Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor: April 14

Support for HSUS

The Humane Society of the United States provides hands-on care to thousands of animals every year, works to promote the welfare of all animals including pets, wildlife and livestock, and earns Charity Navigator's 4 star (highest) rating.

A recent letter from the Center for Consumer Freedom said HSUS criticism of Kentucky's Board of Agriculture standards on animal care has no credibility because of a secret "radical" anti-agriculture agenda.

In fact, HSUS directly supports the Global Animal Partnership (GAP), which certifies animal products from farmers using best practices of animal care.

It is not radical to recognize cruelty in keeping pigs or hens in tiny cages. HSUS success in educating the public about the intensive confinement of factory farmed animals has led consumers to demand more humanely raised products and stronger animal welfare laws. Corporate interests fight back with misinformation. The letter was from a non-profit that advocates on behalf of the fast food, meat, alcohol and tobacco industries.

Find out the truth about HSUS mission, work and finances, plus terrific educational material at www.humanesociety.org. It is a great way to support all animals.

Marilyn Machara


As an animal lover, I can assure Rick Berman of the Center for Consumer Freedom that I am well aware of the differences in the local humane organizations and the Humane Society of the United States. And, like many others of like mind, I support and donate to both.

We support HSUS because we are adamantly opposed to the bludgeoning deaths of baby seals, the soring and torture of our beautiful show horses, the butchering of horses in slaughterhouses, the capture of wild animals in steel-jawed traps, the horrible practice of breeding dogs their entire lives at puppy mills, the shooting of animals from helicopters, the inhumane treatment of food supply animals, and the many other incidences of animal abuse.

I am neither a vegan nor a vegetarian and I support the livestock industry. What I don't support is the inhumane treatment of these animals on their way to our dinner plate. All animals should be treated humanely — not just the cute little companion animals. Kentucky has a dismal record of protection of animals and some of the weakest laws in the country to punish abusers.

We now are faced with large farm organizations and industry support for "ag gag" bills being introduced in state legislatures. The bills protect the abuser and punish the whistleblower who goes undercover to expose abuses. I respectfully suggest that Berman's organization has very little to do with protecting the consumer, but more about promoting the tobacco, fast-food restaurant and meat industries.

Pam Pilgrim


Sometimes there's just not a place for talented players

Editorial writer Jacalyn Carfagno performed a much needed service by identifying in a column just a few of the numerous talented women who "got away."

I just wish she had asked each why she left, and if given the opportunity, would she ever return to the University of Kentucky.

Perhaps we may discover UK is among the top universities in recruitment and development of genuine female talent and, due to timing, there is really no place to advance in the university without discarding someone above them.

I often tell colleagues and friends how lucky I was to be exposed to great teachers and doctors during my educational years at UK. It was always sad to lose the best to other schools, but was also gratified to see them excel in their new roles because they were so talented.

Although money and male-dominated culture could account for the discrepancies, I'm inclined to think not. Citing the obvious comparison to sports at UK, remember, you can only place five of your stars on the court at one time. Just ask coaches Matthew Mitchell and John Calipari.

William Dowden

UK class of '66, '70, '76


Rob a bank, get a hip

I read the Herald-Leader article about a death row inmate trying to get a hip replacement. What I want to know is what is wrong with the government in Kentucky?

Sure, inmates may be entitled to health care, but why does this criminal or any inmate deserve the best care available at any cost?

My wife has arthritis in her knees, but even with insurance we can't afford an operation like that. She has to make due with Advil. That should be good enough for that killer.

Besides, where does he really need to go inside those walls that he can't put up with discomfort? What my wife should do is rob a bank; not to get the money for her operation, but to go to jail to get the care she deserves.

John Niemann


Move museum into town

Jane Shropshire, head docent at the University of Kentucky Art Museum, has it right.

With the museum's executive director Kathy Piper-Walsh finally resigning and UK moving the museum to somewhere within the art department, the local art and philanthropic community has an opportunity to develop a community-based art museum responsible to a proper board of directors.

It has been my understanding since we moved here in 2006 that every few years members of the museum talk about a museum outside of UK. Even while asking for community support, the museum does not offer direction for operations through a community-based board of directors.

Several years ago, several of us began a preliminary discussion about developing a new museum which would help meet the growing need for arts education, outreach and exhibitions, and also began a search for space.

The contemporary IBM building on New Circle Road would provide an exciting place for an art museum.

Rather than searching for a new executive director, UK leadership could begin talks with Lexington arts leadership, investors and government to support a new museum off campus. UK does not need to be in the museum business. The Lexington community should shoulder that responsibility and opportunity.

Woody Dugan


More checks won't help

I am a member of the National Rifle Association and own guns. I have purchased from dealers, at gun shows, on the Internet and from individuals.

I have had my background checked many times and have no real problem with that. So I might be considered one of the 75 percent identified in the Bluegrass Poll as supportive of more background checks.

Who wouldn't want to make sure the buyer is not likely to use that gun for evil purposes?

But the process does nothing more than check criminal history. There are no provisions to check buyers' mental health history, prescription drug records or tendency to hurt themselves or others.

The system cannot be fixed in any rational way without seriously violating privacy rights and health privacy laws.

The ACLU is already on record with its concerns.

The process also ignores one indisputable fact: Criminals simply will not subject themselves to a background check. The underground gun market is alive and well and, in the face of more ineffective laws, will become even more healthy.

Making owners/buyers like me go through more checks is not going to do one thing to reduce the potential for the next Newtown.

Unless we are willing to identify, treat and confine those who would use weapons to inflict harm and terror, all of the "common sense" being spouted in the press and by politicians is nothing more than wishful thinking.

Rick Music