Your Views for February 1

Straws not the problem

It is very unfortunate that the news report by Michael Brestovansky on banning plastic straws contains the suspect “data” about Americans using hundreds of millions of plastic straws daily (Tribune-Herald, Jan. 31). This “data” was published several years ago and received widespread news coverage.

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Only later — after the “Big Lie” became accepted “science” — was it revealed that the source of the data was an unscientific survey conducted by a 9-year-old for an elementary school project!

The primary source of plastic waste in the oceans — the first-magnitude root cause — is abandoned commercial fishing gear. Nearly half (46 percent) of all plastic waste in the oceans is abandoned nets, buoys, etc. And this ghost fishing gear continues to trap fish and other marine animals long after the gear was lost to storms or snags or shipwrecks.

The Ocean Cleanup project is now in Hilo Harbor for repairs. Ask them what plastics are in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. It’s not plastic straws!

To successfully address a problem — plastic waste in the oceans — you concentrate efforts and dollars on first-magnitude root causes.

Banning plastic straws is a smoke-screen for political failure to address the real issue.

Kenneth Beilstein

Kailua-Kona

In defense of Kulana

Regarding Kulana Foods closing its small-animal slaughter operation (Tribune-Herald, Jan. 30): As a rancher on Maui for more than 50 years, I feel it is sad that this happened.

So you can’t drag a pig. They were taking it out of the truck, not dragging it down the road. I don’t think those guys, who were trying to get it out of the truck, had any intention to hurt the pig.

It was tied around the leg, not around the neck like lots of people do with dogs and stake them out in their yard. After all, you don’t want to bruise any animal before slaughter.

Where did this inspector grow up? Who wrote the book that he is reading? Obviously, it was not at any kind of farm. They make this decision on what they claim was cruelty. But the state can go into the forested areas and set snares that will catch pigs by the neck, foot or midsection. These snares are checked (so they say) every few days.

Whenever that pig fights the snare, it tightens — most of the time cutting into the flesh to the bone. They suffer not for the two minutes it takes to get them out of the truck — but days.

Maybe because they’re what they call feral pigs? But a pig is a pig. Most of the activists condone this or make like they don’t know. Their reason is: “We are saving the forest.”

What happened to logic? It is sad when the few who rant and rave control the destiny of the majority. And those in power, like that inspector, have no common sense.

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Brendan Balthazar

Owner, Diamond B Ranch, Maui

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