10 October 2004

From Today's New York Times

To the Editor:

If the residents of Ville Platte, La. ("If Town Clears Out, It Must Be Squirrel Season," front page, Oct. 3), stopped shooting squirrels long enough to observe them, they would see that squirrels are creatures with complex lives of their own.

We have squirrels at our house and have witnessed a mother squirrel raising her young. She teaches them to climb slippery trees and steep rooftops. If she senses danger, she will carry her young to safety.

She spends lots of time hunting and gathering food and soft things with which to feather their winter nest.

It is sad to read of cruel behavior toward these small and beautiful creatures, which are merely struggling to survive, as we all are.

Joanna Lake
East Burke, Vt., Oct. 4, 2004

To the Editor:

Try as we may to respect cultural differences, it boggles the mind that anyone could gain pleasure out of taking the lives of animals "for the fun of it." Where are the values of compassion and stewardship for the world in which we live?

Cultures far wiser than ours respect the gift of life in all its forms. It is slight comfort that these miniature atrocities are isolated in remote pockets of our country where the light of human understanding has yet to dawn.

Linda Holt
Trenton, Oct. 4, 2004

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