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.

Madeleine Mahony

director of media relations

Office of Gov. Bill Richardson

Santa Fe

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

Washington, D.C.

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.

Joni Brenneisen

Santa Fe

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.

Barbara Kalb

Santa Fe

(5) comments

William Craig

Re: “Richardson: A fighter for the animals” and “Deserving of praise” —

Remember the Kings and Richardson all had relations with Jeffrey Epstein.

Caring about the welfare of laboratory monkeys is one thing — caring about Epstein’s victims like Virginia Roberts Giuffre (who named Richardson in sworn testimony) is quite another.

Richard Reinders

Biden in his hast to show off for 9-11 date put thousands of people at risk, if he left air cover from Bagram and a small force of consultants the Afghan soldiers would have held Kabel and we would have had an orderly evacuation and the Afghan Government would still be in charge. Instead he sneaks out in the middle of the night with out a conversation with the local Army or President that is why they broke and ran. And now all he does is praise himself for the evacuation of some of the at risk people leaving the rest of the Americans and Afghan allies to medieval treatment by the Taliban and Isis. We also put our allies around the world at risk for future terror attacks and they are not happy with us. We needed out of Afghanistan but not this way.

Stefanie Beninato

Trump left Afghanistan to the Taliban. You might remember it was Trump the great negotiator (NOT) that told the Taliban 18 months ago that the US was leaving and got absolutely no guarantees or concessions from the Taliban who refused to negotiate with the Afghan government the US was propping up while Trump and Pompeo agreed to this deal.

Patrick Brockwell

No Richard, Biden got over 100,000 people out and met his goal for an August end date, not 9/11. BTW the trump deal, which Biden is honoring, was made without the Afghan government's involvement. Let's not forget the way we got into Afghanistan; Bush/Cheney lies. Lies, lies and more lies. Quit projecting the failings of republican policies on everyone else. Time to deprogram yourself from the cult.

Richard Reinders

Biden trashed ever deal Trump ever made, with the border, the Paris Accord, energy independence , how come he didn’t trash this deal? I said I agree we needed out of Afghanistan it was the execution I take exception with leaving Americans and allies stranded. I am not defending either party and I wasn’t a Bush supporter.

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