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Having arrived back in the Alps yesterday clearly the sad story of the crashed airline is in everyone’s minds and my condolences to all those who have lost loved ones. At the same time as this tragic event there has, however, been other news coming out of this region which I suspect has been overlooked by the international press. One of the big stories here relates to cruelty to spiders – and how the German authorities are taking a zero tolerance approach to people who make arachnids suffer. The other describes how a German drinks marketing company refused to deliver its new hetero-tipple to a local gay bar for fear of being misbranded by association with gays.
But first some pics of the mountains while they still have a little snow on them. The first is a photo of the Wendelstein mountain taken from my balcony:
By the way you can see high definition versions of my photos by simply clicking on the pictures. The next photo is the March view from my Kitchen – including the local church (with my rather cheap ‘kitchen’ clock):
Spiderman’s Prison Sentence
This week in the Ebersberg district court in Germany a prison sentence was handed out to a 48 year old man for mistreating spiders. The man had been keeping spiders in his apartment in the town of Grafing under ‘inhumane’ (my translation!) conditions. He claimed he was using the spiders for scientific experiments although more details of the nature of these ‘experiments’ were not obvious from the reports available.
As part of his defence the man claimed that other animals like pigs, cows and chickens are also kept in ‘inhumane’ conditions but the court did not accept this defence. Apparently the law in Germany addressing the treatment of ‘useful’ livestock is not as exacting as that protecting spiders and other animals like snakes and various insects. This means that a pig can be kept in a condition in which it can not freely move to ensure it satisfies the quality requirements of the food industry whereas for a spider or reptile this would be considered cruel. Presumably this is because we don’t (as a rule) eat them. There are exceptions to the last statement as you can read in my blog here (however that was in Holland!).
To help substantiate the claims of cruelty the court bought in as an expert witness the vet who had originally witnessed the conditions suffered by the spiders and other animals. However this was not considered satisfactory by the defence who wanted the court to seek evidence from experts who were more specifically qualified in spider behavioural science (a kind of Arachnid Therapist). The judge did not think this was necessary to reach a verdict.
It would appear that the man had a track record of mistreating animals. He was sentenced for keeping animals under ‘cruel’ conditions in his Munich apartment in 2000. At that time his apartment was home to several highly poisonous cobras, vipers and rattle-snakes. As a result of that case he was banned indefinitely from keeping animals in Germany. To avoid further sentencing he then set up shop for a period in Switzerland (were he added Boa Constrictors to his pet list).
In the latest case, which refers to an investigation made by the German authorities in 2008, the man had, in his modest apartment, hundreds of spiders and insects; 162 reptiles, 111 mammals ranging from mice to monkeys, 21 birds and a collection of poisonous snakes. This week it was decided that the ‘Spiderman’ should receive a custodial sentence of one year and ten months as well as completing a previous suspended sentence of 14 months. His partner received a fine for her part in the transgression.
If you want to read more about insects and hear a nice little insect focused song please follow the link to my article here.
Hetero Drink Marketing
The other major story hitting the local press recently relates to a gay bar in Stuttgart which goes under the name of ‘Boots Westernbar‘. They received a flyer from a local drinks supplier promoting their new offering called Waldmeister-Limonade. For those who are not familiar with herbs Waldmeister (Galium odoratum) is a herbacious plant often found in the forests of Europe. It is also known under the names of sweet woodruff or wild baby’s breath. In parts of Europe it has been taken to ward off evil spirits (“dämonische Kräfte”). Apparently witches can be driven off using a cocktail of waldmeister with a mixture of other herbs. So clearly it is good stuff!
After placing an order for the new drink the proprieters of the Boots Westernbar were stunned when they received the reply from the Waldmeister-Limonade supplier which (rather roughly translated) said:
“Following some brief research we have become aware of the fact that the Boots Westernbar is a gay bar……in such a situation it would not be very appropriate for (our drink) to be available there“. Apparently they were trying to build up their brand and considered the right target group to be very important – the suppliers explained further: “One can slide very quickly down the wrong (market) track and then find one is associated with this (market)“.
It would appear that the marketeers behind the new drink considered their product very much a hetero drink and were keen to avoid it getting associated with gay customers for fear it might become known as the kind of stuff gays drink. Not surprisingly this created an uproar among the gay community in the German social media networks. There were calls for a boycott of this new drink’s company (which only started marketing the drink in February 2015).
The owners of the drink’s company quickly issued a formal apology through these same media, admitting that their over-enthusiasm for securing the right market niche had blinded them to important issues of humanity and dignity. They offered the gay bar 24 cans to make up for their error which was promptly refused – the bar had enough alternative sources and their business is booming.
Perhaps there is a lesson here for other start-ups to consider – ‘don’t place marketing above humanity and dignity‘.
For any members of the LGBT community who would like a little musical solace just click on my videos below for a bit of ‘diversity focused’ fun:
- Pretty Boy Sally – Gay cross dressing peasant boy’s romantic adventures with a eunuch
- Lycra Larry – A young sports boy with a passion for expressive clothing accidentally exposes himself in public,
….and of course the album – Songs of Fun, Deviants and Eunuchs by the TRANSFORMATES 變 is available from the following suppliers:
Well after all that excitement I think it is time to take the dog for a walk while we can still see some snow on the Alps. Have a great weekend.
PS. Don’t let any one tell you the Germans don’t have a sense of humour. I am hoping they will support my song ‘Leck Mich!‘ when I get it accepted for the Eurovision song contest. If you haven’t already heard my bilingual German Licking Song the link is here. Apparently it is very popular in Vienna.
2 thoughts on “Spiderman Sentenced to Jail – Drinks Supplier Refuses Gay Deliveries”
Your columns are interesting. Maybe you need to submit a few commentaries to the local newspaper and they’d print them!
Now that would help to keep my German alive! Thanks for the suggestion Linda,