I was a journalist for over ten years. I won 17 awards for my writing on subjects ranging from crime to the environment. I was a Managing Editor of a newspaper for a time as well. And I would have fired Adrian MacNair if he had put his column on my desk.
In his Thursday column for the Surrey Now, MacNair wrote of the Brookswood Six. This is the case of a woman lying about the death of dogs entrusted to her by their owners. It is a horrific crime and the accused was found guilty and sentenced to six months in jail, as well as a 10-year ban on owning or caring for pets.
MacNair, however, decided that his readers needed a reality check. He wrote:
“I felt sympathy because Paulsen is going to lose her right to freedom over the death of six animals who, at the end of the day, are essentially inconsequential to this world.”
MacNair made weak arguments that, since we kill cows and chickens, and in other parts of the world dogs are killed, we shouldn’t put much stock in dogs’ lives. He said that we should worry about humans, not animals.
He, of course, forgot the reality that we can care about both humans and animals. And, frankly, that humans are animals – we just happen to have opposable thumbs and a slightly oversized frontal lobe. Well, some of us do. We should take a moment to also point out that MacNair was the name of the executioner of Buckbeak in the Harry Potter novels. Coincidence?
He concluded, “the dog owners lost their animal companion and for that they deserved monetary compensation. A few thousand dollars could buy a pure-bred replacement from a top-notch breeder. But much like this former dog owner came to realize, the dogs don’t make a difference in this world one way or another.”
Not only is this column offensive to me and virtually everyone who will read this blog, but it would be hugely offensive to the readers. In fact, editor Beau Simpson published an apology to readers the following day, after the uproar it caused.
And someone who is capable of writing what MacNair wrote, without seeing the potential problem – even from a political level, let alone an emotional one – should not be listened to. They should not be left alone with animals. And, quite honestly, they do not deserve to be a journalist.