Unethical—But FUNNY!: The Under-Age Italian-Hungarian Fake Pandas


[ Lots of ethics matters to write about, and little time to do it, as my wife keeps bugging me to help prepare the homestead for the holiday festivities, as brim as they are likely to be. Let’s see how much I can cover, and how many typos I’ll be able to avoid writing these posts in five minute increments. May your Dec. 24th be less stressful than mine is going to be!]

Because nothing says “Old Fashioned American Christmas” like an Italian circus fake panda story, Ethics Alarms offers this:

A circus in northern Italy charged a fee for children to have their photos taken with two rare pandas, or what the kids thought were pandas. Sharp-eyed Italian police, however, moved in and confiscated the beasts, which were really painted chow chow dogs.

Fake Panda

The owners have been charged with animal cruelty, and—get this—using false passports to import the dogs from Hungary, since they were six months younger than the documents. Charging the circus with fraud has somehow slipped the mind of the police, but I’m sure they’ll figure it out eventually.

Italian Merry Christmas


Pointer: Fark

Graphic: Deviant Art


24 thoughts on “Unethical—But FUNNY!: The Under-Age Italian-Hungarian Fake Pandas

  1. I would personally rather have my picture taken with one of those pups – so long as I was paying for the privilege of a panda picture!

  2. Did you ever watch Evil Roy Slade? He was great in that, too. And John Austin was hilarious. Two great comics in one pretty funny film.

    • I actually had the benefit of studying Architecture in Italy for one meager semester and I will say that the Northern Italians (Rome and up) were decent friendly and industrious people. I won’t slight them on ethics after you average them out.

      The southern Italians (Rome and down), however…

  3. “Charging the circus with fraud has somehwo slipped the mind of the police…”

    Well, the Italian legal system is a good way to remind oneself that the American one isn’t THAT bad on an international scale.

      • Story made me think it was April Fools’ for a second there. But, Cephalopod’s post now makes me wonder about what one could get away with (legally speaking) on April 1st.

    • Well, we already established that it would be very tricky to charge fortunetellers with fraud. I kind of figured circuses would be in the same category, not because of claims to the supernatural, but because they both run on mystery and stories. That would be like being charged with fraud for exaggerating the strong man’s strength or making up a story about where the acrobats learned to do a particular trick. I was under the impression that the circus had a paradigm (less ubiquitous now) of telling stories and as such a charge of fraud would be meaningless.

  4. 1) Animal cruelty??? Barely. And not because they were painted to look like Pandas. I’d like to see what were the actual conditions leading to charges of cruelty… knowing the Europeans these days it could be anything up to and including the possibility of insulting the prophet Mohammad…

    2) Yes, if it were a culture that believed in the rule of law and an actual rational approach to life and not the typical haphazard European (Old World) way of determining things, then barring proof of actual animal cruelty, then Fraud is the only crime here.

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