May 2007 Letters to the Editor

Comments from readers on the last issue of <em>Minnesota Monthly</em>

New World Order

Tim Gihring’s article on the St. Joseph Workers (“Blessed are the Workers,” April) is a blessed piece of work. As a maker of films on Peace House as well as the documentary about the sisters that you mention, I thought I knew a thing or two already. You write such a deep history as well as a big picture of the here and now that you opened my eyes even wider in wonder. Wow.

Mike Hazard
The Center for
International Education
St. Paul

No Circle For Us

Bert Blyleven (“Circle Me”) is also renowned for his admonishments of fans whose “Circle Me” signs misspell his name as “Burt.” Looks like the April 2007 Minnesota Monthly cover puts you on that list.

Paul Weier
Brooklyn Park

Editor’s note: We regret our unforced error.

Pet or Product?

Rachel Hutton’s “Pecks and the City” (March) deftly recognized the arbitrary and changeable line people draw between “pet” and “food” as she introduced a chicken-care class co-instructor who broke the neck of her sick chicken to save a few bucks on a gentle death in the hands of a caring vet. Change that to a pet cat and Minnesota says it’s a felony. Laws reflect society’s values, and Minnesota’s animal-cruelty laws set a double standard based on whether an animal is a “pet or companion” or an “agricultural or farm animal used for food or other products.”

Chicken Run Rescue provides sanctuary to lost and abandoned chickens. They arrive as discarded hobbies, animated lawn ornaments, subjects of torment, fighting, or food—pretty much any use a human wants to put them to. They emerge as companion animals when placed through our adoption program.

Although they can’t tell us their stories, many bear the physical evidence of abuse—emaciated with mutilated feathers, beaks, and wings; electrical cord around their legs; broken toes and legs; blinders wired into their nares. We at Chicken Run Rescue provide the best vet care, food, shelter, and love. As they recover, the light returns to their eyes and the gleam to their plumage, and we celebrate.

We carefully screen adoptors, who must sign a written agreement that not only guarantees that the birds will not be used for food production, fighting, breeding, or exhibit, but will also be provided proper food, water, shelter, protection from predators, fresh air and exercise, companionship and veterinary care for injury or illness, as for any other companion animal.

For people interested in learning more about chickens as companion animals and perhaps making a home for one in need, Chicken Run Rescue is developing a course to teach domestic-fowl health care and first aid, by a veterinary technician/rehabilitator; non-lethal predator control, by a wildlife biologist/rehabilitator; organic-garden design for flock food and fun, by an organic gardener/rescue volunteer; and behavior, housing, and care, taught by the only urban rescue organization in the Midwest.

Mary Britton Clouse
Chicken Run Rescue

2007 Tamarack Award

Minnesota Monthly is accepting entries for the 2007 Tamarack Award through May 15. The $10,000 short-fiction competition is entering its 22nd year. Residents of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan are invited to submit an original, unpublished story of 4,000 or fewer words.


Submit letters via e-mail to, or the old-fashioned way to The Mail, Minnesota Monthly, 600 U.S. Trust Building, 730 Second Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55402. Please include your daytime phone number and city of residence. Text may be edited for length and clarity.

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