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Rights of Animals Used for Food and Testing

Regarding the opinion-page column ``The Moral Case for Animal Rights,'' Oct. 1: It is gratifying to know that concern is growing for the rights of animals, but this is not enough. It is heartbreaking to hear of the millions of innocent, trusting animals who are maimed and killed in the name of science. Modern technology has proven that there are effective and reliable alternatives to medical experimentation. Animals are unable to speak for or defend themselves. Therefore, it is our responsibility to speak for them. Silently deploring this situation will accomplish little. Alice R. Candler, Dallas

Humans are omnivorous and derive nutritional benefit from the regular consumption of animal products. Meat and dairy products are excellent sources of protein, calories, vitamins, and minerals; this source is particularly important to children and people who do not have the nutritional training to balance their diet from vegetarian sources. And animals raised for food are generally handled from birth to death by well-intentioned farmers who shepherd their animals through the process. With only rare (and highly publicized) exceptions, domesticated animals are raised under conditions optimal to their health and well-being.

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Research animals are tranquilized or anesthetized prior to procedures which might inflict pain or suffering. The majority of animals raised for food or research in this country have better food, shelter, and health care than the majority of humans in less developed countries. Dennis J. Bobilya, Grand Forks, N.D.

The article states, ``Tens of millions of animals die in often painful laboratory experiments.'' Yet tens of millions of ``feeling, defenseless and innocent'' people are alive today because of animal research. I am angry that the author chooses to bring the issue of animal utilization down to the merits of testing a new and improved bleach and discussions of what God thinks. Stephen S. Hull Jr., Edmond, Okla.

I believe that kindness, generosity and sanity should be expected from morally strong people. ``Thou shalt not torture,'' should be applied to all lives - particularly to animals used for food. Dezie R. Lerner, Ocean Ridge, Fla.

The article ``Animal Testing Feels the Heat,'' Oct. 15, states, ``No laws require companies to test cosmetics on animals.'' It isn't just ``safety'' that these companies are concerned with, however, it's lawsuits. Fortunately, enlightened firms have learned that animal testing is not necessary. Conversely, there are those who persist in harming and wasting animal life when they could use proven-safe natural substances. The author mentions PETA's (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) ``targets'' as the Gillette Company and L'Oreal, but should also include Procter & Gamble - one of the most notorious stalwarts of animal use and abuse to test personal care and household products. Joanne Hedge, Hollywood, Calif.

The article discusses the viewpoints of an animal-rights activist and an animal-rights terrorist. Unfortunately, it does not give as much coverage to the other side. Until alternatives are found, animal research is the only answer. Dawn Lee Minter, Lambertville, N.J.

While many of PETA's goals are laudable, they should be careful with the moralistic but facile assertion, ``Animals do not belong to us to eat or wear .... '' Since a morally rigid statement such as this must logically apply to all animals and all people, PETA should be prepared to persuade Eskimos to shed their sealskins, abandon their dogs, and stop eating fish. The same logic would apply to other peoples as well. If not, then PETA should revise its moral platform. Joseph P. Stefani, La Mirada, Calif.

I would not wish to break any laws on behalf of animals, and yet I sympathize with people who feel that radical action must be taken. There are so few laws to protect animals that some people feel they have little choice but to take matters into their own hands. Still, we can't blame the lawmakers as long as we, the public, are indifferent to the plight of animals. Neither should we leave it to a dedicated group of people to try to solve the problems. There is so much each one of can can do to help, and it's our duty to do so. Doreen Wooley, Alexandria, Va.

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