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The First Bite The First Bite
by Asa Butcher
2008-03-13 09:12:29
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A bead of perspiration trickled down my forehead and nestled in my left eyebrow, it was followed by another and soon the sweat dropped from my face and splashed off the rim of the plate sat on the table in front of me. The studio lights flooded the set with artificial light and bleached out any distinguishing features of the crew or the watching audience… the studio lights were also slowly cooking the dog faeces that awaited me on the plate.

An authoritative voice shouted instructions to a lackey, who then rushed up to me and twisted round the knife and fork that I gripped in each hand - now the logo of a sponsor was facing the camera. I'd overheard a conversation earlier that reckoned this would attract a record Pay-Per-View audience, well that was no surprise since I was the first dog owner to be found guilty of the new law and sentenced to this punishment.

Dog walkers had been receiving growing criticism for years over the epidemic of faeces thoughtlessly discarded on pavements and in parks. At first local laws decreed that dog owners must carry two bio-degradable bags per dog - two because if you had used one you could still prove you had taken a bag out - and then 'toxocariasis' hit the headlines.

Toxicariasis is a parasitic infection that is caused by roundworms that can live in a dog's intestine and if a child touches faeces from an infected dog then it can cause partial blindness, but you know all that after the countless media reports over the past year. All it took was for a prominent minister's daughter to be hospitalised and diagnosed with toxicariasis for the lives of pet owners to be inextricably changed forever.

Man's best friend became a child's worst nightmare as the minister went on the emotional warpath and they had the power to implement every law suggested. Dog licensing was toughened and a Canine DNA Database that could trace the dog and its faeces back to its owner was created. Every dog owner in the country was ordered to submit their dog's DNA to the database and it didn't take long before cat owners were similarly ordered.

Despite vocal criticism from animal protection agencies and the owners themselves, who could be seen protesting in every city, town and village, the outcry from the public was overwhelming. The country had been whipped into a frightening state by a combination of dog-hating newspaper editors and politicians jumping on the bandwagon; there was no way this would end in a victory for pet lovers.

The commercialisation of DNA Tests was the next step in this crusade, with anybody able to perform a test with the kit and some simple computer software, which could be downloaded free from countless dog hating websites. Every dog walker was under constant scrutiny and many suffered verbal abuse while out on the streets with their pet; a few individuals went too far with assault on both owner and dog.

At the peak of the frenzy a law was passed declaring that pet owners are directly responsible for the actions of the pets, whether it attacks a postman, defecates on public property or causes a disturbance through its barking. The public demanded a variety of punishments that would encourage the adhesion to each law, while the idea of making the owner eat its dog's discarded faeces was suggested as a joke in one newspaper's editorial.

As for me, my dog Star suddenly ran out of the house one night and disappeared into the large park across the road. I spent hours looking for him, but he was nowhere to be seen. In the morning I was visited by two officials from the newly-created Pet Enforcement Agency, who calmly read me my rights and listed the laws Star had broken, one of which had been defecating on public property. I was arrested and taken to a holding cell.

Once the court had found me guilty through the DNA taken from the faeces and matched to the database I was returned to my cell to await the date my sentence would be carried out. I was the first pet owner to have been caught and punished, which resulted in further media frenzy and reassured everybody that the system was working perfectly. My heart broke when I heard that Star had been sold to a Korean restaurant chain that had capitalised on the public's newfound preference of dogs as food, not pets.

Now here I was sat in front of Star's preserved faecal remains, which had already begun to whiten around the edges and cook under the studio's hot lights. My punishment was to consume the pile and lick the plate clean, not only in front of a live audience, but on Pay-Per-View TV being transmitted to millions. I can't deny that the streets are cleaner and pets are controlled, but, as I sit here waiting for the red recording light to come on, I really don't know how to swallow that first bite.

Read the other chapters

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Get it off your chest
 (comments policy)

Simon2008-03-13 09:16:25
Right... now breakfast!

Emanuel Paparella2008-03-13 15:39:11

What did Jung call it? Serentipidy? I was intrigued this fine cool morning (57 in Florida!)by how the above article in Ovi came together with this one in Global Spiral (open link). They are both on food, of sorts.

Emanuel Paparella2008-03-13 15:43:44
P.S. For the curious reader: the column by Weislogel to open is not his last one but the one before (Metaphysics matters) which speaks of food and nutrients...

Asa2008-09-16 21:41:34
A few months later this hits the news: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7619179.stm

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