Sunday, October 24, 2004

Scary Stuff

On the news a guy is complaining about C-Difficile bacteria outbreak management. (Any google search will reveal the widespread existence of this organism and the role of antibiotics in it's proliferation.) Not long ago, there was to be a level 3 lab in the northern area of the GTA; this was stopped due to fear of pathogens escaping while being transported. These same pathogens continue to be transported to Manitoba. The situation on earth is ripe for another outbreak not dissimilar to SARS or HIV. Relevent concerns are: people and animals living in close quarters; dormant organisms in tropical forests being uprooted; inadequate resources to contain organisms; increasing movement and spread of people on the planet; inappropriate use of antimicrobials leading to increased virulence of common organisms. Prevention is less intrusive, expensive, and tragic than the alternative. We don't have to like the necessary changes required for prevention, but we do need to implement them now.

Having been following the pitbull ban situation, I am bothered by the impossibility of legislating good judgment and responsible behaviour. I believe very few people are capable of safely managing the breed. Similarly, there are some people who are not capable of raising and providing for young children. An intense emotional desire to have them around is not sufficient, nor is it even necessary. The Children's Aid Society and The Humane Society share common roots and problems. No, children aren't inherently dangerous, but consider the result of a chaotic early life. There will always be pitbulls and other aggressive breeds. Now, owners will be hesitant to bring the black-market pitbulls to vets and obedience trainers. This can't be the fault of the pitbull. I would like to see a life-time ban on animal ownership and child custody for those who abuse or inadequately provide for animals and young children after a first incident. I would also like to see the animal owners and parents of young children held accountable for damage, as though they had inflicted it themselves. On a practical level, I don't believe this is an enforceable solution and I don't see how this could prevent first-time mishaps, which can be tragic. No, good judgment and responsible behaviour can't be legislated, but they can be valued by society and this can be reflected in legislation.


brad said...
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brad said...

Love the post Cathy. It would be nice to think that there was a sense of greater responsibility, judgement and social consciousness out there. We can only continue to educate those around us and hope that it rubs off and gives them the option to have choices and then to make the right choice. Disease prevention, pet ownership or parenthood, they all involve choice and knowledge. Now how do we successfully reach all those who need these choices and knowledge?

seward said...

Loved your comments. On the matter of responsibility for the actions of the children. The closest I have ever seen this come into practice was by a juvenile court judge we had in our local area. He made young offender "work off" their crimes as opposed to a fine which the parents would pay. For example if a youth performed some sort of damage or defacing of a store,,, then his sentence would be for that person to work 90 hours service to the storekeeeper, first fixing or cleaning his damage, then clean or fix other damage. This actually worked really well and becuase they had to fix or clean what others had done- they ended up learning a bit of responsibility, as well as respect for what it took to make things presentable.