The ethics of poo-picking

I’d like to get this nailed ‘cos there’s a few aspects about this that trouble me. I’ll start with some premises (all open to dispute):

Fact: Not all poops are equally anti-social. Whilst any poop might be viewed negatively it cannot be doubted that some are worse than others. A discrete log dropped deep in the undergrowth of woodland seldom visited cannot be compared to (taking an example of my own anti-social history) a foul reeking puddle of effulent on the concourse of Waterloo station at rush hour. When considering the relative undesirability of any particular pile we must assess its ‘Distress Quotient’, that being a factor of the probable inconvenience it will cause (I), the likely emotional disturbance caused by it being trodden in (D) and possible health consequences (P) of said trod-ing (for example, poops left in areas where where boots are commonly worn like, say, Ben Nevis are less anti-social than poops left where people are commonly barefoot like, say, a bouncy castle).

Accordingly a poop pile’s Distress Quotient can be expressed as:

(I+D) x P
traffic density (people per minute)

Fact: Poop is an enviromental issue and, as we saw with Chenobyl, enviromental issues span borders. There’s no such thing as ‘my’ enviroment and ‘their’ enviroment. It’s all ‘our’ enviroment.

Fact: Stepping in dog poo is as unpleasant in Peterborough as it is in Pittsville or Phuket.

So – given the above if I fail to scoop my dog’s waste and leave it in my public park I am being anti-social. But can I offset that anti-sociability by clearing a poop with a higher DQ, say from a city pavement? Does it have to be me or can I pay someone else to pick up the pavement poop? Would it be more socially responsible for me to pay someone to pick the poop from a pavement in a city where, because medical facilities are poor, the possible consequence (P) of an unattended pile are even greater?

Can I, when we get right down to it, pay some third world guy to pick up crap in Cameroon and never trouble myself with the beastly stuff again?

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