Letters [October 2013]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  October 2013: (Actually published on November 20,  2013.)


Economics & truth

I am delighted that Edwin Wiek and his wife Jansaeng Sangnanork of the Bangkok charity Wildlife Friends have been cleared of all of the spurious charges pending against them since February 2012,  as reported in your September 2013 edition. That the first court to hear the case could automatically believe that the words of a government official could be assumed to be true without checking is indeed laughable. Here in India the police,  wildlife officials,  and other government officials,  including the Central Bureau of Investigations have been found to be economical with the truth on many occasions. ––S. Chinny Krishna,  vice chair,  Animal Welfare Board of India, Chennai,  India <drkrishna@aspick.com> Gadhimai 2014 looms

In 2014 thousands of animals will be butchered at the Gadhimai festival,  held every five years in Nepal.   As many as 50,000 goats,  16,000 buffalo,  and thousands of other animals including sheep,  poultry,  and rats were killed at Gadhimai in 2009. The Asia for Animals coalition is writing to the Nepalese government in support of the campaign by the Animal Welfare Network Nepal and other Nepalese and Indian NGO’s to end this slaughter. For details of the festival and the unregulated killing,  click on <http://stopanimalsacrifice.org/index.php>. We would like to show the Nepalese government the strength of support for an end to this suffering. ––David Neale, Animal Welfare Director Animals Asia Foundation P.O. Box 374, General Post Office, Hong Kong Phone: 852-279-2225 <info@animalsasia.org> <www.animalsasia.org>

Is Audubon for the birds?

I’m contacting Animal People on behalf of the environmental advocacy group ForestEthics regarding the National Audubon Society.  Audubon in June 2013 accepted $60,000 from the Sustainable Forestry Initiative––founded,  funded and governed by logging corporations including Weyerhauser and Plum Creek.  SFI provides  certification for ostensibly ‘green’ wood and paper products,  but allows irresponsible forestry practices that put wildlife at risk.  ForestEthics,  the Sierra Club,  the Natural Resources Defense Council,  Greenpeace,  and many other environmental organizations have denounced SFI,  but SFI is now using the Audubon logo and name to promote itself. ––Jazmín Rumbaut,  for ForestEthics One Haight Street, San Francisco,  CA  94102 Phone:  415-863-4563 <www.ForestEthics.org>

NSPCA of South Africa stops pigeon race

An urgent application was lodged in the North Gauteng High Court,  South Africa,  on October 17,  2013 by Dean Jooste and Johannes Joubert of the Pretoria Pigeon Racing Combine against various respondents,  including the National Council of SPCAs,  seeking to set aside a warning issued by the NSPCA stating our opposition to a pigeon race that was to take place from Matjiesfontein in the Western Cape to Pretoria. The NSPCA is of the opinion that such a race would be cruel and inhumane.  The race exceeds 1,000 kilometers.  The distance factor is compounded because the pigeons would have to fly across drought-stricken areas,  especially in the Northern Cape,  to reach their destination. Judge Brian Spilg found no reason for urgency and dismissed the matter.  An order was made that no race was to take place from Matjiesfontein and that the warning issued by the NSPCA would not be set aside.  A cost order was awarded to the NSPCA. On October 18,  2013 the NSPCA ensured that the order was complied with and that no pigeons were liberated from Matjiesfontein. The NSPCA opposes animal racing in any form. ––Christine Kuch, National Council of SPCAs P.O. Box 1320, Alberton 1450, Gauteng,  South Africa Phone: 27-11-907-3590 Fax: 27-11-907-4013 <pr@nspca.co.za>

Editor’s note:       This is the first time to the knowledge of ANIMAL PEOPLE that a pigeon racing event  has been cancelled––anywhere––due to humane concerns.

“Dog laundering” violates ethical duties of shelters

I believe animal shelters have a moral and legal duty to investigate,  record and report about the behavior of every dog put up for adoption.  I have created materials for them to do it, including written policies and procedures, as well as forms.  The kit is called Avoiding Liability When You Train, Shelter or Adopt Out a Dog,  available via <www.dogbitelaw.com>. I coined the term “dog laundering” to describe the intentional breach of an animal shelter’s duties that takes place when a vicious dog is transferred from one group to another for the purpose of disguising its history and placing it in an unsuspecting new home.  I believe that such conduct on the part of the groups is both a tort and a crime.  Just as bad,  it is harmful to the honest adoption/shelter groups and to good dogs who need homes,  because as the public becomes aware of the practice of dog laundering,  people will return to the pet stores. ––Kenneth M. Phillips. Attorney at Law Los Angeles,  California  <kphillips@dogbitelaw.com> <www.dogbitelaw.com>

Ban horse-tripping & steer-tailing

Two more states passed laws banning horse tripping in 2013:  Oregon and Nevada.  Sadly,  of the 14 states which have now outlawed this cruelty,  only one state got the language right.  Nebraska’s 2009 law specifically bans “roping the legs of any equine,”  thereby banning,  by definition,  three of the charreada’s nine events.  These are the two forms of “manganas,”  in which horses are roped by the front legs both from horseback and on foot,  and “piales,”  in which a running horse is roped by the hind legs.  The “piales” horses usually do not fall,  but often suffer leg injuries. The rules of the Charros Federation USA have since 1995 prohibited intentionally felling horses.  Nonetheless,  horses can still become entangled in the ropes and fall,  risking serious injury.  The Nebraska language makes moot any argument about “intentional” or “accidental” tripping,  and should be the model for all other states. Nebraska also banned “steer tailing” in 2009,  the only state to have done so.  In steer tailing, a mounted cowboy or charro grabs a running steer by the tail,  wraps the tail around his boot and stirrup,  then drags or slams the animal to the ground.  Tails and horns may be broken,   and horses sometimes break their legs when the steer runs the wrong way.  I worked on a case three years ago in Denver in which,  besides suffering a broken leg and pelvis,  seven steers had their tails stripped to the bone (“degloved”).  Alameda and Contra Costa counties in California banned this brutal event in 1993. Neither “horse tripping” nor “steer tailing” is a standard ranching practice anywhere in the U.S.,  nor is either sanctioned by any U.S.-style rodeo association.  Ask your state legislators to introduce bills in 2014 to ban this cruelty.  I can help. ––Eric Mills,  coordinator, Action for Animals P.O. Box 20184, Oakland,  CA  94620, Phone:  510-652-5603 <afa@mcn.org>

Removed charities that promote pit bulls from will 

I enclose a donation in memory of my 23-year-old dog Penny,  whose last year of life was very difficult after a pit bull attack.  I lost a finger while trying to rescue her. Yours is the only publication I know where one can read the truth about pit bulls.  I appreciate your courage. I hope your readers will stop donations to all six animal charities listed in Jeff Borchardt’s letter “Who killed Daxton Borchardt?,”  published in your September 2013 edition.  I phoned three of those charities after my dog and I were attacked and told them I was removing them from my will because they are pushing the adoption of pit bulls,  while wonderful friendly dogs of other breeds are being euthanized. I have volunteered for animals for 43 years,  including at county shelters and humane societies.  I took many abused and neglected dogs into my home.  Not once was I bitten.  Yet,  while walking Penny on a leash in a park,  we were attacked by three pit bulls who were up for adoption!  These same dogs were being taken into classrooms full of small children.  I stopped that. In memory of 14-month-old Daxton Borchardt,  I encourage ANIMAL PEOPLE readers to write letters to their local newspapers and contact the staff of their local schools to make sure they are not brainwashed into believing that pit bulls are “nanny dogs.”  Perhaps we can prevent another precious life from being taken from us. ––Hazel Mortensen Solvang,  California

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