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Messed up priorities

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By Jim Thompson
HCP columnist

LinkedIn is primarily a professional version of Facebook. It is very valuable to businesses, including mine and my associates. It is a great place to show your business side in a professional manner. However, occasionally, someone has a passionate subject beyond business that they feel a need to post.

One that caught my attention recently was a person from Australia who was bemoaning the backward state of Australian law. What was his beef? He had to take his brother, who was in an advanced stage of MS, to Switzerland, where it was legal for him (the brother) to commit suicide. He couldn’t do this at home because Australia is so backward that VAD (Voluntary Assisted Dying) is not legal there. Well, that is not quite true, the Australian state of Victoria has had such a law in effect since 2019.

However, before I could get over the shock of this post, I noticed that approximately 90 people had written comments of support for this person’s premise. I wanted to write something, but since this was LinkedIn, I did not. I do my best to make no controversial comments on LinkedIn. But I was appalled.

Digest this for a minute. Then, within a couple of days, comes forth Carl Icahn, who buys a measly 200 shares of McDonald's stock and thinks that gives him the right to nominate two members to the board of directors for the sole purpose of making sure that McDonald's treats pregnant sows better. Are you kidding me? I guess you could say he didn’t have a beef, but a pork. McDonald's says they are carefully considering his nominations.

Yes, one can say human priorities are messed up without even bringing up the debacle in Ukraine. At this point, regular readers should feel a Beaver Farm story coming on.

Along about 1963, we took an old chicken house and converted it into a farrowing house for pigs. Some of you may remember the story about the night I was too lazy to get up and check on the sows in the farrowing house, losing nearly 40 piglets to the freezing temperatures of February in this very building.

We turned half of this chicken house into four farrowing crates where the sows were confined for the last few days before they gave birth. The other half had a potbelly wood stove and a pen, with appropriate guard rails of 2x6 oak around the perimeter to keep a sow from lying on her piglets at the edges. I can say categorically that the farrowing crates saved piglets lives. I don’t think we ever lost a piglet on the farrowing crate side of the house due to a sow laying on it. On the pen side, piglet deaths would occur even out in the middle of the pen. It seems as though the sows could just flop down there, giving no warning to the piglets to get out of the way. The farrowing crates forced the sows to lower themselves more slowly.

From my experience, I would say Icahn’s beef, er, pork, is misplaced. As for people who bemoan their ability to commit suicide willy-nilly, I would say the world has reached a terrible place in its thinking and priorities when I comprehend these stories as a whole.

Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press. He may be reached at

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