LETTERS [Jan/Feb 1995]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, Jan/Feb 1995:

Moral idiocy
If this country had devot-
ed a thousandth of the media time it
has spent on O.J. Simpson and his
similarly good-for-nothing
dered wife on another issue, say the
crimes of an opportunistic Alaska
against its non-commercially valu-
able wildlife, something of real
value might have emerged. As it is,
let’s take heart that even an atom of
exposure was able to detonate an
uproar, and that it takes an almost
total blackout to keep ugly deeds
and traditions in place. I remain
convinced that it is the cultural and
media superstructure that dominates
our waking hours, built every inch
of the way on the system’s central
values, that should be blamed for
the state of moral idiocy in which
we dwell.
––Patrice Greanville
Westport, Connecticut

While the news is well-
edited and timely, I take issue with
your editorial trends, namely your
persistent and extensive apologies
for the captive animal industry and
especially vivisection. As long as
you endorse animal exploitation and
call animal research “meaningful,” I
will not make additional contribu-
tions and will assess my continuing
subscription on a yearly basis.
––Andrew Gach
Omaha, Nebraska
Excellent timing! I got
your December issue just as I was
mailing a response to American
Airlines’ excuses for serving veal on
their overseas flights. I included a
copy of your article on vealers and
their synthetic steroids.
––Kathleen Chaplin
Roanoke, Texas
I enjoyed your financial
abstracts of animal-related charities,
and found them quite informative.
However, I feel an “H” should be
added to the letters identifying the
function of The Nature Conserv-
ancy, since it does support hunting,
“for wildlife management and recre-
ation.” I believe TNC should call
itself “The Land Conservancy,”
since animals, after all, are part of
nature, and The Nature
Conservancy by its support of trap-
ping and killing animals that it feels
do not belong on their land seems to
have no love of them.
––Jean Boucher
Holbrook, New York
Your publication is filled
mostly with bitter open criticism of
animal groups, which is unaccept-
able to give out to the public.
––Adela Pisarevsky
New York, N.Y
Re hunters and perverts
I have no future desire to support such a leftwing organization
that distorts the facts to prove what they wish to prove. I find your paper
one-sided and obnoxious and feel that its best use is to start the evening
fire. Although I am a veterinarian and animal lover, I support zoos, the
beef industry, hunting, and unlike your latest conclusions, I am not a
child molester or abuser. Good riddance!
––Curt Gruchow, DVM
Bailey, Colorado
The following was posted via America OnLine’s Pet Care Forum
“Animals and Society” message board under the heading “Hunting and
trapping,” in response to a synopsis of the ANIMAL PEOPLE studies
(March and November 1994 issues) which found a strong linkage in New
York and Ohio, independent of median income and population density,
between hunting participation and child abuse, especially molestation:
I for one am quite comfortable with my sexuality. I don’t need to
prove it to anyone either. No doubt about me, I like women. I’ve hunted
all my life. Never considered it sexually stimulating, although I do enjoy
the smell of doe piss, but not when deer wear it. I put doe piss on myself
for a cover scent when I hunt deer. I like a woman, if I really love her and
she loves me, to put the tiniest drop behind her ear. Doe urine to me is an
erotic substance. But so is horse piss, and certain regular perfumes as long
as they aren’t applied too liberally. Have I ever “hunted” women? You
bet! Show me a heterosexual man who hasn’t! But do I look upon them as
trophies or conquests? Not in your wildest imaginations. I don’t believe in
one-night stands.
You must be
very pleased about the
news from Alaska. You
certainly did your part to
bring about the cessation of
the state wolf-killing pro-
gram, by keeping the issue
alive in ANIMAL PEO-
PLE. Now that the wolves
have an ally in the gover-
nor’s office, perhaps we
will be able to have same-
day airborne wolf-”trap-
ping” with rifles disal-
lowed on state land, as on
federal land.
––Jeanne McVey
Sea Wolf Alliance
Santa Rosa, California
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 mam-
mals 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.
––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
policy for a different rea
son: so many animals have
been relocated to nearby
forest preserves that the
habitat is overburdened,
pushing newcomers into
nearby suburbs. Teaching
people to live with wildlife
is the only apparent
answer to such situations,
including getting those who
don’t wish to share their
yards with animals to pick
up the windfall fruit, nuts,
and berries from ornamen
tal plants that attract many
of the so-called nuisance
species. It would also help
if lawn owners realized
that skunks and moles are
their allies in insect control
and soil aeration, even if
their work is temporarily
Historic victories
I was disappointed by the brief mention given the passage of
the Arizona and Oregon ballot initiatives in the November issue of ANI-
MAL PEOPLE. These are tremendously important, in fact historic vic-
tories for the animal rights movement. Animal activists have sponsored
only 10 statewide ballot initiatives in the past 20 years. With these two
wins, four of our last five attempts have been successful. And for the
first time, two initatives passed in one election.
Oregon is home to one of the largest populations of cougar and
black bear in this country. The passage of Measure 18 virtually ends
cougar hunting for sport in the state, and cuts bear hunting nearly in
half. The Oregon activists won despite being outspent nearly three to
one, a reflection of the effectiveness of their campaign strategy and the
popularity of the issue with voters.
Over 60 years have passed since the last state banned trapping
by citizen initative. Arizona’s Proposition 201 outlaws the use of
leghold traps, Conibear traps, snares, and poisons on public lands in the
state. This was the third attempt to ban trapping by initiative in Arizona,
and the first time that an animal issue appeared on two consecutive bal-
lots in one state. It was also the first successful statewide political cam-
paign sponsored by an unaffiliated grassroots animal group.
Several national animal protection organizations provided
direction and financial support to the local activists in Arizona and
Oregon. The Humane Society of the U.S. and The Fund for Animals
contributed significant resources to both campaigns. The Arizona cam-
paign also received help through membership mailings or direct contri-
butions from the International Fund for Animal Welfare, Friends of
Animals, the American SPCA, and PETA. All those who participated
in these campaigns should be congratulated!
––Dena Jones Jolma, Vice President
Arizona Lobby for Animals
Phoenix, Arizona

In your December issue you express satisfaction that Arizona
voters defeated a proposition which would have required regulatory
interference with the use of property to be treated as a taking, requiring
compensation to the owner. I am not sure this is good, for two reasons.
First, I am not comfortable with the immense power of gov-
ernment to interfere with people’s lives, and believe it is proper and pru-
dent to strictly limit that power, even though state power is sometimes
used for purposes I approve of.
Second, the present regulatory system can have perverse con-
sequences. For example, if someone notices a member of an endangered
species on his land, he may be tempted to kill it and bury the body before
the government learns of the creature’s presence, and orders him to stop
farming or refrain from building anything. If owners were entitled to
compensation when their use of property was restricted, they would not
have the same temptation.
This said, I disagree with many advocates of an expansive
reading of the Fifth Amendment’s takings clause. I am a Georgist: I
advocate a single tax on the land value. Under this system, a landowner
forbidden to use his land in the most profitable way would receive a
lower tax bill, rather than a payment for the “taking.”
––Nicholas Rosen
State College, Pennsylvania
Service to North Africa
It never occurred to me that ANIMAL PEOPLE would be hot
on my trail during my recent holiday in the Middle East. I did receive one
issue over there, which I left with a local horse rescuer. The Society for
the Protection of Animals in North Africa clinic that I visited also gets a
copy, and it was fun to see it in full display in Dr. Ghazi’s waiting room.
The staff are very proud to be remembered by this international journal
coming to their windswept, rock-strewn desert. Dr. Ghazi reads every-
thing in sight having to do with animals, and bones up from all the jour-
nals he can borrow.
––Sharon Cregier
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada
Throw editor to CHARCs!
For the past two years the Chicago Animal
Rights Coalition has campaigned to educate the public
about the aquaprison industry. Merritt Clifton takes issue
with calling these facilities “aquaprisons,” but what else
are they? Kalamazoo Animal Liberation Front president
Garry Vella used the term before I did, but because of its
accuracy, I have used it ever since.
When CHARC videotaped filthy water, a liter-
al dirty pool, at the San Diego holding cell for the
Shedd’s newest prisoners, the three Pacific whitesided
dolphins captured in late November 1993, their public
relations staff denied our allegations. Our video footage
even included Shedd personnel scooping the slimy mess
off the surface, and a scum line around the edge of the
pool. We brought a copy of the footage to the Shedd and
challenged them to review it with us. They refused.
Although Clifton calls our weekly protests at
the Shedd over the past two years a “blunder,” he con-
cedes that the Shedd has been damaged. We are confi-
dent that at least partially because of those protests, peo-
ple are learning the truth. The cost to the protesters pales
beside the loss experienced by the Shedd’s prisoners, for
whom we fight. They have been kidnapped, and for the
rest of their lives the Shedd will deprive them of their nat-
ural companions and environment, their natural food sup-
ply, their dignity, and everything that made them what
they were meant to be. It is always difficult to get as
many protesters as one would like, but I do not agree that
our protests are running out of steam.
I must also take issue with Clifton’s suggestion
that protests at the Hegins pigeon shoot are “running out
of steam.” Fund for Animals national director Heidi
Prescott has campaigned tirelessly to end pigeon shooting
across Pennsyvlania, and the end is coming. In fact, for
the past two years The Fund has requested that there be
no protesters, only rescuers and documenters. CHARC
was able to contribute video footage that we expect will
be very damaging to the killers, in the eyes of both the
public and Pennsylvania lawmakers.
––Steve Hindi, President
Chicago Animal Rights Coalition
Yorkville, Illinois
End exploitation
Freedom is a term and a way of life that all
humans cherish. The Shedd Aquarium and others of its
kind have taken away the freedom of countless
cetaceans for the sake of human greed and psuedo-edu-
cation. The incarceration of these intelligent mammals
teaches not only disrespect for these species as they per-
form ridiculous tricks, but also disrespect for the ocean
ecosystem as a whole. This is dominance by humans
over other species, in this case whales and dolphins. It
is important for all to understand that these animals are
not volunteers to be subjected to an archaic existence in
concrete tanks many miles from the nearest ocean.
They may be fed and given medication, but what is
their quality of life?
The claim that the captive industry has assist-
ed in the campaign to end the killing of dolphins by the
tuna industry is ludicrous. The public had no know-
ledge of this mass slaughter, which began in 1959 and
caused the deaths of 100,000 dolphins per year, until
Earth Island Institute began a campaign to end this hor-
ror in 1985. A consumer boycott of canned tuna and
federal legislation have brought a near total ban on the
killing of dolphins in catching tuna to be sold in the U.S.
Citizens are now speaking out. Captures in
U.S. waters had not occurred since 1989, until 1993
when the Shedd defied public outrage to capture three
Pacific whitesided dolphins. Every new aquarium that
has opened in the past five years is cetacean-free. All
the new aquariums in planning are committed to being
cetacean-free. All the theme parks owned by Time-
Warner and Paramount have permanently discontinued
dolphin shows. South Carolina is the first and only state
to ban the captivity of dolphins and whales, and recent-
ly successfully fought a repeal effort led by Sea World
and the Shedd. Brazil, England, and most of Australia
have banned cetacean captivity.
Earth Island Institute calls for those dolphins
and whales still held captive to be rehabilitated and
released to their environment, and for all human
exploitation of these magnificent creatures to end.
––Mark Berman, Program Associate
Earth Island Institute
San Francisco, California
The Editor responds:
Both of the above letters were extensively edited
for reasons of space and libel. Berman held that, “The
Shedd and Sea World through its lobbyists have asked the
U.S. Commissioner to the International Whaling
Commission to oppose regulations to protect small
cetaceans, as this would impede their ability to capture
outside of U.S. jurisdiction. This means that Shedd and
Sea World and their allies are now joined with the whal
ing nations in opposing the call for the end of
humankind’s war on cetaceans.” There is an obvious dif
ference between seeking an exemption to permit live cap
tures under stringently regulated conditions, and endors
ing the commercial slaughter of whales, which no U.S.
marine mammal park does; on the contrary, most active
ly remind visitors of the havoc done by whaling.
Berman further argued that marine mammal
exhibitors––most of which, including the Shedd, are non
profit educational institutions––have “successfully lob
bied Congress to remove protection for captive cetaceans
by the National Marine Fisheries Service and weaken the
Marine Mammal Protection Act.” In fact, they lobbied to
consolidate all inspections of captive wildlife under the
USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service,
which should expedite enforcement while cutting costs.
It is also worth noting that while marine mam
mal exhibitors may have done little to publicize tuna net
ting “on dolphin” before this became a public issue, they
have demonstrably increased public empathy for dolphins
––and six of the eight marine animal exhibition sites we
have visited in the past year had displays posted pertain
ing to the tuna/dolphin issue, helping insure that the tuna
industry will not be able to quietly resume the old prac
tices when concern subsides.
The strongest allegations deleted from Hindi’s
letter––but issued as well in CHARC publications––per
tained to Shedd veterinarian Jeffrey Boehm and Shedd
head cetacean trainer Ken Ramirez. Hindi, citing info
mation provided by the Elephant Alliance, implicated
Boehm in the drug-related death of an elephant named
Hannibal at the Los Angeles Zoo on March 20, 1992, six
months before the drug-related deaths of two belugas at
the Shedd, shortly after Boehm joined the Shedd staff. A
transcript of the Los Angeles Zoo proceedings establishes
that on the morning of March 19, 1992, Boehm, two
years out of veterinary school, was included in discussion
of a sedative injection subsequently given by zoo director
Mark Goldstein, DVM, and Ben Gonzales, DVM,
respectively senior to Boehm by 12 and 10 years’ experi
ence. This was Boehm’s only role in the case; Goldstein
and Gonzales were the attending veterinarians throughout
the rest of the Hannibal ordeal, which occurred as they
were trying to ready the elephant for transport. The seda
tive may have contributed to Hannibal’s subsequent col
lapse, leading to death almost a day later.
Hindi also inferred, without having all the
facts, that Ramirez was involved in the deaths of two dol
phins at the Dolphin Quest swim-with facility in French
Polynesia on the night of March 3 or early morning of
March 4, 1994. In fact, a French national in scuba gear
was apprehended, questioned, and released after pene
trating the Dolphin Quest seapen that night. He purport
edly told guests at a party he attended that the dolphins
were better off dead than captive. He then fled the coun
try. Police have withheld his name. A few hours later the
dolphins went into convulsions; they died after 12 hours
of agony, during which Ramirez and veterinarian Rae
Stone tried to save them. Autopsies found the dolphins
had been given massive doses of a common pesticide,
concealed in fish.
Hindi and the Shedd agree, incidentally, that
we should not have described the drug reaction of the two
belugas who died at the Shedd on September 22, 1992,
as an “overdose.” The dose was within known beluga tol
erances; why the belugas died is still a mystery.
Hot dates
The dates of some major campaigns
are, from a media point of view, inappropri-
ate. This implies no diminunition of the
efforts of those diligent colleagues who estab-
lished them. It’s just a plea for activists who
are as a rule adept at manipulating the media
to change the dates. Two examples:
Fur-Free Friday has been wildly
successful over the last decade. But how
many people do you know who watch the
Friday evening news? A local reporter who
happens to be sympathetic to our work
explains, “Having events on Fridays is stu-
pid, at least if you’re trying to reach the
greatest number of people through the media.
Governments announce unpopular policies on
Fridays so that no one will notice; on
Monday mornings they unveil good news.
Many writers and copy editors and TV news
assistants take Fridays off. People have
worked long and hard all week and don’t give
a damn what’s on the tube.” I know FFF is an
alliterative masterpiece, but we are an imagi-
native lot.
World Lab Animal Liberation
Week, besides the fact that the name is cum-
bersome, is held at the worst time of the year,
at least from a Canadian perspective. Come
late April, local campuses are bright and
warm and sun-drenched. And dead. There
are virtually no visible people at the universi-
ties, in which the bulk of Manitoban animal
research occurs. A few burned-out residents
may stagger out of the dregs of final exams.
In autumn the campuses are bright and warm
and sun-drenched. And there are 25,000 to
30,000 students trundling about the
University of Manitoba alone. That’s without
news media.
I am well aware that each of these
events draws thousands of participants each
year, and that each is well entrenched in our
calendar of events. Each is to a greater or
lesser degree successful. But if there’s room
for improvement, let us pursue it.
––James Pearson, Coordinator
People Acting for Animal Liberation
Winnipeg, Manitoba
I’m very concerned about the num-
ber of animal exploitive programs being pre-
sented in our 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 pro-hunt-
ing videos in 40,000 schools this year and
100,000 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, dissect-
ing a hog. I contacted the dietician responsi-
ble for this program. 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 photograph said.
The man was there from Future Farmers of
America, promoting pork. The conversation
didn’t fare too well.
I then wrote to the school adminis-
tration. I told them that I strongly feel that
when they have people in the schools promot-
ing special interests, they should make a point
of having someone present the other side..
––Sue Clark
South Bend, Indiana
A photo caption in our November
issue misidentified Chris Larter as former
director of the Brooke Hospital clinic in Petra,
Jordan; in fact, she was liaison officer. We
also misidentified another former director,
Brian Thompson, as Richard Thompson.
I find the absolutism of many
activists toward 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 recog-
nize that? Maybe even praise them a bit?
We may wish everything would hap-
pen at once, overnight––but human beings
more 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 equip-
ment 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 probably 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 lit-
ter 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
breeding 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 their posi-
tive efforts are not recognized. Meeting such
adversity, they tend to say “Why bother?”
––Vicky Crosetti, Executive Director
Knox County Humane Society
Knoxville, Tennessee
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