RD June Letters 2019

Aligned for resurrection
RD: Talk about coincidences! Just today (Friday, April 12) I picked up a copy of Getting Rid of Alders at our Perth-Andover, N.B., library, and came across the item “Making country butter,” from 1987 by Susan Restino (pg. 72), and just this past Tuesday (April 9) I was helping a friend do a demonstration of old tools to some youngsters, probably mostly under age 11 or so, at this same library, and my friend used an old “...

Read More

RD May Letters 2019

Bull tales

RD: This ain’t no bull – these are true stories. We lived on a farm in Cumberland Co. Every year Dad would raise a bull to sell to the butcher. This year we had a nice one – plump and fat! When the butcher came to get this one, he would not walk up the ramp to the truck. No way. Three men pulled on him, but no go. So back in the barnyard he stood and looked at the men. The butcher decided to shoot him there and drag him up onto the truck. He aimed and fired, the bull just shook his head. Another two shots, and the bull shook his head and took off at full speed into the woods. We thought he would die in the woods and we would never find him. Three days later when I was getting the cows, here he was, just munching grass among the cows. He walked home with them and into the barn, right to his own spot. Dad went and called the butcher. This time they led him onto the truck no problem. They couldn’t figure out why the bullets never bothered him at all. However, when he was butchered they found out he had a double skull, and the bullets only hit the first one. No one had ever seen this before.

Friends of mine had also raised a bull. Once they were teasing him in the barnyard and he decided to chase them. They ran in a shed, slamming the door behind them and BANG! The bull hit the shed and his horns poked through the wood, holding him fast. The farmer killed him there, sawing off the horns and leaving them stuck in the door. They could still be there.

Esther Bradley
Dorchester, N.B.

Where have all the advocates gone?
RD: Regarding the article in your 2018 Year in Review edition about “Temple Grandin’s fundamentals of humane animal handling,” (by Joan LeBlanc, page 58; originally published in Atlantic Beef and Sheep, Summer 2018). My question is why are feedlots allowed? In Alberta we often saw the poor cattle standing (outside) in their own muck, with their feet wet for way too long a time. Sawdust and woodchips for bedding is cheap, and shouldn’t be an option. Worse yet was that feedlot mentality seen in a dairy herd. Definitely unhygienic, to say the least, and so not fair! And just for the record – calves penned for veal is as cruel as chickens squashed in cages.

We now live on Vancouver Island, and the happy cows we used to see have been pushed off the land for cash crops and into feedlots/stalls. A life sentence of servitude. Makes me sad. The SPCA won’t step in. Where are all our animal advocates? Where is our common sense and our common decency? It hurts to see them that way! And yes, even vegetarians can feel some of the animals’ pain and shame when they see similarities in some of Canada’s farm workers’ conditions.

Thanks for listening and thanks for your magazine. It is awesome.

Ruth John
Port Alberni, B.C.

RD November Letters 2018

Forest policy vindication
RD: Bill Lahey’s Independent Forestry Review Report is a long-awaited vindication of what many woodlot owners, harvesters, and environmentalists have been saying for years: we need a forestry industry that leaves a significant portion of forest intact. We have been exploiting our forest – with too much clearcutting and planting of monocultures – in an unsustainable fashion.

Read More

RD October Letters 2017

Blue in the face over blueberries
RD: There’s not enough coverage about 60 million pounds of N.S. blueberries. They say the price is low. Why can’t we buy them at the Atlantic Superstore, Sobeys, etc.? There’s lots of berries from down south. During September of last fall (2016) I spoke to the produce manager of Atlantic Superstore in Tantallon, N.S. All they had were excuses. I called Ontario – no luck. 

Read More

RD July-August Letters 2017

Something’s fishy
RD: I tried to discover if I could buy some river herring by means of telephoning Fisheries and Aquaculture, in the phone book as 426-9010, but the girl never heard of such fish. She then referred me to “Dartmouth” where the girl said she would ask regarding Gaspereau or river herring. Never heard of the fish herself. Now I got a bill for long distance; evidently the second girl was in Cornwallis Park, N.S.
    I mention the runaround in part because you might find it interesting to do an article, possibly relating to the dearth of herring generally. Is the Gaspereau River empty of kiack? It was once renowned for a square net fishery, the wide nets supported from above, on a limb or an A-frame or tri, like an engine from a truck tree lift.

Read More

RD June Letters 2017

War on nature
RD: I would like to thank Dr. Av Singh for his timely article on glyphosates. Other than the dangers that he mentioned, there are some additional considerations:
    1. Once we have killed all the weeds that are susceptible to glyphosates the only weeds left will be the resistant ones. These will pose an even greater hazard. (This is analogous to the situation we have created with the indiscriminate use of antibiotics in humans leading to resistant “super bugs.”)
    2. Secondly, as everyone knows, glyphosates were originally discovered as a descaling agent for pipes and later found to have antibacterial properties. As we spread them (glyphosates) indiscriminately on our crops we do not know what they are doing to the bacterial life in the soil. Bacteria play a vital role in soil health. We kill them off at our peril.
    It is time to stop our “war on nature” and learn to live in harmony and holistically with all that nature has to offer.
Bruce Wright MD, FRCPC  
Bridgewater, N.S.

Read More