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DON'T LET PET STORES USE SOFTWOOD SHAVINGS

In recent years, animal protection organizations have urged people not to use softwood shavings, particularly cedar and pine, as beddings for animals. These shavings have been linked to serious respiratory, liver and skin diseases in animals constantly exposed to them.

In its summer 2000 issue of "Animal Watch," the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals alerted its members to avoid softwood shavings, but otherwise has done little to address the problem. Although the ASPCA has police power to oversee pet stores in New York, it has not tried to stop stores from using softwood shavings for small animals awaiting sale. One pet store owner, while acknowledging its hazards, said that since softwood shavings are less expensive than other beddings, cost-control takes priority.

The ASPCA should apply New York State's prohibition of behavior that "furthers any act of cruelty to any animal" and restrict the use of softwood shavings at pet stores.

JOEL FREEDMAN
Canandaigua

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