Keeping animals safe on July Fourth
For many animals, July fourth fireworks are frightening — not fun. Last year, fireworks in Wichita, Kansas, terrified a dog named Harley so badly that he jumped a fence, took off running, and became trapped on a 32-foot overpass. Police officers rescued him, but the terrified dog bolted again, and police had to shut down traffic until they could corral the panicked pooch.
Many animals who flee during fireworks are killed by cars or are never reunited with their guardians. Birds often abandon their nests, sometimes orphaning their fledglings. The smoke plumes from fireworks can also damage their sensitive respiratory systems.
We can make July fourth less frightening for animals by never lighting off fireworks ourselves and minimizing animals’ exposure to bangs and booms: Keep animals indoors in a quiet, safe room and stay with them during the fireworks. Closing blinds and curtains, keeping the lights on and playing classical music at a normal volume can help. Calming recordings, such as “Through a Dog’s Ear,” and wraps such as Thundershirt can also help soothe stressed animals.
Ensure all animals are microchipped and wearing collars with current ID tags. And never leave animals outdoors unattended or take them to fireworks displays. For more ways to have an animal-friendly fourth, visit PETA.org.
The PETA Foundation Corporate strings on UofL
Many of you will remember that the University of Kentucky accepted a large research grant from BB&T this year after prudently persuading the grantor to take out a caveat that was causing a public uproar. Originally, BB&T had required UK to establish a reading room to be named for the libertarian novelist and essayist, Ayn Rand. That was just too much for those who care about the academic reputations of our state universities. How can we conduct objective research while accepting money with strings attached to an extremist agenda? Wendell Berry felt so strongly about it that he publicly threatened to withdraw his personal papers from the University archives. Thankfully, that was not necessary.
So, it was disappointing for many of us to read that UofL had accepted a large research grant from Papa John’s Pizza and the Koch Brothers at about the same time to promote “free enterprise economics.” That phrase is so widely abused in politics today, it seems to have lost its meaning. Some would say it’s become a euphemism for monopoly and oligopoly.
Labor union members have got to wonder whether this grant would be used to promote the so called right-to-work law in Kentucky. That’s a reasonable concern considering ALEC’s campaign in our Commonwealth this year to promote local right-to-work ordinances, which appear to be unconstitutional. Maybe it’s telling that UofL’s Labor Management Center has been dormant since 2012. I don’t suppose Papa John’s Pizza and the Koch Brothers would ever consider funding a program like that.
Tom Louderback, 40205
Bad laws responsible for civil unrest
The civil unrest in our nation isn’t due to law enforcement, it’s because of bad laws. Louis Brandeis said, “If you want respect for the law, you must first make the law respectable.” Our citizens were fooled by the government into believing that a war on drugs was in the best interest of the nation, so we allowed our legislatures to pass bad, unconstitutional and counter-productive laws.
The result of our bad laws are a police state with 25 percent of the world’s prisoners and record overdose fatalities. How can any citizen be blamed for not trusting or respecting a government that punishes its citizens so brutally for drug possession, especially minorities who are six times more likely to be charged?
A Kentucky citizen testified that he would go blind if he didn’t use cannabis regularly and six Kentucky doctors agreed in writing. Based on that testimony and section 26 of our constitution, the law preventing him from possessing cannabis is inviolate, null and void and can’t be enforced on any Kentucky citizen. Did the governor or attorney general put out a stop enforcement order? Did the legislature stand up for the man’s rights or our constitution? Why should citizens respect a government that ignores their rights?
There’s no such thing as a war on drugs. The war is on the rights of our citizens and as long as the war continues, there will continue to be an escalation of violence. Don’t blame the citizens for opposing unjust laws. That’s what we are supposed to do. Blame the government for writing laws that violate fundamental freedoms.
Tom Rector Jr., Prospect