LETTERS

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN
Thanks for fixing the problem sidewalk

A big “thank you” for those responsible for fixing the sidewalk on Ash and First streets I wrote about last week. It is really nice and looks good, too.

Shelly Schale

Hillsboro

Great treatment by area veterinarians

We had the opportunity to make a trip to Marion last Wednesday evening. Our mare, Lillie, needed emergency veterinary care. We live 10 miles north of Abilene and our regular veterinarian was on vacation. We found that none of the local veterinarian clinics take after-hours calls for horses.

I kept calling farther away in the hope that someone would be willing to see us yet that night; it was around 8 p.m. by that time.

I remembered I had heard Riley & Riley veterinary service on KJIL radio and decided to give it a try, even though Herington is an hour away.

I got an after-hours number to call, which was Dr. Kristin Faucett. After I explained to her our situation, she said she would be willing to see the mare if we would be willing to drive to Herington.

We met Dr. Faucett at 9:30 p.m. at what is now Tri-County Veterinary Center. She thoroughly examined the mare and was very concerned about her condition. After she advised us of our options, we decided to travel to Marion to continue treatment at the Animal Health Center.

Dr. Faucett guided us to Marion since we had never been to the clinic. Her mother and sister, who were visiting, followed us. When we arrived there, we met Dr. Jessica Laurin. She immediately assessed the mare further, along with Dr. Faucett, and began to treat it. We left Marion at 1:30 a.m. with yet another hour to drive home.

We felt we were in the best place for Lillie. She received awesome care. They sent us home with a bag filled with all the supplies we needed to get us going to continue her treatment.

We lost some sleep that night, but so did the people who took such great care of Lillie and us. Lillie is doing great and we are hopeful she will be able to give rides to our grandchildren after her recovery.

God sent these people our way and we are truly thankful. Herington and Marion are blessed with such great caring people.

Ben & Julie Freeman

Abilene

Not living in Goessel to ‘get along’

The Free Press report of the Aug. 17 Goessel City Council meeting included about one-tenth of the remarks Anton Epp made to the council. The remarks included in the story were things we praised about Goessel 21⁄2 years ago at a public meeting to get Goessel to grow.

For us, the situation has changed. The beliefs we had 21⁄2 years ago have turned into a bad taste in our mouth.

People considered stalwart leaders of the Goessel community have become verbally confrontational.

The Epps moved to this community five years ago. We came with godly values in our heart and a Bible in our hand. We will continue to practice Christian conduct toward our fellow man. We will speak at school board and city council meetings. We will practice good democracy and sound governmental beliefs based on the Constitution and doctrines of the Holy Bible. You will find us to be defenders of truth, justice and the American Way. And we will fly the U.S. flag. We have been praying for a Holy Spirit-filled revival in the Goessel community and God appears to be answering prayer.

When you see the Epps at the bank, city hall, school board, grocery store, gas station, high school office, football or basketball game, you are seeing truth. We are God’s children and he put us in this town. We did not move here to “get along and go along with the good ol’ boys.”

If we want people to move here and feel welcome, we need to act like it toward each other.

Tony & Joan Epp

Goessel

A different view of ‘factory farming’

Across the country, a growing number of Americans are deeply concerned about the abusive conditions endured by most farm animals in the United States.

Jumping to the defense of animal agribusiness, some people are trying to paint a picture of factory farming that is misleading at best.

In a recent commentary, “Farmers unfairly rapped for treatment of animals” (Aug. 2 issue), the author admits that Old MacDonald’s Farm has largely vanished, but does not fully disclose what life is like for most farm animals, especially those in the poultry and pork industries.

Nearly 300 million egg-laying hens are confined in battery cages in our country, each of whom has less space on which to live than a sheet of paper. The cages are so restrictive that the birds are virtually immobilized, unable even to spread their wings for more than a year.

The physical and psychological toll this confinement takes on the hens is simply immense. In the barren conditions, the birds cannot engage in numerous important behaviors, including nesting, perching, dust-bathing and even walking.

Konrad Lorenz, the father of modern ethology, lamented the confinement of these social, intelligent birds. He wrote that “the worst torture to which a battery hen is exposed is the inability to retire somewhere for the laying act. For the person who knows something about animals it is truly heart-rending to watch how a chicken tries again and again to crawl beneath her fellow cagemates to search there in vain for cover.”

Out of concern for animal welfare, several nations have already legislated against battery cage confinement, and the entire European Union is phasing out barren battery cages by 2012.

On this side of the Atlantic, numerous retailers now refuse even to sell eggs from caged birds, and many major companies have ended the use of battery eggs in their employee cafeterias.

The egg industry is not the only example of factory farms’ near-total disregard for animal welfare. About 5 million female pigs used for breeding in the United States are confined in 2-foot-wide gestation crates for months at time, unable even to turn around or walk.

The forced immobilization leads to both leg and joint problems along with psychosis resulting from extreme boredom and frustration.

The European Union is also phasing out gestation crates, with a total ban taking effect in 2013.

Numerous American animal scientists also oppose these cruel crates. Farm animal expert Temple Grandin states, “Gestation crates for pigs are a real problem…. Basically, you’re asking a sow to live in an airline seat…. I think it’s something that needs to be phased out.”

The common refrain from factory farm producers is that they must treat animals well, lest they not produce. However, today’s farm animals have been bred to produce at nearly any cost.

For example, laying hens will continue to lay eggs even with broken legs. There is also a point at which, from a purely financial perspective, it makes sense for producers to overcrowd animals, decreasing productivity per animal, but increasing productivity per barn.

Two University of Arkansas poultry scientists put it bluntly, asking, “Is it more profitable to grow the biggest bird and have increased mortality due to heart attacks, ascites and leg problems, or should birds be grown slower so that birds are smaller, but have fewer heart, lung and skeletal problems?”

Their conclusion was that “a large portion of growers’ pay is based on the pounds of saleable meat produced, so simple calculations suggest that it is better to get the weight and ignore the mortality.”

There is something seriously wrong when the scientists who advise the agribusiness community write that farmers should adopt practices that reduce animal welfare so much that they increase the number of animals dying, simply because it’s economical to do so.

If agribusiness representatives were really interested in reducing the suffering of the animals we raise for food, they should stop defending the indefensible and start phasing out the most egregious confinement practices, including battery cages for egg-laying hens and gestation crates for breeding pigs.

Paul Shapiro, director

Factory Farming Campaign

Humane Society of the United States

Washington, D.C.

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