LETTERS [April 1996]
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 1996:
Since there is no sign that
any of the national groups intend to
make changes sufficient to fix what
is so obviously wrong, I am only
supporting the grassroots groups in
my own area. I have called/written
telling the nationals the reasons for
my decision: the horrible custom of
chaining or confining dogs and cats
in small pens or cages is a national
problem, which should be recognized
and addressed by these large
groups. Many animals so mistreated
freeze or starve to death in the winter,
and die from the heat and lack
of water in the summer. Two dogs
have starved or frozen here in
Centerville, Iowa, just this winter.
I contacted several of the largest
groups for help, and only got the
runaround. The animal cruelty laws
are seldom enforced here in Iowa,
and the national groups do nothing
to press for enforcement.
For information on current
cases, and what you can do to help,
please contact me.
Route 3, Box 234
Centerville, IA 52544
Please consider doing articles
on these topics:
1) Longterm activist
burnout. I’ve been doing animal
rights stuff for about 12 years. Most
of the people I’ve worked with have
become inactive after a few years.
How can we avoid this happening?
How can we continue year after year
without getting discouraged and
burned out from continued exposure
to animal cruelty? How can we keep
activists active when people often
feel their efforts are futile?
2) How to deal with personal
relationships with those who
don’t agree with us? It is especially
difficult when wives, husbands,
lovers, children, and best friends do
not share our viewpoint. On the
other hand, if we limit ourselves to
close relationships with those who
agree with us, aren’t we ghettoizing
ourselves and avoiding opportunities
for making converts?
3) How to deal with the
pain, depression, and sadness of
continually dealing with animal suffering.
I don’t know about you, but
sometimes I feel almost immobilized
by the overwhelming changes in the
world which are needed.
––Nancy C. Draper
Richmond Hill, New York
We’re open to readers’
ideas on these points, noting that
incompatible mates and relatives are
a problem as old as Adam and
Lilith, Cain and Abel.
Some comfort may be had
from noting that the average mar –
riage lasts just seven years, the
average job lasts 6.5 years, and the
average duration of intense involve –
ment in other non-work pursuits is
three to five years. Expecting more
of activists may be unrealistic.
In animal protection,
much burnout may result from fail –
ing to recognize victories––a tenden –
cy exacerbated by the habit of many
national organizations of remailing
the same appeals and holding the
same protests, year after year,
because they have proved to be suc –
cessful fundraisers, whether or not
situations have changed, and
regardless of actual tactical value.
The leading cause of
burnout may indeed be the attitude
of many leading national groups
that local activists matter only as a
source of income, also alluded to by
Vivian Lindley, above.
to DFO, not staff
Re your identification of
me as “former Department of
Fisheries and Oceans biologist Peter
Meisenheimer,” in your January/
February cover article, “Out of cod,
Canada tells fishers ‘Kill more
seals,’” although I have worked
under contract as a consultant to a
number of federal and provincial
agencies in Canada, and my name
appears on reports issued on government
letterhead as a result, I am not
a former employee of DFO. The
only government agency for which I
have worked directly, i.e. on permanent
staff, as a fisheries biologist, is
the Republic of Botswana. My most
extensive experience of fisheries
industry issues has been as an advisor
to various commercial fishing
companies and organizations in
Canada, the U.S., and Africa.
The war goes on
Greetings from Cyprus.
The Minister of the Interior here is
issuing licenses to shoot the mouflon––our
national emblem, a most
beautiful, shy and graceful creature.
This decision is very
unpopular, and perhaps if your
readers could write to the head of
the Flora and Fauna Department,
c/o Ministry of the Interior, Nicosia,
Cyprus, he would learn that this
ignorant action is known worldwide.
The 40,000 shooters on
this tiny island have already stripped
it of most of its bird life, and now
need to kill something else.
Our other bad news is that
the first performing dolphin and sea
lion show opened here last year. It
operates without a license. Now
other businessmen are making applications
to copy this venture. Please
write to Mr. Economides,
Department of Veterinary Services,
Ministry of Agriculture, Nicosia,
Cyprus, urging him to enforce the
1994 Animal Welfare Law and not
allow this plague to spread.
Animal Responsibility Cyprus
Defenders of Wildlife
Ever since I saw your December 1995 “Who
Gets the Money?” feature, and the note that Defenders
of Wildlife supports hunting, I have been frustrated
and confused. As a longtime member and supporter of
Defenders, my multiple inquiries to them asking for
explanation have gone unanswered. Since I declined to
renew my membership, they have repeatedly sent literature
and their magazine to me, but no answer to my
burning question. So, I put it to you: is it true that
Defenders supports hunting, and if so, why? As an
incredulous contributor to seemingly worthwhile organizations,
I can only say, “Say it ain’t so!”
Founded as an anti-trapping organization,
Defenders of Wildlife according to policy statements
“opposes any trapping that inflicts pain or causes
injury, damages ecological systems, is nonselective,
or is conducted for profit or for recreational purpos –
es.” Re hunting, however, “Defenders advocates
policies which are in the best interest of all wildlife, by
analyzing wildlife management programs to determine
the appropriate response. Hunting is evaluated by this
standard on a case-by-case basis.”
In other words, cutting out the doubletalk,
yes, although Defenders opposes hunting at National
Wildlife Refuges, it does support hunting in principle.
Not Alice’s Wonderland
I recently finished installing a 130-foot, state-of-the-art computerized
watershow in Chendu, China, for Wonderland of Southwest China, the
first theme park in central China. It may also be known as Panda Land. The
park is a “cultural center,” offering a number of very interesting dance and
musical events nightly, and has nice local arts for sale at reasonable prices.
However, they also set up a 45-foot-diameter circular cage for the
purpose of abusing animals to entertain visitors.
I personally witnessed the following, to which I strongly objected,
expressing my feelings in writing to the management. I was nonetheless
forced to work in order to finish my contract while the following was going
on right next to me:
• A defanged lioness slowly mauled cows, sheep, goats, chickens,
and other farm animals to death––a gruesome, earthshaking, noisy torture,
in which cows often took over an hour to stop shrieking and struggling.
• Two or more dogs were brought into the cage on leashes, taunted
by trainers until they were furious, and then unleashed to destroy each other.
• Cockfights to the death.
• Large dogs such as Alsatians and Labradors were put into the cage
with a cow, whose tail was ripped off, legs grossly maimed, and ears ripped
off and shredded.
• Large dogs were similarly used to kill small goats and chickens.
On several occasions I stomped away from the work site because I
was so shaken. It was the worst thing I’ve seen in my 45 years of life.
This park is owned by Huaxin Corporation, a multinational based in
Singapore. I expressed grave objections to this, yet they continued the barnyard
brawls, and absolutely couldn’t understand why I couldn’t deal with it.
I was told it was a local custom, albeit only to a small group.
I am aware that this park is trying to get on the tour lists of agencies.
I urge that travel agencies not include this theme park in tours of Chendu.
Webster Groves, Missouri
Re your coverage of Premarin, this is an area of some concern and
ethical problems for me. I am a registered nurse in a longterm care facility.
At least one of our residents receives Premarin therapy.
As an animal rights person, I can’t condone the blatant abuse of
horses in the production of pregnant’s mare’s urine (PMU), from which
Premarin is made. As an RN, however, I am obliged to give medication to
my patients unless there are medical reasons not to––not just my disagreement
with the production methods.
One problem with the alternatives to Premarin is their presentation.
Premarin is available as tablets, the most common presentation; as an IV
solution for treatment of severe cases of menopausal problems; and as a vaginal
cream, used mainly for the treatment of vaginal dryness.
Premarin is one of three available products known as conjugated
estrogens. According to the Canadian Pharmaceutical Society’s drug reference
book, Premarin is the only one available in either IV or cream form.
There are, of course, similar estrogen products available.
Deletrogen and Estrace are both estriadols, and Ogen is an estriopipate.
These are similar in their effects to conjugated estrogens.
The other problem with the alternatives is that they are more expensive,
and in an industry which is looking at cutting costs, especially where
there is some form of universal medical coverage like in Canada and the
United Kingdom, this can be a problem. There are already cases where some
drugs are not covered under medical plans because there are cheaper medicines
available. I think some lobbying of health ministries may be appropriate
to make sure this does not happen with the alternatives to Premarin.
As to dietary treatment, the resident in my facility is 85 years old,
is not vegetarian, has other medical problems, and probably won’t survive
longer than a year or two.
In my professional capacity, I have to put the interests of my
––David J. Knowles
Marilyn Baker, reporting
Thank you for lauding the San Francisco
SPCA for the wonderful work accomplished there. I
thought you might be interested in just how it all came
In 1970-1971, KQED, the public television
station in San Francisco, did a series on the
SF/SPCA, which then operated as the county pound.
This series showed it was a Dachau for dogs and cats,
spending millions on perks for its executive director
while the voiceless victims went without proper care.
At that time Quentin Kopp was a San
Francisco supervisor––and the only politician who
spoke out, right on TV, about the mess at the
The public outcry from this TV news series
coupled with Kopp’s determined efforts finally resulted
in changes in the board of directors and the search
that found Richard Avanzino to take over as executive
director. Today Kopp is a state legislator.
In 1975 Jeffrey Baker, a news producer at
another San Francisco TV station, did a 15-part series
on animal welfare and shelters in all five San
Francisco Bay area counties. His series was key in
having the state ban the use of the decompression
chamber for animal killing.
This is proof positive that the news media
can bring about change––one more reason ANIMAL
PEOPLE is so important and should be required reading
for anyone who cares about animals.
Orphan Pet Oasis
North Palm Springs, California
Marilyn Baker’s investigative reporting for
KQED was an early inspiration to the A N I M A L
P E O P L E editor, who broke into journalism within
her broadcast radius.
I enjoyed your article about the San
Francisco SPCA, published a year ago in your March
1995 issue. It gave me a lot of ideas and goals for our
shelter in Little Rock, Arkansas, although our board
doesn’t believe we can ever achieve their success in
our rural state. I disagree!
––Pam E. Nixon
Humane Education Committee Chair
Humane Society of Pulaski County
Little Rock, Arkansas
Along with this letter I send the book
Animals and Law published in Taiwan not long ago. I
gave this book to the Animal Protection Association
in Taiwan so they could publish it for public education.
In the fly leaf I wrote, “For those animals who
have suffered or are suffering because of the unwisdom
of human beings.”
Many parts of this book are either inspirations
or data or illustrations from you and many other
friends. Without your contribution, people in Taiwan
would not have the chance to get the whole picture of
animals’ status in the world. In addition, there are
updates on animal conditions in Taiwan. I hope it
won’t be very hard for you to find someone who can
read the Chinese text.
Thank you again for your great support.
––Jason L.S. Yeh
Department of Veterinary Medicine
National Taiwan University
We donated our copy of Animals and Law
to the humane education department of the San
Francisco SPCA, whose Chinese-speaking staff work
with Chinese immigrants on a regular basis, and, we
understand, are available to assist other humane
societies when an assist with language is needed.
The following, shared verbatim, came as an e-mail bundle from our friends at
If you’re going to talk about rodeo and horses
then maybe you should know what you are talking
about. I have lived in South Dakota all my life and I
have been involved in Rodeo and so has the rest of my
family. Rodeo has been around forever and animals
don’t get hurt that much. Every once in awile an animal
will get hurt but it doesn’t happen that often. And
as for all you vegetarians. Red meat is the best tasting
thing ever. It’s not bad for you. Everyone I know ate it
and I’ve never seen anyone die from it. My family and
I are ranchers and you people are ruining the way we
make our living. You should not produce magazines
like this when you don’t know what you are talking
about. –– Dean Sigman & Coy Sasse
We, the students at Bennett County High
School would like to write about your add on “There’s
a world of misery in every mouthful of meat.” Beef
cattle were put on this earth for our use. They feed millions
of people around the world everyday. This article
says that beef creates unending misery for people.
Beef creates jobs, money and food across the United
States. Cutting down would cause a loss of jobs and a
lot of angry ranchers. I think that research is necessary
before creating an article of such content.
––Sybil Cook and Hilary Farley
Where kids that are under 12 is a bunch of
bull- the lunitic kids will end up shootin them self
because they would just think it was like cops and robbers.
If you think you want it, think again because
hunting is the safest sport all over the world. I should
know because I have taken hunter safety for about 5
years and I have passed it everytime. The dad of mine
would completely agree with me because he is the conservation
officer for 3 counties.
–– Jon Beck
I would like to talk about your really sorry
trash information paper. I am a rancher in rural South
Dakota. I enjoy rodeo and although it may be dangerous
for the animal the risk of a human life is much
greater. In rodeo more humans die in one year than all
the animals in the same year. I’m also an avid hunter.
I don’t much appreciate the fact that in your paper you
put down the sport. Hunting is an american past time
people have done it since the time we arrived here. In
all I think your information paper is a bunch of hogwash.
I also think you should get more facts before you
print propaganda such as the articles in
January/February 1996, Volume V, #1.
P.S. Do you know what happens to the bulls
that are killed in bull fights? They are used to feed the
poor people of the community.
–– Slater J. Dekay
I am a student at Bennett County High
School at Martin South Dakota. I would like to say
that I think the bill of trapping and dam-dynamiting is
wrong. The reason I don’t like it is because harmless
animals get caught in them. They then no longer have
a way of defending themselves if their legs or any other
part of their body gets cut off, from the traps that people
like you put out.
We noted on page 8 of our January/February
edition that, “The New York Department of
Environmental Conservation is trying again to pass a
bill to allow beaver-snaring and dam-dynamiting,
without public oversight.” We’re not sure how
Johnson, a sensitive person, deduced from this that we
in any way have anything to do with such practices,
beyond denouncing them at every opportunity.