Eugene Weekly : Letters : 8.25.11


In response to Julie Bonaduce (letters, 8/18) who has lived here a month and is disappointed in the Whit: Coming to live in the Whiteaker and complaining about the free spirits here is like going to a nudist colony and complaining about naked people. The Whiteaker Block Party was just that, a party. And that’s what people do at events like that. Would you move across from a stadium and complain about the traffic, parking and bright lights?

We are artists, and we are not from L.A., we’re from Tennessee, and we left there because of all the uptight folks. The Whit is like the Island of Misfit Toys — if you don’t like it, fine, there are plenty of other places for “nice” folks like you to go, but for the rest of us, it is one place where we can belong (why shouldn’t we be able to have that?). Here we take the good with the bad, and some of us even believe in treating “junkies and alcoholics” with love instead of disgust.

A. W. Bradley, Eugene


The warm and fuzzy “Milky Way” cover story Aug. 18 ignored the deepest, darkest secrets of milk production. Whether raised organically or not, all “dairy cows” must give birth in order to produce milk, so are artificially impregnated every year while still lactating from their previous birthing session. This is physically taxing on their bodies, and there is a huge emotional toll.

Most calves are torn away from their mothers shortly after birth, and the milk meant for them is instead stolen for human consumption. It is a pitiful scene as mothers and calves — who long to bond with each other — are forcibly separated. Male calves, considered economically “useless” to the dairy industry, are typically raised for veal and killed at approximately four months of age, or confined to feedlots and slaughtered for “beef” at about 14 months. Some are slaughtered at only a few days old, becoming “bob veal.”

The female calves are either killed for meat, or destined to replace the worn-out cows no longer worth keeping alive economically after ceasing milk production following endless cycles of impregnation, giving birth and relentless milkings. The slaughtered bodies of these “spent” cows are typically churned into lower grade forms of meat such as hamburger and processed meats.

The bodily fluids of cows are designed to nourish their own babies, not human beings. With so many tasty, healthy alternative non-animal-derived milk products on the market, there is no need or excuse to support the cruelty inherent within the dairy industry.

Barb Lomow, Eugene


I’ve spent the past year or two quietly advocating food, water, human and environmental rights in my city, state and country — but soon I’ll take my activism to the next level.

Next week, I will join, risking arrest, with more than 2,000 people at the White House in a massive act of civil disobedience, dubbed the Tar Sands Action, opposing the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline that’ll flow from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. TSA is aimed at President Obama, who has the final say on the pipeline’s approval.

Canada’s mining operation has already destroyed large swaths of boreal forest, destroyed local ecosystems and poisoned community waterways; additionally, the full exploitation of this difficult-to-extract oil source would be “essentially game over for the climate,” says renowned NASA climatologist Jim Hansen. A “leak” in the pipeline would spill up to 6.9 million gallons of crude oil into the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, as well as the surrounding water tables.

Environmental author and activist Bill McKibben — who’s leading the charge, by the way — says TSA “will be the largest collective act of civil disobedience in the history of the climate movement.” I’m proud to be joining him, and thousands of other concerned citizens, in this action — and I hope you will follow our journey and spread the word. For though not everyone can travel to D.C., everyone can play a part, however small or large, in protecting our environment and all who inhabit it.

Monica Christoffels, Eugene


In June 2011, British lawmakers from all the major parties in Britain voted unanimously for a complete ban on the use of wild animals in circuses. Peru and Bolivia have also ended the abusive practice. Entire countries are banning the use of circus animals, yet Eugene will host an upcoming traveling road show, Ringling Bros., that still uses animals as “entertainment.”

Just a few days ago, USDA inspectors again cited Ringling Bros. in Colorado Springs. Sarah, a 54-year-old Asian elephant has a chronic health condition and is sick. She fell to the ground as the circus handlers tried to load her into a train boxcar. Stress and fatigue likely led to her dangerous fall. “This elephant’s needs and incidents like Sarah’s fall, underline the dangers faced by animals chained and caged in this impoverished life on the road,” according to Animal Defenders International. A formal complaint has been filed by ADI, with the USDA, and is available upon request.

The Humane Society of the United States wants people to know that circus acts that use wild animals are inhumane. “Animals don’t perform because they want to, they have no choice — they are beaten until they comply,” states HSUS. 

However, people do have a choice. I would like to urge everyone in our community, and the State of Oregon, to support only animal-free circuses. Personally, I look forward to the day when the abusive practice of using animals for entertainment purposes is banned worldwide.

Janet Black, Eugene


Conservative billionaire investor Warren Buffet recently penned a New York Times editorial titled: “Stop Coddling the Super-Rich.” Buffet details how he and his “mega-rich friends” have been getting “extraordinary tax breaks” for decades while most Americans struggle to make ends meet.

Buffet also debunks the conservative lies about higher tax rates on the rich hurting job creation and investment.

“I have worked with investors for 60 years and I have yet to see anyone — not even when capital gains rates were 39.9 percent in 1976-77 — shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain. People invest to make money, and potential taxes have never scared them off. And to those who argue that higher rates hurt job creation, I would note that a net of nearly 40 million jobs were added between 1980 and 2000. You know what’s happened since then: lower tax rates and far lower job creation.”

I say to the mayor and City Council: Let’s stop coddling the super-rich. In November of 2012, let the people vote on a school-funding measure increasing taxes on the wealthy and super-wealthy. Our children are waiting for someone to act. We can’t expect anything from Washington while the Great Capitulator is in the White House and the wing-nuts are running Congress.

Listen to Buffet: “My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.”

Joshua Welch, Eugene


The article, “Protest Rules: Cascadians Protest Big Oil in Montana” (7/21) was a worthy human interest story focusing on Earth First! activists’ tactics and dedication in opposing development of tar sands in Alberta, Canada. But it was ultimately unsympathetic toward the hard work of those activists to publish a major article and not include one sentence explaining why tar sands are an issue.

There is a reason why various corporations are environmentally devastating a huge region of Canada by digging up black, gunky dirt, and then processing it with vast amounts of water and natural gas ultimately producing something resembling crude oil: That reason is that the world has begun the slow, painful process of running out of conventional crude oil.

EW readers would benefit from knowing something about peak oil because the human family needs to understand that sustainability is not optional. If we don’t voluntarily stop burning fossil fuels then we will involuntarily stop when we run out which is already beginning to happen. As we have no choice in the matter, we may as well embrace the inevitable.

Robert Bolman, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: Indeed the discussion of toxic tar sands was brief, but the topic got much more attention in our cover story on Winona LaDuke and the battle against tar sands extraction in our archives for Sept. 2, 2010.


Why are herbicides such as 2-4-D, Atrazine and Roundup legal? These chemicals are poisonous, and some symptoms such as headaches, swelling in the throat and face, allergies, tumors, ADHD, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and even cancer have been found commonly in people exposed to these chemicals.

Recently our neighbor sprayed Roundup in the alley behind our house and right next to our garden. From the spraying my mom had headaches and I had severe nosebleeds, sometimes five a day, a runny nose and headaches. This lasted for both of us up to five days after the spraying and we where afraid to eat the food out of our own garden fearing that there might be chemicals in the food. Imagine all that hard work on our garden gone to waste because of unnecessary spraying in an alleyway. I could have cut that grass and dandelions with our lawn mower.

Imagine how bad it is for the people in Triangle Lake who have massive aerial spraying only a mile away. I can barely guess how that is affecting them! Couldn’t we find another way to get rid of these weeds instead of using all these harmful and sometimes lethal chemicals? For example, there is a shortage of jobs right now, couldn’t the government help pay for workers to go in and get rid of weeds in public and private places? This would help make jobs, save lives and save the planet!

Santiago Gause, age 12, Eugene