HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Not totally anti-Songkran, but Ö

Love the galleries

Against Canadian seal cull

Not totally anti-Songkran, but Ö

Dear Chiangmai Mail;

I have noticed these past few days that Songkran is a widely celebrated festival and wherever you go, be it to your local noodle shop or the mall downtown, you always get soaked. I know the celebration and I participate in it too, so Iím not a total anti-songkranist; however, I do wonder when people have to start 5 days early in some places. Itís bad enough that our clothes have to be wet and we look like **** every time we try to go somewhere but canít the city put a stop to the water madness when itís not even during the festival days yet? Just a suggestion for next year.

I do appreciate what the city is doing this year, the water was a lot cleaner and there was not as much alcohol along the moat (until now). But I think that putting restrictions on the days before Songkran can also help the general public and make them appreciate the help from the officials even more.

Rachel Green

Love the galleries

Dear Editor;

I have been living in Chiang Mai for a little while and after the initial unpacking frenzy have finally had a chance to enjoy the city and the places it has to offer. It has come to my attention that Chiang Mai offers just as many galleries as spas, and some very fine ones at that. Iíd like to thank you for the great coverage and good announcements before the Hans Christian Andersen event. I am an avid lover of both fairy tales and art and so I truly enjoyed this exhibition. There are so many great artists in the city and I think itís great that their own communities are pushing them to exhibit their works. The Danish community did a great job organizing the event and I hear the party at The House that following evening was amazing.

I have also noticed that there are a lot of local artists who are extremely talented and are also being encouraged to portray their works. I really enjoy reading about the many exhibitions going on around the city and although I donít have time to go to them all the Chiangmai Mail does a great job covering them all. Thanks for your great work!

I will continue to enjoy as many of the exhibitions as I can, but in case I have other engagements I know I can read about it in the Chiangmai Mail.

Monica Tribiani

Against Canadian seal cull

The Editor,

I am deeply opposed to Canadaís plan to slaughter nearly one million seals over three years. This is the highest quota in history. The vast majority of these animals (95 percent) are less than three months old and completely defenseless.

This deliberate plan to reduce the seal population through hidden subsidies and unethical killing methods is completely without scientific justification. Continuing to ignore the inexcusable cruelty and waste inherent in this annual ďhuntĒ is simply wrong.

It is long past time for the Canadian government to act upon the wishes of the compassionate majority that is completely opposed to this hunt.

You probably already know that right now off the ice floes of Eastern Canada, hundreds of thousands of baby seals as young as 12 days of age are being clubbed or shot to death without mercy.

Why does Canada still hunt two-week-old seal pups? The simple answer is profit. If seal pelts were not valuable; seals would not be killed. The greed of a select few has turned one of the worldís most precious natural heritages into a virtual slaughterhouse. Last week Canadaís Department of Fisheries and Oceans announced its intention to continue reducing the entire harp seal population by up to a third. The greedy incentive to maximize profit by killing as many animals as possible, as quickly as possible, is not only cruel and disrespectful to our natural heritage, it has the dangerous potential to push harp seals down the road to extinction.

The brutal and irresponsible nature of the hunt is at great odds with Canadaís reputation as a civilized, progressive country. Seals are worth more than just the price of their pelts. Can you continue to stand for such a cruel and senseless hunt?

Thanks to a worldwide outcry spurred by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) in the 1970s, the commercial killing of whitecoat seal pups was banned in 1987. Thanks to people like you speaking out, the seal hunt was slowly dying off through the 1980s until the Canadian government began seal meat subsidies and set quotas allowing the slaughter of over a quarter million seals every year. Thatís why you need to speak out now one more time. Send a letter to the Canadian Embassy in Bangkok.

Fred OíRegan
President and CEO,
The International Fund For Animal Welfare