Like all leading moralists of the age, I have spent the past few days brooding incessantly on the lady who threw the cat into the wheelie‑bin.
Unlike my rivals, I have come up with the perfect punishment. In the grand tradition of the British criminal justice system, I propose we pay to send this miscreant to some holiday destination – say, Tanzania, the very place, in fact, from which I have just returned.
What was the most striking thing about her behaviour? Was it the duplicity with which she petted the poor critter before she binned it? Was it the artful way she checked to see if she was being watched? Was it the sweet innocence with which she turned her back on the green plastic cat-prison and trotted off to continue making tea at the vicarage or working with the deaf, or whatever blameless life she leads when she isn’t persecuting cats?
No, I’ll tell you what struck me most. It was her sense of power. In her swift and easy assertion of the dominance of the human species, she perfectly expressed the wickedness of the way we treat nature; and if you fly to Dar-es-Salaam, you will see what I mean.