A recent article on the decline in the number of high school officials (“Help wanted,” July 28) suggested that “sportsmanship issues” are making it more difficult to retain and recruit, but there is another side of the problem that was missed.

The Minnesota State High School League has made it increasingly difficult to become an official (and, in many cases, to continue to officiate) by eliminating the annual area meetings to instruct and review rule changes in each respective sport and replacing them with a mandatory, all-day session. Many prospective or existing officials have jobs that prevent them from attending; others who are retired (such as me) are not in the state at the time of the all-day meeting. After a year of probation for not attending, we are eliminated from officiating for not attending.

I have been a high school coach, have been a registered official in six sports for more than 50 years and have enjoyed working at all levels, including state tournaments. In those years I can count on one finger the number of sportsmanship situations involving fans, coaches, players or parents. My very difficult decision to discontinue officiating was not due to sportsmanship but to the MSHSL’s decision to eliminate the online attendance for rules interpretation. I will miss officiating very, very much.

Bill Adams, Wadena, Minn.

KILLING OF CECIL THE LION

Thinking of all the ways animals suffer and die at our hands

The outrage over Walter Palmer’s killing of Cecil the lion has left out one of the most important aspects of the “hunt.” Killing “moose, deer, buffalo, a polar bear and a mountain lion” with a bow is a slow, painful process. The razor-sharp tip of the arrow is designed to penetrate the game and cause it to slowly bleed to death. The animal’s first response to being struck by the arrow is to run. The animal instinct is to run as far as possible and find a place to hide. It lies down and, if hit in a vital area, it dies. This can be hours or, in Cecil’s case, days. Or it may have been hit in a nonvital area and live. The hunter follows the blood trail and hopes he can retrieve the carcass. This doesn’t always happen. The animal may never be found.

This type of big-game hunt should be outlawed. A sport predicated on a slow painful death is cowardly at best. I know bow hunters will be angered by this. They should step back and see the big picture. If you can’t dispatch an animal in a humane way, you should rethink your “sport.” Palmer deserves all the anger directed at him. To kill rare animals in this manner is contrary to all of the ideals of a true sportsman.

Darrell Brandt, Golden Valley

• • •

While we feel superior by lambasting and threatening Walter Palmer, let’s examine our own role in the cruelty of animals. Ninety-seven percent of the 10 billion animals tortured and killed each year are from farm factories.

Most of us buy cellophane-wrapped meat without thinking about or doing anything to prevent the horrific way these animals are raised and slaughtered.

While Cecil had a relatively good, natural life outdoors for years, animals in factory farms suffer every day of their lives — and not because they never see the sun or touch the Earth. These animals are jammed into cages, pumped full of antibiotics and hormones, abused, and brutally slaughtered.

If each of us did not support factory farming as consumers, we could end the single biggest cause of animal cruelty in this country.

You don’t need to go vegan; just eat less meat. Support farmers markets. At the very least, buy cage-free eggs and milk without hormones.

Educate yourself and make your views known.

If you are mad about Cecil’s death, do something that matters.

Mickey Tibbits, Easton, Minn.

The writer is the founder of Waseca Animal Rescue.

• • •

I, too, was appalled by the killing of Cecil. I am certain that there is much more to the story that will be revealed in a court case.

The news coverage, however, is perplexing to me. With thousands of incredibly beautiful and internationally protected migratory birds projected to die through no fault of their own, but because they will not be able to see the highly reflective glass in the new Minnesota Vikings stadium, where is the moral and legal outcry? Perhaps we should give these small creatures names like Paul and Sally and Erick, and then magnify the tiny bands some will wear around their broken necks as they are picked up and discarded around our new icon of sports and economic development.

James Gambone, Orono

 

AIRPORT LOCATION

We need our leaders to stop rationalizing a grave mistake

The Metropolitan Airports Commission, the state of Minnesota and legislators continue to pat themselves on the back for the decision to keep a major airport in the middle of a highly populated group of cities rather than moving it to a more sane location. They are touting a “lower” number of flights and the need for the airport to be easy to get to for travelers. This is spin at its finest. Any traveler knows that sane cities all over the world have trains, shuttles and buses that transport travelers to major cities.

Living in the Longfellow neighborhood in Minneapolis, I can tell you that this city is becoming unlivable in many areas that were not originally on the flight path. The noise is relentless, making summer living, the joy of Minnesotans, impossible. Soon there will be an accident or something will fall off a plane and hit in a highly populated area. It is bound to happen eventually. Lots of deaths and property damage, then huge lawsuits — well-deserved ones.

The city of Minneapolis, its mayor and City Council are doing nothing to protect their constituents from these possibilities nor to address the so-called quality-of-life issues. Is anyone in government representing the people? I wonder if anyone will even remember how they broke their arms patting themselves on the back for not moving the airport when they could. Maybe stadiums are more important than the well-being of the citizens of the Twin Cities.

Candace Carlson, Minneapolis

 

BOTTLED WATER

Park Service fights the good fight

Thank you, National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis, for standing up to the billion-dollar bottled-water industry and its Republican congressional water boys to keep our national parks clear of plastic bottles (“Park Service not backing down on plastic bottle ban,” July 31). How dare Joe Doss, CEO of the International Bottled Water Association, insinuate that the Park Service is subverting the will of Congress, when it is so clearly tackling an industry that is hellbent on privatizing our most sacred, life-giving, common element: water. Shame on you. And shame on Congress for folding under lobbying pressure and threatening to cut funds to the Park Service to become more sustainable. Whom do you work for, anyway?

Catherine Jordan, Minneapolis