In their own words: Amherst middle school students weigh in on a variety of topics

  • United States’ Carli Lloyd celebrates scoring her side’s fourth goal against Australia in the women’s bronze medal soccer match at the 2020 Summer Olympicson Aug. 5 in Kashima, Japon. AP

Thursday, September 02, 2021
Editor’s note: At the end of last school year, students in seventh-grade teacher Ben Levy’s class at Amherst-Pelham Regional Middle School were tasked with writing an opinion/editorial essays. A selection of their work will be printed over the next several weeks.

More recognition and higher pay for women’s sports

The top salary of the best male soccer player is $96 million. The top salary of the best female soccer player is $518,000. In 2019 alone, Lionel Messi was the highest paid male soccer player, (and still is,) having a net worth of $400 million. Carli Lloyd, the highest paid female soccer player, has a net worth of $2 million. The pay gap is huge. And there is a reason for this.

The gender pay gap spans almost every industry, and sports are no different. But the reason for it is because there isn’t enough attention and marketing. The author Olivia Abrams says that “Women used to rank more prominently among the top-earning athletes, but over the past 25 years, media companies have spent billions on TV deals for live sports content.” The result is an explosion in player salaries in the major men’s sports leagues.

“The Yankees bat boy salary is more than my professional softball contract,” NPF player and U.S. women’s national team member Delanie Gourley says in a now-deleted tweet. After they won the World Cup in 2015, the U.S. women’s soccer team were paid a quarter of what the men earned. This was despite the women generating $20 million more than the men that year.

Companies need to sponsor more women’s sports and do their part to get people to watch, even if they know at first they won’t make as much money as men’s sports currently. According to a 2018 Statista report, “Women’s sports receive only 0.4% of total sponsorships.” Companies have spent tons of money to market men’s sports like the NHL, MLB, and MLS while very little on women’s sports.

As time goes on if the big companies make this change, women’s sports will rise more in popularity. Men and women’s sports can be enjoyed just as much, with very close popularity, and the world can be a bit more equal.

— By Adam Acker

Stop animal testing

A typical bunny living in a animal testing facility will be in a cage surrounded by dozens of other animals with scrapes and burns. They will be shaved and wiped down. People in white coats and goggles will rub and spray chemicals onto their shaved skin. Not once during this process would the animal be given pain meds or numbing cream.

For the animals that live in these conditions, this happens regularly. When testing is over, the animals no longer serve any purpose to the company and they are disposed of — euthanized, killed, murdered. Whatever you want to call it, they are treated like something expendable, not living things.

Severe cosmetic tests are commonly performed on mice, rats, mice, rabbits, apes and guinea pigs. When testing products, the animals are frequently tested on the skin and eye. These are for irritation tests where chemicals are rubbed on shaved skin or dripped into the eyes without any pain relief.

Animal testing isn’t the only way to make sure that the product is safe. There are other ways to confirm the safety of a product. The most commonly suggested is an in vitro test, which tests the reaction of a group of human cells to whatever product they are testing. In vitro testing often works the same, or even better then animal testing.

Humans and other animals, while similar in lots of ways, are also very different. So, when we test something on another animal it doesn’t always completely translate to humans. Tests that use human cells can be much safer and more accurate.

Even Dr. Christopher Austin, former director of the National Institutes of Health says that, “Traditional animal testing is expensive, time-consuming, uses a lot of animals and from a scientific perspective the results do not necessarily translate to humans.”

In 2020, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budgeted $42 billion for research and development. That’s $19.6 billion spent on animal experiments. That money can be used for buying computer tests to replace animals, instead of using it to harm animals.

We need to take action against animal testing. When you’re shopping, check your labels. Is the product you’re buying cruelty free? Brands such as elf, bareMinerals, and Dove, are all cruelty free. There are some brands that you should try to avoid like, DKNY Fragrances, Bobbi Brown, Calvin Klein and way too many others all test on animals. If you want to do more, try to educate yourself, and your peers speak up against animal testing.

By Aliyah Kenney

Adopt a dog, save a life

Ten. That is the number of dogs that will be killed by the time you finish reading this article. In an hour, 200 more will join them. By the end of the day, 5,000. Over the course of this year, almost 2 million dogs and other animals will be euthanized in shelters due to overcrowding.

The unfortunate reality is that hundreds of thousands of these dogs could have been saved. However, 2 million people every year elect to purchase a dog from a puppy mill or a breeder instead. Puppy mills are where the majority of Americans get their dogs. Most of these facilities are cruel, giving very little regard to a dog’s well-being, with their only goal being profit. They are often overcrowded, and unhealthy as well.

And yet this is not the only problem with dogs from breeders. Excessive breeding and obsession with pure bloodlines and specific breeds will almost always lead to inbreeding among purebreds.

Another reason this happens is because one of the main reasons people breed dogs is for traits, whether it be in their appearance or mind. Breeders will attempt to replicate these traits in families that already have them. An example of how this impacts dogs is that 70% of King Charles Spaniels suffer from canine syringomyelia. This is a disease common among inbred dogs that causes a dog’s skull to be too small for its brain. This problem is perhaps more severe with smaller dogs, such as pugs and bulldogs. They are bred to be small and adorable, but often they can hardly breath and are born infertile.

There is a simple solution to solve both of these problems. The next time you wish to get a dog, adopt it from a shelter, and do not buy it from a breeder or a puppy mill.

The dog you adopt will be in no way inferior to a purebred, despite what some people may say, and it will be healthier, and happier. When you adopt this dog, the shelter you got it from will have one more spot open to take in another puppy off the streets. You will have saved a life, and potentially saved several hundred dollars on the cost. Additionally, most shelter dogs have already been trained to some degree.

If enough people adopt their dogs instead of purchasing them, it will slowly cause more puppy mills to shut down. There will be less homeless dogs, and less euthanizations. This is a reality that is much simpler than it seems, all that is needed is enough people who decide to make the right choice when looking for a dog.

— By Craig Hrones