LETTERS [May 1995]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1995:
Fix dogs too
There is little disagreement in the animal welfare
movement that neutering is the humane answer to pet over-
population and destruction. It is also recognized that most
low-income pet owners are unable to afford the usual veteri-
nary charges for surgery––especially for dogs. It is therefore
unbelievable to read in your April edition that in San Jose
$100,000 “obtained from a surplus in animal licensing,” i.e.
dog licensing, will be used for free vouchers to neuter only
cats, the rationale being that costs for dogs are twice as high
so two cats can be helped for each dog. Consider two equal-
ly poor pet owners, one with a large dog and one with a cat.
Because the surgery costs for the dog are more than twice as
much as for the cat, only the cat owner will be assisted.
––Elisabeth Arvin
Ojai, California

Three days, not weeks
I loved the April lead feature on San Jose’s encour-
agement of neutering feral cats. There was only one mistake:
San Jose handed out 1,000 neutering vouchers in three days,
not three weeks.
San Jose will now be doing free dog altering as
well. We allocated $20,000, or roughly 400 dogs worth,
until the end of this fiscal year. The allocation will be looked
at again this summer to see if we can continue with it. We
are currently doing about 100 cats a week, or over $100,000
per year if it continues at this pace, so I am concerned we
will run out of money if there is a big dog response. It looks
as if we’ll only have $125,000 for next year, including our
public education and research programs.
I was especially tickled by the remark in your April
editorial about moral power on companion animal issues
being moved from the Humane Society of the U.S., et al, to
the San Francisco SPCA, North Shore Animal League, and
National Pet Alliance. It is hard to imagine NPA being any
kind of threat to HSUS, with their huge budget in compari-
son to our extremely little one. I suppose there will be some
teeth gnashing over that.
Thank you for giving a mention to our need for
funds. You know how it is, always scraping the barrel to get
any kind of project done. We had a request yesterday to do
the same sort of survey we did in the Santa Clara Valley in
Los Angeles, due to their upcoming legislation. No prob-
lem; all they have to do is raise $10,000 to fund it (and we
need to get done with the one we’re working on now). The
caller said she’d see what she could do.
––Karen Johnson
National Pet Alliance
San Jose, California
Dog food
Concerning the letter from Laura Williams in your
April edition about vegetarian dogs, I have been feeding
mine Nature’s Recipe non-meat kibble for years, although I
have occasionally changed off to a meat-based kibble. The
dogs also steal the cat foot at every opportunity, so they
haven’t been totally vegetarian. PETA has a study on vege-
tarian dogs that indicates cardiomyopathy based on taurine
and carnitine deficiency is a possible problem.
Most confusing is the lack of specific direction:
how much carnitine and/or taurine per body weight, what is
the best source, etc. My vet has said it is okay to give dogs
the vegetarian food, and he’s pretty up-to-date on things, but
he’s never said anything about this.
––Mary Melville
Plymouth, Michigan
Your April editorial, “Remembering the aim,” is
excellent. I hope the response to it is positive.
––Jim Brewer
PIGS: A Sanctuary
Charles Town, West Virginia

Hunters & child abuse
Growing up in upstate New York during the 1970s
and 1980s, my siblings and I used to play unsupervised, as did
all our playmates, less than a quarter mile from where Sara
Anne Wood was abducted in the alleged rape/murder for which
hunter Lewis Lent has been charged (Court Calendar, April).
My parents never worried about us, even if we didn’t come
home for lunch. They just assumed we were with friends. My
sister’s boys also played unsupervised there in the early 1990s.
Nobody worried until Sara was killed. We were in the middle
of nowhere, and nobody was around except farmers and
hunters. Looking back, we all should have been afraid. How
safe could it have been to coexist with people who get pleasure
out of stalking and killing those who are weaker than they are?
Thanks for keeping Sara’s memory alive to help other children.
––Judith Messimer
Creve Coeur, Missouri
Words from Deborah Rudacille
Half a decade ago, I was a doctrinaire ecofemi-
nist, convinced that the domination of women every-
where by men everywhere was directly related to the
domination of nature by white Western scientific man.
My certainties led to a mind of myopia, something I have
come to think of as the psychological correlate of the
NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) syndrome. People who
thought like me (mostly women and a few enlightened
men) were good. People who thought differently were
bad. Engaged in a search for non-hierarchical, noviolent
modes of life, people like me did not engage in aggres-
sive, competitive, greedy self-interested behavior. We
were pure, in word and deed. The other side was not.
The universe had a little surprise in store for
me. MY attempts to support myself as an ecofeminist
writer failed and I was forced to look for gainful employ-
ment. I found it “in the belly of the beast.” I became a
science writer, hired to help research and write a book
about toxicology and the search for alternatives to the use
of animals for product development and safety testing.
On the one hand, this was a dream job.
Although I had never been particularly fond of animals,
animal rights does occcupy a significant place in the
ecofeminist credo so intellectually, if not emotionally, I
supported the movement. I was also carrying around a lot
of anger toward men and whatever I perceived to be
“male” endeavors. Science obviously fit the bill, so an
attempt to make science more “female,” or humane, was
fine with me.
But a strange thing has happened over the past
three years as I have read and researched and talked with
both animal protectionists and scientists. I have found
that the struggle between animal rights and science is not
a cosmic battle between the forces of good and the forces
of evil. It is rather a clash of worldviews. There are good
people and good arguments on both sides. There are bad
people and bad arguments on both sides. There is very
little difference, psychologically speaking, between the
demagogues on either side of the fence.
More than anything, the war between animal
rights and science seems to me like the pro-life/pro-
choice debate. In both conflicts, the views of the extrem-
ists seem out of touch with public sentiment. In both
cases, competing organizations spend enormous amounts
of time and money attempting to “convert” mebers of the
public to their points of view. Sometimes frustration
leads to violence or threats of violence. But the public
remains as unpersuaded by clinic bombers and lab trash-
ers as it does by propagandists or authorities who, by
virtue of their extended schooling or powerful position,
attempt to intimidate those who think differently. Most
people just want to be given the facts, and be left to
make up their own minds.
Paradoxically, I have found myself beocming
both more and less tolerant as the years have passed. I
am more tolerant of those whose opinions may differ
from my own, but who grant me the space to have a sep-
arate opinion; less tolerant of anyone who attempts to
impose his or her beliefs on others, whether I agree with
their position or not. I have begun to see that we are all
mirrors: what we despise in others is in many cases a
reflection of what we ignore in ourselves. This is as ture
of those animal rights activists who deny their own formi-
dable aggression and will to power as it is of the biomed-
ical researchers who do not see that their attachment to
the scientific worldview is at least as emotional as the
commitment of their adversaries to animal protection.
I have not rejected my old ecofeminist beliefs.
I still see an historically-based system of oppression
whose traditional targets have been women, animals and
the natural world. But I am no longer able to pretend that
this system is “other,” and that the emotions and motiva-
tions which drove it are alien to me. The truth, it seems
to me now, is immeasurably more complex. I have bene-
fitted greatly from the very same system which oppresses
me, and every positive and negative quality that I both
admire and condemn in those who have created and
maintained that system, I now recognize in myself.
Aspects of this legacy are truly horrific and we
are only beginning to recognize and correct the most
egregious abuses of the system. But if we fail to distin-
guish the positive aspects of this history, if we refuse to
recognize the potency and value of the things we have
learned and done, despite their costs, we will be doomed
to create the same mistakes, over and over, in another
guise. When you look into the mirror of your adversary’s
soul, what do you see? I suggest that the only thing you
can see is some unrecognized aspect of yourself. The
oppressor you see without is often a mere reflection of
the lurking oppressor within.
––Deborah Rudacille
Editor, CAAT Newsletter
Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, Maryland
Breed rescues deserve thanks
I’d like to see you do a major article
on breed rescue. We work with rescue groups
a lot. We got yet another call from a rescue
group today––Dobermans, and as I told the
woman, we really don’t need help there. We
have people knocking down the doors for
Dobermans. She told me that at other shelters,
she is forced to pay the full adoption price to
take dogs out. I don’t know what is wrong at
some shelters: when we call a rescue group,
we try to provide an animal who has had every-
thing done, and we don’t charge. I feel as if
maybe, just maybe, shelters should be grateful
to the reputable rescue groups who assist us.
Some such groups put dogs through basic obe-
dience training before they’re placed. I
absolutely do not buy the argument that a shel-
ter can place a purebred in a home easily and
collect the adoption fee, so should try that first
before calling a rescue. Many of our purebreds
never even see the adoption floor; they just go
straight to rescue. Why take up precious cage
space when a rescue group can place the animal
instead? Of course not all rescues are created
equal. But an executive director with even a
modicum of brains can weed out the wackos.
Neither do I agree that a municipal shelter must
charge the same fees of everyone. The cost of
caring for and feeding an animal––if you do it
right––generally far exceeds adoption fees. I
worked with rescue groups when I was munici-
pal, and got absolutely no flak from the county
executive or anyone else. I think that no matter
how rural or redneck or whatever, almost any
elected official, no matter how brain-deficient,
knows the value of being associated with sav-
ing the lives of mankind’s best friends.
––Vicky Crosetti
Executive Director
Knox County Humane Society
Knoxville, Tennessee
Our April 1993 edition featured a
guest column and review/feature on breed res
cue by Gina Spadafori. Perhaps it is time to
do more. We welcome reader comments––what
are your experiences? What works, and how
do you do it?
Where the wind comes sweeping
For the past six months I have adver-
tised a free neutering program. People call by
the dozens daily, most of them owners of mul-
tiple dogs and cats. The program was sup-
posed to go like this: I would take 12 animals
to the participating clinics once a week and get
two of them done for free. So far, though,
only two people have been able to pay. The
rest has been paid by the clinic and myself.
Many people were left stranded in
this area after the oil boom faded out. My hus-
band owns a small trucking company and
works very hard to make ends meet. Last year
we spent over $15,000 on animals. That
included the bare essentials for the construction
of housing, neutering new arrivals, and gas,
as the closest low-cost clinic is 80 miles away.
Next door to us is an old house that
we thought could be turned into a low-cost neu-
tering clinic, but we could not find a veterinari-
an who would be willing to run it.
We can’t afford this sort of thing any
longer, especially with no change in sight. We
have puppy mills, catteries, cockfights, dog-
fights, and so forth around here, but lack ani-
mal groups that could make a difference.
I only wish one person from one of
the national organizations would come just one
time to see for himself or herself.
––Karin Morrison
Healdton, Oklahoma
P.S.––In a trailer next door to me
lives Grandma Janie Baker, the oldest animal
activist in the country, who is taken care of by
her daughter. Both of them are super nice.
Grandma Janie is going to be 99 on May 6. She
came to Oklahoma as a toddler on a wagon
train, has lived here ever since, and was one
of the first animal activists. Her home used to
be the dumping ground for unwanted cats and
dogs. She tells me that at one time she had
around 30 dogs. She could never count the
cats, but the vet had all the “boys” fixed. She
also had chickens, peacocks, and cattle. Janie
was a vegetarian all her life. Ten years ago,
she broke her hip, and the cattle she could
never bring herself to sell were taken to mar-
ket. The dogs and cats were given away. The
locals have long forgotten her, but perhaps
animal lovers could send her a card, in honor
of all the good things she did for animals:
HCR 64, Box 2500, Healdton, OK 73438.
I was curled up this evening with the
April ANIMAL PEOPLE, and was delighted
to see that Bob Jenkins so quickly resolved the
negotiations regarding the Steinhart dolphins.
My compliments to Pam Rockwell of the San
Francisco SPCA for her low-key, logical
approach, and to you for your handling of the
situation. You are right: good things can hap-
pen with calm, not threats. Thanks for your
––Marilee Keefe, Executive Director
Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks
& Aquariums
Alexandria, Virginia
Hunter who quit
In response to an item in the
“Hunting” column of your March 1995 issue,
I think Robert “Buzz” Barry should be com-
mended for deciding to give up hunting
mammals after 40 years, even if he doesn’t
quit hunting ducks. As we know, each jour-
ney begins with taking that first step, and
that first step often is the hardest. Thank
you, Mr. Barry, for a courageous decision.
No doubt your fellow hunters think you are
––Solveig Jentner
Fairview Park, Ohio
Playing PAC-man
I would like to set the record straight
about the news item regarding Humanitarians
for Environmental and Animal Laws Political
Action Committee (HEAL PAC) in your
March issue, and comments about HEAL PAC
made by Adam Roberts, the treasurer of Elect!
For Animals, in his April letter.
I never stated that Elect! for Animals
had an “ample budget for relentless direct-mail
fundraising. I wrote that we don’t need a
replay of how the wealthiest national animal
advocacy organizations use ample budgets to
relentlessly fundraise, leaving local and state
groups to struggle along unaided. Just as
important, I asked Holly Hazard of the Doris
Day Animal League and Wayne Pacelle of
HSUS to show their good will by not reinvent-
ing the wheel, and to instead work with viable
state-based PACS. I don’t know about the few
other PACs, but HEAL PAC does monitor
voting records of, endorse, and financially
support the election of federal as well as state
legislators. We don’t need a national PAC to
do this, especially when we can do the job bet-
ter because we only follow Michigan legisla-
tors, not those from all 50 states.
A final crucial point is that no matter
how actively we use PACs, we will never be
able to raise the level of funds that are raised
by the PACs that represent wealthy, powerful
groups involved in the institutional exploitation
of animals. Even if we must temporarily use
PACs, we must also take the high road and
link up with those who are trying to reform
campaign financing. PACs should be abol-
ished because special interest money has pur-
chased our government and is destroying
democracy. With a level playing field, we
would have greater success.
––Eileen Liska
Lansing, Michigan

“No inhumane activity” 
I was rather distressed to read the
brief note about the Mid-Valley Beagle Club
of Herkimer County in your April issue [ T h e
club imported varying hares from Canada and
released them on a 90-acre fenced site in
January, preparatory to a rabbit-tracking
contest on April 8.] We investigated the situa-
tion at great length and determined that there
was no inhumane activity occurring. The ini-
tial reports [ w h i c h ANIMAL PEOPLE
picked up from newswires] were inaccurate.
The only fault we could find was the time of
year when the hares were released. I am
presently holding discussions with their presi-
dent to attempt to get them to release the hares
during the summer prior to the event. This
would give the hares adequate time to estab-
lish burrows during the temperate months. If
this is done, I believe the club will be operat-
ing within all established boundaries of the
law, though they will certainly never be act-
ing in a manner overly sensitive to the needs
of the hares.
––Jeffrey Shaw
Herkimer County Humane Society
Utica, New York
The Alaska Board of Game on
March 21 approved the Togiak villagers’
request for a limited hunt of walruses this
October within the Round Island Walrus
Sanctuary. The state, feds, and natives
entered into a cooperative agreement, the
first of its kind in Alaska. Native cooperation
is entirely voluntary. According to Bruce
Baltar, attorney for the Bristol Bay Native
Association, the state did not have the
authority to close Round Island to hunting by
natives in the first place. In a recent lawsuit
the court ruled in favor of two residents of
Togiak who killed a walrus on Round Island.
The case has, however, been appealed.
Although the closure to subsistence
hunting may prove to have been unlawful, it
has been in effect since 1960. During that
time the Round Island walrus haul-out (land-
ing area) has become increasingly popular
with those who wish to view these rare ani-
mals in a natural setting. During the summer,
Round Island is a bachelor community occu-
pied by males sporting tusks up to two feet
long. The females, who have smaller tusks,
follow the ice pack as it retreats north during
the warmer months. Wildlife officials to
whom I have spoken fail to see the conflict
between wildlife viewing and hunting of the
same population––as long as it takes place at
different times of the year.
Nature rarely can protect her crea-
tures from hunters with high-powered rifles
and motorized transport. One exception is the
walrus haul-out on Big Twin Island, near
Round Island in Bristol Bay. Rocky and
inhospitable, Big Twin Island is a defacto
walrus sanctuary, and the same is likely true
of Cape Pierce. Accessible haulouts in the
Pribilof Islands, and in many other areas,
were exploited so heavily during the 18th and
early 19th centuries that walrus are now
entirely absent from many parts of their for-
mer range. Wildlife officials in Alaska claim
the walrus population is steady or increasing.
However, independent studies indicate wal-
ruses are declining due to an increase in hunt-
ing pressure that began in the 1980s.
While it is true that natives have
traditionally hunted walrus on Round Island,
I am sorry to see this carried over to the pre-
sent day. You made the following statement
in a different context, but I think it is appro-
priate here: “Neither culture nor custom is an
acceptable excuse for cruelty.”
––Jeanne McVey
The Sea Wolf Alliance
Sausalito, California
In the article “California, Nevada
humane enforcement under attack,” in our
April edition, we stated that cruelty charges
Barbara Fabricant of the Humane Task Force
tried to bring against a blind man for alleged-
ly beating his dog “were eventually dis-
missed.” In fact, the Los Angeles County
District Attorney refused to bring the
charges, apparently because they were not
filed by the LASPCA, the recognized local
cruelty enforcement agency. Fabricant had
three signed affidavits from witnesses to the
alleged August 1991 beating, and remains
confident that a conviction could have been
secured, had the case gone to court.
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