Letters to the Editor

"The word 'humane' is the cheapest, most prostituted term in our vocabulary. It should be retired from use."

SANE MAD COW COVERAGE

Thanks to Roger Downey, once again, for covering an important aspect of our food economy and our region's emerging small-scale farmers ["These Cows Aren't Mad," Jan. 7]. This kind of intelligent coverage helps so many small farmers who are trying to make a go of it and keeps consumers aware of the alternative choices for buying safe food and supporting local farmers.

Downey has done, and continues to do, so much for small-scale/direct marketing farmers. I applaud his efforts . . . and admire his writing skill and style.

Chris Curtis Director, Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance

Seattle

ETHICAL OMNIVORES, UNITE!

The thought of healthy young animals being slaughtered, however humanely they've been raised, to put meat I don't need on my table prevents me from eating any meat at all. I feel the same way about humane eggs and dairy, because producing these foods normally involves the slaughter of "spent" (unproductive) but healthy hens and cows, the destruction of male chicks, and the wretched confinement of veal calves.

But until and unless society as a whole deems the meat trade immoral and bans it, these decisions will remain a matter of individual conscience. That being the case, may the humane farming movement, as profiled by Roger Downey in "These Cows Aren't Mad" [Jan. 7], become the new Americanand globalnorm. It would relieve tens of billions of farm animals of gross suffering and trauma every year. And we ethical vegans would continue to call upon ethical omnivores to extend their circle of compassion even further.

Syd Baumel

Winnipeg, Canada

CERTIFIED HUMANE

It was with interest that I read Samantha Storey's piece on cage-free chickens ["Know Your Meat," Jan. 7]. The new "Certified Humane" designation provides more protection for animals than ever beforenot only on the farm, but also at the slaughterhouse. (Check out www.certifiedhumane.com for more information.) Whole Foods now carries Certified Humane meat, and it uses third-party inspectors to make sure all of its farmers and slaughterhouses meet standards.

Jennifer Farwell

New Orleans, LA

FREE-RANGE MISERY

Samantha Storey says truly you can't depend on labels to be sure the dead animals you buy were "humanely" raised and slaughtered ["Know Your Meat," Jan. 7]. Don't trust a phone call, either. The word "humane" is the cheapest, most prostituted term in our vocabulary. It should be retired from use.

I've visited places in Pennsylvania where the "free-roaming" chickens were debeaked and virtually featherless. They weren't in cages, merely wall-to-wall in stinking sheds with an occasional little opening onto a mud yard. My friends visited a "free-range" turkey farm in Maryland in November. The turkeys were housed in an open field in the freezing cold, with no shelter except a small wooden, tarp-covered structure only big enough for half the turkeys. The others were huddled together shivering in the weather, exposed to the elements. The farmer grabbed the turkeys roughly by their legs and held them upside down, while the birds flapped desperately to right themselves. One had a twisted leg and an enlarged joint. Under no production system do animals suffering from painful lameness get pain relief.

These are just two examples of the grim reality behind the fantasy of "humane" treatment of living creatures brought into the world merely to be containers of eggs, bladders of milk, and dead flesh. As for the "humane" slaughter of these poor souls, that's as real as Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the tooth fairy. Please, good people, go vegan.

Karen Davis President, United Poultry Concerns

Machipongo, VA

NO WHINERS IN THE VALLEY

Nina Shapiro's article "All Aboard the Love Train" [Jan. 7] made the residents and businesspeople of Rainier Valley sound like a bunch of whiners. And poor Sound Transit; therefore the poor taxpayers are paying bundles of money to appease these whiners.

Give it up. If living in a neighborhood with a high-speed train running, at grade, through the middle of it every two to five minutes is such a great deal for the Rainier Valley, why didn't Sound Transit spread the wealth to other neighborhoods? And if losing more businesses and residences than the rest of the proposed route put together is such a wonderful opportunity, how did those of us who live in Rainier Valley get so darn lucky? But most important, how much additional taxpayer money is Sound Transit proposing to spend in order to avoid the whining by tunneling under less "fortunate" neighborhoods?

Screw compassion and sensitivity; this Rainier Valley resident would gladly settle for equitable treatment or even a tunnel.

Constance Denson-Hamilton

Seattle

LOVE THAT WON'T SHUT UP

First, let me say I'm not a prude or a homophobe, and everyone should get from a story what they want. That said, Steve Wiecking's column was so weak [Small World, "Hobbit Homos," Jan. 7]. Just sell more advertising if you need to fill a page.

The idea that there are homoerotic undertones in The Lord of the Rings is old, overdone, and simply not funny or interestingin a word, weak.

Unless you haven't turned on a TV in the last two years, it's no longer the love that dare not speak, it's the love that won't shut up, so "outing" people and things should really be losing its vicious glee by now. Which is proper; people should be accepted for who they are, not who they screw.

Lee Gray

Seattle

HOBBIT IS BI

Everyone is missing the boat [Small World, "Hobbit Homos," Jan. 7]. Sam is obviously bi. Why does Steve Wiecking have to lock him into a straight/gay dichotomy? Sam's clearly infatuated with "the beard." He's also quite taken with Frodo. As for Merry and Pippin, their mutual interest seems much more singular. But I'm not sharing a bed with any of them, so what do I care?

And another thing: Just because Sam is submissive doesn't mean he has no self-esteem.

Sara Davies

Seattle

See Small World, p. 60, for more feedback on "Hobbit Homos."

PAN SEXUAL

Katie Millbauer's final ponder in her review of Peter Pan reveals her total ignorance of the significance of the story in general, and this movie's take on it in particular [This Week's Attractions, Dec. 24]. "Why couldn't Wendy dump man-boy Peter for a real man and hook up with Captain Hook?" How about because she's 14 and he's 40? More importantly because, in this version, Hook is also her father! (Did Millbauer miss this obvious connection?) Her review makes it seem like the gender/sexual tension was somehow out of place ("bizarrely sexy"), when in reality it is core both to the original story and (thankfully) this movie version.

Spencer Nathan Thal

Seattle

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