Animal Obituaries

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2001:
Noah, a two-day old Asian gaur cloned from a single gaur cell implanted into a cow’s egg, died from common dysentery on January 10 at TransOva Genetics, of Des Moines, Iowa. Noah was the first successfully cloned member of an endangered species.

Rachel, 11, a Weimeraner search dog trained by now-American Humane Association emergency relief manager Kathy Albrecht while Albrecht was a police dog handler, and handled in recent years by pet detective Becky Hiatt, was euthanized due to an inoperable brain tumor on January 8. In 96 investigations, Albrecht recalled, Rachel found 18 cats, 13 dogs, and physical evidence relevant to 14 other cases.

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BOOKS: Sacred Cows and Golden Geese

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2001:
Sacred Cows and Golden Geese
by Ray Greek & Jean Swingle Greek
Continuum (320 Lexington Ave., New York, NY 10017), 2000.
256 pages, hardcover; $24.95.
Sacred Cows and Golden Geese came recommended by several ANIMAL PEOPLE subscribers as the most thorough and factually supported presentation yet of the scientific case against vivisection. Perhaps it is. It may supercede the obsolete texts by Hans Reusch, The Slaughter of the Innocent (1978) and The Naked Empress (1982), which until now have been the Bibles of scientific antivivisectionism.

Like the Reusch volumes, Sacred Cows and Golden Geese extensively reviews medical mistakes of the past that resulted from misinterpreting animal research. But when Reusch wrote, current biotechnology barely even existed in theory. Sacred Cows and Golden Geese hits at least in passing most major biotech developments.

The authors, anesthesiologist Ray Greek and veterinarian Jean Swingle Greek, bring appropriate credentials to their task. They footnote more copiously than Reusch ever did. They are also more discriminating in their use of sources. Most of their claims are anchored to articles from peer-reviewed journals, and most essentials of each citation appear verifiable via the Internet.

Gesturing toward popular appeal, Greek and Greek omit the horrific photos of old experiments that are a mainstay of most antivivisection literature. They explain that they hope to appeal to readers’ intellect, not just wrench hearts and stomachs. But Sacred Cows and Golden Geese is nonetheless more a sermon to the choir than a fair exploration of vivisection from a scientific perspective.

The “scientific” argument, essentially unchanged in at least three centuries, is that animal experiments harm human health because the differences among species are so great that findings cannot be reliably extrapolated from animals to people. The evidence, continuing to amass, is that animal experiments have often not accurately modeled human disease, response to toxins, and response to surgical technique. Much of the data is disputed.

Yet as Greek and Greek establish with quote after quote from researchers, there is general agreement throughout most of the medical and scientific community that animal testing has often failed to predict longterm hazards of carciniogenic chemicals; that older toxicity tests such as the LD-50 were pointlessly obsolete decades ago and have been done during the past 30 years more for legal reasons rather than for reasons of science; that such tests must be phased out and replaced; and that medical training has relied too much on surgery and drugs, instead of disease prevention through diet and exercise.

But all of this falls short of making a case that animal-based research is worthless and useless. To establish that a
screwdriver makes a poor chisel, for example, is not the same thing as establishing that a screwdriver is a poor tool to use for driving screws.

Greek and Greek describe the failures of vivisection without adequately explaining why researchers persist in doing it. The competitive nature of science and medicine and the magnitude of the rewards awaiting discovery tend to render conspiracy theories absurd. Further, the advent of genetic modification has begun to counter arguments about species differences. The organs of mice and pigs may indeed function differently from those of humans, but the differences narrow markedly when the organs of mice and pigs are grown from human genes.

One way or another, the scientific case against vivisection always circles back to moral and ethical arguments. Even if all the scientific problems with animal research could be resolved, the moral and ethical dilemmas would remain: just because a thing can be done does not mean that it should be.

Like Reusch, Greek and Greek ultimately come across much like “scientific” creationists, whose cases hang on the imprecisions and past errors of evolutionary theory. Scientific discovery is by nature imprecise. Science progresses because theories are constantly tested, revised, and retested in light of new findings. Animal research survives because on balance it seems to produce useful results. Whenever a more effective method of pursuing a particular type of investigation has evolved, animal research in that pursuit has dwindled, not least because using lab animals is expensive.

Innovation and moral concern about animal suffering may eventually end lab use of animals–not, however, because animal research “doesn’t work,” in scientific terms, but rather because a non-animal approach better serves the sum of the needs and wishes of society.

2001 pet theft log starts with a bang!-bang!

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2001:

COLFAX, Louisiana–The ANIMAL PEOPLE pet theft log for 2001 started with a bang!-bang! on January 6 when an unidentified homeowner shot Stanley Brimzy, 21, twice in the chest as Brimzy was in the alleged act of stealing dogs. Alleged accomplices Larry Thomson, 19, and an unidentified 16-year-old were charged with obstructing justice for lying to Natchitoches Parish police about how it happened. Brimzy, in critical condition, was also to be charged–if he survives. The police did not suggest a motive for the alleged attempted thefts.

A record number of dog thefts for laboratory use resulted in criminal charges during 2000–but all of the alleged thefts were by the same accused perpetrator, former football coach Dan Shonka, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service on January 3, 2001 charged Shonka with defrauding greyhound stable owners of at least 341 retired racing dogs who were allegedly to be placed in homes as pets, but were instead sold to Guidant
Corp., of St. Paul, Minnesota, for use in experiments involving heart surgery. The 341 were among 850 greyhounds that Shonka sold to Guidant between 1996 and March 2000.

Shonka reportedly came under investigation by the USDA and the Wisconsin Division of Gaming as result of complaints filed by Susan Netboy, of the Greyhound Protection League. While the Shonka case features many dogs but only one suspect, the most publicized case of 2000 allegedly involved 11 students at Mojave High School in Las Vegas, who on September 27, 2000 stole only the English bulldog Blue, mascot of the football team at rival Centennial High. Some of the students allegedly then tried to make Blue fight a pit bull. Nine of the 11 defendants were convicted of related offenses before Christmas 2000.

Verified U.S. pet theft cases, 1978-2000
Years Perps Convct Dogs Cats Labs Hurt Save Scam Oth/Unk. Birds Herps
1978/87 8 0 49 1 45 2 1 2 0
1988/91 40 18 300 152 334 106 7 2 3
1992/93 33 11 193 27 77 81 50 2 10
1994/98 108 13 219 27 0 91 19 26 110 4683 88
1999 107 19 527 12 300 70 43 4 120 105 41
2000 134 15 548 15 341 31 11 11 168 282 35

Between 1978 and 1987 thirteen states repealed laws requiring public animal shelters to surrender impounded animals to research institutions. Attention to pet theft soared 1988-1991 after the first introduction of the bill which became the Pet Theft Act, adopted by Congress as part of the 1990 Farm Bill. The Pet Theft Act came into force on January 1, 1993. Vigorous USDA enforcement followed until April 19, 1995, when the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrow Federal Building in Oklahoma City killed Midwest Stolen Pet Task Force chief Richard Cummins and six of his staff. Rising
numbers of dog and cat thefts for lab use during the past two years may reflect a recovery of USDA ability to investigate and prosecute cases.

Thefts of birds and herpetological pets are not included in the totals pertaining to perpetrators and motives. The only common motive appears to be profit by illicit sale as pet.

People & Positions

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2001:

Alley Cat Allies cofounder and former president Louise Holton, 59, is forming a new group called Alley Cat Rescue. Holton left Alley Cat Allies in November 2000; founding partner Rebecca Robinson remains as national director. Formed as a feral cat rescue group, Alley Cat Allies took the lead in introducing neuter/return to the U.S., nearly 20 years after it lastingly reduced feral cat populations in Kenya, South Africa, and Britain. Refocusing on “changing policies and educating public officials,” as the Winter 2000 Alley Cat Action newsletter explains, Alley Cat Allies grew faster in the last five years than than any other U.S.-based animal advocacy organization. However, Alley Cat Allies in December 2000 renewed commitment to hands-on care by accepting contractual responsibility for the care and sterilization of a large cat colony at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. The colony had been supervised by shipyard worker Cynthia Moose, but was scheduled for extermination after other workers claimed the cats were a health hazard.

Former Royal SPCA chair and Animal Revolution author Richard Ryder has appealed to a British labor tribunal his recent dismissal as director of animal welfare for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, Daily Telegraph environment editor Charles Clover reported on January 13. Ryder contends that IFAW improperly jobs out organizational duties to overpaid U.S. affiliates, Clover wrote. Animal Revolution, first published in 1980 and reissued in 2000 in an updated edition, examines the history of animal protection in Britain. A review of the new edition is scheduled to appear in the March issue of ANIMAL PEOPLE.

Vegetarian activist Maureen Green and her husband Donald Green, board chair of Advanced Fibre Communications, have donated $1 million to enable the Humane Society of Sonoma County, California, to build a new veterinary clinic.

Elizabeth Quinlan Buzzi, 89, of Mobile, Alabama, deceased in June 2000, left more than $500,000 to the Mobile SPCA and Humane Society to fund dog and cat neutering and humane education. Mobile shelters killed 70 dogs and cats per 1,000 human residents in 1999, the most of any U.S. city.

Coaliton to End Primate Experimentation cofounder Linda Howard and former Farm Animal Reform Movement staffer Noam Lazarus, both now working independently for animals in San Antonio, celebrated their marriage on October 22, 2000 at the Texas Snow Monkey Sanctuary in Millet, Texas. The monkeys were guests of honor at the informal reception.


Steven J. McCormick, president and CEO of The Nature Conservancy, succeeding the late John Sawhill;
Lynn J. Anderson, DVM, director of animal protection for the American Humane Association; Jean Cinq-Mars, executive director, Wildlife Habitat Canada; Julie Ann Ryan Johnson, DVM, director of the Orange County (Calif.) Animal Shelter; Rita Anderson, co-director, In Defense of Animals “They Are Not Our Property” campaign.


From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2001:


Ruling on behalf of the Centre for Environmental Law and World Wide Fund for Nature-India, the Supreme Court of India on November 14, 2000 restrained all state governments and federal territories from removing from legal protection any part of the 526 Indian national parks and sanctuaries created by the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. The ruling was a blow to Indian wise-users, who hold like their U.S. counterparts that habitat protection “locks up” wealth.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on December 12, 2000 struck down as too vague a 1984 Arizona law banning the use of human fetal tissue in medical research. The Arizona law was the last of five–one federal, four at the state level–which impeded the use of tissue from aborted or miscarried fetuses as an alternative to some types of animal testing.

The Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund, acting for the Center for Biological Diversity, in December 2000 sued the U.S. Navy for allegedly violating the Migra-tory Bird Treaty Act by using the Pacific island of Farallon de Medinilla as a target range.  Enviro-watch founder Carroll Cox described the damage in a March 1997 ANIMAL PEOPLE, guest column, online at <>.

The Oregon Humane Society and Animal Legal Defense Fund on December 21, 2000 joined other agencies in a suit seeking to overturn Measure 3, an initiative approved by voters in November 2000 which prohibits the permanent seizure of property from alleged criminals in advance of conviction. A Washington County judge recently ruled that this means the shelters holding 50 animals seized in a mass neglect case may not offer them for adoption–even though
the case may remain in court for years.

The Alaska Wildlife Alliance and four other groups on November 27 asked the Anchorage Superior Court to declare, as AWA executive director Paul Joslin put it, “that the present single-use composition of the Board of Game is unconstitutional and unlawful.” Added Joslin, “Even hunters who profess a strong interest in nonconsumptive wildlife values have been summarily rejected” by the Alaska legislature the few times that governors have nominated any to the board.

Egg farmer Keith Amberson, 52, of Lake Stevens, Washington, was on December 8, 2000 fined $500, ordered to do 200 hours of community service, and barred from keeping animals for two years by Everett District Judge Tom Kelly. In both 1999 and 2000 Amberson allegedly abandoned whole flocks of hens to starve, claiming after many died that he was putting them through a forced moult. Some survivors were rescued each time by local sanctuaries, including Pasado’s Safe Haven, of Sultan, and Pigs Peace, of Arlington. (See ad, this page.) Pasado’s Safe Haven cofounder Susan Michaels and Washington state representative Sandra Romero are now drafting legislation which they hope will help prevent such situations by prohibiting forced molts.

Judge Joseph Steinhardt of the Central Warren Municipal Court in Belvidere, New Jersey, on October 17, 2000 fined the egg producer ISE America $250 plus $30 costs for alleged cruelty to two chickens found alive in a trash can by Farm Sanctuary cofounder Gene Bauston. The ISE America defense attorney sought immunity from prosecution under the New Jersey Right-to-Farm Act, whch pertains to waste disposal. Asked Judge Steinhardt, “Isn’t there a big distinction between manure and live animals?” Responded the defense, “No, your honor.”

Chicken Hut Livestock/ Halaal Farms slaughterhouse owner Aimen Soudi, 41, was jailed in lieu of $25,000 bond on December 27, 2000 in Gloucester County, Pennsylvania, after failing to appear in court on December 20 to answer seven counts of cruelty and neglect filed against him by the Gloucester County SPCA. USDA and local inspectors on November 20 reportedly found at least 21 lambs, goats, calves, rabbits, and chickens dead on the premises of apparent neglect, with dozens of others alive but severely malnourished.

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service on November 15 fined the Oregon Zoo, of Portland, $10,000 for failing to prevent former elephant keeper Fred Marion from beating a five-year-old elephant named Rose-Tu so severely that she suffered 176 gashes. Marion was promptly fired, but won a severance settlement of $18,000 by filing a grievance through his union.

Transvestite “crush video” maker Thomas Capriola, 30, of Islip Terrace, Long Island, on December 6, 2000 pleaded guilty to misdemeanor cruelty to animals and fifth-degree possession of marijuana, and on December 22 was sentenced to serve 280 hours of community service with three years on probation. The plea bargain accepted by Suffolk District Judge Mark Zuckerman was far lighter than the 15 months in jail recommended by assistant district attorney Michael Mahoney.

The U.S. Supreme Court on November 13, 2000 agreed to review the extent of police officers’ liability in damage suits alleging use of excessive force, in a case brought by In Defense of Animals founder Elliot Katz, DVM. Katz, 60 at the time, contended that he was roughly handled by police in a potentially injurious way after he unfurled a banner protesting against animal experimentation during a speech by then-U.S. Vice President Albert Gore in San Francisco.

Supreme Judicial Court rattles author’s cage

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2001:

BOSTON–Attorney Stephen Wise was on December 19, 2000 suspended for six months from legal practice by the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts for alleged misconduct involving the Primarily Primates sanctuary, located near San Antonio, Texas.

Wise, recently noted for his book Rattling The Cage: Toward Legal Rights For Animals, was also ordered to pass an examination on professional responsibility as a condition of readmission to the bar. Wise in 1992 represented Primarily Primates in refuting allegations of alleged mismanagment raised by ex-staff and volunteers. Wise then billed Primarily Primates for “more than $40,000 above his written estimate,” Primarily Primates president Wally Swett told ANIMAL PEOPLE, and “orchestrated what the Texas attorney general’s office referred to as a corporate overthrow attempt for my refusal to pay his bill without an audit.”

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Public land hustles, north & south

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2001:

Jeff Harris, executive director of People For The USA, announced in early December 2000 that the wise-use group would disband at year’s end and close its head office in Pueblo, Colorado. Begun in Oregon as the Western States Public Lands Coalition in 1989, it initially fought against protecting spotted owl habitat. A 1991 internal split following a move to Denver produced the Oregon Lands Coalition, while the founding entity became the National Coalition for Public Lands and Natural Resources; retitled itself People For The West a few years later; and became People For The USA circa 1998. It claimed to have 30,000 members, including 17 members of Congress, but was unable to raise annual operating costs of about $850,000, Harris said. The Utah state chapter, still active, is reportedly now affiliated with Frontiers of Freedom, formed by ex-Wyoming Senator Malcolm Wallop in 1995 to advocate for states’ rights.

Brazilian agrarian reform minister Raul Jungmann told media in early January 2001 that Felb Saraiva de Farias, who founded the conservation group Forever Green in 1991, “fooled European and U.S. citizens, selling them land that belongs to Brazil” as part of a buy-for-conservation scheme which continued even after de Farias was ousted from Forever Green in 1995. “We have asked the Brazilian intelligence service for help,” Jungman said.

Editorial: The White House and one little bird

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2001:
“I am appalled,” Metro Humane Shelter founder Harrison Lloyd wrote to ANIMAL PEOPLE from Birmingham, Alabama, soon after the U.S. Supreme Court made George W. Bush the next U.S. President, “that you took a strong stand for the election of the Albert Gore/Joseph Lieberman ticket while slamming George W. Bush. You made a big issue of the fact that Bush killed one little bird in error, for which he paid a fine, but Gore and Lieberman are strong believers in murdering unborn human babies.”

Gore partisans accused us of Republicanism when from 1994 on we repeatedly pointed out his positions favoring Japanese, Norwegian, and Makah whalers. Gore backers were also ired when in 1999 we explained how many lab animals were to be killed as part of his High Production Volume chemical safety testing initiative. The HPV testing protocols were later amended, due to public protest, to use far fewer animals.

ANIMAL PEOPLE covers animal protection, as our title indicates. Abortion has never been within our scope, although we do not dismiss it as a moral issue.

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Wildlife Waystation reopens; other big cat facilities are in big trouble

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2001:

Closed to the public for nearly nine months by order of the California Department of Fish and Game for alleged permit violations, Wildlife Waystation resumed offering Sunday tours on January 7.  Housing about 1,000 animals on 120 acres in Angeles National Forest, California, the Waystation is still not allowed to take in any new raptors, reptiles, so-called game mammals, exotic birds, or exotic mammals, and is still working to meet runoff water quality standards. Primatologist Donald Anderson in October joined founder Martine Colette and executive director Bob Wen-ners on the management team, as the Waystation’s first formally credentialed curator.

Chancellor Frank V. Williams III of Roane County, Tennesssee, in mid-December ruled for the second time that the Tiger Haven sanctuary near Knoxville is “inherently dangerous” and has therefore been in violation of zoning since 1993. Williams’ previous verdict was overturnedby the Tennessee Court of Appeals. Tiger Haven was begun by then-wife-amd-husband Mary Lynn Rickard and Joseph Donovan Parker. They reportedly separated in September 2000.

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