LETTERS [Dec. 1994]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 1994:

S.F . Zoo responds to HSUS charges
I am writing to respond to reports
about the San Francisco Zoo regarding transac-
tions with alleged hunting ranches made by the
Humane Society of the U.S. and reported in
your October article, “Easy targets.”
The San Francisco Zoo is an accred-
ited institution that abides by the standards and
ethical policies set forth by the American Zoo
and Aquarium Association. In 1992 we adopt-
ed one of the most stringent transaction agree-
ments anywhere. Recipient institutions are
required to sign a disposition and acquisition
transaction agreement that prohibits the sale of
animals to auctions or hunting ranches or to
anyone who provides animals to either.

In September 1994, we adopted an
additional policy requiring recipients of ani-
mals to sign a statement agreeing that they will
not sell or distribute the animals to a third
party who might use the animal for hunting or
auction. Notification of any subsequent ani-
mal transactions must be given to zoo officials.
Further, they must agree that any subsequent
dispositions of the animals will involve the
same requirements we make. Every six
months our animal management department
follows up on the animals transferred from our
facility to see what their status is and how they
are faring.
We have taken this stance because
we believe it is morally abhorrent to use exotic
animals in hunting ranches or to sell them at
auction. In addition, we have suspended all
transactions with non-AZA member Class B
dealers.
I would like to clarify the transac-
tions listed in your chart, “Zoos and canned
hunts: what actually happened, when?”, with
information we believe HSUS should have
requested from us as part of their research.
In March 1991, one zebra was sold
to the Catskill Game Farm, as reported.
However, when we received information that
Catskill did business with hunting ranches, the
animal was recovered and sent to an AZA-
accredited zoo. All transactions with Catskill
were suspended in 1991 after we learned of
the violation of our agreement. The transac-
tion with the Catskill Game Farm “disclosed”
by HSUS in July 1994 was in fact this same
March 1991 transaction.
In November 1993, two nyala
were sold to Buddy Jordan, as reported. One
died on receipt and was not replaced. The site
was inspected in September 1994. The animal
was in good condition and the facilities are
excellent. We are investigating recovery of
this animal. Since 1993, all dealings with
Buddy Jordan have been suspended.
Statements have also been made
about why zoos continue to overproduce.
Since 1991, the San Francisco Zoo has had a
tough policy on responsible breeding, in order
to diminish the number of animals surplused
because of lack of adequate space and to cur-
tail breeding not necessary for reproductive
management of genetic diversity. In 1989,
births at the San Francisco Zoo totaled 139.
By 1993 that number had decreased to 26.
Long-range animal management
plans are established for each species within
the Zoo’s collection. Breeding is undertaken
for three reasons: first, to contribute to con-
servation programs such as the Species
Survival Plans of the AZA, which maintain
viable populations of endangered species; sec-
ond, to provide for the Zoo’s educational
exhibit needs or those of other accredited zool-
ogical institutions; and third, to contribute to
wildlife reintroduction and release programs.
Our mission is to enrich human
appreciation and understanding of natural
diversity, to encourage commitment to the
preservation of wild habitats, and to promote
global conservation through education and
exhibitry, propagation and management of
wildlife. We are appalled that hunting ranches
continue to exist.
––David Anderson
Zoo Director
The San Francisco Zoological Society
San Francisco, California
Absolutists
I find the absolutist stance of many
activists regarding animal testing disturbing.
Procter & Gamble, for instance, has spent more
money developing alternatives to animal testing
than all other personal care product manufacturers
combined. Should we not recognize that? Maybe
even praise them a bit?
We may wish everything would happen at
once, overnight. Human beings, however, often
change and grow through a process of evolution.
To wit: a former hunter came into the
Knox County Humane Society to donate monies
from the sale of his guns and equipment after he
decided he was not going to kill forest animals any
more. He mentioned that he continued to fish. Had
I berated him about fish being sentient, too, I prob-
ably would have lost the good he is doing in telling
his former hunting buddies why he doesn’t hunt any
more.
A dog breeder called last year to say that
after reading about the request from the Humane
Society of the U.S. to voluntarily not breed for a
year, she was putting off a litter she’d planned even
though she was going to lose her prepaid stud fee.
If I’d screamed at her about next year’s litters, she
might have used her stud fee. Instead, I thanked her
profusely and made her feel good about not produc-
ing six or eight puppies who might have gone on to
produce thousands more.
Try putting it into this perspective: how
many veggies or vegans did it overnight? Many I
know “evolved,” first giving up one thing and then
another. Should they have been berated along the
way: “Damn it, until you’re totally veggie or
vegan, you’re worthless.”
Absolutism makes animal rights activists
look at the very least as if they know little and care
less about human psychology. I know, companies
are out for profits first. But companies are still
made up of people and people react very badly
when none of their positive efforts are recognized.
Meeting such adversity, they tend to say “Why
should I bother?”
––Vicky Crosetti
Executive Director
Knox County Humane Society
Wildlife policy
The city council of Midland,
Texas, voted recently that wild mam-
mals can no longer be cared for within
the city limits. The Department of
Animal Control is now destroying all
wild mammals that it picks up. I do not
know of any other city that destroys
babies as well as adults. I am hoping
you will look into this situation.
––Midge Erskine
Midland, Texas
Unfortunately the Midland
policy is not uncommon, especially in
areas which have had a rabies scare.
Chicago recently adopted a similar poli
cy for a different reason: so many ani
mals have been relocated to nearby for
est preserves that the available habitat is
overburdened, and newcomers are
pushed out into nearby suburbs.
Teaching people to live with wildlife is
the only apparent answer to such situa
tions, including getting suburban resi
dents who don’t wish to share their
yards with animals to pick up the wind
fall fruit, nuts, and berries from orna
mental plants that attract many of the so-
called nuisance species. It also would
help if lawn owners would realize that
skunks and moles are their allies in
insect control and soil aeration, even if
their work is temporarily unsightly.
Indoctrination
I’m very concerned about the
number of animal exploitive programs
being presented in our nation’s
schools, e.g. Project Wild, Young
Farmers of America, Let’s Visit A
Research Laboratory, and now the
National Shooting Sports Foundation’s
Unendangered Species campaign,
which is to place sets of three pro-
hunting videos geared to grade level in
40,000 schools this year and 100,000
schools by the end of 1996.
Last year my attention was
called to a large news article showing
a man in a high school classroom here
in South Bend, dissecting a hog. I
contacted the dietician whom I under-
stood was responsible for this pro-
gram. She said the man was teaching
the students how to buy the best meat
at the lowest price. I told her this was
not what the caption under the photo-
graph said. The man was there from
Future Farmers of America, promot-
ing the eating of pork. The conversa-
tion didn’t fare too well.
I then wrote to the school
administration, and explained the
matter and my concern. I informed
the school administration that I strong-
ly feel that when they have people in
the schools promoting special inter-
ests, they should make a point of hav-
ing someone present the other side..
––Sue Clark
South Bend, Indiana
Tore up the check
I had written a check to Farm
Sanctuary when I received a letter from the
Humane Farming Association trashing Farm
Sanctuary over the outcome of the California
downer bill. I tore up the check and plan not
to contribute to either. Downed animals need
help, but these two organizations seem to be
fighting each other, as is true of so many
organizations, rather than helping the animals.
I receive three or four requests for
money a day from various organizations. Who
knows whether any particular one or any of
them is doing any good? What can people do
who would like to contribute, but are afraid
it’s money down the drain?
Why can’t we have only one or
maybe two animal welfare organizations and
one or maybe two animal rights organizations?
If this were the case, these organizations
would have clout in the fight against animal
abuse and for animal rights. There are so
many organizations now that one wonders if
any of them are effective, or if they are so
busy fighting each other for the piece of the
pie that the animals get almost no help.
I’m fed up with all of them except
possibly PETA, which seems to get results
some of the time.
––Rosa G. Schemmel
Wichita, Kansas
We examined the dispute over the
California downer bill on page 15 of our
October issue. HFA is correct in stating that
the bill as adopted for the most part just rati
fies abusive aspects of the status quo.
There were only a handful of nation
al animal protection organizations 20 years
ago––but they were no more efficient or effec
tive than the multitude today.
Corrections and clarifications
In the November installment of
“Dirty Pool,” concluded here, we wrote that,
“Steve Wynn, owner of the Mirage hotel and
dolphinarium in Las Vegas, has apparently
been the biggest donor to the militantly anti-
whaling Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
since 1988.” Lisa DiStefano of Sea Shepherd
called to say that although Wynn is one of
their major donors, he is not the biggest.
On page 17 of the November issue
we stated that Rod Coronado, charged with
several Animal Liberation Front arsons, “is
legally represented by noted animal rights
attorney Larry Weiss, of Santa Rosa,
California.” Weiss wrote to explain that
while he has distributed statements for
Coronado, “At this point I am not Rod’s attor-
ney. I have visited Rod twice to talk about
becoming his attorney,” Weiss said, “but as
yet no definite selection has been made.”
Jacquie Lewis (page 11, November)
called to say that although she resigned as
assistant director of ARM!-Chicago at the
same time as former board member Susan
Koenker and was mentioned in Koenker’s
release about the resignations in a context
indicating she had been a board member, she
had not in fact been on the board.
Ruminations
I often think of you and the fortitude required to shoulder so
many tasks planted in your lives by both circumstance and your values,
which must have a way of making you feel and be looked upon like
beings from another planet. I feel the same, contemplating the indignity
of spending most of our time keeping our heads above water, together
with our ever-present frustration with the state of the world and the move-
ment, where there are so many well-meaning and committed individuals
running around with only the scantiest notion of how to change the status
quo. I once wrote an article on the differences between various move-
ments, suggesting that one of the major causes for failure in the animal
rights movement (not that the others have been such resounding success-
es) is that it requires people to have practically no broad consciousness
about political reality, only a lot of badly controlled emotion. Emotion
devoid of political understanding leads to confusion, frustration, and
eventually burnout. You may have noticed that this country––and the ani-
mal rights movement––are littered with former activists who have become
card-carrying cynics and nihilists.
I often said (in the wilderness, of course) that to change things
you must sooner or later get serious about the root causes of the whole
insane situation. Being for animal rights, liberation, or whatever you
want to call it entails serious, consistent, political work, since the move-
ment is attempting to change social structures rooted in both tradition and
vested economic interest. That’s why I always screamed at the countless
activists who spend all their time putting out brushfires continually ignited
by an unrevised value system.
––Patrice Greanville
Westport, Connecticut
Cats in prison
We recently received a letter from an inmate of the California
Institute for Women. Apparently the prison is situated amid a farm com-
munity and stray cats are wandering in. The ladies have become attached
to a number of them, and must now stand by helplessly watching as they
are being trapped and sent to their death. They’ve pleaded for outside
assistance, but despite our various efforts it appears to be a no-win situa-
tion. Though we continue to try.
At any rate, I wondered if you would begin sending them
monthly copies of ANIMAL PEOPLE. In my 40-some years of working
in defense of animals, I’ve never read a publication as worthwhile as
yours. I’m isolated on a ranch in the desert and the only means I have of
knowing what is going on in the animal world is through your publication.
Local organizations are the social set, into tea parties and luncheons. If
pet rocks were in, that’s what they’d defend; it matters not to them.
I write a lot of letters on behalf of animals, and save your pub-
lication for reference. The various statistics enable me to present a more
factual and effective letter. As each month’s copy comes in, I devour it
from cover to cover. I now feel I’m kept abreast of news concerning ani-
mals the world over.
––Beverly Frost
Cats Allied Tactical Support, Inc.
Sky Valley, California
ACO wears fur
I care very deeply about
the humane treatment of animals,
but I do not agree with your radi-
cal extremist views on hunting,
eating beef, and wearing leather.
I will continue to wear my rabbit
fur hat and gloves knowing that
God created animals to serve man.
Please drop me from your mailing
list.
––Bill Penner
Animal Control Officer
Chanute, Kansas
Academics
the humane treatment of animals,
but I do not agree with your radi-
cal extremist views on hunting,
eating beef, and wearing leather.
I will continue to wear my rabbit
fur hat and gloves knowing that
God created animals to serve man.
Please drop me from your mailing
list.
––Bill Penner
Animal Control Officer
Chanute, Kansas
Academics
I would like to hear
from other academics who are
teaching courses about animal
rights/welfare. Although I am
interested primarily in legal issues
concerning animals, I am interest-
ed in any courses (philosophical,
economic, etc.) I am particularly
interested in hearing from col-
leagues at foreign institutions.
––Gary Francione
Rutgers Law School
15 Washington Street
Newark, NJ 07102
Mooney defends fact sheets
Thank you for your perspective on propaganda
campaigns waged by both those who find confining
cetaceans offensive and the sea park industry. Sadly, I
feel your assessment citing lack of communication,
which ultimately damages our credibility, is correct.
I would like to clarify statements which may
have been misconstrued, and to provide documentation
for statements questioned in your article. As an advocate
for cetacean freedom, I do feel discriminated against in
your expectation that my every sentence should be docu-
mented to withstand scrutiny by the sea park industry.
Numbers such as animal acquisitions, births,
and deaths are subject to change at any time. However,
Sea World’s claim of a neonatal mortality rate of zero is
simply untrue.
There are two arguments against confining
cetaceans which I have consistently discouraged others
from using. One is that cetaceans become deafened by
their own sonic abilities within restricted confines. It is
generally accepted that cetaceans possess the ability to
control their sonar. Thus one can only speculate why
incidents such as collisions with pool walls have
occurred.
I have also discouraged others from comparing
the longevity of captive and wild cetaceans, except
orcas, the most studied of all marine mammals. Little
comparative data exists for other species. One error did
stand out in the article: stating that Daniel Odell of Sea
World and I agree that the best current maximum
longevity estimates for orcas are circa 29 years for males
and 50 years for females. These figures are for mean life
expectancy, with a maximum longevity of about 50-60
years for males and 80-90 years for females, according
to Olesiuk, Bigg, and Ellis’ 1990 study.
––Jerye Mooney
Carson, California
The editor replies:
If dolphins are often injured in pool wall colli
sions, as Mooney’s dolphin fact sheet strongly implies
that they are, one would expect to find mention of it in
the scientific literature cited in her footnotes, which led,
as we reported, to a description of how seals and sea
lions sometimes suffer abrasions when hauling them
selves out of pools with rough concrete edges.
With her letter above, Mooney did document
ome of her previously unsupported contentions. E.g.,
she wrote in her dolphin fact sheet that when captive dol
phin groupings “contain adult males from different cap-
ture localities, the animals have been known to fight
viciously over females or lead an injurious attack on a
helpless poolmate.” Her footnoted references mentioned
sex, age, and species as factors in such fighting, but not
capture location. However, capture location was men
tioned in a January 1986 Marine Mammal Science arti
cle by Susan Shane, Randall Wells, and Bernd Wursig.
Mooney also backed up her previously undocu
mented claim that, “Some facilities even allow children
from the audience…to sit upon the orca’s back for sou-
venir photographs,” with a copy of a Sea World ad pub
lished in the November 18, 1991 edition of the Canadian
news magazine Maclean’s, which read, “When it comes
to memorable experiences, perhaps nothing compares
with sitting on the back of a killer whale. At any number
of Sea World shows, Shamu graces some lucky child
with a thrill that is shared by the entire audience.”
Asked to comment, Sea World research biolo
gist Daniel Odell admitted, “That’s something we used
to do, sometimes. To the best of my knowledge, it’s not
done any more––certainly not on a regular basis, but I
wouldn’t want to have to swear that it’s never done.”
Mooney cites a witness who says it was done as recently
s October 1994 at Sea World San Diego.
However, once again much of Mooney’s materi
al did not check out. In support of her repeated charge
that “incidents such as collisions with pool walls have
occurred,” injuring captive dolphins, Mooney provided
a list of 16 incidents that have occurred during the past 25
years. Five were discussed in part one of the “Dirty
Pool” series; just one, involving the Sea World orca
Kahana, was a pool wall collision. Of the other 11, three
involved orcas fighting with other orcas; two involved
orcas breaking windows, apparently trying to interact
with people; one involved a pilot whale who broke win
dows; one involved a dolphin who broke a window; two
involved dolphins fighting with other dolphins; and one
involved a dolphin fighting a beluga. One dolphin injured
by another dolphin did bump into walls before dying of the
injuries three days later. Another dolphin died in 1977
after she was found outside her tank, having apparently
misjudged a leap.
In her letter above, Mooney asserts that, “Sea
World’s claim of a neonatal mortality rate of zero is sim
ply untrue,” with the footnote “Duffield, 1991.”
Deborah Duffield in her paper Status and Trends in
Captive Reproduction of Killer Whales in North America
recorded both a stillborn calf and the death of a calf from
a congenital defect at age 11 days at Sea World San Diego
in January 1986. Complications from a stillbirth also
caused the death of the orca Nootka at Sea World Florida
in September 1994. But the term “neonatal“ applies to
infants born alive; and when the issue is quality of care,
“neonatal mortality” should not include the death of an
infant from an invariably fatal and unpreventable condi
tion originating at conception.
Orca longevity
Thanks for your article “Dirty Pool” [ c o n t i n
ued in this issue]. There is, however, one point where
my review of the Fund for Animals orca fact sheet is
misinterpreted. I definitely do not agree with fact sheet
author Jerye Mooney on the longevity of killer whales. I
go with the Ivar Christensen papers, which estimate
maximum age at about 35 years for both sexes.
––Daniel K. Odell, Research Biologist
Sea World, Inc., Orlando, Florida
Biased
“Dirty Pool,” part one, was so blatantly
biased and factually distorted that I will be happy when
my subscription expires. The most disturbing aspect of
this article was the exhuberant verbal bashing given to
Jerye Mooney’s publications. From my own review of
her data, it appears that the research and claims made in
this article could only aspire to be as scientifically sound.
––Toni G. Frohoff
Bainbridge Island, Washington
Irritated
I would commend ANIMAL PEOPLE f o r
exposing blatant misstatements, falsehoods, or exagger-
ations perpetrated by any animal rights group or individ-
ual, but I am truly irritated by your choice of Jerye
Mooney as a target. During the past few years I have
called on Mooney countless times for data. In every
instance her information has been circumspect, factual,
and with careful attention to specifics. Dozens of times
she has told me, “If you can’t document it, don’t say
it.” It is her credo and she sticks by it without exception.
You discredit your own publication implying otherwise.
––Jane Cartmill
San Diego Animal Advocates
Encinitas, California
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