To the editor:
Curt Spencer (Forum, Sept. 30) claims that the Humane Society of Utah is opposed to fishing, ranching, farming, trapping, hunting, medical research and almost everything else and therefore should be boycotted. To set Spencer straight, we offer the following rebuttal.No, we are not against fishing. We are opposed, however, to the needless killing of 100,000 dolphins a year by the tuna industry. Evidently most Americans agree with us since the tuna industry, bowing to public pressure, has now implemented a plan to buy only dolphin-safe tuna.
No, we are not against ranching or "the right to eat a hamburger." We do, however, investigate cases in which cattle or horses have been left to starve, have been provided with insufficient shelter in the winter, or have been cruelly mistreated. We are also opposed to the mistreatment of calves who are confined in narrow, dark boxes for the duration of their short, miserable lives so that tender, pale veal may be served on a restaurant's menu.
No, we are not opposed to farming. In fact, agricultural use of land is scientifically the most efficient manner to feed the world's population. We do oppose certain "factory farming" practices where the animals are not allowed to live in natural conditions or to walk, fly and otherwise move as God intended them to when they were created.
Yes, we are opposed to almost all trapping. We oppose the practice of subjecting wild (and sometimes domestic) animals to days of agony and cruel death in the jaws of a steel trap so that their pelts may be sold for commercial exploitation. The days of Daniel Boone are over and the recent drastic decline all over the world of the fur industry shows that the overwhelming majority of people today agree with our position.
No, we do not oppose humane hunting for wildlife management purposes. We have recently opposed the killing of the beautiful sandhill crane for trophy hunting, as do 70 percent of Utahns polled. We are against the practice of bear baiting, where a hunter waits for a bear to be attracted to a pile of food and then ambushes him. Is this sport? We also opposed a contest in Spencer's hometown of Richfield where "points" were to be given for each body of a dead animal brought in to the contest's sponsor. Public outcry caused this contest to be canceled.
Finally, we are not opposed to medical research. We only become offended when the experiments are done inhumanely, when they are performed solely for money and with no scientific basis, and when they are unnecessarily duplicated. We are also against almost all forms of product and cosmetic testing involving animals when other methods are far more reliable.
The Humane Society of Utah is in the business of speaking for those who have no voice. We will always have adversaries like Spencer, who believe that animals deserve a different kind of treatment. We believe that we represent the feelings and attitudes of mainstream Utah and thank the community for its continued support over the past 35 years.
Craig S. Cook
President and general counsel
Humane Society of Utah