ANIMAL PEOPLE NEWS Thu, 24 May 2018 14:17:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 ANIMAL PEOPLE NEWS 32 32 BOOKS: This is Hope & The Ultimate Betrayal Fri, 01 Nov 2013 22:10:43 +0000

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2013:

This Is Hope: Green Vegans and the New Human Ecology
by Will Anderson
Earth Books c/o John Hunt Publishing
(15200 NBN Way, Blue Ridge Summit, PA 17214), 2013. 368 pages,
paperback. $22.95;
or download c/o

The Ultimate Betrayal: Is There Happy Meat?
by Hope Bohanec with Cogen Bohanec
166 pages, paperback. $19.95, c/o

This Is Hope, by Will Anderson, and The Ultimate Betrayal, by
Hope Bohanec, with her husband Cogen Bohanec, might be described as
long and short versions of the same book. They are structured somewhat
differently, but mostly summarize the same arguments for veganism,
citing many of the same sources.

Both authors are veteran campaigners in animal and environmental
causes, who have held senior positions in prominent organizations.
Neither, however, makes extensive use of direct personal observation
or anecdote.
In Anderson’s case this is clearly unfortunate, since his
most memorable and persuasive passages are those in which he does step
out from behind the lectern to share something he did not learn from
someone else’s book. Especially vivid examples include Anderson’s
discussion of watching how a mother cat carried her kittens across a
busy street, and of putting his head down to the curb to see the scene
as she did; the death of a baby orangutan aboard Anderson’s boat
during a volunteer stint for primatologist Birute Galdikas in Indonesia;
and the time Anderson almost broke his veganism to eat a chocolate
éclair, but was stopped by the scream of a wounded bull moose on a
National Public Radio news broadcast.
Hope Bohanec uses the stories of animals she meets at the Animal
Place sanctuary near California to illustrate key points, but somewhat
as she might use photos in a PowerPoint presentation. Though the
animals are briefly introduced, their presence is not allowed to create
a distraction.
Subtitled “Green Vegans and the New Human Ecology,” This Is
Hope only fleetingly introduces green vegans as other than an abstract
concept. The “new human ecology” is a concluding wish-list not all
that different from the hopes of legions of other vegan and vegetarian
authors going back at least to Mohandas Gandhi’s many 19th century
talks and pamphlets sharing the title The Moral Basis of Vegetarianism.

Subtitled “Is There Happy Meat?”, The Ultimate Betrayal
rejects the whole premise that meat can be “humanely” produced, in
much more gruesome detail about slaughter than Anderson delves into.
Yet refuting the “happy meat” illusion promoted by animal product
labeling schemes is so far from Bohanec’s focus that she discusses
only two of the half dozen labeling schemes that one is most likely to
encounter in a supermarket.
Neither This Is Hope nor The Ultimate Betrayal seems likely to
make any meat-eaters become vegans, if mainly because meat-eaters are
unlikely to pick up either book. Both may, however, help to reinforce
the conviction of newly converted vegans. These seem likely to be the
main audience for both books.


Longtime vegans, though, may have the same response as the
three vegan reviewers who at first offered to review This Is Hope for
ANIMAL PEOPLE, then kicked it back to me for reassignment. Two of the
three found it “too angry,” but if This Is Hope is angry, The
Ultimate Betrayal could be construed as being much more so, in less
than half as many pages.
I didn’t find either book “angry,” but each might be
alleged to be preaching to the choir, and at a certain point the choir
may no longer feel in need of being dunked in recitations of abstract
data in the name of revival. Hardly anyone reads statistics more avidly
than I do, but stats geek that I am, I still found myself mumbling “So
quit counting the beads already and get on with the sermon!”
Moreover, This Is Hope in particular drowns in data recitations
some ideas that should have been allowed to come up for air.
One of these ideas is the concept of “neo-predation,” which
Anderson says “is produced every time we lay down a highway, every
time another one of us is born and physically occupies habitat, every
time we add greenhouse gases to a warming atmosphere, and every time we
consume material goods and services that impair eco-systems. This
neo-predation creates harms similar to those that the hunters,
fishers, and animal agriculturalists produce, but without our firing a
shot, setting a hook, or partaking in any part of animal agriculture.”

Anderson divides “neo-predation” into three types:
mega-predation, presence predation, and economic predation. He
defines each type in considerable detail. Each would appear to be, in
his view, a form of “additive” predation, which increases the
stress on the prey, rather than “compensatory” predation, which
replaces the risk from one source of mortality, for instance disease,
with the risk of being eaten.
But Anderson does not follow through on the predation metaphor.
If he did, he might have run into arguments contradicting his central
premise that a turn toward veganism is necessary because humans are
allegedly destroying biodiversity. Additive predation is the most
destructive type, because it can cause extinctions. Yet additive
predation also opens habitat to other species, and as such is an engine
of evolution, not a one-way street to doom.
The larger the habitat needs of the species who are extirpated,
the more habitat niches are opened to immigrant and newly evolved
species, from microbes up to Tyrannosaurus rex and Apatosaurus.
The loss of elephants, rhinos, or great whales is catastrophic
for those species, of course, and tragic for us, but scarcely means a
net loss for biodiversity. Indeed, even the microbes inhabiting those
large animals’ bodies may merely move into other species, adapt,
thrive, and further diversify, much as practically all terrestrial
species are now plagued by descendants of the fleas who have recently
been found to have once infested dinosaurs.
Neither This Is Hope nor The Ultimate Betrayal delves far into
religious teachings or abstract moral philosophy. Both take a
superficially scientific and secular approach. Yet both Anderson and
Bohanec seem as imbued with the notion that we are approaching an
ecological apocalypse, due to human sin, as any messianic “end-timer”
steeped in Revelations. Both recite a litany of “evidence” that
sometimes contracts their own logic.

“Carnist” biology

Anderson, for example, rails that “Wildlife management is
intent on protecting carnism,” meaning the set of values and beliefs
that rationalize eating meat. “This does not support ecosystems,”
Anderson continues. “It is not biocentrism. The harm this causes is
the reason why fish and wildlife management agencies employ hunters and
trappers to ‘fix’ the problems that their support for carnism
Actually, as Anderson well knows through his experience with
the Maine Animal Coalition, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and
Greenpeace Alaska, it is hunters and trappers who employ wildlife
managers, through the arrangements that for more than 70 years have
ensured that the wildlife agencies of every state are funded by hunting,
trapping, and fishing license fees. Won through the political clout
of hunters, trappers, and fishers, these funding arrangements ensure
that consumptive users enjoy influence over wildlife policy far
disproportionate to their numbers, as less than 10% of the total U.S.
population. Anderson elsewhere in This Is Hope discusses all of this at
Meanwhile wildlife agencies are the chief employers of “carnist”
Having identified and rejected this central tenet of carnist
biologists’ belief system, Anderson proceeds to cite in support of
his own views a 1998 American Museum of Natural History survey that
showed “70% of biologists believe we are in the Great Holocene
If carnist biologists are ideologically blinded to the basic
workings of ecosystems, as Anderson contends and I mostly agree, why
should their faith in the imminence of a Great Holocene Extinction be
accorded any more credence than their faith that it is possible to shoot
our way to ecological health?
Both faiths are based on faulty mathematical models, which
among other deficiencies relabel adaptive species “invasive.”
Anderson uses the term “invasive” 63 times in This Is Hope, but
mostly in a different way from most wildlife managers. To Anderson,
the “invasive” species of most concern appear to be livestock and
crops planted to feed livestock. This can be confusing, since Anderson
does not clearly distinguish his use of “invasive” from conventional
In the lingo of wildlife management, “invasive” species are
those that thrive without human help. In Anderson’s use, “invasive”
species are often those who need the most human intervention to

Deep Ecology

Bohanec, a former campaign director for In Defense of Animals,
in The Ultimate Betrayal reflects mostly the values and philosophy of
the animal rights movement––which has, to be sure, long been
influenced by Deep Ecology.
Anderson, though long involved in animal rights issues,
appears to have been most influenced by Deep Ecology, and acknowledges
the contributions of leading Deep Ecologists to his thinking.
Central to the notion of Deep Ecology is the idea that humans
are the ultimate invasive species, whose presence invariably corrupts
ecological processes. Though presenting itself as science-based, Deep
Ecology has in common with creationism that it supposes technologically
capable humans somehow came to exist independent of normal evolution,
and did not co-evolve with the whole suite of species sharing our world
in an intertwined and inseparable manner.
We are, in short, guilty of Original Sin just by existing.
Planet Earth, Deep Ecologists tend to believe, would be healthier
without us.
This sounds more like a set of medieval theological constructs
than a post-Darwnian viewpoint because it is. The intellectual history
of Deep Ecology traces back to Teutonic Naturism, which originated
several generations before Charles Darwin wrote On The Origin of
Teutonic Naturism was initially the horrified response of the
educated members of the northern European landed gentry to the rise of
the Industrial Revolution. The coming of industrialization jeopardized
the political and economic pre-eminence of the hereditary nobility,
threatened their hunting preserves, and surrounded any stream that
could be dammed to build a mill with squalid shantytowns of day
laborers, recruited from near and far.
The landed gentry responded by enclosing the former “commons,”
as the fields and forests formerly open to anyone’s use were called.
This was often rationalized as necessary to prevent overgrazing and
deforestation, which were indeed occurring. Enclosure, however,
drove much of the peasantry off the land and into the factory workforce,
accelerating the pace of development.
The conservation movement rose as a forthrightly conservative
effort to protect the holdings of the landed gentry, especially hunting
preserves, even as many of the gentry lost their wealth, sold their
land, and moved into the rapidly expanding cities. The alliance of
consumptive wildlife use with preservationism eventually morphed into
the environmental movement of today. Not surprisingly, the “green”
shibboleths about land use and biodiversity largely predate and have
bypassed most of what we should have learned during the past 150 years
about the nature of evolution, the inevitability of change, and the
adaptability of life to circumstance.

Garrett Hardin

More-or-less marking the transition of the traditional
conservation cause into the much differently packaged but fundamentally
similar environmental cause of today was the 1968 publication of Tragedy
of the Commons, by Garrett Hardin. Harking back to the very beginnings
of conservationism, Hardin rewrapped for the Baby Boom generation the
ancient anxiety of the landed gentry about the proliferation and
encroachment of the proletariat, and made it ours.
Anderson twice quotes what may be Hardin’s most famous
statement: “The only way we can preserve and nurture other and more
precious freedoms is by relinquishing the freedom to breed, and that
very soon.”
Only if Hardin meant that statement in evolutionary time does it
really hold up. The world human population in 1968 was only 3.6
billion, half of the present number. Yet far fewer people are
suffering food insecurity and critical resource shortages now than then.

One may argue, as enviros often do, that gains on behalf of
humans have been won only at the expense of animals and habitat, and
indeed, wildlife and habitat have taken woeful hits throughout Africa,
Asia, and much of Latin America. The oceans have been depleted to an
even greater extent. Farmed animals have been appallingly exploited on
all continents, in numbers not only unimagined in 1968 but ecologically
impossible, as we then understood agricultural potential.
On the other hand, Europe and North America now have not only
more than twice as many humans as in 1968, but also more large wildlife
and more forested land than at any time since the Industrial Revolution.
With remarkable rapidity, we are finding ways to share our habitat
with other species, and there is reason to believe that what we have
learned will become part of the ecological philosophy of Africa, Asia,
and Latin America too, as more people in those parts of the world gain
an education and escape from economic desperation.
While finding Anderson’s arguments, and Bohanec’s too,
often much less persuasive than they might imagine, I doubt that our
ecologically significant values and practices in daily life differ in
more than trivial detail. Among Anderson’s summaries of tenets we all
hold are, on page 279 of This Is Hope: “We need wildlife management
agencies that will create honest relationships between us and all other
species. Honest relationships start with individuals.” And, on page
321: “We could use a world where there is less violence. Veganism
accomplishes that; carnism defeats it.”
But on page 361 Anderson appears to unwittingly summarize why
neither This Is Hope nor The Ultimate Betrayal seem likely to reach and
influence anyone other than those who already feel as Anderson and
Bohanec do: “If you are not already vegan for environmental and moral
reasons, you and I go through each day seeing different things. If you
are intent on having several children, we do not see the same future.”
This strikes me as a statement much like 2012 Republican
presidential candidate Mitt Romney writing off 47% of the U.S.
electorate before his campaign really started.
Convincing arguments begin with shared visions and values.

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New draft Egyptian constitution guarantees “protection of animal welfare” Fri, 01 Nov 2013 22:09:09 +0000

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2013:

CAIRO––The 50-member constituent assembly responsible for
establishing the new Egyptian constitution has included recognition of
animal welfare in Article 45 of a redraft that is expected to be
ratified in early 2014.
Announcing the inclusion of the animal welfare clause on
December 1, 2013, Cairo animal advocate Dina Zulfikar forwarded two
different translations of Article 45 from the Arabic original,
diverging in idiom but parallel in apparent intent.

In synthesis, the first sentence recognizes the obligation of
the Egyptian government to protect seas, beaches, lakes, waterways,
and “natural protectorates.” The second sentence prohibits
pollution, economic use of protected resources that are “incompatible
with nature” and the right of every citizen to enjoy the benefits of
the natural environment. The third sentence “guarantees the
protection and development of urban green space,” the maintenance of
biodiversity including protection of endangered and threatened species,
and the protection of animal welfare, “all as regulated by law.”
Zulfikar thanked the Brooke Hospital for Animals, operating in
Cairo since 1935, the Society of Friends of Historical & Public
Gardens, Protectorates Society of Egypt vice president Samer El Mofty,
coalitions of environmentalists, and ANIMAL PEOPLE, among others, for
contributions leading up to the inclusion of constitutional Article 45.
Zulfikar herself set the process of adding animal welfare to the
Egyptian constitution in motion on October 20, 2012 by standing in
front of the headquarters of the then ruling Shura Council in Cairo with
signs quoting the Quran of Sorat Al Anaam, verse 6:38: “There is
not an animal moving in the earth nor a bird flying on its wings, but
they are a nation like you.”
Zulfikar asked the Shura Council to include in the version of
the Egyptian constitution that was then being drafted a clause to the
effect that “Egypt recognizes animals as sentient beings deserving of
merciful treatment.”
Following her solo demonstration, Zulfikar and fellow Cairo
animal advocate Radwa Rabei organized a 15-member expert committee to
recommend language to the Shura Council. Activist Donia Nasser
conducted a Facebook poll, allowing respondents to choose among 13
different phrases offered by the committee members.
But the 2012 constitution, signed into law by then-President
Mohamed Morsi on December 26, 2012, did not recognize either animal
sentience or animal welfare.
After the 2012 constitution was suspended by the Egyptian army
on July 3, 2013, Zulfikar and other animal advocates dusted off their
recommendations and tried again.
A pivotal moment came on October 10, 2013, when Society for
Protecting Animal Rights in Egypt founder Amina Tharwat Abaza accepted
an invitation to participate in hearings about proposed constitutional
protections of women and children from violence and abuse.
Abaza emphasized in her testimony how tolerating violence toward
animals inculcates violence against people.
“At the conclusion of my speech, contrary to my expectation
of being ridiculed, the attendees were extremely impressed and
thundering applause gave me a deep sense of enthusiasm. Sameh Ashour,
president of the lawyers’ syndicate, was very supportive throughout,”
Abaza posted afterward.
With animal welfare constitutionally recognized, “The
government should establish the animal welfare legislation we have
previously submitted to comply with the new constitution. We believe
this is a few steps forward for animal welfare in Egypt,” said
Egyptian Society of Animal Friends chair Ahmed El Sherbiny.
Meanwhile, El Sherbiny said, “The Minister of the Academy of
Scientific Research & Technology has formatted a committee by a
ministerial decree to establish rules and regulations relating to using
alternatives for experiments on animals. This committee is not looking
to end experiments on animals now,” El Sherbiny added, “but rather
to control the experiments. Of course, the long-term goal would be to
end experiments on live animals if possible, even to use alternatives.
We consider forming of this committee a definite step forward to a new
era for animal welfare.”

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Farm Sanctuary names new executive director Fri, 01 Nov 2013 22:07:53 +0000

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2013:


WATKINS GLEN, N.Y.––Farm Sanctuary president Gene Baur on
December 16, 2013 introduced Harry P. “Hank” Lynch as new Farm
Sanctuary executive director and chief executive officer. Lynch
formerly held the same positions at the National Maritime Center in
Norfolk, Virginia, following 12 years as president and CEO at Stan
Hywet Hall & Gardens. Built as the private estate of Goodyear Tire &
Rubber Company founder F.A. Seiberling, the estate has been operated
since 1957 as a nonprofit tourist attraction.
Lynch succeeds Allan E. Kornberg, M.D., a vegan pediatrician
who served as Farm Sanctuary executive director 2009-2012. Kornberg has
returned to medical practice.

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Transition in Tampa Fri, 01 Nov 2013 22:06:46 +0000

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2013:


Ian Hallett, director of Hillsborough County Animal Services
in Tampa, Florida since May 2012, was transferred on December 2, 2013
to a management post within the county parks, recreation and
conservation department. Hallett was succeeded on an interim basis by
Hillsborough County code enforcement director Dexter Barge. Previously
deputy director of the Austin Animal Center in Texas, Hallett was hired
in the expectation that he would help Hillsborough County to achieve
no-kill animal control. Instead, Hallett ran into “a string of
problems at the animal shelter,” recounted Mike Salierno of the Tampa
Tribune, including “two disease outbreaks, animals killed who should
not have been, and scathing audits by outside experts.”

Contributing to the disease outbreaks was obsolescent shelter
design, enabling either airborne or waterborne pathogens to easily
spread throughout the building.
Hallett also came under criticism for failing to implement a
neuter/return program for feral cats. Approved in principle in May 2013
by the Hillsborough county commissioners, the program could not advance
without amendments to the county animal control ordinance. Hearings on
the proposed amendments were scheduled for December 18, 2013. The
introduction of neuter/return is opposed by the Hillsborough Animal
Health Foundation, Hillsborough County Veterinary Medical Society, and
Florida Veterinary Medical Association.

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New director in Portsmouth Fri, 01 Nov 2013 22:02:12 +0000

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2013:


Ann Pitts, formerly development director for the Animal Defense
League of Texas in San Antonio, on October 14, 2013 succeeded Jenn
Austin as executive director of the Portsmouth Humane Society, of
Portsmouth, Virginia. Austin was fired on October 10, 2013 after the
society was fined $1,250 by the Virginia Department of Agriculture &
Consumer Services for releasing sterilized feral cats in violation of
the interpretation of current Virginia attorney general Kenneth T.
Cuccinelli II that neuter/return violates a provision of state law
providing that “No person shall abandon or dump any animal.”

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Intervention saves Bahamian street dog sterilization project Fri, 01 Nov 2013 21:59:46 +0000

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2013:


NASSAU, Bahamas––Veterinary protectionism nearly killed a
planned Bahamian street dog sterilization drive called Operation Potcake
2014, but intensive exposure by the Nassau Tribune and intervention by
prime minister Perry Christie appear to have saved it.
The international dog and cat sterilization charity Animal
Balance, the Veterinary Medical Association of the Bahamas, and the
Bahamas Humane Society on December 5, 2013 jointly announced that
Operation Potcake 2014 will proceed in January as originally scheduled.
Street dogs are called “potcakes” in the Bahamas and
elsewhere on English-speaking Caribbean islands after their habit of
licking caked peas and rice from the bottoms of food containers.
Operation Potcake debuted as a ten-day sterilization campaign
organized by Animal Balance on New Providence Island in January 2013.

“The goal was to sterilize 2,000 animals over the ten days,”
recalled Animal Balance founder Emma Clifford, who has directed
similar campaigns on islands from the Galapagos to Cape Verde since
2004. “Halfway through the campaign we had to make a plea for more
funds, as our five clinics were working so hard and so efficiently that
they were running seriously low on medicines. Our supporters kindly
came through. We ended the campaign having sterilized 2,315 dogs.”
The planned five-day follow-up, however, “was sunk,”
wrote Nassau Tribune reporter Krisna Virgil, “because the Veterinary
Medical Association of the Bahamas blocked the entry of foreign
volunteers set to donate their time and skills.”
Clifford appealed to prime minister Christie, who had publicly
praised Operation Potcake 2013, to help ensure that the follow-up would
be done.
“It’s nothing to do with the government,” Bahamian
agriculture minister V. Alfred Gray said. “It’s about the foreign
vets not wanting to have a problem with the local vets who object. It
seems to me that if the local vets are objecting to the foreigners
coming in to assist with the spay/neutering program,” Grey added,
“they should pick up the slack and give something back to their
“The local vets said they would undertake the project
themselves,” Virgil recounted, “but could only do so over three
days and for $50 per surgery––a price the non-profit organisers say
they cannot afford.”
After a week of Facebook fury over the reported cancellation of
Operation Potcake 2014, the Veterinary Medical Association of the
Bahamas on December 3, 2013 issued a statement attributing the
situation to “misunderstandings and unfortunate lack of
The statement cited past local veterinary cooperation with
government-led pet sterilization programs in Bimini, Exuma, Inagua,
and San Salvador, and with the Bahamian charity Eleuthera Animal
As part of the negotiations that saved Operation Potcake 2014,
the participants said, an Operation Potcake Steering Committee was
formed, to include the four members of the Veterinary Medical
Association of the Bahamas executive committee, the president of the
Bahamas Humane Society, the president of the local dog charity Baark!,
and two additional animal welfare representatives.

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Board-level hunter influence and allegations of mismanagement afflict the 143-year-old Cork SPCA Fri, 01 Nov 2013 21:57:33 +0000

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2013:


CORK, Ireland––The Cork SPCA, one of the oldest in
Ireland, has thanked the pro-hunting Irish Working Terrier Federation
for an August 2013 donation of dog food, and apologized to the
federation for deleting a public thanks on Facebook.
“Unfortunately the post thanking the federation had to be
withdrawn after concerted pressure from a vocal ‘Anti’ minority (the
Irish Taliban),” recounted the Irish Working Terrier Federation web

Founded in 1870, “The Cork SPCA is not affiliated with the
Irish SPCA,” clarified the Irish Council Against Blood Sports
newsletter Animal Voice. The Irish SPCA Policy on Wild Animals states
that it is, ‘in principle, opposed to the taking or killing of wild
animals, or the infliction of any suffering on them. This includes the
hunting, taking and killing of wild animals for the purposes of
sport…The Society opposes foxhunting, live hare coursing, stag
hunting, and otter hunting. The Society particularly opposes ‘sports’
which involve the blocking of earths or the digging out of animals who
have gone to ground.’”
“Two governing committee members of the Cork SPCA are fox and
mink hunting enthusiasts,” the Cork Evening Echo revealed on June 26,
2012. “Committee member Brian McDonagh and public relations officer
Chris Connolly used to also go otter hunting before it became illegal in
1990. McDonagh still goes fox hunting with beagles and hounds, and mink
hunting with hounds.”
“I am interested in working dogs and that is how I got
involved in the Cork SPCA,” said McDonagh.
“I had to give up hunting five years ago for health reasons
but I am proud of my past. I hunted for 30 years and used to keep hounds
in my garden where I had 70 kennels,” said Connolly.
The Cork Evening Echo exposed the hunting connection on the same
day that the Irish Examiner reported that the Cork County Veterinary
Department had given the Cork SPCA three months to make significant
changes in almost every aspect of operations.
Housing animals impounded by Cork animal control, the Cork SPCA
was found by April and June 2012 inspections to have “a number of
deficiencies in relation to the Control of Dogs Act,” the Irish
Examiner said.
The required changes included appointing an executive director,
developing a building management and improvement plan, clarifying the
roles of board members with regard to staff management, producing
procedural manuals for staff, and developing plans for fundraising,
financial management, managing communications, doing public education,
and recruiting volunteers.
The Cork SPCA web site and Facebook page as of December 2013
showed some use of volunteers in making physical improvements to the
kennels since June 2012, but make no mention of administrative changes
and omitted any identification of board members and management.
The Friends of Animals in the Cork SPCA Facebook page meanwhile
indicated that many of the required changes have not been made.
Control of Dogs Act statistics released in mid-2013 showed that
of 107 dogs who died from “natural causes” in the 34 Irish shelters
inspected under the act, 49 died at the Cork SPCA.

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Mutilated for Your Viewing Pleasure Fri, 01 Nov 2013 21:55:12 +0000

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2013:

Mutilated for your viewing pleasure: Pinioning birds in English zoos
Captive Animals’ Protection Soc. (P.O. Box 540, Salford, MS ODS,
U.K.), 2013. Free download from <>

“In zoos and wildlife parks up and down the country,
thousands of birds stand in large open enclosures, serenely surveying
their surroundings…The occasional flurry of wings flapping is seen,
but strangely none of the birds take flight. Are these birds simply
content with their surroundings, choosing to stay conveniently within
the boundaries of the zoo? Do they fly away at times and simply choose
to return, safe in the knowledge they will find food in abundance and
familiar flock mates? Is it a deep connection to their keepers that
stops them from taking to the air? Or is it something else that holds
these birds in the unnatural environment of a zoo?

“Look closely as wings are spread and you will find the
answer,” Mutilated for your viewing pleasure opens.
In truth, wading birds on exhibition at zoos and wildlife parks
worldwide have usually been pinioned. “The process of pinioning
involves the cutting of one wing at the carpel joint, thereby removing
the basis from which the primary feathers grow. This makes the bird
permanently incapable of flight,” Mutilated for your viewing
pleasure explains on page two.
Pinioning, according to this description, is procedurally
similar to declawing cats. It is illegal, the Captive Animals’
Protection Society argues, if done to farmed fowl in the United
Kingdom, and is illegal if done to any bird in Estonia, Italy,
Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.
Yet pinioning is practically unquestioned anywhere else.
In just six succinct pages, CAPS outlines the case against
pinioning. The main counter-argument is that pinioning allows captive
water birds to enjoy more freedom than would otherwise be practical for
exhibition facilities, especially when exhibiting birds of species that
might be considered “invasive” and be exterminated if they escaped.
CAPS responds that animals, including birds, should not be kept for
exhibition in the first place. Many and perhaps most animal advocates
agree, but zoos are unlikely to soon give up their collections.
Meanwhile, though most activists have probably never heard of
it, the practice of pinioning seems to be at least worthy of further

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BOOKS: Why Dogs Hump and Bees Get Depressed Fri, 01 Nov 2013 21:43:43 +0000

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2013:

Why Dogs Hump and Bees Get Depressed
by Marc Bekoff
New World Library (14 Pamaron Way, Novato, CA 94949), 2013. 381
pages, paperback. $15.95

On a breezy spring night at the dog park, your faithful
neutered friend humps a stranger’s dog––perhaps a female, perhaps
another male. Embarrassed, you race over, pulling away a bewildered
Rover and wondering why it happened. Humping, also known as mounting,
is a normal canine behavior, studied inconclusively by various
researchers for about as long as anyone has investigated dog psychology.

Says Marc Bekoff, “There isn’t a single explanation for mounting or
humping.” Dogs hump, he suggests, basically because they can.
The title questions get about six pages between them, amid many
dozens of others, some revisited several times as Bekoff thinks them
through from different angles.
Bekoff, professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology
at the University of Colorado at Boulder, is author or co-author of
more than 800 scientific and popular essays and 25 books. Why Dogs Hump
and Bees Get Depressed assembles 105 fascinating short essays about
topics including dogs experiencing guilt, apes and violence, and
deaths at SeaWorld. Though dogs and great apes are the species
mentioned most often, Bekoff discusses practically every animal
familiar to humans at least once, along with some animals hardly anyone
knows about.
Do animals commit suicide? Bekoff contemplates the question,
concluding that we do not yet know enough to settle on a single
conclusive answer. Bekoff considers suggestions about whales
intentionally beaching themselves and stressed elephants jumping over
cliffs. After one of Bekoff’s lectures about animal grief, audience
member Cathy Manning told him about a burro who gave birth to an
unviable foal. Manning watched the burro walk into a lake, where she
drowned herself. Bekoff says the burro story caused him to rethink
animals and suicide. He hopes for more lively discussion and research
in this compelling area. I do, too.
Animals are sentient beings who often selflessly serve us, but
humans do not always return their loyalty and kindness. Bekoff writes,
for instance, about Bill and Lou, two oxen who worked as a team for
ten years at Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont. After Lou
became lame, Green Mountain College officials in mid-2012 announced
both would be slaughtered and fed to students. Heated local protest
soon went viral through electronic media. Lou was killed anyhow in
November 2012. Bill was believed to be still alive in March 2013, but
at last report had not been seen in nine months. “There are many
ethical lessons here for those who teach humane and compassionate
education,” says Bekoff.
Late in the book Bekoff offers ten essays arguing that humans
should not eat animals, including “My Beef with Temple Grandin:
Seemingly Humane Isn’t Enough.” Bekoff and humane livestock
handling expert Grandin are longtime Colorado State University faculty
colleagues, and on friendly terms, but they have one fundamental
“Does Temple Grandin actually make the lives of factory farmed
animals better because they are treated in a more humane way because of
her research?” Bekoff asks. “I think, to be fair, that perhaps
some animals––likely a tiny fraction of the animals who go to
slaughter––may have slightly better lives than they otherwise would,
but let’s face it, no animal who winds up in the factory farm
production line has a good or even moderately good life, one that we
would allow our dogs and cats to experience…So, ‘slightly better’
isn’t ‘good enough’ and I’d like to see Grandin encourage people
to stop eating factory farmed animals and call attention to the fact
that none of the ways in which they are currently treated even borders
on what should be acceptable and humane.”
Bekoff describes his encounters with wildlife including pumas
and bears near his home in rural Colorado, and his mostly successful
efforts to teach neighbors about avoiding conflict with problematic and
dangerous animals. He points out in “Recreational Hunting: Would You
Kill Your Dog for Fun?” that wild animals are as sentient, capable of
suffering, and worthy of moral consideration as our pets. Bekoff also
recommends, as ANIMAL PEOPLE often has, that driver education classes
should include species-specific instruction on roadkill avoidance.
Several essays question the ethics of wildlife management,
including “Using Hamsters to Save Ferrets: the Need for Compassionate
Bekoff’s concluding essays, “Conservation Works” and
“Rewilding Our Hearts,” emphasize the importance of optimism.
“In addition to being proactive,” Bekoff writes, “we
need to be positive and exit the stifling vortex of negativity once and
for all. Negativity is a time and energy bandit, and it depletes us of
the energy we need to move on. We don’t get anywhere dwelling in
anguish, sorrow, and despair.” ––Debra J. White

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BOOKS: Paw Prints at Owl Cottage Fri, 01 Nov 2013 21:42:02 +0000

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2013:

Paw Prints at Owl Cottage
by Denis O’Connor
St. Martin’s Press (c/o MacMillan, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY
10010), 2013.
232 pages, hardcover. $19.99.

Denis O’Connor, retired from a career in academia,
established himself as an author of best-selling cat stories in the
United Kingdom first, with Paw Tracks in the Moonlight (2009), about
his rescued cat Toby Jug, who died in 1978, and then Paw Tracks at Owl
Cottage, concerning the cats O’Connor and his wife have kept since
reacquiring the house where O’Connor lived with Toby Jug.

Substituting the word “prints” for “tracks” in the
titles, O’Connor brought his first cat story to the U.S. successfully
in 2012, and, as in the U.K., now follows with the sequel.
From a humane perspective, unfortunately, O’Connor’s
growing popularity may be viewed with alarm.
Paw Prints at Owl Cottage bills itself in a cover blurb as “four
kittens, a crumbling English cottage, one touching tale of life in
the British countryside.” The four kittens are all purebred Maine
coons purchased from a well-known breeder. O’Connor writes with joy
and affection of the cats––Pablo, Max, Luis and Carlos––and
devotedly provides them with love, food, veterinary care, and
grooming, which longhaired Maine coons tend to need more than most
other cats.
However, O’Connor balked at neutering the first of his cats,
the free-roaming Pablo. “I hated to do that to him,” O’Connor
says. Undoubtedly Pablo contributed to creating unwanted litters. But
when O’Connor added to his feline family he never considered adopting
a homeless half-Maine coon from a shelter or cat rescue society.
Carlos, O’Connor’s second Maine coon, was neutered and
micro-chipped, but was also allowed to wander. A neighbor found
Carlos’ roadkilled remains a week after he disappeared.
After that, O’Connor built a protective enclosure for his
other cats, enabling them to enjoy the outdoors without roaming.
The cat stories in Paw Prints at Owl Cottage are delightful,
and the book illuminates the special bond between O’Connor and his
cats, but O’Connor is so slow to learn responsible cat caretaking,
and so ambivalent about the lessons that the book cannot be said to have
much instructive value. ––Debra J. White

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