IoS letters, emails & online postings (17 June 2012)


The Olympic Committee seeks [in the Games' opening ceremony] to give the impression that farm animals still graze peacefully in the fields of rural England.

In reality only a minority, mainly sheep and some cattle, enjoy this way of life compared to the thousands confined indoors in a barren environment. The vast majority of our poultry and pigs have long been factory farmed. The scandal of intensively bred ducks which never get to see any water despite being aquatic birds by nature is appalling. Now, with the introduction of mega dairy units, even the dairy cows of Ambridge (The Archers, Radio 4) are threatened with indoor incarceration. We have long been one of the most intensively farmed countries in Europe. Seeking to give the impression this is not so is, to say the least, a bit of a porky!

(Bishop) Dominic Walker

(Bishop) Richard Llewellin

President and chairman, Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals

Hook, Hampshire

Thank you to Donald Macintyre for his excellent article on Gaza (New Review, 10 June). There is no question that Israel's aim is to dispense with Gaza and make it reliant on Egypt. That way any new Palestinian state would be weakened.

Hamas was elected in a fair and open election. Hamas is a resistance movement. We Palestinians have not given up in 65 years. We are not about to give up now.

Israel, with America's unconditional support, can do whatever it wants ... and, although I would not vote for them, if Palestinians want a Muslim state then that is their democratic right. I would prefer the state to stay out of personal faith. I experienced the vicious hypocrisy of Judaism in Israel, Christianity in the West and Islam in the Arab world – three great faiths destroyed by man's greed, stupidity and insensitivity.

Dr Faysal Mikdadi

Dorchester, Dorset

Anyone looking at the facts will realise that the sweetener HFCS [high-fructose corn syrup] can have no particular role in causing obesity ("The deadly legacy of America's fields of gold", 10 June). The idea arose in America because obesity was increasing in prevalence at the same time as HFCS became more widely used in place of sugar. But in many parts of the world, including here in the UK, HFCS is not widely used and yet obesity has been growing just as in the United States.

The cause of obesity, both here and in America, is an excess of calories in the diet over calories expended in exercise. HFCS can be one of the contributors of calories to the diet, but then so can every other type of food and drink. To prevent obesity, follow a balanced diet and an active lifestyle.

Richard Laming

Media director, British Soft Drinks Association

London WC1

In his 2004 book Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World, Greg Critser gave an amusing but also frightening insight into the politics of America's corn-syrup surplus. It is a pity that it has taken eight years for this message to reach the wider medium of TV.

Among the many observations regarding the use of corn syrup is that in addition to having a longer shelf life, ginger biscuits made with corn syrup had a shiny surface rather than the matt surface of those made to the traditional recipe.

Ray Jennings

Ormskirk, Lancashire

Julian Knight ("Why savers should be going off online", 10 June) reports that "the money that in the past rewarded those who chose to go online is now being directed into introductory bonuses to bring in new cash, to help prop up banks' balance sheets". This sounds very much like a Ponzi scheme to me.

David Wallis

Cirencester, Gloucestershire

George Osborne is blaming the EU for Britain's economic woes ("Britain's economic recovery is being 'killed off' by eurozone crisis, says Osborne"). Perhaps he should heed the advice that Eric Pickles offers to problem families – "stop blaming others".

Pete Dorey

Bath, Somerset