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A cruel streak

August 22, 2007

Re "A beastly kind of cruelty," Column One, Aug. 17

What induces such savagery toward helpless animals is terrifying in its lack of conscience. These people who kill and maim animals on farms are criminals who have a mental filter that has extinguished all sense of compassion.

While reading the article, I could not help thinking about the case of NFL quarterback Michael Vick or the torturous slaying of the family of gorillas in the Congo. But it is naive to believe that this same cruelty doesn't exist in our zoos and circuses. When was the last time we saw a photograph of an elephant standing on its head in the wild or a tiger jumping through hoops of fire? These animals travel most of their lives in trucks or boxcars, and the only time they are not caged is when they are performing to a public that is unaware of the abuse.

Until we are educated to treat animals with compassion, we are all guilty of cruelty.

Lynn Bruser

La Jolla

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As horrible as the livestock shootings are, they aren't any more cruel than the inevitable fate awaiting these animals. They are trucked hundreds of miles in extreme weather conditions and slaughtered on a "disassembly" line moving so fast that many cows suffer the butchering process fully conscious. While these teens may be charged with vandalism, there are no laws that forbid the cruelty inherent in the meat industry.

In some ways, I think these shootings are a good thing. They raise awareness of animal welfare issues, and they will hopefully make livestock operators think twice about their business.

David Cortright

Burbank

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I find it ironic that the very industry that has so vehemently resisted anti-cruelty laws for farm animals in the past may now see the need for such laws. Despite our carnivorous desensitization to the suffering of these animals, the violence that they should have to face needs to have clear legal limits.

Michelle Shamasneh

Hiram, Ga.

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It's a shame that people can shoot animals, even if they are farm animals destined to be slaughtered anyway, and get away without any serious charges just because animal cruelty laws do not apply to livestock. People who enjoy killing are dangerous. Today it is animals, tomorrow, human beings. A heavier sentence would certainly help.

Nandita Shah

Mumbai, India

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I do not fear evil; I fear apathy. For a decent society to overlook base cruelty because it is directed at those we consider unworthy of our pity shakes me to the core; I am German and live with the legacy of that mind-set. May God forgive us.

Pat Sommer

Laguna Beach

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