Stop monkeying around
Paul Kaufman's defense of animal research ("Man Over Monkey," 7/16/10) suffers from glaucoma of the mind. Has he really needed to imprison, mutilate and casually kill countless monkeys over some 35 years to come up with the profound observation that "monkeys are not us"?
I bet the monkeys thank God for that. After all, what is more barbaric than a humanoid inflicting pain, suffering and death on another species? Ethical? I don't think so. Convenient is the more proper word.
But after fawning over the good professor and gushing over his many awards and accomplishments for almost half the article, your crack reporter did uncover a golden nugget of truth about the UW and its animal torture dungeons: It's all about the money. If the UW can get tens of millions of dollars for animal research, it will continually turn a blind eye toward questions of ethics, unless pressured from the outside - kind of like how it dragged its feet on sweatshop labor until students held those feet to the fire.
Douglas E. Johnson, Fitchburg
In "Man Over Monkey," Paul Kaufman said he was skeptical of a primate sanctuary because it runs counter to making "maximum use of a scarce and valuable resource."
First, if Dr. Kaufman truly feels the monkeys are sentient beings like cats and dogs, then one would expect he would be more open to the idea of primate retirement. Second, the constant reuse of primates in various experiments throughout their lives should be another variable taken into account in the research results; the animals shouldn't all be treated as a clean slate when they are in their 20s, having undergone multiple studies.
Chimpanzees are frequently retired due to the CHIMP act that provides federal funding for this end. The CHIMP act was the ethical compromise to give back to chimpanzees used in research, yet there is no funding for any other primate, even though approximately 70,000 monkeys are used in research today.
We need to extend the CHIMP act to include all primates.
The naked truth
Your Watch Out! item "Nudes at the Capital" (7/23/10) is ironic since it precedes an in-depth article about a survivor of child sexual abuse. It's highly irresponsible to equate statuary in a classical form with a human being engaged in statutory indecent exposure to minors.
The statues at the Capitol are used to express the beauty of the human body, and their nakedness doesn't draw attention to the statue. Even more bluntly, it's a statue, it doesn't move, it doesn't try to make a statement by exposing itself, and it doesn't throw itself in the view of others.
How can someone equate this to a full-grown man falling off his bike in front of a 4-year-old and then connect with the child by getting up and waving! It's a case of sexual abuse by exposing himself to a child.
With all the problems of sexual assault today, Madison doesn't need nude biking in front of children or anyone else for that matter. We don't want the next strip club in town to be simply known as "Main Street."
Will Goodman, Stevens Point
The new ideas network?
I would hope that a "new era" at Wisconsin Public Radio would incorporate some new ideas ("Changing Channels," 7/23/10). WPR has an august past for sure, but it's a dusty museum piece.
The "University of the Air" was great in the 1930s, but the Ideas Network's approach to producing programs hasn't changed since. The usual suspects, university professors and friendly pundits, on the usual subjects become redundant.
Expanding to include Wisconsin's business leaders and innovative entrepreneurs would be a start. Fresh thought comes from engaging those who build, not just observe.
About that letter
If I were the Isthmus editor, I would have been too embarrassed on John C. Hyland's behalf to publish his letter ("Two Views on Abortion," 7/23/10).
He writes as though abortion only affects white people, that armies of Muslims can trash cities without being counted in the Census, and that having the population density of India would be a worthwhile tradeoff to protect the dominance of "our" culture.
It's funny that he picked Detroit to illustrate the drawbacks of a low birthrate. If there were really 400,000 illegal immigrants there, as he says, I'd wonder why they chose to move to a place with no jobs.
Madison voters backed gun rights
Per Bill Lueders' article ("Madison Gun Laws Pre-Slain," 7/9/10) regarding the U.S. Supreme Court's finding in favor of the Second Amendment granting individuals the right to bear arms, I would make a point for the sake of historical context. In 1998, several years after Madison voters supported that right in a city referendum, voters in the state of Wisconsin approved an amendment to the constitution guaranteeing the right to bear arms. The amendment was supported by 74% of voters.
Were Madison somehow to be exceptional, it would be exceptional to both state and federal laws.
Fred Milverstedt, Plymouth, Minn.