Letters

Chicken Chronicle
I must say I am shocked by the laughable one-sidedness and aggressive tone of the cockfighting cover story ("Out, Out, Damn Sport!" October 8). And shame on David Holthouse for going to such great lengths to portray this as a question of socioeconomic class rather than one of ethics.

According to the cover, "Voters are poised to outlaw cockfighting--and sever yet another link to Arizona's heritage." I'm sorry, but tradition has never been, and will never be, a valid defense of something that is simply wrong. It didn't work for slavery or segregation in the South, and it didn't work for keeping women out of the Citadel. Didn't Barry Graham recently bash similar arguments offered by defenders of the practice of female "circumcision" in Africa? If you came across a headline from 145 years ago saying "Yankees are poised to outlaw slavery--and sever yet another link to Dixie's heritage," you might not be shocked, but I would hope you would at least shake your head and marvel at how stupid we used to be, and how far we have come (at least in some respects).

This is simply not a question of freedom or rights, arguments that are raised repeatedly throughout the article. I don't think you should have the right to torture an animal, even if you own it. If you want to have a death match and gamble on it, by all means, go right ahead. Just make sure that all those involved are willing participants who know what they're getting into. Don't force stupid chickens who have no say in the matter to kill each other. That's not freedom. Belton Hodges wants "to see the other guy's bird get hurt." I don't think he should have the right to do so.

I am not a vegetarian. I understand that it is natural for animals to kill and to eat other animals. However, I believe that as humans, we have an ethical responsibility to do so with consideration for animal comfort and humane treatment. I eat chicken, and if there are problems with the way chickens, or any other farm animals, are treated and slaughtered, let's do something about it. Don't use that to justify more pain and suffering, especially for sport.

As humans slowly come to grips with the fact that all animals share a common descent and heritage, and give up their arrogant notion of divine superiority, they will find that they get something just as valuable in return: a strengthened community and newfound respect for life.

Amazing that in a week where everybody seems to be talking about the abhorrent behavior of the "Ahwatukee cat killer," you waste a cover story glorifying a "way of life" that represents violence and brutality against animals.

Lyle Decker
Tempe

Thank you for the fine article about the cockfighting initiative. I believe that you presented both sides fairly and with enough accurate detail for the reader to gain a real understanding of the issue.

George DeLong
via Internet

Art Attack
What a laughable puff piece on The Hammer, Art Hamilton ("The Work of Art Hamilton," Michael Kiefer, October 1). Are you guys trying to get hired as the spin team for the Clintons? Hamilton's "integrity is legendary." As a father, he's "puritanically old-fashioned." "Moral conservatism." Oh, yeah--been through five wives, didn't live with the kids, didn't get caught in AzScam, no legislation of any note, assaults a legislative aide. Quite a list of accomplishments.

Why run for secretary of state? Well, it's a job that is primarily one of applying rules, and that's about all he has any experience in doing. When others in the Legislature were moving bills, The Hammer's contribution was to twit the leadership about following procedures. "I wanted to be Brother Cleaver," you quote him. More like Eddie Haskell.

But it pays off, doesn't it? When serious press coverage of Hamilton is warranted, New Times reporters (and the Arizona Republic's, too) seem to lose their pens as soon as they write down his opinion. If the press in Arizona wants to be taken seriously, try to be . . . serious.

George Ertel
Scottsdale

Good article by Michael Kiefer regarding House Minority Leader Art Hamilton. However, I take issue with Lori Daniels' quote, "No one can question his ethics." Art voted to bypass the voters and allow the County Board of Supervisors to impose a stadium tax. How can he claim ethical behavior while joining Jane Hull and others in the wee hours of the morning to usurp the Arizona Constitution?

Dan Judge
Mesa

Close Friend
Well, there you go again . . . awarding another Bill Close award (Flashes, October 1)! There are just a few problems with naming shoddy journalistic efforts after a man who strived to keep local newscasts at a high standard. How do I know? I worked alongside Mr. Close in the then KOOL-TV newsroom from 1978 to 1982 and saw firsthand how he mentored future network reporters like Peter Van Sant and Mike Leonard. He taught them fairness and honesty, to take care of the English language and to tell a story so a 9-year-old could understand the ramifications.

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