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Photo choice

The Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association has a concern regarding a photo used to illustrate a story in a recent issue ofThe Western Producer.The story and photo are at the bottom of page 93 in the March 31 issue.

The article focuses on the possibility of hormone-containing cancer drugs, birth control pills and other estrogen-releasing compounds causing sex reversals and other issues in fish populations in the Oldman River.

The headline reads, “Harmful chemicals find way into prairie waterways,” with kicker headers of “Water safety” and “Contamination.” Then you illustrate the article with a photo of cows and calves beside a small stream in a green pasture.

The implication we take from this is that cows and calves are contaminating pasture streams with harmful chemicals and causing water safety issues, which has nothing at all to do with the content in the story.

We respectfully request that you and your staff select file photos more carefully in the future, to more accurately reflect the content of your stories.

In this case, a photo of the Oldman River would definitely be more appropriate, accompanied by photos of birth control pills or cancer drugs, to illustrate what the story was actually about. It has nothing to do with cows and calves in a pasture beside a small creek.

Cattle producers are already under enough pressure from various special interest groups to defend their production practices and environmental stewardship. We would hope that an agricultural newspaper like yours would not add to the confusion by making such misguided choices. We encourage you to be more careful and thoughtful in your future photo illustration selections.

Bill Strautman,

Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association, Saskatoon, Sask.

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