- These cows, and many of their other four-legged brethren, not to mention those of the two-legged and winged varieties, can be an eyesore in certain parts of the city. Together, they take care of their private business in full glare of the public, and without fail, fail to clean up after themselves. As for their owners, the less said about their interest in cleaning the public mess, the better.
As someone who dabbled in animal husbandry during his youthful days on a homestead within the city limits of Accra many years ago, and rose to the ranks of a Johnny-do-it-all General Manager, I was really taken aback by a news item from the renowned Associated Press (AP), about lawmakers in one of the States of our own spirited friend, Number Forty-Five, who currently occupies the WH, weighing a trespassing bill against chicken owners in the state of New Hampshire.
Personally, I have always been under the strong delusion that all livestock in the 50 States of No. 45 and the District of Columbia live on farms.
Essentially, the New Hampshire Legislature, through the House Fish and Game and Marine Resources Committee, is considering a bill that would make trespassing fowl a violation, not for the chicken, but for its owner. Under the proposal, anyone who knowingly, recklessly, or negligently allows fowl to enter or travel over someone else's property without permission can be convicted of a violation.
Images of fowls knowingly or unknowingly, with or without permission, running afoul in the backyard of neighbors, taking sand baths, or snow baths for that matter, immediately came to mind, and had me wondering whether the fowls in question were street-smart, and capable of knowing what they were up to, as the authorities sought to hold them accountable for their actions through their owners.
The short news item triggered some nostalgia within me - a youthful me shepherding flock up and down the rich grassy areas of the neighborhood, thinking about the wide array of freedoms that two-legged and four-legged animals of all kinds enjoy in the Land of Gold, and perhaps other parts of the world.
I mean, how dare one stop a neighbor’s animals from trespassing into their yard to shit around, eat whatever they deem eatable, and destroy whatever they deem unworthy and worthy of destruction, and get into trouble with the property owner in the Land of Gold? After all, it’s a free country, and many livestock owners get that. Or?
Interestingly, there are already laws in the books in New Hampshire that makes such trespassing illegal for sheep, goats, cattle, horses, and swine, which made me wonder the more as to why individuals within the City limits of the State of New Hampshire would have such animals in their backyards or frontyards… I will leave that for another day.
The AP piece also got me thinking about why some parts of the world are more picturesque than others, my own Land of Gold included with the non-conforming countries. Obviously, some do not use their heads to carry load, but they make their laws dynamic to their needs and enforce them without fear or favor. By the way, for full disclosure, my farm animals were always shepherded for the punishment that came with being negligent on the job was not worth the risk. Back in those days, an elder had no need for a repetitive channel. Once was more than enough for instructions to sink in.
You can therefore imagine how pleasantly surprised I was when I came across several pictures of cattle nonchalantly mixing it up with commuters, and the general population around the Achimota overhead bridge area in Accra.
Pictures, they say, speak a thousand words, and looking at the way ‘them cows’ were leisurely going about their business, on their way to only god-knows-where, and the fact that no one bothered to bother them, made it look more of a norm than an aberration for all involved.
The raising of livestock has been with mankind forever, and of course, has been financially beneficial to many, but in the wake of modernity, it would be great if some commonsensical laws can be enacted by those in charge in the Land of Gold to govern the movement and raising of livestock within city limits.
I will not venture into the danger these roaming cows pose to vehicular and human traffic, since that is not the beef of this piece. I won’t even dare talk about the cattle herder who may perhaps have to spend the night with his crew in the bush, neither will I talk about what will probably happen should these cows be rustled to move at dawn, and pose a threat to those in their immediate surroundings, vehicular traffic included.
It is the aesthetics, and the President’s declaration of making Accra the cleanest city in Africa by the year 2020, that I worry about.
These cows, and many of their other four-legged brethren, not to mention those of the two-legged and winged varieties, can be an eyesore in certain parts of the city. Together, they take care of their private business in full glare of the public, and without fail, fail to clean up after themselves. As for their owners, the less said about their interest in cleaning the public mess, the better.
Many of these livestock devour and trample on plants meant to beautify some of the major streets they unashamedly take over.
Meanwhile, in certain parts of the world, and I am sure many of the current leadership crop have seen this with their naked eyes, people clean up after their dogs and other pets when they take them out for walks.
Replicating the cow-scene to other areas of the city can be very telling. One can only wish that those in charge will eventually pass some regulations to hold livestock owners within the city limits accountable for the acts of their animals.
I know the President and his 110 Ministers have their plates full, but there is always room for more food for thought.
Images courtesy of 'On the road with Amigos'.