I want to raise a question: is it necessary to get giant
pandas for Chiang Mai Zoo where the costs to do so are in no relation to
what could be done with this kind of money otherwise?
Don’t get me wrong, I love animals. My household owns 3
dogs, 1 puppy (from the street), 5 cats, chickens and birds. Not to forget
that I have 3 children and 5 grand children. This is just a statement to say
that I am neither an animal hater nor a despiser of mankind.
I read in last week’s Chiangmai Mail that Chiang
Mai will pay China US$250,000 for ‘the loan’ of two rare giant pandas.
That’s not all the costs involved. There is also the cage which has to be
built (only 39.8 million baht) plus of course the giant panda bears will
bring their ‘own’ servants from China. This panda staff has to be paid
as well, a salary of about 43,000 baht per month.
Now my question: does Thailand have nothing else to worry
about, than to borrow panda bears from China?
Is the country in a state where everything is perfect?
Every kid has the possibility to go to school, everybody has enough to eat
and there is also enough clean water for the people?
When all this and more is done, then - and only then -
should the government be allowed to ask for the loan of panda bears. If
American zoos like in San Diego, Atlanta, Memphis and Washington act as
foster homes for giant pandas, I agree. These cities are not in the
developing state as Thailand.
But as long as there are parents in this state who do not
know how to feed and dress their children, as long as people - dying from
AIDS - cannot afford medication, as long as foreign aid has to step in to do
missionary work, until that day, the government should not be allowed to
satisfy their ego, but rather take that 250,000 US dollars and help their
own suffering people and ethnic minorities in cultivating land and living a
more human life.
Walter L. Henderson