Letters: Very remote likelihood of patter of tiny paws

Have your say

I wrote last year about the arrival of the “money-spinning” giant pandas at Edinburgh Zoo and expressed my opinion that the likelihood of the patter of tiny paws is extremely remote if not impossible.

Yes I am for conservation, yes, I am for captive breeding of endangered species – but only in the right circumstances and surroundings – which in the case of the giant pandas is China and really nowhere else.

The recent bulletins on “will they, won’t they” have been inane and very inaccurate – and as for lowering the lights, playing different music – what happened to the wine and chocolates?! As for the extra expense involved in hormone monitoring almost daily via motor cycle couriers etc to England – and experts arriving to “help” – words, for once, fail me.

Later bulletins report on NO they didn’t (and no wonder) and the use of IVF and AI.

IVF is NOT the same thing as AI – as I am sure most folk know.

IVF is when the ovum is retrieved from the ovary of the female and fertilised in a dish by the sperm – retrieved from the male – and the fertilised egg then placed back into the uterus of the female. AI is simply the insertion of sperm taken from the male into the female – and in this case apparently the sperm from two different male pandas – one of them deceased. Some of these procedures are stressful for the pandas to say the least I would have thought.

Do they really expect this to work? I would love to see more pandas in the world – but it will never ever happen in this way and it must be costing (who?) a fortune and NOT doing the pandas here for the duration any good at all.

If they do manage to breed a baby panda at Edinburgh Zoo I will be glad to send them the remains of the hat I am eating whilst watching the pigs flying past my window.

Mrs Pat Morris, retired veterinary surgeon, address supplied

I salute crackdown on out of control dogs

It’s welcoming news that police have launched a crackdown on vicious, dangerous dogs to aid farmers who are experiencing a spike in attacks on sheep (News, April 24).

In the Pentland Hills flocks have been left weakened by the horrendous cold winter weather which has starved these poor animals and one farmer lost 20 sheep after they were chased to exhaustion near Threipmuir earlier in the month.

Also, there have been a number of sheep killed in unconnected dog attacks across the Lothians during the lambing 
season, when most of these attacks are likely to occur. Special police squad bike patrols are now talking place on farmland on the Midlothian side of the Pentlands but there are no police patrols on the Edinburgh side where the number of sheep being killed is continuing to rise. This is very sad and deeply concerning.

Robert Barr, 55, who has a farm at Bonaly has revealed he lost six sheep this year in which two were killed directly by dogs over a couple of weeks and others were chased into Torduff Reservoir and drowned. These attacks on sheep are on the increase due to more dog walkers. They ought to be ashamed of themselves and should have more respect for the countryside and take heed to keep their dogs on a lead. If they don’t then they should face severe prosecution.

June Flemming, Hercus Loan, Musselburgh, East Lothian.

LBBT is positive step forward for Scotland

I welcome plans for the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) and believe its progressive structure of taxation has the potential to smooth the undue distortions we see in the market arising from Stamp Duty’s “slab” approach.

It is clear, however, that much detail remains to be fleshed out. The Scottish Government must be sure to establish an equitable taxation approach across the market so that households aren’t burdened with an undue tax liability when attempting to move up the housing ladder. If any blockages emerge, they will impact on the affordability of all properties.

It is also important that the Scottish Government gets the timing of the announcement of final rates and bands for the tax correct. We would hope this announcement is made as close to the LBTT’s implementation date in April 2015 as practicable, to avoid any disruption in residential property market activity.

The LBTT is a positive step forward for Scotland but the Scottish Government must get the details of the tax right to ensure the housing market can fully reap the benefits as it moves away from Stamp Duty.

Malcolm Cannon, chief executive, ESPC Scotland, George Street, Edinburgh

We should follow Swiss lead on immigration

The Swiss government will severely limit immigration from all EU states from May for a period of one year.

Residence permits will be restricted to 2180 for Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The remaining 17 EU states will be capped at 53,700.

Immigration from Bulgaria and Romania will be severely restricted for many years to come.

Brussels is not at all happy since, though not a member itself, Switzerland signed up to the EU’s rules on freedom of movement.

The Swiss government is listening to the concerns of its citizens and politicians who complain that immigration has reached unsustainable levels.

With migrants from the EU and around the world already imposing intolerable strain on UK schools, healthcare, housing and the welfare state, the UK must act firmly to end Britain’s “soft-touch” reputation.

We should follow the Swiss lead, especially with regards to Bulgaria and Romania.

In addition, immigration from the rest of the world must be stopped 

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow