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Taxpayers’ money used to welcome giant pandas

Animal rights campaigners have revealed that taxpayers’ money was used to fund the arrival of two giant pandas to Edinburgh Zoo in December.

The Captive Animals’ Protection Society (CAPS) used a Freedom of Information request to uncover £42,722 expenditure by the Scottish government on the so called “panda arrival event”,the Guardian, BBC, Daily Express and The Scotsman report.

CAPS director Liz Tyson told the Express: “The monetary contribution from the Scottish Government was reported to be ‘small’ but, in these times of austerity, it is difficult to see how the Government can justify spending nearly £43,000 on a welcome party .”

CAPS, which campaigns against the captivity of animals in zoos, alleges that ministers must have “had a change of heart” as they previously said funding for the pandas would come from commercial sponsorship and other revenue sources.

The total spent by ministers included £6,822 on staff, £23,000 on marketing Sino–Scottish links and a £12,900 grant for the Royal Zoological Society Scotland to support the event.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said the SNP “made a small financial contribution towards the cost of the arrival event in recognition of the fact that the pandas are a symbol of the great and growing friendship between Scotland and China.”

The government spokesperson told the Guardian that the government would not be providing ongoing costs associated with the pandas.

Impossible to tell safety of breast implants say regulators

The safety of breast implants is impossible to assess because there are no accurate records of the number of procedures which taken place, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which is responsible for regulating the safety of UK breast implants, has admitted to The Independent.

Figures obtained from MHRA in response to a Freedom of Information request show there were 138 reports of ruptures across all types of implant in 2009 and 546 reports in the six years from 2004 to 2009 but they admitted they did not have accurate data for the total number of implants inserted, making it impossible to calculate the true rupture rate.



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