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Top 10 Letters

Animal rights, Dick Gephardt, Howard Dean, and more.

11:00 PM, Feb 1, 2004
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THE DAILY STANDARD welcomes letters to the editor. Letters will be edited for length and clarity and must include the writer's name, city, and state.

*1*

Regarding kosher meat, Larry Miller writes in his article Moo, "Cows are raised well, butchers are taught to slaughter in the most painless way possible, and it's forbidden for the animal to be scared beforehand. And there are always rabbis to check. I'm sure it's not perfect, and no one from PETA is ever going to say, 'Well, you guys are alright.'"

As a card-carrying PETA member (but not a spokesman for the organization), I'll stand up and say "You guys are alright." I think you'd find that most of us on the left, with the exception of diehard vegans, would be completely satisfied if animal welfare laws were strengthened to ensure that all animals raised for food in the United States were treated humanely throughout their lives, and slaughtered in the manner Miller describes.

Unfortunately, any mention of amending the Animal Welfare Act to include farm animals immediately hits a wall of opposition from the beef, pork, and chicken industries and their friends in Congress. And a barrage of hyperbolic rhetoric erupts from conservative interest groups like the Center for Consumer Freedom about crazy tree-hugging vegetarians trying to make people's cheeseburgers more expensive.

Surely we can find some common ground here?

--Geoffrey J. King

*2*

Obviously Larry Miller doesn't know much about slaughterhouses or the meat business.

I work for a large meat packing plant. Out of thousands of cattle processed, we may have been getting one downer cow a week. Remember that "downer" cattle are not necessarily sick; they can also have broken a leg or damaged a tendon in transport to the processing facility.

Kosher slaughter may be the most humane possible, however, our plant is monitored for humane slaughter and required by the government to render each animal insensible before being bled. The animals are generally quite calm before being stunned and don't make a sound, much less scream.

--Susan Anthony

*3*

I'm glad Larry Miller has discovered the depravity of the modern meat industry which treats animals as units. Feed-lot raising of cattle is cruel and inhumane. The cattle are penned in areas that cannot accommodate their number. Their backs are bitten bloody by flies. Then they are soaked in disinfectant (that must be healthy). Due to overcrowding, they stand in manure and their hooves rot. Finally they are fed chicken droppings and the remains of other cows.

You don't have to be member of PETA to abstain from such meat. You can buy grass-raised, humanely slaughtered beef in health-food stores. Saving money by mistreating farm animals is, at best, immoral.

--Michelle Scholz

*4*

Fred Barnes's makes a number of good points in Good Idea, Bad Plan. President Bush's proposal contains much to commend. The administration, however, misses the main point: Regardless of whether or not this plan enacted, the problem of poor people illegally immigrating to America in large numbers will continue.

So why not address the cause of this immigration? NAFTA and the WTO have done outstanding work by opening up free trade as far as corporations are concerned. Why won't this administration address the real issue that would keep illegal immigrants home: an international agreement for worker's protections and an international minimum wage? They can recite conservative economic theory until Andrew Mellon rises from the dead and it won't change a thing. Desperate people will continue to come here any way that they can and the problems that they cause will continue regardless of who is in the White House.

--Haven T. Jordan

*5*

Finally, everyone in the country got to see the Dean we in Vermont all know so well. (David Tell, Laughing at Dean) The last time Dean ran for governor in Vermont he won with 50.4 percent of the vote. I doubt he would win the primary in Vermont--70 percent of Vermonters were against his Civil Unions. He had a chance to do something for sportsmen and ended up pissing all of them off over the Champion Paper Lands when he gave The Nature Conservancy an easement on 133,000 acres. He is a spoiled rich kid.

--Bill Birch

*6*