Archive for the ‘pets’ Category

Vietnam: Hamster from Pet To Stew in One Day

March 7, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
March 7, 2008 

The bad news is the kids lose their pets. The good news is there’s hamster stew for dinner.

Vietnam, a nation with a history of mixed policies on rodents and pets is at it again.

Vietnam agriculture ministry official Nguyen Thanh Son said that starting this Monday, any person in Vietnam possessing a hamster will face a stiff 30 million dong (1,875 dollar) fine.

Why such concern?

Well, it is the Year of the Rat. That caused a tidal wave of hamster sales in Vietnam to honor the new year. But the love of the fluffy and playful creatures turned into a craze. The cost of a hamster rose to between $40 and $50 (US). And, as is the custom in Asia, a huge underground in hamster smuggling sprang up.

China smuggled in hamsters. Thailand smuggled in hamsters. And hamster control officers at the borders were overwhelmed. Hamsters without papers were nabbed and checked for disease. Although no diseases have been identified or linked to the fun-filled rodents, the Communists state run agricultural ministry got suspicious.

“We have been burned by rodents before,” said Trang Tung from the agricultural ministry by phone from Hanoi. “In 1975 and 1976, while we had a border war brewing with China, we thought China would flood Vietnam with disease bearing rats to both contaminate the people and eat all our crops.”

Rat commandos. Rodent warfare.

The fear never played out.

“But we put a bounty on all rats and offered a reward for formers who brought in the most rats,” Mr. Tung told Peace and Freedom.

“Dead or alive?” we asked.

“Oh dead only, of course,” said Tung.

During that same time frame the Communist government banned all pets as an extravagance of the Yankee Dogs (Americans). In fact, dogs were banned as pets. They were only allowed if they were cultivated for food.

Rats and dogs are both eaten widely in Asia.

But this year, the fluffy hamster was all about fun — not food.  The hamster crazy spawned online hamster forums and real-life hamster clubs.

One hamster owner, using the online name Kun89, informed fellow aficionados in an online forum: “Hamsters like to play acrobatic games. If they do not have enough toys to play with, they will suffer from stress and die.”

And, beacuse Saturday is International Women’s Day, Vietnamese husbands and boyfriends, eager to find lovable gifts for their pretty Vietnamese girls, were trading in hamsters by the million.

Something had to be done, said the communist government — never a big fan of fun.

“Rats and dogs are great eating,” said Truc (she refused to give her last name) from Saigon. “

“My family like them both grilled.”

“So the government just encourage us to get rid of hamsters?  NO PROBLEM!”

A hamster eats as others sleep in a pet shop. Vietnam has launched ...


Memo to Ellen: In ¼ of the World People Eat Dogs

October 20, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
October 20, 2007

Poverty. Homelessness. Disease. Death. War. Genocide. I can think of a lot of reasons to shed tears over the cruelty, injustice and violence of the world.

A repossessed dog doesn’t move me to tears.

In America “dog food” refers to something one feeds to a dog.  In other lands, the dog is people food.

The wealthiest nation and people on the face of the earth spend far too much time, effort and money in nail shops, hair salons and on Starbucks coffee. But what we Americans spend on our four legged buddies is staggering.

The American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPMA) confirms the full scope of American “pet prowess.” For starters, few other nations even have a pet products association.

According to the APPMA, pet spending has more than doubled in America from $17 billion in 1994 to an estimated $38.4 billion in 2006.

In 2006, American spending on pets was higher than ever:
–$15.2 billion for food
–$9.3 billion for supplies and over-the-counter medications
–$9.4 billion for veterinarian care
–$1.8 billion for live animal purchases
–$2.7 billion for other services

Many elderly folks now have their pet medications delivered right to their door.

Here are some additional facts from the APPMA:
–Total pet spending in America during 2005 was larger than projected with total sales coming in at $36.3 billion.
–Both veterinary care and other services had stronger than anticipated performances in 2005.
–New and expanded veterinary services such as joint replacement surgeries, delicate eye procedures, and senior health care helped increase total spending by almost 8 percent over 2004.

Other innovative new services continue to increase market penetration with pet spas and hotels, grooming, pet therapy and related services.

Hey, in China, dogs are people food.

“Both of these segments should maintain strong performances this year as pet ownership continues to increase especially among key demographic sectors including baby boomers and young professional couples,” said Bob Vetere, President of APPMA.
–Growth in the pet food sector performed as forecasted at 3.5 percent over 2004. “It is interesting to note that food continues to show growth not only in the expected high-end areas with vitamin fortified formulas, gourmet lines and natural/organic food but with the value-priced portion of the segment as well,” said Bob Vetere.

This has been a banner year for American dogs. Michael “Vick Dog” Vick, who raised animal cruelty to new heights, prompted the news media to shed light upon the cruel and abusive world of dog fighting. In a way, “Vick Dog,” though an unexpected bit of serendipity, helped publicize the dark world of dog fighting — and maybe this will in the long run make this evel practice obsolete.

For the past several days some Americans have been immersed in Ellen’s dog tragedy.

Comedian Gilbert Gottfried said, “And we wasted so much time on the World Trade Center!”

Gilbert Gottfried

We recommend, if people really want to open their hearts and their wallets, that there are plenty of good causes that help people around the globe. And people are worth crying over sometimes.

Dogs: Not.

Note to Ellen: at the American chicken restaurant “Chic-fil-A,” the motto is “Eat more Chicken.”  In some parts of the world, they gladly say, “Eat more dog.”

Dog Rights in America versus Human Rights in Vietnam