Letters to the Editor

9/30 Letters: VA dog testing ‘important’ for veterans’ quality of life

I disagree with “Tillis should push to bar the VA’s dog experiments” (Sept. 24). As a physician, I understand the importance of testing new treatments on animals before the VA uses them to treat wounded veterans. The author may not know that VA dog research is subject to strict scrutiny both for its relevance to veterans’ health problems and for how the animals are treated. The proposed study must show promise for yielding valuable information, and it must be clear that it is necessary to study dogs.

In addition, there must be a plan in place to ensure the dogs are treated humanely. Research animals undergoing surgery are treated just like human patients: They are anesthetized and monitored during the procedure and given drugs to ease their pain while they recover. The VA has numerous safeguards already in place to spot animal welfare problems and correct them promptly. As an animal lover myself, I understand that Ms. Lewis is concerned for the welfare of these dogs. I hope she also feels compassion for veterans suffering traumatic brain injuries, limb injuries and heart disease. Their lives and quality of life depend upon medical advancements that are only possible if this research continues.

Richard L. Auten, M.D.

Chapel Hill

Look to Reagan

In “Trump’s UN speech promoted classic conservative ideas” (Sept. 21), I was incredulous that Marc Thiessen pointed out only the Soviets’ fear of Ronald Reagan striking first as a reason “cataclysmic war never took place.”

In fact, one of Reagan’s most important foreign policy legacies was his firm belief, as stated in his famous “Star Wars” speech, that it was necessary to “break out of a future that relies solely on offensive retaliation for our security.” In the same speech, he went on to say that he had “become more and more deeply convinced that the human spirit must be capable of rising above dealing with other nations and human beings by threatening their existence.” Fear of mutual destruction might have held the Soviets at bay for a time, but Reagan’s commitment to diplomacy and arms reduction was the real trigger for the de-escalation of the Cold War.

It’s hard to imagine that anyone could applaud Trump’s use of sophomoric nicknames like “Rocket Man,” or his threat to “totally destroy North Korea.” Opposition to this is not a question of conservative vs. liberal, but more the concern of Americans who hoped for something statesman-like and heard another yet tweet instead.

Ashleigh Cannon


Resolve errors

Regarding “The state – not the disabled – should cover its payment mistake” (Sept. 21): Yes, the editorial title nails it. It’s high time the state act primarily for the welfare of all honest residents. A draconian “fits-all-sizes” interpretation of a benighted law is no way to resolve some financial errors made by its own officials.

Leslie H. Lang

Chapel Hill