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Cruelty to animals

March 20, the first day of spring, is the day of the annual Meatout observance, when people are encouraged to kick the meat habit. Below are examples of the institutionalized cruelties inflicted on animals in modern meat production, all performed without anesthetic or analgesics. (Milk and egg-producing breeds also undergo the same procedures, so the best solution is to eliminate all animal products from one's diet.)

Branding: A brand is a third-degree burn.

Castration: A common method involves using a clamp, held in place for about a minute, to crush the spermatic cords.

Disbudding: To prevent horns from growing, the hide is gouged out down to the skull, or burned with a hot iron or a caustic paste.

Debeaking: This is a painful procedure done to sensitive tissue, slicing through the beak with a hot knife.

Amputations: Wattles, combs (chickens) snoods (turkeys), and the tips of toes, not just the toenails, are cut off.

— Suffocation: Fish (and the male chicks of egg-laying chicken breeds) die of suffocation, or worse.

Buying free-range or organic animals products is no guarantee that these procedures are not used.

For more information, visit , , or . ' Ron Elterman, Ashland

Fire and police first

As former mayor of a city much like Medford, I am bemused our City Council feels they need an additional fee for public safety. Our problem is lack of priorities, not lack of money.

This is illustrated by diversion of revenue from the Medford general fund to the Medford Urban Renewal Agency via the special levy. This process diverts more than &

36;2 million annually from the general fund. This is not increment financing. It is a subsidy from the taxpayers to special interests. It impacts all general fund accounts including fire and police!

The Urban Renewal Agency should be allowed to sunset, thus ending the special levy. The increase to the general fund due to ending the special levy will more than pay for the proposed increase in the police department. Allowing the Urban Renewal District to sunset will provide an additional &

36;3 to &

36;4 million per year to the general fund.

If a downtown Lithia Motors project is desirable, then it should be justified to the people and funded with voter-approved bonds. This way the increase in our fees and taxes will be transparent and the public safety budget will be protected. Fire and police should come first! ' Robert M. Pearson, Medford

Libraries offer greater good

My answer to the women from Ashland who refuses to walk two blocks to use the library is that some of us would be delighted to walk that two blocks! However we are unable to do so and the library does all they can to help us use their services anyway.

The Outreach Program sees to it that I and hundreds like me still have books to read or listen to and movies to watch if we are able to see them, plus the joy of their visit each month. Having a personal computer is an option for me but it does not replace books in my life and there are many in our society who cannot afford their own computer or books to read.

When we vote, let's try to think of the greater good for our senior shut-ins and the children in our area who need the wonderful services of our libraries. Your day to use some of these programs may arrive sooner than you think. ' Janet McMullin, Medford

Traffic study not current

They did it again! Medford's site review committee decided that a traffic study done in 1991 for the location of Wal-Mart's planned supercenter is adequate. The proposal for an attractive well-designed store was not evaluated as to its impact on the location which is already experiencing heavy traffic loads.

How could a study done 15 years ago accurately determine impact on this area? One of Medford residents' biggest concerns is the ever-increasing traffic congestion in too many areas. Frequently a problem such as excessive traffic in certain locations takes years to resolve and the funds are not available to do so. The solution is to look at it sensibly in the first place and have fortitude enough to say Wrong place, wrong time.

Residents of this city deserve to have their concerns addressed. Have a traffic study done and if it shows conditions can handle the increased capacity then so be it.

Let's hope the persons with standing in this situation avail themselves of the opportunity for an appeal. And let city officials see that an effort is made to be fair to all. ' Billie Dickerson, Medford

Best way to reduce abortion

I believe that no one is in favor of abortion, and that the best way to reduce the number of abortions currently being performed is to increase access to medically accurate sex education, as well as education involving awareness of family values and consequences of irresponsible courses of action. This education could be provided in families, in classes at school, in churches and at Planned Parenthood.

Making abortion illegal is not the answer. Even God allows us freedom of choice and with the right information available, women could make their own private decisions without government intervention. Pro-choice and pro-life can exist together. ' Marion Mann, Medford

A failed replanting

I agree with Ed Kupillas' guest opinion that it makes sense to examine areas that were historically logged after fire to understand the consequences. He provides an example of a successful reforestation effort from the Oregon Coast range and asks if anybody has examples of failures.

A good example is nearby. Following the 1910 fire, an area on the Dead Indian Plateau east of Howard Prairie Reservoir was logged. The area is now treeless and sparsely vegetated by introduced grasses. It's aptly referred to as Moon Prairie. The stumps of the large trees cut indicate that there had been a dense forest of large trees. They were the product of natural regeneration, a process typically linked with fire.

While the Oregon Coast range is an exceptionally favorable environment for establishing conifer plantations, elsewhere, more extreme summer drought and other circumstances make traditional industrial forestry more difficult. Moreover, public support for subsidizing this use of public land appears to have waned in favor of protection of biodiversity and natural processes.

With existing agency disincentives, management objectives have yet to shift in response to changing societal expectations for use of public land, creating the current tension over post-fire management of these lands. ' Dennis Odion, Ashland

Where was GOP support?

Republican supporters of the current administration who chastise those who disagree with the Bush administration as un-American should recall the eight years of relentless hounding the Republicans heaped upon Bill Clinton. After &

36;60 million tax dollars spent by Kenneth Starr and the right-wing cabal chasing non-existent scandals (Foster suicide, Whitewater, etc.), all that came of it was an embarrassing personal scandal which produced an impeachment and subsequent not guilty finding in the Senate.

Where was the Republican support of our president during Clinton's administration? Why couldn't those who didn't vote for Clinton get behind him and support him, as pro-Bush supporters often ask?

To be intellectually honest, Republicans, ask yourself these questions: If Bill Clinton were president now, following the same course of action as Bush, would you be so lavish in your support of your president? Would you see the merits of the war, the torture, the scandals?

Partisan blindness occurs on both sides. The trap we fall into is allowing that blindness to prevent us from seeing the truth or compromising our own moral tenets. It also prevents us from seeing others who disagree with us as passionate American citizens who love their country. ' Tom DuBois, Ashland

Stand up for unborn

People are in an uproar over the move to ban abortion in South Dakota.

My question is, why is it OK to stand up for the woman's right to choose, instead of standing up for the rights of the woman inside the womb? ' Jenn Randles, Medford