Monday, February 05, 2018

Bye bye Dr Wirth

So sad to hear of the death of the old curmudgeon Dr Hugh Wirth AM. Dr Wirth has died of Parkinson's Disease at the age of 78.

On ABC talkback radio, he could be very forthright and critical, even to the host of the programme when she queried him about a cat problem she was having. He was on air for over two decades as a vet giving on air advice. In 1997 he was Victorian of the Year.

Hugh never married and a partner has never been mentioned, and for a few years he was a judge at Dulcie Du Jour's dog show competition at Melbourne's gay and lesbian Midsumma Carnival. Make of that what you will. I don't really make much of it.

His real achievements have been the improvement of animal welfare, from stopping dog tail docking, to the stopping of export of horses for slaughter in Japan. I personally remember he was against shock collars that were used on dogs to stop 'inappropriate' barking.

He was president of the RSPCA,  Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Victoria) for over forty years and for a time president of the world wide body, World Animal Protection.

Vale Dr Wirth. You did well with your time on earth, by reducing cruelty to animals, by your arguing for the practical welfare for farm animals and least of all, the love of your pets.


20 comments:

  1. He had a large open friendly face

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    1. John, I expect it is rare photo of when Dr Wirth smiled.

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  2. Not too familiar with his face or work, but I'm glad he was an animal lover and fought to reduce cruelty to animals.

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    1. Sami, yes I guess as he was Victoria based, he was not so known interstate.

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  3. He looks nice and many people involved in animal welfare get severely burned out and begin to hate people so maybe that contributed to his lack of smiles. But then, some people are just not that nice. Or better suited to life among animals. Like me maybe for instance. Nah, I like people. Too.

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    1. Strayer, he was very old school no nonsense, but I think a bit of a softie underneath. He had a vet practice with many long time clients, so he must have been reasonably pleasant.

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  4. Loved listening to Hugh on the radio ..... I liked how he did not suffer fools! Many fools rang up because they would not spend the $ to go to a Vet! He knew that - "off to the Vet" he would say in that voice of his!! LOL
    Loved how he talked about his dogs -especially his Cairn Terrier - he had a sheep too!
    My first dog was a Cairn and he loved his pets.
    I was so sorry to hear of his passing.

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    1. Lady J, thanks for the nice words. I had forgotten about the sheep.

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  5. Saturday mornings haven't been the same since he 'retired' from radio.
    It's not your dog that has a problem madam it is you!! Or words to that effect.
    He was chief vet at The Show (Melbourne that is) when I was showing cats and seemed to take delight in calling for the show manager to declare (very loudly so that all and sundry waiting in the vetting line could hear) that an exhibitors animal was 'out' because he sighted a flea or ringworm ~ Cathy

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    1. Cathy, I think he was quite on the money with the human being the problem, not the pet. Funny about the the show. He did have a booming voice.

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  6. I remember reading an article he wrote where he'd "lost" one of his dogs to old age, where he admitted he never thought he'd get so attached, emotionally, to an animal, and yet, unsuspectingly to himself, he had. He mourned the dog and it was that unexpected glimpse of a soft side that won me over, even after hearing the brusque, no nonsense replies rapped out on Aunty radio. He truly loved critters.

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    1. Jayne, it was rare but at times he did show emotion, which made him, as you say, human and endearing.

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  7. I've never heard of him, but I'm glad to know he was part of the movement to stop tail docking, that's a very cruel thing to do. In spite of the cost, I'm happy to take my cat to the vet when necessary. She's going again next week for a 'manicure' as I can't hold her and clip her nails at the same time.

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    1. River, the nail clip shouldn't cost too much, say I perhaps naively. Tail docking is pet vanity on the part of the owner.

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  8. So very sad, he was a great advocate for animals. I pretty much grew up listening to him on the wireless.

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    1. Fen, I don't know when I first heard him on the radio, but it was a very long time ago.

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  9. I haven't heard of him Andrew but a person who loves animals as much as he did is A ok with me!

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    1. Grace, don't we always assume if someone cares for the welfare of animals, they must be good people.

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  10. Only read about his death this morning.. Sad.

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    1. Indeed Margaret, a great man.

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