It turns out that in the fería of El Sahugo, a town near Salamanca, they have a tradition of carrying out a “slippery pig” competition. This involves covering a piglet in grease and getting the kids to see if they can catch it. Whichever kid manages to catch the slippery piglet gets to take it home.

But then the animal activist people started making a big noise and claimed that the spectacle was “degrading to animals” and the town hall has been fined over 1500 euros and forced to ban the event.

Jesus! What´s up with these people? Is nobody allowed to have fun any more? Does everybody think the same way now? This whole story prompted me to make a brief poll of the views of my own students. I explained the background to this story and asked the student what they thought the right thing to do was. All but two or three of the 20 kids I asked just said “ban it” without a second thought.

Personally, I reckon that watching the piglets escape from the clutches of excited kids would be great fun. It seems that we all meekly acquiesce to the wishes of some bunch of self-righteous PC merchants who are intent on painting the world grey.

And, anyway, are animals really degraded by this? The animal kingdom is home to a vast range if living things. Are we supposed to assume that mantis shrimps, woodlice and sardines worldwide are among the innumerable kinds of animals sharing the pang of degradation? If so I hope they can find the strength to soldier on.

We are right to be concerned for the welfare of animals of course and I take my hat off to those who campaign for changes that really mean something.

My advice to the animal welfare people of El Sahugo is to forget the greasy piglet and begin to fight for something that really matters. The oceans are being cleaned out due to overfishing. The marine environment is being degraded. We are messing with the climate.We are chopping down forests. We are over abstracting, overharvesting, filling domesticated animals with antibiotics, polluting the air and water, moving invasive species around. We are witnessing biodiversity collapse and seeing animals and plant become extinct at a scale we have not seen for millenia……

Is it not time to look at the bigger picture and to chose wisely the battles we want to fight?

The El Sahugo piglet will get over it.