LETTERS [Oct 1995]
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 1995:
I’ve found a new use for ANIMAL PEOPLE:
motivational tool. I completed almost all the odious domestic
chores that I’ve put off for too long by using the following
strategy: if I do (insert tedious household task), I can read
one article and one department in ANIMAL PEOPLE. Now
I can confidently say the housework will get done at least 10
times a year! (ANIMAL PEOPLE is the only paper I read.)
St. Louis, Missouri
Love & Care
Last Tuesday I received my copy of A N I M A L
PEOPLE and read the article about the Ann Fields/Love &
Care for God’s Animal Life scam. Unbelievably, the very
next day I received a solicitation from Fields with instructions
to send my donation to their “volunteer,” Rebecca Garcia, in
California! Well, instead of a donation, they’ve bought a
basket of trouble. My first stop was the post office, where
the postmaster made copies of your article and the mailing,
to add to the mail fraud investigation. I then wrote to Dr.
Blackwood, their veterinarian of record, to inform him of
your article in hopes he’s been hoodwinked and is not a part
of this despicable fraud. Next, I wrote to Ms. Garcia, a.ka.
Ann Fields, enclosing a copy of the article and telling her
that I was going to tell several thousand other people through
my pet advice sub on the computer networks, and I made a
few other choice suggestions regarding her future plans.
It’s bad enough that we have Jim Bakkers to rip
people off through religion. It is absolutely foul that scum
like Ann and Jerry Fields and Victor Lagunas would take the
food out of innocent animals’ mouths. I hope they end up
chained to leaky doghouses!
––Joanne V. Baldwin, DVM
Veterinary Consulting Services
The Fields thing is a shame. There was an item
about Love & Care for God’s Animal Life in our paper 15
years ago, and I sent small contributions until your first article
about it appeared. I’ve received many envelopes from
Marge Jacobs, a.k.a. Ann Fields, in which to send money.
Wish I had one now. I’d send your September article.
I’d just caved in to the Humane Society of the
United States’ appeal to free Willy, and the envelope was
waiting to be mailed when ANIMAL PEOPLE arrived.
After reading it, I took out the check and sent your article
about them instead.
I was somewhat impressed but wary that the
Foundation for Biomedical Research was interested in communication.
This is the first gesture of this kind that I’m
aware of from any research group.
And the letter “Date it” from Dietrich Haugwitz
was on target. Activist information needs to be dated––and
South Bend, Indiana
You mean, while I was here at the other end of
Alabama selling my furniture, aluminum cans, and cutting
pulpwood to feed the animals in my care, Ann and Jerry
Fields of Love & Care for God’s Animal Life were living it
up on contributions? It makes me grieve, because it will be
the animals who pay for this sin.
Anelia Animal Sanctuary
Five dead in Salinas
If five football or hockey players were killed in
professional sports in a single weekend, the story would
make national headlines and there would be a federal investigation.
Yet five “animal athletes,” to use the term of the
Professional Rodeo Cowboys’ Association, died at the
California Rodeo in Salinas in July, and this fact was completely
ignored in the pro rodeo media.
Three of the deaths were in unsanctioned events:
two thoroughbred race horses died of a broken leg and cardiac
arrest, reportedly, though some of us suspect drug
abuse may have been involved. Another horse ran into a
fencepost and broke his neck in the pandemonium of a
“wild horse race,” an event which should be banned.
In sanctioned events, a steer had his neck broken
in the steer wrestling competition and was euthanized, and
most disturbing of all, a roping calf had his back broken by
a jerk-down. Although veterinarians were present, the calf
was not humanely euthanized––but was sent off to slaughter,
terrified and in agony. No painkillers were given, “for
that would ruin the meat,” said the attending vet.
Does it not seem reasonable for professional
rodeo to adopt rules requiring immediate euthanasia for any
animal in need thereof? The public expects it; common
decency demands it; the future of pro rodeo depends upon
it. Any resulting financial loss should be considered part of
the cost of doing business as a rodeo. (Note: the California
Rodeo brings Salinas a reported $16 million every year.)
I think any fair-minded cowboy would agree.
Action for Animals
Your September feature “Sealing their doom” misunderstood
or misrepresented a number of aspects of the Report on the
Status of Harp Seals in the Northwest Atlantic, which I prepared.
The article states that the quota was 175,000 between 1972-1982 and
that it was raised to 186,000 after the offshore hunt ended in 1983.
The first quotas were set in 1971 at 245,000 and fluctuated between a
minimum of 126,000 in 1976 and 186,000 in the early 1980s. One
hundred seventy-five thousand was near the average quota for the
time period, and the quota has remained at 186,000 since 1982,
before the offshore hunt ended. Since 1983, catches have fluctuated
from 19,000 in 1985 to 94,000 in 1988. In the last five years the
commercial catches continued to fluctuate but the average is similar
to the 1983-1990 average of circa 50,000.
[Editor’s note: That’s exactly what we said.] The author of your article is not clear how a decline in the
estimated reproductive rates in the late 1980s resulted in an increased
total population. Harp seal populations are estimated from a model
which incorporates estimates of the number of pups born, as determined
by aerial surveys or mark-recapture experiments; reproductive
rates of females; and catch statistics. A decline in female reproductive
rates raises the total population estimate since it requires more
females to produce a given number of pups, which is estimated independently.
[In other words, if there aren’t as many seal pups as you
think there ought to be, you arbitrarily decide that each female must
be having fewer pups, and that therefore there must be more females
out there to produce the number of pups you found? And this is your
basis for determining that the pregnancy rate of harp seals is 22%
lower than previously projected?] You also quote the report as saying that, “In recent years
the population has grown at about 1% per year.” In fact, the report
states that the population is growing at approximately 5%, not 1%.
[This discrepancy turned out to be a typo in our copy of the
Stenson report: the letter ‘f’ appeared, instead of the whole word
‘five,’ and we misread the ‘f’ as a ‘1’.] The article continues to state that “using Stenson’s own
population figures,” per capita fish consumption has dropped from 2-
2.4 tonnes of fish in 1981 to 1.4 tonnes in 1994. The amount of prey,
fish and invertebrates, consumed by an individual seal was estimated
from energy requirements based on body weight and the costs of
activity and growth. Total consumption was estimated by multiply
ing up population size later. Therefore the amount of prey consumed
by a seal of a given size does not change in this model; any change
in the average consumption is due to a different age structure of the
population. In fact, this has changed very little since 1981 when the
population was estimated to be 2.5 million, not the 1.5-1.8 million
[The closest we see to a 1981 population estimate in the
Stenson report is the statement that “pup production in 1978 was in
the order of 300,000-350,000, and the total population was 1.5-1.75
million.” We rounded off to the high side before cross-checking
Stenson’s math and logic.] In bioenergetics models such as the ones Dr. David Lavigne
and I constructed, the energy requirements of the animal are estimated
and then it is assumed that they are met. The exact amount of
food consumed will depend upon the energy content of the prey. The
author is correct in referencing the study done by Lavigne to state
that if seals ate only fatty fish, the amount consumed would be lower
than our estimate. However, the same study also states that if the
diet included prey with lower energy content, the amount consumed
would be greater. Our estimate is based upon the composition of the
diet observed since 1982 in Newfoundland.
[So, you’re trying to tell us that since harp seals don’t eat
only fatty fish, namely cod, they have to eat more cod to get an ade –
quate food intake? Since they mostly eat other things, logically they
should be eating fewer cod.] Your article stated that the amount of cod estimated to have
been consumed is 3.5 times greater than the amount of cod that existed,
based upon assessments by the Department of Fisheries and
Oceans. These assessments are based upon offshore surveys of cod
which are three years of age or older, while harp seals eat mainly
one-and-two-year-old cod, often in inshore areas. I have discussed
this difference with assessment scientists and they all agree that there
are no current estimates of the number of one-and-two-year-old cod
in inshore areas. Therefore the consumption estimates and abundance
estimates referred to are not comparable.
[Exactly our point.] Finally, the article states that about a third of the harp seal
population is born in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Traditionally this is
true, although the proportion can vary from less than 20% to greater
than 40% among years. Births occur in late February and early
March. Although some harp seals remain in the Gulf throughout the
summer, as seen by the author, the majority have left for the summer
feeding grounds in the Arctic by early July.
[That’s just what we said, too, except that we saw only
one harp seal in the Gulf of St. Lawrence outside of the protected
waters near the mouth of the Saguenay River in five days of dedicated
searching, including in places that according to Canadian wildlife
officials were crawling with seals that very day.] ––Garry Stenson
Department of Fisheries & Oceans
St. John’s, Newfoundland
MASSACHUSETTS TRAP BAN INITIATIVE
Thank you very much for mentioning our
wildlife protection initative petition in ANIMAL PEOPLE.
We are very excited about this campaign, and I
am writing to provide further details.
First, we are not simply asking to restore the
1974 Massachusetts ban on leghold trapping. That “ban”
allows the trapping of furbearers with leghold traps
placed in water and under various other conditions. We
are seeking a much more restrictive ban on the use of
cruel traps, including leghold, padded leghold, and
Another change proposed in our initiative
would affect the makeup of the Fisheries and Wildlife
Board. Massachusetts law now requires that a majority of
the board members (five of seven) “shall hold and have
held for at least five consecutive years a sporting license
in the commonwealth, four of whom shall represent the
fishing, hunting, and trapping interests.” We hope to
eliminate this statutory language so that membership on
the board will be open to all the citizens of the
Additionally, our initiative would eliminate the
use of dogs to chase and hunt bears and bobcats.
To advance this initiative into law, ProPAW
must collect the signatures of 65,000 registered
Massachusetts voters between September 20 and
November 22, 1995. If successful, our petition will be
submitted to the state legislature in 1996, which will
have four months to act on it. If the legislature fails to
enact the initiative upon receiving the petition, ProPAW
must gather an additional 10,000 signatures to place the
initiative on the 1996 state ballot.
Anyone can gather signatures in Massachusetts,
regardless of age, voter status, or residency. We would
be delighted and very appreciative if individuals and
organizations in nearby states would dedicate a day or
two this fall to helping us gather signatures. A carload of
activists could gather hundreds of signatures in one
day––a tremendous help!
Please call if you can help: 617-773-7558; fax
––Karen Bunting, Chair
Protect Pets And Wildlife
Thanks for publishing the item
about Paul Nemeth, the former mayor of
Bethlehem Township, who shot 11-yearold
Jeanne Chiaffarino’s puppy right in
front of her. But one big correction:
Bethlehem Township is in New Jersey,
Asbury, New Jersey
Bonner died in 1994
From your statement in your September feature “Sealing their
doom” that, “Among the most noted scientists to study seals…is W.
Nigel Bonner, who retired in 1988,” I assume you may not know that he
died recently. We have a letter from his wife Jennifer, now a widow,
dated January 13, 1995, stating that, “Unfortunately my husband died in
the summer, so I am writing to cancel his copy of Whales Alive,” our
newsletter. The quotations from hs 1990 book The Natural History of
Seals are of course still valid and relevant, but I believe he should now be
referred to as the late W. Nigel Bonner.
Cetacean Society International
Save the seals
According to newspaper reports, the Canadian federal government
with the active support of the fishing industry wants a greatly
increased killing of harp, hooded, and grey seals. This increased kill
would supposedly help the recovery of groundfish (cod). A “consensus”
forum has been proposed for some time in September, in Halifax, where
the details of the increased seal kill will presumably be argued over.
The Green Web would be interested in working with other
friends of the seals in the Atlantic provinces, to oppose the Halifax consensus
forum. Creative suggestions are welcome.
R.R. #3 , Saltsprings
Nova Scotia, Canada B0K 1P0
I read with interest your September editorial
“Prepare for Post-Pet Overpopulation,” and noted your
involvement in the No-Kills in the 1990s conference. As past
executive director of several rural animal shelters, I am irritated
at the no-kill philosophy overtaking many animal welfare
leaders. The goal for all of us is to stop killing healthy
animals. But while you and too many others promote the nokill
policies of the San Francisco SPCA and the North Shore
Animal League, the public is being irrespnsibly deceived.
We must stop killing healthy, adoptable animals throughout
the entire country, not just some portions of it.
The highest intakes and euthanasia rates are, and
always have been within rural areas. The animal welfare
movement concentrates almost solely and erroneously on the
urban overpopulation problem, rather than on the thousands
of small communities where pet abandonment, strays,
neglect, and abuse are most common. Last year I attended a
conference in West Virginia. Rather than address such issues
as how to attract and keep employees when the going salary is
the minimum wage, how to professionally investigate animal
cruelty, how to raise funds in an economically deprived community,
and how to promote neutering without veterinary
cooperation, a well-known national leader spoke of post-pet
overpopulation. We participants looked numbly at eath other
and concluded that this individual was addressing the wrong
audience. The speeches that day were not appropriate for
rural shelters, which do not have the resources, monetary or
otherwise, that those in San Francisco, New York, and
Seattle have. You can bet if rural shelters had multi-milliondollar
budgets, they too would be able to effectively deal
with pet overpopulation and switch to no-kill. It would
indeed be wonderful if the rich organizations freed up some of
their money to help those in most need.
Because of a lack of resources, rural shelters are
unable to hire skilled administrators and kennel workers;
modernize their facilities; offer subsidized or free neutering
(I worked in one county where all four vets believed animals
didn’t have to be neutered before age one!); solicit a large
cadre of volunteers; and do effective fundraising. Rural shelters
live hand-to-mouth, and the idea of no-kill is as foreign
to them as Martians on Earth. Without an infusion of money,
skills, and talent, there is little hope of these shelters ever
striking at the root of pet overpopulation.
National organizations such as the Humane Society
of the U.S. and the American Humane Association only give
lip service to the notion of helping animal shelters. It is hard
to have great faith in the animal welfare intentions of HSUS,
for example, when they plan to spend millions to take over
the Washington D.C. animal control contract from the
Washington Humane Society. This money could be used to
make up WHS’ relatively meager budget shortfall, and to
help the thousands of other animal shelters whose staff do not
know if they will be in existence the next day.
As for those lucky animal welfare groups that have
the luxury of switching to or talking about no-kill, let us not
forget the many thousands of feral or semi-feral cats who
never make it to an animal shelter. Post-pet overpopulation
cannot become reality until this issue is dealt with.
Board of Directors
Prevent A Litter Coalition Inc.
The Editor replies:
We live and work ourselves in a poverty-stricken
rural area with a paucity of humane services, so understand
the urgent need to extend such services beyond the big cities.
However, the highest animal intakes per capita and highest
euthanasia rates in the U.S. are n o t in rural districts, but
rather in major cities, partly because cities are more aggres –
sive about stray pickups. Currently, the highest per capita
intake rates known to us are in Los Angeles and Philadelphia
(.0.46 and .047 animals per resident), both of which are
reputed for prompt, efficient pickup service. The highest
euthanasia rates for all shelters in any given region are in
Chicago and Houston (83% and 82%). Note that euthanasia
rates can be misleading, because they often climb as intakes
fall, as is occurring in both Chicago and Houston, the rea –
son being that the numbers of healthy animals received fall
faster than the numbers of sick, injured, or vicious animals.
Rural states for which we have data covering all
animal control agencies and humane societies––Washington
outside the Seattle/Tacoma corridor, Iowa, Colorado outside
the Denver area, Vermont, and Indiana––all have per capita
intakes and euthanasias at or below the U.S. norms. Less vig –
orous rural animal control enforcement may have much to do
with that, but we also found in our 1992 study of feral cat
demographics that cat population closely mirrors human pop –
ulation, and that while barn cat colonies tend to be the
biggest, rural areas still have only a fraction as many cats
per square mile, having a fraction as many potential habitats.
We have paid considerable attention to the prob –
lems of providing humane service to rural communities. Of
special interest should have been our April profile of
Meredith Fiel and Adirondack Save-A-Stray. Located in tiny
Corinth, New York, in one of the poorest parts of upstate
New York, Fiel for 15 years has been doing exactly the same
things as the SF/SPCA, on a miniature scale, thereby
demonstrating that it doesn’t take a multi-million-dollar bud –
get to make a difference.
But speaking of multi-million-dollar budgets, the
SF/SPCA was mired in debt when Richard Avanzino assumed
the presidency 19 years ago and began introducing his com –
mitment to no-kill. Public response to that commitment
brought the SF/SPCA the support it now enjoys. And speak –
ing of sharing resources, both the SF/SPCA and the North
Shore Animal League take in and place many animals from
rural shelters which would otherwise euthanize them. Both
also assist feral cat rescuers: for much of this year, the
SF/SPCA not only neutered feral cats for free, but actually
paid a bounty of $5.00 for each male feral cat anyone could
bring in. NSAL, meanwhile, underwrites many rural neuter –
ing programs and the entire Spay USA network.
All of these facts have been reported in detail in pre –
vious editions of ANIMAL PEOPLE.
Get a clue!
I feel that higher licensing fees create an eversmaller
base of support for pet population control programs as
compliance drops. A review of the Sacramento animal control
budget indicated that license revenue dropped by $20,000
when the fee went up 33% in 1993. Only canvasing brought
revenues back up. Yet animal control stated that they didn’t
think doubling the current unaltered licensing fee would harm
license sales. I predict compliance will drop and revenue too,
and animal control will do more canvasing, have increased
enforcement costs, and seek a bigger budget. Am I the only
person who sees that with the majority of licenses being sold
at the lower altered rate, and salary plus overhead and vehicle
costs for animal control officers close to $70,000 per year
here, that canvasing is not cost-effective?
The poor can’t afford to neuter or license, or
reclaim their animals from animal control, which costs nearly
$100 if an unaltered animal isn’t licensed, so the poor relinquish
lost pets. Then animal control comes back and says,
“See, we have all these unclaimed animals, which cost us
money. Aren’t people awful? Let’s raise fees to force them
to be responsible.” Meanwhile the poor pick up more animals
from the readily available pool of free animals. Animal control
policies perpetuate the problem.
Debating the new Sacramento licensing structure, I
said that your idea of “Mobile vets at combat pay” (editorial,
March 1994) is the answer. An HSUS representative said flat
out that anyone who doesn’t have $50 for neutering shouldn’t
keep pets. I find such an attitude extremely inhumane. I have
been poor, fortunately temporarily, and I am offended that
someone cannot understand that there are people who don’t
have credit or a spare $50, but need the comfort that pets provide.
Kim Sturla of the Fund for Animals committed what I
consider a Freudian slip when she said, “We need to spay and
neuter people on welfare,” tee hee hee.
I went through all the information about positive
incentives versus coercion, the San Francisco Adoption Pact,
cost/benefit of neuter/release, etcetera, with the animal control
director, who admitted that most animal pick-ups are
from poor neighborhoods. But she knew someone who was
middle-class, whose cat had kittens by accident, so out the
window went my statistics on frequency and probability.
As to the San Francisco Adoption Pact, she said she
completely disagrees with Richard Avanzino and doesn’t
believe they really have zero euthanasia of healthy animals.
This is widespread, as are the beliefs that the SF/SPCA has
city animal control do all the killing so that they can look
good, and that it’s only because SF/SPCA has money that
they can do what they do.
Get a clue! They have the money because people
support an organization that demonstrates effectiveness. San
Francisco has proven that proper policy and management can
solve the pet overpopulation problem. I am frustrated that
money is wasted, people are wrongly blamed, and animals
are needlessly dying because of demonstrably bad policy.
––Margaret Anne Cleek
San Francisco SPCA wins hands down
In our continuing war against more legislation and
law enforcement aimed at pet owners, we sent a recent
update of our pamphlet 20 Questions to the Progressive
Animal Welfare Society in Lynnwood, Washington. We
had taken data from the Animal Legislation Awareness
Network report entitled An Analysis of King County, WA
Animal Control Ordinance 10423. We received a call from
PAWS’ Lisa Wathne, who offered to send us the 1 9 9 4
Annual Report of King County Animal Control, which
thanks to her, we now have. The euthanasia numbers in the
two reports agree.
Our conclusion from analysis of the ALAN report,
which covered just one shelter in King county, was that,
“There is certainly no evidence that the tougher legislation
has made significant improvement in reducing euthanasias.”
As we have been challenged by a number of people
on this conclusion, we were very anxious to see if the King
County report would cause us to change our stance on such
matters as high license fees, door-to-door license enforcement,
and public awareness campaigns to encourage licensing,
all of which are central features of the celebrated King
County anti-pet overpopulation ordinance.
What have we found? The report claims,
“Dramatic initial success allowed for the continuation of the
programs…Figures for this second annual report show further
improvements in all areas targeted by Ordinance 10423.”
But the program cost, for 1994, was $243,000,
and the revenue obtained by license fee increases was
$200,000. The program cost much more than it brought it.
And consider how many animal lives were saved. In 1993,
there were 9,032 shelter euthanasias, and in 1994, only
8,738, a one-year reduction of 3.26%. But in the same period,
according to statistics ANIMAL PEOPLE published in
June 1994, the national average euthanasia reduction rate
was 5.88%. Without a program, the rest of the nation
reduced euthanasias at almost twice the King County pace.
And now for the shocker. King County euthanized
294 less animals, at a cost of $826.53 per life saved.
Dividing total budget by adoptions, the San Francisco SPCA
spends, on average, $600 per animal adopted, and kills no
adoptable or treatable animals, while running 54 other programs
that help reduce animal suffering throughout the city.
Even if you only count the net loss from the King County
program, $146 per animal saved, that could cover free neutering
and licensing for 294 animals with savings of $50 per
animal left over.
There are several other shelters in King County
besides the county animal control shelter, and we don’t have
complete shelter statistics for the whole jurisdiction, hence
we are unable to compare the King County results with
national norms in any meaningful way.
But we did call PAWS to verify our interpretation
of the cost figures. Checking further with King County
Animal Control, we were told that the first year and a half
was more expensive because they had start-up costs, and
there were some license tracking problems that may have
inflated the figures, and they expect better results this year.
The only firm conclusion we can draw is that the
King County ordinance was correctly evaluated in our origi-
nal statement. The new statistics only make our evaluation
By contrast, the SF/SPCA has maintained an
18.5% annual reducation rate in euthanasias, citywide, and
is against mandatory licensing. Why? Because the poor are
unable to pay high license fees, and are consequently afraid
to use low-cost neutering programs through which noncompliance
with licensing requirements might be detected, making
them vulnerable to fines that they can’t afford, either.
The following table compares the percentage of
animals entering shelters who leave alive via redemption,
adoption, and euthanasia, together with our estimate of
maximum possible success:
National King S. F. Ultimate
% redeemed 16.6% 15.6% 10.6% 10.6%
% adopted 20.9% 17.1% 53.9% 63.9%
% euth. 62.5% 68.0% 35.6% 25.5%
We do not have shelter statistics for the whole of
King County, so cannot make a comparison based on
national normalized data. We do have the numbers of pets
entering shelters and euthanized per year per 1,000 human
residents for the U.S. as a whole, San Francisco, and
Washington state, which are as follow:
National Washington San Francisco
Entries: 29.97 30.82 16.70
Euthanized: 20.38 18.49 6.18
San Francisco wins hands down in the fight to
reduce euthanasias, and the San Francisco polices are directly
opposite to the tough-law/blame-the-public/more-animalcontrol-with-door-to-door,
etcetera: less legislation, not
more; an end to mandatory licensing, not door-to-door
enforcement; and more service, not more lobbying.
We also note that the King County neutering
voucher program is a dismal failure, with only 633 vouchers
redeemed (11.2%) of the 5,654 handed out. Our tiny organization
in rural Butte County, California, achieves that
much. This indicates to us that poor people, those the
voucher program should target, are not licensing their animals
because of the fees involved, and are then afraid to use
the vouchers. It is not clear to the public whether the $25
King County vouchers are a rebate on the $55 unaltered
license fee or are given without requiring the purchase of a
license. And for all the effort of door-to-door canvasing,
the King County licensing compliance rate is still officially
estimated to be about 33%. That two-thirds of the pet-owning
public do not support this program should send a message
to elected representatives.
––Lewis R. Plumb
Promotion of Animal Welfare Society
NWF, Woof-Woof II
I was recently alerted to a letter entitled “NWF
and Woof-Woof,” that ran in your July/August issue.
Answering that letter, you stated that you had documentation
to back up your claim that the National Wildlife
Federation and World Wildlife Fund support hunting. I
would like to receive that documentation. I have supported
both groups. If the claims made against them are true, I do
not intend to continue, and will let them know that they
may take me off of their mailing list, as I have no desire to
support such barbaric acts.
How many others remain unaware that NWF is a
national umbrella forstate hunting clubs, while WWF,
founded by trophy hunters, has pushed trophy hunting for
the entire 35 years it has existed? Send SASE for details.
I enjoyed reading your article “No-kill animal control,”
which I received from the San Francisco SPCA. We are
anxious to learn of other cities neutering and releasing feral
cats. As you briefly reported in your September edition, the
city manager of Miami Beach recently issued a purchase order
to hire trappers to kill all the cats along the boardwalk.
Luckily the police department, when asked to protect the trappers,
instead called crime reporter Edna Buchanan.
In response to public protest, a neuter/release plan is
being formulated. Already the Veterinary Foundation is trying
to steer the city away from the nonprofit low-cost clinic
caregivers have discussed, which would provide neutering
plus testing for feline leukemia and FIV for about $25 or $35
per cat. The Veterinary Foundation has curtailed low-cost
mass neutering for too long. They want every animal killed
who isn’t by ordinance brought into their offices for full-price
annual rabies shots and so forth. But most of the residents
here are low-paid service persons employed in hotels or in
We have over 400 veterinarians here, more than in
many much larger cities, including snowbirds and Cubans
and South Americans, all of whom expect to make a good living.
Is any county limiting the number of veterinarians who
can set up shop, then lobby to require pet owners to patronize
them or face fines?
Your article on the lack of positive action by the
American Veterinary Medical Association on the resolution to
oppose ear cropping does not reflect the real disharmony on
this subject among rank-and-file veterinarians.
Ear cropping is legal in almost all states. The
AVMA does not control the individual surgeons. You must
be aware that a large percentage of ear-cropping is done by
people who are not veterinarians. Thus the profession does
not control the procedure, and thus even outlawing ear-cropping
will not stop it, as shown in those states where the procedure
is already outlawed but continues.
Ear-cropping is not done in Great Britain. Laws
passed in the 18th century made it illegal to show dogs with
cropped ears. The laws were ignored. Finally, about 1890,
Prince-consort Albert demanded enforcement of the existing
laws. Ear-cropping ceased!
––Leo Lieberman, DBM
Funding for student-run campaigns
I am the national president of the nation’s largest,
fastest-growing teen advocacy group for animals; an educator
to thousands of students; and a spokesperson to the media. I
am also 18 years old. Members of Earth 2000, and other student
activists as well, are young, articulate, dedicated, committed
individuals who believe in animal rights, are convinced
they can do something to help animals, and are taking
critical steps to do so. Yet too often our tireless work is
reduced to photo opportunities and “kiddy” issues. The problem
lies in the creation of other national student groups, organized
and led by adults, who only raise funds to produce coloring
books and glossy membership cards.
Perhaps our biggest challenge is the lack of funding
for student-run campaigns. Almost every national animal
rights group raises funding from membership, but most student
activists are reluctant to donate. With thousands of
members across the U.S., Earth 2000 will barely survive
1995, on a budget of a few thousand dollars.
We hate admitting that our biggest challenge, as
actvists, is raising money. But as much as I would like to
claim that the energy and enthusiasm of students will make
our movement succeed, it simply isn’t true. It will take a
firm financial foundation to convert the growth of student
interest in animal rights into the construction of a compassionate
society. ––Danny Seo
Earth 2000 National
Shillington, PA 19607
Thanks for another eye-opening editorial. You’re
right on about the growing need for quality ongoing care
facilities. We founded Grateful Acres because the special
needs and unadoptable animal problem had Kalamazoo
Animal Rescue scrambling. Should you decide to cover
that topic in any more detail (hint hint), I hope you’ll get in
touch. Better yet, come see our place for yourself.