Saturday, November 2, 2013

Animal lovers fear new watchdogs


The Portuguese government is believed to have entered into a secret bilateral agreement with the United States over the sharing of sensitive personal data. Sources say the agreement focuses mainly on material gathered by the US National Security Agency (NSA) relating to animals in apartments.
In addition to intercepting millions of phone calls, text and email messages each month, it is thought that NSA may be priming satellite cameras to feed images to the Portuguese police.
The revelation coincides with leaked information that the Portuguese government  wants to introduce a ‘Pet Code’ that would restrict the numbers of animals in any one apartment to two dogs and four cats.
While officials this week tried to play down the proposed new law, it has sparked public outrage. Many have expressed concern that it smacks of pre-1974 revolution elitism because owners of houses will not be affected, only apartment-dwellers who tend to be the less well-off.
It has also been described as “blatant discrimination” because the new law is expected to apply to dogs and cats but leave apartment-dwellers  to keep as many pet pigs or boa constrictors as they like. It is also seen as another example of inequality as the number of dogs are expected to be limited to two whether they are chihuahuas or great Danes.
“It is the thin end of the wedge,” added Fido Basset, president of the Association of Foreign Pet Owners in Portugal. “They will start with cats and dogs and before you know it we will have to cut down on the  number of white mice, budgies and goldfish we can keep.
Animal lovers are hoping the global indignation at NSA’s spying in allied countries will prevent any new bilateral arrangement with Portugal going ahead and thus make the Pet Code unworkable. 

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