Letters & E-mails


Not-So-Happy Ending

All that was missing from Jacques Leslie’s report on the recent Klamath River settlement (“Rough Water,’ Spring) was a chorus of Kumbaya.

Tell us what you think:

Letters to the Editor
Earth Island Journal
2150 Allston Way,
Suite 460
Berkeley, CA 94704

Leslie weaves a story of former bitter enemies – Native Americans, farmers, ranchers – coming together to find solutions after years of fighting and calamity. The love fest is so complete that not a single voice of opposition is allowed into the discussion.

Those of us who have worked in the Klamath Basin know that the story is more complex and that the deal signed in February has major flaws. While most stakeholders want dam removal, local environmentalists and the Hoopa Valley Tribe wouldn’t sign the deal because of troubling provisions that would lock in commercial agriculture on Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuges and leave too little water in the river for threatened salmon.

Sean Stevens, Communications Associate,
Oregon Wild, Portland, Oregon

Meat Is Murder?

Many thanks to Nicolette Hahn Niman for her nuanced and insightful defense of raising livestock (“What’s for Dinner?’ Spring). To be plainly honest, PETA campaigner Lindsay Rajt’s counterpoint argument was neither as informed nor as compelling.

Rajt’s criticisms of Niman’s ranch were less than persuasive and none of her environmental criticisms even applied to sustainable farming practices. She relied on reflexive rhetoric and completely ignored the well-reasoned arguments that Niman made for the important role that animals play in any sustainable model of food production.

Glenn English
Candler, North Carolina

Just the Facts Ma’am

graphic cartoon of a conference with the benefits of carbon reduction on a slide; angry participant yelling, what if its all a big hoax and we create a better world for nothing

I love the idea of the meat discussion (“What’s for Dinner?’). A nice volley into a topic which must be more thoroughly discussed in the public sphere.

That said, I’m not sure that Rajt’s arguments are more than a series of conclusions. Where are the facts? She’s got spunk and as a matter of personal belief I support her conclusions. I am a vegetarian, recently turned vegan. Rest assured that my reasons are just as important but are also fact-based and principled. Statistical evidence to support the arguments is readily available. A small nod to this evidence would enhance the passion apparent in the PETA perspective. Rajt is anecdotal and a bit insulting in making a failed analogy to the entirely inorganic institution of slavery.

Tamara Toles
New York, New York

People in Glass Houses …

As an American who has lived in Japan for more than two decades, I read with interest your profile of Ric O’Barry (“The Reluctant Warrior,’ Winter). I’ve often thought about lending my voice to the save-the-dolphins campaign. But I don’t think I will: The article failed to convince me of the justness of O’Barry’s cause.

O’Barry’s main argument against eating dolphin meat – the fact that it’s contaminated with mercury and therefore dangerous – is disingenuous. The meat of land animals is laced with antibiotics and other chemicals. But that doesn’t keep people in the United States from eating more meat than they should. The idea of an American coming to Japan and lecturing inhabitants about the unhealthiness of their food is absurd.

I wish the writer, Jason Mark, had delved more into the views of the Japanese fishermen, who claim that the dolphins are depleting local fish stocks. That might not be a valid argument, but to simply ignore it smacks of the same cultural imperialism that O’Barry has been accused of.

Iver Torikian
Tarumi-ku, Kobe, Japan

Get the Journal in your inbox.
Sign up for our monthly newsletter.

Subscribe Now

For $15 you can get four issues of the magazine, a 50 percent savings off the newsstand rate.