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Veterinarian's Zeal for Hunting Is Deplorable

August 31, 2003

Re "Animal-Rights Group Targets O.C. Vet Who Is an Avid Hunter," Aug. 23:

How can veterinarian Jack L. Stephens, founder and head of one of the larger pet insurance companies, proclaim his love for animals when he avidly hunts animals on safari for sport and hangs their heads on his wall?

David Reisman, speaking on Stephens' behalf, has a simple answer: What Stephens does in his free time is no one else's business. I guess that means that Martha Stewart's free-time investments are nobody's business but her own, Bill Clinton's free-time dalliances are nobody's business but his own, and Dick Cheney's free-time interest in the oil industry is nobody's business but his own.

And if elected, Larry Flynt's free-time publication of pornography would be nobody's business but his own, and ... well, you get the point.

When did character stop counting? What Stephens does on his own time is very much the business of those who think of him as a caring animal lover and who rely on this perception to buy veterinary services or insurance policies from him.

It is incomprehensible to claim that one can "love animals" on the job and then hunt them down, kill them and decapitate them during "free time."

As a veterinarian, his attitudes and behavior toward animals are very much on the minds of those who entrust animals to his care.

Though I am not a member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, I find his passion for the blood sport of hunting sickening.

I could not engage him as a veterinarian nor could I buy his insurance knowing that his profits are used to support this "free time" activity.

Ruth Rosen

San Juan Capistrano

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