Shell Shock

I WOULD LIKE TO THANK you for an article that has mapped out my 2007 New Year’s resolution: to try as many tacos as possible on your “ The Greatest Tacos Ever Sold ” list [December 2006].
HEATHER SEGREST
Austin

MY SUBMISSION FOR the sixty-fourth taco on your list is the fried taquito (I recommend the beef) at Pepe’s & Mito’s, in the Deep Ellum area of Dallas.
MICHAEL W. HUBBARD
Dallas

NO MENTION OF BUDA’S Casa Alde Cafe, home of the Fatty and the Same? These tacos should be called a meal, instead of just breakfast tacos.
LINDA ALCALA-BRADFORD
Buda

TO NOT EVEN LIST Leo’s Mexican Food Restaurant, in El Paso (in business since the forties), was telling of this list’s lack of authenticity.
TERRANCE BRISBIN
Mansfield

Meat, in the Middle

THANK YOU FOR your recent article on the slaughter of American horses for consumption by the French and other foreign markets [“ Eating a Dead Horse ,” December 2006]. As mayor of Kaufman, where one of the three foreign-owned plants in the U.S. operates, I appreciate efforts to expose the dirty little secret that treats my city like a doormat.

I believe that facts are friendly, and while the article was well researched and written, important facts were buried or omitted.

1. Almost half the article passes before the reader is informed that the author’s father has a vested interest in keeping horse slaughter legal. Karen Olsson’s father’s law firm profits from this industry and actively opposes the proposed and widely supported horse slaughter ban.

2. While mention is made of the paltry $5 in federal income tax paid by the plant in Kaufman, omitted is the fact that this is the total tax paid on $12 million in sales.

3. No mention is made of the millions of federal tax dollars spent to provide oversight for an industry that employs fewer than two hundred people at all three plants.

4. Certainly worthy of mention is the USDA study that found that more than 90 percent of the horses arriving at the slaughter plants are in good to excellent condition, with no behavioral problems.

5. Also lost in the article is the fact that it has been against the law in Texas to slaughter horses for human consumption since 1949.

Seventy percent of Americans oppose the slaughter of American horses to serve wealthy diners abroad. Relevant facts about this dangerous, un-American industry make clear to Texans the importance of passing the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act.
PAULA BACON
Mayor of Kaufman

THE ISSUE THAT KAREN Olsson wrote about in “Eating a Dead Horse” is one that everybody has an opinion about, and most people have an opinion based on emotion or experience. On either side of the issue, you will find equally vehement arguments about how fast the sky will fall if the ban is imposed or not imposed. I find it odd that in a state renowned for its leadership in the equine industry, Ms. Olsson found it necessary to chronicle the issue in a fence-riding manner, often citing opinions stemming more from a beer can than gray matter.

THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY of horses in the United States will not go to slaughter because of the outstanding efforts of the people who own them. They will be cared for in a respectful and thoughtful manner, oftentimes to the point of significant owner sacrifice. I see this daily in my practice as an equine veterinarian. So until the Willie Nelsons, T. Boone Pickenses, and Kid Rocks of the world provide a legitimate alternative specific to the needs of these unwanted horses, slaughter will remain a necessary alternative.

TO DISAGREE WITH MR. Jerry Finch, I believe animal rights and animal welfare are not totally different things if you are objective. But being objective is neither popular nor easy. Horses have a right to welfare, and sometimes welfare is a means to the right end.
JUSTIN HIGH, DVM
Weatherford

Passion for the Christ

CHRISTOPHER KELLY SCOFFS at The Nativity Story for being deliberately inoffensive and for not challenging our “preconceived notions” of “antiquated biblical stories” [Reporter, Hollywood, TX, “ Immaculate Misconception ,” December 2006]. Don’t worry, Christopher. If that pesky antiquity is getting on your nerves, rest assured that Paul Verhoeven ( RoboCop, Starship Troopers, Showgirls ) will soon bring his scholarly vision of Jesus to the silver screen, and the world will be safe for iconoclasm again.
JUDSON HEARTSILL
Houston

Road Warrior

THE SIMPLE, LOGICAL, devastating information of “ His Way or the Highway ,” by Paul Burka, needs to be read and reread by every Texan [Behind the Lines, December 2006]. Texas is headed for a transportation disaster via the alluring but seriously flawed concept of the Trans-Texas Corridor. If you had published this article two weeks before the November election, Rick Perry might have received even fewer votes than four out of ten. Please keep up and expand this valuable reporting so we can stop the TTC through legislative changes now.
NORMAN MINER
Gainesville

Two Schools Left Behind

YOUR ARTICLE “ The Best Public Schools ” made no mention of Tornillo Elementary School [December 2006]. This campus is the only two-time exemplary-rated campus in Region 19. Every campus your article did list from this region was rated “recognized” with the exception of one that was rated only “acceptable.” While I am not a statistical expert, I would challenge anyone to explain how the best-rated campus (using the state’s own system) in the area doesn’t make your list.
PAUL VRANISH
SUPERINTENDENT, TORNILLO ISD
Tornillo

TO MY SURPRISE, Charles R. Drew Academy (Aldine ISD) was not ranked among the other middle schools. For the past three years, our TAKS scores in reading, writing, and social studies have been awesome! Therefore, I am a little shocked that our school was not on your list. Hopefully, we will make “the list” next year.
LAKESHA EASON-PLEASANT
CAMPUS SKILLS SPECIALIST, CHARLES R. DREW ACADEMY
Houston

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