Letters to the Editor – March 23, 2011

RE: “What do chickens think?” (March 16, 2011)

Thank you for your article on the depths of intelligence and emotion in chickens. Chickens are very interesting animals. They are curious, energetic (until nap time), and happy when dust-bathing or exploring. I appreciated your article’s position on the ways in which chickens are treated (like pieces of machinery) in large industrial facilities.

I think that maybe you need to do an article on the university’s position on inhumane practices. For instance, why doesn’t it have cage-free policies in its food services? Also, maybe you can find out why the faculty of agriculture and food sciences still works with battery cages and with what is being ridiculously called “enhanced cages.”

I have sent inquiries to the faculty of agriculture and food sciences asking them why they work with cages at all, but they have never responded to me. This is a concern.

Tom Sutpen

RE: “The red herring of apartheid” (March 9, 2011)

I would like to thank Greg Sacks for his editorial on the use of deliberately chosen shock-terms in activist movements. Although it is obviously difficult to repudiate the distracting “meta-debate” over terminology and titles stamped onto global events without adding to the pedantic discussion, it is good and necessary to point to the real issues. A public accustomed to scanning for buzz words will be less able to comprehend the important meaning in simple, rational statements that lack emotionally charged linguistic advertising.

Thank you for putting such rational message to paper.

Skelley Blackley

In Greg Sacks’ March 9 article in the Manitoban, he attempts to make the case that the word “apartheid” is a red herring when discussing the situation in Israel/Palestine and should not be used. However, the fact of the matter is his entire article falls apart when confronted with the actual definition of apartheid.

While Sacks attempts to immediately dismiss the apartheid analysis by saying that apartheid can only happen in South Africa, international law begs to differ. The International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, as well as the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court have both defined apartheid as a general term which can be applied to any situation which fits the definition. In short, the definition points to the domination of one racial group over another in a context of systematic oppression.

“Apartheid” is the best, most accurate and most comprehensive term with which to describe the situation in Israel/Palestine. It is not simply a tool of “shock factor” marketing, but a detailed analysis, supported by numerous scholarly works and based in international law.

If we are to have a serious discussion of Palestinian rights and the denial thereof, our starting point must include the apartheid analysis, and we can not take “the A-word” off the table simply because it makes those who support the ongoing oppression of Palestinians uncomfortable.

Brian Latour