by Wayne Litke
There has been a huge amount of negativity in the news in the last two weeks and I am sick of it. Distrust turned into anger which was fanned into rage when people let their emotions run wild. When emotions rule, logic and objectivity are lost. In the world of journalism this is called “getting too close to the story” or “being too close to a source.” It means it is almost impossible to truly be objective while covering a story if a journalist sides with one party or allows their personal feelings to come into play when reporting.
Having said all that, I want to focus on a subject on which I definitely have strong feelings. A word of caution: my personal bias will definitely be evident which is acceptable since this is an opinion piece and opinions are not against the law if they are not slanderous or hateful.
Just as anger recently engulfed our province, outrage has also been growing on Vancouver Island (and on-line of course) after a pet that was adopted from the SPCA was eaten by its new owners. That is exactly what happened and it enraged animal lovers across British Columbia and sent shockwaves throughout Canada. After all, how could anyone with a conscience perform such a heinous act?
Perhaps the pet owners were hungry is the first thought that went through my head. That would definitely be a motivating factor in my mind, but that rationale was wrong. It turns out the truth is not difficult to understand or believe, but it takes a person with an open mind who is willing to listen and put themselves in the pet owners’ shoes. Objectivity is required.
Here are some, but not all of the facts. The victim, Molly, was a three-year-old Vietnamese potbelly pig who came to the SPCA as part of a cruelty investigation. After being nursed back to health, the animal was adopted out to a couple on Jan. 19 after they agreed to look after the pig and not eat it.
However, as a lot of new pet owners discover after adopting an animal, having a critter live in a house places certain demands on the owners. That becomes evident very fast if the pet is large, produces large amounts of waste and in the case of a pig, was never intended to be a house pet. All too soon Molly’s owners realized they did not know how to adequately take care of a potbelly pig, so they came up with a novel solution. Thinking outside the box and being environmentally conscious, they opted to have Molly euthanized and her body donated to cuisine research. The couple reportedly sent photos and videos via Snapchat of Miss Molly being seasoned and prepared for consumption.
Molly’s gruesome fate was discovered Feb. 16 and SPCA staff, pig lovers and bleeding-heart pet owners were aghast. There was a public outcry for justice for Molly since the pig was not given a chance to return to the SPCA or be re-homed. According to a Global News report, Vancouver Island residents such as Brandee McKee were outraged when the owners of the pig were not charged for their crime. “That’s the sickening part of it all, that they’re getting away with it,” McKee said referring to the single-animal swine-ocide.
However, according to the SPCA, animals are legally considered the owner’s “property” once an adoption agreement is reached, regardless of the type of animal involved. A British Columbia SPCA spokesperson said, “The reality is, it’s not illegal to kill your own animal in Canada. Someone can take a gun and shoot their dog in the head and as long as the dog dies instantly, unfortunately there’s no law against that.”
That statement immediately brought images to mind as I had visions of a few dogs receiving lead poisoning (.22 calibre-style) at the hands of their owners. That’s just wishful thinking during what should be quiet and peaceful summer evenings.
“Unless an animal is left to suffer, there’s absolutely no laws whatsoever that would allow us to do anything,” said the SPCA spokesperson.
As for Molly, constables were dispatched to investigate her premeditated death. They determined she passed away in a humane fashion and did not comment on if she made it to pig heaven or went to the other place. Realists say Miss Molly definitely faced heat and flames after her death.
As for the pig’s owner, he was red-flagged in the SPCA provincial database and will never be allowed to adopt from the organization for the rest of his life, even though he did nothing illegal.
Is that fair? Should such treatment by neo-Nazi animal authorities go unchallenged? Will their influence soon extend to all animal owners and culinary giants such as Colonel Sanders?
The colonel and his Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise operators adopt upwards of 850 million chickens every year – that is an impressive number. All those pretty birds suffer the same fate as Molly, yet there has never been an outcry from the SPCA regarding our feathered friends which leads to one assumption: the SPCA employs people who are biased and favour pigs (especially potbelly beasts).
Good golly Miss Molly! How long will we tolerate such conduct?