To the Editor:
I’m afraid that Doug Wright must have misinterpreted portions of my last letter to the editor, as it was not intended to be in the least condescending or patronizing.
My point as to the shelter needs of hogs was not directed at him or at anyone else who is familiar with farm animals. It was directed at the casual readers of LCN’s ongoing coverage of this issue, who may not be as well-informed. I intended to help clarify the severity of the reported housing situation for those who believe that a pig requires as much protection from the elements as, say, a Jersey cow. Animal care is not black and white: there are degrees of insufficiency and that should be recognized.
I did not call helpful neighbors nosy – rather the opposite. I suggested that private help (which may include calling in government agencies where necessary) was a kind and ultimately helpful approach. What I object to is LCN’s scandal-column-style interest in the Bureau of Animal Welfare’s neighborhood activities (not restricted to this case), and to the mean tone of small-town gossip. This subject sparks a lot of emotion, and I understand why people get indignant, but it shouldn’t turn into a witch-hunt.
Animal neglect is different from animal abuse, in that it usually arises from poor finances, poor health, overextension, and/or ignorance rather than from a mindset of depraved cruelty. That is why I believe we should have respect for the dignity of the people involved, as well as the needs of the animals, in such cases.
If Mr. Wright sees a call to charity and circumspection as patronizing, then we must agree to disagree.