08 November 2008

A classless act

Shame on the BBC. And shame on their wildlife show, "Autumnwatch," for broadcasting images of the corpse of a squirrel that had been electrocuted outside the garden shed of Bill Oddie, the show's presenter. The squirrel died after gnawing on electrical wire outside Oddie's North London home.

Yes, this stuff happens. Squirrels gnaw, they get electrocuted, they die horrible deaths. The newspapers are filled with stories about how towns, parts of cities, and other jurisdictions lose power because of squirrels gnawing electrical lines. A squirrel once shut down part of the New York Stock Exchange this way. A squirrel once shut down part of the massive Metro North train system, between Manhattan and Westchester County, in just this way.

And yes, in each case, the squirrel died.

The image would have been disturbing enough but Oddie could not leave well enough alone. He then is quoted as saying to viewers: ‘Better red than dead . . . or grey.’ He subsequently added: ‘Let all squirrels watching be warned, because you can get too cocky.’

I suppose he fancies himself a wit, having said all that. I suppose he thinks he is terribly clever.

I hope the BBC takes a good hard look at him and his show - which is immensely popular among TV viewers in the UK. Any host of a show who can take delight in, or see something amusing, in this kind of death - in ANY kind of unnecessary death of an animal - might need to have his appropriateness (or lack thereof) re-evaluated.

I hope the BBC pulls the plug on Oddie. No doubt he would still feel some kind of shock - but fear not, Oddie fans, it will only stun him a wee bit.


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Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Me thinks that it is Oddie that has become too cocky.

squirrelmama said...

Let's hope the BBC thinks the same, LGS.

Henry the Dog said...

I like your blog because my mum loves all things furry, including me - I'm a dog but I don't hurt squirrels. We have lots of squirrels in France, in particular little red ones with really big tufty ears - mum wonders if they are a different type of normal red squirrel. Also there are some really dark squirrels in Switzerland with a white chest - what are they? Mum hates to see dead things too and even swerves to avoid slugs on the road so that she doesn't squash them. But she thinks you've overeacted a 'tad' about Mr Oddie. Perhaps he is going a bit senile, whatever, she thinks folk should stop baying for blood whenever they are affronted. If we're not careful we won't be able to say anything, print anything or watch anything. I'm only a dog but I reckon we should live and let live and all that.

squirrelmama said...

What a sweet and good doggie, thanks for writing. I think your Mum is lucky to have a nice pup like you. First of all, although I am not completely familiar with European squirrel species, I do believe there are variants throughout the continent, including some reds in Russia and even Scandinavia that look different. They are probably all variations much like here in the States we have Eastern Grays and Western Grays.
I did want to say though, just as followup to Mr. Oddie's remark, that it seemed inappropriate and insensitive of him really to make a joke out of what may have been a painful death for this creature. I realize it would have been foolish to see him break down and cry over it (though frankly that might have been MY response but that's probably why I don't have my own TV show!) But I think he might have been able to use the moment to educate people about the dangers of having wires exposed like that, and how it can hurt wildlife.
Belly rubs to you Henry, for being such a nice visitor!

Poetikat said...

Unfortunately, the BBC seems to have a lack of taste in many areas so I'm not surprised to see that this has been utilized as a source of interest and humour. Bah! Some Brits have great wit, others are half-wits.


Anonymous said...

The problem is that many people see squirrels as rodents and therefore pests. We are fortunate in the neighborhood where I live in Dallas, Texas, to have an abundance of squirrels that many neighbors feed.

But recently we had a die-off, most probably caused by the careless use of rat bait. And you are right: It was awful to see them die. I stood by with one little female, before I knew the cause, as she labored to breathe. I called a wildlife rescue group, but she expired before they arrived. I felt terrible. I love these little guys.

squirrelmama said...

I'm very moved by your very generous and caring act, and your attempt to save this squirrel's life. I'm sorry it had the outcome it did and that this creature suffered as she did. I wish people would think twice before using rat bait, particularly because so-called "non-target species," including squirrels, people's pets, and even small children, can get access.

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