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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

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    Alumni deserve apology for ‘gay canoodling’

    When I attended the UA, many states prohibited gay canoodling. As time passed, the academic and national pursuits of cultural diversity and political correctness led to the development of a morally tolerant society. Increased societal tolerances resulted in the decriminalization of an assortment of practices primarily performed by gay couples. Indeed, instead of prosecuting gay couples, some states now sanction “”civil unions.””

    The UA’s Alumni Association has recently made an additional contribution to the general advancement of the gay agenda. It seems that in the pursuit of following UA policies, the photograph of a gay couple appeared as the lead photo in the Weddings and Vows section of the Fall 2007 issue of the U of A Alumnus. After all, where is it written that a portrait of a gay couple can not, or should not, appear as a relevant and meaningful part of a bridal photo array where nine of the 10 featured women appear in white wedding dresses?

    If diverse and politically correct people accept a crucifix in a jar of urine as art, perhaps a gay portrait can appear within a photo presentation of wedding-day brides dressed in white. I, however, believe that Alumni Association President Christopher Vlahos owes those 10 brides, and the university community at large, an apology. Tolerance does not mean that fair-minded people must elevate civil unions to the sacred status of traditional marriage covenants.

    -Chris Tabing
    UA alumnus
    class of 1972

    Most unaware of the realities of meat

    Christina Jelly is correct (“”Vegetarians co-opt the green movement,”” yesterday) that some people go out of their way to mock ethical vegetarians and opposition to cruelty to animals. However, far more people are simply unaware of the realities of modern factory farms and industrial slaughterhouses. As a long-time advocate who has dealt with tens of thousands of people across the country, I can attest that many more people are shocked to learn the truth of today’s agribusiness than make derisive comments.

    Most people are thoughtful and humane but are kept in the dark by a manipulative industry unwilling to open up their “”farms”” to public visits. Once people know the truth and the delicious, compassionate alternatives, they very often choose not to support the cruelties of modern meat production.

    -Matt Ball
    executive director
    Vegan Outreach

    Animal experiments ‘have never been validated’

    As a neurologist, I’d like to challenge Lauren Myers’ assertion that animal testing is a necessary part of medical research (“”Animal testing necessary in medical research,”” Tuesday). Animal experiments have never been validated as an effective means for studying human disease. If put through the same rigorous testing required of new, non-animal research techniques, most would fail.

    Even though the FDA requires that all new medications be tested in animals, time and again our reliance on animal tests provides a false sense of security and can actually lead to harm in people. Vioxx is just one example of a drug that tested safe in animals but ended up killing thousands of people. More than 90 percent of all drugs that test safe and effective in animals fail during human testing. Half of the drugs that are approved are later relabeled or withdrawn for serious adverse effects not seen in animal tests.

    Animals suffer physical pain and psychological trauma as a result of experiments and life in the laboratory. A review of scientific documents showed that even the routine procedures in the laboratory, such as handling, forced feeding and bleeding, cause profound and sustained stress in animals. Imagine how much stress the experiments themselves cause.

    Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUCs) are supposed to carefully review applications and ensure compliance with animal welfare regulations, but the committees are frequently dominated by animal researchers or other employees of research facilities. IACUCs often approve invasive experiments, even though the researcher has done little or no work to search for an alternative, as required by law. The federal Animal Welfare Act does not even cover rats, mice and birds, who make up 90 percent of the animals used in labs.

    A move away from animal experiments toward more accurate methods of studying disease would be ethically and scientifically superior.

    -Dr. Aysha Akhtar
    senior medical and research adviser
    Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

    Antibiotic opinion should be taken to heart

    Lauren Myers is to be congratulated for her excellent article about our overuse of antibiotics (“”We’re beating ourselves in the war on germs,”” Sept. 25), especially for minor illnesses which are viral. I am a physician at the Campus Health Center, and I see multiple students a day where my role becomes one of educating them about why it really is a bad idea for them to take an antibiotic for a viral respiratory infection (URI). Many students haven’t really learned this because their parents have always sent them to the doctor for severe URI’s and they have never had to think about what the problem is and whether there is a cure or just how to get through these infections. Of course the medical profession has been the biggest part of the problem plus the myth that exists among the public that says most bad viral infections will not get better without help.

    Not only is the article quite factual but extremely well written and would get an ‘A’ if I was grading it in a class. In these days when there are so many distorted, sensational medical articles in the press, including our local Tucson papers, it’s a pleasure to see a reasoned, well written and factual medical article in the Wildcat. Now let’s just hope a few students read it and took it to heart!

    -Dr. M.G. Weinberg

    Vegan choices ‘a powerful step’ for Earth

    Kudos to the Wildcat for featuring some of the environmental benefits of vegetarian foods (“”Vegetarians co-opt the green movement,”” yesterday).

    By cutting back on meat, egg and dairy products, we can reduce our contributions to both environmental problems and animal suffering. Across the country, about 10 billion farm animals are raised and slaughtered annually, the vast majority confined in factory farms.

    Factory farms pollute water and air, threatening health and quality of life in rural communities. They also abuse animals. Billions of chickens and turkeys are bred to grow so quickly that they suffer from painful health problems. Egg-laying hens are crammed into cages so tiny they can’t spread their wings, and breeding pigs and calves used for veal endure lives spent inside individual crates in which they can’t turn around.

    In 2006, Arizona voters chose to ban the use of gestation crates and veal crates in the state. The American Public Health Association has called for a moratorium on factory farms, and rural residents across the country are opposing new operations in their communities.

    A recent article in The Lancet advocates a reduction in meat consumption to curb greenhouse gas emissions, stating that “”greenhouse-gas emissions from meat-eating warrant the same scrutiny as do those from driving and flying.”” Organizations such as Greenpeace and the Natural Resources Defense Council advocate reduced meat consumption as a way to mitigate climate change and other environmental harms.

    Choosing to eat fewer meat, egg and dairy products is a powerful step we can take for the planet.

    -Gowri Koneswaran
    director of animal agricultural impacts
    The Humane Society of the United States
    UA law alumnus

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