A lifetime of suffering for a moment’s diversion?

It’s time for the Big E to stop featuring animal abuse as a cheap diversion. Times have changed since the early days of this festival, and most folks do not enjoy seeing wild animals living such unnatural and horrific conditions; traveling, living, and CONFINED in airless trucks and trailers, (often in chains), lacking temp control, natural habitat, stimulation, exercise, social/familial ties, often in their own waste, and subjected to harsh punitive measures to control them. How in the year 2019 can this be construed as a form of entertainment? Nearly everyone I know who attends the Big E says that they feel very saddened to see these animals exploited in this fashion, and would be relieved if the Big E would stop sponsoring animal cruelty, and showcase human talent instead.

It is time for the Big E to evolve with the times as we now understand more fully the intelligence, sensitivity, and complex needs of our friends in the animal kingdom.

— Lisa Haut, Bridgeport, Conn.

Fairs are not places for wild animals

Western Mass Animal Rights Advocates would like to publicly thank the Three County Fair for it’s decision NOT to have any wild animal acts or the racing pigs at the fair this year. We are thrilled that this year no animals were forced to perform to entertain us. We would also like to thank all the people who expressed their concern to the fair over the years about the use of animals.

Times are changing. Society is awakening to the needless cruelty involved in traveling animal acts, and with our modernized culture, fairs can now choose from countless humane options. We hope that the fair’s decision is due to changing times and that it will be a permanent one.

While we very much appreciate this year’s change, we would like to see the horse and oxen pulls eliminated as well. We realize these are part of agricultural history, but because of the cruel training involved, they should be a thing of the past.

We hope the Big E will follow in the Three County Fair’s footsteps and eliminate wild animals as well. Nearly 132,000 people have signed a petition asking the Big E to remove wild animal exhibits. Last year, posts on social media of an exhausted elephant and a very distressed camel went viral and the Big E has made some positive changes this year. We all need to speak up for change.

— Sheryl Becker, Agawam, and Maureen Ippolito, Leverett

Re: ‘Stop the Circular Firing Squad’

In response to “Stop the circular firing squad,” published in the Back Talk section of the Advocate for August 29 – September 4, 2019.

Readers of the Advocate who didn’t happen to see my “Open Letter to Elizabeth Warren” in the Daily Hampshire Gazette may be forgiven for thinking that I must have been pretty harsh on the Senator. Pam Hyjek’s letter in the Aug. 29-Sept. 4 issue quoted me as berating Senator Warren for her “poor” performance in the Presidential candidates’ debate, but I used no such words anywhere in my letter.

All I did was to politely ask our elected member of Congress to tell the truth to the American people about what any use of nuclear weapons would really mean (I even said “please”). As Pam Hyjek herself pointed out, we live in treacherous times. One of the reasons for that is the existence of nuclear weapons that threaten to destroy human civilization and potentially all life on earth.

We now have an opportunity, with the 2017 UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, to work together with the other nuclear-armed nations to eliminate these weapons once and for all. That could open up new possibilities for working together on other equally important issues, such as the climate crisis. Our survival requires nothing less.

Personally, I think Elizabeth Warren is a great Senator and would make a great President. But does Pam Hyjek really believe we should all just keep our opinions to ourselves and never question or challenge our politicians? That doesn’t sound much like democracy to me.

— Timmon Wallis, Northampton