Controversy in China is surrounding a proposed law which threatens to revoke the traditional ‘companion panda’ privileges currently enjoyed by monks.
In place for nearly 8,000 years, the ancient statute has allowed monks, suffering from emotional distress disorders, personal ownership of pandas as companion animals.
However, due to the dramatic increase in China’s population, associated problems have arisen stemming from widespread disregard of local ‘Pick Up After Your Panda’ ordinances.
Apparently there is just too much panda poop, and it is generating public health concerns.
Compounding problem is the increasing number of untrained, non-companion Pandas on the streets. Recent popularity of the Hollywood release of Kung Fu Panda (both 1 and 2), is thought to be largely responsible.
According to Sum Gi Wan, Director of the Wolong National Natural Panda Reserve, regular citizens are buying Pandas illegally, on a whim, because they “have a handsome appearance, and look friendly to be with,” without adequate knowledge of the unique ownership challenges the breed poses.
Wan summed it up by saying “Pandas are naturally inclined to rolling and ‘wondering’, but not so good for trained.”
Not helping matters is the current lack of monk vetting oversight at pet stores throughout the country.
Sum Gi Tu, China’s Minister of Endangered Species Companion Animal Affairs, has pointed out that because their robes have no pockets, monks are not required to carry identification.
According to Tu, regular citizens, dressed in orange bed sheets, are “just walking into pet stores and walking out with pandas five minutes later.”
Meanwhile, in an attempt to garner support against the proposed changes, monks have begun protesting by staging sit-ins.
However, the movement has had trouble catching the attention of the Chinese populous, as people are used to seeing groups of monks sitting around together.
It is not readily apparent if there is a protest going on, if they are meditating, or if they are just waiting for the bus.
Although Pandas are widely popular, support for the continuation of the current law is waning, as pandas can consume as much as 40 pounds of food a day, and can produce up to 48 pounds of waste every 24 hours.
An unidentified monk, accompanied by a leashed panda, summed up the current situation.
“What the future holds, remains uncertain.”
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