Editorial: Where our money goes

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 1994:

Our fifth annual report on “Who gets the money?” starts on page 11 of this issue.
Once again you may be shocked and dismayed to discover the extent to which the purported
“program expenses” of many of the biggest and best-known organizations are actually direct
mail costs written off as “public education.” Indeed, some such organizations have few if any
programs beyond direct mail. We view this as an abuse of public trust.
We stress accountability at ANIMAL PEOPLE––and we practice what we preach.
We don’t just tell you our “investigations department” is working on this or that: you see our
original investigative coverage of all the news about animal protection, ten times a year.
Like other animal protection charities, we exist through your concern and your gen-
erosity. Your generosity is critically important, because while your paid subscriptions and
advertising cover most of the cost of printing and mailing ANIMAL PEOPLE, your personal
gifts support our information-gathering. Your donations make possible our calls and faxes to
the people in the know––or who ought to be in the know––wherever animals need help. Often
it’s our call seeking information on your behalf that gets both authorities and animal advocacy
groups moving in response to situations that might otherwise be pushed aside.

Your gifts also make possible our prompt response to information requests––from
individuals like yourself, from activist groups and humane societies, and from mass media.
If you give $10, you’re covering the average cost of fulfilling an information
request, from the staff time spent in looking up the material to the cost of photocopying and
mailing or faxing it to the person who needs it. This is some of the most important work we
do. Just within the past few hours we’ve helped a concerned citizen contact the right authori-
ties about an abusive unlicensed traveling animal show; helped a state division of consumer
protection crack down on a bogus fundraiser; provided details of research into injection steri-
lants to a national animal advocacy group; helped a small, underfunded local animal shelter
find the statistics it needed to seek county assistance; assisted an activist who’d relocated in
finding a compatible group to join in her new community; helped an obese man under doctors’
orders to change his diet in obtaining hands-on vegetarian cooking instruction; and helped a
reporter from a national magazine to understand the major themes within animal protection.
If you give $25, you’re enabling us to research a typical short news item, or to
publish a photograph. Telephone calls, faxes, halftones, and all the other things that go
into producing news add up––not least because, to better inform you, we insist upon getting a
variety of perspectives. We don’t just reprint campaign literature, or warmed-over mass media
items; we check things out. We ask questions, to arm you with accurate answers when you
write to politicians and business leaders, or participate in public debate, or simply try to form
effective policies for your own shelter, rescue group, animal rights league, or sanctuary.
If you give $50, you’re covering the staff time and computer time that goes into
maintaining our archives each day––the most extensive and best-organized collection of
information in the animal protection field. We’re able to keep track of as many situations as
we do, to publish the amount of background we do, and to serve as the leading information
resource in our field, because we keep bank on bank of filing cabinets, updating and culling
routinely, so that whenever a story involving animals breaks, we can provide you with thor-
ough coverage: not just the usual who-what-where-when, but also the all-important why and
how that provides the clues you need to respond effectively. We keep up with the economic
angles, the political angles, the historical angles, and the ecological angles, among others,
because––for example––we know the importance of major arms deals with Norway to U.S.
whaling policy, of the Alaskan independence movement to the Alaskan wolf-killing strategy,
and of the fate of gun control legislation to Congressional concessions to hunters.
If you give $100, you’re meeting the weekly cost of monitoring the many
newswires and daily newspapers that we scan each and every morning for tips as to what
we should be looking into. We make a point of finding out about animal-related issues that
make the news anywhere, because there’s a chance they’ll be important to you. Pulling in
coverage from around the globe, we find out how the many bits and pieces fit together to form
the evolving story of how humans and animals interact––and then we tip you off.
If you give $500, you’re paying half the monthly bill for ANIMAL PEOPLE’s
rent, telephone, heating, and electricity. Not many publications get by with such low
overhead costs, but we’re efficient.
If you give $1,000 or more, you may be meeting the expense of researching and
publishing an investigative feature. The average cost of a lead feature runs somewhat high-
er: circa $2,000. Our original studies and surveys cost more still, but because we pay our-
selves just a living wage, we deliver internationally noted exposes at a fraction of the budget
that either commercial media or most nonprofit institutions would require. Our series on the
efficacy of low-cost neutering and public attitudes toward animal health care, for instance,
cost $7,500 to develop––which sounds like a lot until you consider that we did the polling at a
third the price of such research at the going commercial rates. Our findings have enabled low-
cost neutering projects all over the U.S.––and the world––to gain support and move ahead.
(One reader ordered extra copies for every member of a key state legislative committee.)
We can’t publish a picture of a hungry printing press and tell you that your donation
will insure that this poor animal gets fed. Further, because we publish news and information
rather than taking an advocacy position, which would interfere with our newsgathering func-
tion, we can’t claim credit for “victories.” What we do pledge––and demonstrate, issue in
and issue out––is that because we research and publish the articles you need to be empowered
in your personal action, more animals are fed, more animals are neutered, more animals have
a chance to be spared from hunting, trapping, and other forms of abuse, more abusers are
prosecuted, and more people understand the links between animal abuse and human abuse.
Because you subscribe, advertise, and donate the money that keeps us on the
beat, we’re here for you to call when you need information fast; we’re here as a vital link
between the animal protection community and the mass media; we’re here as an independent
watchdog; and even as you read this and write your check, we’re running down a rumor to
find out the facts, getting documents under the Freedom of Information Act, answering an
urgent inquiry, helping people who care about animals to help more animals.
And we stretch every dollar. (At least 70 of the animal and habitat protection
group executives listed on pages 12 and 13 take home for more than our whole budget.)
This holiday season, please donate to ANIMAL PEOPLE as generously as you
can. Thank you.
Hope in election results
Conventional wisdom holds that as Gary Francione of the Rutgers Animal Rights
Law Clinic puts it, the Republican sweep of Congress in the November 8 elections will be,
“Bad for women, bad for minorities, bad for animals, bad for the environment.”
But conventional wisdom is often wrong. It is true that with Newt Gingrich as
Speaker of the House and wise-use wiseguy Don Young of Alaska heading the House Natural
Resources Committee, the Endangered Species Act could be in big trouble. As Bridgit Dunn
of the Fund for Animals observes, the Endangered Species Coalition blundered badly in not
pushing for ESA reauthorization during the last Congress, gambling that the Clinton adminis-
tration would be bolder and stronger after the midterm elections.
Otherwise, there are reasons to be encouraged:
Oregon adopted Proposition 18, banning bear baiting and the use of hounds to
hunt bears and pumas, by a margin of 34,000 votes.
Arizona voters banned trapping on public lands by a solid 58%-42% margin.
Perhaps even more noteworthy, 60% of Arizona voters rejected Proposition 300, the first bal-
lot test of the theory that health, safety, or environmental protection laws which limit the use
of property may be a “taking” of property rights, requiring compensation. This is a good
precedent for a strong ESA, since the leading threat to the ESA is the ongoing effort of wise-
use wiseguys to impede the protection of critical habitat by adding a “takings” clause.
In the Alaskan gubernatorial race Democrat Tony Knowles bucked the national
momentum and the gun lobby to eke out a narrow victory––on Don Young’s tundra. Knowles
has criticized the wolf control program begun by outgoing governor Walter Hickel, of the mil-
itantly wise-use Alaska Independence Party. Knowles may not be able to overturn last year’s
passage of a bill that mandates predator control before hunting seasons and bag limits can be
reduced, but he can certainly mitigate the damage with judicious appointments to the Board of
Game and to head the Department of Fish and Game.
In Ohio those who fought the opening of a mourning dove hunt for more than 20
years now mourn the treachery of state senate president Stanley Arnoff, who reneged on a
promise to abstain by casting the deciding vote in favor of the hunt authorization bill at a spe-
cial lame-duck session on November 15. The bill cleared the statehouse earlier, and Governor
George Voinovich has pledged to sign it. But it is important to note that the bill could not
have passed without the support of many legislators who were tossed out of office, including
the bill author, Tom Seese, who lost his seat by 900 votes. A dove hunting opponent’s last-
minute mailing to more than 1,000 animal rights activists in Seese’s district helped cost Seese
his job and all the perks that go with it––as other politicians may notice.
Are the Republicans really likely to be worse for animals than the Clinton adminis-
tration? Remember that it was Clinton who went on a canned duck hunt last winter to seek
backing for the Crime Bill from the good old boys––who didn’t back it anyway. It was vice
president Albert Gore who all but promised Norwegian prime minister Gro Brundtland that the
U.S. would ignore the Norwegian defiance of international law in unilaterally resuming com-
mercial whaling. It was Clinton appointee Molly Beattie, head of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service, under attack from wise-users because she doesn’t personally hunt, who 10 days
before the election authorized hunting in four more national wildlife refuges.
New Senate majority leader Robert Dole “has been very good on animal issues,”
notes Adele Douglass of the American Humane Association. Adds Fund for Animals lobbyist
Brigid Dunn, “At least he is not a member of the Congressional Sportsman’s Caucus.” The
new Congress is scheduled to review U.S. farm policy. Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt’s
attempts to save habitat by increasing grazing fees on public land are all but dead, and Dole
isn’t likely to support aggressive animal rights measures, either. Yet, mainstream humane
legislation grafted to farm policy might stand a good chance. Dole, for instance, might sup-
port a bill to protect cattle and horses in transit.
Speaking of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, it lost 33 of the 162 members
it boasted in the House, while all members of Congressional Friends of Animals were re-elect-
ed. The Sportsmen’s Caucus will undoubtedly recruit replacements among the incoming
Republicans, but it will be a while before any of them hold equivalent seniority and influence.
New Tennessee Senator Bill Frist has been lambasted for his admission that he
adopted animals under false pretenses for use in surgical practice as a medical student more
than 20 years ago. His admission that having done so was immoral and unethical, however,
may be more meaningful in projecting what he’ll do as a legislator.
Suggests Douglass, who first came to Washington as an aide to former Republican
Congressman Bill Green, “It will be a challenge, as always, to get to know a new Congress.
But it does not necessarily follow that Republicans are going to be bad for animals.”
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