Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Thou shalt not house thy goldfish in bowls

Walk thy dog, lest thy god smite you

Someone please tell me this is a joke.
Rome bans goldfish bowls, orders dog walking
Italian capital also backs feeding of the city's stray cats

ROME - The city of Rome has banned goldfish bowls, which animal rights activists say are cruel, and has made regular dog-walks mandatory in the Italian capital, the town's council said on Tuesday.

The classic spherical fish bowls are banned under a new by-law which also stops fish or other animals being given away as fairground prizes. It comes after a national law was passed to allow jail sentences for people who abandon cats or dogs.

"It's good to do whatever we can for our animals who in exchange for a little love fill our existence with their attention," said Monica Cirinna, the councilor behind the by-law.

"The civilization of a city can also be measured by this," she told Rome daily Il Messaggero.

The newspaper reported that round bowls caused fish to go blind. No one at Rome council was available to confirm this was why they were banned. Many fish experts say round bowls provide insufficient oxygen for fish.

In July 2004, parliament passed a law setting big fines and jail terms for people who abandon pets and since then local governments have added their own animal welfare rules many of which will be difficult to police.

Dog-walking fine

The northern city of Turin passed a law in April to fine pet owners up to $598 ( 500 euros) if they do not walk their dogs at least three times a day.

The new Rome by-law requires owners to regularly exercise their dogs, and bans them from docking their pets' tails for aesthetic reasons.

It also provides legal recognition for cat lovers who provide food for the colonies of strays which live everywhere from the city's ancient Roman ruins to modern office car parks.

Animal rights groups estimate that around 150,000 pet dogs and 200,000 cats are abandoned in Italy every year.
I love animals as much as anyone, but these laws are indescribably stupid. My entry on "Walk thy dog" was about Turin's law, and I think it's worth repeating:
Big government, in its claimed benevolence and self-professed omniscience, can plan society so well that it even knows your dog's precise needs. What about the elderly or handicapped who like dogs but can't walk them three times a day, but whose dogs nonetheless enjoy the companionship? What about some dogs that don't like to be walked? Mine didn't, being a true and very lazy house dog. We had fenced front and back yards, so we'd let him out to do his business, or so he could stretch out on the lawn and enjoy "his" domain. It was so funny how the pooch really did consider it all "his" territory.

Note that part about "tipsters" to alert the police. Got a grudge against your neighbor? Accuse him of not walking his dog. Did you get stuck in traffic on the way home from work? You'd better eat out or order out if you won't have time to cook dinner and take Rover out.

Sadly, I fear many more thousands of dogs will be abandoned on the street, because owners will no longer be able to take care of them "as mandated by law." Like the minimum wage and France's 35-hour work week, it demonstrates the law of unintended consequences. Yes, some will be better off, but others will be left behind. Government didn't think anyone would be left worse off, because it didn't account for incentive.
Now Rome has done Turin one better, but these laws are pure idiocy, not just Big Brother government. Of course, we're talking about the same city that banned bottled and canned beverages at night, to cut down on litter and "combat anti-social behaviour."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It also provides legal recognition for cat lovers who provide food for the colonies of strays which live everywhere from the city's ancient Roman ruins to modern office car parks.

If you feed strays, make sure you fix 'em. Otherwise all you do is make more hungry kittens.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005 9:12:00 AM  
Blogger Perry Eidelbus said...

I love animals, so I really hate to put it this way: people should stop feeding Rome's feral cats and allow nature to take its course. Some will starve to death, which will keep the population in check. People can catch only so many to spay and neuter.

But modern Romans love the cats so much that they have demonstrated and marched to get government protection for the cats -- meaning money. And where will it come from?

Well, most Westerners who believe in paternalist government must also believe in divine miracles. They seem to think money falls from the sky like manna.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005 11:13:00 PM  

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