25 September 2006

From Today's New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Leafy Green Sewage” (Op-Ed, Sept. 21):

Nina Plank [sic] speaks to a symptom of our addiction to industrial agriculture and our insistence on year-round availability of all foods.

We have not only shortchanged the lives and diets of the animals, but have also created a system that allows consumers to be vegetarians and still be poisoned by meat.

Traceability is critical, and the best way to ensure it is not through more government regulation and big business, but through stronger relationships with the individual farmers who grow our food.

Todd Wickstrom
Ann Arbor, Mich., Sept. 21, 2006
The writer is a co-founder of Heritage Foods USA.

21 September 2006

Cows and Spinach

Here is a New York Times op-ed column about the E. coli outbreak.

15 September 2006


Would it be anthropocentric to describe this pig as resourceful?

14 September 2006

From Today's New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Venezuela’s Passion: Twisting the Tail of an Angry Beast” (news article, Sept. 10):

The use of animals for human entertainment is always disturbing and cruel, whether it is at a rodeo, a bullfight or the circus.

What this article describes, though, is truly horrendous. I cannot imagine the pain inflicted on this poor bull.

I hope that we as a species will realize someday that treating animals as not feeling pain has its repercussions.

In a very macho culture, this practice is surely the height of cowardice.

Who are really the angry beasts?

Nancy Correa
Wethersfield, Conn., Sept. 10, 2006

13 September 2006

Peter Singer Unplugged

My friend Joe Culotta informs me that Peter Singer, who has been called "the dangerous philosopher," will be the guest on KCBI radio this afternoon at 5:00 Central Time. It's a Christian radio station, so the discussion should be interesting. (I don't know the topic, if there is one.) If you're in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, you can listen to the program by tuning your radio to 90.9 FM. If you're out of town, you can have it streamed via your computer. See here for details.

Addendum: I just listened to the entire one-hour radio program. Peter Singer did not appear; nor was there any mention of him. You got some 'splainin' to do, Joe! To those of you who relied on me to your detriment, I'm sorry.

12 September 2006

Extremism in Defense of Liberty

One of my readers sent a link to this essay about animal-rights extremism.

11 September 2006

Horse Slaughter Yet Again

Mylan Engel continues the comment thread here.


Here, courtesy of Mylan Engel, is a story about the horse-slaughtering plant in DeKalb, Illinois.

10 September 2006


The following propositions are inconsistent:
1. It is wrong to slaughter horses for human consumption.
2. It is not wrong to slaughter cows for human consumption.
3. There is no morally relevant difference between slaughtering horses for human consumption and slaughtering cows for human consumption.
Nobody can accept all three of these propositions. Which do you reject?

08 September 2006

Don't Kill the Whale

Here is a New York Times story about the whales of Puget Sound.


Here is a New York Times op-ed column about tuna.

06 September 2006

From Today's New York Times

To the Editor:

Mark Derr’s criticism of Cesar Millan misses an essential point: Most dog owners and, unfortunately, most so-called dog trainers, are not behaviorists or animal ethologists. And most dog owners cannot afford to hire someone who will take weeks or months to train an unruly pet.

Mr. Millan’s formula of exercise, discipline and affection works on all but the most extreme cases because the dog is, first and foremost, an animal with needs that cannot be ignored.

Chief among these is the need for exercise, which in most families is also a need of the human members that goes unmet.

Exercise works wonders because it satisfies much of the natural need for play that can quickly turn to aggression if not fulfilled.

Many dog owners believe that they can love their dogs into good, companionable behavior, and become frustrated or frightened when that love proves inadequate to the task.

Mr. Derr’s point, that dominance is not the answer, simply ignores the more salient and central message of Cesar Millan’s method: that dogs, and people, need structure to feel secure.

Julie Shemitz
Sherman Oaks, Calif., Sept. 1, 2006

04 September 2006

Crocodile Hunter

Can we learn something from this senseless death? Wild animals are not playthings. They do not exist to entertain humans; they are not resources for our use; and they most emphatically should not be captured, transported, and displayed (in zoos, carnivals, or circuses) for human amusement. We humans are one animal species among many on this planet. We do not own them or it. We must learn to live in peace with our fellow travelers. I liked Steve Irwin, and I'm sorry to hear of his premature death; but there's a moral here. Leave wild animals alone.

01 September 2006

From Today's New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Butterfly Kiss-Off,” by Jeffrey A. Lockwood (Op-Ed, Aug. 24):

The release of farmed butterflies into the environment risks serious harm to our wild butterflies, which play important roles as pollinators, early warning indicators of the state of the environment and natural nourishment for the human spirit.

Releasing farmed organisms into the environment can diminish the genetic fitness of and spread diseases to the wild populations. The farmed butterflies do not increase the number of butterflies (which is regulated by the availability of suitable habitat and the prevalence of diseases and predators), but can decrease the number of wild butterflies.

We do not expect that the Agriculture Department will soon ban “releasing” farm butterflies into the environment. But we believe that when people who buy farm butterflies and “release” them at weddings or after using them in schools learn that this harms wild butterflies and results in the abuse and death of the farmed butterflies, they will stop buying them.

Jeffrey Glassberg
President, North American Butterfly Association
Morristown, N.J., Aug. 24, 2006