FOR centuries we have moved away from living in disease-ridden hovels with no sewage or rubbish collection. Plagues caused by animal faeces have declined, and most our homes are now lovely places to live. I fear all of this is to be lost with our obsession with domestic pets.
I have been staying in a house where two small dogs rule. There was not one piece of furniture I could sit in that wasn't covered in hair and old bits of food. Every morning the floor was decorated with puddles of urine and dog poo. I was warned to lock my bedroom door or the dog would mark the territory with urine. We couldn't use the little garden because this is the dogs' other toilet. This home would be worth millions, including the expensive floor coverings where the dogs relieve their anal itch.
When I buy second-hand furniture I used to ask if the seller was a nudist. Now I have to ask if they keep animals inside.
Why don't we go the full hog and live with pigs, chooks and goats? And all those plastic bags of poo in landfill are surely festering some new virus or epidemic if you can get anywhere near the bins they are deposited in. The smell! Human beings are really a mysterious lot.
Sarah Taylor, Merewether
1000 WORDS IS NOT FULL TALE
ROBIN Hopps (Letters 8/10/19), in my opinion you cannot accurately tell crowd numbers by looking at one photo.
I was at the recent rally ('Signs of the times', Newcastle Herald 21/9), and I can tell you there were dozens of people coming and going constantly from noon to 3pm.
Only a minority stayed for the whole time. People were spread throughout Civic Park and lined Laman Street. I am 70 years old; I would say that half of the crowd were adults.
Setting aside the scientific evidence of climate change for a minute, let's use common sense.
Do you suppose we humans can remove half the trees in the world; house, feed and provide jobs for 7.5 billion of us; run about 2.5 billion vehicles; run massive numbers of planes, ships and trains; build the supporting factories, cities and the infrastructure needed; cover much of the world in concrete, and think that there won't be a subsequent devastating effect on the environment? Really.
I am sure, on the stage at that rally, I was looking at our future leaders.
Robert Gibson, Charlestown
BOND WORKS BIND SUBURB
CITY of Newcastle can frequently get a bad rap, however we have been involved in an excellent initiative. Outstanding performance by Chris Tola, Vicky Probert and Tony Ayling at the council has seen the completion of the refurbishment of the historic wall and garden in Bond Street in Newcastle East.
The works are not only a physical improvement, but have developed a strong sense of ownership among the community. It provides a safe, vibrant and welcoming entry to Foreshore Park. The council excelled by involving the community in the planning and completion of the project from the start
Mik Ilett, Newcastle East
DAIRY DECLINE IS A CHANCE
HAVING grown up on a dairy farm, I understand the hardships faced by today's farmers who are forced to move out of the industry as the price and demand for milk continues to fall. The struggling dairy farmer is not a new phenomenon.
Dairy Australia figures show that the number of registered dairy farms fell from 22,000 in 1980 to 5,700 in 2018, meaning that 75 per cent of dairy farms have closed down.
The number of cows has only fallen by 17 percent in that time, indicating that the industry continues to be taken over by huge corporations. One farmer was quoted recently as saying that "it's like losing my right arm" as his cows were driven off to slaughter (ABC 4/10). Let's not forget that while it's painful to lose an arm, those cows are losing their lives, after losing their calves shortly after birth every year, so that humans can steal the milk they produce to nurture their babies. The calves are either raised separately for the same cycle of pregnancy, birth and loss or, if male, shipped off to slaughter or shot or bludgeoned to death on the farm.
Farmers are tough and resourceful. The ones I knew, who got out of dairy decades ago, diversified into more ethical products. Those losing their livelihoods now to the giant conglomerates will hopefully do the same, as the market for these vile products continues to shrink.
Desmond Bellamy, PETA Australia special projects co-ordinator
MALALA AND GRETA MATCH
NO, Bev O'Hara (Short Takes, 4/10), the issues of Malala Youfaszi and the backlash directed at Greta Thunberg that I raised in my earlier letter (Letters, 2/10) are not really so different. Both are matters vital to the futures of the two young females. I believe your claim that Ms Thunberg's claims were alarmist is misguided. On an almost daily basis, climate scientists are finding that some aspect of environmental damage due to climate change is happening faster than expected. About five years ago, US government departments predicted over 40 million climate change refugees by 2050 and that climate change was a major threat to world peace with the likelihood that wars would be fought over access to fresh water. Experts are now saying the figure for climate refugees could exceed 150 million.
I can't understand how someone could think that the predicted and evolving impacts of global warming are not alarming.
Reg Howes, Valentine
TAKE PEDAL LOCKS OFF ROAD
I HAVE two issues that I wish to make some comment on: regarding the tram tracks, there has been a tragic accident here ('Widow reveals pain', Herald 4/10) and numerous falls owing to this ('Off the rails', Herald 16/11/18). Wouldn't it be prudent to force those who cycle in this area daily to get off their bikes and walk the few hundred metres involved, or alternatively to take another route in order to avoid this dangerous area?
There are any number of ways they could go. Also, I feel it should be illegal for cyclists to lock their feet on the pedals on public roads. This should only happen on a track or closed road such a triathlon or road race.
My next issue is a suggestion. Swansea channel is once again silted up and needs dredging to remove somewhere between 5000 to 10,000 cubic metres of sand, which will be dumped on Elizabeth Island and eventually washed back into the channel.
We have a need for sand on Stockton Beach. I am certain with the use of trucks, barges or maybe some other means the sand could be transported to Stockton and used there as a temporary measure.
From there, there would be no way it could wash back into Swansea channel.
John Geyer, Cameron Park
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MAYBE whoever runs Stockton beach could write into the next contract with the sand mines that take thousands of tonnes of sand each year off the bight that they must provide enough to replenish the beach at the south. That's if it doesn't cut into their royalties and profits too much.
Jason Riters, Maryville
THE NRL hierarchy will never be able to prevent human error, but they can legislate against trainers being constantly and needlessly on the playing field. Will they? Probably not.
John Atkins, Hamilton South
I HAVE to smile when I read all about Stockton Beach and its problems. Haven't those in the Hunter realised that all state spending stops at the Hawkesbury? We can spend billions on ripping down perfectly serviceable stadiums and replacing them, building state of the art train systems - all in Sydney. Do we spend any money on essential infrastructure like new dams? Someone should tell Gladys you cannot drink trains or stadiums. If Stockton beach gets washed down to Sydney, then I am sure it will get fixed.
James Worthington, Kurri Kurri
HAS our worldwide PM worked out how much water $150 million would buy our farmers? Our farms are a lot more important than US space works.
Barry Spalding, Cardiff
AND I guess Scott's department store, Fred Ash & Co and the Newcastle Flyer don't rate a mention ('Newcastle's custom Monopoly board', Topics 4/10)?
Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook
IN reply to Ian Osborne (Short Takes, 3/10), could Mr Osborne define climate change for me please?
Richard Hall, Charlestown
IS there any chance the sand to be dredged from the Swansea channel could be transported to Stockton? Just a thought.
Michael Gormly, Islington
NOWHERE in history has there ever been a place full of extinct species, Robin Hopps (Letters 8/10). However, the world is certainly full of species that have gone extinct. Well, it would be if they hadn't. Gone extinct, that is. But then the world wouldn't be full of species that have gone extinct. It'd just be full of species. Like the world we've got now, only with heaps more species. All waiting to go extinct. Because of climate change. Neil Coutts (Short Takes 8/10) nominated Joan Lambert's letter (Short Takes, 3/10) for letter of the year, and a worthy nomination it is. But Robin Hopps has surely now provided the winner. I believe it will be hard to beat such champagne comedy.
Michael Hinchey, New Lambton
IN reply to Joan Lambert's piece regarding the late Bryce Gaudry and Jodi McKay (Letters 8/10), I believe Ms McKay lost the seat to the Liberals on her remarks about closing the heavy rail into Newcastle. I believe she was the one who who put the idea into Liberal party heads against the wishes of her own party and the people who voted her in.