Animal Rights/Neighbour Rights
The Executive Producer of this show called to ask us to appear on the show. She said that she was rather 'affronted' that we declined to appear on the programme. I told her that we were not in any way trying to editorialise, nor had I asked them NOT to include Tony Tan on the programme, but that we were not appearing on the programme because we did not want to pander to complainants who believed that complaining loudly meant they are listened to. This is exactly what we have been telling town councils not to do - and it would be very strange to now go against what we've been saying all along.
Now she says that the new angle is going to be animal rights/neighbours rights. Firstly, I told her that we were not an animal rights organisation. She expressed surprise, so I explained to her what animal rights was versus animal welfare as she was unclear about the difference.
Secondly, I told her that while I understand that the title, has to be, in her words, sexy, we don't feel that there has to be a pitting of one right against the other. It's really a false dilemma - animal welfare if anything, enhances human rights, because it's basically about teaching people to be more compassionate and humane. If you can't be humane and not cruel to an animal that cannot talk or fight back, then what hope will there be against a person who can do both?
She said they would have to say on the programme that we were approached but did not take part. We did just send them a statement to explain why we are not appearing.
She also said that this would be our chance to put our side of the story out, but again, there will be some people who undoubtedly side with Tony Tan, and there are others. Debating (or not even debating because it's filmed separately) someone like Tony Tan isn't meaningful because it doesn't go to addressing any issues if the complainant refuses to talk to you. Apparently Tony Tan said in his interview he refused to speak with us.
They did offer to have a second episode which would be part 2 of this programme, and that we could appear on this second part, without Tony Tan. However the point is not Tony Tan personally at all. It's about the fact that it's still responding to someone who is complaining and not willing to solve this problem.
I was also surprised that the focus of the programme had changed again. I checked what HRSS and ACRES segment would be about but those will just be straight out features on HRSS and ACRES.
So we're still not taking part.