Milan Simonich’s column (“Controversial animal-rights figure says New Mexico is hub for cockfighting,” Ringside Seat, Aug. 29) opens with numerous misrepresentations of former Gov. Bill Richardson’s record on animal rights. Richardson not only banned cockfighting, but he fought against medical testing on chimpanzees and slaughtering wild horses in New Mexico. His lengthy record on animal protection continues to this day with his foundation’s work to combat illegal wildlife trade in Africa. Simonich instead opens with recycled jokes. In fact, the president of Animal Wellness Action, who interestingly was asked for comment (Richardson was not), emailed Simonich saying that Richardson was “indispensable in getting the anti-cockfighting law passed.” Simonich also forgot to credit local actor and activist Ali MacGraw (instead mentioning a sole letter penned by Pamela Anderson) and unnecessarily slammed former Attorney General Gary King who worked hard to stop cockfighting. This column is a deliberate muddying of the facts for the sake of snarkiness. Readers deserve better.
director of media relations
Office of Gov. Bill Richardson
Deserving of praise
Milan Simonich quarrels with nearly everyone in his column about cockfighting and Animal Wellness Action’s report exposing trafficking of gamecocks in New Mexico. Animal Wellness Action’s evidence points to 15 New Mexicans leaving footprints showing involvement in cockfighting. Five individuals named in the report have been involved with two well-known Alabama cockfighters who were the subject of a federal search in July. The report also alleges their involvement in transporting fighting animals through the U.S. Postal Service and to Mexico in violation of federal law. In addition to taking digs at me, Simonich also took swipes at former Gov. Bill Richardson and former Attorney General Gary King. I worked with Richardson on the 2007 cockfighting ban, on an end to invasive experiments on chimps throughout the United States and on protecting wild horses and burros in the West and elephants in Africa. Richardson and King deserve plaudits for their determined work for animals.
Wayne Pacelle, president
Animal Wellness Action
Porches enrich life
I just had to write and say how much I enjoyed Randall Balmer’s commentary (“In praise of the front porch, where people mingled,” Aug. 1). Like him, I wonder what did happen to the front porch. I remember well where my folks sat after dinner. They’d drink homemade lemonade, iced tea, or my dad, a cold beer. Life was great, plain and simple. We kids would run around, catch lightning bugs and eat watermelon. Folks would drive by and wave, walk by and stop and visit. My husband and I just drove cross country from Santa Fe to the Jersey shore to meet my brothers, and boy, did we see porches in Kansas, Ohio, Kentucky Missouri and Pennsylvania. There were swings, gliders, rocking chairs and people sitting on them with smiles on their faces. While in Pennsylvania, we sat on my brother’s front porch where my grandparents used to sit after dinner, and I loved it. I so enjoyed reminiscing of when I was little and how much fun the summer evenings were, and how safe we felt with out family on the porch. Thank you, Randall, for the trip down memory lane. I think I’ll make some lemonade and go sit on the porch. I know that my past has helped make me what I am today. Happy.
A welcome end
Thank you, President Joe Biden, for getting us out of Afghanistan; for ending this boots-on-the-ground 20-year war. Is there anyone who seriously believes there wouldn’t be chaos at the end, no matter how or when we left? War is chaos personified, whether it is the beginning, middle or end. And remember even the most beneficent invaders are still invaders. How would we feel if we had been occupied by anyone? Since the Afghans have had a taste of Western culture and freedom, maybe they are better prepared to decide for themselves how they want to live. We will see. We might be surprised. I hope so.