Letters

Herbivores and carnivores discussed some more Regarding "A vegetarian sprouts" (Feb. 24): It is comforting to know that I am not alone. David Clark Scott's column about his daughter's foray into the realm of vegetarianism candidly discussed the perils of being an herbivore in a carnivorous society, one of them being the fact that no one wants to feed us.

I describe myself as a vegetarian simply because the label is convenient. I am not a picketing animal-rights activist who rips hamburgers out of the hands of unwary gourmands; I simply do not eat meat. However, I cannot survive on side salads for the rest of my life.

According to the article, one-third of Americans would order a meatless item if it were on the menu of a restaurant. Why aren't restaurants responding accordingly? If one-third of Americans are looking for vegetarian items, then restaurants are missing out on a niche market.

Summer Fraser Rexburg, Idaho

I raise cattle for sale as breeding animals and for human consumption. Of the acreage on our ranch, little more than 2 percent is suitable for row crops such as wheat or oats. We do plant this portion, and half the time our rainfall average will not produce a profitable crop. Then what should we do with the remaining 98 percent of this ranch land?

If these noncultivable acreages were not used for cattle, there would certainly be those who would use them for hunting. Is this better than raising cattle there?

The majority of beef comes from cows that forage rocky hillsides, swampy bottom-lands, or less-than-good soil sites - rather than land that could be used for corn or other raised crops.

We handle our cattle gently. We call them to our pickup trucks to feed them when it is cold, when there is too little grass to eat, when the momma cows are having babies, or just to see if they are doing OK. We wean the calves in a way that we can be sure they have a proper diet after leaving mother. Only following this do we send these calves to a feed lot where they receive special feeding.

Howard A. Swanson Breckenridge, Texas

A formula for Kosovo?

Regarding your opinion piece, "Brcko -a lesson for Kosovo peacemakers" (Feb. 16): The author gave a balanced description of the situation, including his anticipation that once the Serbs - who have been running the city - lost control, they would protest loudly.

The best solution to the counterclaims is to have the enclave administered by a long-term, international transitional authority. This would allow for a major portion of the Bosniac refugees to return home.

As NATO, and the United States and allies try in vain to solve the Gordian knot of Kosovo, a similar international transitional authority, in addition to NATO troops policing the territory, seems the best way to go. If eventually Bosnia and Kosovo are able to develop democratic governments and observe human rights, they, like Slovenia, might eventually qualify for membership in the European Union, and Milosevic's tyranny could become history.

John O. Sutter President, World Federalist Association of Northern California San Francisco

Unlikely comparison with death penalty Regarding "Across the US, new doubts surface on death penalty" (Feb. 24): In your story, Michael Rushford of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation defends the death penalty by arguing that we haven't abolished the automobile because of its imperfections. I wonder what sort of "lemon law" Mr. Rushford would propose to protect those whose executions are subsequently found to be "imperfect."

Rebecca Raether Madison, Wis.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Only a selection can be published, and we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to oped@csps.com

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