Letters to the Editor (10/6/21) | Letters to the Editor | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Letters to the Editor (10/6/21)

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'When Adults Act Like Children'

[Re "Raiders vs. Ravens," September 22]: When adults act like children and children act like adults...

Seems like those who take the most issue with school mascot changes in Rutland are not the kids directly affected, but adults unable to give up the monikers of their "Glory Days" — cue the Bruce Springsteen song. They'd rather hold on to mythical good old days than be a part of the atonement for damage inflicted on Indigenous Vermonters by this racist team name. Students are ready to be part of the solution while the adults seem firmly stuck in the past.

"The Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs recognizes the historical and present intolerance, bias, and racism caused by 'Indian' mascots, logos and symbols. These images, words, symbols, and the behavior that accompanies them perpetuate negative stereotypes of indigenous peoples, resulting in significant psychological, social, and cultural consequences, especially for indigenous youth." That's all you need to know. Change the name. It's that simple.

Sadly, Vermont has a long history of mistreating its Indigenous citizens. Replacing offensive school team names is a logical step toward atonement. I get it, Rutland, you didn't know back then that your mascot was damaging to Indigenous Vermonters. Now you know. Use your kids as inspiration, tuck away misplaced sentimentality for your old jerseys and move forward.

Change is hard — and overdue. To board members who promulgate the incomprehensible logic that the name should remain for its historical value as a learning tool: To quote PFC Gomer Pyle, "For shame, for shame, for shame."

Laura Nelson

Topsham

Shakespeare, Interrupted

My wife and I had a wonderful experience at last Sunday's performance of Much Ado About Nothing in Burlington City Hall Park. The actors were better than good, and Shakespeare was well served. The audience was entertained and very involved.

Then a strange thing happened. About 15 minutes before the end of the show, the play was officially stopped because the park wanted its chairs back. So the chairs were removed and locked up, and we stood for the rest of the excellent performance.

What the hell was this? The play, by the way, was a benefit for the Burlington High School Drama Club, which has suffered.

What is the park for? These talented people got together and worked hard to give us a Shakespeare play! Top of the line. Couldn't you wait 15 damn minutes? Pay the guy overtime, if need be.

Neal Haiduck

Burlington

Teaching Inmates

[Re Side Dishes: "Fresh Start," September 14]: Cheers to Vermont Works for Women for its culinary training program that launched on September 27 at Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility for women! Hopefully the training will be expanded beyond the initial four inmates enrolled.

For a number of years, I served as a mentor for women who would soon be released from that prison. (Mercy Connections, whose excellent staff recruited and trained the mentors, sponsored the program.) In my discussions with the women about their job options upon release, I was appalled by the lack of job-training opportunities in that facility. Job training simply does not exist! The prisoners languish, and, when released, they are no more prepared to find meaningful work than when they entered.

There has been much publicity in recent years about the need for a new women's prison. The absence of adequate job training is only one issue; the sanitation of the facilities is simply dreadful.

Seven Days has done excellent work describing the challenges that exist at CRCF. Hopefully there will continue to be a focus on this pressing need.

Carole Carlson

Shelburne

Right to Discussion

I applaud the decision made by Dr. John King and the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont [Off Message: "UVM Med School to Grant Education Credits to Staff Who Attend Right to Life Conference," September 16]. The medical, legal and political professions are intertwined, despite what state Sen. Becca Balint would have you believe.

Is Balint afraid of an open and fair discussion? The opportunity to hear diverse opinions? I'm sure Planned Parenthood and Balint could counter with opposing course credit sessions. If they are not offered already, they should be!

Everyone should be allowed to attend any and all sessions they choose, and I applaud King for being brave in this current oppressive political climate that shuns diversity in thought.

This is not just a threat to personal choice as some see it. This decision is about a human life that has no say in whether it is allowed to live or be extinguished and discarded.

Thank you, Dr. King, for allowing discussion on this hideous topic.

Robert Devost

Jericho

Don't Yell 'Fire'

The recent article about Stephen Bates, Vermont's first Black sheriff, was most fascinating ["Chief Example," September 29]. It's amazing to learn about a bit of Vermont history that so few people knew about. Bates lived a most interesting life.

The part of the article that goes off the rails is the implication that the 1880 fire at Bates' house might have been arson without one iota of fact to support that. Bates was elected by the voters of Vergennes, then reelected for decades — by white men, since minority populations were small and women couldn't vote at this time.

Bates obviously had the respect of the good citizens of Vergennes. Why slur them in this manner?

Mickey Nowak

West Wardsboro

Wait for It

[Re "The Doctor Won't See You Now," September 1]: Your report on distressingly long wait times at the University of Vermont Health Network is a useful reminder of what is very likely to happen if Vermont goes to a Québec-style single-payer system, which assures us (in Act 48 of 2011) that a state government mega-authority will provide "appropriate care at the appropriate time in the appropriate setting" (until the money runs out).

John McClaughry

Kirby

By the Book

Our September 22 cover story, "Best-Selling Bunk," was about the seeming incongruity of a Vermont-based publisher putting its imprint on a book that is widely viewed as coronavirus misinformation. A week after Chelsea Edgar's story ran in Seven Days, YouTube banned all content by Dr. Joseph Mercola, author of Chelsea Green Publishing's The Truth About COVID-19. Publisher Margo Baldwin is a part of the narrative not so much for her decision to make the controversial book available, but because she has publicly endorsed its views, as well as other conspiracy theories that have made her employees uncomfortable. She refused to speak with Edgar for the story and only answered emailed questions she deemed "worth responding to." The same week, Seven Days publisher Paula Routly wrote a short piece, "Stopping the Spread," that is also referenced in some of these letters. 


Should Chelsea Green have published Joseph Mercola's book The Truth About COVID-19?

Kevin Ellis, a political strategist and one of Chelsea Green's four board members, said he believes that publishers "have a right to be wrong"; the cost of their mistakes, in his view, is beside the point.

Say I told you any mushroom you find in the woods is edible. I'm fine? Should I have checked my facts? This brings up the question of where we get those facts and the integrity of the source and how that integrity is established. If you presume that the sources of information are corrupt, you cannot rely on their information. If you buy into a conspiracy theory, you have to make some conclusions from it.

Ellis said, "People are too stupid to make judgments about their own health." That could even be used as a justification offered about anyone accepting Mercola's view, but actually, people do make wise judgments about their own health every day. For example, with the right information, people may abandon junk food. With the right information, people may avoid getting COVID-19, or getting really sick with it, or spreading it to others. But if you vacate the position of responsibility, you can just say whatever sells.

Also, it's kind of peculiar to say it's a problem with democracy that people are allowed to make their own judgments about their health care. But Ellis says that.

Bob Messing

Montpelier


I'd like set the record straight about my comments in Chelsea Edgar's story about the Joseph Mercola book The Truth About COVID-19.

The quotation by me is accurate. But it also misleads by giving the impression that the publisher doesn't care if people die from COVID-19. I do not believe that. The "we" in my quote is "us." Responsibility for this confusion is mine. I should have been clearer with the reporter.

Publishers have a right to publish. Authors write. Filmmakers make films. Musicians make music. Books, films and other work can be controversial and scary, even wrong. We have the ability not to read the book and not to watch the film. We also have an obligation as citizens to read widely and make decisions for ourselves.

I took the Pfizer shot even though I detest Big Pharma. I wear a mask because they work. I keep social distance. I choose to live in Vermont, the safest, most sane place in the U.S.

But if we start preventing publishers from publishing controversial views, where are we then? Mercola asserts many things in his book that people don't like. OK. Let's argue about it. Isn't that the point of a democracy: the free debate over controversial ideas?

Time and again in our history, we have decided that the sunlight of free expression is the antidote to ignorance, no matter how odious the view. And if we don't have debates about tough issues now, when will we have them?

Kevin Ellis

East Montpelier


Margo Baldwin proudly makes money from deadly COVID-19 misinformation; her loyal board member Kevin Ellis declares that as a result, "some people are going to die ... and we accept that." Wow! Quite the business model for Chelsea Green Publishing. 

If you respect the scientific method and — unlike, it seems, Baldwin and Ellis — you care about the well-being of others, it's time to wash your hands of Chelsea Green. Don't publish with them; don't buy their books. And let's hope a new publisher will take on the good work of teaching Vermonters and others how to, say, start a community garden, can tomatoes and promote solar power. Perhaps one of Baldwin's many disgruntled former employees?

Jonathan Isham

Cornwall


This is yet another boilerplate hit piece — yawn — attempting to discredit yet another well-respected, award-winning doctor, the only difference being that in her desperation to do so, Chelsea Edgar tries to smear the publisher, as well. Predictable, unsubstantiated attack pieces such as these dutifully regurgitate all the mainstream-media talking points, but they also bring attention to the book in question — front page news, no less! — and inspire individuals to do their own research. Did Edgar bother to check any of the over 500 references comprising 38 pages of the book?

What should be of most concern to readers, however, as Edgar helpfully points out, is the fact that democratically elected U.S. Senate leaders are actively trying to censor/ban a best-selling book. What is it they don't want us to know? Would they be doing the same if the book were full of lies? When in history did the book burners turn out to be the good guys?

Sandy Gordon Rounds

Essex


I thank the editor and staff of Seven Days for not mincing words about Vermont publishing house Chelsea Green, as well as the scourge of COVID-19 misinformation regarding masks.

Just recently, my spouse and I pulled our young daughter from a dance class that required a coercive waiver for her to wear a mask during rehearsal. The rationale presented in the waiver was questionably based on the World Health Organization's guidance that masking during "vigorous physical activity" may be harmful. More problematically, it relied on dubious sources that cite Dr. Joseph Mercola and others who twist the facts, as well as a number of scientific studies on extreme hypoxia that have no bearing on a pre-K dance class.

Chelsea Green's leadership and their ilk have distorted the information landscape such that many "anti-establishment" adherents have slipped from useful skepticism into a mindless, individualistic and destructive cynicism about COVID-19. They claim that they're against fearmongering, when in reality they are actively sowing fear about masking, vaccines and other effective public health measures at the cost of people's lives.

It was heartening to see Seven Days directly address this travesty in its commentary and reporting.

KC Bolton

East Montpelier


I am very disappointed in your article criticizing Chelsea Green Publishing for its publishing of the book The Truth About COVID-19. I think it's important that we at least consider and respect others' viewpoints, including Dr. Joseph Mercola's.

His main message seems to be emphasizing the importance of healthy living — a healthy diet based on natural foods, exercise and natural living. This can't be all bad, can it? The fact that the mainstream media have paid little attention to the natural remedies that have helped many people survive COVID-19 is very questionable, in my opinion. And the fact that natural immunity from COVID-19 (in people who had it and have already recovered) is not accepted as a reason not to vaccinate is even more concerning.

It's so interesting to me how the so-called "powers that be" have politicized COVID-19. If you are left-leaning (like me, and your news outlet), you are expected to support vaccines, lockdowns and mask mandates. And for the right-leaning, the reverse. Ten years ago, the anti-vaccine movement was more closely associated with left-wing hippies than the alt-right. By changing this association, they have made it socially unacceptable for a left-leaning individual or organization to question anything Big Pharma or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say.

I salute Chelsea Green for publishing this book. It takes guts to question anything in this highly censored environment. And now, as your article states, politicians (who, by the way, are heavily funded by pharmaceutical lobbyists) want Amazon to change its algorithm to de-emphasize the popularity of this book. Questionable.

David Nelson

Middlebury


I'm a longtime reader, first-time letter writer here. Your newspaper has, for many years, been the pinnacle in kindling — thick, free and widely available. I'm usually not moved by your content one way or another, as it is generally uninteresting and always predictable. I fully understand that you are Vermont's prominent burnt-out-yuppie brochure and basically just a propaganda mouthpiece for the overeducated, wealthy liberal types who have chosen Vermont as their lifestyle brand of choice. I am not your target audience and never will be. However, I find it flat-out disgusting how you have begun the full-fledged approval of censorship. The removal of the comment section was a mile marker, and while the Chelsea Green article is only the latest, the (totalitarian) writing is plainly on the wall. One media outlet knocking another? Not unheard of, but "news"? I don't think so. The commitment to your ideological mission has never been so obvious; with each issue, the mask slips and the true voice behind the curtain becomes more apparent.

"Futon Life" might be a never-laugh-ever joke, but Seven Days is serious. Seriously wrong.

Nick Welch

Wallingford


Chelsea Edgar's hit job on the Dr. Joseph Mercola and Ronnie Cummins book, as well as on Chelsea Green Publishing, is yellow journalism at its worst. This article, far from objective reporting, colors the presumed "enemies" in the worst possible light, starting with the seriously offensive headline. The presumption seems to be that anybody with a brain would understand how dangerous these purveyors of misinformation are if we could simply get those "facts" out about these really bad people.

When you buy into the current predominant narrative without critical thinking, and when that narrative is saying or implying that the science is settled and that anyone speaking against that narrative is misinformed and/or evil and needs to be silenced, this is no longer the land of free speech and democratic, open science debate. It is authoritarian book burning.

In real science, there is no such thing as "settled science," and any implication that the science is settled in any controversial issue should be suspect. The science on COVID-19, vaccinations and their development is far from settled, and the truth that is beginning to emerge (see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's shocking Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System reports, for a start) may ultimately validate this book for everyone.

Mercola and Cummins are both longtime trusted public figures and highly ethical researchers who have no reason to make risky and unsupported claims, and they have not done so. Instead, they have reported on very uncomfortable and inconvenient but documented evidence. Their information does not match the current narrative, but that doesn't make it "misinformation."

Deborah Moore

Rochester


The first thing I noticed on the cover of Dr. Joseph Mercola's book, The Truth About Covid-19: "Forward by Robert F. Kennedy Jr." Why was there no mention of this in the article? Does RFK Jr. champion Mercola's beliefs? What's the story?

Bill Goldsbury

South Burlington

Reporter's note: RFJ Jr. is a high-profile anti-vaccine evangelist. It's not surprising that he would champion Mercola's view of COVID-19.


I experienced Chelsea Edgar's article regarding Joseph Mercola's new book, The Truth About COVID-19, as a real missed opportunity. Instead of providing a counterargument to Mercola's evidence, Edgar provided a customized attack on another human being. I find this type of journalism intellectually boring and not worthy. I'm skeptical that it can encourage robust, public debate, and I worry that it causes us to delve into mob or clan mentality.

Why didn't she challenge Mercola's ideas and arm her audience with tools for debate? Mercola's book is loaded with tough arguments, but Edgar leaves her audience armed with nothing but the ability to assassinate a local book publisher's character. Amazon sells the same book, yet Edgar doesn't mention boycotting Amazon. Why?

Mercola's book needs to be met with a robust debate, not book burning. Mercola offered up more than a bit of data and a lot of scientific analysis. We need to engage this stuff head-on. Authors and book publishers are not the enemy. Historically, they never have been.

Edgar's article was a hit piece on Chelsea Green Publishing and, specifically, Margo Baldwin. What's the point? Can we please step up the level of discourse? I hope so. Let us drink from a cool mountain spring. Let us hear the ethereal soliloquy of the hermit thrush. Let us feel the peace of the slow, rolling hills we call home. May our words be sweet and spicy like wild knotweed honey or, at the very least, Grade B maple syrup.

Andrew Recupero

Ripton


I am writing in support of Margo Baldwin of Chelsea Green Publishing. The article written by Chelsea Edgar was vicious and misinformed. For decades, Chelsea Green has been leading and guiding the way toward sustainable perspectives and practices and a deeper understanding of the world and how to make it right. Its mission is clearly intended to benefit humanity and the Earth. 

A glance at Chelsea Green's impressive books helps illustrate Margo's vision, depth of understanding about the world and what type of wisdom may help. Many Vermonters have at least one Chelsea Green book in their collection; I have many and am grateful for Margo's willingness to give everyone a chance to share their knowledge, without censorship. Chelsea Green's business model and support of local and new authors further reflects its integrity and bravery.  

Chelsea Green is committed to the quest for truth and the support of differing opinions and the right of free speech. This is intimately tied to freedom and the evolution of our minds and practices — creating deeper understandings and positive change. Without the willingness to print differing views of the world, all we have is a propaganda machine. Chelsea Green's decision to print this controversial book gives me hope that this is not the case and that free speech and the right to have a difference of opinion are alive and well. I offer my gratitude to Margo for her strength and willingness to uphold two core tenets of liberty: freedom of press and free speech.

Alison Despathy

Danville


You neglected to point out three vital facts about Vermont publisher Chelsea Green's book: 1) The Truth About Covid-19 references more than 400 footnotes from a diverse array of authoritative science, public health and news sources, including the Lancet, the New York Times, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization; 2) the book's subtitle — "Exposing the Great Reset, Lockdowns, Vaccine Passports, and the New Normal" — documents troubling civilizational trends whose consequences are unfolding before our very eyes; and 3) the book's sub-subtitle — "Why We Must Unite in a Global Movement for Health and Freedom" — speaks to the importance of citizens preserving our rights to informed consent, health choice, medical freedom and civil rights as enshrined in the Bill of Rights, the U.S. Constitution and the post-World War II Nuremberg Code.

The word "bunk" means "nonsense," and accusing Chelsea Green of "peddling coronavirus misinformation" is ridiculous. That Seven Days would baselessly attack a fellow independent Vermont publisher for having the courage to publish such a thought-provoking, science-based and well-researched book is truly troubling. We urge all Vermonters to read and discuss The Truth About COVID-19, and we celebrate Margo Baldwin and Chelsea Green for having the courage to publish it.

Suzy Harris

Winooski

Suzy Harris is a member of the board of directors of Vermont Stands Up, a group opposed to mask and vaccine mandates.


These days, everyone seems compelled toward choosing from opposites in a polarized world. In the media and journalism, one can see these as bias and non-bias. A recent outstanding example of completely biased reporting is the front-page headline of the recent Seven Days. With the headline "Best-Selling Bunk," the paper is not even attempting to take an unbiased view of The Truth About Covid-19 and report a rendering of the book's contents. Instead, the article, written by the no doubt talented staff writer Chelsea Edgar, lines up a series of attacks of various kinds on the book and the author that are similar to a well-thought-out legal argument.

Because of the briefness required, I cannot counter these, but I want to make another point that indicates the questionable thinking going on here. The author of the book, Joseph Mercola, an osteopath with considerable publishing and media exposure, is also, according to Seven Days, "identified by the Center for Countering Digital Hate as the No.1 spreader of digital falsehoods on the internet."

It puzzles me that someone spreading medical information, with 4 million followers, is identified as someone whose activities are hateful. So there's a connection between medical information and hate speech. Could someone explain this to me? What about free speech?

Jeffrey Duke

Essex Junction


The fight between publishers Margo Baldwin and Paula Routly is a classic one between powerful, smart and, now, diverging-in-the-woods women with conflicting opinions. Having been published by Chelsea Green, I support its right to publish whoever it wants. And I also am pleased that Paula took Chelsea Green on over the moneymaking lie fest by Dr. Joseph Mercola and Ronnie Cummins, at whom the critics ought to direct their lashings. Margo defends and embraces the writers, I have little doubt, for the profitability of the work. She knows how to make money and keep afloat in an era killing publishers like flies.

My hope is that writers on Chelsea Green's backlist express themselves, like several have in the Seven Days feature, and that a flood of mail knocks this story around. For it's a big deal, an audience-capturing story well written and one-sided by the newspaper's ace reporter, Chelsea Edgar. But we're a divided nation and a divided state in many places. So why should publishers be excluded from exchanging blows?

Keep in mind that, not long ago, there were only four Vermont publishers of note: Chelsea Green, Countryman Press, Paul Eriksson and Steerforth Press. Today, the only one still standing in Vermont is Chelsea Green. Self-publishing and small commercial publishers are many and well intended, but they are not going to keep a writer eating.

Chelsea Green is employee-owned, and Margo won't be in charge forever. Paula may yet launch a book branch of Seven Days. She's got the guts for such an outrageous effort.

Bear Essential?

Should hunters, trappers and anglers set the agenda for Vermont's Fish & Wildlife Department? Even "sportsmen" disagree about some of the practices currently being employed, vividly described in Kevin McCallum's cover story last week, "Wildlife Wars." Here's a sampling of letters to the editor from all around the state. More to come in next week's Feedback section.


Thank you for your coverage of Vermont's increasingly important debate concerning the future of wildlife habitat and wildlife. Contrary to Commissioner Louis Porter's assertions, this debate is not about hunters versus nonhunters. Contrary to bear hunter Butch Spear's assertions, this debate is not about flatlanders versus Vermonters.

I grew up in a Vermont hunting and fishing family. Our family has been here for at least five generations. My father was deputy commissioner of the agriculture department. My grandfather was state treasurer, and most of us are still avid hunters and fishermen.

I think most of us would agree that chasing bears with radio-collared dogs in June or July, when the cubs are not even weaned — and then following around in a pickup truck with a GPS system — would make Daniel Boone roll over in his grave. Leghold traps were once necessary for survival. They aren't anymore. It is past time for Vermont to pass a law like Colorado's, where leghold traps can be used to protect public health, livestock and domestic animals — not for fun and games. The debate is not about traditions. The debate is about ethics.

David Kelley

Greensboro


Humans and dogs have been together anywhere from 10,000 to 30,000 years. And we weren't just throwing tennis balls around the backyard together. We were hunting. Not hunting with our dogs is a pretty modern development.

There's a lot to this modern existence that is bullshit — I say to you, typing on my phone. I don't think we should be eliminating hunting with dogs or trapping, eliminating the ability of one to tap into tens of thousands of years of evolution and coevolution, because a few people saw a couple photos on the internet that made them sad. There's a lot of misunderstanding and lack of perspective here. These animals are living free until the end (but I'm not necessarily sure that we humans or our dogs are).

Maybe one should question the animal use that we're not seeing, like how many milking cows these days ever see pasture? What does "free-range eggs" really mean? Etc.

Also, I think it was unfair to put in the part about Butch Spear taking a hit off the inhaler combined with riding around in the truck. You're painting the picture that he's lazy and out of shape. Our four-legged friends have the capacity to outpace us all day, any day, and we wouldn't necessarily be able to catch up. And inhaler use doesn't necessarily correlate to fitness level.

Beth Hayden

Fairfax


Outgoing Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Louis Porter is absolutely wrong that the trapping of furbearers helps control populations. There is absolutely no evidence to support such a position. Quite the contrary, the Quabbin Reservation study conducted in Massachusetts — part of a 50-year observation study of beavers in the Prescott Peninsula — proves that furbearers self-regulate their populations. Indeed, trapping is counterproductive to good wildlife management because it is so indiscriminate in terms of the animals targeted.

There is also no evidence that hunting or trapping reduces or resolves human-wildlife conflicts. For example, largely due to Vermont's two-month-long bear season — one of the longest in the country — our bear population has gone from about 7,000 animals in 2011 to roughly half that number today; yet, in that time, complaints of "nuisance" bears have soared. Too often, nuisance bears are, in fact, created by human actions, such as leaving out birdfeeders or food waste, that condition bears to associate food with humans and their homes.

As for trapping, what is left to justify such blatantly cruel practices through which animals are either drowned or suffer in legholds for hours on end? The "enjoyment" of seeing animals suffer and die? The "recreation" of being outdoors while setting traps? I believe most Vermonters (native as well as nonnative) would say these are not values or traditions we want to see continued or cherished. It is time to end trapping in Vermont.

John Aberth

Roxbury

Aberth is a wildlife rehabilitator.


I want to thank Seven Days for finally exposing some of the truth about the anti-hunting crowd. Brenna Galdenzi and the group Protect Our Wildlife have made a habit of attacking me. They have stolen many of my pictures and videos from social media and used them not only to bolster their position by tugging at the heartstrings of her followers, but to make me out as a ruthless, heartless killer. She has been doing this to me for years, and it's so bad that people have written on their page that the world would be a better place without me just because I hunt and trap.

I may have made some bad decisions and posted thoughtless material when I was a younger man, but I've grown a lot in the last two decades, as we all do. At this point, I no longer take pictures of my adventures to share with my friends and family, for fear of being hijacked by Brenna and the antis. They will use any material to shame, and the comments she lets go through are somewhat dangerous.

The tactics, half-truths and downright lies she has made about me, other sportsmen and even the biologists in the State of Vermont are borderline libelous most of the time.

POW really has no credentials in anything related to wildlife. Other than its members' opinions, it really has nothing, but it misrepresents all of us to make its followers angry and get them to do what it says.

Jason Michaud

Fairfax


The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Board is composed of all hunters, trappers and anglers, which makes it very hard to achieve any protections for wildlife, as the article conveys. The majority of Vermonters are not represented by this board that's unwilling to listen to concerns from the general public. The article shows how some board members even have resentment toward people who weren't born here. 

Mike Covey says we are just a handful of people who don't want hounding and trapping. I think he has that backward — I suspect that the majority of Vermonters would not agree with these activities, including some hunters. A survey conducted by the Center for Rural Studies shows that approximately 70 percent of Vermonters want trapping banned! I am not against ethical, sustenance hunting, and neither is Protect Our Wildlife. I would not call hounding "hunting."

Terrorizing a bear and her cubs for miles through the woods with a pack of hounds; trapping animals in leghold traps and taking pictures and videos of them suffering; running hounds on private lands without permission; having a board that is completely one-sided; and the open killing season of coyotes are the things I am against.

While Louis Porter has been commissioner, not one petition has been approved from wildlife advocacy groups. Wildlife advocate numbers are growing by the day. We are not going away, so we must find a path forward and work together. 

Sophie Bowater

North Middlesex


Not a single long-standing "Vermont" hunting tradition was mentioned in this article. Not one. You'd think that a real, actual Vermonter would know there's no "tradition" of steel leghold traps, nor hunting with hounds in N'Dakinna, as the Abenaki call this land. Nor did hunters go into others' hunting grounds. Hunting grounds were passed down in families, and you ate what you killed; nothing was wasted.

I see no mention of the tradition of growing extra corn for the bears and raccoons on these lands; instead, harassing and killing the bear is labeled "tradition." Odd.

Seems like Vermont's fish and wildlife laws defy and ignore "tradition" to the point where one has to wonder how many on the Fish & Wildlife commission have ever been of Abenaki descent, have actually studied the culture here or know any traditions. I'm not sure how anyone can discuss "rights" or "lifestyles" on these lands without knowing the culture and history.

Since coyotes have only been here since the 1950s, I have to ask: How could killing them be called a "long-held tradition"? And I have to ask where Vermont's once-abundant wolf population is, since Vermont is so great at "managing" these once-thriving apex predators that "manage" themselves.

No farmer wants strangers with guns and/or dogs on their land, potentially shooting a predator ally, livestock or the farmer, especially during hunting season. It's a hunter safety nightmare, not "tradition."

Lastly, can someone look up the definition of "refuge"? From a real hunter-farmer on Cowasuck Abenaki territory...

Samantha Nickerson

Topsham