LETTERS [Sep 1995]
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 1995:
What’s best for Willy?
While I favor of moving Keiko the killer whale out of
Mexico City and into a better situation, it is obvious that
Warner Brothers opted for the easy, politically correct solution
rather than what is in the best interest of Keiko. Their decision
to turn him over to Earth Island Institute and the Oregon Coast
Aquarium was public relatons damage control at its best––or
worst, from Keiko’s perspective.
Although I’m sure the Oregon Coast Aquarium is a
fine institution, Keiko would have been much better off going
to a facility that had other killer whales for possible future
companionship, with experienced husbandry personnel who
recognize that training, although frowned upon by most animal
activists, is one of the key activities that helps maintain the
mental and physical well-being of cetaceans in oceanariums.
Keiko helped make over $100 million for Warner
Bros., and he deserves better. What’s worse, Earth Island
Institute’s Free Willy/Keiko Foundation is politicizing his
future for their own agenda, ignoring the fact that from a sci-
entific standpoint, Keiko is probably one of the poorest candi-
dates for release among all the cetaceans in North America.
Everything they’re doing is predicated on the short-term goal of
dumping him into the ocean and declaring victory. They have
not addressed his long-term needs if he remains in captivity.
There is a serious ethical question as to just how
much fundraising the Free Willy/Keiko Foundation should do
under the banner of releasing an animal to the wild without dis-
closing the fact that few if any of the serious realities of
release have been addressed.
The first reality is obviously his condition. What is
the origin of his papilloma virus? Even if his symptoms are
cured, will he still carry it? Is it from the Atlantic? Has he
been living with species not native to the North Atlantic?
Without answers, they could be raising money to do the equiv-
alent of sending a Pilgrim with small-pox to the New World.
People whom one would think should know better,
such as the Center for Whale Research and the Humane Society
of the United States, consistently downplay the risk of inter-
ocean disease transmission, further evidenced in their appeals
for the release of the Vancouver Aquarium’s two killer whales,
Finna and Bjossa, into Icelandic waters, even though they’ve
both been exposed to aspergillosis from the Pacific Ocean.
The second obvious problem with Keiko’s release is
Iceland itself. They have said they don’t want him––a com-
ment one should take seriously, coming from a whaling nation.
There is a longstanding and often noble precedent for defying
governments in the name of environmental or animal welfare,
but this is not just the will of the government: it is the feeling
of an entire nation’s commercial fishing fleet. Whether
approaching a herring boat for a handout or swimming quietly
alone in his sea pen, I suspect Keiko would always be in dan-
ger. Killer whales in the Pacific Northwest still occasionally
show up with bullet holes, even though they are highly protect-
ed. Common sense would tell us that Iceland is far more dan-
gerous. How much money would you donate to send a dolphin
back to Iki Island or a child back to Sarajevo?
Whenever we raise questions like these, we are
shouted down by activists who say that we oppose Keiko’s
release because it will be the start of a public opinion
groundswell to release all captive cetaceans (including all cap-
tive-born animals, according to Mark Berman of Earth Island
The truth is that marine mammal professionals whole-
heartedly support valid programs to return animals to the wild,
and have long recognized the need to conduct studies to do so.
We are hampered in our efforts to help the Chinese river dol-
phin in part because we just don’t know enough about them to
be sure that we’d be doing more good than harm in trying to
collect, breed and release them into stabilized habitats. In con-
trast, the San Diego and Los Angeles Zoos have been success-
ful so far with helping California condors through release pro-
grams because of years of scientific research, including work
with Andean Condors, coupled with husbandry knowledge
gained from the age-old art of falconry.
The science of reintroducing animals to the wild is of
critical importance to the future well-being of endangered and
threatened populations. It is too important a tool for global
wildlife management to be trivialized, sentimentalized, politi-
cized and just plain botched in the name of animal liberation.
Marine World Africa USA
Cult of animal celebrity
I would like to commend you and Captain Paul
Watson for his essay “The Cult of Animal Celebrity,” which
appeared in your June edition. I think it took some courage to
write and publish, but I and many colleagues feel that it clearly
states what many of us in the public display community have
been expressing for years. It shows there is most definitely
common ground for those of us who are truly concerned with
the plight of all animals.
Chair, Publications Committee
International Marine Animal Trainers Association
Words from Fort Wayne
We often refer people who ask how to write an ani –
mal control ordinance to Fort Wayne, Indiana, whose ordi –
nance–– amended several times––has won acclaim since 1982.
Fort Wayne animal control director Belinda Lewis recently
A common misperception is that our ordinance is
what makes a dfference here. On the contrary, we have adopt-
ed a “management” approach to overpopulation. When we find
a problem contributing to overpopulation, we create a program
to counter it. We now have 14 such programs; the ordinance is
just one of them. Community education, progressive enforce-
ment, responsible adoptions, etc., all help.
We operate in a conservative environment. We are
quite progressive in some of our approaches, but we avoid
shock and sensationalism, as it would not be acceptable com-
ing from a governmental agency in our area. We tend to quiet-
ly add new programs, and have done so since the early 1980s.
Fort Wayne residents really don’t know that animal control is
different here. They take it as a given.
Different approaches work in different areas, but fos-
tering support prior to making moves, having good statistics,
and answering concerns before they turn into opposition is
ANIMAL PEOPLE is certainly an asset to the ani-
mal professions. There are not enough people looking at their
stats and/or surveying before making blanket statements. I
think your presence in our field makes people watch them-
selves in that respect. A very good thing. We enjoy the
“Animal Control & Rescue” section in particular.
Your July/August issue carried several items that greatly
added to my concern for the rights of nonhumans including women.
Priority goes to “Who is Fred Allison?” I wonder if I would
be too far wrong to say he is a champion infiltrator, ill-informed on
true rights of animals but overly informed on how to seek power and
glory. Further, roaring motorcyclists indicate no concern for the resi-
dents of the wild. What was he doing there? Certainly not to learn
from Nature, but to try to subdue by noise and speed. I also noted his
apparent glee that males would take over now that the groundwork was
laid mostly by women through the years. Shame!
Why are such desensitizing and viciously cruel clubs as 4-H
still in business, which truly promote betrayals of trust? Why are
transportation methods not improved and slaughtering practices,
including ritual, still so sordid? A teacher in his position should have
reached countless other teachers, practitioners of animal husbrandry,
and the like; there should be laws to prevent facebranding and removal
of reproductive organs from cows without anesthetic! And what of the
dreadful fate of horses, and the calf industry? At least as far back as
the 1940s the Hearst papers exposed the use of pregnant mares’ urine
and how it was obtained! And we must not forget the increased use of
horse/mule-drawn carriages, rodeos, etc. Unless I have misread this
article, I feel that this Allison character should be on Wall Street or
with one or more of the extremely rich religious groups.
I sincerely hope others feel the danger. Now that there is big
money to be made in animal rights/welfare, no conscience is needed.
Though often treated as nonhumans, women are in fact
human beings––and it would be difficult to misread an article more. If
Fred Allison ever infiltrated anything, it was livestock shows, which
he convinced to promote more humane treatment of animals. It’s
Bernie Rollin, not Allison, who rides a motorcycle, an enthusiasm
shared by many advocates for animals and habitat. Also, Rollin, not
Allison, is the Colorado State University professor; Allison, who has
never made a cent from animal protection, is a bank vice president.
Rollin has reached countless other teachers, practitioners of animal
husbandry, et al, including Allison: that was the point of the article.
Neither Allison nor Rollin said a word about men taking over anything.
And Rollin, with Henry Spira of the Coalition for Nonviolent Food,
led the successful effort to abolish USDA facebranding requirements,
along with spaying cattle without anesthesia.
To all those organizations which
send us their constant appeals for money,
their fact sheets, action alerts, and pam-
phlets, I would like to convey my own
appeal: put dates on your material! When
documents are to be filed, copied, and dis-
seminated, or sent to legislators, they are
practically meaningless if they carry no
date, especially if they contain phrases like,
“A bill is before the Senate right now,” or
“The slaughter will begin next month.”
Even worse, some organizations
mail out the same undated fact sheet year
after year. Acting on these “facts,” activists
then accuse an official or company CEO of
misdeeds that have been rectified a long
time ago. Similarly, local groups tend to
use leftover flyer from previous years at
each new outreach table, or they print up
new leaflets or send out press releases using
data from brochures that may be 10 or even
15 years out of date.
We should all make it a rule:
never print a document without a date!
––Dietrich von Haugwitz
Durham, North Carolina
Money isn’t evil
I read your editorial based on the open letter from George
Molnar, and was very impressed with it. I would go farther, though.
There are some wonderful animal protection organizations and many
very rational, sane animal-loving people who belong to them, but too
many groups are made up of hysterical, emotionally overwrought indi-
viduals who feed upon each other. While even these groups help some
individual animals, they perpetuate and exacerbate the problems of
animals in general by scaring away the majority of animal lovers, con-
vincing them that the situation is hopeless and that only a very naive
person would think otherwise.
The days of animal welfare and humane societies are over.
They will be replaced by businesses and consumer groups. Socialism
is wonderful in theory, but it doesn’t work in the real world. Making
money isn’t evil. The pet industry is huge. We don’t have to beg to get
the resources to help animals. We have to set up profitable businesses
for this purpose. We have to be realistic and professional to stop scar-
ing people away.
Most people I know really are true animal lovers who would
love to make a difference. And the plight of animals cannot be
improved without public backing. We must decrease animals births,
and provide the services people need to keep and enjoy pets.
Derby Line, Vermont
Always say thanks
I appreciated your editorial with George Molnar’s quotes. It
came when I had just countered a volunteer’s decision to not write
thank you notes to anyone giving $10 or less. I pointed out to her that
we were not in the business to make money, but to educate and per-
suade, and that not thanking the very people who are likely to be con-
sistent supporters and are likely to write letters and educate more peo-
ple is not right. I could have said, “plain stupid.”
Re “The Wellman Procedure”
On page 18 of our May edition, Tufts University School of
Veterinary Medicine head of surgery Michael Pavletic, DVM, erred in
stating that in the “Wellman Procedure” for neutering dogs and cats, the
uterus is retained, which could lead to life-threatening infection. William
K. Wellman, DVM, promoting the procedure, objected. After extensive
re-review, Dr. Pavletic writes, “Dr. Wellman’s surgical approach for ovari-
ohysterectomy, as described, appears to be a variation of a paramedian (off
the midline) incision through the lower abdominal muscle layers. The sepa-
ration of the muscle fibers, in principle, is similar to the ‘grid incision’ used
in the ‘flank (lateral abdominal wall) spay procedure’ described for use in
the cat. Dr. Wellman’s surgical technique does include the removal of the
ovaries and most of the uterus. The speed reported with this technique
resides primarily in the advantages associated with a small access incision
and the staggered separation of muscle layers to avoid the need for suture
closure of the abdominal wall. While this procedure has the potential of
decreasing operative time, a trained veterinarian also can perform an ovari-
ohysterectomy quickly and efficiently using the midline abdominal
approach. Dr. Wellman’s technique is not revolutionary, but a modification
of techniques already present in the veterinary literature.”
ANIMAL PEOPLE will send Dr. Pavletic’s complete comments,
on receipt of SASE, to anyone interested. Dr. Wellman may be reached c/o
All Creatures Veterinary Surgery, 70234 Phoenix, South Haven, MI
All in one sentence
“Leaders of the philosophy department” at the University of
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign did not try to bar me from speaking on cam-
pus in April 1991; members of UI’s psychology and other departments did
liken me to Hermann Goering, but did it in internal correspondence that
became public, not “in public statements”; I knew Hiram Kitchen, the
murdered dean of the University of Tennessee School of Veterinary
Medicine, and once had dinner at his home, but we were not “personal
friends”; and it was not faculty at UI, but faculty at another university,
who linked me anonymously to Kitchen’s murder in February 1990.
Raleigh, North Carolina
In your July/August edition, you reported the convinction of
Jesus Quinonez for cruelly kicking and dragging a horse, and stated that,
“The case was prosecuted at the instigation of Animal Rights Mobilization
president Robin Duxbury.” Mr. Quinonez received a summons for cruelty
from Lakewood Animal Control before Ms. Duxbury contacted us about the
case. Prosecutor M.J. Menendez and District Attorney Dave Thomas
painstakingly prepared an excellent case against Mr. Quinonez. While Ms.
Duxbury certainly participated and aided in the prosecution, the instigation
was done by the Lakewood Animal Control Section and the Jefferson
County District Attorney’s Office.
––Pat Greer, Manager, Animal Control Section
City of Lakewood Police Department, Lakewood, Colorado
Got Wounded Knee events backward
I want to call your attention to an error in your July/August issue,
in the article “Sea Shepherds pledge to fight native whaling claim.” The
1973 siege at Wounded Knee was begun by Native American protests
against police brutality and tribal corruption. The gunfight Leonard Peltier
was involved in did not occur until 1975, and was part of the aftermath of
the earlier occupation, not the other way around. Also, Peltier did not
become an American Indian Movement leader until after his confinement.
St. Paul, Minnesota
The editor is a dunce
On page 5 of our July/August edition, we stated that letter-writer
Karen Roberts’ family operates Dolphins Plus, of Key Largo. Roberts’ fam-
ily actually operates the Dolphin Research Center, of Marathon Shores.
Both are swim-with facilities in the Florida Keys.
On page 21 of our July/August edition, we misidentified basket-
ball player Christian Laettner as a hockey player.