Animal rights….human wrongs…
Quite inexplicably on one level, today’s debate on ending the use of wild animals in circuses has turned into some of a errr well, a circus really. Part of the reason is undoubtedly the mind-bending control-freakery of Conservative whips who seem hell-bent on wrecking the ban. Exactly why is a bit beyond me frankly, do the Conservatives have some secret donor stashed away who makes a gargantuan profit out of this? Is David Cameron worried his ‘nice’ image is going too far by being nice to animals? Possibly.
Whatever the reason it seems that Downing Street has been in full-on Terminator mode. Today’s Mirror carries this story about how Conservative whips bullied the man behind the ban, Conservative MP, Mark Pritchard;
“I was offered incentive and reward on Monday then it was ratcheted up last night when I was threatened.
“I had a call from the Prime Minister’s office directly and I was told that unless I withdraw this motion, that the Prime Minister himself said he would look upon it very dimly indeed.”
Eventually, a free vote was allowed, or at least that’s the case as I write, but still the lengths gone too in this regard really do boggle the mind. You see, I don’t get why this is such hard work – it’s a bit like fox hunting where there is a small vested interest stubbornly standing against the sheer common decency of the many (incidentally, isn’t it instructive whose side Downing Street takes?). Animal rights can be something of a tricky balancing act and we always have to be careful of the rather absurd mindset which values animals over people – a frame of mind which often leads to the exoneration of Hitler on the grounds he was nice to animals, he just committed mass genocide against people.
Having said that I think the lines of division do boil down to common sense – it’s obviously abhorrent that entertainment and our own recreational gratification be put above the rights of animals to decent and respectful treatment. It’s equally clear that suffering should be minimised and that unnecessarily cruel practices should be illegal. Oddly, my politics on this issue are somewhat ‘centre-ground’ because I see danger in the extremities on both sides and think the crucial issue is achieving some kind of harmonious balance.
This is something that Downing Street failed to do today, and for once, I can honestly say I have nothing but praise for a Conservative MP, well done Mark Pritchard – Parliament would be a better place if more MP’s had your free and independent spirit if not necessarily your political colour of choice.