Readers dispute expert's view on cheetah-owners

Illegal wild-animal ownership and the smuggling of animals continues to agitate readers. So does the latest news of a child's death in an auto accident.
A leopard looks out of a cage in Hanoi, Vietnam. Readers blame pet owners for supplying the demand to smugglers for exotic wild animals. Hoang Dinh Nam / AFP
A leopard looks out of a cage in Hanoi, Vietnam. Readers blame pet owners for supplying the demand to smugglers for exotic wild animals. Hoang Dinh Nam / AFP

I refer to the news article 7-month-old killed in Dubai car crash (June 4). Once again we see the shocking news of a baby succumbing to the negligence of her now disconsolate parents. What could be worse than losing a child to a wholly avoidable accident ?

Why is it that this wealthy country can't just provide thousands and thousands of approved infant seats for families in the UAE? What exactly is the problem? The police and traffic authorities have tried for years now with a soft, ineffectual approach, citing cultural sensitivities and ingrained attitudes as barriers.

Every day we see children and babies allowed to clamber about unrestrained inside moving vehicles. Why is it that some parents just cannot see that such actions are irresponsible and dangerous? Parents are responsible for the safety of their children, so why as soon as vehicles are involved do the virtues of safety, courtesy, common-sense and manners fly out the window ?

There are many good things about living in the UAE, but driving on some of the world's most dangerous roads is definitely not one of them. Police, government, citizens - take responsibility and stop the attitude that you are living in an isolated bubble inside your vehicle. As road users, every action or lack of action that you take has a reaction, especially at high speed.

MA Ali, Abu Dhabi

I was both saddened and angered by yet another story of a young life tragically cut short. The driver was reportedly driving with excessive speed, lack of attention, and with the child being carried unrestrained on her mother's lap in the front seat - not only dangerous but illegal. Just imagine what that child could have become and done with her life - the dreams, hopes and joys now unrealisable.

Steve P, Abu Dhabi

Pet owners cause animal smuggling

I am writing with respect to the front page article Expert calls for curb on wild animal smugglers (June 3). I have never heard a more ridiculous position taken by a "conservationist". He seems happy for people to own wild cheetahs as pets as they are mostly well looked after and loved. His main problem is with the smugglers who treat them badly.

Unfortunately, he seems to have no understanding of supply and demand.

These "loving" pet owners are merely creating the market for the smugglers to supply. As the trade is illegal, and this is well known, does that not make the owners accessories to the crime?

I believe that if you buy drugs here, you are as guilty as the person who illegally imported them. Morally, what is the difference?

Neil Roberts, Abu Dhabi

Dr Mordecai Ogada comments that captive cheetahs in the UAE are "mostly loved and cared for" and that he is not interested in condemning or alienating the people who have them as pets. In fact, he seems to give the impression that what they are doing is OK. Dr Ogada condemns the smugglers who are struggling to survive and who will do anything to make money.

It doesn't take a lot of intelligence to understand that if the demand for these big cats was not there in the first place, the smugglers would not have a market.

The terrible impact on wild animal populations by people with too much money and not enough awareness, or who simply don't care about where wild animals belong, is terribly sad.

It's time to realise that trying to make a pet of a wild animal is not cool, it's simply wrong.

Stop the demand and the trade ends there.

Claire Wyness, Abu Dhabi

While I agree on the importance of channelling the love UAE people feel for big cats into awareness and support of wildlife, I totally disagree with the attempt to absolve "pet" owners from any responsibility in the trafficking of animals. This crime, according to what is reported in your article, is the sole responsibility of the smugglers. As if there would be still a supply without any demand.

When I read the statement from the African conservationist who has no interest in condemning pet owners, I could not help but recall the famous Latin saying "pecunia non olet", which can be translated into "money never stinks". This is a bitter, disillusioned remark 2,000 years old, which proves still valid and true every day, whenever we read the news.

MF, Dubai

Debates in Doha and Dubai

I refer to Dubai debates: the word is out there (June 2). This is nothing but along-the-same-lines as the BBC's Doha Debates held every week in Qatar's capital city.

The only twist here is the uploading of the debate on YouTube. That's all. A wiser move would have been for the initiator and organiser to link up with Al Jazeera, which would have been healthy competition to the Doha show.

Who knows, the debate show might even be a bigger hit, what with Dubai's multinational residents being able to chip in with their own bits.

Amit Bhattacharjie, Dubai

Published: June 5, 2011 04:00 AM


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