FAKE NEWS ALERT
Might the meek Inherit New Zealand?
The winds of change that swept the United States of America last November have finally reached the shores of a placid, beautiful island country half-way across the world that has become the beachhead of a nascent organization that many human rights experts are calling the beginning of a comprehensive global sentient being rights movement. New Zealand’s sheep have a new leader and his name is BalRam Obaabaa.
New Zealand’s long oppressed ovine population today elected Mr. Obaabaa as leader of an new organization that will spear-head the efforts to improve the living conditions of the sheep in New Zealand. Mr. Obaabaa is exceptionally young for the responsibility he now assumes – he is only 135 years old in human terms or about 35 sheep years (1 human year is equal to 0.2593 sheep years. Sheep age more slowly than humans due to their low cholesterol vegan diet; daily ambles in the country-side and perennially placid personalities). The election of Mr. Obaabaa was by acclamation in a voice vote that was not publicized amongst the country’s human population for fear of disruptions caused by ovinophobes. He owed his unanimous election in some ways to the activities of those same ovino-phobes. Mr. Obaabaa’s principal rival had to withdraw from the race after suggesting a new term for female sheep could be formed by combining the words “she” with “ewe”. His support collapsed when it was revealed that he had joked that a possible way of combining the two words could be “Sh(e)rewe”. The campaign to find a new name for ewes has has widespread support in the female sheep community, many of who dislike being called ewes. They say it is degrading to female sheep since many ovinophobic humans deliberately pronounce the word as “Ewww!” when referring to them.
The sound of the vote resounded through the tiny island – setting off two small avalanches in the higher mountain slopes on North Island and shattering some shop windows in Christchurch where the area’s ewes have long been known for the rather high pitch of their bleats.
In recent years, New Zealand’s minorities including the indigenous Maoris have made some important strides towards winning equal rights and recognition of their unique culture and way of life. However the country’s sheep, which form the country’s largest sentient group and a massive majority, numbering by some counts at 64 per capita or about 128 million, have languished with little change in their deplorable living conditions over the years. Mr. Obaabaa’s election is expected to change that. The sudden developments surprised local observers since the sheep are known for being almost pathologically poor at organization. Sheep dogs (and in at least one instance on an Australian farm, a pig) are employed on a daily basis to keep members of even small herds moving in the same direction - even when it is to the other side where the grass is greener.
Ovine experts are crediting the fact of the election and Mr. Obaabaa’s victory to the news of the US election results in Nov 2008 that put a black man in the President’s office for the first time. “Mr. Obama’s victory has given great hope to oppressed sentient beings everywhere” said Mr. Raymond Cairns an Auckland based human expert in the relatively new field of sentient rights, “There is no doubt that the inspiration from his victory provided the spark that has ignited the fight for their rights by this long, dormant majority.
Local political observers point out that Mr. Obaabaa has many similarities with the new American president. Like Mr. Obama, the new ovine leader is of mixed stock – he has some Indian blood in him from a great-great-great aunt. This similarity is a little tenous since, as genealogists point out, the Indian ancestry has long been diluted down to where Mr. Obaabaa looks and is basically white. He himself identifies as white instead of mixed-stock. However in his early 90s he was widely considered a black sheep by his family for refusing to allow himself to be shorn by his human handlers during the annual shearing season on the grounds that as a sentient being he had full rights to decide when to be shorn and to determine how the wool was then used. Consequently he gained a shaggy appearance and a reputation as a radical; one that was hardened by his open mastication of marijuana leaves whenever he came across a bush growing wild. His close friends, who affectionately call him Ram, say that Mr. Obaabaa, like the US President has moderated his views over time while proving that he can bring change: last year he struck a deal with his human handlers agreeing to being shorn annually albeit at a time of his own choosing. He also won the right to benefit from nearly 40% of the proceeds from the sale of his wool.
Recently more and more sheep have been coming around to the view that they deserve better living conditions including more grazing time and Mr. Obaabaa has benefited from having been one of the very first to voice these demands at a time when they were very unpopular among all kinds of sentients.
The White House refused to comment on the news of Mr. Obaabaa’s election and the role that Mr. Obama’s victory might have played in bringing it about, perhaps in deference to the close relationship between the human leaders of the US and New Zealand. New Zealand’s Conservative Prime Minister, himself newly elected, would only say that he looked forward to holding the ovine leader to his pledge of leading a peaceful and dignified rights movement. He added that defecating in city streets in protest as some ovine radicals have suggested would not meet that bar.
In other moos, it seems Mr. Obaabaa’s election has generated some concerns in the island’s bovine population. Some cows are concerned about the treatment they might receive under a future ovine led government which would be the logical endgame of the newfound sheep rights movement even if its years away. A Jersey cow in the South Island lowed at reporters saying that this was something that the bovine community definitely had to think about and develop a response to. She said that she would get to chewing over it as soon as she figured out which of her four stomachs she’d put the morning’s breakfast in.