Issue is misstated

Once more The Herald is a forum for the scare tactics of the rabid right. Enn Mikk states in a letter (“Rats’ rights: Democrats support them,” Oct. 20) that the “Clinton-Gore administration’s Department of Agriculture is forcing the drug research industry to pay an estimated $200 million to insure the rights of rats used for research. … The Department of Agriculture folded to the animal rights whackos…”

Here are the facts:

A lawsuit brought by numerous animal right’s groups was settled by the USDA (not Democrats) so that birds, mice and rats would fall under the same Animal Welfare Act that already gives minimal protection to cats, dogs, monkeys and guinea pigs. Industry groups who oppose the inclusion of these animals direly estimate $80 to 90 million in additional costs – not $200 million – but these numbers are questionable at best.

Furthermore, in a demonstration of how money buys influence, Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., inserted a provision written by an industry lobby group into the USDA spending bill that causes a one-year delay of the settlement’s implementation. If the spending bill is signed, the coverage of these other species would not take place until next year, so any extra costs would be deferred much further down the road.

Please, if you’re going to print such letters at least print the real story for contrast – or withhold letters that contain outright lies.


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