LETTERS for October 6 issue
Is there life before death for farm animals?
It seems like there is always some special observance around the corner.
There is even a World Day for Farmed Animals. It’s observed fittingly on Oct. 2 (Gandhi’s birthday). It’s intended to memorialize the tens of billions of animals abused and killed for food around the world.
My first instinct was to dismiss it. But, I wanted to understand the impact of my diet and my food dollars on others.
Recent undercover investigations showed male baby chicks suffocated in plastic garbage bags or ground to death, laying hens crowded into small wire cages, injured pigs killed by slamming their heads against the concrete floor, and cows skinned and dismembered while still conscious.
As theologians debate whether there is life after death, I wondered whether these animals have a life before death and why I should subsidize these barbaric practices.
I wonder no more, as I have now embraced a plant-based diet – green and yellow veggies, legumes, fruits, nuts, and some grains. Occasionally, I indulge in nut-based cheese or ice cream.
Although I was motivated by compassion for animals, I have since learned that my diet is also great for my health and for the health of our planet.
LEX NAKAHARA, Lahaina
Thanks for supporting the Mala Wharf cleanup
To all Mala Wharf Fishing and Recreation Association members, past and present: mahalo to all those that came this last Saturday for the cleanup of Aha Miki, the Mala Wharf burial site.
Many other areas were also addressed for cleanup, from the bathroom to Jodo Mission, the Mala Ramp, the yacht club shed, and the vessel wash down area, where slabs of turf were replanted where needed.
The cleanup for the burial site area was sponsored by the DLNR, Na Kupuna O Maui, the County of Maui, Maui Commercial Operators, friends and all the members of the Mala Wharf Fishing and Recreation Association who attended. Mahalo and well done.
STUART KAHAN, Mala Wharf Fishing and Recreation Association
Secrecy, democracy and the TPP
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has received heightened attention in this campaign season, including for the lack of transparency in its negotiating process. Renewed focus on the TPP stems from the information that was disclosed when the trade deal’s full text was finally released last November, as provisions with the potential to cause great harm to U.S. labor, the environment and public health came to light.
Despite this disclosure, the TPP and other trade negotiations remain largely shrouded in secrecy. Demands for greater transparency for controversial trade deals continue to grow louder.
The TPP is the biggest trade deal in a generation, involving agreements with 12 countries and affecting 40 percent of the world’s economy.
Despite its significance, the TPP has been carried out behind doors closed to the public, although representatives from business interests had direct access to the texts and the ability to influence the agreement.
Restrictions were also put on U.S. members of Congress; if they wanted to view TPP while it was in negotiation, they were threatened with prosecution if they talked about it.
Without actual documents and with members of Congress throttled, the public was left with what little information could be gleaned from the government, and a few drafts published by Wikileaks.
When the full text of the TPP came out in November of last year, it was even worse than expected, according to many groups that were monitoring the secretive trade negotiations. It is clear that from workers’ rights, to access to medicine, to food safety to climate change, the impact of the TPP would be felt in some way by every American.
The release of the trade text has strengthened opposition and has stalled the progression of the TPP, particularly because the election season has some Congressional candidates listening closely to their constituents’ opposition to the trade deal.
Public outcry similarly grew over the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement between the United States and the European Union after the contents were leaked and published by Greenpeace on May 1.
In particular, the public objected to provisions that would give U.S. investors the right to sue for loss of profits resulting from any laws to raise social or environmental standards put into place by the European government.
Such provisions were seen to give unprecedented power to corporations at the expense of the environment and public health.
The United States, it appears, has been the driver of secrecy in international trade negotiations. In response to public pressure, the European Union began publishing draft textual proposals and other information related to TTIP in 2015.
The U.S., on the other hand, has refused to publish any of its own draft textual proposals, despite requests from Congress that they do so.
One thing has been clear: democracy is served by transparency. In those instances when access to information about the secretive trade deals has been provided, heightened public awareness and enhanced public participation in the decision-making process have followed.
President Obama has warned Congress that a bill to ratify the TPP is imminent.
Public interest advocates will continue to fight the deal, but in the future, it is crucial that the American public be given insight into trade negotiations before agreements reach such a late stage.
Secrecy breeds mistrust, and if the government hopes to secure broad public support for its trade deals, it must stop conducting major trade negotiations almost entirely behind closed doors.
The American public has a right to know what the government is doing in our name, particularly when the consequences are so far-reaching.
PATRICE McDERMOTT & EMILY MANNA, OpenTheGovernment.org
Volunteers participate in beach cleanup
On Saturday, Sept. 17, at low tide (10:42 a.m.), seven committed volunteers from Lahaina Yacht Club and the U.S. Navy League, Maui Council took part in a beach cleanup.
Now in its fifth year, this event takes place in conjunction with the Ocean Conservancy’s “Get the Drift and Bag It” campaign. This is a small community effort to help out our most valued natural resource: THE OCEAN!
This year, we had additional help from the Island Fish Company (Mark Doyle, Charlotte Madeiros) and the Sports Bar (Dave Heymes), along with Suzanne Ayers (LYC, Navy League) and Shannon J. Wood (newly elected Navy League vice president and LYC). Louis and Gloria Raspa also participated.
These hearty volunteers gave their dedication and attention to the physically demanding task of cleaning up the underneath portion of Restaurant Row. In one hour’s time, we had collected seven bags of debris.
It is pretty spooky underneath the antiquated buildings that make up the shore-side restaurants on our fair Front Street! Strangely enough, we think because of the recent heavy rainfall, the usual paraphernalia was missing. We had lots of marine and commercial debris, though – even a vacuum cleaner replete with two sand-filled bags.
We did, however, collect lots of cigarette butts and alcohol containers.
Pictured are the brave crew (not including Mark Doyle, who had to report to work). It feels good to do something for our community; please join us next September!
SUZANNE AYERS, Lahaina