Forum, May 18: Defeat Bill on Animal Cages

Thursday, May 18, 2017
Defeat Bill on Animal Cages

“What is the acceptable level of misery?” This question was posed by state Sen. Dick McCormack while addressing the Senate about the anguish cats and dogs will feel if H.218 is signed into law. Reducing cage sizes used at Vermont puppy mills, and removing the requirement for a house for dogs that “guard livestock” will be deadly. The answer is none.

H.218, sponsored by Rep. John Bartholomew, of Hartland, condemns cats and dogs to increased suffering. Vermont law enlarged cage sizes 10 years ago from very restrictive USDA space requirements for cats and dogs used in laboratory research that, after their “purpose” has been served, are euthanized. Vermont cage sizes are now larger for animals owned by breeders — confined all of their reproductive lives — than what H.218 proposes. To live a life in a cage is cruel and torturous, mentally and physically.

Cage sizes for dogs now range from 3-feet-by-4-feet for dogs weighing less than 25 pounds to 5-feet-by-6-feet for dogs over 100 pounds. At the very least, this allows a dog to stretch, eat, drink, sleep and walk a couple steps. If this bill is signed by Gov. Scott, cage size decreases to nearly half the current requirements, space so small that animals can’t stretch out without being in their own waste.

Rep. Bartholomew expressed to the House and Senate that our laws were unenforceable. Not true. Using the current statutes, we investigated a puppy mill in southern Vermont. Civil citations were issued and the owner was required to double cage sizes for many of his dogs. Many people have asked why we even have a law that allow dogs and cats to be caged for life? Good question.

Ask Governor Scott to veto H.218 until these sections are removed. Call: 1-802-828-3333 or go to: governor.vermont.gov/contact-us/message.

Sue Skaskiw

BridgewaterVT Volunteer Services for Animals Humane Society

Fund N.H. State Universities

This time each year, high school seniors commit to colleges, celebrate with family, and proudly post their decisions on our school’s decision wall. As a senior, I took great pride in watching my classmates’ hard work pay off as they committed to schools across the country and the globe.

This year showed a noticeable trend: fewer students than ever are attending college in-state. In 2013, 12 students from Kearsarge attended UNH, this year, four will. This trend is not unique to Kearsarge: Students are fleeing New Hampshire in droves, driven out by the highest in-state tuition in the country. This fall, incoming freshmen at UNH can expect to pay $17,624 in tuition. In Wyoming, the in-state tuition bill is $4,892.

This discrepancy is partially due to lack of state funding: State higher education funding was savaged by the recession, and while it has since rebounded to $125 million in fiscal year 2015, it remains $29 million short of its pre-recession high. In this regard, New Hampshire lags behind its neighbors: Maine, with a similar population, provided twice as much funding in 2015, while Vermont invested one-third more per capita.

Our state’s economically crippling loss of young people is one of the top priorities of every legislator, at least during campaign season. Once elected, however, the rhetoric doesn’t match results. The Senate’s budget flat-funds the university system at last year’s levels, while the House version eliminated even Gov. Sununu’s modest increase in scholarship funding.

Every dollar spent funding our state university system is a critical investment in our state’s economic future. If Legislators want to get serious about fighting the long-term economic challenges facing our state, adequately funding our university system would be a promising start.

Eric G. Scheuch

New London

6 Down — Synonym for Dull

Why do you continue to publish crossword puzzles by Eugene Sheffer? They are boringly simple and unimaginative. Certainly most of the people in the Upper Valley would prefer a bit more of a challenge each morning, as do I.

I know there are any number of other syndicated crossword puzzlers. Can you explain to me why you continue with this one? I urge you to upgrade.

Beth Dingman


Help Conserve Randolph Land

As someone keenly interested in the future of our food supply, I’m grateful to the Preservation Trust of Vermont, the Conservation Law Foundation and the Vermont Natural Resources Council for their efforts to preserve farmland around the state and most recently close to home, with the conservation of much of the prime agricultural lands around Interstate 89’s Exit 4 in Randolph.

One parcel eluded the deal and is still available for conservation, but at a cost. The Exit 4 Open Space group is making amazing strides towards the $1 million asking price, and needs your help to keep these lands working the way Vermont has traditionally worked, for ourselves, for tourists and for posterity.

I encourage everyone concerned about heedless sprawl to call the Preservation Trust of Vermont or visit their website to make a donation, which can be earmarked toward this project and refunded if the goal is not met by June 15. We are confident your help will preserve the land. After all, you can’t eat concrete!

Cynthia Quilici


Why Not Report on Jobs Created?

Your narrowly focused stories on the layoffs at RVCC (“River Valley Community College Laying Off Six, Dropping English Degrees,” May 12) and at TomTom (“Jim Kenyon: TomTom Workers Learn the Meaning of Redundant,” May 14) help explain why so many people have only a sketchy understanding of the workings of a free market economy. Both pieces, for example, fail to note that New Hampshire has an enviably low unemployment rate of only 2.8 percent, and that hundreds of jobs remain unfilled in the Upper Valley (many of which are advertised each day in your newspaper).

Why don’t you ever report on how many jobs are created each year at existing local companies? A vibrant, innovative economy adds jobs as businesses grow to meet new needs; and it eliminates them as new efficiencies are developed.

My TomTom GPS unit, which cost $259 in 2011, now sits unused in the bottom of a drawer; my iPhone provides much better, cost-free navigation. And in the next year I’ll spend the money that I have saved — no need to buy a new TomTom — on products and services that will contribute to the creation of even more jobs in other areas. That kind of transition makes us all better off, even if some folks have to change jobs on occasion.

You see, not everyone wants to or gets to work at the same job at the same company for an entire lifetime. The Valley News seems, even if unspokenly, to hold lifetime employment up as a paradigm, when such a model does not at all describe a modern, evolving economy that improves our lives.

Just ask former bank tellers or gas station pump jockeys, to cite but two types of jobs that have mostly disappeared. These people are all now employed in more productive positions, and we are all better off for it.

Joe Asch