No shelter for strays
Re: "Time to bite bullet on rabies scourge", (Editorial, March 11).
Much of your effort to draw public attention to the problem of rabies in Thailand is to be applauded, your admonition to animal lovers to allow strays to be rounded up and placed in shelters is not. Strays should not be placed in shelters unless they are sick. They should be captured, neutered, inoculated and released back to the streets they call home.
The reason is simple: The strays have already proven that they can survive in these locations, and they will defend these locations from intrusion by other strays. This way, the population of strays slowly but humanely goes down, and does not upset the well-meaning animal lovers who feed the strays in their sois. These animal lovers are right to object to officials bundling strays into vans to be taken to shelters, never to be returned, though usually because they fear the animals will not be treated well out of genuine affection for some strays. If they had confidence the animals would be returned shortly -- say within the day -- both neutered and inoculated they would not stand in the way of their capture.
Soi Dog Foundation has pioneered this form of stray control with great success in Phuket over the last 15 years, and now has mobile teams working their way through the 700,000 stray dogs in Bangkok, all paid for by private donations. This is the way to reduce the both the size of the stray population and the risk of rabies.
Your March 9 editorial, "Fretting over fishy business", justly criticises the Thai government's impetuous commitment to being the first overseas importer of fish products from Japan's Fukushima coastline, which was devastated by a nuclear meltdown in 2011.
To make a melancholy addition, Thai consumers have long been exposed to pathogenic and toxic microorganisms that cause food-borne diseases. I allude to filth and poor hygiene practices in dirty premises where food is prepared daily, which might sadly include most of the restaurants and street stalls throughout the country. Rodent and cockroach infestations are prevalent, sparing no luxurious department stores or buildings, an alarming fact customarily brought under general notice but tolerated perhaps by the majority of Thai people.
Negligence in this matter is as unwise as it is malicious. The infection of food is an avoidable evil. The government can no longer afford to be complacent about food safety and sanitary regulations. Food businesses are obligated by their professional conscience, too, to ensure that high standards of cleanliness are maintained. Those who fail safety inspections and endanger consumer health must receive harsh punishment.
It is incredibly frustrating to read on a continual basis the product of media-programmed minds regurgitating the latest liberal agenda in the Bangkok Post. Thai and foreign contributors alike are now parroting the need for gun control in the United States, cued by media hyper-attention to the latest school shooting in Florida.
The fact is the rate of gun deaths in Thailand is more than twice that of America, yet Americans own more than six times as many guns per capita as Thais! There is no second amendment in Thailand, carry permits are uncommon, and hunting is a minor occupation, so gun control is presumably in effect in this country. So how does one explain the fact that Thais kill more than twice as many of their fellow citizens with guns as Americans, (who have by far the highest rate of gun ownership in the world)? Furthermore, the overall murder rate in both countries is quite similar and approximates the global average.
Gun control is not the antidote to overwhelming anger. A solution which resorts to happiness as an alternative to anger may have a better chance of success.
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