Thank you Ms. Singh, for making us think

To the Editor:

While many may think of Ms. [Amrit Michelle] Singh's desire to erect a monument to the lost cattle in the accident on Rock Road to be frivolous, I hope her mission will make many think about and discuss the issues involved in our food production system.

While there is no reason to dispute Mr. [Charles] Tommell's good stewardship while the cattle were on his farm, a system that would place all those animals into a trailer that would carry them hundreds of miles to a feedlot leaves a lot to question.  The 11 animals that were lost were spared a stress-filled trip and destiny that most who pick up meat at the supermarket would rather not contemplate.

Life at a feedlot will mean animals crammed into small spaces, and fed heavily with grain to fatten them up before slaughter.  In order to maximize weight and address the gastrointestinal distress from this diet, the cattle are given antibiotics.

Many in the scientific and medical profession question whether the gross use of these drugs will result in a world where they are no longer effective to address human ills.  Can you imagine a time when a tooth infection could result in death because the traditional drugs are no longer effective due to their overuse at the feedlot (and elsewhere)? 

The environmental costs of this system are known — the waste has to go somewhere and when spread on fields or worse, spilled — much goes into our surface waters.  And what about the oil used to transport animals such distances?

So, thank you Ms. Singh, for making us think — think about going vegetarian, eating less meat, and/or eating only meat that is raised locally on grass and slaughtered close to home whether for humane, environmental or human health reasons alone.

Helene Goldberger

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