Offensive Patrol

Base accusation: Jason West of Scottsdale, Arizona, took the time to write a contemptuous letter about a wounded vet and accuses the vet of being a spoiled immature punk (Letters, March 9). Unbelievable. I don’t even care what West’s credentials are — no one should figuratively spit on a wounded vet like that.

When soldiers by the thousands are being killed in a war begun by a chickenhawk who got citizen and Congressional support for it by spreading lies and rumors, you better believe the soldiers are going to be angry and speak out against it. The truly brave, committed troops want to come home by a 3-to-1 margin — they’re sick of this occupation.

Young volunteered in a moment of extreme pain and patriotism (just like Pat Tillman and countless others) to avenge the attacks of 9/11. The Bush administration used that tragedy and exploited the patriotism of Young and the others to advance an agenda that was in place long before they were appointed.

West needs to turn off FOX “News” and educate himself. Disgusting.

Chris Herrmann
Kansas City, Kansas

Going ballistic: I saw the article and Mr. Jason West’s letter. I find it disturbing that any dissent from Tomas Young, a wounded veteran, should earn him such scorn. He signed up to join the military after 9/11 because he wanted to help find the people responsible for the attack. That is a valid reason. Was Iraq in any way involved? No, Iraq had nothing to do with that attack and Mr. Young knew that. That is why he protests the pointless Iraq war.

He was also put in a situation that he should not have been placed in and had every right to complain about it. I think the article was enlightening. The soldiers should be given maximum protection. I understand that people die in war or get injured. However, the soldiers’ safety should still be top consideration.

I find it interesting that we Americans revel in our freedoms and brag about them. However, the moment we choose to actually use those freedoms, i.e. to dissent, we are demonized and told that we are not patriotic. We can have these freedoms, but we better keep our mouths shut — what a message.

Christian L. Wade
Kansas City, Missouri

Stock Market

Meat your maker: It is unfortunate that Eric Barton’s article on the American Meat Institute Animal Welfare Conference only covered graphic details about slaughter and included none of the background information (“Cattle Call,” March 2).

For 30 years I have worked to improve conditions in slaughter plants. The use of objective scoring to measure vocalization (moos and bellows) has forced managers to do a better job of supervising employees. You were concerned that allowing 5 percent of the cattle to vocalize was still bad welfare. Before major meat buyers such as McDonald’s and Wendy’s started auditing animal welfare, some bad plants had 30 percent to 100 percent of the cattle bellowing. The worst plant I visited, in 1993, shackled and hoisted fully conscious cattle by one rear leg for kosher slaughter. All of the cattle were bellowing. I was hired to replace their system with restraining chutes that hold the cattle in a more comfortable upright position. Now the average percentage of cattle vocalizing is 2 percent for regular slaughter where cattle are stunned and 5 percent for kosher slaughter. Very loud bellows where cattle are severely distressed have been almost eliminated.

I also want to comment on Matt Ritter’s talk on transporting pigs. Dead pigs cannot be used for human consumption. He was discussing “downer” pigs that are fatigued and cannot walk. This is a very severe animal welfare problem that has become worse as pigs have been grown to very heavy weights.

Everybody who attended the Kansas City meeting was there because they want to improve animal welfare. I would be happy to talk to any reader or reporter who is interested in further discussion. Call me at 970-229-0703 and leave a message.

Temple Grandin
Associate Professor
Colorado State University


Fort Collins, Colorado

Pickup Window

Prey tell: It’s too bad that Jen Chen’s recent Night Ranger about Touché made it sound exclusively like a “pickup bar” instead of even mentioning the quality about the place that has made some of us “regulars” (February 23).

I’ve been there frequently for nearly a decade. There is a kind of Cheers-like essence to the earlier crowd in the place (normally gone before midnight), which is composed of friends who get together, dance and share a few drinks, laughter and occasionally some tears. That has kept me coming back and feeling safe. It’s a place where friends watch out for each other and get together at other locations and parties at our homes.

It’s a freaking bar, and yes, there are going to be those who are there looking to get lucky. But frankly, I don’t appreciate the ideas that her article filled young male heads with, and it’s already obvious that it will take awhile to convince them that not all older women are interested being approached by younger men just because she said so. Yes, there are some who deserve some of the things her article indicated — like I said, it’s a bar.

But it’s a shame that your story left no room for decent women to continue to show up there without being bothered by the predators encouraged to approach an older woman like myself because of her article.

Deb Reeves
Overland Park