which to me even as a non dog lover seems cruel.  I'm no psychologist but perhaps loving a dog for some, risks reducing the incentive to love one's neighbour more.

I can see the advantages of dog ownership to farmers, the blind, pensioners eskimos and the police etc but most dogs seem to be in the child's doll category  and it is the latter category which in the interests of the welfares of the rest of us and of the planet, shouldbe reviewed. 

A generation ago smoking was regarded almost as a human right despite the negative impact on the smoker, those around him and the  environment. Thankfully commonsense is prevailing today as regards smoking. Tomorrow should be the turn of dog owning. Car ownership and use pollute but are taxed so is the ownership and use of cigarettes ; likewise in my view, should the use and ownership of dogs be licensed and taxed.

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