Letters to the editor: December 19 to 25 2014

Fun and slaughter

Christmas, although associated particularly with Christianity, is a time celebrated by people of different faiths – and by many atheists and agnostics as well – as a special period of family reunion, reconciliation, peace and hope. It is also often a time when there is some brief respite from international and factional conflicts.

Yet for the billions of nonhuman animals with whom we share this world, and particularly for nonhumans farmed for consumption, it is a time when our routine violence against them intensifies in preparation for the “season of goodwill”.

Most farmed animals are denied even the most basic of freedoms – newborns are taken from mothers; they are subject to routine mutilations; they are transported in awful conditions; and their lives ended with terrible violence. The meat on Christmas plates is not a “thing” but an individual who wanted to live.

How can we celebrate the Christmas values of love, peace and benevolence while carrying out, or supporting by our purchases, such terrible violence and abuse? Does this not make a mockery of the values associated with Christmas, values that most of us, whatever our religious convictions, claim to uphold? – Dr Les Mitchell, Hunterstoun Centre, University of Fort Hare; Frank Molteno, Christian; Dr Elisa Galgut, philosophy, University of Cape Town; Professor Crain Soudien, deputy vice-chancellor, UCT; Professor Chrissie Boughey, dean, teaching and learning, Rhodes University; Professor Geoff Harris, school of public management and economics, Durban University of Technology; Associate Professor Kai Horsthemke, school of education, University of the Witwatersrand; Dr Carla Tsampiras, medical humanities, UCT primary health care directorate; Canon Andrew Warmback, director of social responsibility: Anglican diocese of Natal; Professor Pippa Skotnes, Michaelis, UCT; Professor Susan Levine, anthropology, UCT; Professor Thaddeus Metz, University of Johannesburg; Dr Greg Fried, philosophy, UCT; Professor Mike Picker, zoology, UCT; Damon Galgut; Professor Virginia MacKenny, Michaelis, UCT; Dr Brett Bard, veterinarian; Beryl Scott and Toni Brockhoven, Beauty Without Cruelty; Dr Nadia Sanger, independent feminist scholar and associate, University of the Western Cape; Arthur van Coller, Nelson R Mandela school of law, University of Fort Hare; Dr Pedro A Tabensky, Allan Gray Centre for Leadership Ethics, Rhodes University; Professor Stephen Finn, Society for People, Environmental and Animal Kindness; Tozie Zokufa, Pan-African Animal Welfare Alliance; Louise van der Merwe, Compassion in World Farming (South Africa); Patricia Glyn, eco-adventurer and writer; Harry Owen, poet and writer; Chris Mercer, retired advocate, high courts of Zimbabwe and Botswana; Bev Pervan, Campaign Against Canned Hunting; Aragorn Eloff, Institute for Critical Animal Studies (Africa); Marian Hussenbux, Quaker Concern for Animals; Sean Brown; Pratiba Day, Brahma Kumaris; Nikki Elliott, United Front 4 Animals and World Animal Day ambassador (South Africa); Tamsin Nel, South African Mass Sterilisation Trust; Sonia de Villiers and Wendy Hardie, Grass Consumer Action Group; Alaster Goyns; Reverend Glynis Goyns, Eco-Congregations’ co-ordinator (North); David le Page, Buddhist; Hilary Loening, Christian; Professor Walter Loening, Christian; Nita Makanjee, Brahma Kumaris; Tahirih Matthee, Baha’i, and chairperson, board of Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute; Ani Tsondru Sonam, Buddhist nun, Karma Kagyu lineage; Alexandra Dodd, writer, editor and researcher; Colleen Mollentze, Institute for Critical Animal Studies (Africa)

Post-colonial parasites all p’s in a political pod

Dear Secretary General Dave Marks of the Previously Privileged Pale People’s Pensioners Political after Party of Pumula (Zuma-Gupta ‘deals’ fit old colonial rhetoric),

Please send me particulars of your newly proclaimed PPPPPPaPoP party.

I may be interested in partnering, provided that the PPPPPPaPoP prohibits persons perceived to be paranoid president-protecting parasites portraying previously privileged pale pensioners as problematic people, and gives preference to persons who find themselves popping Prozac after prolonged perusal of the Mail & Guardian pages.

Does the prospectus provide proper perspective on power outages and parliamentary privileges and perks, particularly presidential and parliamentary housing policies, pools and pet poultry?

Please inform me if your party is populist, patriarchal, parochial or partisan, and if you have plans to increase pension payouts progressively.

I do not want to be pushy, but may I propose we have a purple or pink uniform – pyjama-style, please – with printed pictures of our party president prominently displayed. Panama hats would perhaps be pertinent; berets are so passé. – Politically politely, Pamela

PS: Will I be provided with free pizza if I perambulate down to the polling place for provincial elections?

PPS: Do you give parcels?

Treatment of Judge Patel is contemptible

I refer to the resignation of KwaZulu-Natal Judge President Chiman Patel and the tawdry and disgraceful manner in which he has been treated (Top judge resigns over ‘politics’).

Only in South Africa would the political rantings of a stationery clerk be enough to bring down an honourable judge.

I know the judge personally. He is a fine man of impeccable integrity, a gentleman and a world-class jurist of enormous experience. In the face of rampant politics, racism and incompetence, he still led with distinction. He deserves much better than this.

Our executive is mortally wounded, our legislature is in disarray and our judiciary is now under attack.

I hope the woman, who was clearly put up to this, accusing the judge of crimen injuria, is pleased with herself. She should look at herself.

The next thing we know, President Jacob Zuma will be proposing her for the Bench. – Mark Lowe, Cape Town

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