What is humane treatment for wild animals?
In response to Maryland Fur Trappers Association public education director Robert L. Dunker Jr.'s Dec. 21 letter, readers should ask this question: "What vested interest might a spokesman for a trappers' organization have in speaking negatively about people who object to the slaughter of fur-bearing animals?"
Then ask, "What possible motive do millions of citizens who are against using animal skins have?"
We have absolutely nothing to gain by speaking out against animal abuse. In fact, we only stand to be ridiculed by those who profit financially from animal exploitation.
I find it difficult to believe anyone could blame animal protectionists for the starvation or diseases of wild animals.
It is equally ludicrous to argue that trappers or hunters are making a valuable contribution in the name of conservation.
Nature has her own system of balancing animal populations, a system well-established long before mankind took up hunting and trapping, and one which still works today.
Because hunters and trappers target the healthy, strong animals of a species, they disturb nature's system, which allows the weak, old and infirm to die. So-called "game management" practices, defended by hunters and trappers, actually stimulate animal reproduction, perpetuating the excuse to continually kill more animals.
If simply left alone, animal populations that have grown too large for their habitat will cease to increase, partly because the females will become infertile.
The public may not be fully aware that many fur garments are made from so-called "ranched" fur. Many customers surely would be disgusted to wear garments made from "ranched" fur if they could witness the living conditions and deaths of these animals.
These animals do not live in the wild but are bred exclusively to be slaughtered via electrocution and other cruel methods. Some are actually skinned alive so that the fur pelt will not be damaged during the killing process.
Those who are employed in the business need not suffer unemployment. There are many other respectable fields of employment, and I'm sure those who work in a field where they can make a real contribution to society will find a great deal more satisfaction and personal reward than they do from such a cruel and heartless industry.
Martha E. Gagnon
Regarding the brouhaha about possible fraud in the gubernatorial election, I would like to make two points:
I thought each voting location had a Democrat and a Republican judge checking the voting card of the voter.
If so, any "fraud" would be due to their neglect. When I voted, they did not ask me for my card.
If fraudulent votes were cast, who is to say that they were all for one person or occurred in only a few political subdivisions that are being challenged, instead of the entire state?
Joseph K. Rosenblatt Jr.
Ellen Sauerbrey's frivolous lawsuit is clearly the opening salvo of the 1998 gubernatorial campaign.
She surely understands that the largely technical violations she describes could not possibly change the outcome of the last election.
For example, although voters who change residence are TTC required to notify officials of address changes and to vote at polling places assigned to their new address, they frequently vote at their old polling places.
But even if thousands of Marylanders had cast their ballots at improper locations it would not affect the result of a statewide gubernatorial election. In any election, a number of irregularities and technical violations occur. The courts have frequently commented that the election laws do not guarantee a perfect election, merely a fair one.
None of Ms. Sauerbrey's allegations show a pattern of systematic misconduct or fraud. Significantly, she alleges only violations in the jurisdictions Mr. Glendening won.
She no doubt would find precisely the same problems in the counties she won. But it does not serve her political agenda to disclose irregularities there.
Ms. Sauerbrey is laying the foundation for a 1998 campaign based on a naked appeal to racism. Her not-so-subtle message is that the election was stolen by the (largely black) voters of Baltimore City.
Let us hope Marylanders will see through this cynical assault on their intelligence and send Ms. Sauerbrey into the political wilderness such despicable conduct deserves.
Sheldon H. Laskin
People must be held responsible for their fate
Two items caught my eye in The Evening Sun of Dec. 30. One was an article about President Clinton awarding $298 million to aid the homeless and the other was a letter to The Forum from Albert E. Denny of Pikesville.
Mr. Denny writes that "many cities may soon be turning away deserving people because of a growing need and insufficient resources."
I take exception to this attribute that he used to describe homeless people. What makes them deserving?
He also writes about the compassion and financial assistance that the United States has traditionally displayed to the hungry and needy in faraway lands.
The homeless in the United States are not subject to the same disadvantages as those peoples. Our country is not war torn; under a dictatorship or subject to great famines and plagues.
Instead, Americans enjoy free education, Medicaid, welfare, subsidized housing, food stamps and the right to do whatever self-destructive thing they choose to do.
In the article about the $298 million to aid the homeless, it is related that one girl said her parents kicked her out because of her involvement in prostitution.
Are we supposed to believe that this incorrigible child is "deserving" of our concern and financial help?
If it was up to me, I'd have her placed in a reformatory school. Other teens attributed their homelessness to drug use or physical abuse at home.
It's not clear if the teens were using drugs or their parents were doing drugs. But if it's the parents, then these are the children who should be placed in orphanages as Newt Gingrich so boldly suggested.
The children who are physically and sexually abused should also be placed in orphanages. They certainly shouldn't be allowed to live on the street.
Before throwing any more taxpayer's money at the problem, this country needs to ask itself why we have homeless people.
How many people are on the streets because of their own faulty life choices? If people choose to take drugs, forgo an education in their youth, have sexual relations without regard for the children they produce, whose responsibility is it?
If it's the taxpayer's responsibility, then the taxpayers should have the same control of the lives of the homeless as parents have over their minor children.
Let's make all people stay in school until they receive at the very least a high school education. Don't let them quit school at age 16. Make their parents financially responsible for them until they have that high school diploma.
Let's implant Norplant into the arms of all females at the time of their first menses. People should also have to get "birth licenses;" then we could assign financial responsibility before a child is born. Children born without a birth license become wards the state.
Let's put the alcoholics and drug addicts into detoxification facilities for as long as it takes to detox them -- and keep putting them in there until they stop.
We'll need a secondary police force whose job will be to round up all the alcoholics and drug addicts. Let's stop worrying about the dealers. They'll go away if they don't have any customers.
Some of the homeless are mentally ill and need to be placed into custodial care. Most people are aghast that animals are left on the street to starve but would allow irrational people to determine for themselves whether or not they need custodial care.
I know that my opinions will be deemed by some as fascist and controlling in the extreme, but I'm weary of paying my hard
earned money to the government to support the Great American Welfare State.
I happen to be in the highest income tax bracket and feel that I am being punished for working hard and doing well.
Though I've worked since I was 14 and never inherited a dime from anyone, I'm still punished every tax season by having my legal, itemized deductions "adjusted" downward because of my income bracket.
I hope that the Newt Gingriches get their way in 1995, and I know that many others feel the same way.