We are small farmers who agree with Maine Cheese Guild President Eric Rector (“A growing concern,” April 24) that farmers who oppose safety regulations “don’t want to bother” and are making a political statement.

It would be foolhardy for those of us trying to get our neighbors to try locally grown food to take a chance with food safety. More and more families are “buying local.”

But if one of our customers gets salmonella poisoning because we aren’t careful in our processing or don’t have sanitary facilities, it won’t be just our farm that is the loser. Those folks will decide that Frank Perdue’s antibiotic chickens weren’t so bad after all, and everyone who raises food locally suffers.

We are able to get appointments at a licensed slaughterhouse with two to six months notice, not an unreasonable time with a little planning.

We know when our chickens, lambs or pigs will be born and how old we want them to be when they are slaughtered, so it isn’t a big deal to think ahead and schedule accordingly. Our state license covers poultry, eggs, lamb, pork, vegetables, baked goods, and more. It costs less than $100 per year. Our home kitchen passed inspection for commercial purposes.

The anti-regulation rhetoric may make good tea party politics, but we wouldn’t bet the farm on it.

Bob Howe and Kathy Coleman

Bridge Farm

Dresden

Hunters more deadly to deer than nature’s coyotes 

This so-called “drive to rebuild Maine’s deer herd” is the height of ignorance and a scapegoating of the worst kind.

Deidre Fleming should feel some shame for seeming to put a positive spin on the arrogant idea of totally eradicating a species. In all the reports on deer that we have been hearing about, not one mentions humans as a “predator,” even though humans killed 20,000 deer this year.

The coyote was created and placed on Earth to survive as an omnivore — it must kill to eat and live.

Humans on the other hand, do it for fun. I like eating deer meat too, but if I didn’t have any, I would not perish.

We have clear-cut the woods and now run around in ATVs and trucks “hunting,” and yet we cannot see the forest for the (lack of ) trees.

The battle against coyotes is nothing but a turf war pitting hunters against coyotes for the right to kill deer that have nothing to eat because we have eradicated their habitat.

In a time before this, we humans “eradicated a species” called wolves, which led to our present singing friend, coyote’s, rise.

The path to increasing deer numbers involves restoring a Maine woods that has trees of all ages and develops natural over-story/under-story conditions which can support yarding winter deer. Hunters need to bite the bullet and “harvest” fewer deer until the herd can recover. Did people ever think of that?

How would that be? We can blame the coyote all we want, but it is our fault. It is time we admit it and fix it. But not with stupid ideas of even more mayhem in the woods.

I do not want coyotes eradicated. They are a beautiful species and deserving of respect.

And coyote is, of course, a trickster. If you kill him, he will just come back in more numbers and stronger.

Permits should be issued or sold to families who truly need to put meat in the freezer, to tag two or three deer, while those who don’t really need the meat graciously wait their turn and help heal the forest.

Imagine, people helping animals and planting trees.

Gillyin Gatto

Machias

North Woods park would deprive Maine of revenues

Though it is a noble cause for Roxanne Quimby to want to donate 70,000 acres to the federal government to form the seed of a national park, I am wondering if this is really beneficial to the taxpayers of Maine.

Is this a conservation or a business decision on her part? Though she sounds noble as an environmentalist, I also think that there is a business aspect to this decision as well. If her donation is accepted, then she no longer has to pay property taxes or any other upkeep costs associated with owning land.

With this 70,000 acres coming off the tax books since government land is nontaxable, are the taxpayers of Maine ready to cover those taxes so Quimby can feel good about herself?

I’m not, and I can’t afford more additional taxes.

Eric Dumond

Waterville

How is down produced? By some unsavory methods

I read the article March 27 called “Duck, Duck, Goose,” but before readers get all excited and rush out to buy down comforters, I wanted to let you know how some down is produced.

Some companies use real down to fill their pillows and blankets. Down is produced mainly in European countries where ducks are born and raised into two subgroups. Gray-colored birds are separated at 8 or 9 weeks of age and force fed six pounds of corn mash daily to fatten them up for foie gras. The white ducks are separated and used to produce down.

Plucking the birds causes them considerable pain and distress. Four or five times in their lives, they will squirm as a plucker tears out five ounces of feathers. The birds have five weeks to grow more feathers before they are sent through a machine that plucks their longest feathers, again while alive.

People also gather eider down from the nests of female eider ducks, who pluck the down from their breasts to line their nests and cover their eggs. Gathering the soft feathers can kill unhatched ducklings.

Apart from the cruelty involved in its production, down has drawbacks as a cold-weather insulator that synthetics do not have. Down loses its insulating ability when wet, whereas the insulating capabilities of synthetic fillers are retained in all weather.

I hope the readers of the Telegram will ask how and where a particular company buys its own products and take this into consideration.

Carole G. Jean

Portland

Wind energy development won’t answer power needs 

The article covering the Natural Resources Council’s release of its latest poll (“Gutting environment laws gets little support in poll,” April 7) got my attention with its reported approval for wind energy development by eight out of 10 Mainers.

After taking a look at the actual poll results, the truth behind the misleadingly high approval was apparent. To get this exaggerated approval rating, the NRCM had to include the 36 percent of respondents who’d replied that they “somewhat support” wind power development.

Somewhat support? What does that mean? Maybe, the respondents support wind development as long as it’s not in their town? Perhaps, they support wind development in the ocean but not on mountaintops?

Maybe, they like community-scale wind power but not grid-scale? Maybe, they mean they’ll support wind development when its proponents finally prove that it’s worth the cost – monetarily, socially and environmentally? Who really knows what they mean? Apparently, no one asked.

Not surprisingly, the wind power question was buried toward the back of the report. It might have been a tacit acknowledgement of the shrinking support for wholesale, no questions asked, statutorily expedited degradation of Maine’s rural mountain assets. Mainers are waking up to the truth of wind development’s meager benefits for the price of extraordinarily negative impacts.

The NRCM should try polling those in rural Maine who are facing the reality of living with these intrusive projects. Poll one of the 20 or so Maine towns that have passed wind development moratoriums or restrictive siting ordinances (some unanimously); or wildlife biologists who don’t work for the wind industry; or business owners whose livelihoods depend on the natural and scenic character of rural Maine. See if you find 80 percent unequivocal support for wind power. I wouldn’t bet on it.

Alan Michka

Lexington Township