Friday, January 04, 2008

A whole new kind of monkey business

When you think public works employment programs you probably think building roads or damming up a river in Tennessee. Things are a little different in India, where improvements to the infrastructure will have to wait until the nation's growing monkey problem is addressed.

Because Hindus believe our furry cousins to be manifestations of the god Hanuman, monkeys are feed and coddled by the devout. But that hasn't been enough for the ungrateful beasts, who have organized into gangs which terrorize both the city and the countryside.

You may remember that couple months ago the Deputy Mayor of New Delhi fell to his death after being attacked by group of Rhesus macaques. What you may not know is, just this year, dozens of other Indians have been bullied and harassed by wilding primates.

Well Prem Kumar Dhumal, the chief minister of the northern Indian state of Himachel Pradesh, is all too familiar with this phenomena. And that's where the public works project comes in. His government will now pay the unemployed to sterilize the over-aggressive monkeys.

Critics of this plan call it "unscientific," and add if you think the monkeys are angry now, you've never seen simian fury after a half-assed castration attempt.

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