Letters [Sept. 2013]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  September 2013: (Actually published on October 8,  2013)

Letters

ACC&D coverage

Many thanks for the ANIMAL PEOPLE coverage of the 2013 Alliance for Contraception in Cats & Dogs conference––very useful.   I will post a link, since we often get questions about “why still surgery?” ––Robert Blumberg Friends of the Tsunami Animal-People Alliance 34 Maximo Court Danville,  CA  94506 < rblumberg73@yahoo.com> Turkey project

I am writing to share with you an ambitious art project which I hope you will share with your readers so they might participate.  For the past 15 years I have celebrated Thanksgiving with a personal tradition of painting a turkey portrait.  Beginning this year,  I hope to create a mini-portrait for each of the 46 million turkeys who will be killed in 2013 for Thanksgiving.  Considering the size of the project, and the opportunity it presents to educate and celebrate turkeys,  I am inviting members of the general public “to the table” to help create these portraits.  More information and additional images, can be found at http://46millionturkeys.com/. During Thanksgiving week the Harlow Gallery,  at 160 Water Street in Hallowell, Maine,  will host our 46-million turkey exhibit. ––Cheryl Miller Augusta,  Maine 207-210-4009 <46millionturkeys@gmail.com>

Coverage of developments in dog & cat contraception

I just happened upon your website,  read your July/August 2013 coverage of developments in cat and dog contraception,  and found it most informative.  I support Alley Cat Allies and the Best Friends Animal Society,  and am especially concerned about feral cats.  I am hopeful about what the future may hold to avoid the killings of thousands of cats and dogs,  especially the immunosterilant research.  After finding your site,  I sent in my subscription. ––Shelly Pedersen Blaine, Minnesota <ap525@aol.com>

Confucian ethics

I really enjoyed Wolf Clifton’s commentary “Confucian Virtue Ethics vs. ‘Animal Rights & the Predation Problem.’”  I loved what he wrote about being humble enough to admit mistakes and accept that the best decisions may not be perfect. ––Peter Marsh Concord,  New Hampshire <pmarshlaw@hotmail.com>

Wildlife update from Zimbabwe

The Zimbabwean government in August 2013 relocated 151 wildebeests, 25 eland, 60 zebras, 100 impalas and 10 giraffes from the Save Valley Conservancy in Masvingo to increase the animal populations in Zambezi National Park at Victoria Falls ahead of the United Nations World Tourism Organization General Assembly.  The government is always claiming that we have an abundance of animals. If this is true, why was it necessary to move all of these animals so that the delegates could see some? Meanwhile a schedule of prices for hunting animals and fish has been issued,  listing practically every animal in Zimbabwe,  even bush baby and rhino.  We wonder who would want to hunt a bush baby,  and how would this be done?  We have a copy of the schedule if anyone would like to see it. Earlier on in the year,  an article appeared in a Zimbabwean newspaper stating that the elephant population was around 45,000.  Now,  just a few days ago,  an article appeared in the Zimbabwean Financial Gazette claiming that Zimbabwe has around 100,000 elephants.  This is all part of the Zimbabwean appeal to be allowed to sell ivory. ––Johnny Rodrigues Chair Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force Landline:  263-4-339065 Mobile:  263-712-603-213 <galorand@mweb.co.zw> <www.zctfofficialsite.org>

Largest-ever animal rights demo in Israel

Four to five thousand people,  according to my estimate,   participated on August 24,  2013 in the largest-ever demonstration for animal rights in Israel. We marched under the slogan “No longer blind to injustice.” The emphasis was on animals exploited for food and on veganism,  but the organizers made sure that other issues would be present and visible.  There were slogans and signs against vivisection,  fur,  killing dogs and cats who are without human guardians,  destruction of natural habitats,  trade in animals,  glue traps,  and many other forms of exploitation and abuse. The climax of the demonstration came when we stood quietly,  eyes blindfolded,  for three minutes,  to symbolize society’s willful blindness to the agony of non-human animals.  Then we simultaneously took off the blindfolds,  no longer blind to injustice. The demonstration was initiated by law professor Assaf Hardoof,  a recent vegan and animal liberation activist.  The initiative caught quickly through Facebook,  and was joined by the main animal liberation groups working in Israel,  including Anonymous for Animal Rights,  Let the Animals Live,  the Israeli Society for the Abolition of Vivisection,  269life,  the Anti-Fur Coalition,  Behind the Lab’s Doors,  and more.  It also became international,  with parallel events announced in 41 cities around the world. ––Yossi Wolfson Anonymous for Animal Rights P.O. Box 11915 Tel Aviv 61119,  Israel <info@anonymous.org.il > <www.anonymous.org.il/english.htm>

Ag-gag laws & frameworks of perception

I found the ANIMAL PEOPLE May/June 2013 editorial “Ag-gag laws & changing frameworks of perception” most enlightening.  I copied it for many people to read. One thought I would like to add:  I firmly insist that Animals‘ Angels uses horror pictures rarely and only when there is no other way to make others aware of what happens.  I made this rule not only because it is a matter of opinion whether any changes are instigated by this,  but also because the dignity of the animals is always violated by showing them in their utmost misery.  It is bad enough that we have to take these pictures. Our only excuse is that we do it with a loving heart.  But when we use this footage,  we ponder carefully whether it really will contribute to the abolition of atrocities.  Likewise I object very much to pictures of people shown in distress without their permission.  In my opinion the same discretion should apply to animals. ––Christa Blanke Founder and Director Animals’ Angels Rossertstraße 8 D-60323 Frankfurt a. Main Germany <info@animals-angels.de> <www.animals-angels.com>

Hoping for translations of Animal Welfare in Islamic Law

I came across your website and saw the English and Arabic version of Kristen Stilt’s book Animal Welfare in Islamic Law.  I hope you can have another version in Behasa Indonesian,  as Indonesia has the highest number of Muslims in any nation and not all of them understand Arabic.  It was heartening to learn there is a provision for animal welfare in Islam.  I hope more people will come to learn of this too.  Translations to more languages may help. ––Laura Tan Bahasa,  Indonesia

Vegan strategies

Concerning your November/December 2012 editorial “Politics,  personal conduct,  & the Vegan Police,”  it is a consistent annoyance to me that overlooked is what we have not yet done to achieve a wider base of reasoning,  to make the connections to dietary choices that go beyond a brief glimpse at environmental impacts and the innate suffering of animals raised and killed for meat.  Strategies should adapt to changing political and economic external environments,  so should not be static.  Most discussion of this editorial’s subjects appear to me to be,  like the positions of vegetarian and environmental organizations,  anthropocentric positions based on personal and some historical contexts,  none of which predict the future we are influencing and shaping.  That the external environment we work in is changing more rapidly than ever before,  at least in our lifetimes,  should remind us that we are not locked into so few pathways to change.  I am,  however,  happy you keep bringing these opinions to the community. ––Will Anderson Seattle,  Washington

Editor’s note: Will Anderson is author of This Is Hope:  Green Vegans and the New Human Ecology,  subtitled “How we find our way to a humane and environmentally sane future.”  Info:  <will@ThisIsHopeTheBook.com>;  <www.ThisIsHopeTheBook.com>.

Animal agriculture swamps Pakistan again

At least 267 people were killed,  with 22,250 displaced and thousands of animals killed and displaced in August 2013 by the second round of catastrophic monsoon flooding to hit Punjab,  Sindh,  Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,  and Baluchistan. Similar flooding in 2012 killed more than 2,500 people and displaced 21 million, with a toll of 1.2 million mammals and six million poultry killed and as many as 22 million animals displaced,  according to the Pakistan Department of Livestock. If the animal losses in 2012 were proportionate,  about 120,000 mammals and 600,000 poultry lost their lives in 2013. The repeated animal losses showed the futility of efforts by livestock gift charities,  the Pakistani government,  and even the World Society for the Protection of Animals to rebuild herds and flocks after the  crisis––as ANIMAL PEOPLE editorially predicted in your July/August 2010 editorial feature “How expanding animal agriculture swamped Pakistan.” ––Khalid Mahmood Qurashi President Animal Save Movement Pakistan H#1094/2,  Hussain Agahi Multan 60000,  Pakistan <thetension@hotmail.com>

Trusting shelters

William Hageman of the Chicago Tribune reported on July 29,  2013 that a study commissioned by the Best Friends Animal Society found that 46% of the survey participants between the ages of 18 and 34 were more likely to purchase a dog from a breeder or pet store than to consider adopting from a shelter.  Only 31% were more likely to adopt from a shelter. In addition,  nearly 46% of the 18-to-34-year-old respondents see shelter dogs as less desirable than those from breeders.  Forty percent don’t believe shelter dogs are at risk of being killed. How strange!  Shelters tell everyone they are going no-kill,  then are surprised when people think dogs don’t get killed in shelters.  Shelters pass pit bulls off as Labs, boxers,  and so forth,  then are surprised when people think all shelter dogs have problems.  Shelters tell people any dog may have a life-threatening or fatal response if even the tiniest mistake is made in raising them,  then are surprised when people want to raise their own dog from puppyhood. Dishonest behavior meant to encourage pit bull adoptions is backfiring on shelters,  and is hurting normal dogs who end up in shelters.  Even here in the Netherlands,  a good part of the public won’t consider a shelter dog because they are afraid the shelter management will lie to them about whether the dog is part pit. ––Alexandra Semyonova Den Haag,  Netherlands

Dog & cat meat

Thanks for your superbly written July/August 2013 editorial feature,  “Asian dog & cat meat trade could be on the way out.” You mentioned,  however,  that in 1939,  when the Shanghai SPCA successfully prosecuted two men for selling dog and cat meat as rabbit, “instead of commanding a higher price than rabbit meat,  as dog and cat meat does today,  the dog and cat meat was disguised as one of the cheapest meats available.” We are finding more frequently in market situations today that dogs and cats are stolen in such massive numbers that they now often bring a cheaper price than goat and rabbit.  Thus dog carcasses are now sold with counterfeit health and safety stamps describing them as goat,  and cat carcasses are again sold as rabbit. Our “Friends….or Food” campaign has,  since it began in 1998, endeavored to portray that the suffering of any food animal cannot be justified. While animal therapy programs such as Dr. Dog can more graphically portray the value of companion animals as friends and helpers in society,  and thus provide a better framework for removing them from the food chain,  the “Friends…or Food” notion can be extended to other animals,  such as those who are intensively farmed,  and are equally intelligent and deserving of our respect and compassionate treatment. ––Jill Robinson Founder & CEO Animals Asia Foundation P.O. Box 374 General Post Office Hong Kong Phone: 852-279-2225 <info@animalsasia.org> <www.animalsasia.org>

2013 Watchdog Report

Will you publish a 2013 edition of the ANIMAL PEOPLE Watchdog Report on Animal Charities? “The science of how behavior is inherited in aggressive dogs,”  by Alexandra Semyonova’s and “Promising tests––but no immediate hope for female nonsurgical sterilants” by Merritt Clifton in your July/August 2013 edition are great tech articles in their fields.   Your dog breed danger and death data is great for supporting presentations to animal groups.  Keep it up! ––Jack Meeks Penn Valley,  California

Editor’s note: The 2013 edition of the ANIMAL PEOPLE Watchdog Report on Animal Charities has just been published,  covering 163 charities in all,  and is available at $25 per copy.  Completing it,  the most extensive update of the Watchdog Report since inception in 1999,  took a month longer than the time we had initially budgeted for it,  and is why this “September” edition of the ANIMAL PEOPLE newspaper is actually appearing in early October.

Clinic in Vietnam

Emma Bolton and I run the Vietnam Animal Welfare Organisation in Hoi An,  Vietnam,  30 kilometers south of Da Nang in Central Vietnam.  We are a new organization,  started in February 2013.  We moved into our new shelter at the beginning of September 2013,  after completing renovations.   The shelter will house our cat and dog rescues,  offered for adoption,  as well as our vet clinic,  which will focus on providing services such as sterilization surgery for local pets.  Ours is the first proper sterile veterinary operating theatre in Central Vietnam. Once the building is properly set up,  and depending on funding,  we will begin our animal welfare education programs,  providing subsidized vet care for local pets,  and hosting training sessions for local vets. We are currently in the process of applying for non-profit status in both the U.S. and the United Kingdom.  We look forward to expanding our operations to include work toward ending the dog meat trade,  on both the supply and demand side,  and seeking legislation in Hanoi to improve laws related to animal welfare and health. ––Catherine Besch Vietnam Animal Welfare Organisation P.O. Box 23 Hoi An, Quang Nam,  Vietnam <cat.besch@vnanimalwelfare.org> <http://vnanimalwelfare.org/>

Fukushima

We announced in 2012 that we would sterilize at least 1,000 animals from Fukushima during  2013.  On September 16,  2013 we reached 1,093 sterilization surgeries in Fukushima,  including 555 cats and dogs from within 20 to 30 kilometers of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant,  where all four reactors have now been shut down.  Twenty percent of our surgeries were early-age.  I have reset our target for early-age surgeries to 30%. –Hiro Yamasaki Animal Rescue System Fund 3-9-1-1F Kusugaoka-cho Nada-ku Kobe 657-0024,  Japan Phone: 078-856-3229 <spay@animalrescue-sf.org>

March for the Elephants

I attended the October 5,  2013 March for the Elephants,  an event held around the world,  in San Francisco.  I thought the Chinatown speaker,  Wayne Hsuing of Direct Action Everywhere,  was wonderful––deeply moving and passionate,  as were the others.  I found myself marching behind a group from the Performing Animal Welfare Society and had a few nice words with cofounder Ed Stewart.  He said that if his late partner and cofounder Pat Derby was there,  she would  probably have gotten into a fistfight [at the live markets] in Chinatown.  It was one of the most emotional days of my life. ––Stephanie Fearneyhough San Francisco,  California

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