Letters, September 4: Regime change, Weston-super-Mare Tropicana and animal cruelty
We can't turn a blind eye to rogue regimes
I have never understood why the idea of regime change should be taboo.
Surely civilised societies have a moral obligation to help free the oppressed from tyrannical despots?
Syria's President Assad will, unless we put a stop to his brutality, become another Saddam Hussain.
Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe is another monster who, thanks to the reluctance of the rest of the world (particularly Britain) to help his people overthrow him, managed, in a relatively short space of time, to transform his country from a prosperous nation that was once the breadbasket of southern Africa into an impoverished country that can't even feed its own people.
Tyrants cannot be reasoned with. They attain and cling to power because the rest of the world is too lily-livered to confront them.
Assad, like all bullies, is a coward and until someone stands up to him his brutal treatment of his own people will not only continue, but worsen.
Turning a blind eye to rogue regimes will not make them go away.
Tell us truth about Tropicana stance
I understand that North Somerset Council spent £100,000 of taxpayers' money on accountants "to disprove a business plan by the Mead Group to develop the Tropicana", but it didn't take the same due diligence with Castlewood, Knightstone and other projects that failed.
We all know it was willing to spend £750,000 to demolish the old Tropicana (does that include all the rubbish they dumped there?)
Now we hear that the council wants the public to back a new company, "Winter Sports World", for a 10,000-seat arena and two pools, plus an ice rink, in a £20 million sports complex. It says it will be a big plus for Weston-super-Mare, especially with the ski project which is meant to be at Locking Parkland, but that project is in financial doubt now.
Apparently other local authorities such as Southampton and Portsmouth are also interested, so what chance has Weston got? The difference between the Mead Group and these other projects are that the Tropicana is in Weston-super-Mare on the sea front and not somewhere around or near Weston. Also, Derek Mead is a local, reliable, successful businessman.
North Somerset Council is using these other projects to try to distract us away from the Tropicana. If it thinks we will back its new projects, it is very much mistaken. It has let the people of Weston-super-Mare down very badly. If it had let the new Tropicana be rebuilt, it would have been a great success.
What is the real reason North Somerset Council doesn't want the Mead Group to develop the Tropicana?
Winscombe, North Somerset
System must change to deal with cruelty
Yes the RSPCA does need to get certain aspects of its operations sorted out, but being a charity in the past has prevented it and many charities fighting cruelty to other species from campaigning in what is perceived as a political issue. It has allowed those inflicting the cruelty and suffering to continue – hence some organisations are not registered charities, but rely on donations to fund the fight against the unnecessary cruelty and suffering.
Which brings me to the point about the RSPCA and the so called Freedom Food Farms it monitors.
Hillside Animal Sanctuary does investigations which upset the perpetrators of the cruelty/suffering and has recently exposed the cruelty of the horse meat trade and abuse in slaughterhouses generally.
But a recent investigation was into the appalling suffering of pigs on a so-called RSPCA-monitored Freedom Food Farm, where the pigs, which are clean animals, are left to go lame – only able to drag themselves around in a foot of their own urine and faeces in the dark.
After the film of this was shown to the RSPCA, it and a freedom food inspector still allowed the farmer who kept those pigs in such horrific conditions to keep his Freedom Food status, therefore misleading the consumers trying to buy welfare-friendly food.
Yes the RSPCA needs to tighten up its act, but surely it is the rotten system and government officials which are the failings, and by allowing this situation to continue their only concern is not doing anything which upsets trade/business as usual, and certain vested interests which fund their coffers.
Criticise the RSPCA, but only if you are prepared to criticise those perpetuating the cruelty and suffering. Otherwise you are a hypocrite