The peace movement has a perfectly valid message to convey to the public without loading the argument with stupid misinformation, such as that found in your article, "The Costs of Militarization" (April / May 1987).
1. "NATO may expand its training facility for low-flying planes" (p. 21). NATO is not corporately present in Goose Bay and has no such facilities to expand there. The facility is Canadian. [Other planes] flying there do so under bilateral agreements with Canada.
2. "As I understand it, all the white people living in Goose Bay were parachuted in to start up the base" (p. 21). Drivel. Hundreds of long-term Labradorians created a township nearly fifty years ago. Others came later, to work in jobs unrelated to the base.
3. "Studies in health and caribou effects are supposed to be going on" (p. 22). This implies doubt, which is totally unfounded. The health study was released on May 20, the caribou study continues.
4. "Goose Bay is being sprayed with herbicides. . -- they clear the trees away from the flight path" (p. 22). Nonsense. The low-flying zones total 34,000 square miles, plus the flying corridors to enter and leave the zones. Much of these zones is barren rock and bog, with thin, low tree growth.
5. "The NDP has a tactical debate going on"(p. 21). The NDP supporters who live in the area are supporting the airport.
Perhaps your organization should more accurately be called the Canadian Disarmament Dis information Service.
Susan Felsberg, Mud Lake (Near Goose Bay), Labrador, Newfoundland
Carolyn Vetter (Letters April/May 87) is sadly misinformed about modern zoos. Today competent zoos everywhere operate on the principles of conservation, preservation, education and research. Hundreds of species of animals would be extinct today were it not for the preservation activities and research of zoos. The idyllic view of animals roaming free in the wild content and robust is naive. Animals are at threat around the world from urban encroachment, pollution, resource industries and many other factors. Zoos have lobbied universally against these factors. The contention that modern zoos send hunters to acquire animals is simply not true. Zoo animals are bred and traded between zoos under very strict control. Surplus animals are not sold to hunting farms, this is against zoo ethics.
The positive actions and ethics of our zoos are well documented and easily discovered. The Cherry Brook Zoo of Saint John recently has lobbied actively for Provincial legislation to control the exotic pet trade and their educational materials on conservation and preservation are popularly used in area schools. Zoos such as the Metro Toronto Zoo have huge wildlife areas where endangered species are bred, protected, and yes, sometimes reintroduced to their natural environment. The idea that children extend their view of lower species of animals to lower classes of people is ridiculous. This may be a cherished belief of animal rights zealots but I defy anyone to find credible research that implicates zoo visits as a negative factor in the issue. To taint zoos by association with weapons testing and product testing is unfair. There is no connection between the two.
I have had a long term interest in animals, conservation, preservation and public education on wildlife issues. Our local zoo is an excellent support to this interest. The true "zoo realities" are easily available from the curator of any reputable zoo or the local Zoological Society. A zoo visit is a rewarding experience that I can recommend to all readers.
T.J. Cameron, Saint John, N.B.