Rich Pets in Luxury Jun03
was born in Tanzania and grew up loving nature in all its forms. I am
passionate about wild life conservation and have always opposed poaching
that has almost wiped out some precious species like the rhino. Pets in
Tanzania, like the rest of Africa, are a luxury for the poor indigenous
population. European expatriates can afford good care of pets and often
have them to give companionship and security.
of people all over the world love and take good care of their pets as they
derive much comfort and companionship from them. Our civilisation is
judged, in part, by the way we treat our animals and it is right that we
are conscious of animal welfare.
Karlotta Liebenstein (German) died in 1992 leaving £60m to an alsatian
called Gunther III. This fortune, worth £90m today, is for the benefit of
Gunther’s son called Gunther IV. Gunther IV lives in palatial splendour
served by a butler and a maid. Gunther enjoys chauffeur driven outings,
beauty treatments and dips in a custom-built pool. He dines on steak &
super rich pets are Kalu, the Chimpanzee worth £40m, and Keiko the whale
worth £15m. Kalu was the beneficiary of the will of Countess of
Kenmore’s daughter, Patricia O’Neill.
pets travel first class on airlines, stay in luxury pet hotels and go to
fancy parties in exotic locations. They use nothing but the best,
including expensive shampoo and Hermes scarves. They go to training
schools and graduate, celebrating their success in style. They have photos
and films records of their activities and travel in a similar way to
Hollywood stars. They pay for media relations and secure appropriate
publicity. They even “donate” funds to charitable causes.
live in a democratic and liberal society and people are free to do as they
wish as long as they do not inconvenience, harm or deprive others of their
rights. In this respect, I cannot question the inheritance of these super
rich pets. However, I wonder about the following:-
of us are aware of more than 2 billion people living on less than £0.50 a
day. These millions are deprived of the basic needs of life like water,
sanitation, food and shelter. They die of hunger and preventable diseases
like diarrhoea, malaria, and tuberculosis. From Ethiopia to Afghanistan,
we see daily the human misery on display on our screens.
obesity is a serious problem in the rich industrialised countries.
Cardiovascular diseases cause many deaths and impose a heavy burden on our
health delivery system (NHS). We are considering taxing the obese by
levying a tax (VAT) on biscuits, cakes and ready made fatty foods.
we also consider taxing the super rich pets in a way that will directly
help the poor? Gunther, Kalu and Keiko would still continue to live in
luxury. They would, like the
super rich in our society, pay a higher tax, including a special
inheritance tax for pets. A part of such taxation could also be used for
rescuing stray pets abandoned by irresponsible people. It could be a
“win win” situation for all concerned.