Caesareans, cats and dolls

'When it comes to doing the equivalent of squeezing a golf ball through a Polo mint, let's be grateful that women can make it as painless as possible.'

Ray Crowley

Topics Politics

TV presenter Zoe Ball and Posh Spice Victoria Beckham have been criticised for being among those one in four women who now opt to give birth by caesarean section.

Good for them, I say. I’m glad women now have a choice about how to drop their sprogs – whether by caesarean section, birthing pool, drugs (lots of them), hospital gadgets, or just ‘gas and air’. I’m sure the thousands of women who died in labour in the days when there was less choice would gladly have sacrificed the joys of natural childbirth for one of today’s ‘unnatural’ methods.

I have never given birth. And if that time ever comes, I may decide that doing it the way nature intended will be a wondrous experience that I want to have – or I may not. Personally, the closest I ever want to get to a dolphin is when I open a can of tuna fish, but I wouldn’t begrudge those women who choose to give birth in a pool full of them. When it comes to doing the equivalent of squeezing a golf ball through a Polo mint, let’s just be grateful that women can choose to make it as quick and as painless as possible.

But in true silly season style, a bigger issue than babies is cats. Not even real cats, but fake cats. The sale of rather realistic-looking toy cats has prompted its own mini-drama. Apparently people have been using them for all sorts of no good – including one man kicking one, as caught on camera for The Sunday Times. Children have even been deliberately sitting on them to shock their grandparents – can you imagine?

Predictably, the big concern is that such antics won’t do much to promote proper treatment of real animals. I suppose that in the same way you might start by smoking a spliff and then move on to heroin, so you could begin with sitting on a fake cat and graduate to stamping on your family pet (or on your gran).

But surely people know the difference between a toy and a living animal? The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) is not so sure, and sent off official letters of complaint to the makers of the toy kitties. (But then, the killjoys at the RSPCA also warned against releasing balloons at school fairs and church fetes because animals get sick from eating them.)

Animal rights protesters caused so much fuss at The Gadget Shop in Brighton – where the toy cats are sold – that the play pets were finally withdrawn. What next? After all, you can buy fake babies in every toyshop in the land, and children regularly pull their heads off, scribble on them, tear their hair out and commit other unspeakable acts against them.

So how about it – a campaign to ban dolls?

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Topics Politics


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