Turner's $1 Billion a Write-Off? So What?

Thank you for "A $1 Billion Gift Horse Gets a Look" (Sept. 26) regarding Ted Turner's gift to the United Nations. I was interested to see in America Online's survey that 19 percent of the public perceived Mr. Turner's motivation to be a "tax write off," implying that somehow his gift is suspect.

It is my understanding that US tax laws provide tax relief to encourage donating to nonprofit organizations. Mr. Turner seems to be taking advantage of this, while the US is unwilling to pay its legitimate UN bills because members of our government can't seem to get their way in this organization when they want. I hope we all have the ability to clearly distinguish right and wrong in this situation.

E. Rowley Elliston

Milford, Ohio

The federal war against wildlife

Regarding "Ranchers Giving Coyotes Some Room to Roam," (Sept. 22): While a number of ranchers understand the futility of large-scale predator eradication programs and are experimenting with innovative non-lethal approaches to handling wildlife problems, the federal government continues to use taxpayer funds to finance widespread predator killing programs.

Last year Congress allocated $37 million to fund the Agriculture Department's Animal Damage Control Program. Under this program, in 1995 government agents killed close to 1 million mammals and birds, including 90,000 coyotes, 25,000 beavers, 2,000 bobcats, 1,000 domestic dogs and 5,000 doves. The primary beneficiaries of this slaughter are private ranchers who raise livestock on subsidized public lands in the West.

Congress also recently set aside another $350,000 to initiate a National Trap Testing Program. Through this program, animals will be tortured with such devices as steel jaw leg-hold traps (banned in more than 80 countries), snares, and body-gripping devices with the intent of "improving public acceptance of trapping for wildlife management."

In addition to traps, the federal government has expanded the use of highly toxic poisons, such as Compound 1080, to kill predators. Compound 1080 was banned by the EPA in 1972 because of the lethal danger posed to people, wildlife, and the environment. It was federally re-approved for use in livestock protection collars and has been okayed by seven states thus far.

Despite warnings from biologists that lethal control of predators is futile given their ability to respond with increased reproduction, the federal government continues to promote the use of ineffective, environmentally dangerous, and ethically objectionable predator control methods.

As more people recognize the vital role predators play in the ecology of our public lands, the time is ripe for the government to get out of the business of killing our nation's wildlife.

Camilla Fox

Sacramento, Calif.

Animal Protection Institute

Liberal bias in the press

In the opinion-page article "Time for the Press to Do Some Soul-Searching" (Sept. 25), Richard Hottelet says, "The public's impression of media bias is strange."

Nothing strange about this at all. The mainstream press holds the values of the average American up to ridicule. No matter whether it is homosexuality, partial-birth abortion, pornographic "art," sex education at school, religion, or the importance of the family, the opinion of the majority of the press is LIBERAL. When a Democrat gets in trouble it's "just the facts ma'am." If it's a conservative the drumbeat starts.

When a Democrat introduces a bill the news story begins, "Congressman X introduced legislation to help " When the Republicans submit a bill the lead is, "Democrats charged new bill would hurt "

Charles Thomas

West Pittston, Pa.

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