Letters to the Editor - Jan. 25, 2013
Stop school cat dissection
Continuing cat dissection in our public high school classrooms is not to be simply treated as a nuisance issue conveniently justified and squelched without acknowledging the many nuances associated with it.
By simply allowing this antiquated curriculum to continue, we are perpetuating a multimillion dollar specimen industry that historically is neither transparent nor accountable. It involves the acquisition and, in most other cases, purposeful breeding of countless millions of animals annually killed and packaged as specimens.
I see no reason a student might find this type of exercise beneficial. Years ago, I took part in a high school pig dissection and was surprised that such a thing was still going on in our community. There are now alternatives that many schools have incorporated.
In retrospect, it is clear that the take-away was “animals are disposable.” This attitude is not something that needs to be reinforced any further today.
The fact is that millions of unwanted pets, particularly cats, are abandoned each year, while at the same time millions more are being born because of uneducated owners. For most of these, there is little hope of a good home, and many will find themselves euthanized in barbaric methods such as the gas chamber and ultimately marketed by corporations as so-called “teaching tools.”
The chances of a student ever needing to dissect a house cat post-high school are quite low, but many will find themselves the caretaker of one. Bring the school district into the 21st century, and find another way to accomplish the mandate of educating students without reinforcing a throw-away mentality.
Teach good animal stewardship: the conditions in which these “specimens” were procured would be a start.
We need industrial jobs
I would like to thank the News-Register for reprinting the Statesman Journal editorial, “Pass effective legislation quickly” (Viewpoints, Jan. 18). It is said that recession is when you hear of someone who lost his job, but a depression is when you lose yours.
Oregon really has only two natural resources, hydroelectric and wood products. It is the wood products industry I would like to address, the paper industry in particular.
I have been doing political work for the Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers since 2005. There has been a tremendous loss of jobs and plant closures due to extreme environmentalism and, worse, trade agreements established by the federal government, including the coming Trans-Pacific Pact.
We, as citizens, need to keep our industrial jobs, which mainly fall into rural Oregon. Why? If workers are not working and industrial plants are not operating, there are no payroll taxes from the workforce and no property taxes paid by the industrial plants. I hope citizens will understand that we need all of us living whole lives; marrying, raising children and educating them, and, hopefully, retiring.
When I was living in Chicago, a state tourism board jingle was “Just outside Chicago, there is a state called Illinois.” Citizens in downstate Illinois complained, and the jingle was changed to “Just outside your back door, there is a state called Illinois.” Oregon is like Illinois — one state, not two.
I hope Senate President Courtney of Salem and House Speaker Kotek of Portland pass legislation that emphasizes and pays attention to rural Oregonians’ needs. Rural Oregon is looking not for a handout but a hand up to be productive and whole. I have my fingers crossed for this legislative year.