Your Voice: Why you should think carefully before buying a pet; how commercial space travel has Evolved (long letters) – YP

Having pets is very common in Hong Kong but do all of these pet owners realize the responsibility of taking care of the precious life of an animal? When people buy dogs, cats and other domesticated animals from pet shops do they know about all of the other animals who are in need of a home?

The problem of stray animals is serious in Hong Kong. According to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) website, the government handles between 5,000 to 7,000 stray dogs every year. In 2011, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department handled 5,800 stray dogs and 3,557 stray cats.

Why are there so many strays? Animals can reproduce rapidly. In a lifetime, a female dog can have about six litters, with an average of five to six puppies in each one. Every year, cats can healthily have one to two litters of up to 12 kittens at a time.

A one-year-old mongrel named Gaya at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Headquarters in Wan Chai. Photo: Jonathan Wong

Another reason for so many stray animals is that there are too few homes willing to take good care of their pets. Domesticated cats and dogs depend on humans for food, water, Shelter, veterinary care and love. But not every person inside their pet as part of the family. When some people are bored of their pets or cannot take care of them any more, they might dump them on the street.

This is infuriating. There are shelters to help these animals, and owners should never abandon them. The act of leaving a pet behind causes harm not only to the animal, but also to humans. Bites and scratches from stray dogs and cats can lead to health concerns for us. When street dogs bark and fight, this can also be a disruption for Residents in these areas.

Breeders and pet Sellers are major Contributors to this crisis. Because of them, more puppies and kittens are brought into a world which already lacks good homes for all the animals that exist. They force their animals to breed litter after litter to ensure they have enough to sell at pet shops and make a profit.

Dogs ride bullet train on ‘paw-some’ holiday

Puppies and kittens bought from Breeders or pet shops are often taken away from their Mothers at just a few weeks old, leaving them sickly and traumatized. This can lead to physical and mental health issues in the animal that many people are unable or unwilling to deal with. When owners get tired of trying to deal with these problems, they might abandon their pets.

Owners should understand that having a pet is just like raising a child. They need Patience, time and money. Therefore, if you would like to have a pet, you should think twice. If you cannot promise to take care of your pet for its whole life, you should not bring it home. Instead, leave it for someone who can give the animal the love they deserve.

If a person would like to take up the responsibility of having a pet at home, they should adopt it instead of buying one. The SPCA website states that in 2011, only 852 dogs and 205 cats were rehomed through animal welfare organizations. Now stray animals are put down if homes cannot be found for them.

Many organizations such as the SPCA have rescued animals that are healthy and cute for responsible owners to bring home. They can be your best friends and a part of your family.

More than 130 kittens, puppies confiscated in Hong Kong’s largest seizure of smuggled pets

Is commercial space travel necessary?

Javier Yee; Singapore International School

Ever since the Soviet Union sent the first human-made satellite into space in 1957, Humanity has only grown more curious about the universe that lies beyond our great blue planet. In the years after Sputnik 1’s launch, our space travel technology has become tremendously more advanced.

However, it has only been in recent years that the hype surrounding commercial space travel has become so big.

Elon Musk, a multi-billionaire entrepreneur, popularized the concept through his company, SpaceX. The company designs, manufactures and launches spaceships and rockets with the purpose of making space transport less expensive. It is in the process of developing a reusable launch system.

SpaceX aims to allow Everyday people to travel to space without professional astronaut training. It is open to all individuals who are willing to pay the high price for a seat.

Three wealthy businessmen and their astronaut escort paid US $ 55 million to visit the International Space Station. Photo: SpaceX via AP

Another multi-billionaire, Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, offers a similar experience. For 11 minutes of space travel, his Aerospace company, Blue Origin, auctioned a ticket on its New Shepard craft for a whopping US $ 28 million (HK $ 219.70 million) – all for a taste of zero gravity and a breathtaking view of Mother Earth. This includes a couple of days of training as well as accommodation.

Other companies working on commercial space travel include Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic. Tickets for this suborbital space experience start at US $ 450,000 (HK $ 3.53 million) for about 90 minutes of flight time.

SpaceX had its first all-civilian space flight last September. In April, the company launched three rich businessmen and their astronaut escort to the International Space Station, returning after a 17-day tour. The price for this experience was US $ 55 million.

Perhaps, one day, traveling to space will be as easy and inexpensive as boarding a plane.

Your Voice: What would it take to colonize Mars and make it livable?

Unfortunately, there are some consequences of commercial space travel that need to be addressed. Some argue that it is incredibly harmful to our environment as it uses up a lot of fuel and resources, and it also creates potentially dangerous space debris.

Not to mention, we could use the money spent to help solve the many problems we have on Earth instead of Escaping them.

However, commercial space travel might eventually become a necessity. Our planet is becoming increasingly uninhabitable as climate change intensifies. Sea levels are rising, and we are seeing more extreme weather around the world. This pattern is likely to continue. Our last and most Desperate solution might be to search for another planet to live on.

Mars is the planet that Musk has his eyes set on. In March, the SpaceX founder wrote on Twitter that they saw 2029 as the earliest date humans might first step on Mars. Commercial space travel could be the future.

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