DEAR READERS: Some contend that the coronavirus associated with this pandemic is far less harmful than officials say. So these factors all need to be addressed, especially the anthropogenic environmental contributions to our susceptibility to contagious diseases. Since animals both wild and domesticated are the sources of constantly mutating epidemic and pandemic diseases, our cruel, profit-driven exploitation of all animals should be terminated -- for their well-being, as well as our own. Though my dog would not be considered a wild animal, I had a very strong spiritual connection with her, and your article evoked a number of fond emotions for me. But empathy may become impaired during the course of veterinary (and human) medical education, as other studies have documented: The patient becomes objectified and the empathy connection is broken.