Keep an eye on that sow

Section: 
Editorial

From the Middle Ages until the early 1800s in Europe, animals were often charged with criminal offences such as murder and ended up in court.

Indeed, there were lawyers who made a living in Europe defending animals, says Dr. Jacqueline Faubert, a professor of criminology at Simon Fraser University.

There are two theories as to why animals were charged. The Bible, for example, says that animals can be possessed. The other explanation is that charging a person’s animal is society’s way of sending a message to the animal’s owner. Hanging a man’s pig, for example, would be quite onerous to his family as the pig would provide food for the winter.

Although animals could end up in court, they likely had more rights then they have today, says Faubert who moved to Kincardine last year.

Faubert, who has always been interested in history was the guest speaker at the Walker House Tuesday of last week.

Since her arrival, she has wondered why there is an Egypt Road in Bruce County. She gave her explanation which reminded me of another part of the province with an Egypt.

When I taught high school at a Lake Simcoe village in the 1960s, there was an Arab on staff. During his first day of class, he was asking his students from whence they hailed and one innocently replied, "Egypt".

Story has it that the teacher went ballistic since he thought the student was mocking him.

Unbeknownst to the teacher, there was a small hamlet called Egypt. And the teacher fortunatley didn’t lose his job..

Just a couple of other comments. Faubert also showed how you can lie with statistics.

For example, in 1873 there was a big jump in rapes in Canada.

Why?

Well, before 1873, you would hang if you were convicted of rape. When the Criminal code was amended in 1872 to remove hanging as the penalty for rape, women weren’t so reluctant to inform the authorities when they were raped.


History, as you likely know, just repeats itself.

If you read Jim Young’s column in this week’s Independent, you’ll notice he is speaking about the smog in England in 1952 that killed thousands of people.

Well, parts of China are in the same situation today.

Money is always more important than health – until something goes wrong.


Our apologies to Mary Hall, identified as Mary Bradley (her maiden name) in an article and photo in last week’s paper. I don’t know how that one got missed.


Since the federal election and the poor turnout of voters, the pundits have been saying we need a new electoral system – proportional representation – so everyone’s vote counts. That way, they say, people will show an interest and get out and vote.

I find that hard to believe.

No electoral system will work until we get better people involved in the political process. Getting your party elected seems much more important than doing what is right for the country.

Voters are not stupid.