We're very sorry to announce that Her Maj's government has decided to reject the following e-petition which attracted a creditable 655 signatures:
We believe that every child in the UK would benefit from owning an elephant. It was my dream as a child to care for these magnificent creatures but at the age of twelve I find that nobody takes me seriously. We would like to make it legal to import african/indian elephants from africa/india to sell in pet shops across the UK. Elephants are creatures that children could learn about better by owning their own and keeping them in easily and cheaply converted sheds. Please take my idea into account. Jack Smithies.
Downing Street's response reads:
The Government agrees that keeping a pet has many benefits, not just for children but people of all ages. However, the Government does not think elephants would make good pets. They are very large animals that are not used to being kept as pets, and have welfare needs that would be impossible to meet in pet shops or people's homes. Elephants can also be dangerous, and it would not be safe for people to be able to keep them in their back yard.
It's hard to argue with the reasoning, and we reckon young Smithies would have stood a better chance if he'd also suggested the elephants be trained to sniff out awol HMRC discs or patrol war-torn UK city centres in the war against alcopop-crazed hoodie happyslappers.
Thanks to Geoff Orr for the tip-off.