Barlow's Beef: Thinking is for wimps


About this time of year animal charities festoon the country with posters telling people 'Dogs are for life not just for Christmas.' Bumper stickers appear urging owners to consider the commitment before acquiring a puppy rather than act impulsively.
So effective has been the campaign giving a puppy as a Christmas gift is akin to buying a gun for a child or spitting in church. It's just wrong.

I don't think many people would argue with that. Certainly no sane person would consider it acceptable to acquire a dog before assessing their ability to fulfil its long-term needs. We all know how easily acting in haste can turn into tears.

So imagine my surprise when I saw two enormous Cheshire East posters today carrying the picture of a small child with the slogan, 'Don't think, aDOpt!'

Some clever Trevor at Cheshire East got so carried away paraphrasing Nike's famous Just Do it campaign they forgot what they (CEC) were promoting. Either that or they have the sensitivity of a rubber cosh.

Who in their right mind would urge the public to adopt a child without significant deliberation? It wasn't long ago councils made it impossible for almost anyone to adopt. The process was sufficiently harrowing and intrusive to deter all truly desperate couples.

Suddenly our council are plastering photographs of children on roadside posters and encouraging us to adopt without a thought.

Is their no sensible ground when it comes to Cheshire East? Does box ticking take precedence over common sense? Just because 'Computer says Yes' does not make it a good plan.

One gets the idea that following the dictum of the day with a justifiable paper-trail is more important than having a sensible policy. Hence they swing from a lengthy and complex adoption process that alienated sound prospective parents to suggesting anyone and everyone should give adoption a whirl and think about it later.

Just as developing green field sites while ugly brownfield sites remain untouched makes no logical sense so a switch to casual adoption appears insane. None of these policies would be supported by the public but somehow they make sense in the council chamber.

Meanwhile those children unfortunate enough to need parents are being marketed like a brand of trainers.

Do you genuinely believe that no one in Cheshire East has the common sense to realise urging people to adopt a child without thought is the height of irresponsible stupidity?

Don't answer that.

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of

Barlow's Beef, Vic Barlow


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Oliver Romain
Tuesday 10th November 2015 at 7:49 am
You don't need to think to be Vic Barlow.

There are rigorous checks in place during the adoption process. Many will start a discussion and find its not for them. The important thing is that if you are thinking about it to take action. It's a targeted campaign.

I doubt the orphans and children in foster care will care much about the methods used to encourage their new mummies and daddies to start the process.

These vulnerable children need loving families and Vic comparing them to a pair of trainers is sick beyond belief.

Just because Vic wants to be controversial is not a good enougb reason to publish this rubbish? Pick on someone else.
Mark Goldsmith
Tuesday 10th November 2015 at 12:23 pm
@Oliver Romain

You miss the point completely. It's not the cause Vic is complaining about, it's the execution.

This is a truly dreadful advert that does nothing to show the adoption process is now much easier. Instead it points people towards an incredibly bad web site that is extremely dull and unfriendly. Of course, this could be deliberate to warn prospective adopters that the process will be extremely dull and unfriendly, but I doubt CE are that clever.

Most people thinking of adopting would first Google the process, so the money should have been spent on revamping the web site, not on a poster campaign. Not sure where these adverts were placed, but the only targeted poster areas I can think of would be inside Infertility clinics.

However, at Vic's age, I doubt he would be there to have seen it.

Given this is a waste of our money, Vic has every right to criticise it, regardless of the best intentions behind the campaign.
Tuesday 10th November 2015 at 12:49 pm
Mark, you are quite right that it is the campaign which is the problem. I also take exception to the poster itself. It shows a boy dressed straight from an American 1950's tv programme - perfect in every way. Children, like the dogs Vic writes about, are seldom perfect even when they have not have been through difficult times. The adoption process does have built in safeguards but to encourage people into thinking that it is a "no brainer" is just plain irresponsible.
Bob Bracegirdle
Wednesday 11th November 2015 at 1:44 pm
Dead right Vic as ever. Don't let the first poster put you off. Keep afflicting the comfortable.