Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Bring On the Morlocks...

Want a recession-proof business idea? Then take a lesson from Pets at Home – pre-tax profits up 29% in the year to March – who are planning to open another 20 stores this year. It seems customers are buying toys and treats for their pets, but that’s not all:

Sales of fashion lines, such as dog clothing, have also risen as owners, faced with spending more time with their animals, try to spruce up their image, the company said.
Read it and weep! Even in the current financial climate, there are people out there prepared to spend their (presumably) hard-earned cash procuring the product of a third-world sweatshop to decorate a dog.

There’s a depressing symmetry here; the RSPCA recently reported that pets are being abandoned in ever-increasing numbers – up 25% on last year. The cost of pet ownership is surely a factor but:

The RSPCA is concerned that people are ready to give up their pets for the most bizarre reasons. One owner told an inspector: “My cat doesn’t match my new carpet.” Another said: “I’ve just bought a new leather sofa and I don’t want the cat to scratch it.”

The general picture is a depressing one; treating an animal as a fashion accessory, dressing it up for amusement or abandoning it for completely selfish reasons are the acts of a child, unreasoning and irresponsible. Britain is full of them, and retail power is now in their hands.

Will the last grown-up to leave the country please turn out the lights?


  1. We got two grey cats to match the new kitchen.

  2. For those of us who think that Bitzer in "Shaun The Sheep" is a paradigm for our times, dressing up dogs is an entirely logical reaction to the course of HMG economic and financial policy. Unluckily, I am allergic to dogs, but the council will not allow me my human rights to keep a pack of wolves.

  3. 'We got two grey cats to match the new kitchen.'Mr D., you only needed to put out the lights; in the dark, all cats are grey.

    'a paradigm for our times'Too true, Demetrius; you will doubtless recall that, as the Roman Empire crumbled, Hortensius and others spent a fortune on jewellery for their pet fish.

  4. "...as the Roman Empire crumbled, Hortensius and others spent a fortune on jewellery for their pet fish."

    Perhaps, in light of the expenses scandal, we should follow Caligula's example and elect a horse. It'd be about as much use (given all our laws now come direct from Brussels) and would certainly be more honest...

  5. Good idea, JuliaM, although I believe Caligula's horse had a marble home with an ivory manger and a gold water-bucket (rather like Phil Woolas' flat, come to think of it), so perhaps we would be no better off.

  6. Oops - meant Phil Hope'sflat: