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article imageOp-Ed: The tortoise and the thief

By Alexander Baron     Sep 23, 2011 in Environment
A tortoise sanctuary told it must register as a zoo defies the law, while some tortoise ‘fans’ don’t simply defy the law, they actively break it.
The tortoise has a certain charm; it’s difficult to believe it is a reptile, the same class as both the crocodile and the snake; some species can live longer than humans; and of course, it can on occasion outrun the hare.
Because they are harmless and cute, and because they move so slowly, tortoises have been subjected to – pillage is not too strong a word. According to one estimate, as many as ten million were imported into the UK between 1890 and 1984, at times they were literally harvested from the wild by the sackload. Fortunately, they are not generally eaten!
In the early 1970s, Joy Bloor began keeping tortoises as a hobby, having gone to a pet shop to buy a kitten.
When she realised just how badly the average tortoise fared in Britain, and how many died en route, she joined the campaign to ban their importation, which came into effect in 1984.
Today she runs The Tortoise Garden, one of a number of tortoise sanctuaries up and down the UK; hers is based in Cornwall, to where she and her husband retired, and which is as close to a tropical climate as you will find in Britain. And today, literally today, she is in the media for the wrong reason. The petty bureaucrats whose raison d’être appears to be to make everyone else’s life a misery have told her she is running a zoo, and must apply for a licence, which would cost £275 and forced her to micro-chip her four hundred charges - like the Illuminati wants to microchip all of us according to David Icke.
Mrs Bloor ignored the order and declined to appeal, and at 5pm yesterday, it came into force. This means that in theory she could be summoned, or even arrest, taken to court and imprisoned. And for what?
Meanwhile, some people whose interest in tortoises is strictly financial, unlike Mrs Bloor, undoubtedly do deserve to be arrested and thrown into clink, but again unlike Mrs Bloor they are not an easy target.
This week, the front page of the News Shopper (Bromley edition) reports THIEVES TAKE TWO TORTOISES. Hardly the crime of the century, except for Rosemary German and her husband Pepe; they were the last link with their daughter who died in 2002 at the young age of 30. A number of other tortoises have been reported stolen in the area since April, in fact it appears that countrywide, a fair number of people are engaged in the theft of tortoises, although that number is obviously dwarfed by the number of blockhead bureaucrats.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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