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No Fracking Way!; Legislation Would Make Life Better for Farm Animals; An Independent’s Plight

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

No Fracking Way!

Regarding Maureen Turner’s piece last week on developers interested in putting a gas pipeline through sanctuary land (“An Ironic Proposal,” May 22): This proposal for a new infrastructure for a non-renewable fuel transport is simply counterproductive and threatens ecosystems through the best parts of Massachusetts. This is a lose-lose proposal for most everyone, except for a few companies and their short-term profits. Meanwhile, tariffs to pay for the pipe will end up costing utility customers, never mind not lowering carbon emissions in the Commonwealth. 

 

Legislation Would Make Life Better for Farm Animals

Can you imagine what it would be like to have a short chain around your neck 24 hours each day and be forced to stand on a slotted wood floor where you can easily slip and often get your tiny hoof caught between the slats? What must it be like to be torn away from your mother and never allowed to nurse, but rather forced to drink milk from a bucket and then be unable to lie down to stretch your limbs?  If you suffer from diarrhea as many veal calves do, no one really cares. Such is the life of a veal calf kept in a crate on an intense confinement system.

Can you imagine what it would be like to share a cage with seven other hens, no place to build a nest, no place to take a dust bath and not even a place to spread your wings as you are only allotted the space of a piece of copy paper to live your entire life? Such is the life of a laying hen kept in an intense confinement system. Can you imagine what it would be like to be unable to turn around, lie down comfortably, nurse your piglets or even scratch an itch? Such is the life of a pig kept in an intense confinement system.

There is a bill, currently in committee, H. 1456, which would prohibit the confinement of farm animals in a manner that does not allow them to turn around freely, lie down, stand up and fully extend their limbs. H. 1456 would prohibit the use of veal crates for calves, gestation crates for pregnant pigs and battery cages for hens in Massachusetts. We’ve got a good record in Massachusetts of treating animals humanely. Let’s extend that kindness to calves, pigs and hens. Please call your state senator and representative and ask them to support H. 1456. 

 

An Independent’s Plight

Independent voters are coming together in Massachusetts to play a role in the mid-term elections, but it’s not the role we are usually cast in by the media as “swing voters.”  Instead, on primary day, Sept. 9, we’ll be working to be visible at a time when we are most invisible.

Primary elections are a critical juncture in the democratic process. They are often the most competitive. But in Massachusetts, independents are forced to select a party ballot and unable to split their ticket and vote for the best candidate, not the party, as they prefer. 

This is the independent’s plight: we are first class taxpayers when it comes to funding the administration of elections–but second class voters. Do you think this is fair given the Democratic and Republican parties are private entities? A recent Gallup poll shows 42 percent of Americans identify as independent and in Massachusetts it’s even higher, at 52 percent, making the issue all the more urgent as a large and growing segment of the electorate is marginalized in its voting powers by partisan primary systems. Massachusetts independents support alternative approaches to the current system of private party primaries. In a Top Two nonpartisan primary, all candidates, regardless of party affiliation, are on a single ballot and all voters vote on this ballot. The top two vote-getters go to the general election. 

A change is clearly needed–so that the voices of millions of independent voters who do not now have full voting rights can be heard.

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