Registering farms is unrealistic and infringes on freedom

Regarding the Aug. 15 article, "In Vermont, farmers buck registration efforts": I've been watching with growing horror and dread as the National Animal Identification System and related state-level movements attempt to destroy small farmers for the sake of commercial gain, as documented in the Aug. 15 article on farm registration. The mantra of disease control offered by proponents falls dead when one looks at the current practices within the industry. For example: If disease prevention is so important, why, then, are animals too sick to even stand up still being slaughtered and put into the food supply?

The registration process is also expensive, invasive, and impractical – not to mention abhorrent to anyone who still values this country's founding vision: freedom.

Countries that have implemented such programs have seen few benefits but lots of hassle and expense as a result. Where is the line drawn? What about nonfarmers with pet livestock? What about animal rescue groups? How about 4-H participants?
Sondra Brackman
El Segundo, Calif.

Wisconsin's generosity awes

Thanks for your Aug. 17 article, "Buy vegetables? Why?" on Wisconsin's generosity. I grew up in Connecticut and moved to Wisconsin fresh out of college, living in several locations for a total of nine happy years until moving back East a few years ago. The article brought back many wonderful memories of friendly neighbors and co-workers – and their garden produce.

Occasionally a co-worker would know a farmer with a crop of asparagus coming in or have a cousin who was an expert at picking wild morels (gourmet mushrooms), and then the game would be something like a combination of silent auction and let's make a deal.

The generosity of my Wisconsin neighbors went far beyond produce. My husband and I hadn't even set foot in our first apartment when Gary, our new downstairs neighbor, appeared and insisted on helping us portage our belongings upstairs. And he lent us a fan to move the still, humid August air. Once, when we showed up early for a dance at a downtown Madison location on a Valentine's night and offered to help the band set up, we were just handed the keys to a brand new car to unload the thousands of dollars worth of equipment.

I learned that it's not just generosity, but neighborliness and community. And the belief in the immutable reciprocity of kindness. When people ask where I'm from, I tell them "Connecticut and Wisconsin" – and count myself lucky.
Lara Valigorsky
Westfield, Mass.

Gifted children are chastised

Regarding, "It's not easy being gifted," the Aug. 22 book review of "Hothouse Kids: The Dilemma of the Gifted Child": What a complete disservice to gifted kids.

Isn't it enough that they aren't appreciated by the school system and told that all kids even out by third grade? Isn't it enough that they are rejected by their peers for being "different?" Isn't it enough that they are treated as outsiders by adults who seem jealous that their kids aren't as smart or as talented?

Isn't it enough that our gifted kids have few role models and are forced to live in a world of mediocrity, where everyone is encouraged to do "just enough to get by?" If our kids are happy being different, why shouldn't we happily celebrate their difference?

Conformity is not the alternative. It creates monsters worse than Frankenstein.
Deborah Lupi
Essex Fells, N.J.

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