LETTERS [Nov. 1993]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 1993:

Hunter education
When I speak to groups regarding hunting, I utilize a technique I
learned from Bernie Rollin. Using a chalkboard or something similar, I
ask participants to tell me why they like to hunt. Comments like, “I like to
be in the woods,” “I like spending time with my friends,” and “I like the
solitude of the forest early in the morning” are duly recorded. Of course
no one initially says, “Because I like to kill things.”
Once the list is complete, I point out that I, too, enjoy the
things mentioned, but my enjoyment is complete without the addition of a
weapon. We then proceed to the point where the issues of power and
killing are raised. I am always amazed at how someone in the group will
eventually say something like, “I guess the real reason I like to hunt is that
I like the rush I get when I pull the trigger.” And they sound faintly sur-
prised, as if the thought never occurred to them before. Then they ask,
“Is that wrong?” My answer is generally along the lines of, “I guess that’s
something you’ll have to decide for yourself.”

––Vicki Crosetti, Executive Director
Knox County Humane Society, Knoxville, Tennessee
Rabies
The article entitled “Girl’s
death due to bat rabies in your
October edition was most informa-
tive. I would, however, like to cor-
rect one error. Raccoon rabies,
caused by the mid-Atlantic strain of
rabies virus, has never occurred in
Ontario, Canada, nor have oral
rabies vaccines ever been used in
Canada for raccoons. On the other
hand, foxes have been very success-
fully vaccinated orally in a n 18,000-
square-mile area covering 12 coun-
ties in Eastern Ontario, resulting in
virtual elimination of rabies in those
counties.
––Arthur B. King, DVM
District Veterinarian
Fort Erie District Office
Agriculture Canada
We were misinformed by a
source within the New York
Department of Environmental
Conservation. Rabid raccoons were
discovered in Toronto, Ontario, in
1985. Over the next five years, the
city caught, immunized, and
released hundreds of raccoons,
using injections of Imrab, the same
vaccine long used to immunize dogs,
cats, cattle, horses, and sheep.
The Toronto program was rated
98% effective; the spread of rabies
was virtually halted. Press accounts
linked the Toronto outbreak to the
mid-Atlantic raccoon rabies pan
demic and theorized that accidental
ly translocated raccoons brought
the disease north. Apparently,
however, the Toronto outbreak
resulted from the Ontario fox rabies
virus briefly crossing into raccoons.
Hunter harassment
I was interested to see in
your September issue the comment
on page 16 under “Hunter
Harassment” that “Courts in
Connecticut and Wisconsin have
previously found [hunter harassment
laws] unconstitutional.”
Since I hadn’t heard about
this, I wrote to our Attorney General
and found out that in August 1991
the Court of Appeals held that the
statute, which is limited to physical
interference, is not unconstitutional,
thereby overturning the trial court
verdict.
It is interesting that the
citation issued by the Wisconsin
Department of Resources was for the
act of preventing Indians from
launching a boat to fish. The hunter
harassment came from persons who
resented the exceptions granted to
Indians to spear fish out of season.
––Romey Schoendinger, Secretary
Wisc. Federated Humane Societies
Delafield, Wisconsin
Thanks for the correction.
We were unaware the Wisconsin
lower court ruling, which the Fund
for Animals continues to cite, had
been appealed. Since we published
the item you saw, three more states,
for a total of 46, have passed hunter
harassment legislation; the last
holdouts are Alabama, Nebraska,
and Hawaii. Five years ago, when
the Fund for Animals adopted hunter
harassment as a campaign tactic,
only four states had hunter harass
ment laws––and the National Rifle
Association has picked up close to
half a million members by advertis
ing its opposition to hunter harass
ment in hook-and-bullet magazines.
Growth by division
I am writing to expand on
your listing under the heading
“Growth by division” in your
September issue.
About 45 years ago, the
American Humane Association
failed to respond to the member-
ship’s efforts to oppose legislation
which enabled biomedical research
institutions to seize animals from
shelters. This became a major fight,
resulting in the founding of the
Animal Welfare Institute, the
National Catholic Society for
Animal Welfare (now the
International Society for Animal
Rights), and the National Humane
Society. The AHA threatened to sue
the latter because AHA’s magazine
was called the National Humane
Review. The National Humane
Society therefore changed its name
to the Humane Society of the U.S.
The American SPCA was
a leading member of the AHA,
which, following the passage of the
Hatch-Metcalf Act, sent dogs and
cats from its shelters to laboratories.
The AWI strongly opposed the
release of animals to laboratories by
the ASPCA. Even the most blatant
abuses, including extreme filth,
cramped cages from which the ani-
mals were never released for exer-
cise, and other failures of minimal
animal husbandry went unnoticed by
any inspectors the ASPCA sent to
laboratories, despite the fact that
they were authorized to insist upon
humane standards in the care of the
animals the ASPCA released.
It is important to note that
both the ASPCA and AHA now
have entirely different policies than
they did when AWI, HSUS, and
NCSAW were founded.
There was a split within
HSUS in 1974 when Cleveland
Amory, who had formerly been on
the HSUS board of directors, found-
ed the Fund for Animals.
I hope this will be helpful
to you and your readers. If you need
any additional details, I will be
happy to supply them.
––Christine Stevens, President
Animal Welfare Institute
Washington, D.C.
Addresses wanted
As a subscriber to ANI-
MAL PEOPLE, I am deeply con-
cerned that you do not list addresses
where to write in protest of things
going on that are detrimental to ani-
mals. Yes, you report the news, but
that’s it. We can’t help the animals if
you don’t give us the ammunition
(addresses) to help. Oh, you may
list an address for one or two articles,
but that’s all. I want to take action
and write letters, but I feel helpless
when I don’t know where to write.
––Christine Ostopoff
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Identifying targets for let
ter-writing is properly the job of
advocacy groups, not of news
media. We tell you who’s responsi
ble for particular situations, and
provide factual background to
inform your letter-writing; we also
publish addresses when advocacy
groups have started letter cam
paigns, thereby becoming part of the
news item. However, to initiate
campaigns would compromise our
ability to do our job, which includes
gathering perspective by talking to
people on all sides of controversial
issues. People who don’t talk to
advocacy groups often respond to
our questions, because it is under
stood that we adhere to standard
journalistic ethics. They would
understandably be a lot less cooper
ative if we gained a reputation for
partisanship––and you would be less
well informed in consequence.
There is, by the way, an
excellent publication that specializes
in providing addresses for letter-
writing: Bunny Huggers’ Gazette,
$13/year, POB 601, Temple, TX
76503. We’re sure editor J.D.
Jackson will agree that letter-writing
activists can’t do without either BHG
or ANIMAL PEOPLE.
Cat regulation
“Pet overpopulation” is
mostly mythical. What we have is
cat overpopulation, due in large part
to the refusal of animal control agen-
cies to regulate cats to the extent that
they regulate dogs. Higher birthrates
should mean equal or more restric-
tive regulation. Mandatory neutering
is meaningless without a prohibition
on running at large.
––Ron Burch
Animal Control Officer
Adams City, Colorado
Kafka
Thank you for a very fine
publication. I read every word of
each issue and then pass it on. As I
am also an admirer of Franz Kafka,
I thought I would call to your atten-
tion an error in the review of The
Chicken Gave It To Me, published
in your October issue. Franz Kafka
died in 1924 at age 41. His novella
The Metamorphosis was published in
1915; the date in your review,
1937, is not correct.
––Mary Kramer
Ridgewood, New York
We inadvertantly gave the
date of publication of the first
English translation.
Deer overpopulation
Media reports that deer
overpopulation is caused by restric-
tions on hunting really fry me. Can
you think of a way for us to put
together a list of biologists and
wildlife experts who aren’t Division
of Wildlife lackeys? We really need
to push for balance in the media.
Reporters need non-Division experts
to call, preferably a person or two
from every state. We’d have to blan-
ket the country with this list of con-
tacts and convince the media to use it
for the sake of balance, fairness, and
objectivity.
––Donna Robb
Medina, Ohio
We send ANIMAL PEO-
PLE free to more than 700 other
news media; thus at least 700 main
stream journalists saw our October
cover feature on how wildlife agen
cies create deer overpopulation by
managing the herds for maximum
yield. However, not one reporter
called for more information and/or
fresh quotes. At most mainstream
newspapers, stories about deer are
reflexively given to the staff hunting
writer, who is usually a columnist
rather than a reporter, is often a
volunteer from a local hunting club,
and whose perspective accordingly
excludes objectivity.
By contrast, a one-line
item in our September issue linking
a series of horse mutilations in
Maryland with similar attacks in
England was immediately picked up
and amplified by both the
Washington Post and People–
whose editorial boards include avid
riders.
Declawing, continued
I direct a small humane
society. We handle 6,000 to 7,000
animals per year, and have manda-
tory, free surgical alteration of all
adopted cats and dogs.
Believe me, I have
learned from my 22 years in
humane work that whether an adult
cat has been previously declawed
plays a big part in her being adopt-
ed. Frequently a prospective
adopter will first ask, “Have you
any declawed cats?” Rarely is a
declawed cat denied a second
chance in a new home. Adult cats
with claws are the most difficult to
place. So many people prefer a kit-
ten over an adult cat that an adult
cat must have some extra quality
not found in kittens to be chosen.
I am not in favor of
declawing, but if it will save a cat’s
life, then remove the claws. In my
home I have six cats with claws and
four who are declawed. My four
female Siamese were declawed at
the ages of seven and nine years
old, to prevent them from doing
any further injuries to my older cats.
Even at such a relatively advanced
age, three of them had no problems
and showed no signs of distress.
The fourth Siamese had discomfort
and walked on her hind legs for a
week. Guess what? The other cats
are still as afraid of the Siamese, as
are my two cocker spaniels.
I have two hanging
scratch posts and two standing posts.
The declawed Siamese use the posts
frequently. In fact, the cats with
claws rarely use the posts. The
declawed cats are the most surefoot-
ed and speediest of all my cats. And
yes, they are still the best climbers,
except for my male Siamese being
their equal.
As for protection, my cats
never go outdoors, and there is no
chance they will ever get out.
Anyone who says “I can’t stop
her/him from going out,” or “he
insists on going out” is full of bull.
None of my 10 cats have ever
escaped to the outdoors. I have had
people in and out and kids in and
out, but everyone realizes the cats’
safety is foremost important.
As far as “assuming a
tremendous responsibility when you
deprive a cat of her defenses,” (per
Priscilla Feral), if more people
would realize they are assuming a
tremendous responsibility with any
animal they have, 90% of all animal
care facilities would be gladly out of
business. But not everyone is con-
tent to live with scratched-up door
jambs or wallpaper, and if declaw-
ing will give a cat a chance for a
good home, I say go for it.
––Carol Konopacki
Humane Society of Hobart, Inc.
Hobart, Indiana
The Editor replies: I
guess I’m full of bull. I’ve had 10-25
neutered cats at a time for the past
16 years. Keeping most inside isn’t
difficult, but there are always the
escape artists, who learn to hide
beneath big dogs I’m taking in or
out; lurk near a door for hours for
the chance to bolt with cheetah-like
speed when I have my arms full of
something both fragile and heavy;
or like Catapuss, gnaw their way
through inch-thick wooden doors
and even metal screens, then dive a
story or two to the ground, only to
walk around to the front door and
yowl to be let in. I’ve learned not to
harshly judge those who “let” a cat
get out, because their sin is mine at
least once a week.
Another view
I wholeheartedly support
Friends of Animals president
Priscilla Feral’s position against
declawing. As someone who tries
to help find homes for homeless
cats, I see a tragic population out
there on the streets who have been
declawed. Because they are
defenseless, I’ve had to pay to have
many of them humanely eutha-
nized. Declawing is no guarantee
that heartless irresponsible people
will keep the felines. Declawing is
an amputation affecting cats in
many ways, mostly negative, I tell
people that if their furniture is more
valuable to them than their cat,
they should get a pet rock.
––Ana A. Garcia
Astoria, New York
Is Cleek a pimp?
I am still bothered by the
guest column “Don’t call me a
pimp,” by dog breeder Margaret
Anne Cleek, that you published in
September. I can’t imagine why you
would feel compelled to give a
forum to such a person. Surely your
readers would have preferred read-
ing about someone who rescues and
finds homes for abandoned animals.
––Linda Petrie
New York, New York
As her bio note explained,
Cleek is someone who rescues and
finds homes for abandoned ani
mals––part of the Malamute breed
rescue network.
I have read the guest col-
umn “Don’t call me a pimp” over
and over, trying to fathom such a
vicious attack on non-pedigreed ani-
mals and to understand your reason
for publishing her lengthy thesis
when we are trying to turn around
the image of the unwanted, inferior
animal roaming the streets and ulti-
mately dying in our pounds and
shelters for lack of a pedigree. To
Ms. Cleek, I respond without hesita-
tion, “no, we can’t talk. There are
no ideas for us to share while you
continue to create a market for and
perpetuate the myth of the genetical-
ly superior animal. The bumper
sticker ‘All Breeders Are Pimps’
remains.”
After this denigration of
shelter animals, as well as the
equally distressing “Proctor &
Gamble debate” in the same issue,
where your position in regard to
their diminishing use of animals in
product testing is made painfully
clear, I cancel my subscription.
––Anita L. Mackey
New Yorkers for
Companion Animals
We pointed out that
Proctor & Gamble has made more
progress toward eliminating animal
testing than any comparable corpo
ration, and has spent more money to
develop non-animal tests than all its
top competitors combined.
It has taken me two weeks
to re-read and attempt to respond to
“Don’t call me a pimp” by dog breed-
er Margaret Cleek, so angry was I
the first time around. Reading it a
second time I feel even angrier and
more disgusted, for I realize that to
answer this two-page spread of out-
right lies, distortions, propaganda,
subterfuge, and plain old rhetoric
would take several hours and proba-
bly 20 pages…If Ms. Cleek wants to
join me in Harlem, feeding and res-
cuing strays, she’s welcome. She’s
in need of some real research.
––Patty Adjamine
New Yorkers for
Companion Animals
She’s not a pimp, but…
For the record, I would not cheer at the demise of purebreds,
who make up 20-25% of shelter animals. I do feel, however, that it’s
incompatible with humane standards to breed dogs with physical character-
istics that make their lives difficult because humans decide they’re para-
mount to judging standards. There’s certainly no reason not to look for a
pet in shelters. And from experience I do not subscribe to the concept that
“purebreds give assurance of type and temperament.”
Improvements have been made in lowering the number of
unwanted pets, but we’re still hearing that a great deal more work needs to
be done. The Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights stated recent-
ly that five to 10 million cats are killed every year and that 50 million feral
cats are roaming loose. The Humane Society of the U.S. says the American
Kennel Club has registered a record high number in new dogs (1.5 million).
Cats are coming into shelters in record numbers, and homeless dogs
abound. Neutering programs are not going to be the total answer.
Margaret Anne Cleek is very angry that as a breeder she’s been
criticized for contributing to pet overpopulation, but it’s difficult for me to
understand why any breeder who makes no profit would breed dogs to sell
and then claim she’s not a contributor. It cannot be justified. But I would-
n’t, even if I were given one, put a sticker on my car that said “All
Breeders Are Pimps,” if that’s any comfort to her.
––Sue Clark
South Bend, Indiana
NEAVS
I was rather shocked by
the article in September about the
New England Anti-Vivisection
Society. Perhaps I don’t understand
the inner workings or politics of
such as described. I have supported
all three of the NEAVS board mem-
bers mentioned. This made it sound
almost like a scam––and such large
amounts of money taken out and put
into new organizations? I feel I
should no longer contribute to
People for the Ethical Treatment of
Animals and the Physicians
Committee for Responsible
Medicine.
––V.B. Knowles
Baltimore, Maryland
The article, “Layoffs at
NEAVS,” described the August 24
dismissal of all but two of the
NEAVS staff and the depletion of the
treasury through funding activities
of PETA, PCRM, and the Fund for
Animals, whose representatives have
controlled the NEAVS board of
directors since 1987. We actually
mentioned four NEAVS board mem
bers––Ingrid Newkirk and Alex
Pacheco of PETA, Dr. Neal Barnard
of PCRM, and Cleveland Amory of
the Fund. Since the article ap-
peared, we’ve received anonymous
allegations from purported insiders
that some of the many people who
were dismissed were using NEAVS
funds for their own purposes. Those
making the allegations, who are bet
ter known to us than they think, have
been conspicuous by their reluctance
to either provide proof or be held
accountable for their stories––and in
any event it is doubtful that all of the
former staffers together could possi
bly have appropriated as much to
their own use as the $600,000 the
NEAVS board reportedly gave to
their own pet projects at one 1988
meeting alone.
“The Fur Flies”
Please find enclosed a
copy of The Fur Flies, the new
Franklin’s Insight Study of Animal
Rights and Corporate Responsibility.
Your “Quest for Accuracy” editorial
back in June mentioned that one
cause of reportorial errors is the
reporter’s possible confusion from
“struggling to master a torrent of
information on an unfamiliar subject.
This is how I felt about our animal
report. Never did we expect it to be
so complicated. When Franklin’s
Insight began research for our new
Animal Rights Standards for ethical
investors and the accompanying
report, we budgeted a few months
for the project. It actually took over
a year. Your help, suggestions, and
criticisms were invaluable. Thank
you for everything.
If you think your readers
might be interested in our report,
please give us a plug. The cost is
$35, and anyone interested should
call Eric Becker at 617-423-6655.
––C.B. Loeb
Franklin Research & Development
Boston, Massachusetts
We told Loeb of her first
draft, “It misses the boat.” To her
credit, she kept at it until she got it
right. The Fur Flies is the best-bal
anced and most accurate attempt
we’ve seen yet to explain animal
rights and animal protection con
cerns to Wall Street and Madison
Avenue––a major document that
could significantly help to open com
munications between corporate peo
ple and animal people.
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