Cages actually protect chickens
As a daughter of a poultry man, I would like to respond to your editorial "Egg battle reveals cracks."
While you were right to point out that the group called Farm Sanctuary seeks the total reduction of the consumption of meat and other animal-based products in the consumer's diet, the real issue is social change!
They point out that we need to ban cages. It is at this point I would say, they are very ignorant!
Oftentimes when a chicken lays a large egg, there is often a spec of blood on their rear end. Chickens are cannibalistic. They will peck at that spot until they get ahold of a piece of intestine of the blood-spotted chicken. They will absolutely pull the innards right out of that chicken!
So the poultry industry went to cages to protect the chickens. We tried debeaking and metal glasses with limited success, but cages did protect the birds.
Unless these crazies at Farm Sanctuary wake up, the American consumers will ultimately pay a higher price for food than the 17 percent that they now pay from their budget.
How to repair initiative process
The initiative process is in need of reform, but the Capital Press' suggestion to make the initiative process more difficult to access is a step in the wrong direction.
In Washington, the initiative is a power that is reserved to the people.
The power of the initiative is being hijacked by special interest groups.
Special interest groups do not have a right to the power of the initiative and should be banned from exercising that power.
Consider the following reform: "Only those citizens who are entitled to vote in an election may be involved in that election's electoral process. This right of the People to control their own elections will be held superior to other rights when and if a conflict arises."
Not only would such a reform restore the initiative power to the people, it would rid us of the evil of corporate-sponsored elections.
Initiative process helps citizenry
It's disappointing to see Capital Press still trying to destroy the railroad simply because it dislikes one of the trains on it. It seems to want to convey the impression that if Washington ag can just overturn the constitutional initiative process then it's pesky battery cage problem will go away. Your readers may only believe this at their political and economic peril.
It's a gross misrepresentation of Washington's initiative process to suggest that it's a reckless means by which heavy-money interests can buy passage of odiously inappropriate laws. Any Washington citizen, including the Capital Press and Washington's vital agricultural community, can avail themselves of the initiative system if you simply have enough like-minded citizens to sign your placement petition. Far from being a system to "buy" laws, initiative issues are decided exclusively by voters, who often rule slap-face contrary to such mega-monied interests as Bill Gates Sr. and Costco. Witness November 2010.
Were it not for the initiative system, all Washington working taxpayers, including every swinging one in the farm community, would be paying much higher taxes right now at the unfettered hands of Democrat state legislators who never met a worker they didn't think made too much money for his own good.
Let's call this thing in real terms. Capital Press justifiably fears the battery cage issue won't fly with Washington voters, so instead of joining with the poultry industry to help devise and publicize a workable alternative the voting public can live with, it lamely attempts to destroy the most valuable tool by a phenomenal margin that the Washington voter has to keep an ever more avaricious state government under control. This is a foot shooter, folks. It's toxic.
For the sake of its readers, Capital Press needs to read the handwriting on the 21st century wall. Battery cages are out to stay, and you've as much chance of overturning the initiative process as Anthony Weiner has of becoming president of Girl Scouts of America.
The egg industry and the paper it looks up to need to shift gears while they still can. Devise a workable alternative pronto -- who knows how better than you? -- and spend all this wasted, counterproductive anti-initiative ink on publicizing the Washington poultry industry's admirable new, self-driven shift to join the modern age of responsible farming.
Wolves were here first
The end of wolf protection may cheer the meat ranchers, but they are losing buyers for their product, which is subsidized with cheap use of public lands. Beef -- it won't be what's for dinner for our family again. The wolves were here before the beef and sheep industry killed them to extinction for profit.
As our population increases, our food choices will have to be more in balance with the natural process. Who says cattle and sheep -- by the millions -- are more entitled? The losses to predation by wolves are small in comparison.
Large animal protein was fine as a food source when they roamed free to take their chances with the predators. But large animal protein protected with taxpayer funds at the expense of other life is out of balance.
The cost to the environment to produce animal protein -- corn, oil, land abuse by profit-driven agriculture -- is a sorry trade off. It won't be "what's for dinner" for many who favor "fairness in farming" and true land stewardship.
North River, Wash.
Why doesn't small ag feed the world
Joel Salatin's competitive efforts must be commended, as breaking out of some boxes or frames of mind.
But many of us found you couldn't make a living any more with small farms. What's different now?
If small ag could feed the world, why don't they? Why is Africa so needy?
If you produced the needed vegetables, et cetera, on lawns and horse pastures, what would keep people from stealing them? ...
As Christians, should we deal with people as they are, or as they should be? There are enough people who don't think very far ahead, that will steal and ruin things for others.
Respect for property rights is the key. ...