“The Society believes that cows and sheep and all other animals should be allowed to lead long happy lives with freedom from want and fear and that they should be allowed to attain the peace and dignity of old age and die of simple natural diseases like human beings.”
“Dogs are all right,” said William, “an’ so are some insects. An’ I’ve met guinea-pigs an’ goldfish that were quite decent. I shouldn’t mind any of them dyin’ of natural diseases if they want to.”
- Number: 35.5
- Published: 1965
- Book: William and the Pop Singers
- Synopsis: William encounters some protestors, just when a neighbour needs some.
Definite echoes of Our Man in Havana in this story, with William’s friend Miss Thompson setting up a fictitious network of animal rights activists to save herself the embarassment of disappointing the nice officer from the national charity who has so much faith in her. “The odd thing is that I still half believe in them, you know – Mr Coleman, Mr Flower, Mr Beauchamp, Miss Poppins, Mrs Belmont and the rest.”
William took a formal farewell of his hostess, fixing her with the glassy smile that accompanied any exhibition of “manners” on his part and enunciating the words “Thank you for having me” in a loud and husky voice.
But that all comes later… first, William takes pity on a shy market researcher sitting by the side of the road and decides to help her out by finding people to complete her survey. (The whole episode has a very modern feel to it.)
Fortunately, William espies a student protest marching from ‘Newlick University’ (with a pig), and manages to solve both strands…