Having grown up in the beautiful state of Maine, I often think back longingly to the endless days I spent on the coast watching lobstermen pull up their traps amidst the gorgeous coastal setting.

Perhaps this imagery is why it’s such a surprise to me that the Maine Department of Marine Resources has not condemned the cruelty depicted in a recent undercover video by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which shows live lobsters and crabs being torn apart and mutilated at a facility in Rockland.

The footage shows workers ripping apart the bodies of conscious lobsters, slamming live crabs face first onto spikes and forcing their exposed organs against spinning bristles.

Why are state officials shrugging off live dismemberment, as if ripping live animals apart is just business as usual?

I’d expect a department charged with promoting this industry to distance itself from such horrific torture. Several scientific studies have shown that crustaceans can feel pain.

The very least the industry can do is stun the animals before they are killed. Is that too much to ask?

Emmy Bernard

Falmouth  

Lobster defenders should rethink their priorities

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has lost touch with humanity. Where is its outrage for the poor and homeless all over the world who lack the basic needs of food, clothing, shelter and medicine?

Has PETA really turned its outrage to the “mistreatment” of lobsters? Can this be for real? The group’s priorities need to change and help those of us in real need.

Richard Davis

Georgetown 

Barney Frank invents new constitutional principles

Thank you for the Sunday column (“Taking the government hostage,” Sept. 30) from that well-known constitutional scholar, Barney Frank.

He doesn’t think it is legitimate for the Republicans in the House of Representatives to take action to continue the operation of our government and, at the same time, put a halt to the disaster that is Obamacare.

I cannot find any reference in the Constitution that says that this tactic is not permitted.

We must remember that Mr. Frank is such an expert on the Constitution, that I am sure he can find specific support for gay marriage, abortion and any other liberal program that he and his ilk endorse.

Paul Anderson

Saco 

South Portland vote would deal setback to tar sands

I was disappointed with the lack of extensive coverage on the recent tar sands protest on the Casco Bay Bridge and all throughout North America (“Maine groups rally against tar sands,” Sept. 21).

However, I see a much bigger story in the paper about the Working Waterfront Coalition (“S. Portland waterfront zone change called a job killer,” Sept. 24). This front group for the oil companies is trying to shove this poison from Canada down our throats without regard for the devastating environmental costs.

On the same page, Gov. LePage’s aides were reported going to Alberta, the site of this scourge, “to foster new economic and trade opportunities” (“LePage cancels Canada trip after running into delay”).

They all have their heads buried in the sand about the dire consequences from this preposterous petroleum project which may spell profits for them, but may spell doom for the planet.

Don Kimball

South Portland 

Wind power’s flaws not in Cutler’s energy policy

Candidate Eliot Cutler has written a book that claims to have detailed plans for shaping Maine’s future, but it is largely silent on the issue of energy.

His two remarks state that Maine has substantial wind energy sources and that wind energy sources are “increasingly cost-competitive in life-cycle terms.”

False.

Almost everyone knows that wind power cannot compete with cheap natural gas and hydro and that that is the reason the Legislature’s wind advocates passed a law that all but bans cheap hydro from Canada.

When tough issues arise, I suspect Mr. Cutler will refer to his book in the belief that few will have read it.

Clyde MacDonald

Hampden 

All Mainers should speak out for peace in Africa

My heart breaks for Kenyans and Somalis: our neighbors here in Maine, families languishing in refugee and displacement camps, and those living in Kenya and Somalia.

The recent violence has the potential to push communities against one another in fear of our differences, or to bring communities together with a better understanding of our many similarities.

Mainers have a moment to speak in a unified voice of peace and sustainable solutions to the protracted conflicts that allow terrorism to flourish.

I believe those working for such peace and solutions outnumber those wielding weapons, and need the power of our unification to amplify their messages of hope.

Nairobi has borne its burden of violence, including the embassy bombing in 1998, the violence following the 2007 election and this past week’s terrorism.

Pockets of sustained violence still exist in parts of the country, particularly in the north, but despite these silos, Kenya has been a critical pillar in the region.

The presidential election this past March, after two postponements, was remarkably uneventful and was followed by a peaceful transition of power.

Kenya’s stability has profound implications in the provision of political mediation, resources and assistance in neighboring states such as Somalia and South Sudan, and hosting and protecting more than 600,000 refugees within its borders.

It’s increasingly difficult to feel safe in this changing world.

The most dangerous place I’ve been was Boylston Street in Boston on Marathon Monday.

For dozens of men, women and children in Nairobi, the most dangerous place they’ve been was a shopping mall.

This is a critical time for Mainers to embrace one another, regardless of skin color, religion or country of origin.

Only then can we begin to make any sense of senseless acts of terror far from here, yet in many ways, too close to home.

Amy Regan Gallant

Portland 

Cumberland County made terrible mistake with team

The Cumberland County Civic Center Board of Trustees have made a terrible mistake.

They have taken a strong 30-plus-year tradition of professional hockey in Portland and literally kicked it to the curb.

After the citizens of Cumberland County finally approved a multimillion dollar bond for the civic center rehab, the trustees have thanked these very same bond supporters by kicking dust in the face of the thousands of professional hockey fans in Cumberland County.

They should be ashamed of themselves. They should consider resigning so that the voters of Cumberland County can elect officials that will be in tune with what is best for the citizens of Portland and Cumberland County.

The Civic Center Board of Trustees has literally picked the pockets of local businesses to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars.

Now it is possible that professional hockey may never return to Portland. What were they thinking?

Alan Bernardo

Westbrook