Wednesday, 27 October 2021

Safety awareness and precautions. And when are animals people?

A friend of mine just let me know she’s travelling to London by train and that maybe 50% of travellers are wearing face-masks, part of a general trend to ignore advice but to follow the example of our leaders. My friend will be wearing hers. She’s a great stickler for being as safe as possible and frequently complains about the lack of face-mask wearing in her local supermarket. 

Incidentally, I popped into our local chemist’s shop this morning on the way back from my run. Among other odds and ends I had picked up a handy-sized pack of antiseptic wipes, about the size of a small pack of tissues, perfect to have in your bag if you go around with small people who get sticky fingers. And it’s a much better size than the packs of baby-wipes my daughter ends up carrying around with her. Anyway, as I paid for my various purchases the chemist offered me a free pack of disposable face-masks and a free mini-sized hand gel. They’re doing their bit to promote safety awareness!

So I’ll pack the disposable face-masks in my luggage. No doubt we’ll need them in Portugal and Spain over the next few weeks. Phil’s playing in a chess tournament in Portugal and I expect he will need to play in a mask. Because nobody has said they have to wear masks indoors here, some of his chess team are being quite macho when they play a match: “I’m not worried or afraid, it’s my decision, I won’t wear a mask, I don’t need to be protected.” 

Maybe they don’t have an inner voice telling them to protect other people. 

I was reading an article the other day about people whose inner voice is so strong they hear it with a specific accent. One woman interviewed for the article actually hears a couple of Italians, a man and a woman, discussing, indeed arguing about her life decisions inside her head, despite her having no Italian family connections and not even having been to Italy. Another hears the broadcaster Jenni Murray talking to her when she has to make up her mind about things. The one with the Italian couple even had neurolinguistic treatment (whatever that is) to calm it all down. How odd! Weird and strange but probably mostly harmless! 

Most of us remind ourselves to do things but don’t necessarily think of it as a voice as such. I was reminded of a Neil Young song whose lyrics go, 

“Tell me, why? Tell me, why?

Is it hard to make arrangements with yourself

When you're old enough to repay

But young enough to sell?”

There you go: making arrangements with yourself. It makes sense … to me anyway. As a matter of fact, I always heard that song as

“Tell me, why?

Is it hard to make arrangements with yourself

When you're old enough to repaint

But young enough to sell?”

As the song dates back to the 1970s when people did repaint their cars, or at any rate get them repainted, “my” version always made perfect sense. Whereas the one I  found checking it on Google this morning doesn’t really create much of an image for me. Maybe it’s an American or Canadian thing!

Here’s another odd American thing:  “The offspring of hippos once owned by Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar can be recognized as people or “interested persons” with legal rights in the US following a federal court order.

The case involves a lawsuit against the Colombian government over whether to kill or sterilise the hippos whose numbers are growing at a fast pace and pose a threat to biodiversity.”

Apparently Escobar had a whole menagerie - giraffes, hippos, zebras, other exotica - on his estate in Colombia. When he was killed most of the animals went to zoos but the hippos were considered too heavy to transport and were left to their own devices, mostly propagating it seems.  The original four went up to eighty. 


One of the people involved explained that “legal personhood is just the ability to have your interest heard and represented in court. It’s about enforcing rights they already have under animal cruelty laws and other protection laws.” 

I know a lot dog owners regard their pets as people but do other countries also grant animals legal “personhood”? I wonder. 

Of course, the ruling has no force on Colombia, where Gina Paola Serna, a biologist and veterinarian, tasked with sterilising them, has expressed her alarm at dealing with such huge creatures. 

Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone!

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