For years my mantra has been: Heaven Preserve Me From “Animal Lovers.” I labelled the above image, “Stupid Girl,” for that’s exactly what she is. Kissing a crocodile/alligator, (even a small one, as that is) especially while in the water with it, is both a crazy and highly egotistical action. If she were to try that stunt in five years, when the creature’s grown to two or three times its present size, it could well prove the last thing she ever does.
After working as an Inspector for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for well over a decade I came to dread the phrase, “animal lover,” as it never failed to denote a nutter who, after declaring their undying love for animals, would usually continue with the comment, “I can’t abide people, but I love animals.”
Those same types would happily knit sweaters for newly-shorn sheep, while seated at the base of the guillotine relishing the execution of some poor folk found guilty of eating bacon for their breakfast.
“That poor sweet pig, it must have suffered so!”
Now don’t misunderstand me. I’ve nothing against your average pet owner. I’ve spent most of my life working with animals and owned numerous ‘pets’ over time. No, it’s people and organisations like PETA that get right up my nose.
I’ve never been a fan of PETA. For the uninitiated (and I include myself as I can seldom remember the meaning of acronyms) PETA stands for ‘People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’. It sounds a worthy cause, but then so does the Hunt Saboteurs Association, and they’ve been guilty of hammering six inch nails through the top rail of farm gates, with a view to maiming the hunt horses as they jump over, so while it’s okay to have a worthy cause, too much of it can lead to forms of terrorism. After all, Islamic State think they have a worthy cause, too, but in the 21st century no sane person finds slaughtering non-believers a suitable method of pressing home their point.
“Animal lovers” flock to PETA in their droves. The organisation is best remembered for its war on fur back in the dark ages of the seventies. Since then they’ve turned up at various nefarious animal centres to protest at the way we, as a society, treat other species – mainly those we consume with vigour after a roasting on the barbie. Indeed, so incensed is Ingrid Newkirk, the co-founder and president of PETA, that she’s made a will bequeathing her body to PETA to be used as they feel appropriate, but with the following suggestions by the bequeather:
‘That the “meat” of my body, or a portion thereof, be used for a human barbecue, to remind the world that the meat of a corpse is all flesh, regardless of whether it comes from a human being or another animal, and that flesh foods are not needed;
That my skin, or a portion thereof, be removed and made into leather products, such as purses, to remind the world that human skin and the skin of other animals is the same and that neither is “fabric” nor needed, and that some skin be tacked up outside the Indian Leather Fair each year to serve as a reminder of the government’s need to abate the suffering of Indian bullocks who, after a life of extreme and involuntary servitude, as I have seen firsthand, are exported all over the world in this form;
That in remembrance of the elephant-foot umbrella stands and tiger rugs I saw, as a child, offered for sale by merchants at Connaught Place in Delhi, my feet be removed and umbrella stands or other ornamentation be made from them, as a reminder of the depravity of killing innocent animals, such as elephants, in order that we might use their body parts for household items and decorations;
That one of my eyes be removed, mounted, and delivered to the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a reminder that PETA will continue to be watching the agency until it stops poisoning and torturing animals in useless and cruel experiments; that the other is to be used as PETA sees fit…”
There’s more, but I had to stop there as I was feeling slightly nauseous and have no wish to cause my readers a similar uncomfortable reaction. And that’s the problem for me: these people, who lump themselves under the rather dubious heading of “Animal Lovers”, have an innate ability to make me feel queasy. They seem to lose all rationality in their quest to make us conform to their standards and beliefs.
While never championing the conditions to be found in most slaughterhouses anywhere in the world, including those in the so-called ‘civilised’ nations, it’s my view that animals ending their lives in such places would not suffer less if they had become a meal for a pack of hungry hyenas, coyotes, or a even a solitary brown bear or mountain lion. It’s what these people tend to forget. A pig, cow, or any other animal is only one link in a vast food chain, as indeed are the PETA folk themselves. We humans try to avoid ending up as breakfast for some other beast by ensuring we keep well away from anything that may find us tasty, but a few unfortunates do end up as meal tickets for crocodiles, sharks, and other carnivores stronger and toothier than ourselves. We regularly hear of their plight in the news media:
A BRITISH tourist is feared to have been eaten by a crocodile after he was pulled underwater by the reptile at a popular surfing spot in Sri Lanka. Eyewitnesses said the man, who is believed to be aged 25, was seen frantically waving his hands after being dragged into a lagoon known locally as Crocodile Rock. Local police were joined by navy and army units in a search of the shore and surrounding area, which is known for its large crocodile population. Some of them grow up to 17ft long. It is thought the man, who has not been named, had been on holiday with four friends when tragedy struck…
…In April this year, a 13-year-old girl was dragged away by a crocodile while on a day out with her family at Sri Lanka’s Pulnewa Lake, in Galnewa. In July 2016, a Sri Lankan man aged 60 was killed in a crocodile attack while he was fishing. Two years earlier a woman aged 57 died in another croc attack.
Last night the Foreign Office said: “We are assisting the family of a British man who has been reported missing.” 
There can be no doubt that much animal cruelty is perpetrated in intensive rearing establishments and abattoirs. Those who campaign for better conditions deserve our support. PETA tries to tell us we shouldn’t eat or wear anything from any animal and that we should all be vegans, but how long before they, or some other organisation for the ‘Save The Corn’ campaign decides we shouldn’t be eating plants? Sounds stupid? Rest assured, there’ll be some human beings somewhere who’ll decide it’s the wrong thing to do – that we’re causing plant suffering.
PETA’s latest crusade is against sheep shearing.
“What’s wrong with that!” I hear you cry.
PETA has decided it’s time we stopped wearing wool. They have video evidence of Australian sheep shearers cruelly treating sheep during the shearing process. Okay, I can believe that could happen, but surely that’s good reason to tighten the regulations on sheep shearers, not leave the poor sheep to sweat out the hot summer weather in their heavy woolly coats. Now THAT would be cruelty to sheep. 
I have first-hand knowledge of sheep shearers. While working on a research unit at Liverpool University some years ago I had charge of a flock of some hundred or so of the beasts. Every year the shearers would arrive from Australia or New Zealand. They mostly come from Australasia because that’s where most of the world’s sheep are, and they travel round the planet in perpetual summer, shearing flocks as they go.
I got to know some of them quite well and I can honestly say I saw nothing to cause me concern while they were shearing my flock. I’d certainly have had something to say if they’d mistreated my animals.
Humans can become callous when their work involves dealing with living creatures day in, day out. It’s important that sufficient animal welfare inspectors are available to watch out for cruelty in any place where animals are kept, whether as part of the food chain, or for sport, or any other activity. I’ve witnessed blatant animal cruelty among some of the world’s top show jumpers, when their mounts haven’t quite made the grade demanded of them. It’s not just those in the lower tiers of society who are guilty.
Governments used to be responsible for policing animal cruelty via environmental health department inspectors and government veterinarians. Charities like the RSPCA and other SPCA organizations around the world do their best but are woefully inadequate. As an Inspector for the RSPCA my ‘patch’ covered an area of over two hundred square miles with a populace in excess of one million.
Over recent years the numbers of government inspectors have been dramatically reduced. Governments are shirking their responsibilities. It’s here that PETA and other charitable organizations need to be protesting, but they’d rather create headlines for themselves by bizarre, publicity-seeking, acts…
Ingrid Newkirk, PETA president,
making her point
…rather than the humdrum petitioning of politicians.
But then, that’s “Animal Lovers” for you.
 “Ingrid Newkirk’s Unique Will” PETA.org
 “Horror as British tourist ‘is snatched by crocodile and dragged into lagoon’” Daily Express, September 14th 2017
 “Forget fur – is it time to stop wearing wool?” Guardian, September 24th 2017