Leading Article: The unacceptable faeces of Britain

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WHAT'S THAT smell? Euuurgh] Yuck] It's on the carpet. There it is in nicely defined heel marks all the way down the hall, leading to . . . Oh God] the living room. Yes, it's on your shoes and in the living room, plodding all the way across the oatmeal carpet to the fireplace, where it's turned around and . . . but hang on a minute, what are these rather more substantial brown smears in the kitchen? It must have got on the buggy wheels. Yes, there it sticks, hiding in the crevasses that you didn't know buggies had. That'll need a fork, hot water, soap, maybe the garden hose; remember to sterilise the fork later. But where's the wee boy gone? Ah, there he is on the sofa, playing happily with something or other. Kids are funny. You spend a fortune on soft toys, but all they want to play with is any old rubbish. What's this particular piece of old rubbish? Is he licking it, has he licked it? Oh ****.

This is the result of careless walk down a pavement or across a park. The only way to walk across city parkland these days is to forget the birds, the trees and the sky and look steadily and severely at the ground, especially if you have small children. Britain has more dogs than ever before - 5.5 million in 1981, 7.5 million last year - and more of them are big dogs. The consequent rise in the spread of dog shit and the growth in size of the average turd is difficult to calculate, but the current production of British dog excrement is estimated at 1,000 tons a day. This newspaper is not against dogs. It is sad, perhaps even scandalous, that 441 useful Alsatians face the death penalty because of the prison privatisation programme (see the report on page 1). But the spread of shit in our streets and parks is both unpleasant and dangerous. We begin our campaign on page 23.