Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor

Opinion
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On gender inequality, wind and coal seam gas, and cats and dogs.

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THINKING AGAIN

I WRITE in relation to the ‘Think Again’ articles, The Land, May 31, p28, last week. 

In North West New South Wales there is a glaring example of gender inequality in the public education system. In the South, NSW has two agricultural boarding schools – Yanco and Hurlstone. 

These admit male and female students.  

In the North West there is one state agricultural boarding school – this is exclusively for male students. There is no comparable public education boarding school for females. Given that there are over 300 male students boarding at Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School, it’s reasonable to assume many of these boys have sisters who should be entitled to these government boarding facilities. 

There are, of course, government schools in the area providing agricultural studies available to males and females, but no government boarding facilities in the North West for female students – Farrer MAHS is kept exclusively for males. 

Hurlstone and Yanco were updated many years ago from male-only schools and offer boarding facilities for both male and female students. Letters about this inequality in NSW education have been sent to Rob Stokes MP, Mark Scott AO, Tanya Davies MP and Kevin Anderson MP. 

These letters are flicked along the line, presumably in the hope that the writer will go away. I would welcome contact from any families in the North West who have been disadvantaged by failure of the NSW government to provide public education boarding facilities for female students while continuing to maintain the male bastion that is Farrer MAHS.

JOYCE HOLBOURN,

Nundle.

DON’T COMPARE WIND, CSG

CONTRARY to your recent editorial “Wind, gas powering division in rural areas”, The Land, May 31, p34, equating wind power with coal seam gas is completely wrong for a number of reasons. Wind farms are bringing communities together all over Australia. The Australian Wind Alliance's recent report on the community benefits of wind power provides concrete data on how wind farm companies are working with communities and councils to ensure wind farms are sharing benefits community wide.

Wind power provides clean energy, bringing environmental benefits for all Australians. Compared with the well-documented negative environmental impacts of coal seam gas, wind farms don't even use water, let alone threaten to contaminate it.

Take the chance to get out and about in wind districts around the country, and you'll find community after community going about their business and reaping the economic and environmental benefits that wind farms bring.

ANDREW BRAY,

Australian Wind Alliance.

REINING CATS AND DOGS

I WRITE in relation to “Policy reins in cats and dogs”, The Land, May 31, p11.

Firstly there are not 24 restricted breeds. This is an example of misinformation being circulated. The breeds named in the article are effectively banned by federal legislation. Your readers should not be deluded into believing they will not be affected by the proposed changes to the Prevention to Cruelty to Animals legislation. I have worked in the rural industry, have trained my own working dogs and I can say that very few kennels I have seen would pass the current POCTA or NSW Companion Animal Act regulations for housing. That is not a criticism just an observation.

This review is a waste of time, resources and public money. The NSW Companion Animal Act gives local government all the powers they need to prevent cruelty, to ensure housing is appropriate and that companions animals are registered. I am not alone in believing the only substantial changes needed are to increase the cost of registering a dog or cat to at least $500 and councils be required to enforce the Companion Animals Act. If councils did that the fines would be sufficient to cover related costs. This would be an effective manner to stop uncontrolled breeding of cats and dogs by irresponsible individuals, thereby substantially lessening the issue of feral cats and dogs.

Thankfully Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair has listened to stakeholders and in particular Dr Robert Zammit. As a result the minister ordered an extension of the review and involvement of all stakeholders. The original proposed changes were based on advice from the likes of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the RSPCA and Animal Welfare League. The stakeholders such as graziers and farmers who rely on their dogs to efficiently work their stock, registered breeders and thousands of companion animal owners who do the right thing were ignored. The original recommendations were incredibly stupid, with restrictions that had clearly been devised by individuals who have no idea of the realities and the benefits of companion animals in society. 

It is a matter of record that when Don Page was Local Government Minister the Nationals voted for a parliamentary review of the RSPCA. Unfortunately their coalition partners would not support such action. Shooters, Fishers and Farmers do and they will get my vote at the next election.

Such an inquiry was held in Victoria and it was highly critical of the RSPCA. The founder of PETA publicly boasts she has euthanised tens of thousands of companion animals for no reason other than she could. How is that not cruelty? 

I do not condone cruelty to any animal and I support any reasonable steps to enforce the current POCTA and Companion Animals Act.

COLIN FORD,

Crookwell.

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