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Friday, August 23, 2019

animals as pets ~ heard of Alpacas !!


My knowledge of animals and their classification is so low that if I were to name 10 wild animals – would stick to the option of 4 Tigers, 4 Lions and 2 Rhinos….  I have never heard or read of an animal with the scientific name ‘Lama Pacos’ – there appears so many pets other than the common cats, dogs, fish, birds and .. remember the camel of Manisha Koirala that would bite Goundamani in Shankar’s Indian movie.

An alpaca,  is a domesticated species of South American camelid ! It resembles a small llama in appearance. Camelids are members of the biological family Camelidae.  Camelids are even-toed ungulates classified in the order along with pigs, hippopotami, deer, giraffes, cattle, goats, antelope, and many others.   Alpacas are kept in herds that graze on the level heights of the Andes of southern Peru, northern Bolivia, Ecuador, and northern Chile at high altitudes throughout the year. Alpacas are considerably smaller than llamas, and unlike llamas, they were not bred to be beasts of burden, but were bred specifically for their fibre.  Alpaca fibre is used for making knitted and woven items, similar to wool.  The fibre comes in more than 52 natural colours as classified in Peru, 12 as classified in Australia and 16 as classified in the United States.  Adorable, docile and soft, alpacas are prized as pets and cattle around the world. There are no wild alpacas. Alpacas are domesticated versions of vicuñas.  Guanacos and vicuñas are found throughout the Andes Mountains. It is stated that around  6,000 years ago, people in the Andes began to domesticate them.

.. .. and Alpacas as pets are in news ! – some controversy of course !!  ~  Animal rights organisation PETA has branded teachers of a private prep school as bad as 'sexists and racists' to buy four alpacas as pets.  St Edwards School's Cheltenham, in Gloucestershire, UK,  where students pay £13,620 a year, currently have two alpacas - a mother Ariel and its baby Cria - a brood of chickens and a herd of goats.  Now the school has made an application to Cheltenham Borough Council to add two small alpacas, four castrated micro pigs, as well as 12 poultry birds for egg-laying. The new additions will be added to the school's farmyard where the animals are petted by the children for half an hour each day during the school's Farm Club’ but activists PETA have slammed the private school calling them 'speciesist' !?!? – what ?

PETA's Director of International Programmes Mimi Bekhechi said in a statement to MailOnline: 'Like sexism, racism, and all other toxic "isms", speciesism – the idea that other species are here for humans to treat as toys or props, use, and abuse – has no place in an educational institution.'  'St Edward's Cheltenham should not be teaching children to view animals as objects for their amusement but rather be instructing them in what we know today about their sentience, intelligence, emotional life, and behavioural needs.'  They further said - 'Responsible parents should question the ethics of arranging for infant animals to be taken from their loving mothers and sold to the highest bidder.

'PETA urges Cheltenham Borough Council to reject the school's animal "wish list", and we're rushing some of our humane education packs to the school, in the hope that teachers and students alike will be inspired to replace lessons in insensitivity with ones in respect and kindness.'  A post on the school's website said: 'Having the Farm onsite allows us to provide our pupils with hands-on experience of caring for animals.'  The private prep school, where students pay £13,620 a year, has made an application to Cheltenham Borough Council to add two small alpacas, four castrated micro pigs, as well as 12 poultry birds for egg-laying.  'We encourage all our pupils to be mindful of their environmental responsibility and have respect for the world around them.  The post continued: 'Farm Club is just one of the ways in which we can help to further their understanding of the importance of environmental issues.

Alpacas are far more expensive than the typical class hamster - female alpacas cost between £3,000 and £10,000, while male studs can go for as much as £50,000. The posh school - set in 45 acres of land - even has an on-site farmer to soil the paddock twice a day and a pest controller who inspects the farm every week.

Before concluding on cruelty to animals – ongoing study at the University of Kiel in Germany measures methane emissions in a strange way – by attaching sensors to cows.  The harnesses are laden with sensors to track how much of the gas they make.  This is designed to track the efficiency of a new herb-based diet to reduce CH4 ! – human research states that  Methane is one of the most potent greenhouse gases, trapping 30 times more heat than the same amount of carbon dioxide.  So a  bizarre science experiment is strapping harnesses laden with scientific equipment to cows to monitor how much methane is in their flatulence.

What does one call that ?

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
23rd Aug 2019.

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