U.K. sticks with medieval methods against hoof-&-mouth and foxes

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 2001:

LONDON–The hoof-and-mouth disease epidemic afflicting Britain and parts of Europe since February 2001 was on December 30 within two days of being declared officially over, as 89 days had elapsed since the last known outbreak was detected. Then two more infected sheep were found in Northumberland, leading to the slaughter of another 2,100 to keep the disease from spreading.

Already fox hunters had been allowed to ride without restriction for the first time in almost a year. As many as 200,000 estate holders and their friends reportedly hounded foxes at more than 250 sites on Boxing Day, met by an unexpectedly light turnout of just 300 hunt saboteurs, who focused on about a dozen prominent hunts. The Scots Parliament in September 2001 gave preliminary approval to a ban on fox hunting which could take effect in 2002.

Earlier, the Scots Executive banned shooting capercaillie, the fast-vanishing largest member of the grouse family, and
allocated £700,000 to try to save the last 1,000 capercaillie in the wild by removing deer fencing from shooting estates–a frequent hazard to the low-flying birds. The action came after grouse shooters’ dirty boots were suspected of spreading hoof-and-mouth to moorland farms between August 12 and August 27.

After mustering 12,000 hunt supporters for a December 15 march on Edinburgh, the pro-hunting Countryside Alliance is optimistic that the Scots Parliament might yet be persuaded to reverse itself on foxhunting, at least.Countryside Alliance leaders are reportedly also optimistic that British prime minister Tony Blair will not have the political courage to push ahead with a foxhunting ban repeatedly promised since 1996–even though a Mori poll recently commissioned by the League Against Cruel Sports, Royal SPCA, and International Fund for Animal Welfare showed that 83% of the British public believes fox hunting should be outlawed.

Despite much discussion of introducing a foxhunting ban, and the introduction of some unsuccessful private members’ bills seeking to ban foxhunting with or without Blair’s endorsement, the Labour government has never pressed a foxhunting ban as a priority for the House of Commons. Although the Commons has repeatedly demonstrated willingness to ban foxhunting in free votes, the pro-hunting House of Lords could retaliate by obstructing other
aspects of the Labour legislative program.

Other manifestations of a post-epidemic return to normalcy in rural Britain included the first auction of Dartmoor wild ponies in nearly a year at the Tavistock Livestock Centre in Devon, and a resurgence of demand for border collies to
work as sheep dogs, reported on December 27 by the Border Collie Rescue Society.

The Dartmoor National Park Authority annually permits a fall roundup of approximately 3,000 wild ponies, to prevent overpopulation of the moor. In 2001, however, there was so little demand due to restrictions on livestock transport that other ponies were reportedly auctioned for as £1 each–a price so low, Mare and Foal Sanctuary administrator Brian Kind warned, as to encourage rendering the ponies for pet food. In October the Royal SPCA and Dartmoor Commoners’ Council reportedly killed as many as 500 unsold ponies who were expected to glut the limited market, over the objections of South West Equine Protection, which called the cull “morally wrong.”

The Border Collie Rescue Society reported early in the hoof-and-mouth epidemic that although many farms were surrendering dogs who were no longer needed, adoption demand was strong as well. By early December 2001, however, both Border Collie Rescue and spokespersons for the Animal Samaritans rescue center in Shropshire said they were close to overload, responding to farmers who warned that if dogs were not collected by such-and-such a
time, they would be shot. That situation apparently reversed itself within the next three weeks, as on December 27 the BBC reported that border collie adoptions were again brisk.

Did not vaccinate

Accepting all the lessons from the hoof-and-mouth epidemic may take the British livestock industry and government regulators much longer than the 10 months spent fighting it, using the same quarantine-and-kill method that has failed to fully rid Britain of so-called mad cow disease in 15 years of trying. Unlike the still mysterious mad cow disease, scientifically known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), hoof-and-mouth has been well-understood since ancient times.  The symptoms are treated without killing cattle by the Masai people of Kenya, and by the ancient
herding cultures of India, but cows once afflicted never again produce as much milk. Neither will cattle who have had hoof-and-mouth gain weight readily for sale as beef. And although the nonlethal treatment can eventually eliminate an active outbreak of hoof-and-mouth from a herd, it does not eliminate the chance that the disease will recur.

Therefore, hoof-and-mouth was finally eradicated from Britain in 2001 for at least the third time in 80 years by means off killing all infected animals and all animals who might have been infected. This is the basic method used around the world to try to eliminate livestock diseases for more than a century. Often combined with vaccination to keep disease outbreaks from spreading, killing infected and potentially exposed animals has worked to keep many livestock diseases out of nations isolated from the points of origin by oceans–notably the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Britain.

There are signs, however, that in the era of global markets and high-speed mass transportation, the natural quarantine effect of oceans is becoming illusory. There are also signs that trying to eliminate any widespread or fast-moving disease without intensive vaccination is now almost futile–as the World Health Organization has advised about rabies and other animal-transmitted viral diseases deadly to humans for approximately 30 years.

Early in the hoof-and-mouth outbreak, British authorities rejected vaccination to contain it, because vaccinated animals give a false positive indicator when standard tests for hoof-and-mouth are used. Therefore, vaccinated animals as well as diseased animals are banned from European commerce. The decision to skip vaccination and just try to kill the disease by killing the hosts brought the early deaths of six million animals on 9,677 farms–13% of all hooved stock in
Britain–according to a December 30 report by Guardian environment writer Paul Brown. The toll included 4,860,000 sheep, 763,787 cattle, 428,000 pigs, 7,429 goats, 1,000 deer, and 300 llamas, buffalo, and others. The anti-BSE cull has by contrast involved 3.5 million cattle, a comparable number but spread over 15 years.

Edinburgh University epidemiologist Mark Woolhouse in mid-December charged that from a third to half of the killing could have been avoided if the government had only stopped livestock movements when the first outbreak was reported, several weeks after it allegedly began on or near Burnside Farm, a pig facility owned by Bobby Waugh, 56, of Heddon-on-the-Wall, Northumbria.

Cruelty ignored

Between February 20 and February 23, Woolhouse found, a dozen livestock movements involving 16 sheep from affected regions in Cumbria and Devon spread hoof-and-mouth to between 70 and 80 farms, located all over Britain. The hoof-and-mouth epidemic might have been prevented entirely, wrote John F. Robins of the Scots activist group Animal Concern, if MAFF had responded effectively to humane concerns about Burnside Farm relayed to MAFF inspectors in mid-December 2000 by Martin Coutts of the Hillside Animal Sanctuary Investigations Unit and the RSPCA.

Also in mid-December, the London Observer reported, the RSPCA pursued the prosecution of Devon farmer Maurice Young for severe animal neglect. Young in April pleaded guilty to 34 counts of leaving tightly tied cows, pigs, chickens, goats, and rabbits to starve amid deep manure.

“Just as the RSPCA inspectors were loading surviving livestock into a wagon [for rescue], livestock dealer Willy Cleave showed up,” wrote Observer environment correspondent Anthony Browne. “He seized eight calves and four ponies, claiming ownership. The case linked the worst practices in farming to the livestock dealer who is thought to have spread hoof-and-mouth to southwest England, with ties to more than 80 outbreaks.”

Hoped Robins, “Maybe now farmers and politicians will finally realize that pigs, sheep, and cattle are sentient, living
creatures, and not inanimate products to be shipped around like crates of cabbages. Animal Concern has reiterated our call for a ban on live exports and long domestic journeys for farm animals. If people are going to eat meat, the
animals should be slaughtered as near as possible to the farms where they were reared.”

Livestock transportation continued while the authorities tried to identify the source of the outbreak, chief British veterinary officer Jim Scudamore told London Times reporter Jonathan Leake, because “We feared that supermarkets would run out of meat,” possibly provoking riots.Meanwhile, as hoof-and-mouth broke out in ever more places, Scudamore admitted that, “We ran out of veterinarians.” From 1979 to 2001, the British State Veterinary Service lost 214 of 500 veterinary positions, and closed 47 of 70 field offices, along with 12 diagnostic laboratories.

A Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food contingency plan for dealing with a hoof-and-mouth outbreak anticipated, according to Leake of the London Times, that a worst-case scenario would involve only 30 infected animals, and called for borrowing equipment from another government office which was dissolved in 1996. Further, Leake wrote, “The ministry had no accurate list of farmers or farms, even though it was paying £1.3 billion per year in livestock subsidies.”

After livestock movements were frozen, sheep in particular suffered because instead of being rotated from field to field as they depleted the grass, they were confined to whatever field or paddock they were in when the order came, pending inspection and slaughter. Lack of personnel to do the inspecting and killing left the animals to trample bare fields into mire, ripe for spreading hoof-and-mouth. Obliged to buy fodder for animals they could not sell, many farmers starved the animals instead. Weakened, the animals became more vulnerable still to infectious illness.

More conscientious farmers took the risk of moving animals to better fields illegally, or sought help from the Royal SPCA. “We have helped more than 750 farmers so far with supplies of food and also with license applications to move or send their animals for slaughter,” RSPCA spokesperson Janet Kipling told BBC News at Halloween. The RSPCA in at least one instance provided fodder and bedding to 450 sheep found in muck so deep, after two months awaiting the cull, that dozens of newborn lambs reportedly drowned. Eventually the RSPCA hired personnel to kill the flock.

ANIMAL PEOPLE received similar accounts from many other locations. Even after the epidemic was officially over, the RSPCA and National Farmers Union agreed that thousands of livestock might remain at risk from starvation and disease because farmers ended the fall with animals still in pasture, who normally would have been sold to Europe, and without resources to feed them.

Eventually the British military was mobilized to dispose of the accumulating carcasses by burial and burning. The killing
force was expanded by hiring “slaughtermen,” presumably trained in the meat industry–but if some were trained at all, they may have been available for hiring because of past ineptitude.

By late May the RSPCA had received more than 60 allegations that slaughtermen left living but crippled animals among the dead, chased and shot at wounded animals from vehicles, and shot cows and calves in front of each other.  However, said RSPCA spokesperson Lisa Dewhurst, prosecutions were unlikely because of the near impossibility of connecting specific slaughtermen to specific offenses against specific animals, as successfully bringing charges would require.

At least seven zoos and four sanctuaries for wildlife and hooved domestic stock reported having essentially the same problems as farmers, tryng to feed and look after large numbers of animals for months in some cases, with no money
coming in because their facilities were under indefinite quarantine.

Zookeepers and sanctuarians, keepers of photogenic hooved animals as pets, and farmers trying to save favorite animals often enlisted public sympathy through the tabloid press. Many of the animals they fought for–with names and
faces–were eventually spared, to help mute criticism of the killing policy and procedures. Every photograph of an animal who escaped the cull took attention away from the rising body count.

Heroes for animals

Fighting for the lives of all the animals, to much less notice, were a handful of previously obscure people with no prior
involvement in activism, whose only commonality seemed to be concern for animals. Junior attorney Alayne Addy, 35, worked her way through the Nottingham Trent University law school as a farm secretary, obtaining her law degree at age 30, and then spent five years as a legal adviser for the National Farmers Union.Laid off on February 1, she moved to the Exeter law firm of Stephens and Scown the same day. As the killing began, Addy discovered that two sections of British law used by MAFF to warrant slaughter of animals who had no confirmed exposure to hoof-and-mouth were superseded by European Union law, and were therefore invalid. This potentially overturned the basis for about 70% of the killing.

By mid-May 2001, Addy had saved more than 20,000 animals, estimated Daily Telegraph reporter Matt Born, as MAFF declined to defend against any of her first 106 cases. One case involved a newborn calf named Phoenix who escaped
a whole-herd slaughter. In another case, villagers barricaded a farm to keep the slaughtermen away from 1,000 healthy cattle who had been raised for beef by one Guy Thomas-Everard.

On June 24, Robert Mendick and Geoffrey Lean of The Independent revealed that Addy was taking a legal position consistent with the scientific recommendations of Paul Kitching, DVM, former hoof-and-mouth disease research
chief at the Pirbright Laboratory of the Institute of Animal Health. Having visited Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea to see how other nations eradicated similar outbreaks, Kitching on March 29 warned the government that culling
animals on farms contiguous with infected properties would be pointless and costly–and repeated the warning in April. Ignored, Kitching left Pirbright to head the Foreign Animal Disease Laboratory in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Matthew Hughes, 11, the son of environmental science teacher Janet Hughes, signed over a £14,000 trust fund left to him by his grandparents to help his mother fight an unsuccessful test case against the cull policy in both the High Court and Court of Appeal. “Matthew said, ‘I would rather have sheep in our country than a car,'” Janet Hughes told reporters after forming the Save Our Animals appeal fund to raise the remainder of the £30,500 cost of the case and the appeal. “Did I have a choice?” Janet Hughes continued. “It was weighing on my mind, but if you don’t fight now, the children will have no chance in the future. I will find a way of returning it, but for now it had to be utilized.”

The hoof-and-mouth epidemic hit The Netherlands about a month after reaching Britain. Peter Poll, DVM, 68, was recalled from retirement to help direct a vaccination-and-slaughter campaign that eradicated the Dutch outbreak within just two weeks, at cost of “only” 265,000 animals killed. Despite the nominal success of the effort, Poll was appalled by the cost in lives, amounting to 10,000 animals killed for every case of hoof-and-mouth disease actually detected. Poll
and 10 other veterinarians in October asked the Royal Dutch Veterinary Association to endorse a warning to the Dutch government that they would go on strike rather than ever again kill animals who had already been vaccinated. They asked for repeal of the European Union requirement that animals vaccinated against hoof-and-mouth be killed before livestock from that nation can be exported.

Pyres & politics

“With an election looming, Tony Blair was anxious to get the pictures of burning pyres off the television screens. Vaccination seemed to offer a way out,” Leake continued, “but again there was a government blunder.” Trying to minimize opposition to vaccination, Blair excluded National Farmers Union president Ben Gill from a meeting of
scientific advisors and supermarket executives called to discuss it.

“When Gill heard of the meeting, he furiously demanded to see Blair,” Leake said. “On April 18, Gill told Blair that farmers would not tolerate vaccination, not because it would not work, but because it would prevent them from
selling animals to Europe. Slaughter and compensation was a much more appealing option for the farmers. Vaccination –for which Britain had no plan prepared– was effectively dead before it was attempted.”

European markets for British animals had just begun to reopen after five years of closure due to BSE. Loss of European customers, together with the direct effects of the BSE cull, had already severely depressed the British
livestock industry even before the killing due to hoof-and-mouth began.

The effort to contain hoof-and-mouth without vaccinating eventually cost British taxpayers £2.7 billion–about £675 per animal killed. About half of the total was paid in compensation to farmers, who according to the National Farmers Union also had £965 billion in uncompensated losses.

Some agricultural economists predict that culling without vaccinating, as Gill demanded, may actually have put 30% of the farmers in Britain permanently out of business. Hardest hit were older farmers with small herds of rare breeds or specially selected stock. Even if monetarily compensated, those farmers lost the investment of lifetimes in developing herds and specialty markets, and may not be motivated to start over.

Sympathy for farmers in that predicament fell, however, after MAFF and news media discovered evidence that, as Daily Telegraph agriculture editor David Brown explained, some were “deliberately infecting their sheep and cattle with hoof-and-mouth to claim compensation far in excess of their market value. Older farmers admit,” Brown said, “that they would be better off ‘taking the money and running,’ quitting the industry altogether rather than struggling to survive.”

The economic loss was not confined to farms. Visitors to Britain spent £3.1 billion less in 2001 than in 2000, as coverage of hoof-and-mouth discouraged tourism and tourists who came anyway found that travel to scenic rural
areas was restricted. The September 11 terrorist attacks on airliners could not be blamed for the tourism slump, since the decline was as pronounced before the attacks as afterward.


But Gill and Dean Kleckner, past president of the American Farm Bureau, suggested at a May 14 conference of the Australian National Farmers Federation that the spread of hoof-and-mouth to Britain might be blamed on “eco-terrorism.” They based their comments on earlier remarks by PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk and PETA vegetarian campaign coordinator Bruce Friedrich to the effect that they would welcome the spread of hoof-and-mouth disease to the U.S. if it caused Americans to stop eating meat. PETA, at the time, had staff in proximity to hoof-and-mouth outbreaks in India, but there was no evidence that any were involved in any way in spreading it. Neither is there evidence to suggest that food scares bring lasting conversions to vegetarianism.

As occurred early in the BSE scare that followed the 1996 British government admission that mad cow disease can jump into humans as new variant Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease (nvCJD), many British citizens went vegetarian during the first weeks of the hoof-and-mouth epidemic. A BBC survey taken at the end of March showed that about 25% of all self-declared vegetarians were recent converts. But studies of reasons for remaining a vegetarian after initial conversion tend to show that those who convert for ethical reasons are most likely to remain committed. People who
convert on a whim, especially for health reasons without the reinforcement of a support group, are most likely to soon return to their previous eating habits.

Annual surveys of the British public done by Realeat Inc. found that the number of vegetarians in the U.K. soared to 5.4% of the population by 1998, but dropped back to 5% just a year later. The number of female vegetarians increased, for the 15th consecutive year, reaching 6.7% of all British women, but the number of male vegetarians fell from 4.1% to 3.2%, or approximately the pre-BSE level.

Permanent threat

Despite the intensive control efforts, a new outbreak of hoof-and-mouth could erupt at any time. Warned Irish veterinary researcher John Ryan, DVM, at a United Nations conference in Bulgaria, five months before the 2001 outbreak hit Britain, “Hoof-and-mouth disease now presents a permanent threat of reintroduction to Europe. This is particularly apparent with the activities of the Pan-Asia type ‘O’ strain,” the strain that swept the U.K. after hitting at least 25 other nations since 1990, when it was identified in northern India.

The Pan-Asian strain of hoof-and-mouth surged first across India with the illegal traffic in cattle for slaughter in the southern state of Kerala, then east, reaching Taiwan by 1999. It spread west into Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and eastern Europe in waves coinciding with the annual haj pilgrimage to Mecca (as detailed in “Epidemic of Faith,” ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2001.)

Each year, hundreds of thousands of hooved livestock are mustered in and around Mecca for ritual halal slaughter and distribution of meat to the poor at the Feast of Atonement that ends the holy month of Ramadan. Each year, if any of those animals are diseased, millions of pilgrims could accidentally bring hoof-and-mouth bacteria back home with them–or the microbes responsible for any other livestock ailment. This culturally and politically sensitive problem has been long been recognized by Islamic physicians, who were centuries ahead of Europe in understanding disease transmission. But the intensity of religious and economic investment in the traditions of the haj has always inhibited an effective response.

Change in the wind

For now, after pursuing theories that hoof-and-mouth reached Britain via food waste from a freight ship that stopped in several nations which have had outbreaks, many British experts prefer to believe that it was just in the wind, kicked up by a sandstorm that swept northern Africa in mid-February 2001. “Satellite images show a dust cloud moving over the Atlantic and reaching Britain on February 13,” U.S. Geological Survey scientist Dale Griffin told London Observer science editor Robin McKie in September. “One week later, hoof-and-mouth broke out in the U.K. Since the
disease’s incubation period is seven days, that is one heck of a coincidence.”

Added fellow U.S. Geological Survey scientist Eugene Shinn, “There is no sewage treatment or proper garbage disposal there,” where the dust cloud originated and hoof-and-mouth is endemic, “so the soil is heavily infected with microbes and feces. Cattle there are infected with the same viral strain, Pan-Asia type ‘O’, that is causing hoof-and-mouth in Britain.

Recent investigations have discovered that even though hoof-and-mouth does not travel as far with the wind near ground level as was supposed less than a year ago, many viruses are quite capable of intercontinental travel with
atmospheric dust. If hoof-and-mouth is among them, it may only be eradicable through international cooperation to eradicate the endemic pockets of the disease in Africa and Asia–where vaccination might be accepted, but not mass killing.

Post-epidemic recommendations from most sources agree that policy changes favoring animal welfare must be made. “The main goal [in 2001] was maintaining the export markets–in other words, the protection of economic interests,” summarized Dutch agriculture ministry director general Johan de Leeuw at a November 6 conference convened by
the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. “The general public,” de Leeuw continued, “is becoming increasingly sensitive to the suffering of animals, and increasingly insensitive to economic arguments. Given prevailing views,” de Leeuw added, “culling zoo animals,” as some experts urged, “is simply unthinkable.”

The top announced priority for MAFF will be strengthening animal health supervision, including requiring farmers to insure their herds or flocks against the risk of spreading disease. MAFF is also hoping to compile a new master list
of agricultural holdings. A list of MAFF concerns published by James Meikle of The Guardian included a recommendation to strengthen anti-cruelty legislation so that farmers convicted of negligence can no longer evade fines by simply transferring stock–on paper–to other family members, and continuing business-as-usual.

Top priority for the Labour government went to passing a new Animal Health Bill introduced on Halloween and viewed with horror by both the Royal SPCA and the Royal Society of Veterinary Surgeons, among others. The bill closes the legal loophold used by the attorney Alayne Addy to save animals. According to Daily Telegraph farming correspondent Robert Uhlig, it also empowers government officials to enter any property, whether or not the owners give permission, to slaughter allegedly infected animals, “removes any right of appeal against any order made, and makes it a criminal offence punishable by six months in prison for anyone to refuse to assist an inspector in killing an animal. Demonstrating against any inspector’s actions will also be an offense.”

Royal Society of Veterinary Surgeons president Mark Green warned in an open letter to the Daily Telegraph that by “antagonizing the main people it needs to assist in any disease outbreak, namely the farmers,” the Animal Health Bill is “embarking on a course of action which could make the recent epidemic seem small in comparison.”

Nonprofit organizations offered simpler and gentler ideas. Mary-Anne Bartlett, director of Compassion in World Farming, recommended as early as April 2001 that Britain should take the hoof-and-mouth epidemic as a warning to abandon the live market system of selling animals–as the U.S. mostly did more than a decade ago–and move to electronic auctions, so that livestock go directly from field to slaughter instead of being mingled and stressed at auction yards while their fate is decided.

The conservation group English Nature noted the recovery of wildflowers in fields void of sheep for the first time in decades, if not centuries, and suggested that the upland sheep population should henceforth be kept below half
of the pre-epidemic level.

The Rare Breeds Survival Trust and other organizations concerned with preserving old
English varieties of livestock seized the opportunity to start a National ReGENEeration Bank–a longtime RBST ambition. “We have to make sure that we hold sufficient genetic material to ensure that when the next farming crisis hits, we shall not lose any of the 63 unique breeds that the charity looks after,” RBST chief executive Rosemary
Mansbridge told BBC News. MAFF and private funders put up £120,000 toward the cost of getting started, with hopes of raising £2.5 million more.

Veggie fast food in, specialists out

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 2001:

MIAMI, LONDON–Burger King will in 2002 begin offering vegan burgers at all U.S. restaurants, the $11.3-billion-a-year
Miami-based fast food restaurant giant announced on December 6. The vegan burgers enjoyed a successful trial run in San Francisco and at Canadian locations, Burger King chief marketing officer Christopher Clouser told Associated Press.

Extending the vegan option to the U.S. is part of the Burger King strategy to regain U.S. market share lost after an August 1997 recall of hamburgers that might have been contiminated with the deadly form of e-coli bacteria. Because Burger King responded promptly to reports of contamination, only 16 people were known to have been poisoned, with no fatalities. But the case did become the biggest meat recall ever, to that point, involving 25 million pounds of product, and brought the collapse of the supplier, Hudson Foods, the remnants of which were acquired by Iowa Beef Processors, Inc.

An even bigger meat recall followed 17 months later, when the Bil Mar Foods division of Sara Lee Corporation recalled 35 million pounds of hot dogs and lunch meat to halt a listeriosis outbreak that caused at least 80 serious illnesses, 15 deaths, and six miscarriages. Sara Lee in June 2001 agreed to pay $4.4 million to settle related federal legal actions.
The Bil Mar case mostly involved meat sold for home consumption, but is believed to have stimulated home consumption of vegan burgers, which in turn increased restaurant consumption.

Several other major U.S.-based fast food chains have already added vegan and vegetarian options to their menus, typically starting abroad. Burger King, for example, has already offered a vegan burger at British locations for several years. Even McDonald’s, the most conspicuous holdout against offering vegetarian options in the U.S., offers vegan entres in India. The biggest McDonald’s concession to vegetarians and vegans in the U.S. so far was an August 2001 pledge to begin acknowledging that French fries advertised since 1990 as having been cooked in pure vegetable oil are also steamed in beef fat. This came about as result of a class action lawsuit filed against McDonald’s in May 2001 by Seattle attorney Harish Bharti, on behalf of all U.S. vegetarians and Hindus who were misled.

In Britain, competition from the fast food giants helped to bring the scheduled end-of-January closure of all but one outlet of the first vegetarian restaurant chain, Cranks. Founded in 1961 from a fashionable site on Carnaby Street, London, the Cranks chain grew to five sites, and was scheduled to expand to 20 more after it was bought by Capricorn International in 1998. Capricorn International, also operating the Nando’s fried chicken chain, invested $2.4 million in improvements to the existing Cranks sites before deciding to close all four London outlets. The last restaurant, in Dartington, Devon, was sold to Nando’s Grocery Ltd. “We are going back to our roots to try to rebuild a stronger brand,” said Nando’s Grocery managing director Phil Lynas.

LETTERS [December 2001]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 2001:

Adoption criteria

I worked for years in Virginia and Maryland as a humane investigator, yet am still horrified by the cruelties inflicted upon helpless creatures, both human and animal. I am also outraged at the practices of many so-called “humane
societies,” both local and national. But then, when you stop and think about it, you can rarely find two people who agree upon what the word “humane” really means. The bottom line is that no one should contribute to any charity without knowing what it really does.

If a group brags about the number of adoptions it does, then find out what the quality of the adoptions is. Is quality better than quantity? If you believe, for instance, that animals should be kept inside and treated as members of the family, then be certain that the group to which you contribute practices that kind of adoption. Many do not!
–Mollie McCurdy
Waynesboro, Virginia

High-volume adoption and strict standards often go together. High-volume adoption shelters with longstanding policies against placing “outdoor” pets include the Helen V. Woodward Center in El Rancho, California, whose executive director, Mike Arms, has supervised more than 250,000 adoptions during his career in humane work; and the North Shore Animal League, annually leading the U.S. in adoptions for more than 20 years.

Read more

Kabul Zoo relief; aid for Afghan cats, dogs, equines; bulletins from the front

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 2001:

KABUL–The American Zoo Association, European Association of Zoos and Aquaria, and World Association of Zoos and Aquaria in late November set out to raise $30,000 in relief aid for the Kabul Zoo. By December 20 they had raised $202,000, and were asking callers to help the Afghan Animal Fund instead, a separate account set up to help Afghan cats, dogs, donkeys, and horses. The Afghan Animal Fund had collected $28,536 through December 17. Both funds are directed by Davy Jones, 57, president of both the North Carolina Zoo and the board of the London-based Brooke Hospital for Animals.

Since October the Brooke has had as many as 300 workers helping the equines of Afghan refugees in and around the camps in Peshawar and Quetta, Pakistan. The Brooke, the only western animal protection charity to maintain a close presence during the Taliban years, rehearsed in July 2001 by rescuing about 60 racehorses who were left to starve at the Karachi Race Club after the track closed temporarily due to a dispute with the Pakistani government over licensing fees. Another 70 horses died before the Brooke learned of their plight. The track reopened on July 31.

The British Royal Air Force is to fly a three-member team to Kabul in January 2002 to spend eight to ten days at the zoo, treating sick and injured animals and developing a plan to put the facilities in order. Included will be former Kabul University dean of science Ehsan Arghandewal, who fled to Germany after the Taliban came to power; former Kabul Zoo head keeper Taufik, now working at the Koln Zoo in Koln, Germany; and wildlife veterinarian John Lewis.

“Renovating the zoo and giving the staff the ability to buy food, equipment, building materials, power, and water can make the Kabul Zoo a key area for recovery of the whole city,” Jones said, emphasizing the role the zoo has in Afghanistan as a national symbol.

Built in 1967 by Kabul University, the 100-acre zoo was then considered the best in Central Asia, with 417 animals and annual attendance of 150,000 by 1972. From 1992 until 1996, however, it was caught in fighting among mujadin and Communists, warring mujadin factions, and mujadin and the Taliban. Many of the animals were eaten by the fighters. Then bandits in 1997 killed longtime keeper Agha Akhbar. The collection was down to about 40 wild animals and 60
animals of domestic species by the time the Taliban surrendered Kabul to the Northern Alliance.

Even before much outside aid arrived, the Kabul Zoo lions, wolves, and bears received a December 10 feast, through the misfortune of two oxen who escaped from an open-air meat market and rampaged through the remnants of the embassy district before a militia member shot them both dead. Afghan law requires one handler per ox, but the owner
reportedly escaped a fine by donating the carcasses to the zoo. The oxen were considered unfit for human consumption because they were not killed by hallal procedure.

Kenya link?
Kenya Wildlife Service chief Nehemiah Rotich, who staunchly opposed radio-collaring rhinos because it enables poachers to find them, was suspended in mid-November by Kenyan president Daniel arap Moi. “There were press reports linking his suspension to differences with prominent personalities with interests in the posh KWS-owned
Rangers Restaurant at the KWS headquarters in Nairobi, which is leased to Garian Investments Ltd. of South Africa,” reported John Mbaria of the East African. Regardless of why Rotich was ousted, four black rhinos were soon afterward poached in Tsavo East National Park, the first rhinos poached in Kenya since 1993. KWS rhino program coordinator Martin Mulama told Christian Science Monitor staff writer Dana Harman that he suspected Somali involvement, possibly stimulated by the need of Al Qaida to build its finances after taking heavy hits during the U.S. war on terrorism. Somali militias with ties to Yemen have reputedly done most of the ivory and rhino horn poaching in Kenya since circa 1970.
Al Qaida cowboy

Australian rodeo rider David Hicks, 26, of the Adelaide suburb of Salisbury, was among the Al Qaida soldiers captured
fighting alongside the Taliban in Afghan-istan, Australian attorney general Daryl Williams disclosed on December 12. Hicks was reportedly taken into custody by Northern Alliance troops several days earlier. Hicks apparently left the Australian rodeo circuit in November 1999 to train for combat in Pakistan with Lashkar-e-Taiba, a guerilla faction seeking to take Kash-mir from India and unite it with Pakistan. Lashkar-e-Taiba is one of the two factions linked by
India to the December 12 attack on the Indian parliament that left nine Indian citizens and all five attackers dead. After fighting against India in Kashmir, Hicks fought with Al Qaida in Kosovo under the name Muhammad Dawood. He reportedly told his father about two weeks after September 11 that he had gone to Afghanistan to help the Taliban defend Kabul.

Azerbaijan Society for the Protection of Animals president Azar Garayev announced on January 1 that the parliament of the Azerbaijan Republic has agreed to consider ratifying the European Union Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals in 2002, and that the mayor of the capital city of Baku has agreed to work with the Azerbaijan SPA to start an animal shelter. Azerbaijan, a former Soviet state, is located between Iran and Turkey.
Frontier Gandhi

ANIMAL PEOPLE is seeking information about the animal-and-diet-related teachings of the late Pashtun leader Abdul
Ghaffar Khan, 1890-1988, called “the frontier Ghandi” for his dedication to nonviolence and forgiveness. Allied with Mohandas Gandhi, 1930-1947, Ghaffar Khan led the Muslim wing of Gandhi’s Congress Party, seeking a secular subcontinental nation uniting Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. He later sought autonomy for Peshwar.
The “link”

A jury in Santa Ana, California, on December 20 recommended the death penalty for one-armed butcher John Samuel Ghobrial, 31, convicted nine days earlier of raping and killing Juan Delgado, 12, in 1998, in a classic case of violence toward animals preceding violence toward humans. Ghobrial hacked Delgado apart with a meat cleaver and buried the remains in cement. Ghobrial won repeated trial delays after September 11 as defense attorney Denise Gragg contended his ethnicity would preclude a fair trial. Gobrial, a Coptic Christian from Egypt, won religious asylum in 1996 after telling the Immigration and Naturalization Service he lost his arm when a mob pushed him under a train. He turned out to have fled Egypt after he was arrested on suspicion of molesting his seven-year-old cousin and stabbing him with a penknife. Ampu-tation of the arm may have been a penalty under the Islamic fundamentalist penal code of sharia for previous conduct of a similar nature.

Diving mule man in hot water

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 2001:

ST. LOUIS–Tim Rivers, 55, of Citra, Florida, notorious for the “Tim Rivers High Diving Mule Act” performed since 1957 at county fairs around the U.S., is among nine defendants named in federal indictments for allegedly illegally supplying 11 captive-raised tigers and leopards to canned hunts.

Indicted with Rivers for alleged conspiracy and Lacey Act violations were Lazy L Exotics owners Todd Lantz, 39, and Vicki Lantz, 40, of Cape Girardeau, Missouri; Freddy Wilmoth, 44, of Gentry, Arkansas, who is son of Wild Wilderness Drive Through Safari owner Ross Wilmoth; and Stoney Elam, 30, owner of the Power House Wildlife Sanctuary in Fort Gibson, Oklahoma.

Named later were three Michigan men who allegedly bought some of the animals’ pelts: George F. Riley, 69, of Farmington Hills; Leonard Kruszewski, 40, of Milford; and William D. Foshee, 43, of Jackson. Issued earlier, the indictments were opened in November 2001. The Lacey Act bars taking, moving, or selling in violation of any U.S. law or treaty.

The nine defendants were indicted in a continuing investigation, said a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service press release. “In January 2001, Woody Thompson Jr.,” owner of the Willow Lake Sportsmen’s Club in Three Rivers, Michigan, “was sentenced to serve six months home detention and two years probation; fined $2,000; and ordered to pay $28,000 to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Save the Tigers Fund,” the Fish and Wildlife Service release said.

The case resulted from a probe by the Fish and Wildlife Service and federal attorneys in Missouri, Illinois, and Michigan, who the release said, “uncovered a group of residents and small business owners who allegedly bought and killed exotic tigers, leopards, snow leopards, lions, mountain lions, cougars, mixed breed cats and black bears with the intention of introducing meat and skins into the animal parts trade.”

Rivers was accused of selling two leopards in 1998. Elam allegedly sold two tigers and three leopards. Todd Lantz was accused of buying four tigers from Freddy Wilmoth in 1998 and taking them to be shot at the 5H Ranch in Cape Girardeau. “Vicki Lantz prepared federal forms falsely stating that the transaction was a donation,” the press release said.

Jim Mason, now head of the Two Mauds Foundation in Mt. Vernon, Missouri, told ANIMAL PEOPLE that he had heard of the activities of Lazy L Exotics and the 5H Ranch “the first time I went to Cape Girardeau to investigate the wildlife traffic,” after editing the Animals’ Agenda magazine, 1981-1986.

Rivers took over the Diving Mule Act from his father, who reportedly founded it. In early years a monkey was often chained to the back of the mule, who was forced to dive into a tank of water from a ramp of varying height. In recent years the monkey was no longer seen.

Rivers fled town to evade cruelty charges against the Diving Mule Act in Babylon, N.Y., 1979 and 1991; Brockton, Mass., 1983; Jackson, Miss., 1988; Birmingham, Ala., 1990; and Lackawanna, N.Y., 2000. The Diving Mule Act was stopped by injunction in 1989 in Huntsville, Ala.; in 1994 in Chicago; and in 2001 in Green County, Tenn. In 1994, Brevard County, Fla., passed an emergency bylaw to bar the act from the county fair. In 1998 the Florida House
Agriculture Committe approved a bill to ban the Diving Mule Act, but the bill did not advance farther. In 1999 Rivers won dismissal of a cruelty case brought by Justice for Animals in North Carolina when the veterinarian who was to testify against him did not appear.

WSPA and ending animal circuses in Rio

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 2001:

RIO DE JANEIRO–“We did it! No more circuses with animals in Rio de Janeiro! Governor Anthony Garotinho signed our bill into law! This is our second victory this year, as we also got rid of the decompression chamber for good in Sao Paulo,” enthused Alianca International do Animal founder Ila Franco in a November 26 e-mail to ANIMAL PEOPLE.

The Sao Paulo decompression chamber was believed to be one of the few still used to kill animals anywhere in the world. Most U.S. shelters quit using decompression between 1976, when the San Francisco SPCA was reputedly first, and 1985, when the Dallas and Houston animal control shelters were reputedly among the last.

Franco had updated ANIMAL PEOPLE from time to time about her pursuit of both campaigns–and also about the work of Alianca in sterilizing 6,000 dogs and cats and filing 36 cruelty cases during 2001. Franco credited many other people and organizations with helping. She thanked World Society for the Protection of Animals veterinarian Lloyd Tait, for example, for helping with sterilizations.

Franco was quite upset with WSPA, however, when she next contacted ANIMAL PEOPLE, on December 18, after seeing the WSPA web site. Said the site, making no mention of Alianca, “The state of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil has passed a law banning the use of animals in circuses. The move follows a series of reports and campaigns by WSPA’s Latin American offices.” Elaborated WSPA Brazilian representative Elizabeth MacGregor in an e-mail announcement, “Public support for this bill was partly inspired by a terrible incident in Brazil last year where an improperly caged circus lion killed a child. The parents of that child have appeared at WSPA-sponsored demonstrations in support of the bill.”

Countered Franco, “Support for this bill was immensely inspired by this terrible accident because Alianca kept the facts of the incident vividly in view.” The campaign began “In 1999, when the circus elephant Madu killed her keeper in Caraquatatuba and then ran away to Sao Sebastiano,” Franco remembered. “I was called by a man who took his
son to the show and saw the circus people beating Madu.” Rushing to the scene, Franco spent four days at the circus,
she said, monitoring the treatment of Madu, and learning that the dead trainer had allegedly beaten her on the trunk to make her drink. Franco also watered a thirsty bear, she recalled, “who drank for 20 minutes without stopping.”

Franco “photographed what I had seen, to prove what was going on,” she continued. “Then I rented a big screen, sound system, and microphones, and a few feet away from this circus I showed videos to inform the public about how circus animals are trained.” Franco also formally incorporated Alianca, after years of activity, to bring a court case against the circus, seeking to confiscate the allegedly abused animals. She won the case, and arranged for the animals to be sent to a Rio de Janeiro zoo where she hoped they would receive better care–but the circus left the city
rather than give the animals up.

Franco then arranged to follow the circus and lead a rally against it, but “Three days before the scheduled protest,” she
remembered, “the six-year-old child was killed by a lion in Recife, Pernambuco.” Meeting the father of the child at a TV talk show appearance, Franco invited the family to join the Alianca rally. “I sponsored their air fares out of my pocket, and the father, mother, and baby sister all stayed for three days at my home, where we planned our approach to the state legislature,” Franco told ANIMAL PEOPLE.

For the next two years Alianca volunteer Andrea Lambert lobbied the Rio de Janeiro legislature, while Franco roused public opinion. “I edited videos, made 20,000 pamphlets, made t-shirts, passed out information at a science fair for 60 public schools, and hired a theatrical troupe” to take the message to the poor communities of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo, Franco recounted. “Meanwhile, we removed seven lions from another circus. As the only place available for them was at the zoo in Sta. Catarina, where I saw that the people would treat them well, but the quarters were unfinished due to lack of funding, I helped to fund proper quarters,” Franco said.

The seven lions became an effective exhibit in the Alianca campaign.Then, Franco recalled, “We found out that the same lion who killed the six-year-old had injured another child three years earlier, and killed two four-year-old girls 12 years before that. Their families were also invited” to join Alianca on TV talk shows. Along the way, Franco said, she was often threatened by circus people, and was once beaten by the wife of a circus owner. Only on the day of the voting on the bill to ban animals from circuses, Franco said, did she introduce the father of the dead six-year-old to MacGregor.

“At not one moment before that,” Franco stated, “did Je’ Miguel [the father] ever hear of or know of WSPA or MacGregor, and neither he nor I had any help from them.” Franco made an issue of the omission of Alianca from the
account because while WSPA is a $9-million-a-year group in the U.S. and a $7-million-a-year group in Britain, Alianca is a hand-to-mouth group in Brazil, with no paid administrative staff. A victory of global note could be a rare chance to attract U.S. and British donors.

[Contact Alianca International Do Animal c/o 2535 La Serena St., Escondido, CA 92025, USA; <WynterWulf@aol.com>.]

Other cases

Earlier in 2001, ANIMAL PEOPLE received similar allegations of discrepancies between WSPA claims and actuality from India, Korea, Pakistan, Romania, and Costa Rica, reported in “Seeking the bear truth about World Society work in India” (April 2001), and “Questions for WSPA and the RSPCA” (June 2001). ANIMAL PEOPLE then received a series of anonymous letters detailing alleged parallel episodes involving WSPA in other nations during the past decade. Many allegations were supported by photographs.

Much of the material could not be published without on-the-record sources, but ANIMAL PEOPLE was able to ask WSPA chief executive Andrew Dickson on October 1 why the WSPA wildlife rehabilitation center in Colombia stands dilapidated and vacant.  Built in 1984 with funds from the estate of Marcelle Delpu, it closed in 1998.

Wrote WSPA publicist Jonathan Owen, on October 10, “The buildings are now the property of Colombia. WSPA ownership ceased when the centre was subject of a compulsory purchase order from the authorities due to a major road building scheme. The site is now adajcent to a busy major highway.” The source expressed skepticism. The photos show facilities which–with repair–appear still suitable for use as a rehabilitation center, shelter, or clinic.

“We have also received photographs documenting the condition of the former Clinica Veterinaria Sozed animal shelter and hospital in Rio de Janeiro, another short-lived WSPA venture. Why was this project not sustained?” ANIMAL PEOPLE asked Dickson. Replied Owen, “We are unable to comment as we have no direct involvement in or knowledge of this facility.”

“Let us give you further detail,” said ANIMAL PEOPLE, “and perhaps you can come up with WSPA’s side of the story. According to our source, ‘Dr. Claudie Dunin, a longtime supporter of WSPA, offered to donate nearly $50,000 U.S. to WSPA to buy an office in Sao Paolo. The building was purchased in 1994, and Anna Maria Pineiro, who lived nearby, was made president of WSPA in Brazil. However, within 18 months, Andrew Dickson made a unilateral decision to close the office and sell the property. He irreparably harmed relations with animal protection organizations in Brazil. Mrs. Pinheiro will no longer have anything to do with anyone in animal protection. When Dunin threatened legal action, WSPA gave her back $22,000, with which to buy a shelter and veterinary clinic in Rio Comprido, in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, in which WSPA would have a rent-free office. WSPA never paid a cent toward helping the animals who were
assisted by the shelter. In early 2001 it closed due to lack of funding.'”

Twelve weeks later, WSPA has said nothing further. ANIMAL PEOPLE can say with certainty only that the mere fact the account was leaked to us–true or false– appears indicative of management problems.

No Olympic medals for “cultural” cowpokes

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 2001:

SALT LAKE CITY–The Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the forthcoming Winter Olympic Games was expected to drop the scheduled February 9-11 Command Performance Rodeo from the Cultural Olympiad at a January 3 meeting with rodeo foes. The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association could still hold the rodeo, but without an official Olympic connection.

SLOC president Mitt Romney “suggested that if calf-roping is in, then SLOC is out,” Salt Lake City mayoral spokesperson Joshua Ewing told Brady Snyder of the Deseret News, “so we’re assuming that since calf-roping is still included, SLOC is out.” Confirmed Caroline Shaw, spokesperson for Romney, to Mike Gorrell of the Salt Lake Tribune, “Mitt is relatively insistent that calf-roping not be one of the events.”

Cultural Olympiad artistic director Raymond T. Grant on December 3 relayed to PRCA commissioner Steven J. Hatchell a request from Romney that calf roping be excluded, after Romney said at least three times after a November 29 meeting with rodeo opponents that calf roping might be dropped for being too violent. At the meeting, said Eric Mills of Action for Animals, “Grant was the main guy promoting the rodeo.” [Mention of Mills and Vancouver Humane Society representative Debra Probert was accidentally lost from the ANIMAL PEOPLE coverage of the meeting.]

According to Deseret News staff writer Snyder, Grant told the PRCA that, “Having engaged the animal rights activists, this engagement needs to produce some results. I recognize that the result might very well be the PRCA saying to me that what was suggested is not acceptable to the PRCA.” The PRCA reportedly responded that, “Since we have not been asked or given an ultimatum, our plan is to proceed as scheduled. We have a contract for the rodeo, and that includes calf roping.”

Pledged Steve Hindi of SHARK, “If the rodeo plans continue, the Olympics are in for a very rough run. The SHARK Tiger video truck is being readied for a rendezvous with the Olympic Torch Relay on January 4 in Illinois. From then on, the Tiger will relentlessly follow the Torch,” through a 31-stop itinerary, “and right into Salt Lake City. The Tiger will not be at the Olympic rodeo, but will instead patrol legitimate Olympic events, where it will be seen by far more people from around the world. Nevertheless, there will be protesters outside the rodeo grounds, and investigators inside to
report on whatever happens to the animals.”

PETA also planned to follow the Torch Run, and on January 1 put up a billboard opposing the rodeo in Salt Lake City .
Protests at the rodeo site, the Davis County FairPark in Farmington, Utah, were to be led by the Utah Animal Rights
Coalition. The Farmington city council withdrew and rewrote a draft anti-protest ordinance in early December on the advice of the American Civil Liberties Union, but will still require demonstrators to obtain permits 10 days in advance.

Hindi, Tony Moore of the Foundation Against Animal Cruelty in Europe, and Mathilde Mench of the German groups Initiative Anti-Corrida and Animal 2000 on Dec-ember 19 flew to Lausanne, Switzer-land, to meet with International Olympic Committee medical director Patrick Schamasch, M.D.Schamasch told them that even if the rodeo is held as part of the Cultural Olympiad, it will not be allowed to call the event an “Olympic competition” or give “Olympic medals” to the winners.”Schamasch declared that there will be no Olympic medals, real or imitation, given to the contestants,” Hindi affirmed. “That brings to an end any fantasy the rodeo people had about being Olympians.”

An obvious distinction between the Command Performance Rodeo and other Olympic-related events, pointed out Mills, is that “The rodeo cowboys are the only contestants competing for prize money–$140,000, according to the PRCA. Rodeo animals,” Mills continued, “are the only contestants forced to compete through the use of electric prods, bucking straps, spurs, ropes, tail-twisting, kicks, slaps, pain and fear.” Officially, the Olympic Command Performance Rodeo is not even offered as an athletic competition, despite the pretense of rodeo cowboys to athleticism. Instead it is to be repeated daily, February 9-11, as part of the Cultural Olympiad, which usually features music, dancing, and theatrical events considered representative of the host nation.

A rodeo was also part of the Cultural Olympiad at the 1988 Winter Olympics, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, but drew little protest because most animal activist groups knew nothing about it until after it was held. The frequent violent fate of rodeo animals was shown meanwhile at the National Rodeo Finals in Las Vegas on December 9 when a 14-year-old bucking horse named Great Plains suffered a broken back during a ride by William Pittman II of Florence, Mississippi.

In November, a mare was killed and a calf reportedly badly hurt at the American Royal Rodeo in Kansas City. According to the most recent available PRCA data, 38 animals were injured at 57 officially sanctioned rodeos in 1999–meaning that the PRCA itself admits that animals are injured at two-thirds of rodeos. Rodeo opponents believe the actual injury rate is far higher.

Rodeo cowboys too are often injured, and not just by falling off or being dragged by the animals they try to ride or rope. In Rockhampton, Aust-ralia, Central Queensland Fertility Clinic science director Simon Wal-ton has linked bull-riding and riding bucking horses to reduced sperm counts among contestants, though not to the point of inducing sterility.

University of New Mexico researcher Loren Ketai, meanwhile, has found that recreational horse riders suffer more head injuries than rodeo performers when bucked off an animal–but recreational riders are rarely trampled by the animal who bucked them, whereas rodeo performers are trampled twice as often as they hit their heads.

Mutes win big

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 2001:

WASHINGTON D.C.–A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on December 28 restored Migratory Bird Treaty Act protection to mute swans. Ruling for mute swan defender Joyce M. Hill, the appellate court reversed a district court verdict which would have allowed wildlife agencies to kill mute swans at will.

“Counsel for the Secretary [of the Interior] contended that the non-native character of the mute swan justified exclusion [from protection],” the appellate panel wrote. “However, no agency decision explains the definition of ‘native,’ whether the mute swan is native or non-native, and why the native or non-native character of a species is relevant under the statute and treaties. This is especially important, because Hill argues that other birds on the List of Migratory Birds are non-native under many common definitions.

“Government counsel also claimed that the mute swan’s destructive and aggressive nature support exclusion,” the panel added. “The Secretary points to nothing in the statute, treaties, or administrative record to support this conclusion. It is unclear how such a consideration could ever overcome a statutory requirement to the contrary.”

Wildlife agencies have sought to cull mute swans for nearly 20 years, as an alleged threat to the recovery of trumpeter swans, who were hunted almost to extinction. There are about 18,000 mute swans in the U.S., and around 25,000 trumpeters.

Most mute swans in the U.S. apparently descended from birds brought from Europe during the 19th century, but there is disputed fossil evidence that they inhabited the west coast before human settlement.

The Department of the Interior has not yet said if it will appeal the December 28 ruling. If the ruling stands, it could serve as a precedent to a challenge of the 1994 decision of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to exclude nonmigratory giant Canada geese from MBTA protection, as allegedly not being part of the goose population that the 1916 legislation was meant to protect.

Great expectations and humane work

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 2001:

ATLANTA, HONOLULU, INDIANAPOLIS, ITHACA, LOS ANGELES, MIAMI, NEW YORK–“No healthy or treatable animal or feral cat has been killed in Tompkins County since June,” former San Francisco SPCA operations director Nathan Winograd announced on New Year’s Eve, after just under a year as head of the Tompkins County SPCA in
Ithaca, New York.

The Tompkins County rate of shelter killing, for all reasons combined, dropped to 3.9 dogs and cats per 1,000 human residents: less than 25% of the U.S. norm. The TC/SPCA had already cut shelter killing in Tompkins County by 50% in 10 years. In 2001 it achieved a further 50% cut, by boosting the percentage of pets sterilized before adoption from 10% to 100%; sterilizing 568 pets for low-income people; starting a feral cat aid program; increasing adoptions; markedly increasing use of volunteers; and expanding partnerships with local veterinarians and the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Captain Mark D. Jeter of the Miami-Dade Police Department is testing the same formula in Miami, Florida–hub of Dade County, once considered an impossible venue. A huge feral cat population gave birth three times a year, pet sterilization outreach to Spanish-speaking residents had barely been tried, and an entrenched old guard drove progressive shelter directors out of town, among them Rick Collord, now noted for reducing shelter killing in Vancouver, Washington, and Karen Medicus, now leading a promising drive to make Austin the first no-kill city in Texas.

Today, feral cat sterilization programs and multilingual outreach have cut the Miami kill rate to 9.3 per 1,000 human
residents–a 75% drop in 10 years. Jeter, put in charge of Miami Animal Services on October 1, 2001, a month later announced partnerships with the Humane Society of Greater Miami and local veterinarians, “and corporate sponsors,” to provide free sterilization for any local dog or cat.

As ever more communities show that the low shelter killing rates in San Francisco (2.6/1,000) and the whole state of New Hampshire (2.2) are not flukes, clamor for change is rising in cities that lag.

Los Angeles mayor James K. Hahn in October 2001 fired city Animal Services chief Dan Knapp, 46. During his 40-month tenure, Knapp introduced one of the highest licensing fees in the U.S. for unaltered dogs, won passage of a $154 million bond issue for shelter improvements, and doubled the city animal control budget, but the L.A. shelter killing rate of 14.4/1,000 remained static. Knapp in December became executive director of the Capital Area Humane Society in Columbus, Ohio, succeeding Jim Cunningham, who retired.

New York Center for Animal Care & Control chief Marilyn Blohm reportedly got a contract extension from former New York City mayor Rudolf Giuliani just before his December 31 exit. Hired in 1997, Blohm has had strained relations with other New York City shelters, and in December 2001 told nonsheltered rescuers that they will now be
charged $25 to $40 per animal they take from the CACC shelter to socialize, groom, train, and place. After 30 years of annually reduced shelter killing, the New York City rate has plateaued circa 5.5/1,000 since 1995, when the CACC took over animal control from the American SPCA.

The Atlanta Humane Society, Hawaii Humane Society, and Indianapolis Humane Society also opened 2002 under growing scrutiny. Led by some of the longest-tenured executive directors in humane work, in Bill Garrett, Pam Burns, and Marcia Spring, each does animal control for an affluent and fast-growing city; has unusually high reserves relative to operating budget; is known for “by-the-book” operation; has clashed with no-kill proponents; and has cut shelter killing less rapidly than the U.S. as a whole, with current per-1,000 killing rates of 21.0, 17.7, and 27.1, respectively.

Allegations of mismanagement by ex-staff of short tenure are also part of the uproar in Atlanta and Honolulu, while the
Indianapolis Humane Society inherited some of its problems after taking over the city pound in April 2001.

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