The English are pretty keen on health and safety. I have to go through two sets of fire doors to get to my desk at work. The trains kindly remind you to mind the gap. Workmen, cyclists, police officers, and anyone else who might go unseen wears a florescent yellow vest. The park is full of signs that threaten of the blinding power of poo.
According to these signs in Bishop’s Park, up to seven hundred people are blinded after coming into contact with dog mess each year.
My question is HOW? Seven hundred people blinded by dog feces is a lot!
These signs appeared with such frequency, I couldn’t help but wonder if the pedestrian paths had been the home to a regional dung-slinging competition.
Were so many dog owners SO inconsiderate that that the path had turned into a fecal slip and slide, where innocent victims would slip and fall face first, only to emerge from the park blinded by poo?
Did the Coucils of Fulham and Hammersmith join forces to create a blinding laser that fries out the retinas of careless, local dog owners?
Stumped, I asked Google.
As it happens, this seems to be just another example of how Health & Safety laws have gotten a bit out of hand.
According to the BBC, the threat of blindness is due to a form of toxocariasis. This article from June 2008 says that, “there are, on average, twelve cases per year.”
Whatever the reason, those signs are clearly working. The path was completely clean, despite there being numerous dogs out.
If you have any doubts about the existence of the signs, you can see the faint remains of the sunbleached logo of the Boroughs of Hammersmith & Fulham near the nail at the bottom. I’m mostly impressed that the sign contains what I believe are lines representing wafting odor. My husband claims that they represent steam. Either way, it represents a fine attention to detail.