Letters [April 1994]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 1994:

Year of the Dog
Curioser and curioser, as
Alice might have said––referring to
the leaders of the animal welfare
movements, not Wonderland!
For centuries the Chinese
have designated each year with the
name of an animal, in no way a
western tradition. However, last
year at least six national animal
welfare organizations decided arbi-
trarily to call 1993 the Year of the
Cat, ignoring the traditional
Chinese designation of the Cock.

This could indicate ignorance at
best or a diplomatic insult at worst.
Then, although 1994 has for a
thousand years been the Chinese
Year of the Dog, no effort has been
made by the same societies to publi-
cize this fact and make it work for
the benefit of man’s best friend.
Any logical explanation
would be interesting.
––Elisabeth Arvin
More Spays Less Strays
Ojai, California
Animal testing
People who think
that a corporation is evil incar-
nate for wanting to be sure that
non-animal testing methods are
going to hold up to product lia-
bility suits are providing the
opposition with reason for
characterizing animal activists
as stupid eccentrics.
––Ethel Thurston
American Fund for
Alternatives to Animal
175 West 12th St., Suite 16G
New York, NY 10011
AFAR sponsors vali
dation studies of non-animal
product safety tests––with no
financial support from any of
the three major U.S. antivivi
section societies. The annual
AFAR “Walkathon for Lab
Animals” fundraiser will be
held on April 30, at 10 a.m.,
starting at 72nd and Riverside
Drive, New York City.
Law enforcement
The article in your March
edition entitled “Will Pennsylvania
humane officers lose their badges?”
drew my interest and concern as a
humane officer and animal control
officer in Vermont. I had prior law
enforcement experience before
entering the humane field 15 years
ago. I found that the Humane
Society of the U.S., American
Humane Association, and National
Animal Control Association all
have manuals, guidelines, and pro-
grams to help professionalize us. In
addition, the Vermont Humane
Federation serves all humane
groups and shelters in the state.
They hold an annual one-day semi-
nar on Animal Protection, Control,
and Welfare, co-sponsored by the
Vermont Criminal Justice Training
Council, which covers most of the
topics that Fayette County Judge
William Franks suggested. This
seminar is attended by local, coun-
ty, and state enforcement officers,
and has helped in understanding the
laws and jurisdiction with animal
cruelty cases.
Become professional;
the animals suffer if we aren’t.
––Craig Petrie
Rutland County Humane Society
City of Rutland, Vermont
Information fee
I hope this letter finds you
healthy and prosperous. Well, at
least healthy. I have a small idea
found that you provide an enormous
amount of research data and infor-
mation. I also know that a lot of
your time is spent researching infor-
mation for individuals, media reps,
and other groups.
How about setting up a
$25 research fee, that would allow
up to three research requests per
year from any one individual or
agency? I know you are now doing
all this work for free, and I would
like to see you get paid for it. I am
offering to be your first (and maybe
only) research fee subscriber.
––Jeff Dorson
Legislation In Support of Animals
New Orleans, Louisiana
I was talking to a fellow
reporter at the Cleveland Plain
Dealer about a feature she was con-
templating on a local volunteer ani-
mal rescue group.
“What bothers me about
these people is that they would let a
human being starve in the street but
get upset over a dog,” she said.
What bothers me is people
who automatically assume that a per-
son can’t be sympathetic to both
people and animals. There’s no law
that says a person can’t do both.
One does not cancel out the other.
It’s been my experience that animal
lovers are people lovers as well.
I was with a friend one
cold Cleveland night who is an avid
supporter of helping animals. I
recoil from using the term “animal
rights activist” because it implies
some sort of zealot. Most so-called
activists are just people who are
willing to help an animal in need.
We came across a home-
less man propped up in a doorway,
an unfortunately common sight in
Cleveland. While all the “human
loving” people walked right on by,
she stopped and talked to the man.
She bought him a sandwich, gave
him her last four dollars, and
offered him her only pair of gloves.
He declined because the gloves did
not fit. Then she hugged him.
She cried when she got
into the car, cried for this man and
for all the other homeless people.
She expressed similar compassion
for homeless or abused animals and
did everything in her power to help
She is what we should
aspire to.
Are there some animal
rights people who go too far? Of
course. But I’ve found that most of
them are just as concerned about
helping two-legged animals.
It’s easy to dismiss an
entire group of people and their
cause with an all-encompassing trite
remark. But before a person does so,
he should think about the last time
he helped his fellow man, or animal.
––Mike Sangiacomo
Cleveland, Ohio
Why were there no
demonstrations on behalf of
whales at the Winter Olympics
in Norway?
Norway killed 226
minke whales last year in vio-
lation of the International
Whaling Commission recom-
mendation that none be killed.
This wealthy nation sets an
example that could have disas-
trous consequences if Third
World nations should follow
their lead.
Further, Norway has
entered into a back-scratching
arrangement with Alaska.
According to the Anchorage
Daily News, governor Walter
Hickel said that he had made a
deal: the Norwegians won’t
condemn Alaska’s wolf kill
program, and Alaska won’t
criticize them for killing
For more information
on Norway’s whaling, call
Earth Island Institute: 415-788-
3666. Information on protect-
ing wolves, whales and raptors
may be obtained by calling Sea
Wolf Alliance, 415-332-6626
or 707-576-1415.
––Jeanne McVey
Sea Wolf Alliance
Santa Rosa, California
We recently had a terrible
fire in Hinckley, Ohio, in which
almost two dozen horses perished.
Every time I hear of such a tragedy I
cannot help but wonder why there are
no sprinkler systems in all stables. It
is obvious that would avoid terrible
suffering for not only the noble hors-
es but also for the horse owners. It
should be mandatory to have sprin-
kler systems in stables. Could you
––Solveig Jentner
Fairview, Ohio
The Editor has argued that
sprinklers should be required in
barns since April 1986, when as a
volunteer firefighter he saw 6,000
pigs killed in a barnfire. Adapting
the existing automatic animal water
ing systems in barns to double as
sprinkler systems would require little
more than adding heat-sensitive
shower heads to the pipes already in
place. A second precaution farmers
should take is to avoid storing hay
above animal areas. Most barnfires
begin with spontaneous combustion
in tight green bales, lightning, or
faulty wiring, setting hay ablaze.
Most victims are trapped not by fire
itself but by burning debris falling
from haylofts. Most of the deaths are
caused not by burns but by the thick
smoke from burning hay (which
sprinklers would make even thicker).
Storing hay in a separate structure
might make more work for farmers at
chore time––as a former hay hand,
the Editor knows something about
that, too––but their payoff is avoid
ing herd losses and bankruptcy.
Alexanian vs. ASPCA
Under the law in New York State, and I
expect other states as well, societies for the preven-
tion of cruelty to animals may assist the courts on the
law and the facts in the cases of prosecutions for cru-
elty, but they do not actually prosecute those cases.
The prosecution on behalf of the People is the consti-
tutional role of the District Attorney. Our peace offi-
cers are essentially witnesses. As such we very often
do not learn of the dispositions of cruelty prosecu-
tions, or we learn of them long after the fact. We
learn it in a very informal fashion, often as the result
of a telephone conversation with the District Attorney
or the court clerk.
This explains why we were late in learning
that Garo Alexanian’s motion [for dismissal of a jury
conviction for allegedly interfering in an arrest made
by ASPCA officers] was granted (on December 13,
1 9 9 3 ) . I am informed that the first information we
received that it had been granted was on or about
January 11, 1994. Our Humane Law Enforcement
Department does not “report” to me in an organiza-
tional sense, nor does the Legal Department provide
the Humane Law Enforcement Department with the
very specialized legal advice needed for its relation-
ships to criminal prosecutions.
Naturally I inquired of our Humane Law
Enforcement Department about the status of Mr.
Alexanian’s motion before sending my letter of
December 28, 1993 (to attorney Stephen LeBow,
asserting that Alexanian could not be a director of a
proposed Bronx SPCA because of his purported
felony conviction). It is also to be noted that while
our peace officers were the complaining witnesses,
this was not a cruelty case. It was obstruction of gov-
ernmental administration. Courts are not obligated to
inform complaining witnesses and, I believe, typical-

ly do not.
I should probably clarify that I did not
advise Mr. LeBow that the conviction was a reason
why “Mr. Alexanian and others could not incorporate
a Bronx SPCA.” What I said was that it was one rea-
son why we would not consent.
As to the incorporation by the ASPCA of
the Bronx Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to
Animals, we did that for a number of reasons. I have
no idea what you were told, but certainly among the
reasons for incorporating it were those spelled out in
my letter of December 28, 1993, to Mr. LeBow.
––Eugene Underwood
V.P. and General Counsel
American SPCA
New York, New York
Before citing Alexanian’s conviction, which
had been reversed with complete dismissal of charges
two weeks earlier, Mr. Underwood’s letter to LeBow
of December 28, 1993 explained that the ASPCA had
already incorporated a Bronx SPCA. It added that
under current law there can be only one SPCA serv
ing the Bronx, namely the ASPCA, and that for rea
sons of efficiency the ASPCA believes humane law
enforcement authority within New York City should
not be divided.
PMU horses
This is the first time I have
gotten your newspaper. I haven’t
even read it all yet and already I see
something I don’t like! It’s the arti-
cle “Estrogen boom brings breeding
for slaughter.” My mother and I
absolutely LOVE horses! What can
we do about it?
––Lindsay and Elizabeth Hatcher
Raleigh, North Carolina
The surest way to get the
pregnant horses out of the confine
ment barns is for those who take
estrogen to choose alternatives.
These include Estraderm, from Ciba
Pharmaceuticals; Estrace, from
Mead Johnson; and Ogen, from
Abbott Labs. (We’ll send our com
plete updated report on Premarine
production for $1.00 and SASE.)
Publicity stunts
I don’t share Gary Franc-
ione’s disdain for media-hungry ani-
mal rights groups. The glare of pub-
licity is the bane of animal exploita-
tion, and television is the most per-
suasive, influential medium in histo-
ry. Like it or not, it shapes the val-
ues of our children, and we adults
learn about our world in 30-second
sound bites. Protracted crises grow
old and continuing injustices are soon
forgotten. The tenacity, humor, and
ingenuity of America’s animal lovers
in the face of formidable opposition,
a public slow to change, and
depressing knowledge of daily atroci-
ties has kept animal rights a house-
hold word, without making it seem
as ideologically tightassed as some
other movements. Martin Luther
King probably wouldn’t have
appeared in his underwear to promote
his cause, but Dick Gregory and
many others did poke fun at bigotry.
There are many roles to be played in
every struggle, and if Elvira wants to
pose in her underwear, it’s fine with
––Jim Harris
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Would you please consider
doing a piece that contrasts the larger
animal rights/welfare groups in terms
of their activities, good points, bad
points, campaign successes, etc.?
This would be most helpful.
––Elaine Johnson
Aiea, Hawaii
In the March 1994 issue of
ANIMAL PEOPLE it was written
that I had sent documents I had
received from John Hollrah while I
was attorney for Primarily Primates,
Inc., to Texas Assistant Attorney
General John Vinson. I did not.
I sent those documents to
one person and one person alone,
Wally Swett’s attorney.
I would appreciate it if you
would make this correction.
––Steven M. Wise
Boston, Massachusetts
Re alleged gay plot
I say good riddance to Donna
LaFerrara (letter, March issue) and all
those who share her narrow-minded
self-righteous paradigm paralysis
regarding the particular mold into which
she thinks all animal people should fit.
Our only common denominator should
be our concern for animals. Animals
need all the help we can initiate and
when we exclude people and groups
who don’t meet a shallow stereotypical
value system we’ve created, we can’t
have held the welfare of animals in very
high esteem in the first place.
We can only be effective in
our goals when we can set our petty lit-
tle differences aside and join together to
accomplish these goals. It seems the
Ms. LaFerraras of the world have to step
down off their pedastals if we are ever
to be an effective force for change.
––Beverly Whelan
East Lake, Ohio
Hunters & Molesters
Your vicious, libelous, speculative and com-
pletely unjustified attack on hunters, “New York state
statistics show link: hunters and molesters,” exemplifies
the old sayings that figures don’t lie but liars figure, and
that people without hunting experience never write any-
thing significant about hunting. I doubt that any respon-
sible publication would accept such an article. Society
would be better served if you investigated the probable
link between animal extremism and mental illness.
––Carl E. Parker
Guilderland, New York
I am certainly flattered by your use of my
research results in your paper. I do not believe, howev-
er, that you can relate my results on the link between
animal cruelty in childhood and later violent behavior
among aggressive criminals in adulthood to the practice
of hunting. There simply was nothing in our data to doc-
ument this connection.
Even more significantly, the dominionistic
attitude was never linked with any greater likelihood of
animal abuse and cruelty among serial killers with a
hunting background. The attitude of endorsing mastery
and control over animals is something we found in many
people in our society, and we have no data to demon-
strate any greater likelihood of their perpetuating cruelty
toward animals or killing other people.
––Stephen R. Kellert
School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
Yale University
New Haven, Connecticut
The Editor replies: We suggest Kellert’s data
points toward links he has not himself made in large part
because his terms of reference are different from ours:
he does not recognize hunting as cruelty in and of itself,
albeit legally permitted, nor does he acknowledge that
serial killing differs from other forms of trophy hunting
chiefly in the choice of victims. Our own files indicate
that those serial killers who have not hunted animals
have been primarily––perhaps exclusively––from big
cities, where hunting opportunities are limited.
Conversely, we are presently unaware of any rural seri
al killer who has not been a hunter. As our March cover
article on the association between rates of hunting par
ticipation and child sexual assault in New York state
explained, Kellert’s research, mostly sponsored by the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, has documented that the
mean level of dominionism found in hunters is nearly
double that of the general public; the mean level in trap
pers is four times that of the general public. Kellert’s
work and that of many others has helped establish that
dominionism is a leading motive behind many forms of
sex-related crime.
Many people who offered professional perspec
tive on our “Hunters and molesters” study declined to
have their names published, to avoid involvement in con
troversy. Two of them applied a correlative test of statis
tical significance to our data, confirming, as one wrote,
that “Significant positive correlations exist between the
rates of child sexual assault and sex crimes and the sales
of hunting, trapping, and fishing licenses by county for
the state of New York for 1992. Generally,” this author
continued, “a correlation in the range of .2-.3 is consid
ered weak; correlations between .4 and .6 are consid
ered moderate; and correlations over .7 are thought of
as strong.” The correlations for child sexual assault
were +.684 with total hunting participation; +.756 with
big game hunting; +.665 with small game hunting;
+.556 with trapping; and +.485 with fishing. The corre
lations for sex crimes were +.641 with total hunting par
ticipation; +.644 with big game hunting; +.609 with
small game hunting; +.545 with trapping; and +.429
with fishing.
Print Friendly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.