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When Farm Animals Are Put on 'Display'

Regarding the front-page article ''Fairs Brim With Everything From Pea Fowl to Pie Eating,'' Sept. 1: The author writes about an attraction at state fairs called the ''Miracle of Life'' exhibit.

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This exhibit allows thousands of spectators to view close to 100 different animals, including hogs, cows, and ducks, many of which are induced to give birth on cue.

Being on ''display'' is extremely stressful for these animals, as all species would naturally select a more private area to give birth. Crowds of loud, excited people, and novel surroundings greatly increase the level of stress for these animals.

Sadly, this shift of emphasis reflects the fact that traditional farm life in America has all but disappeared. In its place are enormous vertically integrated corporations that have built huge intensive confinement systems that deny animals many of their most basic physical and behavioral needs. These animals are treated as mere commodities rather than sensitive creatures who are capable of great suffering.

David Kuemmerle Washington

Project Coordinator

for Farm Animal Protection

The Humane Society of the US

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Wellesley president always female

Henry and Pauline Durant, who founded Wellesley College in 1870, would have been confounded by the article ''Eighteen Nominees Chosen for National Women's Hall of Fame,'' Sept. 15, in which the author cites Nannerl Overholser Keohane as the ''first woman to head a major women's college (Wellesley).''

In fact, Wellesley College is unique among secular institutions of higher education in the United States in that it has always had female presidents. The Durants' vision for Wellesley was one of commitment to female leadership, from the board of trustees to the faculty to the presidents.

We are, of course, tremendously proud of Nan Keohane, who is now the first woman president of Duke University.

Laurel Stavis Wellesley, Mass.

Director of Public Affairs

Wellesley College

Why Amnesty went to China

The author of the opinion-page article ''Concerning NGOs, China Had a Point,'' Sept. 21, shows a lack of understanding of the general role and impact of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in the world today as well as the specific role of Amnesty International at the UN Women's Conference in Beijing.

Contrary to the author's assertion that Amnesty International used ''the occasion [The UN's Fourth World Conference on Women] to promote the autobiography of Harry Wu ...,'' we went to Beijing to ensure that the conference's platform of action contained language both guaranteeing the universality and indivisibility of human rights for women and exhorting governments to ratify the UN Convention Against Torture, ''disappearance,'' and extrajudicial execution at the hands of repressive governments. This be ing Amnesty International's first time in China, we could not but speak out against its human rights record.

Curt Goering New York

Deputy Executive Director

Amnesty International USA

America's great pool of diversity

Sen. Bob Dole's statement that English should be ordained the ''official language'' of America is a dangerous piece of demagogy.

The most trite phrase now used by American politicians is ''the American people.'' But we are not ''the American people.'' We are, at most, ''American peoples (plural)''. We are black and white. We are red and brown and yellow. We are Catholics, Jews, Protestants, Muslims, atheists, and agnostics. We are rich, poor, and in-between. Our strength is our diversity, not our sameness.

Don Patrick Bothell, Wash.

Your letters are welcome. For publication they must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published and none acknowledged. Letters should be addressed to ''Readers Write'' and may be sent by mail to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, by fax to 617-450-2317, or by Internet e-mail (200 words maximum) to OPED@RACHEL.CSPS.COM.

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