Letter to the Editor re “Next Out of the Printer, Living Tissue”

Letter to the Editor re “Next Out of the Printer, Living Tissue”
Date submitted: August 18, 2013
News outlet: New York Times

A recent article on Darryl D’Lima’s efforts to print living tissue such as knee cartilage with a 3-D printer had a moderate tone (“Next Out of the Printer, Living Tissue” August 18).  It presented D’Lima’s efforts without succumbing to the enthusiasm of zealots who sometimes suggest that whole organs will be printed and transplanted into patients in the near future.

Yet there was no mention in the article that D’Lima has overwhelmingly produced dead rather than living tissue; specifically, dead rabbit tissue.  D’Lima has been performing medically unnecessary surgeries and killing rabbits in his lab for years.

To present only the possibility of a future benefit without also presenting the very real harm that is currently being inflicted on animals is a disservice, if not a deception, to your readers.

Darryl D'Lima (ddlima@scripps.edu) performs deadly experiments on rabbits.

Darryl D’Lima (ddlima@scripps.edu) performs deadly experiments on rabbits.

Letter to the Editor re Douglas County Lamb Show & Barbecue

Letter to the Editor re Douglas County Lamb Show & Barbecue
Date submitted: May 30, 2013
News outlet: The News-Review

Sigmund Freud wrote that “Children show no trace of the arrogance which urges adult civilized men to draw a hard-and-fast line between their own nature and that of all other animals.”

Freud’s observation is confirmed by the friendships that children readily make with animals.  Unfortunately, the process of turning caring children into “civilized men” (and women) often involves terminating these friendships and mocking their significance.

The annual Douglas County Lamb Show & Barbecue serves this function of hardening hearts.  Children who have cared for animals are expected to put their friends on the auction block and eventually under the knife.  Amongst the civilized it is deemed a sign of maturity to willingly exchange the lives of loved ones for money.

74th Annual Douglas County Lamb Show & Barbecue Program [PDF]

Letter to the Editor re: “Logging Towns Are on a Roll”

Letter to the Editor re “Logging Towns Are on a Roll,” February 24, 2012
Date submitted: February 25, 2013
News outlet: The Wall Street Journal

In truth, log yards are graveyards.  The stacked bodies of dead trees, viewed merely as building materials, were not only themselves once alive but also provided homes and security for countless others who lived amongst their branches.

To justify the industrial scale slaughter of trees by pointing to shifting unemployment rates and the “composite price per thousand board feet of framing lumber” is to paper over atrocity with the pages of an accounting ledger.

log yard daily astorian

Letter to the Editor re: Wildlife Safari

In addition to regular posts of the sort that have appeared thus far, I will occasionally be posting the text of relevant letters to the editor that I submit to newspapers and other publications.  I currently aim for two posts per month; any letters that appear will be in addition to those two posts.  The idea is that even if such letters are not published by the news outlet to which they are submitted they will still be available here.

Letter to the Editor re: Wildlife Safari
Submitted: February 11, 2013
News outlet: The News-Review (Roseburg, OR)

In a little over a year, two giraffes—Kipandi and Hodari—have died at Wildlife Safari. Kipandi was six years old and Hodari was fifteen.

It is my hope that these deaths cause people to pause and reevaluate Wildlife Safari. Over 500 animals are contained in the 600 acre park yet the Wildlife Safari website boasts that the animals are “in their natural habitat freely roaming much as they do in the wild”. But the fact is that this is essentially an animal themed amusement park.

The presence of a petting zoo, camel rides, a so-called elephant car wash, and a lion tug-of-war (with a lion on one end of the rope and park-goers on the other) makes clear that Wildlife Safari is first and foremost about amusing park-goers and treating animals like entertaining exhibits. If further evidence is needed, the “Uganda Railway” train running through the Village area should suffice.

The cheetah breeding program—which the park is often praised for—serves largely to fill cages and exhibits at other zoos. Wildlife Safari’s website says that “[cheetah] cubs born at the park have populated zoos across the U.S.”. Yet many people respect Wildlife Safari precisely because it is perceived as being somehow different than a zoo; failing to realize that Wildlife Safari is the breeding ground for other facilities that they rightfully condemn.

In short, animals do not belong in captivity. And they do not exist for our amusement.

Correction:  The original text of this letter stated that Hodari and Kipandi died within a month.  In fact, Kipandi died in January 2012 and Hodari in February 2013.  The above text has been corrected to reflect this.

Update: This letter was published by The News-Review on February 21, 2013.