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These are sad days for Arkansas. Why? We are going to be possibly the last state to pass an animal cruelty bill that actually protects dogs, cats, and horses and doesn’t just pretend to as does House Bill 2788 sponsored by Farm Bureau in the legislature.

Did you know that it is a felony to write a hot check for $200 in Arkansas, but feel free to abuse your pet until your heart is content — for this is only a misdemeanor! Did you know stealing a few hundred dollars’ worth of construction supplies is a Class D felony, but go ahead, beat your pet dog to death, again, this is just a misdemeanor.

Farm Bureau and the good ole boy system have come through yet again for all of you who are afraid that passing legislation to protect dogs, cats, and horses from horrific, deliberate abuse would mean that you could be charged with a felony for putting a worm on a fishing hook or for catching a rat in a trap. Please. Are Arkansans really that stupid?

For all you people out there who actually care about animals and think something is a little wrong with abusing the pet dogs, cats and horses of Arkansas, keep your chins up. We will all rest easier when one day, hopefully sooner than later, the animals will have their day and WIN!

The kind and generous volunteers who have spent so much time and energy trying to protect animals by working to pass Senate Bill 777 are to be thanked for their valiant efforts. After all, it’s hard to go up against paid professional lobbyists. To those of you who are part of the Farm Bureau gang, we’ll be back. Arkansas’s animals can count on it.

Sarah Corley

Springdale

What’s the holdup?

In 1968 I received a letter without a stamp. I knew almost immediately who it was from. Uncle Sam was the only person I knew who owned his own post office and could, therefore, send letters without stamps. “Congratulations,” it read, “You have been selected by your community to serve in the armed forces of the United States.”

Two weeks later I, along with several hundred other draftees and a sprinkling of volunteers, reported to Fort Dix, New Jersey. First came basic training, where we spent six weeks learning important things like how to patch a sucking chest wound and how to inflict a sucking chest wound at up to 300 yards. When basic was completed we all went home for a long weekend and then it was off to advanced individual training for six weeks. This could be anything from welding school to cook school but for draftees it mostly infantry training. After AIT we were given a week or so leave and then reported to our assigned duty stations. This could be anywhere the army had a base but for draftees the duty stations were almost always in Southeast Asia. The journey from unfocused teenager to front-line soldier took about three and a half months.

Almost since George’s war began we’ve been hearing about how the Iraqi army is going to take responsibility for their own country as soon as we get them trained. What’s the hold-up? I know the equipment is a lot more complex than it was in my day. Electronics are everywhere in the modern army and everything is computer aided but we have been at this troop training for the past three-and-a-half years. Considering a person can get a degree in electrical engineering in four years shouldn’t we be seeing more progress than we are?

Ironically, while we have been training Iraqis to shoot straight the insurgents have become better marksmen. They can now knock down American GIs at 300 yards and their helicopter kill rate has improved dramatically. Perhaps there is a leak in the bucket. Could it be that while the Iranians and Syrians supply the insurgents with weapons the United States is doing most of the training?

David Rose

Watertown, Tenn.

From the web

Following are some comments posted from our website on recent articles in the Arkansas Times.

The cover story on a proposal to make Arkansas home to a breeding facility for elephants:

With Scott Riddle’s controversial history, it should be clarified what role he’ll play in the proposed center. Some of the 10 zoos behind this project do not meet even the American Zoological Association’s inadequate standards.

• The risk to the farming community in Arkansas should be examined closely prior to issuing a “rubber stamp” for this center. Disease exposure to the outside farming community and for that fact the surrounding wildlife community needs to be examined.

• A substantial number of people believe that zoos cannot replicate life in the wild. Perhaps we should eliminate zoos and then our children can watch the nature documentaries on television in the safety of their own homes.

• Excellent article. The take-home message here is that it is not about whether zoos are bad and sanctuaries are good. It’s about improving the welfare of elephants wherever it needs improving.

• There are a limited number of breedable elephant cows in captivity in AZA facilities. Where will we get more? Perhaps Asia, India or Sri Lanka. But what if these animals are doomed to be extinct by our encroachment into their habitat? To import them to attempt to breed them will most likely have little effect on the declining numbers in their native lands. In effect we will be breeding them as a reminder of what we have taken away from this world.

The article on a Bible course in Texarkana public schools and the school district’s cooperation with a church on a church-based charter school:

• Some religious folks don’t seem to know who created the concept of the separation of church and state. It wasn’t the ACLU, the Supreme Court, or Thomas Jefferson. It was Jesus. Jesus was born into an almost totally theocratic society. Jesus and his apostles and disciples could have easily incorporated much or most of the theocratic elements of Judaism into Christianity, but they did not, as is clearly evidenced from the New Testament scriptures and the known history of the first two hundred years of Christianity. Thus, separation of church and state can be said to be one of Christianity’s founding principles.

• Maybe the Arkansas Times should get involved and help start a charter school that would students who are from a disadvantaged background. Maybe then the Times would have a little credibility on the subject.

• I know that the Bible is the only book that has the answers to all problems affecting man. It is a must read for people of all ages to study.

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