Tips for bettering the lives of animals

Published: Thursday, January 20, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 19, 2005 at 11:20 p.m.
Veterinarian Dr. Deborah Kemmerer-Cottrel (Jan. 14) makes a strong appeal to donate to help animal suffering after the tsunami. And she's right, but with respect to the animals, here are a few simple things we can do or not do right at home that don't even involve writing a check.
Don't attend the circus, especially one that transports exotic animals from city to city. Don't keep your dog on a chain or in a pen all its life. Dogs need to be part of the family. Boycott rodeos and all "sports" that exploit animals.
Buy faux fur. The fur industry is inherently cruel to foxes, raccoons, rabbits and minks. Trap a stray cat and take it to be "fixed" at Operation Catnip.
Don't buy down comforters. Buy synthetics instead. Use cosmetics and toiletries that are not animal-tested.
And the most important thing we can do to stop animal suffering
is to move to a plant-based diet. One person adopting a vegetarian or vegan diet will save 67 animals a year from a life of misery and a violent death.
Kemmerer-Cottrell's description of post-tsunami animal suffering is heartbreaking. Let's gets behind her effort, but also remember that charity begins at home.

Zia Terhune,


Lest we forget: Bush and Moynihan do see eye-to-eye

It is instructive to review the conclusions of Daniel Patrick Moynihan as the battle over the future of Social Security heats up and acidic pundits such as Paul Krugman proclaim that George Bush is inventing a "fake crisis to bully people."
Two years before his death in 2003, Moynihan wrote, "The challenge facing Social Security isn't the figment of some statistician's overheated imagination or a political ploy. The challenge is real."
Through four terms, Moynihan, perhaps more than any other senator, was a student of Social Security's actuarial realities, and the possibilities for strengthening the program. He favored personal savings accounts, and wrote that they were "a means of wealth accumulation and long-range investment, giving families resources they never had before ... [and] would help build wealth for the African-American community, where it is needed most."
He contended it would be "unforgivable to label this 'privatization." Over his lifetime, Moynihan earned great respect among all stripes of politicians and pundits for his objectivity, and even though most of them don't seek to emulate him, they could at least remind the public once in a while that he was on President Bush's side in this battle.

Jesse S. Butz,


Hunger, not lunch limits, is the pressing problem

The city of Gainesville can solve the problem of lunch limits at St. Francis House if it addresses the right end of the problem.
First, the city needs to work with the Alachua County Coalition for the Homeless and Hungry, its member agencies and church and community groups to set up soup kitchens and neighborhood food pantries in areas where they are needed.
Then, it will be time to consider lunch limits at St. Francis House. No limits should be imposed until alternate sites have been established, because there is a serious problem of hunger in this community involving children, elderly people, homeless people and the working poor.
The Home Van started out with the goal of helping to address the nutritional needs of homeless people. About a year into our mission, people began knocking on my door and asking if we had any food for them and their children, so we started a small neighborhood food pantry, with the help of St. Vincent de Paul and the Bread of the Mighty Food Bank.
In the year that we have been running this food pantry, we have seen the tip of the iceberg of this problem in one small area of the city, and it is frightening. People in their 80s, pushing themselves along on walkers, come to our food pantry, as do single mothers and people whose entire paycheck is needed for rent and utilities. Often, our customers have severe health problems because they have to choose between buying food and buying medicine. Sometimes children come and knock on my door because there is no food at home.
Why are we holding meetings on lunch limits? When is the city going to hold meetings on addressing hunger in our community?

Arupa Chiarini-Freeman,


Scouring Iraq for weapons of mass destruction

Liberals have again brought disgrace to our nation. They have convinced weapons inspectors to stop searching for Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.
But we conservatives are 54 million strong and must not allow the search for WMD to end. Show your support for our president. Unite with me with shovels and pitchforks, and we shall charter thousands of planes, boats and ships and make the trek to Iraq to search for Saddam's WMD.
We conservatives must show the world that our blindness has no bounds. Together, 54 million proud supporters of George Bush, digging side by side, we will scour Iraq inch by inch and eventually find the WMD and prove that our invasion was just.
Book your flight today and pledge to stay in Iraq until we find the WMD. Our president needs you. Hesitation will prove that the godless liberals were right.

Keith Stegath,


A Social Security solution

I have heard so much about how to fix the problems with Social security. How about this one?
People who earn $1 to $90,000 pay FICA on every dollar. People who earn more pay only on the first $90,000. Why shouldn't Bill Gates, Ted Turner, Warren Buffet, the members of Congress and the president pay FICA on every dollar they make? The cap should be removed and then Social Security would be a lot better off.

Dolores McClain,

Old Town

Buy American-made products, keep your job

During the third presidential debate last November, Sen. Kerry referred to a biblical passage, "Love your neighbor as yourself." Just what does that passage mean?
One answer is, "Treat others the way you want to be treated." Or, more specifically, "Shop as you want other Americans to shop."
We all want high-paying jobs with good benefits. But then we walk into a store and buy the foreign item instead of the item made in America. In most cases, the foreign item is cheaper because the foreign worker gets paid $20 a day (or less) and has few benefits. We essentially say, "I deserve my $10-an-hour or $30-an-hour job, with its benefits, but my fellow American doesn't."
Also, we are telling the retailer and the manufacturer that low prices are paramount. However, in this global economy, domestic manufacturers cannot compete against most foreign manufacturers. That is why American jobs are going overseas.
In most cases, the "greedy CEOs" are simply facing the threat of bankruptcy and have little choice. Some American manufacturers have gone out of business because they tried to keep jobs here in America.
Do not blame Bush, Clinton, the Democrats, the Republicans or the North American Free Trade Agreement. The loss of jobs has been happening for more than 20 years. (When is the last time you bought an American-made TV?)
It is our fault. We are greedy, hypocritical and economically stupid.
How you voted last November will have little effect on the job situation. However, how you shop 365 days a year will make a difference. The next time you choose between an American-made product and a foreign-made product, choose as if your job depends on it. Because it does.

Ray Reid,


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