Letter Box

Thursday January 24, 2013

Prevent the flu; don’t eat meat Editor of the Reformer:

The flu epidemic has invaded 48 states, overwhelming medical facilities, exhausting vaccine supplies, and killing 29 children and thousands of seniors. Both the problem and solution to this disaster hinge on how we relate to animals raised for food.

Indeed, 61 percent of the 1,415 pathogens known to infect humans originate with animals. The more recent, contagious, and deadly viruses among these include Asian, dengue fever, Ebola, H5N1 (bird), HIV, SARS, West Nile, and yellow fever. The pandemic "Spanish" flu of 1918, killed 20 to 50 million people worldwide, and the World Health Organization predicts more pandemics in the future.

Today’s factory farms are virtual flu factories. Sick, crowded, highly stressed animals in contact with contaminated feces and urine provide ideal incubation media for viruses. As these microbes reach humans, they mutate to defeat the new host’s immune system, then propagate by contact.

Each of us can help end animal farming and build up our own immune system against the flu by replacing animal products in our diet with vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. These foods don’t carry flu viruses, or government warning labels, are touted by every major health advocacy organization, and were the recommended fare in the Garden of Eden.

Brent Regan,

Brattleboro, Jan. 22

It’s all about money

Editor of the Reformer:

It is a given that the main role of the Republican Party is the concentration and defense of wealth. Gun rights are important only as they relate to profit and loss. The main role of the Democrat Party is the expansion of government. Gun control is only important as far as it serves that end.

Working within these parameters we can easily see that there will be no rifle bans. The AR rifle, the type allegedly used in the Sandy Hook shootings, is made in the U.S. by many different companies that are profitable and provide skilled jobs with full benefits. Over the past four decades these rifles have become popular with hunters and target shooters. Remington, among others, makes versions just for hunting. In 2013 this is just a modern rifle, and a rather common one at that.

This time it is not just about banning inexpensive Eastern European and Chinese imports. It is also about the loss of major U.S. business profit, and with a Republican House this will not pass. The Obama Administration knows this, thus the rush to pass legislation while passions run high with the caveat that passage will be "tough."

The Democrats and Republicans can come to an agreement on police in schools if it is an unfunded federal mandate. The Democrats will agree to pass the cost on to municipalities for hiring more police and fortifying schools. The Republicans will approve this because it will boost the sale of arms to municipalities. This will eventually make weapons and fortifications commonplace in American society as other institutions opt for the same protections as schools.

The mentally ill will ultimately bear the brunt of any legislation aimed at preventing violence. A national database of the mentally ill, like the federal terrorist "no fly" watch list, will erode privacy and compromise employment prospects. Mandatory treatment will curtail freedom of movement to the point that the very people it proposes to help will shun these services, driving the truly dangerous deeper underground.

Stan Neubert,

Northfield, Mass., Jan. 22

Leave Yankee alone and go home

Editor of the Reformer:

Why don’t you protesters, especially from Massachusetts, stay home and take care of your own problems, like child abuse in foster homes?

We need Vermont Yankee here in Vermont. Don’t you all realize, especially you protesters from Vermont, what Yankee does for business here and what it gives to charities? They just give and give and give to anyone who needs help.

Brattleboro would be a ghost town if they are forced to shut down. Please leave Yankee alone and go home and take care of your own problems.

Beatrice DeFeo,

Brattleboro, Jan. 22


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