TOKYO (AFP) - Animal rights activists on Wednesday urged Japan to reject visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao's offer of two pandas, saying the crowd-pleasing animals would be miserable in a zoo.
Hu, trying to reconcile with Japan on the first visit by a Chinese president to Tokyo in a decade, offered to lend a male and a female panda to replace Ling Ling, who died last week at Tokyo's Ueno Zoo.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) sent a letter to Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura urging Japan to halt the deal.
The US-based rights group noted that the pandas were being leased, not gifted, and estimated the zoo would pay China around one million dollars a year for each animal.
"Pandas are an endangered species, not a commodity to be traded for human amusement," [Not even for gushing journalists?] PETA campaigner Rie Ichikawa said in the letter.
"In honour of the late Ling Ling -- the panda who spent his entire life in a zoo, where he was denied his freedom, the right to choose his own mate, and everything that was natural and important to him -- we urge Minister Komura to declare that no more pandas will be taken from their homes and sentenced to a life at the Ueno Zoo."
So, PETA's problem is the fact that money is exchanging hands? Or is it that the pandas will be miserable in a zoo? Or is it that the pandas are in captivitiy at all? If that's it, then why stop the deal, since the pandas would still be in captivity in China?
Sometimes, I really don't understand PETA or its motivations.