A wonderful story from The Times today, that new Government guidelines will tell owners exactly how they must care for their pets
Reportedly, cats, dogs and other family pets are to have five statutory “freedoms” enshrined in law — and owners who flout the regulations could face jail or a fine of up to £5,000 after a visit from the “pet police”.
Margaret Beckett, the Environment Secretary, is to produce detailed codes of conduct telling pet owners how to feed their animals and where they should go to the toilet, along with ways of providing “mental stimulation”. Owners of “sociable” pets should provide them with playmates, the codes will say.
The 18-page A4 document, drafted for MPs scrutinising the Bill, warns cat owners of the dangers of dogs. It reads: “Dogs should be introduced to cats very carefully. The dog should be on a lead at first so that it cannot chase the cat.”
To be honest, I’m less worried about cats than I am about Iran and it’s nuclear ambitions. I think it’s rather clear to everyone that in invading Iraq, we chose the wrong country to chastise in our search for weapons of mass destruction and I believe that if Tehran builds a bomb, then it will most likely try or threaten to use it against Israel or indeed anyone who might threaten its interest in the surrounding geography of the middle-eastern oilfields.
I’m actually in that direction next month and I’ll be most interested in the opinion of its closest neighbouring governments. A crisis of the kind I describe will push oil prices through the ceiling and could easily trigger the kind of recession that the West hasn’t seen since the OPEC battles of the early seventies. Worse still, Israel will most likely make some kind of pre-emptive strike before the risk becomes too great for its own population.
Europe will continue to mutter and talk of sanctions while the US, bogged-down in Iraq, would hesitate to consider any question of employing troops against seventy million Iranians. That rather leaves Iran with the inevitability of a bomb within a year I suspect, unless it pulls back from its policy of brinkmanship, which it has not showed any signs of doing yet.
I wrote a story on Iran for The Economist magazine about two years ago, when I interviewed President Khatemi’s personal envoy. A fascinating country with generous people and enormous potential, mired in the introspection of political fundamentalism.