Fixing the street dog problem in Costa Rica by Herb Morrison

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2000:

ALAJUELA, Costa Rica––Dawn and Sid Scott, immigrants to Costa Rica from Chicago, have seen the tough side of Guanacaste from ground level, traveling the poorly maintained roads of this northwestern province to round up dogs for veterinary care at frequent intervals since mid-1998. They have sterilized more than 225 dogs at their own expense, paying about $20 U.S. per surgery.

Most dogs they meet belong to human families but live outside. Though Costa Rica has had no canine rabies since 1987, dogs commonly suffer from mange, internal parasites, and distemper. National veterinary licensing board member Gerardo Vicente, DVM, estimates that only about a third of the half million dogs in Costa Rica are given proper medical care. Most receive food but little else.

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LETTERS [June 2000]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2000:

Zimbabwe crisis

The Wet Nose Animal Rescue Centre has formed a fund to help the Zimbabwe National SPCA in their fight against cruelty to animals left on the farms of fleeing white farmers. So-called freedom fighters are reportedly invading these farms, hacking dogs with pangas and cutting meat from live animals who are left to die slowly.

Vicious beatings of dogs were broadcast by ETV and CNN on April 21. We offer these updates on those dogs’ condition, furnished by Meryl Harrison of the Zimbabwe National SPCA:

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Editorial: Small primates on a limb

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2000:

“Culture,” says the National Geographic Desk Reference, “provides the identity that links members of one society together and can also divide those members from other cultures.” In other words, culture is the learned behavior that separates the sheep from the goats, and also determines in which order the sheep and goats march. Culture could be defined as a collective term for the variety of social, economic, and political methods that humans use to form and maintain what we would recognize in other species as a dominance hierarchy.

Culturally entrenched cruelties resist abolition because the evolution of culture itself is often driven by the motives underlying the cruelty, so much so that the whole cultural selfidentification of some societies becomes preoccupied with establishing who may abuse whom. The more basic the society, meaning the most absorbed in constant struggle for both personal and collective survival, the more likely it is to be organized around “might makes right,” like a tribe of chimpanzees––and the more likely the culture of the society will consist chiefly of activities meant to remind members of their rank. The hazing practiced by social clubs and athletic teams serves such a purpose, for example, and is seldom far removed from cruelty because it is central to a culture whose whole purpose is defining the dominance of the incrowd or the winners, and excluding others from the exhalted inner circle.

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Golf: Facing nature with a club

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2000:

SEAL BEACH, AUBURN, SANTA BARBARA, California; LAKEWOOD, Colorado––Already poisoning cottontail rabbits at the Leisure World golf course in Seal Beach, the exterminating firm California Agri-Control in early May asked the Seal Beach Police Department for permission to shoot rabbits as well. Seal Beach police chief Mike Sellers on May 9 refused to waive the city policy against firing guns within city limits––which meant that the poisoning would continue.

In Defense of Animals offered to relocate the rabbits to a privately owned 40-acre site near Lake Elsinore, without much hope that the offer would be accepted.

“In 1992, an offer to relocate rabbits” from Leisure World “was rejected by the California Department of Fish and Game,” IDA representative Bill Dyer said. “Yet for $40,000, the cost of building one green” claimed by Leisure World, “all of the rabbits could be trapped, sterilized, and released.”

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HUMAN OBITUARIES

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2000:

Ronald Lockley, 96, died on April 12 in Auckland, New Zealand. Lockley did his first nature study while recovering from appendicitis at age 19, but only began to make it his career after he and his first wife Doris tried to raise chinchillas for fur on an offshore island in 1926, failing because they couldn’t catch any. Stuck with a 21-year lease on the island, Lockley wrote the first three of his more than 60 successful nature books plus the screenplay for the 1934 Academy Award-winning documentary T h e Private Life of the Gannet. Lockley’s opus, however, was The Private Life of the Rabbit (1964), acknowledged by Richard Adams as the factual reference which enabled him to write his 1972 best-selling novel W a t e r s h i p Down. Lockley emigrated to New Zealand in 1977 with his third wife, after arranging for his former island home and an estate he later owned on the mainland to become nature reserves. Adams in later life became a curmudgeonly rabbit-hater, but Lockley was last in the public eye as an outspoken critic of the release of rabbit calicivirus to reduce the New Zealand feral rabbit population. It was needlessly cruel, he said, and would not lastingly lower the numbers of rabbits.

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ANIMAL OBITUARIES

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2000:

Bart the Bear, 23, the 9’6”, 1,500-pound ursine star of more than a dozen Hollywood films, was euthanized on May 10 after a two-year bout with cancer. Bart appeared in Windwalker, The Edge, White Fang, The Bear, The Great Outdoors, and Legends of the Fall, performing especially well with Anthony Hopkins, said to trainers Lynne and Richard Seus, who bought him from a zoo as a five-pound cub in 1978.

Michael, 27, male companion of Koko the signing gorilla at the Gorilla Foundation in Woodside, California, died on April 19 from a sudden heart attack. Like Koko, Michael learned and used American Sign Language, but was better known for his painting. Born in the Cameroun, he was acquired by language researcher Francine Patterson in 1976 as a potential mate for Koko––but though they became close friends, Koko rejected him as a suitor.

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Prakash Shah–– martyr for cattle

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2000:

RAJPUR, Gujarat, India– – Prakash Amrutlal Shah, 28, an anti-cattle slaughter activist for eight years, was fatally bludgeoned on April 2, allegedly by three butchers who ambushed Shah with staves as he walked from his home in Rajpur, Gujarat, to the p i n j a r a p o l e (cow shelter) in nearby Disa. Found by a passer-by, Shah reportedly identified his attackers to local police, who arrested two suspects but told the newspaper G u j a r a t Samachar that they had lost Shah’s statement.

”Prakash Shah died on April 10 at Shrye Hospital in Ahmendabad,” said Gujarat Samachar. “Thousands of people attended his cremation,” including representatives of the Viniyog Parivar Trust. The Trust sponsors many individuals who like Shah fight illegal cattle slaughter and export with little more than copies of the Indian Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and hope for reincarnation.

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BOOKS: Rabbit Handbook

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2000:

Rabbit Handbook:
A Family Guide to Buying,
Keeping & Breeding Rabbits
by David Taylor, BVMS, FRCVS, FVS
Sterling Publishing Co., Ltd.
(387 Park Ave. South, New York, NY 10016), 2000.
96 pages (all with color photos), paperback; $12.95

Every other guide to rabbit-rearing that I have ever seen, including several bad examples kept on file here, emphasizes the fecundity of rabbits, their limited space needs, and their inexpensive diet as an opportunity to get rich quick–– or at least win a 4-H ribbon––by raising them for meat.

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Lab to be charged

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2000:

CAPE TOWN, S.A.––S o u t h African National SPCA senior inspector Neil Fraser told reporters in mid-May that cruelty charges would be brought against Centre in Africa of Primatological Experimentation director Marc BaillyMaistre for allowing 30 baboons and vervets to starve at his facility, described by Fiona Macleod of the Johannesburg Mail & Guardian as having “shadowy links with the military.” Seven starving wild-caught baboons were euthanized, a decade after 122 baboons were euthanized at CAPE for similar reasons by National Council of SPCAs staff.

According to Macleod, CAPE operates from government land and “was allegedly set up as a front for the former South African Defence Force. CAPE has also been linked,” she wrote, “to the notorious Roodeplates Research Laboratory near Pretoria, where the SADF conducted biological and chemical experiments.”

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