To the untrained eye, it may appear that one of these creatures is rather more dangerous than the other and therefore that it may make sense to have rules about keeping one of them which shouldn’t apply to the other:
However, to the keenly trained eye of a Cornwall County Council officer, it’s a different matter. For, as Alex Folkes reports,
Cornwall Council is forcing a woman who runs a rescue centre for pet tortoises to apply for a zoo licence if she wants to keep her project open.
According to This is Cornwall:
“Joy Bloor, owner of Tortoise Garden in Sticker, was told that she must apply for zoo status or close after Cornwall Council reclassified the creatures as wild animals — on a par with tigers, giraffes and elephants. She has been given one month to apply for zoo status for the shelter — which she says could cost her £250,000 a year.”
Just how many people have been savaged by a rampaging tortoise? Will Mrs Bloor be forced to keep her charges behind double fences of steel mesh and razor wire? Will she have to feed them by poking lettuce leaves through the bars on the end of a pointed stick? Will the next series of Britain’s Got Talent feature tortoise tamers?
As both Alex and the local media have pointed out, the council could have decided to exempt tortoises from the ‘wild animals’ classification which imposes tighter rules than those for other animals. But the council decided not to. The power to take the decision of course its prerogative under the system of devolved decision making and responsibility that we usually support. That doesn’t make it the right decision though.
Now excuse me whilst I don some armour, close the metal shutters and turn on the electric fence. There’s a squirrel moving along a branch towards my garden.