Cruelty’s bitter taste
Re We Can’t Stomach The Real Cost Of Food (July 28): In July, 1988, Sweden passed an Animal Protection Act, updated in 2009, to govern factory farming.
The act requires that animals be accommodated and handled in an environment that is appropriate for them and that permits natural behaviours. Provisions include that cattle are entitled to be put out to graze, poultry to be let out of battery cages, sows not to be tethered and to have room to move around, cows and pigs to have access to straw and litter in stalls and boxes.
Technology must be adapted to animals, not the reverse. Slaughtering must be as humane as possible. The basic principle is that animals raised for food have a right to lead happy lives. If Sweden can do it, so can Canada.
Sylvia Hale, Fredericton
Thanks to Elizabeth Renzetti for making people face the reality of what happens to animals before their flesh lands on our plates. It’s great to see this information getting out to the wider public and to see that people care and want to do what they can to lessen their participation in such cruelty.
If going vegan seems too difficult, remember it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Consider committing to eating less chicken, dairy and eggs whenever you can. Start with Meatless Mondays.
When there’s a vegan option, such as a veggie burger instead of the regular one, or the wide selection of vegan pizzas now offered, take advantage. Every little step makes a difference.
Barbi Lazarus, Toronto
Nein danke, Canada
Re Ottawa Downplays German Trade Concerns (July 28): The European backlash against investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanisms in trade agreements is not surprising. ISDS provisions confer on foreign investors special rights to bypass a host government’s legal system and bring cases before special international tribunals.
These provisions are being increasingly utilized to challenge domestic environmental, health and safety regulations. In Canada, the process has been used to successfully contest bans on the use of the gasoline additive MMT for health reasons, as well as on the export of toxic PCB wastes. These cases have cost Canadian taxpayers millions of dollars in damages.
Given Canada’s negative experience, you would think the federal government would approach the inclusion of an ISDS mechanism in trade agreements with caution.
Instead, it has aggressively pursued the inclusion of investment-protection rules, most notably in the recent trade deal with the EU.
In this context, Germany’s reported position that it would reject the deal on grounds that such stipulations are unnecessary between states with well-developed legal systems is a welcome step. It’s unfortunate that our federal government has not seen fit to do likewise.
Ramani Nadarajah, counsel, Canadian Environmental Law Association
From the PM’s pen
Re It’s Our Duty To Stand Firm In The Face Of Russian Aggression (July 26): I’m not nearly as frightened by Vladimir Putin’s threat to “the values and principles we cherish as Canadians,” as I am by the prospect that a lot of Canadians are actually going to buy and applaud Stephen Harper’s sanctimonious, quarrelsome and disingenuous defence of those principles.
Last time I looked, sureties of “democracy” and “the rule of law” weren’t exactly paramount on the Prime Minister’s daily agenda in governing this country.
Peter MacRae, Pictou, N.S.
This is one of the few times I have ever agreed with Stephen Harper. On the other hand, when did a mouse ever scare a cat?
John Owen, Dartmouth, N.S.
The world has seen, in the past two weeks, some of the darker days in recent memory, particularly in Eastern Europe and the Mideast. Canada is a middle power, far from these events. Nevertheless, the Canadian government’s leadership with respect to the events in Eastern Europe, and moral clarity with respect to events both in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, makes me a proud Canadian in these times.
James Musgrove, Toronto
The Globe and Mail published a guest column by the Prime Minister, the same Prime Minister who refuses to hold news conferences and answer reporters’ questions. All this does is enable the PM to continue controlling his message to Canadians. This PM is the most undemocratic PM this country has had and you are helping to enable this flaunting of our democratic process.
David Bell, Toronto
First Nations distrust
Re Too Many Chiefs, Too Few Voters (editorial, July 26): You ignore another serious dysfunction, First Nations’ lack of trust in the federal government. Many federal actions have contributed to this.
One significant modern example you often reference in your reporting is the 2 per cent cap on federal transfers to First Nations. Leaders were told this cap was to help eliminate the deficit of the 1990s. That deficit was defeated, yet consecutive governments have kept the cap to this day. First Nations leaders have good reason not to trust a government that lied to them 17 years ago and has never remedied the situation.
When they looked at Bill C-33 from that perspective, they may have had a few questions, including: If the government is truly committed to the funding levels it announced, why does the bill contain a clause that allows the government to limit the total amount of funding in any given year?
You note that the Assembly of First Nations recognized at a recent assembly that its structure needs review. After the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, when will the federal government recognize that its relationship with First Nations needs review?
Scott Serson, Ottawa
No sleep, 24/7
Re Now Accepting Visitors 24/7 (Life & Arts, July 28): While acknowledging the benefits of having family or friends around while recuperating in hospital, I am leery of this idea. Last year, while recovering from surgery, I had the misfortune of sharing a room with an inconsiderate fellow who, when he wasn’t getting visitors long past lights out, was yammering on his cell phone at all hours.
This made it rather difficult for me to get much-needed sleep and, when I approached staff about it, all they would do was shrug their shoulders and say, “There’s nothing we can do.” I hope this isn’t what proponents of visitors 24/7 have in mind.
Jim Harris, Ottawa
In the beginning …
I, too, love the ginkgo biloba (Still Raising The Roof, One Garden At A Time – July 26). It is by all ac-counts a most remarkable tree.
I do though take exception with its reported age of 250 billion years. This would make it approximately 18 times older than the universe itself. While remarkable, it is not quite that remarkable.
Sharon Speck, Pointe-Claire, Que.