Feed ban limits make mad cow disease...

Feed ban limits make mad cow disease a genuine threat

Tom Mudd's column "Can cows go mad here?" (Opinion


Commentary, Feb. 8) brought out valid points regarding mad cow disease (BSE) and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease but needs clarification.

The Food and Drug Administration issued the 1997 ban on meat and bone meal in animal feed, not the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Moreover, the ban has a hole wide enough for Bossy the Cow and all her friends to fit through: the ban only applies to animal feed for ruminants (cows, sheep and horses).


The ban does not apply to feeding cow- or sheep-derived bone meal or manure to chickens or pigs, nor does the ban apply to feeding bone meal or manure derived from chickens and pigs to cows and sheep.

And USDA's ban on imports of animal feed and related materials has the same huge hole: The ban does not apply to material from non-ruminant animals.

This is significant for two reasons: It is very possible that chickens and pigs can be non-infected carriers of BSE, and the BSE agent (or prion) is not killed via conventional processing, heat or radiation.

As long as animal "meal" is routinely fed to animals and the prion is not killed, those who eat any animal are literally at risk of developing holes in their brains.

And 80 Europeans have died from the new CJD variant, which does not incubate in 30 years, but a few years at most.

So, Mr. Mudd and others can have their burger if they want. I'll have my veggie burger on whole wheat.

Mark Rifkin



Snowmobiles don't menace other national park patrons

The Sun's editorial about banning snowmobiles in national parks read like a press release from the Sierra Club ("Exit sign for snowmobiles," Feb. 8).

I have ridden a snowmobile in Yellowstone National Park and nearly everything the editorial said is untrue.

Snowmobiles are not allowed off plowed park roads. As there is no off-road riding, wildlife is not frightened away from food and water. Cross-country skiers and snowshoers are not at risk.

Snowmobiles are limited to 45 miles per hour, which is radar-enforced.

The Sun's comment that a ban on snowmobiles is based on sound science could not be further from the truth. It was based on incorrect information supplied by environmental organizations.


Our national parks belong to all citizens and we all should have the right to enjoy them.

Jim Thomas


West side merchants need help from the state

It is my privilege to represent a number of fine merchants who must move their businesses as a result of the city's west side renewal.

The city has committed to treating these merchants fairly and The Sun's editorial asking for assistance from the governor's budget is on the mark ("West side revival depends on governor," Feb. 14).


These funds are needed if these longtime merchants are to survive.

John C. Murphy


Razing the old stadium is foolish and sacrilegious

The demolition of Memorial Stadium is a very fiscally foolish idea. For a financially strapped city to give away a large tract of prime real estate for a non-revenue-producing structure makes no sense.

I am a senior citizen and know the need for senior housing. However, there are many other vacant lots and houses that could serve this purpose. Surely a business park (with a YMCA included) could be built behind the existing facade.


This stadium was built as a memorial to World War II veterans. Were it not for them, we would not have the freedoms we now take for granted.

Razing this memorial, instead of turning the old stadium into a viable, attractive revenue-producing location is tantamount to sacrilege. It would make a mockery of the words on the faM-gade: "Time will not dim the glory of their deeds."

Irene Hrdina Vincent


Thank God we finally have a president we can trust

The Clinton controversies never seem to end. The last eight years have exhaustingly been about the Clintons.


How refreshing that the focus of our new administration is on the welfare of this great country. We have waited eight long years to experience such optimism.

Thank God for President Bush, a man with integrity whom we can trust and be proud of.

Mike Bagley

Stephanie Bagley


Public schools use old textbooks, too


The Sun's recent article about public funding of textbooks for private schools opened old wounds of mine -- and probably those of many other public school parents and teachers ("Funding for books enter next chapter," Feb. 11).

The private school in the article has social studies books from 1993. With state funds, it will have new social studies textbooks by the fall.

My daughter is in a Baltimore County public middle school. Her class' social studies textbook is from 1987. It has a large section about the Soviet Union.

Throughout my daughter's public school education, only one textbook a year has been assigned her -- spelling in elementary school, math in middle school.

Parents had to purchase her middle school grammar book. Textbooks for other subjects are kept in the classroom because there aren't enough for each child.

This lack of textbooks leads to lack of homework, because the teacher cannot say, "Read chapter six and answer questions one to five."


It also leads to incomplete preparation for tests because the teachers, with their limited budgets, can only Xerox a few pages of the study guides.

I am relieved that my daughter missed by one year the requirement to pass a battery of tests for high school graduation. Even with her above-average intelligence, I fear that she will not gain enough knowledge of facts to pass such tests.

I hope she can survive by her wits in college and at work, because she is slipping further and further behind her peers in private schools.

Mary C. Corddry


The poignancy of the fact that the students at Father Charles A. Hall Elementary School are having to use social studies books from 1993 is lost on us.


Our son, who attends Roland Park Middle School, uses a textbook from 1990.

After paying $10,000 a year in state income tax, $6,500 a year in city property taxes and God knows how much in state sales and gasoline taxes, we are not thrilled at the prospect of any of our tax money going to subsidize what is probably the wealthiest organized religion on earth.

Gov. Parris N. Glendening is running out of legitimate ways to spend our taxes. Maybe it's time to give some back.

Nina Harkness

Gary Harkness