I greatly admire Shirley McGreal, chairwoman and founder of the International Primate Protection League. She is an honest person who sincerely believes we owe the primates worldwide some respect and protection. She is a brave woman who has dared to expose unscrupulous animal traders and dealers around the world who have no feelings for the suffering they cause, nor any interest in protecting our priceless heritage of these primates, who have the right to live in their natural surroundings.

Dr. McGreal has earned worldwide admiration for her courage in speaking out against illegal smuggling of primates. She is as straight as an arrow, and when that arrow hits, it usually hits its target true. I have no respect for Matthew Block.

William M. George, M.D.
Doha, Qatar

If Matthew Block of Worldwide Primates violated Centers for Disease Control regulations, one can imagine what other laws must be violated. After all, the wildlife trade is big business. The suffering of the animals is of little concern to the auctioneers and traffickers who make a lot of money off these animals.

Caroline Shnapier

In reference to "The Primate Debate," I must support Shirley McGreal. Ms. McGreal has one goal in mind, and that is to protect and save primates from the hell they must endure during capture and transport.

These highly intelligent beings are taken from their mothers when they should be playing in a social and familial environment. Many times their mothers and other family members are killed in order to take them. During transportation they are placed in hot carriers without water or food for long periods of time. They are frightened and confused and treated like nonliving entities. It is barbaric and cruel the way they are transported from one country to another.

The humane treatment of these animals must be considered. If dealers in wildlife violate regulations, they should be punished, not just given the opportunity to rectify their abuse only to continue until they get caught again. Wildlife crime is rampant and should be taken seriously.

Nan Vollbracht
Biscayne Park

I was entranced by Kirk Semple's detailed description of an autopsy in "To Live and Die in Dade" (November 20). My mind soon segued the piece into your "Cafe Guide," and suddenly the medical examiner had on a chef's hat and was about to add some herbs to his pot as he nervously prepared a main course for Sue Mullin. Let's, for a moment, hang here on the plane of "Cafe Guide" as Mr. Semple gives us the menu listing "the top eleven causes of death." The listing should really be titled "the top eleven symptoms/characteristics at death" because we know in our overworked hearts that New Times's idea of a good meal is probably the only important cause of death we need to address.

Can it be that a dish prepared by using the lactation of an animal with low quality of life (cream sauce) poured over the tissue of a similarly abused animal (meat) is an appropriate access to the energy required to lean on a gas pedal, tap on a keyboard, or flick through the channels on a satellite system?

The continued production of massive quantities of meat and dairy foods is ravaging the precious topsoil of our planet, depleting our fresh water supply, while contaminating much of the remaining water with effluvium.

As we cruise the restaurants of South Beach with a favorite Public Enemy track pumpin', maybe we should get ready to put in a word for a green planet when it comes time to order. Also, could someone throw New Times a rope before it goes under in a sauce of ideas that belong in the Dark Ages?

P.J. Lunny

I have little sympathy for the inept thief profiled in "Forbidden Fruit" (November 6). My wife and I have only lived in Miami for one year. Her car has been broken into twice. Once the convertible top was sliced open and the radio and clothes were stolen. The second time a window was smashed and another radio was stolen. Another time thieves attempted (unsuccessfully) to steal the entire car. A window facing the street at our house was smashed and her jewelry box was stolen.

I work nights in the Grove, which entails considerable walking. Night after night after night I see cars with their windows smashed, the radios and other valuables taken. The one long block of Matilda Street between Grand Avenue and Oak Street has to be the most concentrated area of car-radio thefts in Dade County. There have been nights I've walked that block and seen three cars in a row burglarized and/or vandalized. All the while, Miami police are conspicuous in safeguarding the profitability of CocoWalk not three blocks away.

While I abhor all organized religion, Islam just may be on to something with the practice of cutting the hands off thieves. Should thieves be shot? One thing I do know, it would definitely thin their ranks. Those five-dollar rocks of crack might look a little less attractive when the distinct possibility of being mortally wounded is added to the question.

Craig W. Geary

Coconut Grove