Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon

Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon

Article excerpt

LAST week my six-year-old son arrived home with a couple of stick insects which have been nibbling leaves, copulating and generally merry-making in a plastic tub in his bedroom ever since. How much longer before the animal welfare police arrive to take the beasts away is an interesting question: the government has announced its intention to incorporate into its forthcoming Animal Welfare Bill the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals, an obscure treaty agreed back in 1987.

No scurrying bug is too humble to be granted protection under this convention; it applies to 'any animal kept or intended to be kept by man in particular in his household for private enjoyment and companionship'. Hence your children will be forbidden from breeding glow-worms in a jar until first they have conducted a thorough assessment of the 'anatomical, physiological and behavioural characteristics which are likely to put at risk the health and welfare of either the offspring or the female parent'. …

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