Biosphere II Gets a Backhanded Compliment

I was disappointed to hear that the Biosphere II building may be demolished in the wake of the land purchase ("Bio Bust," The Range, Feb. 16).

The structure is a fitting symbol of man's arrogant belief that he can control nature. What with global climate change, continued exploitation of natural resources and pollution, we could use a national monument like this to remind us that we can't fix what we destroy.

Maybe we should run this by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Interior to see if we can preserve it. Wait--what am I thinking? This is the Bush administration.

Eric R. Eaton

Danehy Gets a Boot to the Curb

With a U.S. Congress full of dead Democrats and Republicans, Tom Danehy chooses to write about a high schooler getting dumped by her boyfriend via text message (Feb. 16)? Really, Tucson Weekly, it is time to wipe the drool from Danehy's chin and park his ass in a rocker on the porch.

Patrick Bishop

Danehy Gets Another Boot to the Curb--and So Do Editors, We Think

Danehy, great liberal white savior, thank you for exposing the clueless among your kind (Feb. 23). You ultra-progressive, black-and-brown-folk-knowin' stud athlete and genius coach. Do you tell people that you bought your wife on eBay, too? That's priceless. And the way you choose to desecrate the dead for the purpose of delivering a clever one-liner ("Human Speed Bump phenomenon") is very telling.

Keep up the wisdom. Make jokes that expose your privileged condescension; pretend that you like blacks, Mexicans, Tohono O'odhams, etc., other than the ones who cook for you, entertain you, give you fodder for laughs or "prove" how enlightened you are for knowing them.

P.S.: Tucson Weekly editors, thank you for all your sensational articles about the border. We always knew that liberals and conservatives were in collusion anyway. Continue to demonize, humanize, degrade, rescue, exploit and defend indigenous people through your articles; it's your prerogative. Hate us or save us as your propagandistic urges dictate. Like Danehy knows, it's your game; you made the rules.

Richard Ortiz

And Just for Fun, Let's Run One More Danehy Boot!

Really, Tom--if the limits of your imagination for doing something with your life can't get beyond attempting to irritate a PETA member by eating a burger "in his face," it's time to think again. If you would check out the Web site, you could see the pictures of the people in the Sexiest Vegetarian Contest. Contrary to your characterization as "gaunt, sallow PETA dorks," the women look pretty hot, I would say. And although I don't know what you look like, I'm willing to bet that 90 percent of the men look better and healthier than you.

PETA is opposed to needless cruelty to animals, and, yes, we advocate a vegan or vegetarian diet.

As for the bull having fun, you apparently forgot to mention how they get the animals to buck--electric prods, spurs and a bucking strap, which is cinched around the abdomen or testicles. If that still sounds like fun to you, admit it, Tom--you're a sadomasochist.

Bob Kahl, PETA Member

Another Odd Experience at Chaffin's

Your article was quite informative and interesting. However, I thought you might like to know about our experience with Chaffin's ("One Day at Chaffin's," Currents, Feb. 23).

Our secular, separation-of-church-and-state social group, approximately five of us, began having breakfast on Sundays at Chaffin's a couple of years ago, and after about three weeks, we were asked not to return, because he only served Christians.

Chaffin's is an anachronism that needs a good lawsuit to wake it up.

Ann Carr

A Farmer Offers a Perspective on Gestation Crates

I grew up in Kentucky and Illinois on "real" farms with row crops (corn, soybeans, oats, wheat), pastures, brushy fencerows, shade trees and grassy waterways. We had a large contingent of animals: chickens, pigs, sheep, goats, horses, and beef and dairy cattle. We didn't always have much money, but we sure had plenty to eat.

There was one thing we didn't have: crates ("Space Restrictions," Currents, Dec. 29).

There was no need to imprison pregnant sows or male calves in tiny enclosures. I raised hogs as my project for Future Farmers of America. None of my sows miscarried. They seemed content--or at least that's how I interpreted their grunting.

We sold the male calves after weaning, and at best, we broke even--now I figure it was preferable to end their lives quickly rather than subjecting them to weeks of no movement or protein. The female calves we kept and raised for replacements when the older cows were no longer productive.

Ours was a Grade A dairy. We kept it spotless, and the inspector came around every week or so to make sure of that.

There was no doubt that none of this smelled like roses. My hog lot was kept downwind of our house--my mother complained that if the hog house was upwind, her clothes hung on the outside line took on the smell of hog bleep.

In the winter months, the dairy cows hung around the barn--we had a "loafing shed"--and the manure piled up. When the cows' heads began bumping the ceiling, we knew it was time to clean out the manure and apply it to the pastures and the fields that would later grow corn and soybeans.

While we likely did some things that were polluting to the air and water, we were good stewards of our land and our animals. Our cows gave lots of milk. Our chickens laid lots of eggs--and made tasty fried chicken. Our hogs commanded top price at the market. To produce meat, milk and eggs only requires food, shelter and water; to treat animals humanely requires decency.

That's the difference. Animal husbandry or stewardship--treating farm animals as sentient beings--has been replaced by something called "animal science" in which living things are treated as "units of production."

Real farmers don't use crates of any type. Corporations--big businesses--that now own, operate or manage much of our food production depend upon crates to maximize the quantity of units produced.

Instead of treating livestock as sentient beings--although ones to be killed and eaten--pigs, chickens and cows become mere widgets. The discomfort and, yes, inhumane nature of a system dependent upon gestation or veal crates is not a system of agriculture--it is a system of agribusiness and one that is not necessary.

Eating is the ultimate agricultural act. While what is eaten eventually determines what is grown, that takes some time. Right now, everyone who eats needs to reject crates as a method of production. That choice can and should be on the ballot.

Ken Midkiff
Author, The Meat You Eat


"Suburban Jungle" (March 2) mistakenly reported that Oro Valley Mayor Paul Loomis works for Raytheon Missile Systems. Loomis actually works for the Defense Contract Management Agency Department at Raytheon Missile Systems.
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