29 Dec 2010 - Sharing thoughts from readers

This year-end edition of Samuelson Sez always originates from Scottsdale, AZ where I annually spend my Christmas/ New Year’s vacation. And since time in the desert climate tends to make me lazier than normal, I’m going to let you write this column by sharing some of your reactions to Samuelson Sez.

The “unwanted horse problem” generated many e-mails. A reader in Colorado wrote “People that are against the slaughter bill have NO IDEA where all the unwanted horses go and how the bill has affected the horse market. Also, if people have the idea that ending USDA-controlled slaughter in the U.S. has taken care of their idea of being humane, they are definitely WRONG! They should visit slaughter houses in Mexico and see the “humane” treatment there and the meat inspection procedures. Sanctuaries for these unwanted and crippled horses is NOT an answer.”

My comments on the humane processing rules demanded by Whole Foods Markets of livestock and poultry producers brought this response from a New York reader. “Your comments regarding the business practices of Whole Foods being too restrictive leads me to shout back to you “SO WHAT?” If people want to spend their money on animal products produced a certain way, what business is it of yours? If Whole Foods did not sell products that the surrounding community wanted, most likely the store would go out of business. I have realized that you take issue with produce or livestock that are grown or produced organically. Listen, diversity is not a bad thing. Organic farmers have the right to exist, just as the mega-conventional farmers do. If you do not like organically grown products, then do not buy them. That is your choice.”

Finally, my comments on a country Lutheran church leaving the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America because of a perceived anti-biotechnology statement by the ELCA brought this response from ELCA headquarters. “The draft does not advise farmers about farm practices, nor does it advise anyone else in biotechnical fields about how to use these techniques. It is a document for discussion of these practices from a theological perspective, and it offers some cautions about the ethical uses of such techniques. It is regrettable that a congregation chose to leave the church over this issue. Apparently, the members misunderstood the purpose of the document.” I have been invited to interview Presiding ELCA Bishop Mark Hanson on the draft proposal and will do so early in 2011 and will share it with you.

Thank you for helping me write this edition and these are your thoughts on Samuelson Sez.