Children & Animals

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 1995:

Iqbal Masih, 12, of Murdike, Pakistan, was
shot dead on Easter Sunday by a man he and his relatives
Liaqat Masih and Faryab Masih caught allegedly raping a
donkey, police say. As the circumstances were not imme-
diately disclosed, media linked the murder to carpet mag-
nates whose child labor practices Iqbal Masih disclosed to
an international conference in Sweden last November. A
member of Pakistan’s Christian minority, Masih was sold
by his parents to a carpet factory at age four, where he
worked until age 10, often shackled to a loom. Foreign
carpet orders reportedly plummeted by $10 million in the
three weeks after Masih’s murder. “The $10 million is
only an immediate loss,” said Imran Malik, vice chair of
the Pakistan Carpet Manufacturers and Exporters
Association. “Irreparable damage is done when Western
consumers think Pakistani carpets stand for a child’s blood
and slavery.” Despite the outcry, also affecting carpet
exports from India and Bangladesh, Indian commerce min-
ister P. Chidambaram expressed satisfaction on May 8 that
the newly created World Trade Organization is unlikely to
address either child labor or environmental issues.

Masih’s murder came almost 95 years to the
day after child laborers staged a wildcat strike at a glass
works in Bridgeton, New Jersey, on behalf of a horse who
was made to work double shifts. Although the 1900 strike
made the national newswires, ANIMAL PEOPLE h a s
been unable to learn either the fate of the horse or the
names of any of the participants.
Ten-year-olds Taulant Omeri and Endrit
Hallulli, of Cerrik, Albania, heard cries underground at
the town dump on May 6, and fearing someone had buried
a dog alive, began digging. They unearthed an hour-old
baby girl, who is reportedly recovering well at a nearby
maternity home.
Child abuse in the U.S. is a public health
c r i s i s, the U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and
Neglect told Congress on April 26. The board reported that
the homicide rate among children under age four is at a 40-
year high; 2,000 children a year are murdered through
abuse and neglect; and 140,000 other children are severely
injured. At that, the findings are understated, the report
says, because investigators, prosecutors, doctors, and
coroners are inadequately trained to detect abuse. The
board also found that only 21 states permit the prosecution
of death by abuse as a felony homicide.
Ann Landers, often critical of aspects of the
animal rights movement, in April published a letter from
a witness to an incident in which a Texas boy tried to cheat
in the pig competition at the Tyler County Fair and instead
killed the animal. Calling for an investigation, which
Texas governor George W. Bush soon ordered, Landers
was incredulous in her column of May 8 after Texas agri-
culture commissioner Rick Perry wrote to Bush that the
two investigators he sent, Lorie Woodward and Kate
Dickie, “believed the incident was accidental, and the
young man’s actions to encourage the animal to eat and
drink should not be construed as cruelty.” Wrote Landers,
“Perry’s letter to Bush contained this mind-boggling non
sequitur: ‘The underlying issue which has created a whirl-
wind of attention is whether or not an animal has the same
rights as a human being.’” Landers then addressed Perry
and Bush in an open letter of her own: “I would like to call
your attention to the fact that what occurred was a far cry
from ‘encouraging the animal to eat and drink.’ The boy
put a water hose down the animal’s throat in an effort to
add several pounds to its weight. If this is not an act of
cruelty, I don’t know what is. Your statement,
Commissioner Perry, is absurd. The real issue here is that
an animal was tortured by a young student while several
adults including some teachers and the principal of
Woodville High School,” which he attended, “stood
around and did nothing.”
The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is
holding up payment of $17,000 received at auction for
one of the 1995 breed champion lambs because the animal
tested positive for clenbuterol, the same banned steroid
implicated in scandals at recent shows in Ohio, Oklahoma,
Kentucky, Missouri, and Colorado (page 9, May), and in
the veal industry (page 9, this issue). The lamb belonged
to a youth from Whitharral, northwest of Lubbock.
The Latham Foundation has issued a 64-page
cross-training manual ($10.95) and a 26-minute video
($25.00) to improve recognition of animal abuse and child
abuse by professionals who may see evidence of both.
Inquire c/o Latham Plaza Building, Clement & Schiller
Streets, Alameda, CA 94501.
Winners of the 1995 American Anti-
Vivisection Society Student Animal Advocate Award
are Reina Burnett, 17, of Seattle, president of her
school’s Animal Alliance Club; Venus Fulgham, 17, of
Tulsa, an Animal Aid volunteer; and Gretchen Purser, 16,
president of the Chicago chapter of Earth 2000.
Frequent inhumane treatment and disposal of
poultry hatched in classroom exercises is the focus of
Poultry Press vol. 5, #1, published by United Poultry
Concerns, POB 59367, Potomac, MD 20859. At least
1,800 eggs a year are hatched in New York City class-
rooms; 720 were hatched this spring in St. Louis.
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