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Poultry-free diet aids health, animals and the...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Poultry-free diet aids health, animals and the environment

As a registered dietitian, I lump poultry industry discontent with Gov. Parris N. Glendening's commendable decision to stop eating chickens with tobacco industry unhappiness over a prominent smoker's health-boosting decision to quit cigarettes ("Governor's diet a disappointment," April 21).

Experts estimate that a record 9.4 billion U.S. chickens were killed in 2000, a rate exceeding 1 million per hour. Much of that consumption surge has been prompted by the false notion of chicken as some sort of health food. Clearly, it is not.

Four ounces of beef and four ounces of chicken both contain about 100 milligrams of artery-clogging cholesterol and derive comparable percentages of calories from fat, much of it saturated fat.

And let's not forget the cancer-causing heterocyclic amines produced by cooking chicken and other meats, nor the salmonella, campylobacter and other food-borne illnesses often tainting meat when it is undercooked or when cross-contamination spreads infection.

Increasingly, the commercial poultry industry, which has bedeviled the Delmarva Peninsula since the 1920s, operates to the extreme detriment of public health, its own workers and contract farmers, our environment and, of course, the birds themselves.

So, frankly, the faster Maryland's rapacious factory-farmed chicken industry emulates the state's waning tobacco industry and fades away, the better.

Lynn Tumpa, Baltimore

Hooray for Gov. Parris N. Glendening who has demonstrated his progressive mindset by adopting a meat-free diet and thanks to The Sun for telling us about it.

Maryland is proud to call the governor its own thanks to his compassionate leadership regarding the environment, gays and, now, as a friend to animals.

Theresa Barnes, Mayo

Pro-Arab reporting promotes terrorism against Israelis

While I have endured The Sun's one-sided reporting in support of the Palestine Liberation Organization and Palestinian Authority, the subtitle of the front-page article "Israel pulls tanks, troops out of Gaza" (April 18) gave new meaning to the term revisionism.

The Sun states that an "air, land, sea assault followed Arab mortar attack on settlement." The term "settlement" is loaded at best, but is usually not used for Israeli communities within the 1967 borders. Sderot is well within those borders.

While previous articles and editorials have given tacit approval to attacks on Jewish communities in Gaza and the West Bank because they are "settlements" on "Palestinian" land, The Sun now licenses attack on towns in Israel proper because, in your eyes, they, too, are settlements.

With such reporting, it's no wonder the PLO feels emboldened to attack Jews and Israeli communities.

Mitchell S. Ackerson, Baltimore

Restrictions on crabbing are unfair to watermen

After reading the article "Glendening sets limits, trims blue crab season" (April 28), I was very glad to read "Watermen's faith weathers storms" (April 30).

As an active environmentalist, I understand the importance of restoring blue crab harvests, but I am angered by the regulations that will leave Maryland watermen destitute. Theirs is a profession that has endured for more than 200 years, despite deadly storms and poor harvests.

Instead of blaming watermen, we need to address the real threats to our bay, such as sprawl, open-bay dumping, emissions, farm run-off, excessive recreational harvests and poaching.

It makes much more sense to put strict regulations and fines on recreational crabbers rather than on those who make their living from the harvest.

Brianne Coons, Westminster

Ban harvest of paper shells and of virgin female crabs

Two laws would help the declining crab population and cost consumers little:

Make it illegal to keep paper shells. They have no value to consumers or packers.

Make it illegal to keep virgin females. These crabs have the best chance of reproduction.

J. Hacke, Baltimore

Bush's panel threatens future of Social Security

The most successful program ever launched by the federal government is now under attack by our destructive new president ("Bush plans bipartisan panel on Social Security reform," May 2).

The whole concept of Social Security is protection in old age against the ravages of the economy. If we link the program to the vagaries of the stock market, it will surely be the end of the program.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Florence S. Silverman, Baltimore

Mississippi's state flag is no one else's business

I would like to offer my opinion concerning Mississippi's state flag, but I can't ("Mississippi is deserving of worst schools rank," April 25). It's none of my business. When I pack up and move to Mississippi, I will have an opinion that counts.

I strongly believe in the right to vote. And the residents of Mississippi made their choice.

Don't get me wrong, I am not trampling on anyone's right to free speech. Say what you want about the matter. The simple fact is that your opinion doesn't count anymore than the opinion of someone in Utah concerning Maryland's state tree.

Yes, you do have the power of the purse. You can choose to spend your hard-earned tourist dollars in another state. But you never know: The people of Mississippi might rise up and declare that they won't buy Maryland crab because they don't like the way that it is harvested.

Maybe a better philosophy would probably be to follow the lead of another old battle flag, "Don't Tread on Me."

Jeff Dreier, Pasadena

Why is it that the state flag of Mississippi is even a concern to anyone other than the residents themselves?

The people of Mississippi decided to stick with their current flag instead of bowing down to those outsiders who insist on sticking their noses in other people's business.

The racists who insist the people of Mississippi are stupid or should secede from the union or somehow the people of the South in general are of lesser quality should stop and take a look at themselves.

If you need to belittle others to feel important, you are the on who needs help.

Albert Franklin Hunt Jr., Halethorpe

The Green Party will not go away

In response to the letter "Where is the outrage from Nader's Green Party?" (April 24) I'd note that I'm still here, and I'm standing strong, along with the rest of my comrades in the Baltimore Green Party.

The Green Party isn't going to disappear. We'll be here in 2004 to ruin it for the two-party system in that presidential election. We'll also be running local candidates throughout Maryland in coming elections, and we're even having a statewide assembly at Towson University May 12-13.

If you think we're going away, you're fooling yourself.

T.J. Tumach, Baltimore

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