I posted a couple of years ago about how the vultures were dying in India. It was discovered that through a combination of the irresponsible release of huge doses of Diclofenac for the veterinary treatment of large mammals in the sub-continent, and a total lack of testing and checking of side-effects of this same drug, the carrion-eating vultures had ingested large amounts of this substance. Once ingested in quantity, as the vultures have normally been able to feast on the rotting corpses of dead animals for centuries, the diclofenac attacks the kidneys, producing renal failure and death. When I returned to check how I had covered it, I also found I had spelled the name incorrectly! Such is liffe!
One of the by-products of the erasure of this revolting but worthy bird is that the Parsees’ funeral system no longer exists. The Parsees used to routinely lay the dead person on the rocks and surfaces of the Stones of Silence Temple, and await the services of their own vulture population, which cleansed the flesh and internal organs of the deceased with remarkable efficiency. With the exceedingly rapid decline of the vulture population, the bodies must still be destroyed, but the Parsees are trying to use solar power, but religious elders are horrified, claiming that this is akin to cremation, which is forbidden to the Parsee rituals!
The vultures have not disappeared altogether however! Their presence is felt even within our own semi-sacred National Health Service. I can feel the collective eyebrow raising on the readers’ faces, so allow me to explain. Sally Johnson of Organ Donation and Transplant was lyrical that there had been a record 3706 transplants in the U.K. in the last twelve months. She also hoped (!) that many more donors would flock to sign up and be a donor.
Now I have nothing against the science and practice of organ donation and transplantation in this country, we are leaders in the field, and a great many people have signed up to be donors. That is my point, it is a purely voluntary act, and is to the great credit of those volunteers. But those whom meet my definition of ‘vulture’ are creeping around the Law of this land, trying to get exemptions, one way or another, for their target of ‘presumed consent’ to be the Law of the land instead of ‘voluntary consent’ as at present. In Wales, the medical people have co-opted politicians, who are now peddling the ‘soft opt-out’ register, which purports to bring in a regime which means that people are presumed to want to be organ donors unless they have joined an opt-out register, they cannot be identified, their wishes can be proven to have changed or immediate relatives object. ‘These exemptions are crucial’ the vultures call out; ‘they mean that only those who want to donate do so’.
No, my friends, the only people who want to donate sign up as donors right now. I for one would not wish to be presumed to consent to anything which involves portions of my mortal remains used without my absolute consent. If you wish to donate, join in and be my guest; just don’t automatically expect that I shall be next in the queue!