Animal cruelty continues to be practiced

The ASPCA has designated April as "Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month." Lately, much federal legislation has been passed or considered to the detriment of our fellow creatures.

On the first day of his new job, Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke lifted the ban on use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle used on federal lands and waters. Lead left on the ground or in water leads to poisoning of plants and thousands of animals such as the bald eagle and endangered California condor. The argument is that lead-free bullets are more expensive, leading to claims that opportunities for hunting will be reduced due to the expense, even though non-lead options are available, cost-competitive and safer.

On April 3, H.J. Res. 69 was signed so that once again, practices that were banned such as bear baiting, hunting via aircraft, killing hibernating bears and their cubs and killing wolves, coyotes and their offspring in their dens is once again legal on or near federally protected lands in Alaska. The National Rifle Association and Safari Club International argued that these federal restrictions were deemed unwarranted by many Alaskans although many animal advocacy groups disagree.

Federal lawmakers backed by special interests are eyeing the Endangered Species Act as being harmful to industries such as agriculture, drilling, logging and mining and are pushing to weaken or gut this wildlife conservation law because it imposes restrictions on how land can be used. For more than 40 years, however, the law has saved 99 percent of listed species such as the bald eagle and American alligator from extinction ("Trump Jr.'s prairie dog hunt in Montana prompts backlash," April 22).

In the end, this quote by Mahatma Gandhi sums it up: "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."

Liuda Galinaitis, Westminster

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