HOME     ABOUT VEGA     VEGA NEWS     NEWSLETTER    LINKS      SUPPORT US      CONTACT  
    INTERESTS     ANIMAL WELFARE     RECIPES     PORTFOLIO     YOUTH PAGE  
   VEGETARIAN ECONOMY & GREEN AGRICULTURE
HOME > NEWS ARCHIVE > NEWS ITEM

VEGA News Item

 
Shall we blame Bush for insurgence in the branches? - 18/04/2006
 
Eco-rage overtook Mrs Doreen Hallsworth of Carlisle, who knocked over a row of cardboard cut-outs in her branch of Abbey National. She was expressing her objection to the Abbey’s new marketing symbol: a grey squirrel.
Eco-rage overtook Mrs Doreen Hallsworth of Carlisle, who knocked over a row of cardboard cut-outs in her branch of Abbey National. She was expressing her objection to the Abbey’s new marketing symbol: a grey squirrel.

The Independent (14 April 2006) comments that “Cumbria is one of the last pockets of England where the indigenous red squirrel is just about holding out against the incursions of its grey cousin, an unsavoury illegal immigrant from America”. Mrs Hallsworth says that the reds “are already on a slippery slope and the greys are getting closer”.

“Some might accuse her of animal snobbery, even of muddled thinking. Cunning as they are, grey squirrels are unlikely to interpret a High Street advertisement as encouragement to push red squirrels further down that slippery slope. But there is a more urgent question for the Abbey to pose to its advertising agent: who was the bright spark who came up with the idea that a destructive environmentally-harmful, rat-like mammal, famous for losing its nuts, would be a good symbol for a bank?” comments The Independent.

Well, fair’s fair. The grey squirrel didn’t swim the Atlantic, nor was the colour change achieved by some evil genetic engineer: the animal was not even a stowaway jumping ship from a trans Atlantic liner. The grey squirrel was an introduction typical of the activities of collectors in Victorian times of exotic flora and fauna to enrich the zoos and collections, and by release (and escapes) the British countryside.

The grey squirrel is an example of an American entrepreneur exploiting the move and its arboreal adaptability. Its appearance and example in the branches of a bank seems apt. It might, however, be noted that it’s a great raider: in suburban gardens no bird table escapes its attentions, fruit trees are acrobatically stripped of buds and the few fruits that manage to emerge but briefly are plundered; and lofts and roofs are efficiently gnawed and occupied for nests (dreys) and for obligatory sharpening of teeth on wiring and wood with consequent damage and danger to “our” properties. Squirrels’ brains are the biggest among mammals in comparison for their bodyweights. They are the exemplars of opportunistic herbivory and fecundity. They quash many human projects of tree cultivation or commercial nut production. Abbey’s customers do well to contemplate their acumen and piracy.

But how to recover from the takeover? Cats, dogs, a bit of shooting, use of humane capture and (illegal) release somewhere else may achieve a crude balance by brute force. It is said that some sort of American pie can be made with their meat. Suburban areas rumour with capture and drowning or a blow on the head or rat like demises by poisoning. We wonder what inklings really informed Abbey’s advertising agent and the enraged Mrs Hallsworth. There’s certainly a lot for “green” customers and politicians to ponder on.
 
 
 

Registered Charity No. 1045293
© VEGA - 2008