Sunday, August 18, 2013

Animal cruelty in Thailand

Having lived in Thailand for several years, I have personally witnessed countless acts of animal cruelty from people running over stray dogs with their cars and failing to stop to give assistance, to live frogs and lizards being sold in plastic bags to cows, buffalos and pigs being transported in the back of a pick up-trucks without shade, food or water.

And to show I'm not making these stories up or over-exaggerating what happens, look at the photos below.....


This photo was taken from inside our pick-up truck, whilst we were waiting at traffic lights, on the motorway slip-road between Sriracha and Pattaya. I counted at least 6 pigs and you could hear the squealing over the sound of both the engine and the radio. I have now stopped eating pork in Thailand as a result of seeing this!!!

The next photo shows some of the live "delicacies" that are on sale at the local market................


Disgusting isn't it?

I understand there are enormous cultural differences between England and Thailand but this kind of cruelty is just unnecessary. I have no problems with people eating frog per se, but at least keep them in humane conditions before they get deep-fried!!!! The frogs will slowly suffocate and eventually die when they are kept like this.

Thais care little for animal welfare or issues of conservation, they are primarily concerned with making money. The majority of Thai people are extremely poor by Western standards and view animals as a commodity to be bought and sold. There is also a lack of education about the environment and the laws governing cruelty to animals are very lax and poorly enforced.

You would have thought that an animal, which provides you with employment and an income, deserves a little kindness. But, unfortunately this is not the case in Thailand.

I often ask myself the question, are poverty and ignorance ever an excuse for cruelty? And the resounding answer is, no.

Now, from time to time you encounter people who are just plain nasty.........

Several days ago, a guy who lives in our road attacked one of the stray dogs with a knife, causing a cut on it's paw that exposed the bone, as you can see from the photo below. (Apologies for the poor quality of the photo, as it was taken on my mobile phone and the dog wasn't too keen to let me touch it's paw)

You may be asking yourself, what had this poor dog done to warrant such abuse? Well let me tell you........it had the temerity to bark at the man while he was out walking his own dog. Can you believe that? What a complete c*nt.....I hope that karma will catch up with him pretty soon and he gets b*llock cancer or leprosy.

Hardly a week goes by without reports of dogs being smuggled from Thailand to neighbouring countries such as Vietnam to supply the dog meat trade. The troubling aspect of this trade isn't so much that different cultures like to eat dog, it is simply the inhumane way the dogs are transported and slaughtered.

Please follow the links below for more articles, pictures and videos relating to this story and thank your lucky stars that you aren't an animal living in Thailand............

http://pinterest.com/sallygoodall/dog-meat-trade-photos/

http://www.soidog.org/en/dogmeat/

http://www.tradeofshame.org/

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/video/2013/may/20/dog-meat-mafia-thailand-video

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/thailand/130614/dog-meat-trade-trafficking

http://edition.cnn.com/2013/06/02/world/asia/thailand-dogs

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Dying to travel in Thailand?

I've often commented on the appaling standard of driving and lack of road sense displayed by motorists in Thailand and I think it's time I re-visited the topic.

To put the problem into perspective, around 30 people are killed every day in road accidents and that compares with an average of 5 in the UK, which has a similar population.

I drive frequently here in the Pattaya area, using a range of vehicles (including pick-up truck, saloon car and motorbike). I have also driven to many of the major cities including Ayutthaya, Chiang Mai, Hua Hin and Rayong. I regularly see examples of bad driving, with the most common being speeding, changing lanes without indicating, tailgating and drink-driving. Fortunately, despite witnessing countless accidents, I have only ever seen one fatal smash first-hand.

Here is a photo I took of a recent accident involving 2 heavy goods vehicles on National Highway No. 7 between Pattaya and Chonburi.
Hardly a day goes by without a television or newspaper report of a crash resulting in a death or serious injury. In the last 48 hours there have been multiple accidents in the local area, please click on the links below to read the full stories. 

http://www.pattayapeople.com/Crime-News/CARNAGE-AFTER-TRUCK-AND-VAN-CRASH-IN-SRIRACHA

http://www.pattayaone.net/pattaya-news/98291/motorbike-taxi-driver-killed-high-speed-collision-central-pattaya/

http://www.pattayaone.net/pattaya-news/98537/motorcyclist-killed-collision-18-wheel-truck-east-pattaya/ 

But, if you think other means of transport in the Land of Smiles are any safer then you're in for huge shock. Whether you travel by train, plane, boat or bicycle you take your life in your hands.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/transport/363802/trang-airport-reopens

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/transport/360368/train-crash-injures-30

http://www.pattayamail.com/news/thailand-compensates-korean-tourists-hurt-in-speedboat-accident-28297 

http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/02/18/17005973-globe-trotting-british-cyclists-killed-in-road-accident-in-thailand?lite

Why is travelling in Thailand so dangerous?

The Thais have a very laissez-faire attitude to most things in life, which means they fail to take responsibility for their actions, place little value on human life and pay scant regard to issues of health and safety.

The lax and poorly enforced transport laws mean that most vehicles are poorly maintained, a driving licence can be bought for less than 1500 baht (£30), tachographs are virtually non-existent, many long distance drivers rely on drugs to keep them awake and any transport operators who are involved in a fatal accident can easily bribe their way out of a prison sentence.

To quote the inimitable Sir Alex Ferguson......everytime I start my engine I experience "twitchy bum time".

Monday, August 5, 2013

What's up slick?

On the 27th of July the island of Koh Samet, in Rayong province, was ravaged by an oil slick from a ruptured off-shore pipeline. In excess of 50,000 litres of heavy crude oil escaped and began washing ashore. The worst affected area was Coconut Bay, known by the locals as Ao Prao, which is one of the prettiest and most popular beaches on the island.

Before.........


 After.........

(I am not the owner of the 2 photographs above, nor do I hold their copyright. They are reproduced courtesy of National Geographic)

Unsuprisingly, the spill has had a dramatic effect on tourism, with boat-loads of visitors leaving the island and many more cancelling their bookings. There are also concerns about long term chemical contamination and the impact on the local fishing industry.

The incident has once again highlighted the spectacular ineptitude of Thai government officials.

The tourism minister, Somsak Phurisisak, is reported to have said "I'm very concerned, I didn't think this spill would impact tourism in such an extreme way". How did he think the spill was going impact tourism? Does he really believe tourists enjoy sipping their Martinis and Strawberry Daquiris with toxic sludge lapping around their ankles!!!! F*cking idiot!!!   

However, my "Sherlock Holmes award" for the individual displaying the greatest powers of deduction goes to the chairman of the provincial tourist association who said "Samet is popular with Russian and Chinese tourists but they won't stay long if this mess isn't cleaned up". Elementary, my dear Chairat Trirattanajarasporn, elementary. 

If you want to catch up with the latest developments here are a few links.......


http://blogs.wsj.com/searealtime/2013/08/01/thai-islands-tourism-ecosystem-feel-oil-spill/

http://www.phuketgazette.net/phuket_news/2013/Phuket-marine-specialists-helping-out-with-Koh-Samet-oil-spill-21835.html

http://www.bangkokpost.com/learning/learning-from-news/362033/oil-spill-hits-beach-at-koh-samet-island-update-2

http://www.greenpeace.org/seasia/th/press/releases/Thailand-Civil-Society-Statement-The-oil-spill-th/Thailand-Civil-Society-Statement-The-oil-spill-en/

http://gbtimes.com/focus/environment/news/tourism-dips-thai-resort-hit-oil-slick