Alice had it good. Her Wonderland was sane and predictable compared to the surreal, bizarre world we occupy. Here is the latest manifestation of lunacy and horror to fill the columns of our newspapers.
To the East of Cape Town is a sprawling township called Khayelitsha. Its residents are poor. They live mostly in shacks made out of odd pieces of corrugated iron, cardboard, and timber scavenged from who knows where. They come from the impoverished rural areas to the east, and also from countries to the north: Congo, Mozambique, Ghana, Nigeria. All have come in the hope of achieving a better life for themselves and their families. Like humans everywhere they love their pet animals, but often cannot afford to have them neutered or spayed, so there are a lot of stray animals in Khayelitsha.
One of these stray dogs enjoyed hanging out at the Luhlaza High School, where the children would give her the occasional treat. A person identified only as a “senior supervisor” at the school instructed two janitors to “get rid of the dog” because he felt it was a nuisance hanging around the classrooms. The janitors thought a good way to get rid of the dog would be to bury it alive on one of the sports fields, which they proceeded to do. Fortunately for the dog, they were seen by a member of the kitchen staff at the school and she phoned the Mdzananda Animal Clinic. A vet at the clinic, Dr Edson Man’Ombe, and one of the clinic’s workers, Lazola Sotyingwa, rushed to the school and managed to rescue the dog, which was near death when she was dug up.
The people who did this don’t interest me. Anyone who has such a lack of empathy for a fellow living creature that he would bury it alive is clearly a psychopath who should probably be detained in perpetuity in a hospital for the criminally insane. What does interest me is what happened to the dog after being rescued, and this is where you might find your credulity being stretched beyond its elastic limit.
A spokesman for the Mdzananda Animal Clinic, Jane Levinson, has said that the dog, now named ‘Warrior’, was recovering well and being taken for weekly acupuncture treatments. No, you don’t have to go back and read that again, I’ll give you a reprise in an eye-catching, slantendicular font: the dog is being taken for weekly acupuncture treatments.
There have been plenty of studies which show that acupuncture has, at best, a placebo effect. It has no curative power whatsoever. So this poor animal, having been rescued from being buried alive is now pointlessly being skewered by sharp needles. To get a flavour of the absurdity of veterinary acupuncture, consider the following. Acupuncture is supposed to work by manipulating the ‘energy flows’ in so-called meridians, which have never been shown to exist and are named for parts of the body. The acupuncture points and meridians for humans were merely projected onto the bodies of animals, so we have the ridiculous situation of a horse with a ‘gall bladder’ meridian when horses don’t even have gall bladders.
So why this needless needling? And why would a veterinary surgeon condone this maltreatment? I don’t know, you would have to ask them, but I would urge anyone responsible for this animal to put a stop to this nonsensical cruelty without delay.
Grumpy Old Man by Mark Widdicombe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 License