Regarding Jeff Levine's May 14 letter to the editor:
I'd like to point out a few facts about animal agriculture that have been all but ignored in favor of sensationalizing the gloom-and-doom of eating meat.
The United States has just short of 100 million bovine animals, and 70 percent of their diet comes from plant material. Meanwhile, 85 percent of the landmass in the United States is only suited for growing forages — or biomass — resulting in incredible amounts of fuel for forest and range fires.
We have two choices when it comes to managing our rangeland. We can do away with the meat industry and grazing and allow Mother Nature to harvest biomass with fire, which will increase greenhouse gases without any human benefit. Or we can continue to use the ruminant animal to harvest the cellulosic material while generating human nutritional products, cosmetics, tires, lifesaving pharmaceuticals, and clothing.
In addition, the meat industry is the largest sector of U.S. agriculture, and agriculture is the largest sector of the U.S. economy. If you think the auto industry fallout is a disaster, think of the 18 percent of Americans employed in the ag industry.
Regarding Levine's point about using corn to feed people instead of animals: Let's ask the government to stop requiring us to burn our food in ethanol — a requirement that has incredible trickle-down effects: Demand for corn makes prices soar, making it more expensive to produce animal products, which drives up the price of meat. And because we can't grow enough corn to burn and feed the skyrocketing world population, high corn prices make it an impossible commodity for the world's poor to purchase.
If we're really worried about feeding the world's poor and protecting the environment, we should not be so swift to point our fingers at animal agriculture.
Laura Moore, Broken B Farms
I read David Martin's recent article about Lake Lotawana with great interest, but no small dismay. Your piece reminds us all that even a fine community with everything going for it can sink into chaos without sensible, disciplined government.
Citizens of Lotawana should be particularly aggrieved by the loss of Bill Kostar. I have known Bill for roughly two decades, and have worked with him on a wide variety of civic and governmental issues. I have never met a public servant who brings more integrity and vision to whatever task is before him. His departure is bad news, indeed, for Lotawana.
Thank you for your continued great reporting.
James R. Orr
Thanks for investigating Lake Lotawana's "drama." I wouldn't have known the nitty gritty about my friend Bill Kostar's predicament. What a pity that the city threw out the best administrator available, who would have quickly cleared up its financial and administrative problems. Bill Kostar was our mayor in Westwood for 30 years and is truly of real congressional, if not presidential, stature. The council cooperated with Bill, as did the many subcommittees in Westwood. For Lake Lotawana to resort to irrelevancies such as sexual preferences when those have nothing to do with Kostar's tremendous abilities was criminal.
Correction: The Jaimie Warren photo on the cover of our June 4 First Friday Gallery Guide is not part of her new exhibition at the Kemper at the Crossroads. Rather, the photo depicts Ari Fish, a designer participating in last weekend's West 18th Street Fashion Show.
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