NEWS AND COMMENT/OPINION: In my view, this is a terrible example of how humankind has totally screwed up its relationship with animals. In this instance two parties, Sri Lanka and China, are the miscreants. They are the bad boys. Sri Lanka has got into a terrible debt with China. But then China likes to loan vast sums of money to countries in order to have a stranglehold over their policies. It’s part of their M.O. to dominate countries in the region to allow China to expand and control.
China calls it the belt and road scheme. That sounds benign. It is actually very hostile in my view. Sri Lanka owes Beijing US$7 billion. Sri Lanka has gone through an economic crisis recently due to horrendously poor administration with an almost meltdown situation in which citizens were unable to get medicines and adequate food supplies.
It led to the ousting of the then president. He was driven from power because of demonstrations in July last year.
And so, China have demanded a hundred thousand macaque monkeys without payment in order to allow Sri Lanka to pay down some of their vast debt.
The big issue is what do they want the monkeys for? Initially they believed it was to provide the Chinese with monkey meat. Yes, food to eat. But now they believe the monkeys are going to be used in laboratories for testing purposes. Just as bad.
The Chinese state that they will be put into zoos. However, Sri Lanka believes that there are 18 zoos in China which could house at most 5000 monkeys.
Animal testing is very important to China particularly on monkeys after the Covid pandemic. No doubt they want to carry out more tests. It brings to mind the theory that a Wuhan laboratory was the center of the Covid pandemic where testing is carried out. It’s a bio lab. There are two theories about the Covid pandemic origins; either this bio lab from which the virus leaked or the unregulated slaughter of wild animals in a wet market in Wuhan.
Either way, a member of Sri Lanka’s ruling United National Party, Navin Dissanayake, wrote on Twitter about the export of monkeys in China: “This is an abomination”.
“These animals are going to have a terrible fate. At first, we thought they were going to be exported to be consumed as meat. Then we were told the zoo story. Now we are convinced they will end up in laboratories because there is a huge demand, particularly after Covid, for lab animals. I heard last night that cages with electronic doors have been made so people can trap them. But it’s going to be a huge task. And shipping them? That’s going to be another mammoth headache.”
What do you think? Everything about it to me is despicable. It is Sri Lanka getting into unnecessary debt through bad management. Further bad management by Sri Lanka has allowed them to become beholden to China’s demands with this huge $7 billion debt. They should know that China created the debt in order to have a stranglehold over Sri Lanka’s policies. They’ve been gullible and stupid. It is the same in many African nations. China is in Africa in a big way as well with the sole purpose of controlling these countries to allow them to extract precious metals for manufacturing. They put these countries into unmanageable debts.
China want domination and Sri Lanka have submitted to it and in the middle, the victim, is a wild animal which is about to be horribly abused.
The Chinese might justify their actions by saying that there are 3 million macaque monkeys in Sri Lanka causing chaos in the urban environment. But a 1976 report found that there were 600,000 in the country.
In any case, if there were 3 million macaque monkeys in Sri Lanka they should be managed humanely and decently. People should find a way to live with them. In all regards, this is a bad animal welfare story.
Source: The Times newspaper April 19, 2023.