Camilla Long doesn't know the difference between Pen Farthing and Joe Exotic

Camilla Long is a well-known journalist writing for The Sunday Times. She comments on the news and I guess anything that interests her. Today, she has written something which irritates me. I'm sure she doesn't give a damn. In fact it probably pleases her because her provocative articles are meant to irritate and delight at the same time. She is a consummate writer, very bright, Oxbridge educated and blah blah blah. She is talented. But she's got this completely wrong.

Camilla Long doesn't know the difference between Pen Farthing and Joe Exotic
Camilla Long. Photo: Twitter.

She is criticising animal lovers and "animal people" who, I presume, are the same species of human. And she can't tell the difference between the behaviour of the well-known animal rescuer, Pen Farthing, who was until the mass evacuation based in Kabul, Afghanistan and the obnoxious but made-for-television personality, Joe Exotic.

I'll tell her what the difference is. Mr Farthing saves the lives of unwanted and discarded animals. He shipped many dogs from Afghanistan to America. This is because American military personnel rescued dogs in Afghanistan and became close to them. When they came to the end of their deployment and returned to America they had to leave their dogs behind. Mr Farthing rectified that problem. He raised considerable funds to ship these dogs to America for a reunion and to allow the dogs to live out their lives happily. He saved lives and did good work. He also ran a vet surgery in Kabul. He founded and ran the best animal rescue organisation in Afghanistan for years. He alleviated pain and distress in animals.

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He bent over backwards and struggled enormously to save the lives of about 200 cats and dogs during the mass evacuation when the Taliban took over. Camilla Long criticises him for euthanising 32 older dogs at that time because they weren't enough crates to transport them all, she said. She also criticises him for the death of six cats who were tear-gassed after a suicide bomb went off at the airport.

I'm sure Mr Farthing reluctantly euthanised the dogs that she mentions. Sometimes rescue animals have to be euthanised despite best intentions. Under the most dire and critical conditions, Mr Farthing saved lives. If he euthanised these dogs it would have been an absolutely last resort that he was compelled to take. It would have been a humane decision.

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By contrast, Joe Exotic, for many years, ran the biggest private zoo in America and exploited big cat cubs for financial gain on a treadmill basis. They were used for photo shoots but when they grew up they were redundant. They were surplus to requirements. There were sometimes shot. Basically he was exploiting animals in the most abusive way for many many years. And he is serving a 22-year sentence for plotting to murder Carole Baskin, one of the world's 'animal people'. He is a thoroughly obnoxious individual.

These two individuals are in stark contrast to each other. You cannot say what Camilla Long has written about them which is as follows:

What's the difference between Farthing and the execrable human beings who run roadside tiger parks in America?

Well, I agree about the execrable human beings who exploit big cats and abuse them in the process but as mentioned there is a big difference. There's a big difference between exploitation and saving lives. In fact, they are at the opposite end of the spectrum of our relationship with humans.

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