Did you hear about the woman in Hampshire, England, who wants to brand three people in an animal rights protest? Make no mistake, Becky Folkard, does not want to be branded, she's asking for volunteers so that she can brand them. "At first I thought I couldn't do the branding," said Becky. "That sounds terrifying. But then I thought about it more and realized, why not?"

That sounds to me like one angry woman. Come on Becky, this isn't the Civil War where you can pay people to take your place in the fight. I think it would mean a lot more to all of us if you would let yourself be branded also. Be brave Becky, take one for the team. Show you're a committed animal rights whacko and not just some weirdo who wants to sear a fellow human's hide.

Naturally, PETA supports the protest but there's no word yet if their President has volunteered to be branded. He did say, "All of us, whether human, cow or pig, we all share the same experience." One wonders, what pig pen has he been living in? Ê

According to Becky, this is all part of a campaign to get rid of animal cruelty in the British dairy industry and the symbol of the protesters is the number 269, which supposedly refers to an ear tag given to dairy calves at birth. But I don't get it, if they are against ear tags why are they going to brand humans, why don't they just protest by ear-tagging three people? But I suppose that would get far less free press when 95% of those engaging in the protest probably have earrings in their ears.Ê

Becky says, "If just one person goes away and researches a vegan lifestyle because of this it will all have been worth it." Maybe to Becky but I doubt that the three volunteers getting their hides charred are going to feel satisfied if the only result is one person Googling the words "vegan lifestyle".Ê

Becky says that what dairy cattle go through is an animal "Holocaust" but I think all the Jewish people with numbers tattooed on their arms who were sent to Buchenwald, Dachau and Aushwitz would have appreciated the comparison. Becky also compares this protest to women getting the right to vote, but I've always been under the impression that brands are used to signify ownership and I doubt there are very many women these days who want a brand in order to be seen as someone's chattel.

I am told that if you go to the 269 Campaign on Facebook you can see pictures of supporters who have tattooed themselves with the number 269. Isn't that something? People are protesting the marking of cattle with hot marking irons by having pictures drawn on their skin with hot marking irons!

I don't know what brand Becky is going to put on the volunteers but I have a few suggestions. How about, OUCH, IAMNUTS or STUPID written out in a nice calligraphic style. Or perhaps YME?, or 51 to indicate they are playing with less than a full deck.

I don't think the animal rights whackos taking part in this protest have factored in all the anatomy and physiology at work here. I am a leather worker and I know that there's a BIG difference between the thickness of a human's hide and a cattle hide. I frequently work on cattle hides that are one quarter inch up to half an inch thick, while the epidermis of the human hide is 4/100th of an inch. I just hope Becky has a light touch with her branding iron or when she brands those three volunteers on March 31 in Central London you'll be able to hear their screams clear across the pond. It will be the branding heard around the world. Literally.

The more I think about this human branding idea the more I see its merits. Brand them all, I say. Brand the animal rights extremists, the environmental terrorists, the child molesters and the Congresspersons. That way we'll all know in the future whenever the strays drift off their mental reservation, as they've been known to do. Ê Ê Ê

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