OBITUARIES

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 1995:

Morarji Desai, 99, former prime minister of India, died April 9 in Bombay.
Current Indian prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao memorialized Desai in a joint session of the
Indian Parliament as “one of the most devoted disciples of Mahatma Gandhi, an able adminis-
trator and one of the finest human beings,” who often accompanied Gandhi to jail during the
struggle for Indian independence. Shirley McGreal of the International Primate Protection
League remembered Desai warmly for a different reason. “In 1977,” she recalled, “IPPL
amassed documents about the U.S. use or misuse of imported Indian rhesus monkey use in mili-
tary experiments,” in violation of the terms of a 20-year-old export agreement. Desai had been
elected prime minister in 1977, and McGreal knew that, like Gandhi, “Desai was a lifelong
vegetarian [in fact, a strict vegan] and animal lover.” She appealed to him. On December 3,
1977, Desai’s government barred monkey exports. “He saved a species and hundreds of thou-
sands of individual animals from suffering and death in foreign laboratories,” McGreal said.
“Powerful users exerted heavy pressure on Desai. He stood firm,” as have his successors. “In
an attempt at historical revisionism,” McGreal continued, “claims were made by U.S. scientists
that the Indian ban resulted from conservation concerns and the dwindling numbers of rhesuses.
IPPL contacted Desai, by then retired, for clarification. In a handwritten letter dated April 16,
1985, Desai stated, ‘You are quite correct in saying that I banned the export of monkeys on a
humanitarian basis and not because the number was lessening. I believe in preventing cruelty to
all living beings in any form.'” But the monkeys had become scarce. “Later,” McGreal con-
firmed, “a survey by the Zoological Survey of India determined that there were only 200,000
rhesus monkeys left in India. The trade had taken a heavy toll. The teeming millions of former
days had disappeared. Those monkeys left owe their lives and freedom to Morarji Desai. They
are his living monument.”

Stefan Ormrod, 49, longtime zoo critic, died recently at the home he shared with
his parents in Cumbria, Great Britain, of reported self-asphixiation. “His last few months were
spent in Eastern Europe, dealing with the most depressing situations you can imagine,” report-
ed longtime colleague Sue Pressman. “Day after day he arose in dark war-torn hotels to assist in
the care, relocation, and management of animals in zoos that should not be there. Stefan
Ormrod was a soldier. I had always thought of him as that, an animal advocate soldier, and
sometimes soldiers die. He and I had the same background, worked for the same type of
national animal welfare organizations, became private zoo consultants at about the same time,
and each wrote a book with someone else. We fought like brother and sister, even though we
were oceans apart. We dragged our adult children across the continent to meet each other, and
became family.” Ormrod began his career as a student zookeeper at the late Gerald Durrell’s
Jersey Zoo, but became disillusioned after holding management posts at a variety of zoos, and
in 1978 co-authored, with biologist Bill Jordan, The Last Great Wild Beast Show (1978), a
book attacking conditions at British zoos. Arguing in support of the passage of the Zoo
Licensing Act of 1981, Ormrod stated, “Most [zoos] are simply peep-shows, the animals mere-
ly goods displayed to the public.” A longtime Royal SPCA staffer, Ormrod left to become a
fulltime consultant in 1985. He was to have visited the U.S. in April to work with Pressman on
a report commissioned by the World Society for the Protection of Animals on conditions at U.S.
zoos, a projected companionpiece to a scathing attack on European zoological conservation
efforts issued by WSPA in 1994. “He was a lot more anti-zoo that I am,” recalled Pressman.
“But if I had never seen a good zoo in the U.S. before I saw the zoos in Great Britain, I would
probably be of the same mind-set.”
Pearl Rainwater Twyne, 93, died of heart failure on April 2 in Boise, Idaho. Half
Native American, born in Joplin, Missouri, Twyne moved to Washington D.C. in 1921. She
took a clerical job with the USDA, which she held until retirement 30 years later. She founded
the Arlington Animal Welfare League in 1944, serving as president until 1967; was president
for some years of the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies; helped start the Humane
Society of Fairfax County and the American Horse Protection Association; was a former
regional chapter president for Defenders of Wildlife; served on a presidential panel appointed
to study the status of wild horses, whose recommendations contributed to the 1971 passage of
the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act; and wrote the chapter on horses in the
Animal Welfare Institute anthology Animals And Their Legal Rights. “Pearl Twyne, called
Billie, was a dynamo,” remembered longtime friend and colleague Ann Cottrell Free, who
knew her for just over 50 years. “She made things hap-
pen.” Besides starting successful organizations, Twyne
had a long record of placing issues on the public agen-
da––such as the soring of Tennessee Walking horses,
which she raised by trying to serve a search warrant on the
Carolina Walking Horse Celebration at Raleigh, North
Carolina, in 1964. Within four years the first laws to pre-
vent soring were adopted. Widowed in 1967, she left
Washington to live in Idaho with her sister Ruth in 1993.
Denise Ford, 35, president and cofounder of
the activist group Animal Emancipation, died suddenly of
severe insulin shock on April 2, a complication of juve-
nile diabetes, at her home in Ventura, California. Ford
had been ill for about a year. The May edition of A N I-
MAL PEOPLE carried an incorrect death date and resi-
dence. Ford and her husband Simon Oswitch began
Animal Emancipation in 1988, while living in Santa
Barbara. Ford received a humanitarian award from the
Ventura Humane Society and Camarillo Optimist Club in
1991. Oswitch told ANIMAL PEOPLE that Animal
Emancipation will continue, at 6108 Telegraph Road,
Suite 105, Ventura, CA 90004.
Valentina, 17, office cat of Jeanne McVey and
the Sea Wolf Alliance, died on May 8 of heart failure.
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