Letters To The Editor


December 31, 2003

Feeding practices make it unsafe to eat any meat

We now know for certain that we have mad cow disease in the United States ("U.S. widens recall of beef," Dec. 29).

Should this come as a surprise? A 2002 report from the General Accounting Office (the investigative arm of Congress) found that literally hundreds of animal feed suppliers in the United States were ignoring the 1997 "ban" on feeding cattle to other cattle, which is the way we believe mad cow disease spreads.

The GAO issued a scathing indictment of the Food and Drug Administration's lack of enforcement of the ban, stating that the "FDA has no clear enforcement strategy for dealing with firms that do not obey the feed ban, and it does not know what, if any, enforcement actions the states may be taking."

Ann M. Veneman, Department of Agriculture secretary (and former beef industry lobbyist), is trying to reassure Americans that the United States has a stringent testing regimen for cattle. But in fact only about 20,000 out of the estimated 97 million U.S. cattle are tested each year.

But while many Americans are now correctly turning away from beef, we should be wary of turning to poultry or pork products. It is both legal and standard in our country to feed chickens back to other chickens, and pigs back to other pigs, forcing these animals not only to become carnivores, but also cannibals.

It is also legal and standard to feed cattle, even sick cattle, to poultry and pigs. These animals and their manure can then be ground up and fed back to cattle.

The best way to both safeguard our health and remove our support for an industry that consistently puts profits before animal welfare and public safety is simply not to eat other animals.

Paul Shapiro

Takoma Park

The writer is campaigns director of Compassion Over Killing.

University system must be streamlined

As a former student who earned three degrees from the University of Maryland, College Park and who has been an adjunct teacher at a number of colleges and universities in Maryland and Washington, I feel compelled to respond to former University System of Maryland Chancellor Donald N. Langenberg's letter "Aiming for dead last in higher education" (Dec. 20).

Maryland's higher education system needs to change its own management as well as embrace whatever support the governor and the General Assembly can offer for 2004 and later years. Large increases in student fees may then not be necessary.

As a registered Democrat, I commend Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. for trying to get the state budget out of the deep hole created by former Gov. Parris N. Glendening. Mr. Ehrlich and the Assembly appear to be addressing the budget problem with a minimum of tax and fee increases.

Among other things, the governor should consider submitting legislation that would merge the Board of Regents of the university system with the Maryland Higher Education Commission. Each body has a large staff, and there is some duplication of effort and responsibility.

It may be possible to save $15 million or more if the two bodies are consolidated.

Ken Barnes


Keep Christmas safe from Grinches

The column "Will we allow extremist Grinches to steal Christmas?" (Opinion

Commentary, Dec. 25) by Kevin Cardin was superb.

Mr. Cardin's thoughts express the views of most Americans, the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation of Church and State notwithstanding.

Richard L. Lelonek


Mission shows Arabs, Jews can cooperate

Thank you for the beautiful article "8 Palestinians, Israelis team up for Antarctic trip" (Dec. 28).

It is heart-warming to read about four Arabs and four Jews embarking on a climbing adventure after a 600-mile sail across treacherous seas.

With a goal of building trust during this mission, these brave people show us all that peaceful endeavors are still possible.

Judy Chernak


Obliterating regimes adds little to safety

President Bush and his administration keep telling the American people that we're fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan so the battle against terrorism will be fought there instead of here.

To date we've obliterated the regimes in those two countries, but we've just had to increase the terror alert level in this country.

What am I missing?

Stanley W. Krohn


Negotiations rely on threat of force

The recent letter "Fund music, schools, not far-flung wars" (Dec. 27) slipped into the isolationist fallacies that are so tempting to us Americans.

Unfortunately, history demonstrates repeatedly that foreign powers no more leave us alone than Baltimore thugs leave ordinary citizens alone. In this fallen world, the answer to both threats is the same: judicious use of the sword of state.

Negotiations in such circumstances work only under persuasion of the sword.

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