I’m pretty sure my mother has set up Google News alerts for my name. So when I saw a News of the Weird–esque article in Australia’s Weekly Times about an Aussie senator, Bill Heffernan, taking jabs at me to the media by talking about my—ahem—circumcision, I knew it was just a matter of time before she’d see it too. Proactively, I e-mailed her the article with the subject line, “Should I be honored by this?”
Now, I’m sure you’re all wondering what an elected official was doing talking about my naughty bits to the press. Well, there’s a perfectly, um, reasonable explanation: I oversee PETA’s campaign against mulesing—a cruel mutilation in which Australian farmers hack chunks of lambs’ flesh from their backsides without as much as an aspirin for pain relief. It’s the cheapest way to prevent a fly infestation that is dangerous—but that could be prevented if farmers would just look after the sheep instead of abandoning them in open fields and forgetting about them until slaughter or shearing. So, in his frustration over the fact that we’ve been getting major retailers such as Abercrombie & Fitch and Perry Ellis to stop using Australian wool, Senator Heffernan lashed out. Check out this juicy excerpt from the article:
Last week [Senator Heffernan] turned his verbal blowtorch on animal activist Matt Prescott from the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals [sic], after Prescott flagged the wool industry would die if it failed to ban mulesing.
“I’ll bet he’s been circumcised,” Senator Heffernan said, the inference being that it is no different to a lamb being mulesed.
“I hope he has. I’ll be putting that to him. That bloke needs to come over here, have a look at our sheep and learn some home truths.”
My reply? “Dear Senator Heffernan, You were right: I have indeed been circumcised. Fortunately, my parents didn’t perform the cut in a field with a pair of garden shears, and they didn’t remove my flesh because of a financial interest. No such luck for lambs.” (You can read the full reply here.)
My mother’s reply? “I’m not sure this is a compliment, but I guess you can’t beat a senator talking publicly about your circumcision.”
Written by Matt Prescott