Letters Insensitive remarks not needed

To the editor:

This letter is in response to your front-page article concerning the car crash involving Vermillion High School teacher/coach Dan Bergland. We believe your effort to inform the public was well intentioned and, more likely, is included in your job description. As friends of Dan, going on 20 years, we were a little disturbed by the general tone and lack of compassion that your article portrayed.

After talking to family members, friends, and Vermillion community members we felt a response was warranted. Your article angered many and emotionally upset quite a few. We in no way confess to any journalistic talents or background but offer you the following advice anyway.

1. In this age of right to privacy it would be well advised to check with the family before releasing medical information from somebody that has not visited the hospital or conferred with medical doctors. You will notice that after his initial assessment of the situation, Dr. Mayer concludes his quote with, "I guess."

The family is well aware of the critical situation that Dan is currently experiencing. We don't believe they need to be reminded on the front page of your newspaper. The Dr. in front of Dr. Mayer is a for doctorate in education not in medicine. A simple, "We are all concerned for Dan's recovery and rehabilitation. The situation is critical and all thoughts and prayers will be greatly appreciated," would have been a much more humane way to express concern.

As a journalist we felt that you would have deduced the fact rather quickly the Dr. Mayer was not "briefed" on the situation very well. He did not know how long Dan had taught in his district, he had to "guess" on the injuries that Dan incurred and he was not sure of the prognosis. This might have been the time to find a better source, at least one that doesn't use past tense when referring to an accident victim. Dan teaches (not taught) biology and AP biology, he is (not was) the cross-country coach.

Dan is a fighter and we expect nothing less than for him to battle his way through this. Dan has encountered cancer (Hodgkins disease in college) and won and we expect him to beat this also. His wife and two small children need the thoughts and prayers of everybody, not the insensitive remarks displayed on the front page of your paper May 9.

Thank you,

Scott and Shelly Embry

Circuses should be animal-free

To the editor:

Well, unfortunately, it is "circus time" again and most people who attend circuses say they do so because they love the animals. Yet another growing population of people who do NOT attend circuses, do so because they also love the animals.

Circus animals may spend up to 50 weeks out of the year traveling in unsafe, windowless cars that lack proper ventilation, temperature regulation and water.

Being chained up for as many as 20 to 23 hours per day, circus elephants commonly develop osteoarthritis, the number one cause for their euthanization. Trainers commonly employ bullhooks (metal rods with sharp hooks) to beat the elephants, causing bloody wounds and scars, until the animals will perform on command.

Bears may be trained to walk on their back legs by trainers holding up torches or flames under their front paws, or beating them so badly their noses are broken.

One "big name" circus has been cited with over 65 violations of the Animal and Welfare Act and the Endangered Species Act.

Just because we can take these animals by force out of their natural environments and "make" them perform tricks that are unnatural and "innately human" for entertainment purposes only does not make it right to do so.

Report animals to proper authorities that are limping or showing signs of pain. Animals who either "rear up" or try to "fight back" as well as animals that cower may be manifesting visible signs that they have been beaten.

Animals who refuse to do their tricks may be signaling to the audience that they know their trainer cannot or will not physically abuse them in public. Animals that have burn marks, singed hair, blisters on their feet, scars on their body or are underweight need to be investigated.

Elephants that sway or rock are showing potential signs of psychological and physical stress. (Head bobbing or swaying is an abnormal action for healthy elephants living naturally.)

If you are someone who believes that circuses are better if they are animal free, please take the time to write your local and state officials to enact legislation calling for the ban of circuses with animal performances, and ask them to consider replacing them with "people only" performances.

For more information on specific circuses and their violations, as well as information on how to become an advocate on behalf of the animals, please refer to the following Web sites: www.circusspotlight.com, ww

w.cirsuses.com, www.aphis

.usda.gov/ac, www.peta.org, and www.aspca.org.

Sarah A. Hanson


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