I have no doubt I would die to protect any animal whom I have taught to love and trust me, as surely as I would die for my human family. I find the notion that we should somehow love our adopted kin less than our blood kin abhorrent.
From a more global perspective, the notion humans are somehow, subjectively, more important than other animals is a fatal error which is swiftly and surely destroying all life on Earth.
As a scientist, I am endlessly aghast at the recurring scapegoating of cats for human crimes. It is humans, not cats who are unremittingly exterminating Australia's native wildlife. Cats are predators, that is the purpose for which nature evolved them.
They regulate populations of prey species. It is a horrible system but we're stuck with it.
The impact of cats on wildlife, compared to land clearing, logging, water extraction, pollution, road kill and climate change (to name a few), is negligible.
Scapegoating cats for evils perpetrated by humans, especially governments, is an ancient distraction tactic. In the 14th century, it led, through the persecution of old women as witches and their cats as familiars, to the near extinction of cats in Europe, leaving the rat population overcrowded, weak and sick.
This contributed to the world's worst ever pandemic: the Black Death.
Frankie Seymour, Queanbeyan, NSW
Let's take a look
Since we are understandably keen on international inquiries relating to this pandemic shouldn't we be having an investigation into how global tourism is inevitably going to suffer terribly for years longer than necessary thanks to America's and Brazil's conduct?
It's a globalised world and nothing is more connected than international travel.
There's more to account for than responsibility for just the start of this pandemic. Airline and tourism CEOs must presumably be considering taking strong actions against those two nations' presidents to protect their shareholders.
Alex Mattea, Sydney, NSW
It was touching to read Yuri Shukost's letter defending the exemption of NRL from the normal restrictions of COVID-19 on the grounds of the mental health of followers (Letters, May 18).
It is a statistical fact that more people attend cultural institutions and events than attend sporting events, and no exemptions are being given for theatres and cinemas, no matter how invested so much of the population is in the activities they provide.
And all the footballers have maintained their income, some, perhaps, somewhat reduced. But the people who work in the arts have been completely left out of the loop.
No shows in theatres means no work for actors, producers, stage workers, lighting workers, and no income for any of them.
I think it's time the loud voices of footballers, and their followers, were lowered, and consideration given to the people in the arts, who really are suffering in this pandemic.
Margaret Lee, Hawker
China's disdain for western civilisation always shows up when the Chinese can't have their own way, or they are criticised, or found out for wrongs they have done.
So they don't want our beef or barley. Good, we can find other countries that will be thankful for them. Maybe we Australians can ask our government to stop sending our minerals too. Also, also take back our Darwin Harbour and any other businesses or properties they have interests in. And also ask all those students studying in Australia to leave.
While I doubt it would ever happen we can always hope.
The best idea is for all Australians to stop buying items "made in China" and to ask stores to put them in the rubbish where they belong.
Errol Good, Macgregor
What about the north?
With the release of the planned Lanyon Drive upgrade proposing a flyover across the Monaro Highway I wonder if the Transport Minister Chris Steel could wander over to the "north side" and have a look at the debacle that is the roundabout intersection of the Barton Highway/William Slim Drive/Gundaroo Drive.
This roundabout intersection has to be one of the worst designs that the ACT Government has concocted. When it was found to be amongst the highest accident prone intersections in the ACT, someone with no idea of the practicality of traffic control, decided to do as little as possible (cost wise) and install a staggered set of traffic lights to alleviate the congestion and accidents occurring there.
Since that time there have still been a number of accidents, and a lot of near misses, because people don't seem to know where and when the lights are intending for them to go.
The real answer would have been to invest the money wasted on the redesign of the roundabout and installation of traffic lights, towards the construction of a purpose built flyover, or at least, to completely eliminate the roundabout and redesign the intersection as a large flat open intersection that would be the same as the one less than four kilometres north along the Barton Highway, where Kuringa Drive and Clarrie Hermes Drive meet the highway.
With the duplication works nearing completion along Gundaroo Drive, and the planned duplication of William Slim Drive soon to commence, surely this would be the best time to go back and redress the problem that is this ridiculous road design once and for all.
It needs a flyover.
Greg Evans, Kaleen
The Manuka dilemma
Kathryn Lewis' report "What lies ahead for the Manuka shops?" (May 18, p1) reflects regret about the decline of the Manuka shops yet doesn't mention an obvious solution that should be tried.
Franklin Street should be pedestrianised with vehicle access only for limited service vehicles.
Then add an innovative children's play area, a music podium, some outdoor tables and seating, a few freestanding coffee shops, a stall for use by community groups for fundraising and an outdoor art exhibition space.
This should liven the place up and make it attractive to go there. It definitely is not that at the moment.
Woolley Street in Dickson also needs a pedestrianised make over as it suffers the same problem as Manuka.
Peter White, Flynn
White is best
The familiar white Comcars used by parliamentarians are being replaced by dark grey BMWs ("German carriage replaces Caprices", May 16, p4).
This car is highly rated for safety and economy. But the colour detracts from both. Dark cars are harder to see and more likely to be involved in accidents and use more fuel to run air conditioning in hot weather.
Parliamentarians should set an example by using cars of a colour that, on any car in any condition, will provide as much extra safety and environmental advantage as possible. White is best.Jorge Gapella, Kaleen
The average person cannot be expected to partially offset the loss of safety and fuel efficiency inflicted by a dark car by purchasing a $100,000 plus vehicle.
Rather than prioritising "a more contemporary look", parliamentarians should set an example by using cars of a colour that - on any car in any condition - will provide as much extra safety and environmental advantage as possible. White is best.
Jorge Gapella, Kaleen
A genuine hero
A new work entitled 100 Ways John Paul II Changed the World reminds us that May 18, 2020, marked the 100 year anniversary of his birth.
In 1984 the Polish Pope and President Reagan had established full diplomatic relations between the United States and the Holy See.
In 1989, ex-president Ronald Reagan received two Polish Americans and Solidarity labor union representatives, whose movement, supported by John Paul II and the former US President, constituted the first independent labour union in the Soviet bloc and contributed to the first crack in the Iron Curtain.
It sent shock waves through the entire Soviet Union, beginning with the Polish Pope's 1979 visit to his native country.
When they asked Reagan for words of political wisdom for the Solidarity members, he told them to listen to their conscience as "that is where the Holy Spirit talks to you". Reagan then pointed to a picture of John Paul: "He is my best friend. Yes, you know I'm Protestant, but he's still my best friend."
Colliss Parrett, Barton
We can now go to an enclosed cafe and have 10 people in an enclosed space. But we can still only have 10 people on a 2400-square-metre croquet or bowls green. One person per 240 square metres is somewhat more dispersed than one per four square metres.
We are also going to allow physical contact and scrums in the NRL. It is bureaucratic nonsense.
Dave Roberts, Belconnen
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