Saturday, September 15, 2007

Starving Zimbabweans Eat Their Pets

CNN says "pets are being slaughtered for meat in shortage-stricken Zimbabwe and record numbers of animals have been surrendered to shelters or abandoned by owners no longer able to feed them, animal welfare activists say."

One animal rights activist, who asked not to be named out of fear of arrest, called the situation "too ghastly for words. "We are accused of giving the country a bad name," the activist said. ...

Mugabe's critics say corruption and his stewardship of the economy have led to the crisis. They point to the often-violent, government seizures of thousands of white-owned commercial farms that began in 2000 and disrupted the agriculture-based economy in what was once a regional breadbasket.

Meat, cornmeal, bread and other staples vanished from shops and stores. A government order to slash prices of all goods and services in June worsened acute food shortages and has left stores virtually empty of basic foodstuffs.

Food shortages have also emboldened rats to forage for scraps in homes and far beyond their usual hideaways, pest control specialists said.

CNN's account of the troubles in Zimbabwe sounds almost like a child's history of the world, where stuff just happens without any rhyme or reason. 'Once upon a time there was a poor African country where people were so hungry they ate their pets.' There is passing mention -- but only passing mention -- of how things got that way. And no mention at all of how many "progressives" in the West approved of Robert Mugabe's rise to power and tacitly approved of his "land reform".

The new British government led by Tony Blair unilaterally stopped funding the "willing buyer, willing seller" land reform program in 1997 on the basis that the initial £44 million allocated under the Thatcher administration was used to purchase land for members of the ruling elite rather than landless peasants. Furthermore, Britain's ruling Labour party felt no obligation to continue paying white farmers compensation, or in minister Clare Short's words, "I should make it clear that we do not accept that Britain has a special responsibility to meet the costs of land purchase in Zimbabwe. We are a new Government from diverse backgrounds without links to former colonial interests. My own origins are Irish and as you know we were colonised not colonisers."

Well said, Clare.

In 1994 Mugabe was bestowed an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath by Queen Elizabeth II. This entitles him to use the postnominal letters KCB, but not to use the title "Sir." UK Foreign Affairs Select Committee called for the removal of this honour in 2003, but no action was taken. He also holds several honorary degrees and doctorates from various international universities, though in June 2007, he became the first international figure ever to be stripped of an honorary degree by a British university, when the University of Edinburgh withdrew the degree awarded to him in 1984.

Robert Mugabe should be allowed to keep his titles and honorary degrees so that posterity may record just who it was who cheered him on in his madcap program to socialize an agricultural industry that was once the envy of Africa. "And then they ate their pets." That should be inscribed above the entrances to the cemeteries in what was once called Zimbabwe.


Blogger Boghie said...


Yet another example of the 'Success of Socialism'!!!

Onward and upward or whatever...

9/15/2007 07:41:00 AM  
Blogger dchamil said...

Those who don't have the stomach (heh!) to eat their pets might manage to eat someone else's pet. Hunger is the best sauce!

9/15/2007 07:57:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

Here's an update on the story About how John Kanzius has turned salt water into fire. DOD & DOE officials are now looking into it.

9/15/2007 09:28:00 AM  
Blogger jj mollo said...

And why is it that the terrorism formula has not worked in Zimbabwe? Why have they not turned on their tormentors? Is it just that insufficient time has past? I think it's more that they can't see how the levers connect.

The government tried to help us by lowering prices, but someone has betrayed us by stealing all the goods. Who would do such a thing?

No doubt they will find someone to blame soon.

9/15/2007 02:20:00 PM  
Blogger jj mollo said...

Charles, it's better than desalination because it makes the hydrogen economy plausible. Hydrogren can always be burned to make the necessary H2O while recovering some of the energy as well. This is not magic, but it is possible it will be very useful and remove our dependence on precious metal catalysts. It makes nuclear power more useful as well. Rustum Roy is a sensible person with a very distinguished career in materials research.

9/15/2007 04:11:00 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

Would bet a dollar to a donut that Mugabe would still get a Standing O at the UN General Assembly, and a gushing op-ed in the NYT, if he spoke there again tomorrow.

Not an expert, but once the H is available the technology needed to produce immediately useable electrical power is trivial. A kitchen table size unit could power a 3 bedroom house with electic heat/AC. Extracting H from H2O cheaply and safely is the discovery that will skyrocket the global standard of living and change the world forever.

9/16/2007 01:11:00 AM  
Blogger james said...

There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.
In economics or in hydrogen production.

9/16/2007 07:05:00 AM  
Blogger jimbino said...

I just caught another neighbor's pet in my backyard trap today. Is anyone collecting pets to ship to Zimbabwe?

9/18/2007 05:56:00 AM  

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