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June 7-13, 2006

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Letters to the Editor

Emotional Profit?

Thanks for the article on pet cemeteries ("Three Feet Under," May 31), and for being so even-handed about the way we pet owners feel about our animal companions. Now, do you think someone might be interested in doing an article on veterinary medicine? It seems as if some vets are profiting handsomely off our emotional attachments to our pets. I know of one case, a friend of mine who owned a 10-year-old dog. She spent well over $2,000 to treat what was essentially the ravages of old age, only to watch the suffering animal die when the money ran out.

I own a cat who recently developed what appeared to be an infection in its eye. The vet recommended an "animal eye specialist" who, despite being unable to make a firm diagnosis, nevertheless recommended very expensive surgery to remove its eye "for more study." Fortunately for my cat, I could not afford the surgery and chose to provide it as much comfort as I could at home. Happily, the eye healed up without further treatment and my cat is back to normal. Are there other stories out there of devoted pet owners being manipulated into expensive--and possibly unnecessary--treatments for their animal companions?

Bob Thomas, Santa Rosa

Who Speaks For the Fishes?

The toughest regulations on fish farming in the nation are in Alaska where all finfish farming is banned. The new California aquaculture law (fish farming) just signed by the Governor is a travesty--warm and fuzzy-sounding, but in reality weak and vague. It relies on self-monitoring and self-reporting and "minimizing where feasible" all those potential problems the industry is notorious for, like herbicides to kill the algae on the pens, other chemicals and steroids which are the hallmark of the fish-farm industry. And the law is iffy on environmental protection. We say no fish farms for any kind of fish in California waters, period. California salmon and our fishing industry deserve the same level of respect and protection as in Alaska. No aquatic feedlots, no corporate industrial/chemical fish-farm production in our waters.

Ann Maurice, Occidental

A Simple Plan

A solution to the state and national budget deficits: President Bush has long advised that many areas be funded by private means rather than using taxpayers' monies. It is great to have wealthy families represented by our president and governor. Perhaps they should give from their own considerable fortunes. They also have friends and relationships with companies whom they could call upon for funds.

Bush has often declared his base to be the white-tie and black-tails oil and banking billionaires, and Schwarzenegger has his business associates and other Hollywood leaders and sports figures who receive gigantic salaries and have outstanding private holdings. Since many of these folks never pay their fair share of taxes and have received contracts and other goodies from our government, perhaps they could pitch in and cure our deficit.

In turn, our government could award them a Congressional Medal of Honor and perhaps lovely thank-you notes from the two respective first ladies of the nation and California. The electorate would finally realize something worthwhile from those private sources, which regularly receive their indulgences from us.

BJ Kimball, Windsor

Want More, Take More

It's all about greed, isn't it? Greed for power, greed for material wealth, leading inevitably to aggressive war for control of resources and contractual booty. Every empire on earth has been the product of acquisitiveness on a grand scale, composed of humans willing to mutter "Greed is good."

But greed also has a long-standing reputation for being deadly. We've been seeing proof of that for some while. The big question now is do we keep on letting ourselves be dupes in this old neocon game of want more, take more?

J. B. Grant, Sebastopol


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