The Oregonian editorial page once argued that having a liquefied natural gas terminal near the mouth of the Columbia River at Bradwood was a good idea.

Our editorial page responded that if those writers were so sure about the safety of an LNG terminal, they should welcome its being further upriver, in Northwest industrial Portland.

Last week, one of our user comments made a similar suggestion concerning the issue of horse slaughter. What if abandoned and feral horses were roaming in cities instead of on tribal lands? Would the urban opponents of humane horse slaughter see the issue differently?

What if hundreds of those horses were roaming through Central Park. What if a thousand were loose in Portland’s parks?

W.J. Furnish of Pendleton (and formerly of Gearhart) offered a useful take on the issue. Wrote Furnish: “Perhaps semantics has more than a little to do with the discussion. In the common language of 21st century North America, large beef and pork producers operate packing plants. Poultry and seafood wholesalers have processing plants or facilities.

“It seems odd that when equines only are involved, the softer words are replaced by slaughter.”

•••

On Friday, the cowboy poet Baxter Black called to say he had read our horse slaughter editorial in the Capital Press. Black referred me to the website amillionhorses.com. This site documents the numbers of abandoned horses on tribal and public lands.

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Furnish also offered the dirty little secret about the Humane Society of the U.S. “The Humane Society of the United States is not the SPCA. Nor does it operate animal shelters in the U.S. It has been criticized by the American Veterinary Medical Association for what that organization considers calling for unreasonable and unobtainable standards for the production of consumables from horses. In fact, the AVMA claims, the efforts of the Humane Society of the U.S. have had the opposite effect by driving the processing of horses to Mexico where they are not treated humanely.”

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Last Friday’s mail contained a beautifully handwritten letter from a reader in Seaside. In response to a recent Editor’s Notebook, she wrote that, “I, too, was handed the job of sorting our both sides of my families’ communications and as you wrote, news clippings, dance programs, etc. My families also were both savers with that trait in our genes.

“Living on the Coumbia River in Cathlamet, Wash., when a friend or relative traveled to Portland or Astoria, it was by boat since there were no roads on that side of the river. This occasion called for a special communication to special people.”

•••

Blaine Harden’s talk last Thursday evening at the Seaside Public Library drew a full house. Even after Jon Burke had produced more chairs, the place was full, and some stood at the back.

The central question that Harden asked was why the Kim family’s dictatorship of North Korea had lasted so much longer than Stalin’s Russian regime or Mao’s Chinese despotism. A large measure of the answer is the system of prison camps.

Harden’s book Escape from Camp 14 tells the story of Shin Dong-hyuk, who was born in a camp and escaped from it. Harden’s book and Shin’s growth as a witness to the world has exposed the sadism and brutality of the camp regime.

At the close of Harden’s Seaside presentation, a Korean woman raised her hand. Her voice full of emotion, she told her story of fleeing North Korea in 1947. Harden says that, “Two million fled north to south between 1945 and 1949.”

— S.A.F.

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