Letters from the Issue of July 20, 2006

The birds' livers can enlarge up to ten times their normal size"

Foie Outrage

A Shakespearean rant: In reference to "Foie Wars" by Lee Klein (July 13): How long do we have to go on abusing animals in the name of what the people want? Come on. Doesn't anyone have any sensitivity anymore? When is the insanity going to stop? Force-feeding ducks, growing huge cows, milking cows to death, dragging feed cows because they can't stand up, cutting beaks off birds, steroids, hormones, smoking dogs, cancer-filled animals. Come on. They hurt, they feel, they cry, they want to be loved too. Someone, anyone, please take a look in their eyes. See God's love in them. It should be in yours too. Where is it? Did you stuff it down so deep inside in the name of money?

Diane Sobo
Pompano Beach

A Naderian rant: The production of foie gras is indeed cruel, resulting in pain, stress, fear, and frequently agonizing death for the subjects. Thank you for running "Foie Wars" and exposing this cruelty for what it is.

Of course, not only ducks and geese suffer at the whim of man. Chickens are crammed five at a time into two-by-one-foot cages, are hung upside down from conveyor belts before being slaughtered, and are often drowned in scalding water. Baby chicks are frequently sent by mail, so many of them die of cold, heat, and dehydration.

Pigs are kept in cages so small they cannot move forward, backward, or turn around. While young, they have their teeth cut, tails chopped off, are castrated, and have their ears clipped without either anesthetic or painkillers.

Calves are dragged from their mothers when they are just hours old to be chained to veal crates, where they are unable to do anything but stand up and sit down before they are shipped to slaughter.

All of these animals spend their lives in sheds with no access to either sunlight or pasture, and once ready for slaughter, are loaded onto trucks packed so tightly that millions of them will die every year during transport.

Every time we sit down to eat, we have the ability to choose whether we are going to support or reject cruelty. I prefer to know that no animal ever suffers to produce what I wear or what I eat, or to test the goods I purchase.

People either support animal cruelty or don't. You can't eat these products and pretend you care about animals. To do so is simply to be in denial.

Brad King, organizer
South Florida Animal Rights Meetup Group
Miami Beach

A Jungian rant: Congratulations on your article "Foie Wars." I am so very happy to see my newspaper write something with a heart!

I have e-mailed many Miami chefs asking them to take foie gras off the menu. I have also sent them video of undercover footage in those farms. Surprisingly I have received many positive responses.

When we eat something, we take in much more than just matter. We eat energy and vibrations. We take in a lifetime of unbearable pain and suffering when we eat a dish like foie gras. We take it in unconsciously. Our karma is a little off.

We are all responsible for these ducks' suffering if we eat foie gras. When most people read your article, they will think about what they are choosing and try to do better.

Suvine Grasmick
Coral Gables

A César Chávezian rant: It's heartening that a growing number of chefs, companies, and governments are refusing to swallow the shocking cruelty inseparable from its production.

The making of foie gras is one of the most abusive processes in modern agribusiness. To create this unnatural, diseased liver, producers force-feed ducks or geese by shoving tubes down their throats. This can cause painful bruising, lacerations, and sores. The birds' livers can enlarge up to ten times their normal size, making it difficult for them to move comfortably and sometimes even survive.

No so-called delicacy is worth such terrible cruelty.

Erin Williams, outreach coordinator
Factory Farming Campaign
The Humane Society of the United States
Washington, D.C.

A scant rant: Thank you for your feature story about the foie gras controversy. The graphic descriptions of the suffering endured by birds to produce foie gras should be reason enough to deter any compassionate citizen from indulging in this delicacy of despair.

Indeed foie gras production has been banned in at least a dozen countries, as well as California and Chicago. At least five other states either have considered or are currently considering similar bans on foie gras production because of its inherent, obscene animal cruelty. While Florida has yet to consider such legislation, Floridians have a right to lobby their lawmakers to introduce similar bans.

More information about how citizens can fight foie gras cruelty can be found at www.nofoiegras.org.

Gene Bauston, president
Farm Sanctuary
Watkins Glen, New York


Hands Off

Don't investigate yourself, rabbi: Regarding Forrest Norman's "Yeshiva Dustup" (July 13): It's important to remember that clergy abuse has nothing to do with religion, even though you will find it in all of them (Christianity, Judaism, Muslim, Bahai, et cetera). Sex crimes are about an abuse of power and the need to control others.

Unfortunately it's common for child molesters to choose careers or volunteer time for organizations and/or institutions in which they have ample access to the types of victims they prey upon. One of the biggest problems we face is that instead of allowing law enforcement to conduct criminal investigations, institutions attempt to handle things on their own. When this happens, we end up in situations like the one we are seeing in the case of Rabbi Yehuda Kolko and Yeshiva Torah Temimah.

Just as we say, "It takes a village to raise a child," we can say the same thing about sex offenders. When an individual suspects a child is at risk of harm, we all must become mandated reporters. Let those with the education, experience, and training collect the physical evidence and do the forensic interviewing. This is not the job for our clergy.

Vicki Polin
Baltimore, Maryland


No Boy Band

They are m-e-e-en: Regarding the mention of the band Price in Camille Lamb's article "Dirty Purdy" (July 6) about Purdy Lounge: We're certainly not a boy band, since boy bands have gone the way of the dinosaur, and we play our instruments. By the time this is printed, our frontman will have opened for Cat Power at Studio A and I'll have played another hour-long solo set opening Jazz Night at Churchill's Pub on Monday. Members of "boy bands" don't do these things. To call us a version of Hanson just because three brothers are in the band is a ridiculous cop-out, and the song "Life Isn't Fair" is by no means a ballad. Just go to myspace.com/pricetheband and really listen this time, without the bar distractions.

Adonis Cross, rhythm guitarist, Price
Via the Internet


Irony

Versus geography: Funny that pretending to be a well-informed reader — pointing out a mistake via his letter "Great Scot, or Maybe Not" (July 6) about Great Britain and England — Alexander Sharkey from Miami Beach forgets that North America has a third national football team: Mexico. Very sad.

Sergio Carmona
Miami Shores


Deconstructing Robby

Comfort the afflicted: Thank you to Rob Jordan for the story "Deconstruction" (June 29) and for letting us know a bit about these three hard workers, immigrants who lost their lives while working in this country to give their families better lives in their countries. May their souls rest in peace. Great article!

Deborah Weitzman
Hallandale

Millionaires, listen up! Congratulations to Rob Jordan for the story he wrote about the men who died at the construction site in Bal Harbour. I cried. It was extremely moving.

Thanks for putting the spotlight on stories like this, because the powerful and rich behind the scenes simply cover up any bad publicity. In reality they care about profit and not the safety of the workers.

It's ironic that someone will live in a $12 million penthouse, where these people died. One life alone is priceless — black, white, legal, or illegal.

Claudia R. Velasquez
Coral Gables


Liberté

Égalité, terrorisme: Regarding Trevor Aaronson's "Lights! Camera! Terrorists!" (June 29): Ours is a safer world, the children less at risk now that this clear and present danger has been dispatched. Why did recent circumnavigations of Liberty City prove so unsettling? To be sure, Mickey Rourke's ties to Ciudad Liberte jangle many an instinctual nerve — but something more. Last summer a sense of foreboding overshadowed us. Thankfully the ravening beast known as "The Spectre of Soldiers Sans Shoes" is no longer among us. The relief? Palpable.

Paul Vincent Zecchino
Manasota Key


Correction

The photo credited to PETA on page 24 of the July 11 issue was provided by Farm Sanctuary.

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