Top 10 Letters
Animal rights, Dick Gephardt, Howard Dean, and more.
11:00 PM, Feb 1, 2004
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
I'm curious about this quote from Wesley Clark: "My parents couldn't have afforded to send me there. I went to West Point. I paid my own way through college. I worked my way through". (David Tell, Revised Predictions)
Clark and I are about the same age, so we must have been at West Point about the same time (I was class of '67, but attended only 18 months). My recollection is that I got a paycheck from the U.S. Army while I went there. In addition I got room and board, and 30 days vacation each year. The point is, I never had to pay anything to attend West Point. They paid me. After all, I was on active duty in the Army while a cadet.
David Tell calls John Edward's populist message repellant, and in the same sentence remarks "but it always goes over big with crowds." A bit of a non sequitur to say the least.
What an absurd idea Edwards proposes, that companies like Enron and Haliburton have more influence than ordinary folks. What demagoguery to suggest Halliburton--who in a "60 Minutes" piece was shown to be doing business with Syria and Iran, funding their terrorist activities--might be profiting from the Iraq war.
If Edwards were more responsible, he'd stick to scolding athletes for using steroids.
Irwin M. Stelzer hits the nail on the head when he points out that the Household and Establishment surveys cannot be reconciled (The Book of Jobs). A couple of thoughts:
(1) The Establishment survey also won't pick up self-employment: A common phenomenon in recent years when a highly-paid technology worker gets laid off is that they may become self-employed, either as a contractor/consultant in their own field or in a different industry. How many new real estate agents have come into existence in the past 12 months? That, or they join a startup, which won't get picked up by the Establishment survey for a long time.
(2) Small businesses provide more new jobs than big businesses. When recoveries happen, small businesses do the heavy lifting, creating more jobs that don't show up on the Establishment survey radar screens.
I'll tell Fred Barnes what Dick Gephardt has forgotten (The Last Populist): He's forgotten that in St. Louis we have two police unions, one for whites and one for blacks.
Jonathan V. Last almost gets it (World Wide Dean).
We are America and we will prevail.