Letters to the editor – October 1, 2021

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Supply problems worsened by old ferries

Sir,

I was out and about recently at the Islay House Square in Bridgend and in the village of Port Ellen, where I spoke to business owners about the numerous challenges they are facing.

There have been national and global problems with getting supplies on the shelves which have been well reported in the press.

Unfortunately these huge challenges are exacerbated by the ongoing problems with our ageing ferry fleet and its numerous breakdowns.

Our council must do all that it can to support and promote businesses that are working hard to get back on their feet after the Covid-19 lockdowns.

Liberalised planning, large scale infrastructure investment and a high-profile shop local campaign will go some way to helping our many business owners prosper.

Councillor Alastair Redman, Kintyre and the Islands ward  

Support children’s protest rights

Sir,

Children’s right to peaceful protest should be respected by adults.

A key part of education is to ensure that children are supported to develop an understanding of human rights and a respect for the natural environment.

Student protests have been recognised as having a high educational value as they are often among the first experiences of public participation and human rights defence that children take.

This activity can contribute to, rather than detract from children’s enjoyment of their right to education.

It is important that when children and young people take these peaceful and powerful actions, they are not silenced, discouraged or punished.

I trust that education leaders will recognise the importance of this urgent global issue and will ensure that the children and young people taking part in climate strikes are given the support to which they are entitled.

Choosing to strike will undoubtedly have a short-term impact on children and young people’s school-based learning.

However, their actions as human rights’ defenders in bringing attention to the threat of climate change and their demands for those in power to take action is part of their broader education.

We should recognise the courage that children and young people are demonstrating in their commitment to addressing climate change as an urgent and acute human rights issue.

A report on young climate activists’ right to protest in Scotland will be published ahead of the UN climate change conference COP26.

Children and young people do not have the same political or economic power as adults, but by acting as human rights defenders, raising their voices and demanding change, they are demonstrating the power of their voices.

Bruce Adamson, Children and Young People’s Commissioner

Helping feed the hungry

Sir,

A big thank you for helping Mary’s Meals to feed two million children every school day in some of the world’s poorest countries.

Providing a daily meal in a place of education is helping even the most vulnerable children to attend school and concentrate in lessons, giving them the freedom to learn and fulfil their potential.

Mary’s Meals began in 2002 by feeding 200 children in Malawi.

Our growth since then has been driven by so many acts of kindness from people from all walks of life, helping us reach children in the greatest need.

We are deeply grateful to all our supporters and volunteers, including in Argyll - we simply could not have reached this incredible milestone without you.

We hope your readers will join us in celebrating this amazing moment for Mary’s Meals and continue to support us to reach the next hungry child.

Daniel Adams, executive director, Mary’s Meals 

Help mend Scotland’s broken animals

Sir,

The Scottish SPCA works tirelessly to rescue and rehabilitate broken animals.

Many animals arrive in the care of the society having suffered for a long time and physically and mentally damaged.

It’s the job of Scotland’s animal welfare charity to help put broken animals back together again by providing treatment and sometimes months of rehabilitation.

The 11 vets who work for the charity provide specialist care to the animals in need which arrive at the Scottish SPCA.

Some arrive with diseases, others with accidental wounds and some with intentional injuries inflicted by humans.

One of the animals who arrived broken was Red the saluki cross.

He was found abandoned on a single track road in Dunfermline.

He was very skinny and lethargic when he was found.

An exam by a vet revealed that Red was suffering from painful, swollen joints, dental disease and a fever which was initially believed to be caused by an infection.

Red needed months of veterinary care over the time he was with the society.

If Red had been cared for at a private veterinary clinic, it would have cost in excess of £5,000.

Poor Red didn’t respond well to his initial treatment and he failed to gain weight, so required many more diagnostic tests.

Red was in our care for nine months while we investigated and then treated his various medical problems. This included him having a relapse when we thought we might lose him.

He was diagnosed with an autoimmune condition and needed a long course of treatment and regular blood tests but thankfully he pulled through.

Sadly, Red’s story is not an isolated case. Many animals arrive with us when they are literally broken.

Some have suffered for a long time, carrying physical and emotional scars. Animals can’t tell us where it hurts, why they’re sick or why they’re scared.

It’s our job to uncover what has happened to the animals and what treatment they need.

Red’s happy ending is the best possible outcome for us. To see the broken animals which arrive with us go on to loving forever homes. It’s the reason we do what we do.

We don’t just fix broken bones. We fix broken hearts too.

The Scottish SPCA receives no government funding and is entirely reliant on donations from the public.

To find out more about our Broken campaign and becoming a member of the Scottish SPCA, visit www.scottishspca.org/brokenanimals.

Jo Neilson, Scottish SPCA senior vet