I am writing to express my disgust and disappointment that Gordon Ramsay and the ACT government continue to support the presence of horse racing in the ACT, and continue to ensure they stay afloat using taxpayer funds exceeding $6 million dollars per year.
Take a Chance, a five-year-old mare slaughtered at Meramist as revealed by the ABC in their traumatising investigation, had her last race in Canberra on October 6, 2017. This is not the only concerning revelation in the last year.
There was an instance of apparent neglect (failing to lodge a stable return and failing provide veterinary treatment) at the hands of trainers Barb Joseph, Paul Jones and Matt Jones, who received a four-month suspension which they are appealing.
There was also All Talk, a four-year-old mare, "humanely euthanised" according to the steward's report after suffering an injury to her off foreleg at Thoroughbred Park in Canberra in July. No words of condolence were forthcoming from Thoroughbred Park.
This is what can be confirmed publicly. The continued support of this industry by Gordon Ramsay and the ACT government is an embarrassment.
Perhaps Ramsay could spend less time attending racing industry luncheons and more time working to dismantle this institutionalised cruelty.
Bronwyn Wyatt, Braddon
I am constantly amazed at the lengths that some people will go to to become rich and famous and well regarded in their field of expertise.
Our national pastime of "betting on the ponies" has been exposed for the horror that it is. What concerned and compassionate person could ignore the disgusting images of those "used" horses being tormented and tortured before being slaughtered?
The people working in that slaughterhouse and yard should face criminal charges for the acts they have performed.
That animals are slaughtered is a undeniable fact that most of us would prefer not to think about. But what is truly unforgivable is that the process is sadistic and unnecessarily cruel in most cases.
Why can't humane processes be developed and maintained? Why must these animals suffer unnecessarily to satisfy the sadistic perversion of humans?
The horse racing industry in Australia, and all people involved, must have been aware of this callous disposal of unwanted horses. They should be ashamed and held accountable for the misery and pain they have allowed to happen.
Fiona Owens, Charnwood
Questacon not perfect
Your article on Questacon ("Questacon smashes records", October 21, p2) gave a positive report card on increasing visitor numbers and interest in STEM subjects.
Questacon is a nationally important organisation with grand aims: "Questacon engages Australians in STEM to .... encourage the momentum needed to meet the challenges of the future". However, Questacon is failing to highlight climate science, something many find incomprehensible and wrong.
Our greatest challenge is the global climate emergency and by presenting the facts and the fascinating challenges involved in climate predictions and potential responses Questacon could inspire some of the innovations we desperately need to meet these challenges. Many school students, one of Questacon's key target audiences, are interested and motivated by these issues.
In considering the lack of communication about the climate emergency, it is hard to avoid the perception that Questacon's partnership with companies which have major fossil fuel interests has hampered its ability to present the facts. Let's take a more serious look at Questacon and whether it is serving its purpose.
Julia Newton-Howes, Ainslie
On October 26 2018 The Canberra Times had an article on Canberra's water.
It was reported that Canberra's water storages were full in 2010 but as of September 2018 had shrunk to 67 per cent of their capacity.
Icon Water was reassuring about the matter, saying there was no "immediate prospect" of water restrictions being imposed and that the Territory had enough water to withstand the " the worst drought we have ever seen".
This was misleading as the Icon Water website outlines current water restrictions.
At the time I wrote to The Canberra Times asking if Icon Water believed in the climate warming scenarios for Canberra?
On October 1, 2019, Elizabeth Bruce's letter to The Canberra Times queried why there was no publicity on Canberra's water restrictions.
Why aren't current water restrictions publicised and why aren't stronger restrictions already in place?Rod Holesgrove, Crace
On October 19 ("Dry argument", p1) The Canberra Times reported that storages were down to 54 per cent in just 18 months and that water restrictions were "less than a year away".
The Indian Ocean dipole continues strongly and the likelihood of returning to earlier Canberra rainfall patterns seems problematic. So I ask again: does Icon Water actually take into account climate change scenarios for Canberra?
And, to repeat Ms Bruce's point, why aren't current restrictions publicised and why aren't stronger restrictions already in place?
Rod Holesgrove, Crace
The ACT government's Infrastructure Plan, released on October 17, sidesteps at least one key question; whether or not the proposals represent the best value for (our) money.
The document essentially assumes that if Labor or the Greens want something, it will be built even if no cost benefit analysis and/or no comparison with other way(s) to provide the relevant service has been made public.
This lack of basic transparency and good decision-making is very likely to put further upward pressure on the price we pay for infrastructure. Infrastructure Australia has published an estimate that the average household in effect already pays $314 per week for infrastructure; a good reason to question any politician's promise of "free public services".
The most expensive single project by far remains the proposed remainder of the light rail (more than a further $2 billion, on top of the roughly $1 billion spent on stage one).
The government is ploughing ahead with this despite Infrastructure Australia noting (in June 2019) that "urban travel patterns are becoming increasingly complex, driven by economic, social, demographic and technological changes. There is a risk of growing divergence between the way our networks are planned and designed, and the needs of customers".
A "set in concrete" light rail, both physically and in the minds of our current political leaders, may not be the best value for money solution to our transport needs.
It should be subject to a robust public comparison with, for example, buses (that are not stuck on a single route), ride sharing, and electric light vehicles such as bicycles, particularly since it will not be until (if?) Stage 4 that Tuggeranong finally receives a service under the current plan.
Bruce Paine, Red Hill
Why did The Canberra Times bother to publish the letter from Vic Robertson (Letters, October 15)?
Surely the editors are aware that its single point presented in denial of climate science is neither novel nor logical?
That point has been refuted repeatedly and authoritatively.
I don't wish to insult readers' intelligence and waste column space spelling out the errors of logic.
Instead, I refer readers to discussion of denial myth #1 at www.skepticalscience.com.
Peter Campbell, Cook
It's not normal
Why is it people like Vic Robertson (Letters, October 15) focus on the question of whether global warming is normal or not? Are they afraid to acknowledge our planet was on a cooling trend up until the industrial revolution two centuries ago?
Since then temperatures have been increasing at an abnormal rate, according to the geological record. Is it not logical that increased pollution of our atmosphere, along with increased pollution of our soils, rivers and oceans, and removal of our forest cover, would inevitably cause some unwelcome response? We were intelligent enough to improve our standard of living but ignored the side effects. Are we intelligent enough to put aside our greed and act responsibly?
R Boxall, Hawker
A timely reminder
In these times of war and disorder, it's useful to be reminded of other times when Australia helped keep the peace ("New Exhibition Shines Light on Australian Peacekeepers", October 18, p4). In places like Rwanda, Somalia, Cambodia and beyond, our forces of Blue Berets played valuable roles.
One additional location was northern Iraq after the first Gulf War, under "Operation Habitat". This was part of the defence of four million Kurdish people who had fled their homes.
The ADF provided welcome medical, dental and engineering support. This helped the Kurds to resume some semblance of normal life afterwards. Unlike the horrors of their lives in northern Syria now.
Peter Graves, Curtin
TO THE POINT
NOT VERY NICE
Telling farmers struggling in a monumental drought that they "should reconsider how they are spending their lives", is cruel and insulting. There's an old saying, "they shoot horses don't they?" From his position of privilege, does Barnaby Joyce want to finish our farmers off?
Maggie Morgan, Northcote, Vic
When is the PM going to intervene in the Julian Assange issue? Even Barnaby Joyce is expressing his disapproval: "Allowing the extradition of Assange to the US would set a very bad precedent". Come on Scomo, do something great, Trump would be so jealous.
John Rodriguez, Florey
GOD CAN LEARN
Paul Wayper (Letters, October 22) queries the value of prayer. I can but refer him to the late Christopher Hitchens, who put it as succinctly as anyone has: "The man who prays is the one who thinks that god has arranged matters all wrong, but who also thinks that he can instruct god how to put them right."
Eric Hunter, Cook
Well, of course Bridget McKenzie isn't thought fit by the National Party to be deputy leader. She hasn't yet defended cruelty to horses, in the way she conspicuously did towards greyhounds.
Alex Mattea, Sydney, NSW
So, that ugly monstrosity, Skywhale, has now been dumped on us to give a ballooning company a tax break. Why, oh why, can't someone harpoon the blasted thing? We could then be done with this insult to the city and people of Canberra.
Michael Hall, Canberra
WORKED OUT WELL
How appropriate the Skywhale has 10 breasts. That's almost one teat for each of the 11 members of the ALP in our infantile Legislative Assembly.
Mike Quirk, Garran
JUST IN TIME
Thank goodness we have Snow and company's airport monopoly. That swanky, underground, Canberra Grammar auditorium ain't gonna build itself.
Warwick Bradly, Weston
POTUS claimed credit for brokering a halt to the slaughter of Kurd fighters and non-combatants in Syria and Turkey. Trump won't be claiming credit any time soon for starting hostilities in the first place by his cockamamie decision to withdraw US special forces.
R Baczynski, Isaacs
CO-ED IS THE ANSWER
Toxic masculinity can be nipped in the bud if boys' schools, such as St Kevin's, go co-educational, as Canberra Grammar has done recently, and as my alma mater, Wesley College, did decades ago. An all-male environment is an unnatural one.
Michael McCarthy, Deakin
It's great the world has one major leader who is a progressive and proactive on climate change and the environment thanks to the re-election of Justin Trudeau in Canada. A bright light (solar) in the otherwise right wing gloom.
John Davenport, Farrer
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