Growing Farmers’ Markets
Alive and well is the local farmers’ market in an urban environment. I was delighted to read this comprehensive article [“The Ripe Stuff,” March-April]. Since I have frequented many local farmers’ markets across the country, I was particularly interested to learn that the emergence of this grassroots trend has had a significant impact on small and midsize farms by keeping them financially solvent. I agree with the writer that the farmers’ market movement is here to stay. However, I hope government at the local and federal levels will recognize its economic growth potential and allow it to continue on its own steam.
I agree with Ted Williams that some landscapes are too fragile for cattle and some lessees of public lands are too greedy [“Sacred Cows,” March-April]. However, losing grazing leases may cause a rancher to sell the place, and these days the buyer is likely to be a developer. Unfortunately, every ranch cannot be rescued and turned into a wildlife sanctuary. Here on the plains the new ranchette owners are prone to mowing over ground-nesting birds and overgrazing with livestock. They often leave dogs and cats loose to prey on wildlife. Leaving the land in the hands of a good rancher can be a better bet for its ecological health.
Ted Williams responds:
I read Ted Williams’s article and realized objectivity was not a prerequisite to the story—it was a piece of propaganda. As a cattle rancher, I, too, could write a biased article on the same issue, only with the slant being in favor of grazing on public lands. Both of my ranches are better cared for than if the Nature Conservancy owned them, and I do this at a profit while providing food, fiber, minerals, timber, and wildlife habitat to society. It continues to puzzle me as a capitalist that people associated with nonprofit organizations and public employees are so negative about free enterprise. Without capitalism, you all would be selling pencils on the streets, or even worse, tending cattle on public lands.
Ted Williams responds:
Jeff Hull’s piece on red foxes was both enjoyable and terrible to read [“Meadow Lark,” March-April]. I can’t get this part out of my mind: “Swiss animal-rights activists at Chinese fur farms have documented foxes being skinned alive, bodies thrashing, eyes blinking, mouths shrieking 10 or 15 minutes after their pelt was torn from their flesh.” What can be done to stop these barbaric things from continuing? What can I do?
Jeff Hull responds:
As a sportsman, it is hard to defend Audubon after Jeff Hull’s one-sided story on fox control. There is no mention of rabies, mange, or distemper, factors of overpopulation. Trapping is far less painful. Does a blue quill hurt when it penetrates a fish’s mouth? Let’s be rational instead of emotional.
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© 2006 National Audubon Society