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August 13-20, 2008

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Letters to the Editor

No Monkey Business at UCSC

I AM SORELY disappointed in the accuracy of your reporting and its potential to feed the recent wave of violence. Your story on the firebombings of UCSC professors ("Unpopularity Contest," News&Views, Aug. 6) included the following paragraph:"

[Michael Budkie, founder of Stop Animal Exploitation Now!] also said laboratories at universities like UCSC are home to lawless acts of animal cruelty. 'These laboratories have nonhuman primates that are deprived of water and food for days at a time,' Budkie said. 'If you did this in your home, you could be arrested and charged with animal cruelty. But because these scientists say it's OK, they're allowed to do it.'"

By running this passage and failing to point out its inaccuracies, you are perpetuating the misguided beliefs that have been used to rationalize violent acts. 

There are no nonhuman primates at UCSC. Furthermore, treatment of experimental animals is tightly controlled. The scenario your source describes would not be allowed by the licensing agencies and campus animal-use oversight committee that govern and monitor all animal experiments. 

Medical advances begin in test tubes and cell culture dishes. But to find out how biological processes of interest operate in intact organisms, researchers use animals. This step is necessary to translate laboratory findings into clinical advances. Breakthroughs in treating infectious diseases, heart disease, cancer, neurological illnesses, and other major causes of death and disability owe their success to animal research. Our society has condoned this approach and ensured that the work is conducted in a humane manner.

Santa Cruz
The author is a former researcher familiar with the UCSC science community and with the practice of animal research.--Editor


Provincial Smugness

IT IS NOT that I expect sophisticated dialogue from a Santa Cruz newspaper, but that one-sided support for ALF terrorists brings provincial smugness to new lows ("Unpopularity Contest" and DeCinzo, Aug. 6). Everyone agrees animal testing is horrible; I am against any not absolutely necessary. You cannot have the benefits of animal testing without the costs. For anyone too stupid to realize the implication of never supporting animal testing, here are sample headlines: "Evil Empire: How Birth Control Pills and Vaccinations Made America the Worst Place on Earth," "Their Own Fault: Why People with AIDS Don't Deserve a Life," or "Just Kill Yourself: The Metro Santa Cruz guide to ethically overcoming trauma."

Sarah Lindauer,
Santa Cruz

And Poorer for It

FOUR OF US just saw Bach at Leipzig and left after the first act. Sorry to disagree with the review ("Blockbuster Bach," Arts, July 30), but ...

Robert Willwerth,
Mountain View

Our Scaly Brothers' Pain

ARE ENDANGERED animals dying for our fish dinners? Yes, according to a new study, which found that commercial fishing trawlers kill thousands of sea birds--including endangered albatrosses--every year in one fishery alone (in the Benguela Current, off South Africa). This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Commercial fishing is decimating our ocean ecosystems. Ninety percent of large fish populations have been exterminated in the past 50 years, and scientists estimate that by the year 2048, our oceans will have been completely overfished. Many fish, as well as sea birds and marine animals, are caught by "mistake," tangled in nets or hooked by long-lines. A previous study found that nearly 1,000 marine mammals--dolphins, whales and porpoises--die every single day after being caught in fishing nets.

And don't forget that, whether they are targeted or not, all fish feel pain and suffer horribly when they are impaled on hooks or sliced open by the thin mesh of a net.

Leaving fish (and other animals) off our plates is the most humane choice--and the best way to help replenish the world's fragile oceans. Find out more at

Paula Moore, PETA Senior
Norfolk, Va.

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