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From the monthly archives: July 2011

neuter3In this third post relating to the horrible tragedy in Philippi last month, I feel compelled to stick my neck out and take a critical look at the much hyped sterilization issue (spaying and neutering of animals) and question whether this will solve current dog/human problems in urban South Africa. Of course I realize that this is sacred ground: there are few concepts that so unite all interested parties in the companion animal field – local authorities, NGO’s, Veterinary Associations, trainers, Animal Behaviourists and activist groups – and this unity contrasts so markedly with the rancor that usually reigns. But recent local bylaws and increasing pressure from welfare activists for mandatory sterilization requires some unpacking, at the very least, before a hellishly expensive folly is perpetrated on the animals and poor people of Cape Town.

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CapeTalk_image3On Tuesday 12th July I was interviewed by Mike Wills on 567 Cape Talk’s ‘John Matham Show’ about my previous blog post, and further dog bite incidents in Philippi’s Sweet Home Farm. This and the next post are a response to some of the feedback and public responses to all of this. This first one looks at the relationship between how situations are understood and described, and its impact on the potential effectiveness of any response and solution.

There is now an established tradition of ham-fisted responses to animal related problems in Cape Town, and this one is shaping up to be one of the most bungled and infuriating of the lot. If we doggedly continue to mischaracterise the problem, and refuse to understand the makeup of the constituency being impacted, any solutions formulated are bound to be little more than an expensive exercise in futility. This set of circumstances is not unique to Cape Town, or South Africa; and neither are the problems we’re seeing.

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