Riehl-y Good Stuff
Thank you and Dale Keiger for "The Mind Riehls" [Winter], his beautifully written article about the amazing Emily Riehl and her work in category theory. My daughter is studying category theory—I myself have math and writing degrees—and Dale's description helped me better grasp this newish field. Also, he introduced me and my daughter to a dynamic mathematician.
Mary Kay Zuravleff, A&S '82 (MA)
Roll the Credits
The winter issue of Johns Hopkins Magazine included "Creature Comfort," about American Humane and its chief veterinary officer, Thomas Edling. I have noticed the "No Animals Were Harmed" line at the end of movies. And that is why the final credits in the 2005 romantic comedy Must Love Dogs were so perfect: "No animals were harmed in the making of this movie. Though we were petted within an inch of our lives."
In response to American Humane's "No Animals Were Harmed" catchphrase, I'd offer another: There are two sides to every story. American Humane touts heartwarming tales about dogs being reunited with their guardians or movie-star tigers gallivanting into the sunset as the core of their work. In reality, however, their Hollywood and farmed animal certification programs are marketing efforts that belie the extent of suffering or illness behind the products they certify.
While the former has been accused of covering up abuse during movie production (including The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, where 27 animals reportedly died), the latter—the American Humane Certified label—can be misleading to conscientious consumers about the farms from which its meat is sourced. The charity has recruited celebrities to win over Americans' hearts, but the act is up for some: Upon learning of these hidden realities, the legendary Bob Barker removed American Humane from his will and declared, "I think they have failed miserably in their efforts to protect animals in the movie industry, and obviously they have failed miserably in any protection for animals in this food industry."
American Humane is just one example of the growing trend of humanewashing, which employs images of happy hens, labels like "natural," and even seemingly independent certifications, all to market harmful products to unsuspecting consumers. It's become nearly impossible to decipher the deceptive sea of labels and claims we encounter at every turn, from our television set to store shelves. Moviegoers and shoppers alike must tread carefully when it comes to claims like American Humane's—and, when in doubt, opt out.
Laura Lee Cascada, A&S '13 (MS)
Front Royal, Virginia
A Pat on the Back
I want to congratulate you on the winter edition of Johns Hopkins Magazine. The articles were well written and full of interesting information. There were so many fascinating tidbits in the pages, and your cover was charming. Thank you for brightening our COVID days with excellence.
Margot W. Heller
Are We Doing Enough?
"Democracy's Future: Our Responsibility" [Winter] was a good article, but I could not help thinking that from November 2024 to November 2028, we may all be thinking we could have done much more in the short term and out of our comfort zone.
Frank Keith Mitchell, SAIS '68 (MA)
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