While I share Mike O'Shaughnessy's concerns for the ethical treatment of poultry (Letters, January 6) I applaud Adam Lilleyman in his efforts to produce ethical eggs ("Farmers rewrite book on chickens", January 4, p6).
For millennia, humans have, often cruelly, raised and slaughtered animals for food. It is only in the past 100 years that public concern for the cruelty and suffering involved has slowly increased. The alleged origins of COVID-19 in a barbarous Wuhan "wet-market" will have sharpened our awareness of the implications of such practices.
The persistence of the appalling live animal export trade is evidence of how difficult it is to change attitudes. Yet I believe that within the next 50 years the practice of raising and slaughtering billions of living creatures for thoughtless human consumption will become repugnant to most people, for both ethical and health reasons.
But that change will come progressively and what Lilleyman is doing is an important step along the way. There will be ever increasing humane responses to the suffering of all animal life, particularly domesticated animals, and greater awareness of the disconnect between efforts at humane animal "husbandry" and inhumane transportation and slaughtering practices.
Eventually, intelligent consumers will no longer close their minds to the suffering they condone, and through their consumption habits will cease to condone it.
Despite their different outlooks, both O'Shaughnessy and the Lilleyman are part of that civilising process.
P O'Keeffe, Hughes
The police border check point observed on Sutton Road brought back a memory from many years ago.
A colleague was driving from her home along Sutton Road to work after a night shift at Queanbeyan Hospital. She was stopped at the border by people in uniform telling her the border was closed.
After expressing her disbelief and explaining her need to get through she was informed it was actually a Candid Camera stunt. This was a TV program some more mature members may recall.
On hearing this story I never dreamt the border checks would be come a reality many years later.
Janet Reynolds, Greenleigh
The latest edition of The New Scientist, in discussing how the world reboots as the pandemic dies down, warns that if countries do not halve their emissions by 2030 and cut them to net zero by mid-century there will be a new normal that none of us wants - a climate crisis that completely dwarfs COVID-19. The key to this, they state, is what kind of recovery politicians opt for, because this is what is going to decide our collective climate future.
This country's leadership, while showing some leadership and empathy at the beginning of the pandemic is fast failing in its haste to return to its ideological normal.
We see a Prime Minister refusing to acknowledge scientists urging more action regarding climate and a Treasurer totally lacking in empathy slashing JobKeeper and JobSeeker allowances before any real economic confidence has returned to the community. Shame on them both.
This country desperately needs leadership and change for the better, not a return to the old normal.
Murray Upton, Belconnen
The UN delegation to China to investigate the origins of the killer virus is on its way 12 months after the virus escaped from Wuhan and killed 1.7 million people and infected 82 million and counting.
China has sanitised the area where the virus is alleged to have originated and cleaned up the filthy and unhygienic wet markets. The inspectors will no doubt be directed on a "guided" tour of the places the communist Chinese officials want them to see.
There will no doubt be opposition to the inspectors interviewing people closely involved with the pandemic. Presumably, they will not be allowed to visit the jail where a young journalist who interviewed doctors and victims in Wuhan is on a hunger strike.
She has been jailed for trying to discover the truth. According to the Chinese Communist Party this is mischief-making and causing trouble. The CCP has previously said that the virus was brought into China by US military personnel and also by visitors from Italy. No credible evidence has been provided to justify these ridiculous claims which can be put down to puerile propaganda.
The UN inspectors will come up with a "nothing to see here" scenario - just as the Andrews inquiry did in Victoria. The year of the rat may have just passed but there is still a lot of rat cunning in the Chinese Communist Party.
Coke Tomyn, Camberwell, Vic.
Units not houses
Could someone please research and publish the split in how the various property markets are doing? There of course isn't just one but at least four - distinct and by now very differently demand-supplied and performing: apartments and houses, new and established.
What's the bet that established houses in inner suburbs are in huge demand, whereas new apartments are vastly oversupplied and - post all the construction scandals - rather unwanted now? It's all too convenient for the industry to roll the numbers into one.
Alex Mattea, Sydney, NSW
Two companies in which I hold shares have recently issued to their shareholders invitations to participate in share purchase plans. Payment for the new shares in both these companies can be made only through BPAY or electronic funds transfer.
My understanding is that payment by cheque remains legal tender as determined by government regulation and banking practice. How then can these companies be permitted to deny such approved business facilities to their shareholders?
Eric French, Holt
Too little, too late
So, Julian Assange has been offered "consular assistance" which in reality over time, has meant no assistance at all. Our record in helping stranded Australians has not been good. Did "consular assistance" help David Hicks, the Bali Nine, Mamdouh Habib, Vivian Solon, all Australian citizens who were abandoned by our government?
Assange's crime? Exposing the truth about Americans gunning down innocent journalists Namir Noor-Eldeen, Saeed Chmagh, their colleague Dean Yates and seriously wounding two children in Iraq.
Like John Howard, all Scott Morrison had to do to bring Assange home was to pick up the phone. The recently departed great journalist Alan Ramsay was quite correct when he once described our relationship with the US as "America's tea lady".
Ray Armstrong, Tweed Heads, NSW
This month Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration is expected to approve COVID-19 vaccines, including the easily stored and transported Oxford vaccine. Supplies will also begin to arrive in January. Many other nations are already well advanced with their programs.
When Scott Morrison said it was dangerous and naive to call for the vaccination campaign to begin before March did he have in mind the benefits to his government of vaccination continuing through to October or November, in time for an election but before the next bushfire season?
Surely this important decision should be based on public welfare, not the latest marketing opportunity.
John Ryan, Griffith
The Christmas debate
Alvin Hopper, (Letters, January 5), laments the secularisation of Christmas and finds it's commercialisation an offensive misappropriation of "an essentially religious festival".
There are nevertheless various theories about when Christ was actually born and there is strong evidence that early Christians simply appropriated pagan celebrations of the winter solstice to suit their purposes.
As to whether Muslims "would accept, say, the advertising of Eid sales" I can confidently state based on my experience as a 13-year resident in the Islamic Middle East that religious festivals such as Eid al Fitr, Eid al Adha and Ramadan are times of great celebration and heightened commercial activity.
I find nothing wrong with these sentiments and if commercial interests play a part in drawing us all in then all the better.
Keith Hill, Canberra
Your article "Unis should recruit from ally nations", January 6, p5) cites the Cyber Security Cooperative Research Centre which receives significant federal funding. It's not surprising it sings from the same song sheet, especially little treats like recruiting from "allied" nations rather than China. Also, the Department of Education has said the 32 per cent of Chinese international students "vastly outnumber" the other 68 per cent.
S W Davey, Torrens
TO THE POINT
Trump could have stopped the riot in the US by walking out with the bible held high. It worked last time with the Black Lives Matter demonstration.
Peter Brittliff, Kambah
A SIMPLE PRAYER
Let us hope, come January 20, it's a case of "quietly goes the Don".
T Langer, Chisholm
It is time to stop referring to the United States of America as "the leader of the free world". So stop it. Just stop it.
Bari Hall, Bungendore
Please Mr Trump, Sir: You and your friends are frightening the children ... and terrifying the rest of the world.
Geof Murray, Ngunnawal
WHAT'S THAT NOISE?
Move over "Whingeing Wendy", you have just been dethroned by "Albo", the biggest whinger of them all within the ALP.
Mario Stivala, Belconnen
WHICH PLAY PAYS?
How about we relax our solemn comments for a time. If you were offered the financial rights to one of Shakespeare's plays which one would you choose?
Greg Cornwell, Yarralumla
I have shuddered many times when journalists, commentators, and the public use the ugly word "uptick" instead of "increase". I have even heard an ABC newsreader do this. Why? There should be a significant "downtick" in the use of the word "uptick".
Peter Trainor, Canberra
ANOTHER LET DOWN
A convenient cop-out coupled with silence from the two planning ministers ("ACT Planning Authority had 'no other options' but to endorse decade-old Borrowdale House DA", canberratimes.com.au January 5).
Sue Dyer, Downer
Thank you Bill Bowron (Letters, January 6). "The Federation Star and the stars of the Southern Cross?" Simple, elegant and something of great beauty - what more could a united nation possibly require!
Ronald Elliott, Sandringham, Vic
With coronavirus does it really matter what strain, variant or mutant it is just so long as it scares people?
Gary Frances, Bexley, NSW
Viruses are prone to mutate and change. That is part of their life cycle. Why are we so surprised? Our health authorities need to educate the public on how to strengthen the immune system.
Dr Sue Cory, Edge Hill, Qld
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
To avoid confusion with the new variant of COVID-19 going around the UK and the existing coronavirus strain we should call the new variant B.1.1.7. (its lineage name).
Anton Rusanov, Kaleen
NO NEOLOGISM AT ALL
I agree with Patricia Hagan (Letters, January 6). Newfangled words such as "humbleness", first recorded in 1388, should not replace sensible words like "humility", first recorded in 1315.