Sunday, 9 August 2009

Wilbur goes national

Wilbur has gone national, with the Sunday Times and The Mail on Sunday picking up on it. Glad to see that the Mail's readers at least are on Wilbur's side - take that, you cat haters! - apart from this person, who sounds like he should be one of my regulars:

"What a story, someone's poor cat gets eaten by a Python, wonderful, (well not for the cat owner) It's so nice to be able to hear of something in this country being able to do what it should do without nu labour trying to get there pound of flesh out of it first."
- John, Bedford, 8/8/09

As you can see from the JusticeforWilbur website, Wilbur's owners had been trying to get the Mail interested for a fortnight or more, to no avail. So what changed? Basically, a BEP journo saw it on my blog, called me up, I put them in touch with the family, it made the BEP's front page on Saturday, and then the nationals picked up on it. I say this not in an attempt to claim any credit, but as an example of how the mainstream media works these days. Of course, Wilbur's owners (I hesitate to use that word with cats!) could have gone to the BEP first, rather than holding out for a national - but it's all worked out well, and the petition now has more than 7000 signatories. Next stage will be to see what response I get from Alan Johnson; I wrote to him when this first came up.

I've just been looking at the comments on the BEP website, and it's interesting to see that the owner of the python - which is named Squash - has had his say. I think we need to make one thing clear - I don't see the issue as being what happened to Wilbur in Squash's own garden, or the danger of a child wandering into Squash's garden, which seems an unlikely occurence. The question is, what would have happened if Squash had escaped? We know, don't we, that snakes are 'escape artists'. I'm told the walls of the garden were low - and how high would a wall have to be to contain a 13 foot python? I don't see this campaign as being about protecting cats from unforeseen predators lurking in neighbours' gardens; I see it as being about making sure the neighbourhood is safe.


Nigel Legg said...

Kerry, I don't doubt the importance of safe neighbourhoods, but surely there are more important things that you can be spending your time on and campaigning for?

Remember Remember said...

Quite frankly I'd rather have the animals roaming the streets than their owners.
I like animals but I also hunt, not that a townie/veggie would be able to get their head around that.

Kerry said...

Nigel, the constituents came to me and asked for support. It's taken up a tiny, tiny percentage of my time. Plenty else going on, but I can't blog about buses every single day!

Devil's Kitchen said...


What on earth is the point of this campaign? Wilbur's owner wants snakes to be licensed: why?

Wilbur was on someone else's property—as cat's usually are (as far as I can see, cats usually spend their time crapping in other people's gardens so that there owners can repeat the myth about cats burying their doings).

Can Wilbur read a licence? Nope.

Can Squash read a licence? Nope.

Perhaps you would advocate that the snake be kept indoors all of the time? So, you would make the life of one animal—the one which kept to its own territory—more miserable so that another can roam around doing precisely as it pleases?

And what if it had attacked a child? Do you know anything about pythons, Kerry? They tend to be territorial and, if well fed, pretty sluggish.

I find your support for this campaign pretty unpleasant—although, of course, I may be biased by the fact that I loathe cats with a flaming passion.


Bristol Dave said...

I also am completely baffled by the indignation of these cat owners. If you let the cat roam (and as DK pointed out, crap) wherever it pleases you have to accept that harm may come to it.

What if the cat was hit by a car? Would they be calling to ban them?

I'm not sure what they think changing the law will achieve anyway, because, of course, the Dangerous Dogs Act is so successful in stopping people own dangerous dogs, isn't it?! If people want an animal, they'll own it.

dreamingspire said...

Stating the obvious: snakes that pose any danger should be included in the dangerous wild animals list. As I have read somewhere else, a snake that big is dangerous to a baby. As it happened, in the pub I met a visitor who has to handle DWA business in another LA, and he gave me an explanation that solved a puzzle: why can a pet shop keep a poisonous snake but (thankfully) not be allowed to sell them? Its the law, innit?
And another obvious point: cats own their servants (people).