EDITORIAL LETTERS

Research Labs Too Often Blamed for Missing Animals

The article "Missouri Struggles With Its 'Hot' Dogs," April 1, identifies medical research as the likely fate of most missing animals.

The author would have us believe that unscrupulous dealers cruise neighborhoods on a daily basis looking to snatch beloved pets away from the safety of their homes to sell to research facilities. This perception is illogical and wrong.

Make no mistake. Pets are stolen. Animal-rights activists claim 2 million dogs and cats are reported missing every year. But only about 100,000 dogs and 35,000 cats are involved in medical research annually, and nearly half are specially bred for research. Clearly these number do not point to scientific use of missing animals.

To attempt to label the medical community or the US Department of Agriculture as the root cause of this situation is inappropriate. While horrific and emotional scenarios enable national animal-rights organizations to leverage donations from distraught and concerned pet owners, these perceptions are unsubstantiated. If pet owners supervise their pets properly, have their collars labeled with ID tags, and act in other ways that demonstrate responsible pet ownership, the chances of a pet being lost or stolen is minuscule.

Should an animal disappear, however, the probability of it showing up in a research laboratory is infinitesimal.

Susan E. Paris Alexandria, Va.

President

Americans for Medical Progress Educational Foundation

China's unprovoked aggression against Taiwan

Regarding the opinion-page article "Taiwan's President Lee Must Give Beijing an Out," March 18: The headline seems to suggest that Taiwan's President Lee Teng-hui was the cause of the tension in the Taiwan Strait, when China is the one waging the unprovoked aggression against Taiwan. President Lee has suggested that leaders of Taiwan and China meet, on equal footing.

China has so far refused to accept that Taiwan has been a separate entity from China politically, economically, and socially for more than 100 years. Already, China has declared that Hong Kong's newly shaped, effectively democratic Legislative Council will be abolished when it takes over Hong Kong in July 1997. So much for the promise of "one country, two systems." With China's latest "state terrorism" - military exercises and missile firings aiming at Taiwan - can we blame the people of Taiwan if they do not trust China?

Helen Tsai Sacramento, Calif.

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