Editorial: The quest for accuracy

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 1993:

The New York Times is justly reputed as one of the most conscientious of newspa-
pers––because it runs a daily “Corrections” box, because it publishes lots of letters in
response to articles, and because editorial opinions, commentaries, and news analyses are
clearly labeled. Even at that, it sometimes badly goofs. A decade ago the Times reassigned
a distinguished investigative reporter and all but recanted his expose of how government
troops in El Salvador massacred 791 people, most of them children, because the editors
believed a U.S. State Department denial that any such thing ever happened.
Just the same, when the bones and the truth were exposed last fall, the Times
promptly admitted the horrible mistake––on page one.
And that’s why the Times can be trusted.

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Editorial: Pet overpopulation: it’s win or lose now

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 1993:

The latest shelter statistics, presented on page twelve of this issue, suggest that at
present about four million cats per year are euthanized for population control––about two-
thirds of the total number of animals euthanized because they have no homes.
The significance of this number is not only that it is low indeed compared to the
best estimates of feline euthanasia published only a couple of years ago, and almost unbe-
lievably low compared to the estimates of 15 years ago. Records of kitten survival in both
private homes and feral colonies indicate that only about half of the kittens who are born
live long enough to be weaned. Only about half of the kittens who survive that long reach
sexual maturity, so that no more than 25% of all the cats born eventually join the breeding
population, even without neutering. Further, according to data ANIMAL PEOPLE col-
lected and published in 1992, while conducting the cat rescue project described in our lead
feature for this month, only about half of all feral mothers live long enough to bear more
than one litter, and only half of those live long enough to bear more than three litters. Our
cat rescue records indicate that only one feral mother in a hundred lives longer than three
years, so four to five litters appears to be the normal outside limit to feral reproduction.

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No dolphins in Denver! ACTIVIST CAMPAIGN SUCCEEDS

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 1993

DENVER, Colo.––An astute
media campaign including extensive
advertising in local newspapers and the
April back cover ad in ANIMAL PEO-
PLE paid off big for Animal Rights
Mobilization! on May 13 when the pro-
moters of the proposed Colorado’s Ocean
Journey aquarium dropped plans to
include captive dolphins. It was appar-
ently the first time any major aquarium in
planning anywhere cancelled a marine
mammal exhibit under pressure from an
animal rights group.

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Chicago, New Jersey, Macon: Model animal control programs meet fiscal reality; SHORT-TERM SAVINGS MAY MEAN LONG-TERM TROUBLE

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 1993:

CHICAGO, Ill., SPRINGFIELD, N.J., and MACON, Ga.–– The financial pres-
sures of the 1990s threaten to undo the model animal population control programs envisioned in
the late 1980s, just as their benefits are beginning to be realized.
The budgetary ax fell first and hardest in Los Angeles, California, where on July 1,
1992, the city closed the public low-cost neutering clinics that helped cut animal control pickups
from 144,000 in 1970 to 87,000 in 1991, even as the estimated city pet population rose by 21%.
Euthanasia rates were cut proportionately. Animal control officials estimated that for every dollar

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If they only knew

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 1993:

A recent survey commissioned by the
Connecticut Attorney General found that of 805
randomly selected state residents, 55% said they
would support a charity only if administrative and
fundraising costs were kept below 20% of the
charity’s total budget––a standard most charities
would fail but for accounting rules that allow many
to write off fundraising expenses as “public educa-
tion.” A ceiling of 30% would be more realistic,
and the National Charities Information Bureau sets
the ceiling for accreditation at 40%.

CHILDREN AND ANIMALS

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1993:

The National Institutes of Health is now distrib-
uting seven sets of Let’s Visit a Research Laboratory Lesson
Plans free to public schools and to anyone else on request.
“Even though the Michigan Humane Society agrees with
legitimate uses of animals in biomedical research,” MHS
lobbyist Eileen Liska told U.S. Senator Carl Levin in a
recent letter of protest, “these are clearly an example of bla-
tantly one-sided pro-animal research propaganda, and as
such are an inappropriate use of tax dollars. The brochures
do not portray the scientific and ethical complexities of ani-
mal research. I have found a disturbing number of factual
errors in the texts. And also please notice how the refer-
ences at the end of each lesson plan are equally one-
sided––especially the frequency with which the National
Association for Biomedical Research and Foundation for
Biomedical Research are referenced. These are special
interest organizations with sizeable budgets for promoting
their viewpoint. There is no justication for allowing the NIH
to use limited federal funds,” supposed to be spent on pro-
moting public health, “to help such special interests.” The
lesson plans are available from Public Inquiries, National
Institute of Mental Health, NIH, Room 15C-05, 5600
Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857.

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The dream that haunts Vic Koppelberger by Donna Robb

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1993:

The dream that haunts Vic Koppelberger came to
him 30 years ago, and changed his life.
“I stood in a room before all the animals I ever
shot,” Koppelberger remembers. “They were lined up and
staring at me. It was my judgement day.”
Koppelberger, now 75, never hunted again.
He had the dream shortly after a disturbing hunt-
ing experience. Using a stuffed owl as a decoy,
Koppelberger and his game warden hunting companion hid
in the woods at the edge of a clearing. The owl, perched on
a stump, attracted crows who dive-bombed the stuffed
enemy. The crows made easy targets.

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HUNTING

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1993:

The Wildlife Legislative Fund of
America, a hunting and trapping lobby,
recently sneaked an amendment to the 1994-
1995 Ohio Department of Natural Resources
budget through the state House of
Representatives that would raise $450,000 a
year for a subsidiary, the Wildlife Conserv-
ation Fund of America, through a 25¢ sur-
charge on the sale of hunting, fishing, and
trapping licenses. The amendment was intro-
duced by representative Ronald Amstutz, at
request of WLF director Tom Addis. After the
proposed diversion of public money to a spe-
cial interest lobby became known, Amstutz
claimed it was all a mistake. “I was misin-
formed,” he told Michael Sangiacomo of the
Cleveland Plain Dealer. “I thought it was a
small raise for the people who write the licens-
es. I made certain assumptions, and apparent-
ly I was wrong. I never looked at the lan-
guage.” ODNR legislative liasion Scott Zody
said his agency “did not ask for” the amend-
ment, “and does not support it.”

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COURT CALENDAR

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1993:

Animal Trafficking
Worldwide Primates propri-
etor Matthew Block, 31, of Miami,
drew 13 months in federal prison on April
17 for his part in arranging for six infant
orangutans to be smuggled from Indonesia
to the Soviet Union––the 1990 Bangkok
Six case. Hoping to win a plea bargain,
Block testified against three accomplices
and helped set up the January 26 arrest of
a Mexican zoo director for allegedly trying
to smuggle a gorilla. However, assistant
U.S. attorney Guy Lewis told U.S. district
judge James Kehoe that Block had never
fully cooperated with either investigation,
had lied about his degree of involvement
in the orangutan deal, and was still in
touch with smuggling associates. Block
now faces USDA action for allegedly
feeding primates at his facility spoiled
food, failing to provide water, and keep-
ing them in vermin-infested cages.

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