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by Inlander Readers


Bird Flu Worries


Avian influenza (or bird flu), now projected by the World Health Organization to wipe out as many as 50 million people, is another deadly consequence of factory farming, today's grotesque method of raising animals for food. The projected death toll is comparable to that of the great influenza pandemic of 1918-19.


The virus incubates and mutates into more lethal forms in filthy, crowded chicken and turkey farms. It's then spread by migratory birds and transmitted to humans who come in contact with infected birds in factory farms or markets common in Asian and American ethnic neighborhoods. The 1957 Asian flu pandemic and the 1968 Hong Kong flu pandemic, each claiming a million lives, were blamed on mutated viruses from factory-farmed pigs.


Even in the absence of deadly flu viruses, chickens and turkeys are loaded with salmonella, campylobacter, and other pathogens that sicken millions of Americans each year and kill thousands. The cholesterol, saturated fats, and hormones in animal products have been linked conclusively with elevated risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and other chronic diseases that kill 1.4 million Americans annually.


Clearly, we should replace poultry and other animal products in our diet with wholesome vegetables, fresh fruits and grains. These foods don't harbor deadly pathogens and contain all the nutrients we require.





Sebastian Granger


Spokane, Wash.





No, Canada


OK, so I'm the first to admit that GWB is the worst President in all of history, and I do sympathize with people whining and wanting to desert to Canada. But, the problem is that these people wave copies of Fahrenheit 9/11 and laud Michael Moore for speaking out. Did they not listen to him? He loves America. He's not leaving. I love America and I'm not leaving either. Hell, it's where all my stuff is.


I will loudly criticize this administration as long as they're in power, destroying Alaska, killing Iraqi babies, rolling back civil liberty laws, suppressing the media and harassing Cat Stevens. We spend enough money on the war in Iraq to solve world hunger. (That's not an exaggeration.) The United States spends more on the military than all other countries combined, with marginal results in protection. How much do box cutters cost again?


But, what I won't do is run away. This country needs to be taken back by the sane. Bush only won by a few percentage points. Forty-eight percent of us had the right idea: That's about half the country on your side.





Daniel Boatsman


Spokane, Wash.





Troubletown will return next week.





Publication date: 12/09/04

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