The article about the ethical destinations was interesting (“Ten Best Ethical Destinations,” Spring 2012), but we disagree with one of the destinations on the list – Serbia. This country treats its street dogs abominably. Its dog shelters are hellish places, basically slaughterhouses where the animals are condemned to die of starvation and disease, or from fights that break out because of overcrowding. Often they are simply killed by humans wielding clubs, poison, or guns. There is no such thing as humane euthanasia in these places, and (as in Romania) the corrupt local officials actually make profits from the deaths of these dogs. They receive funding for animal control, and the less they pay out for humane care and control, the more they pocket. The federal government is well aware of what’s going on, but ignores it. It’s estimated that in Belgrade alone about 6,000 stray dogs are brutally “exterminated” like rodents – poisoned or trapped and beaten to death – each year.
Complete a reader’s survey
and enter to win a free subscription.
Letters to the Editor
Earth Island Journal
2150 Allston Way,
Berkeley, CA 94704
We realize animal welfare was not one of the categories the Ethical Traveler focused on, but we think it should have been. It all boils down to what Gandhi said: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
David and Stela Bernazani
I really enjoyed the Spring 2012 cover story, “Natural Law.” As former Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas noted in his famous dissenting opinion in the 1972 landmark environmental law case, Sierra Club v. Morton, “inanimate objects” should have standing to sue in court. He wrote:
“The river as plaintiff speaks for the ecological unit of life that is part of it. Those people who have a meaningful relation to that body of water – whether it be a fisherman, a canoeist, a zoologist, or a logger – must be able to speak for the values which the river represents and which are threatened with destruction.”
Unfortunately, the Sierra Club lost the case, but because of Douglas’s dissent environmentalists are better able to assert standing on behalf of a natural resource that is under threat. Michigan grants standing to “any person” to sue in order to protect natural resources from “pollution, impairment, or destruction.” That concept has lately been under attack in the Michigan Supreme Court. My organization, the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, will soon launch a tool called Green Gavels that allows citizens to see exactly how the Michigan Supreme Court deals with standing and other issues in environmental protection cases.
Ann Arbor, MI
The debate “To Breed or Not to Breed” (Spring 2012) was very compelling. I think both Erica Gies and Julie Zickefoose are right in their choices and I have great respect for their individual decisions. Those of us who realize that we are fast “using up” this planet need to help people see what they stand to gain – the beauty and joy and practicality in living in balance with whole of creation. It’s not all about what we “have to give up.”
I have told my children (and will be telling my grandchildren soon) that having children should be a conscious choice, and that not everyone needs to have them.
We are standing at a pivotal moment in history, one in which education and advocacy around the climate emergency, public health, racial injustice, and economic inequity is imperative. At Earth Island Journal, we have doubled down on our commitment to uplifting stories that often go unheard, to centering the voices of frontline communities, and to always speak truth to power. We are nonprofit publication. We don’t have a paywall because our mission is to inform, educate and inspire action. Which is why we rely on readers like you for support. If you believe in the work we do, please consider making a tax-deductible year-end donation to our Green Journalism Fund.Donate
For $15 you can get four issues of the magazine, a 50 percent savings off the newsstand rate.