Tuesday 9 November 2004

Yet another reason not to give politicians any power whatsoever.

They keep coming up with this sort of thing:

A Brazilian legislator wants to make it illegal to give pets names that are common among people.

This is one of Brazil's most pressing problems right now. As I understand it, the country has virtually no poverty or crime.

Federal congressman Reinaldo Santos e Silva proposed the law after psychologists suggested ...

Psychologists are behind this? I am shocked, shocked, I say.

... that some children may get depressed when they learn they share their first name with someone's pet, Damarias Alves, a spokeswoman for Silva, said last week.

I have heard reports that some people may get depressed when they learn what their taxes are spent on. Any chance we could legislate against that?

"Names have importance," Alves said. The congressman "wants to challenge people's assumptions that it's acceptable to give animals human names," she said.

Yes, that's government's job: to challenge assumptions.

Being serious for a moment, I do have to admit that I had always just blindly assumed that it was OK to give animals human names. (My wife and I have a dog called Phoebe, and I have had rats named Samantha, Oscar, Katie, and Eliza.) In the light of this story, I have abandoned those assumptions, given the matter some thought, and reached reasoned conclusions. Funnily enough, the conclusions are exactly the same as the assumptions were.

If the law is passed, pet stores and veterinary clinics would be required to display a sign noting the prohibition of human first names for pets.

Brazilians who break the law would be subject to fines or community service.

And then we'd see the rise in Brazil of a hitherto unknown phenomenon: pets who use false names in public.

Alves admitted the law's chances of passage were slim ...

Thank providence and common sense for that. But, if you know it's going to fail, why bother? Proposing doomed legislation costs money, you know.

... but said Silva hoped the bill would call attention to his other efforts to protect animals.

Hang on. This is to protect animals? He said this was to stop children getting depressed. Maybe animals get depressed, too, when they learn that their names are shared by snotty little human brats. Hmm.

"He's proposed many laws to protect wildlife in Brazil, but this is the only one that has ever gotten any attention," Alves said.

Now it's wildlife? How would this law protect wildlife? Eh? How?


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