To the long list of guarantees sought by animal rights activists on behalf of livestock (the right to not be eaten, of course, is foremost), we can now add the “right” to be entertained. Great Britain is set to enact a new European Union law tomorrow that forces hog farmers to give their animals “environmental enrichment,” under penalty of stiff fines and three months in jail.
A British spokesman told the Times of London: “We mean footballs and basketballs. Farmers may also need to change the balls so the pigs don’t get tired with the same one.”
One UK farmer chuckled to a Reuters reporter: “It really is unbelievable. Every farmer I’ve spoken to thinks it’s hilarious.” Another told the BBC: “I’m just looking at a calendar to see if it’s 1 April.”
The mass media has yet to draw the obvious parallel to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and its current campaign against KFC. Among other things, PETA is demanding that the chicken restaurant chain force its suppliers to provide playthings for broiler hens. “The birds’ environment,” writes PETA’s Bruce Friedrich, “should be enriched… through the placing of golf balls, bottle tops, lengths of string, etc.”
PETA’s list of demands also includes “hanging toys that birds can manipulate and explore,” which is oh-so-important to a future three-piece dinner. We can just imagine Friedrich’s uproar the first time British pig farmers give their animals a basketball made of — gasp — leather.