Letters to the Editor (8/6/09)

Aug. 6, 2009

Clunkers for debt

The program succinctly represents the current Washington mindset. A poorly planned and managed program intended to prop up failing banks and auto manufacturers by giving away tax dollars we don’t have, which increases both personal and federal indebtedness. Did you notice that a good percentage of those auto parts you are crushing and replacing are not made in the USA? Motivated by environmental concerns, eh? Destroying perfectly good cars and replacing them before they are worn out has got to be rather energy intensive. And what does Washington normally do when they have an ineffective bailout program that robs one group (you) to prop up another failing industry? That’s right, they expand it!

Shelley Palmer, Williston

Protecting animals

Last year, Green Mountain Animal Defenders received many complaints regarding animals, specifically goldfish, being given as prizes at state and county fairs across Vermont. Many people, including fair organizers, apparently did not realize that this is a violation of Vermont’s Prohibited Use of Animals (Title 13, Chapter 8, Section 366) law.

This law prohibits using live animals (including fish) as prizes in any game, lottery, contest or promotion, unless the event is recognized by an agricultural or sporting association. Where such an association does recognize the event, the regulation requires that an alternative cash prize be offered, and that the person or organization awarding the animal has a reasonable assurance that proper transportation and adequate care will be provided.

Due to these strict stipulations, the awarding of small animals, such as goldfish, is unfeasible since the future care of the animal cannot be assured. In fact, many of these goldfish perish within hours.

To some, the distribution of goldfish may be seen as a victimless violation. However, many studies have shown that the ability to feel pain in fish is very similar to that of birds and mammals.

Please, if you see a violation, report it immediately to the local police department in the town in which the fair is being held, as they are responsible for enforcement of this legislation. I also ask you to contact GMAD, as we would appreciate hearing about any instances of live animals being used as prizes at any venue.

Sharon MacNair, president, Green Mountain Animal Defenders