To the editor:
In Bruce Hills' column (Oct. 24), I found many flaws regarding "Keep the Role of Animals in Perspective." I agree with Mr. Hills that people anthropomorphize animals, attributing human characteristics to their behavior. He blames cartoons and novels for this occurrence, but I find this solution far too simple.All cultures anthropomorphize animals regardless of mass media, because it is impossible not to relate everything in human terms.
I was impressed with Mr. Hills' descriptions also of how we use domestic animals for agriculture, and I agree these things should be put into perspective. It is when Mr. Hills describes his perspective and the reasons surrounding it that I find error.
He quickly lumps laboratory research in with agriculture. Mr. Hills gives no description of these laboratory conditions as he had with domestic livestock raising. Most laboratories use unnecessary experiments on animals, in addition to required experiments. It is this point that animal rights activists attack.
The Surgeon General has said that meat consumption is the primary factor involved in the three biggest causes of death in the country: heart disease, strokes, and cancer. We are dying from the unnecessary over-consumption of livestock, while Mr. Hills defends hunting deer for food to add even more meat to our diet.
Any wheat farmer, soy farmer, corn farmer, potato farmer, or rice farmer can tell you that more than 10 times as much food can be produced by growing plants for food instead of seeking the higher profits of government-subsidized meat production.
My final point stems from Mr. Hills' belief that our feedlot cows, which are admittedly better supervised than over-grazing range cattle, and which use fewer resources which do not destroy scenic environments like that of Capitol Reef National Park where I work, that these cows are well fed and therefore well treated.
Mr. Hills does not mention the veal scandal, in which baby calves are mass produced in tiny wood cages so their meat will be more tender because they can't use their muscles to walk around.
After this, Mr. Hills attacks as "fantasy and imagination," the consideration of animals as living, moving, breathing coinhabiters of our planet which deserve a little respect and appreciation instead of use and abuse.
Imagination and fantasy are the sources of morals, achievements, and any other thing that can lead to our enjoyment and survival on this planet.
Capitol Reef National Park