Donkeys Have Rights, Too

May 26, 1991

From: Beckie Peyton


Once again, I find myself nauseated by what some people believe.

I'm quite aware that you have every right to express your opinion,but maybe you should do a little more research before coming to youroutrageous conclusions ("Donkeys' advocates go from sensitive to absurd," The Scene, May 22).

Donkeys have just as much right to theirfreedom as you and I do.

You state you have compassion for animals that are ill-treated, but why don't you show it? Or maybe you should read up on the definition of "ill-treated."

This is the issue ofwhether or not humans have the right to mistreat donkeys for pleasure and profit.

It has nothing to do with dogs, cats, parakeets, etc. (I hope anyone with these pets treats them respectfully!)

But since you brought up the subject of horse racing, let me inform you on that -- it's just as cruel. Sure, these horses look like the picture of health, but when they're too old to win, they are shot in the head.

Sheep don't mind having their coats clipped, as long as the methods are humane -- 80 percent are not.

After two short years, the average dairy cow is burned out and taken off to slaughter. The average life span is about 25 years.

As one with reverence for all life,this response could be endless.

But I'll leave you with this: Putyourself in the place of the donkey. Do you honestly think they enjoy this lifestyle?

Humans are pegged as the most intelligent species on earth.

If this is the case, why don't more of us start actinghalfway intelligent and show some respect and compassion for all of earth's creatures, including donkeys?

Editor's note: The writer isa ninth-grade student at Howard High School.


From: Kenneth Stevens


It is interesting that Jim Holway (Howard County Sun, Readers write, "Constitution and religion,"May 12) seems to understand that some religious dissenters came to this land to escape persecution by intolerant European rulers but doesnot seem to understand that the "establishment of religion" clause of the First Amendment was intended and has been generally interpretedby the courts to protect such dissenters from similar intolerance and persecution by governments at whatever level here.

Under our Constitution, government instrumentalities, officials or employees may not use the public schools for religious indoctrination by such means as official prayer sessions. That, of course, does not mean that children may not pray on their own volition whenever they might find the time to do so in school or out. And no one to my knowledge is interested in preventing them from so doing or could, in any event, prevent any child from freely engaging in religious expression as he or she so chooses. The intolerance comes from those who would use the schoolsor school-related ceremonies to coerce the young via official prayer.

Furthermore, no court has upheld the kind of governmentally subsidized transportation to religious schools that was initiated (some years before Mr. Holway's tenure on the Howard County Council) by a 1943 state law. In fact, a 1978 opinion of the attorney general of Maryland (63 Op. Att. Gen. 167) declared a very similar law affecting Frederick County to be in violation of the "establishment" clause.

Mr. Holway's implication that it would be a "denial of equivalent treatment" if our government did not fund transportation to religious schools is certainly arguable, as are many of the other opinions that he propounds in a series of dogmatic statements. It says something abouthim that this right-wing Republican sees nothing wrong in using the money of all taxpayers to get children to places that exist to teach a particular religion or religions. That a person holding such views as he expressed in his letter has been unsuccessful in his electoral efforts since 1974 tells me something good about the sense of Howard County voters.

In conclusion, I would like to make it perfectly clear to the reading public that the views expressed by me in this letter are my own and should not be interperted as representing any organization or group of which I am or have been a member. If or when I ever make a statement on behalf of any group, I'll say so.

Editor's note: The writer is a coordinator of the Howard County chapter of theAmerican Civil Liberties Union of Maryland.

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