Letters [March 1994]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 1994:

Whether I have skeletons
in my closet does not matter. I pro-
vide information on the Iditarod to
humane and animal rights groups so
that they can take action. If I am
bad, then all the more reason to
protest, right? Only through protest
will the Iditarod Trail Committee
clean up its act. The more protest,
the cleaner the race will be. What
more would you want?

––John Suter
United Coalition of
Animal Rights Volunteers
Chugiak, Alaska
Suter, who is indeed a
valuable source of information,
drove poodles in the Iditarod until
they were banned for humane rea
sons in 1991.
Thank you for the review
of my book Where The Money Is: A
Fund Raiser’s Guide To The Rich
($29.95 from BioGuide Press, POB
16702, Alexandria, VA 22302.)
Although I do not see my book on
prospect research as exclusively for
educational institutions, it is true
that prospect research is a time-con-
suming pursuit. Colleges and uni-
versities often have staffs who do
this––and most humane organiza-
tions probably don’t. I think your
review was fair, but one argument I
might make is that prospect research
is useful in identifying those “mod-
erately wealthy” who may support
humane causes, not just the Doris
Though I don’t often men-
tion it out loud, much of what pass-
es for fundraising drives me crazy.
Seeing the overhead figures of many
nonprofit organizations and the
salary figures of their leaders in your
December issue didn’t help.
––Helen Bergen
Alexandria, Virginia
Face Branding
It is outrageous that seven
years after U.S. District Judge
Michael A. Telesca enjoined the
USDA from enforcing hot iron face
branding, the USDA is once again
promoting this barbarism. Judge
Telesca ruled that branding cattle on
the face with a hot iron is unecessar-
ily cruel. Are we to conclude that
face branding is now less painful
than in 1986? No degree of conve-
nience to the USDA justifies such
callous cruelty.
––Henry Spira
Coalition for Nonviolent Food
New York, N.Y.
The USDA proposed on
December 6, 1993 that all Mexican
cattle imported into the U.S. should
be face-branded to help identify ani
mals from any herds which prove to
harbor tuberculosis. Less painful
I.D. methods counterproposed by the
Coalition for Nonviolent Food and
the Humane Society of the U.S.
include marking with indelible dye,
freeze-branding, and ear-punching.
National Park Service, not
BLM, is shooting burros
Thank you for mention-
ing our rescue mission and for
printing our address along with the
photograph of Singer, Blossom,
and Chili on the front page of your
January/February issue. One prob-
lem though. The Bureau of Land
Management does not shoot burros.
BLM still operates the Adopt-A-
Burro program and manages the
wild burros on their lands with the
live capture and removal method.
Wild burros are not protected on
other government lands, such as
those of the National Park Service,
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and
military bases. These agencies are
free to dispose of wild burros who
live on their lands however they
At this time the National
Park Service utilizes the “direct
reduction policy” of shooting wild
burros in Death Valley National
Monument, California. When the
California Desert Protection Act
clears Congress, as seems likely,
four million acres of now BLM-
managed and protected burro habi-
tat will be transferred to Park
Service control for protection of
“Native flora and fauna.” Park
Service officials have clearly stated
that the wild burro herds “will be
eliminated as an exotic species,”
even though the burros have lived
there over four hundred years.
Wild Burro Rescue is
keeping a close watch on this situa-
tion as well as other nonprotected
wild burro herd areas, and has been
included in several overall manage-
ment plans concerning the future of
these burros. WBR offers live cap-
ture and removal of “excess” wild
burros as an alternative to the
shooting policy.
––Diana Chontos
Wild Burro Rescue
Onalaska, Washington
Please tell your read-
ers about the Research
Accountability Act, HR 2472,
which has been reintroduced
by Representative Robert
Torricelli (D-NJ), who first
introduced this excellent bill in
1985. Request subscribers to
contact their representatives to
support this bill that would
save many tax dollars as well
as many animals.
––Helen Hess
Hessian Kennels
Goshen, Ohio
The Research
Accountability Act would cre
ate a unified data base to pre
vent funding of redundant
experiments. The once daunt
ing start-up cost has been dra
matically cut by advances in
computer technology.
Cat rescue
What more can a
feral cat rescuer ask for
Christmas than a safer environ-
ment for feral cats all neutered
with no place to go but back to
a hostile habitat? Such was the
case Christmas Eve in San
Francisco on Pier 33, when
five of the seven ferals I had
trapped the week before were
whisked away to a horse farm
in the Napa Valley wine coun-
try. The next time you see a
horsedrawn carriage for hire in
a big city, please don’t be too
critical of the driver. I ought to
know a cat lover when I see
one, and the driver of the car-
riage in San Francisco tops the
––Carol Reitmeier
Menlo Park, California
Montreal SPCA
Further to the article which
appeared in the January/February edition of
ANIMAL PEOPLE concerning the
Montreal SPCA, I would like to clarify cer-
tain facts regarding our use of the product
T-61 for euthanasias as well as the presence
of veterinarians at our shelter. T-61 is used
in cases of emergency and o n l y as a last
resort when there is no veterinarian in the
shelter. When T-61 is used, the euthanasia
must be done by an animal health techni-
cian with the assistance of a trained
employee; the euthanasia is done in a room
specifically appointed for the purpose; and
no other animals are in the room while the
animal is being euthanized. Prior to the
injection of T-61, the animal must be anes-
thetized with a preparation of Rompun,
which is a sedative and analgesic, and
Ketamine, which is recommended as a sole
anesthetic agent for diagnostic and surgical
Our shelter employs two fulltime
veterinarians and two part-time veterinari-
ans to cover the hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.,
Monday through Friday; 7 a.m. to 3:30
p.m. on Saturdays; and 9 a.m. to noon on
Sundays. When there is no veterinarian in
the shelter, there is always one on call for
emergency cases. All animal health techni-
cians practicing euthanasia in this shelter
must have successfully completed a
euthanasia seminar given by Douglas
Fakkema, whose courses in humane
euthanasia are well recognized. Mr.
Fakkema has been invited to return as need-
ed to train new technicians as they are
Euthanasia is a very emotional
topic, which leads to much debate and criti-
cism. It therefore becomes essential that
information concerning this subject be pre-
cise. As for the other criticisms leveled at
our society in the aforementioned article,
we believe that good journalism should be
objective and explore all avenues, avoiding
at all cost the undue influence which certain
people can exert in order to settle old griev-
––Kathleen Porter
Director of Public Relations
Canadian SPCA
Montreal, Quebec
We have no disagreement about
the nature of good journalism, but we also
don’t believe the public relations depart
ment of any organization has a monopoly
on informed perspective. Ketamine is a
paralytic, not an anesthetic. And regard
less of the procedures followed, it is a fact
that as we previously reported, T-61 is no
longer considered an acceptable euthanasia
agent by most humane authorities. For that
reason, it is no longer sold in the U.S.
Neither the photo nor the listing
of charges brought against the American
SPCA in your January/February issue
begin to tell the whole story. For starters,
the new shelter on East 110th Street was
built in a fairly inaccessible high crime
area, a fact that was well known during
the planning. In addition to the faults
ANIMAL PEOPLE listed, there is virtu-
ally no natural light for the animals, no
sound absorption between the cat and dog
areas, causing great strain for the cats;
and no dog runs––a drab, bare bones
place for animals on death row, and cer-
tainly not a cheerful place to adopt.
Two years later and the “state-
of-the-art” drainage system still isn’t work-
ing properly. When I was there shortly
after it opened, the smell of animal waste
permeated the air and animal feces was all
over the floor. Was there no money to fix
this pink elephant when the top three
union workers made close to $400,000
among them in 1992, each getting a 30%
increase from the previous year, getting
rich on the bodies of animals?
When a New York city council
committee requested an investigation of
the ASPCA, after getting many com-
plaints, the organization gave up its ani-
mal control contract so an investigation
would not have been appropriate.
The ASPCA is a wealthy and
powerful organization with ties to govern-
ment and business––almost unshak-
able––until now. Maybe a public embar-
rassment brought about by cruelty charges
filed against the ASPCA by one of its
own, who certainly knows where the
skeletons are buried, will finally make a
difference. To the ASPCA, animals are
simply a means to an end. The vision of
Henry Bergh was buried with the man.
The ASPCA’s power has never been used
to educate New York City about the hor-
rendous homeless animal problem it is
inheriting. And here it is a year after the
ASPCA announced it was giving up the
contract and New York still does not know
which end is up or who will actually get
the contract.
And in the end, we all know
who will suffer––the animals.
––Elizabeth Forel
New York, N.Y.
Wolf advocates are very appre-
ciative of your unceasing coverage of this
important issue. The article in your
December issue is one of the best I’ve seen,
and I’ve been sending copies to my Sea
Wolf Alliance membership. Keep up the
good work!
––Jeanne McVey
Sea Wolf Alliance
Santa Rosa, California
We are pleased to inform you
that ANIMAL PEOPLE has been nomi-
nated for our 1993 Equine Awareness in
Media Award. Prior to reading your publi-
cation, we never knew about PMU farms.
This is definitely not common knowledge
in the horse world. Are these farms only in
Canada? I am a little unclear on what the
estrogen from pregnant mares’ urine is
used for: is it in all birth control pills, or
are most of the ones on the market pro-
duced with synthetic materials? Is only
PMU used for estrogen production, or are
other animals utilized as well?
––Staci L. Wilson, Principal
Intl. Generic Horse Assn.
Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.
Some PMU farms are located in
North Dakota and Montana, but more
than 95% are in Alberta, Manitoba (where
the PMU is processed), and Saskat-
chewan. The Ayerst Organics division of
Wyeth-Ayerst is the only maker of estrogen
supplements that uses PMU, which is the
source of Premarine; other Wyeth-Ayerst
hormone products are wholly synthetic,
according to Ayerst Organics vice presi
dent for technical affairs Robert Walker.
Ciba-Geigy, Mead-Johnson, and Abbott
Laboratories also make synthetic estrogen
supplements, under the brand names
Estraderm, Estrace, and Ogen. Though
we understand some pharmacists say oth
erwise, the makers have assured media
that the synthetic estrogens are not an ani
mal product. Details of production, how
ever, seem to be a protected trade secret.
I tend to agree with other letters
in the January/February ANIMAL PEO-
PLE regarding People for the Ethical
Treatment of Animals. What I’ve read in
ANIMAL PEOPLE so far regarding
PETA has been negative. You seem to
present a balanced view on most issues;
why not PETA? They have high visibility
as far as animal rights groups go, and
thereby reach a large number of people
with their very important messages of ani-
mal abuse or neglect. Instead of only bash-
ing PETA, couldn’t you occasionally
report some of their accomplishments,
such as raising public awareness on a large
––Linda Freeborn
St. Louis, Missouri
It seems many people are so used
to the self-congratulatory PETA publicity
machine that they don’t recognize bal
anced coverage when they see it. In fact,
our concern for fairness and accuracy is
such that on several occasions the Editor
of ANIMAL PEOPLE has written to
other publications to provide factual cor
rection, after they printed inaccurate and
potentially damaging statements about
PETA (most recently, to Equinews editor
John Whitle, on December 29, 1993.) We
have faxed to PETA our requests for com
ment on each and every item we have
reported concerning them, but have yet to
receive any reply.
Leaving pets behind
In response to the letter in your
January/February issue that asked about writing a will
leaving an endowment and your animals to a no-kill
shelter, may I suggest that before doing so you should
volunteer at the shelter in question without telling any-
one of your intentions, or at least visit it frequently
unannounced. If you believe the facility will take good
care of your pets, have a good attorney draw up the
legal document, but also appoint someone you trust to
check on the animals periodically after your death, man-
dating that this person remove your animals from the
shelter if he or she decides they are no longer being
given a quality life. The best shelter can deteriorate
rapidly with a change of management or a loss of funds.
Instead of giving an endowment outright, set
up a trust to pay your pets’ expenses, as well as the
expenses of anyone looking after them. After all of your
animals die at their natural times, funds remaining in the
trust can be paid out to the facility that cared for them.
After volunteering at my local no-kill shelter,
I had my attorney draw up a will stating that my animals
are never to go to a shelter. If they cannot be placed in
good homes, they are to be euthanized.
––Rosemary Jacobs
Derby Line, Vermont
Although I’ve been supporting you, I can no
longer do so. I cannot support any group that supports
homosexual and radical feminist agendas/groups, i.e.
Friends of Animals. These “groups” are incorporating
these horrible agendas into the animal rights movement
even though one has nothingto do with the other.
––Donna LaFerrara
Cranford, New Jersey
Ms. LaFerrara is apparently referring to our
publication of a paid advertisement for the EcoVisions
conference on feminism and animal rights, to be held
March 18-20 in Alexandria, Virginia. Our opinions are
expressed on our editorial page; our publication of
either a paid ad, letter-to-the-editor, or guest opinion
column implies nothing whatever about our own views.
There is also a clear distinction between invit
ing representatives of controversial viewpoints to partici
pate in public discussion, as Friends of Animals is
doing at EcoVisions, which is an essential part of the
democratic process, and “supporting” those viewpoints.
People familiar with the EcoVisions speakers’ roster will
recognize that a multiplicity of views and agendas are
represented, some of them mutually exclusive.
Forum on the ALF
Thank you for your piece on the Chicago firebombings and the
opining which it generated. From my perspective, you have captured
the issue in the most productive way I have seen to date. Again thank
––Paul Irwin, President
Humane Society of the United States
Washington, D.C.
May God bless and prosper and protect the ALF and the peo-
ple and organizations who do similar work. And may God bless and pro-
tect and prosper and protect Ingrid Newkirk and Anna Briggs.
––Lynette & Frederick Eliton
Hillsboro, Oregon
Reading the editorial in your January/February issue, my spirit
dropped. You do nothing to stop cruelty to animals and criticize those
who do. Now I realize you are wiser than God, for you state, “One can-
not prevent suffering by causing suffering.” God commands suffering
for suffering in the exact same measure as was done, and says the Lord,
do not feel pity on the evil doer that others shall hear and fear and never
commit these sufferings among you. One must fight fire with fire.
––Ellen Mauck
Jarreau, Louisiana
“Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath
of God; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay,’ sayeth the
Lord…Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
(Romans 12:19-21.)
No thinking person would believe that the ALF represents all
animal rights groups, any more than we believe that the hatemongering
Nation of Islam represents all black people or all Moslems. Further,
contrary to your assertion, violence has often been a very effective tool
throughout history. It was the violence of our ancestors that freed us of
the tyranny of England and the violence of the Civil War that freed
blacks from slavery.
––Elaine Johnson
Ewa Beach, Hawaii
Canada, settled largely by refugees from the American
Revolution, won independence without firing a shot. New York had the
largest number of slaves north of the Mason/Dixon line, who mostly
worked on the large estates of the Hudson River Valley, but peaceably
abolished slavery in 1827. Abolition also made peaceful gains in other
slave states, notably Delaware, where slavery nearly vanished for eco
nomic reasons, and Kentucky, which banned the further import of
slaves in 1833. That year, however, 55 white Virginians were killed in
Nat Turner’s Revolt. White fear of blacks was roused in both the North
and the South. By 1840 the momentum in Delaware and Kentucky was
reversed; Kentucky again legalized slave imports in 1850.
Absolutely first-rate editorials on ALF’s senseless violence and
on culture-based cruelties. Just terrific to have your words out there.
To Petra Murray’s column on feral cats, I say a loud amen!
One proviso, though. Neuter/release already contains within it the cau-
tion that it not be done where the situation isn’t right. If that were under-
stood at the outset by the catch-and-kill people, the two sides might be a
lot closer.
––Ellen Perry Berkeley
Shaftsbury, Vermont
Ellen Perry Berkeley is author of Maverick Cats, a valuable
compendium of just about everything that anyone knew about feral cats
as of the early 1980s. Copies are still available for $9.95 from her at
POB 311, Shaftsbury, VT 05262.
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