The Ministry of Science and Technology will set a standard for authentic Thai dogs, using Khun Thong Daeng as a reference, to protect them and prevent foreigners from claiming patents. Thai buffaloes will also be standardized for conservation.
On July 1, Science and Technology Minister Khunying Kalaya Sophonpanich said that the Ministry of Science and Technology was trying to follow His Majesty the King’s advice given when Ministry officials were granted an audience on June 24 at the Klai Kangwon Palace in Prachuab Khiri Khan to report on the patenting of the aroma-control gene in rice.
HM spoke about the standardization of Thai dogs, and, citing his pet dog Khun Thong Daeng as a reference, said that the characteristics of Thai dogs included medium size, coiled tails, prick ears, and loyalty to their owners, Kalaya said.
‘Initially, the Ministry will follow HM’s advice using Khun Thong Daeng as a prototype of authentic Thai dogs for the purpose of conserving the authentic Thai breed and preventing them from disappearing from the country. The number of authentic Thai dogs has decreased because people prefer foreign breeds,’ the Minister said.
Kalaya has assigned the task to the National Electronics and Computer Technology Centre (NECTEC) which has conducted a study of the body size of Thai people, or Size Thailand Project, using a technology called 3-D Body Scanning. NECTEC will collect data on all authentic Thai dogs, and work with academic experts to find the specifications of authentic Thai dogs, with Khun Thong Daeng as the reference.
'Afterwards, the ministry will report to HM on implementation, and will register the standard size of Thai dogs under the Geographical Identification Law to protect the Thai breed. This is similar to patenting a product, but the patenting of life forms, including animals is not allowed. But the law can protect Thai dogs to prevent other countries from claiming Thai dogs as theirs, as has happened with Thai rice, plants and products which were patented by foreigners. Although they are Thai, Thai people are robbed of the ownership. It’s a pain for the nation,’ Kalaya said.
Kalaya said that HM also asked about the standardization of other Thai animals, including buffaloes in particular. HM was worried that Thai buffaloes were on the brink of extinction, despite the fact that farmers and buffaloes have had a long relationship since ancient days. Ministry officials informed HM that the Ministry was implementing a project as Her Royal Highness Princess Sirinthorn had told the Ministry to do so, for fear of extinction. The Ministry has assigned Chularat Tanprasert, a researcher in Size Thailand Project, to conduct a study with the Department of Livestock Development, with the results expected in the next two months.
‘HRH Princess Sirinthorn is worried about the farmers’ way of life, and doesn’t want farmers to use chemicals or machines too much, or they will get poorer and poorer. [HRH] wishes them to live as farmers, having a sufficiency way of life. The standardization of buffalo size is for the purpose of conservation and building knowledge for later generations before buffaloes disappear,’ Kalaya said.
Researcher Chularat said that a scanning machine for buffaloes was being built with a budget of about 500,000 baht. The machine is a bigger version of the 3-D Body Scanner which was used for Thai people, and is expected to be finished in 1-2 months. Then she will work with the Department to collect buffaloes from across the country to be scanned.