Please let no-one delude themselves into thinking the two pandas’ arrival at Edinburgh Zoo is anything whatsoever to do with panda welfare, care, conservation or breeding – or even the education of our youngsters.
It is a money-making scheme – pure and simple – a desperate attempt by the cash-strapped zoo to gain some income from the public.
Edinburgh Zoo was world famous for its penguins and it should have stuck to that species.
The rest of the zoo over the years has become a shambles – empty and disintegrating enclosures, totally unsuitable for most of the inhabitants, more and more kiddie play areas, and fewer and fewer happy or healthy looking animals.
Staff resignations and cut-backs have been frequent – and the zoo should have been closed some time ago.
As a vet student I went regularly to help treat the animals there and wasn’t happy with it then in the 1960s and it has only got worse over the years.
Those who fondly envisage the birth of baby pandas are living in cloud cuckoo land.
The Chinese are the world experts in this and even they have had limited success and most babies are conceived via artificial insemination. I would estimate the chances of these two breeding at Edinburgh Zoo at less than zero!
I just hope no harm comes to the pandas in the ten years they have to suffer being stared at, for the sake of the zoo’s finances and Edinburgh’s economy.
Pat Morris MRCVS (retired), East Lothian
Secularists defend religious freedom
MARTIN Hannan criticises the National Secular Society for taking out a legal test case to clarify the law regarding prayers at council meetings (News, December 6).
Tony Benn had the right attitude on this question when addressing the Scottish Parliament in its Time for Reflection on March 19, 2008.
He said: “I believe churches, mosques, synagogues and temples should be kept absolutely separate from the state.”
Secularists are actually strong defenders of the freedom of religion. People should be free to practise their religion so long as they do not attempt to impose it on others. We elect people to represent us. Non-elected religious people should have no special place in the workings of government, local or central.
Norman Bonney, National Secular Society
Give failing party leaders red card
DESPITE his manifesto promises David Cameron, like his predecessor, has rewritten the small print to enable him to deny the British citizen a referendum vote on changes to the European Treaty.
Isn’t it time that manifesto pledges by political parties became legally enforceable documents, and that party leaders be sent for the early bath if failing to honour them?
We give Prime and First Ministers far too much wriggle room – they are as much public servants as the public sector worker Westminster spent the last month denigrating. Civil servants and public sector workers failing performance outcomes as regularly as the Westminster and Holyrood brigades do would simply be dismissed.
We must evolve a system to empty out an under-performing government before its sell-by date – an e-petition signed by more than 50 per cent of electors perhaps?
If the people called the election date, not the Government, maybe politicians would take their performance of government seriously – I would even volunteer to stand at the door handing out the P45s.
David Fiddimore, Calton Road, Edinburgh
SNP’s green sums just don’t add up
ALEX Salmond has long boasted Scotland exports electricity to England but it is disclosed that this is only 3.3 per cent.
Exaggeration or dishonest?
He also claims 100 per cent of Scotland’s electricity needs will be met from renewables by 2020 and that an independent Scotland will generate twice as much electricity as we need and export the rest south of the Border.
He knows an independent Scotland would lose £4 billion worth of UK Government subsidies thus making our renewable electricity extremely expensive.
Does Mr Salmond expect England to pay far more for this electricity than the price it would pay to get a secure supply from French nuclear which is emission free?
Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow