I got home and immediately rolled the Groupon roulette wheel again. I landed on something completely bizarre-I went alpaca trekking in Kent.
Apparently in a car park. You’ll notice I’m wearing an alpaca wool scarf, which is adding insult to injury for the alpaca. That’s like going to meet a pig wearing a bacon bikini. In hindsight, I think the alpaca trek is aimed at children rather than twenty six-year-old men. I know that because on the trek it was just me and a six-year-old girl. She turned up with her mother and her sister, but farm policy demanded that only two people could go on each trek and so the little girl ended up coming with me. The first thing I did was grooming. (The alpaca, I mean, not the six year-old girl). Then we all went for a walk around the Romney Marsh: me, the girl, Hershey the alpaca, and our guide, Lara. The little girl was such a brat. She just wouldn’t stop talking; I couldn’t get a word in edgeways. ‘Where’s his mummy?’
‘Do alpacas go to school?’
‘Does he do a wee-wee or a poo-poo?’
All questions I wanted to ask, but couldn’t.
Alpacas are extremely hierarchical animals and walk together in a straight line in a woolly conga. If anyone tries to get above their station and jump the queue they get spat at. Yes, literally spat at. Alpacas have two stomachs, like cows (and Americans), and they regurgitate green bile from the first chamber and gob it at you. I tell you what though: they can give it out but they can’t take it. When I spat back at my alpaca it went absolutely mental.
But alpacas aren’t just farmed to provide comic relief to bored morons like me. They’re also often used by farmers to scare off dogs and foxes. Alpacas hate dogs and if they corner one they jump on it until it dies, like canine bubble wrap. Not so cute now, are they? When the little girl heard that fact her face dropped, her naive world view shattered, as if she’d just walked in on her Barbie shooting-up smack. No wonder she was disappointed. We overly romanticise animals, I think, especially for children. But the truth is we are deluding ourselves if we think animals are ethical. Have you ever seen a nature documentary? Animals are nihilistic psychopaths. Dolphins are prolific rapists, female pigs often eat their own piglets, and pandas deliberately refuse to reproduce in a cynical attempt to get handjobs from humans.
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