Food aid reform Michael Gerson recently wrote an op-ed in the Tribune in support of the Obama administration’s plan to reform U.S. foreign food aid (“Gearing up for a food fight,” Other Views, April 18). As it stands, the United States provides food from American farmers to communities in need of aid in other countries. The problem occurs when food is taken to communities despite local farms that produce food in that area.
This reform would help address this issue by decreasing the amount of aid provided as food commodities and instead giving monetary assistance so food may be purchased from local producers.
The program would be able to provide money to areas in which local agriculture is thriving, and can still provide food commodities to areas that are unable to produce locally. This reform can increase the program’s flexibility, and help to provide what is truly needed in each community.
Support for this reform of U.S. food aid is necessary for the United States to continue to contribute to the fight against world hunger.
Right strategy for cats As veterinarians who practice “Trap-Neuter-Return” in Hillsborough County, we are troubled by your newspaper’s assertion that veterinarians oppose TNR (“Hillsborough animal shelter plan dogged by controversy,” April 16). On the contrary, you will find that many in our profession strongly believe it is the most effective — and humane — way to stabilize the feral cat population.
We have been conducting TNR in two long-running, low-cost, high-quality spay-neuter clinics in the Tampa Bay area since 2005. Our experience proves that TNR works.
We have neutered more than 95,000 cats, returned them to their colonies where they usually live long and healthy lives, and have reduced the number of cats entering Tampa Bay pounds and shelters by 9,000 each year.
Nationwide, more and more veterinarians are working with high-quality spay-neuter clinics in recognition of the fact that discontinuing the breeding cycle is the only effective and humane approach to reducing feral cat populations. More than 330 local governments have adopted TNR.
On the other hand, programs such as “catch and kill,” which have been around for decades, have no effect on feral cat populations because when one set of cats is removed from a colony and killed, others move in. “Catch and kill” is conducted with taxpayer dollars and can cost millions each year.
As medical professionals who care about the welfare of cats, we strongly support implementing “Trap-Neuter-Return” in Hillsborough County. It would put an end to needless killing, and — as we have seen over and over again — it is the only strategy that works.