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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

The jury is still out on whether pets make us sick

Our readers have their say about pets and science, the Facebook crackdown on Myanmar military and tributes to John McCain

Julia Flores Colque, who is 117 years old and never had children, plays with Chiquita, one of the family pet dogs, at her home in Bolivia. Juan Karita / AP
Julia Flores Colque, who is 117 years old and never had children, plays with Chiquita, one of the family pet dogs, at her home in Bolivia. Juan Karita / AP

I am currently studying for my masters degree in science in biology in Sweden and am very concerned about the misuse of scientific research in your story Why couples are choosing pets over children and the impact it could have on their health (August 25) by Robert Matthews. The studies used have either not been finished or concluded that there is no significant evidence that pets are the cause.

When the writer says he thinks it points to pets, it’s only a hypothesis that has yet to be proven, yet it is stated as fact.

The data has been interpreted with extreme bias against pets.

This is every scientist’s nightmare. Potential causes that are there to encourage further research are used as facts; they are not, just hypotheses that have yet to be proven.

Even though the numbers look significant, this can be very misleading to the public. This is grasping at scientific evidence that has been manipulated to look menacing.

I hope an alternative article can be written by someone with less bias against pets.

Name withheld by request

Hate speech on social media encourages violence

Your story Facebook takes action against Myanmar over Rohingya violence (August 28) about the action taken by the popular social media platform on the accounts of those connected with violence against Rohingya Muslims is a good development. Posting hate speech and fake news encourages violence. This move by Facebook is a welcome one.

K Ragavan, Bengaluru

Trump should have paid respect to McCain sooner

In reference to your story John McCain’s death deprives conservative Republicans of their champion (August 26), it ill behoves a sitting president to ignore giving proper condolences to the family of a man who once criticised him openly.

John McCain’s death was widely eulogised by many of his compatriots but the White House flag was back at full staff as early as Monday morning, although it was later lowered again.

This lack of empathy to relatives of the recently departed clearly shows a man whose position as chief executive of a world power has tarnished the US’s image.

There is clearly massive disillusionment with Donald Trump and even calls from some quarters for his impeachment.

AR Modak, Johannesburg

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