Since May this year, there has been much written, joked and laughed about over Johnny Depp and his wife, Amber Heard allegedly smuggling two Yorkshire Terriers named Pistol and Boo into Australia.
According to a summons issued recently to Ms. Heard, the charges relate to the illegal importation of two animals and knowingly producing a false or misleading incoming passenger card was committed.
Serious charges which carry a maximum penalty of ten years’ jail and/or a fine of $102,000.
So how then has JD come out smelling like roses and wreaking of victim? Why do we want to stand up and chant “Leave Johnny alone!!”
He’s Johnny Depp. Enough said. It’s very easy to take his side, because, well, he’s Johnny freakin Depp. I love him. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t. I mean just look at him here with his cool scissor hands!
Or Here with his awesome mad hat!
And here in just about every other movie he’s made…
He’s portrayed a myriad of much loved characters and his talent level is through the roof, plus, he’s not that bad to look at, even now he’s 51. But even though I’m tempted to take his side, I just can’t do it.
There’s no denying there’s a problem with some of our politicians. They just don’t know how to express themselves in public (flashbacks of Tony Abbott staring at a camera and nodding for several awkward minutes come to mind), and we end up being embarrassed. Australia is increasingly becoming the butt of international jokes because of it.
Even Johnny himself, on a recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel, referred to our agriculture minister as, “This sort of weird, sweaty, gut man.” And Kimmel asked, “What kind of maniac is this?” in response to Barnaby Joyce threatening to euthanize Depp and Heard’s tiny little dogs. And on the surface Depp and Kimmel appear to make very valid points. Joyce’s choice of words make the mind boggle. How anyone can become minister of agriculture and make these kind of ridiculous and pointless statements, I’ll never know. He’s made it so easy for anyone to not take him, or our laws, seriously.
When Kimmel pressed him further JD then pointed out the problem, though I’m sure he wasn’t trying to, when he said, “who decided that, you know, two, five or six-inch teacup Yorkshire terriers would harm the country in some way. . . he’s (Joyce) got a point, especially when you consider that Australia has the most poisonous creatures on Earth.”
Yes JD, Australia does have the most poisonous creatures on the planet, and we like it that way. And that fact has nothing whatsoever to do with bringing tiny undeclared dogs to Australia.
Instead of our Agriculture minister taking the golden opportunity to educate JD on exactly why Australia’s quarantine laws are so strict, and so extremely important to us all. Mr. Joyce has just got himself all riled up in a swashbuckling war of words with Jack Sparrow in pirate town and in the process he’s let us all down.
The risk of bringing any animal into the country is, and I can’t say this loud enough, HUGE. Animals need to be declared, and in the case of some, including dogs, quarantined to prevent the introduction of diseases that our island nation is free from.
Australia’s biosecurity laws and procedures have so far protected us, our industries, our export markets and the communities that depend on those markets as well as our pets, crops and livestock.
Foot and mouth disease, Mad Cows disease, Avian influenza are just a few of the problems we’ve seen devastate certain countries in the past ten years and Australia has remained free from them all.
And so, the problem posed by, “Two, five-six inch teacup Yorkshire terriers,” are Rabies, and the lesser known, but just as devastating, screw worm fly.
Rabies is a virus of the central nervous system that kills between 40,000 and 70,000 people every year and countless more animals. A further 10 Million people require treatment for Rabies. Detecting, controlling and preventing Rabies in the US alone costs more than $300 Million every year. A problem Australia doesn’t have thanks to our biosecurity laws.
If Rabies were to reach our shores, through say, Oh I don’t know, a celebrity couple not bothering to declare or quarantine their two tiny dogs, the disease would infect our cats and dogs first and would then run rampant through our native wildlife, wiping out any already endangered species in the process. Goodbye bilby, see ya Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat, kiss the Koalas goodbye and wave a last hurrah to the Mountain Pigmy possum.
One other possible pest two tiny dogs could introduce, is the Screw-Worm Fly. The female Screw-worm fly can lay upwards of 250 eggs on the edge of a scratch or wound. When the eggs hatch into maggots 24 hours later they begin to chew their way through the underlying flesh of the host causing extensive tissue damage and eventually death. The maggots transform into flies and then infect our sheep, cattle, pigs and horses and potentially destroy Australia’s 30 Billion dollar a year export market.
The reason Australia’s livestock is so sought after on the international market is because of our lack of pests and diseases such as these and the undeclared and unquarantined entry into our country of anyone’s tiny dogs can put it all at risk, regardless if that person was, or has been, Edward Scissorhands, Willy Wonka, J.M Barrie, Ichabod Crane or Captain Jack Sparrow.
So please Johnny and Amber, ignore Australia’s poorly trained political staff and next time obey the laws. They exist, and should be adhered to, for many good reasons even if our ministers seem to have forgotten what those reasons are.
Also, I’m not keen on my tiny black dog turning from a sweet faced Spitz into a Cujo-esque creature of death any time soon.
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