LETTERS [June 1996]
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 1996:
Moving fast for
Nice article. Thanks. One
thing. It was actually turtle experts
from all over the U.S. who wrote to
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at
request of the New York Turtle and
Tortoise Society and Humane
Society of the U.S., stopping the
proposed export of 10,000 Louisiana
box turtles. I wish the turtle experts
in NYTTS could take the credit
alone, but we’re just “amateurs”
who know a lot of pro-conservation
scientists who were willing to write.
(One wrote a 20-page letter against
the quota.) It was that kind of overwhelming
support for box turtles,
from all over, that forced the U.S.
government to do what they did. As
I previously said, “Science wins.”
N.Y. Turtle & Tortoise Society
New York, N.Y.
Editor has head
Your article “Moving fast
for turtles” stated that in 1994,
“U.S. dealers and fanciers imported
about 124,000 turtles, of at least 15
species, all but one of them listed as
‘threatened’ under the Convention
on International Trade in
Actually, the US imports
at least 15 species of turtles and tortoises
from Indonesia alone. Only
two are listed under CITES:
Manouria emys and Indonestudo
forsteni. The rest are all water turtles
not included in any CITES
This is characteristic of the
pet trade in the U.S.: lots of variety
but in small quantities. In Asia, by
contrast, pet-owners focus on a few
key species and buy lots of them.
––Frank Bambang Yuwono
and lab mice
In your “Coming Events”
section, you recently mentioned the
Johns Hopkins Center for
Alternatives to Animal Testing. By
your listing, you give them credibility
that they most definitely do not
deserve. I am on their mailing list.
Over the years, it is very obvious
that they are not against vivisection.
One need look no farther than their
mission statement and their list of
sponsors and corporate patrons,
among which one finds Charles
River Laboratories, the world’s
largest supplier of lab animals!
“Coming Events” lists
events that may interest our readers,
regardless of the philosophy of the
The logic of Charles River
supporting J.H. CAAT is apparently
that using animals bred and perhaps
genetically modified for particular
purposes helps to reduce total ani –
mal use, under the heading of
refinement; the big profit in lab
animal supply these days is in pro –
viding such animals, Charles
Turtles and tactics
This is to thank you for writing the article about the ban on exporting box turtles from the southeastern United States.
Following a friend’s advice, I recently joined >>ARviews@Envirolink.org<<, the most active e-mail list for animal rights advocates. I find myself confused by the contempt directed by some participants there toward what is called “animal welfare.”
I’ve long since read the literature and attended the lectures and discussion groups and I know the difference philosophically and legally––that is, that animal rights activism is directed toward the abolition of the use of animals, while animal welfarism opposes not animal use per se but cruelty. But within the scheme of things any incremental step that helps animals seems valid.
When I first forwarded to >>AR-views<< a request to Americans to support the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in implementing the ban on turtle exports, against much political opposition, I received a private e-mail from an outspoken animal rights activist asking me if I didn’t realize that this was an “animal welfare” issue.
I’m sorry if writing letters isn’t as dramatic and media-attractive as suspending oneself from a university building or locking oneself to a gate, but all such efforts can help animals. When the American government stops something, for whatever reason, that abuses so many animals, surely it is worthy of our concern if we give a damn at all.
About the first thing I posted on joining >>AR-views<< was one of my own newspaper columns showing how, with a few phone calls on behalf of the Animal Protection Institute, I may have been pivotal in preventing the use of the poison Compound 1080 in Texas, in the name of rabies control. Plans were well underway when API discovered the situation (the ANIMAL P E O P L E lead feature in January /February 1995), and I decided to intervene. I made phone calls to the Texas authorities and determined that they were unaware of the excellent work being done in rabies control here in Ontario. I called the Ontario authorities, whom I’ve known for 18 years, and yes, they agreed with me that poisoning was both ineffective and unnecesary, but they didn’t know about the Texas project. I got both sides talking, and the result is that the poison is not being used. Baits are being dropped which immunize the animals who eat them. The success has been spectacular. Rabies is well under control; animals are not being poisoned; animals are not dying of rabies; people are not living in fear that drives them to trap and shoot animals. Seems pretty good, to me.
Now, had the poison been used, I am sure that the direct actionists would have done their thing, but my point is that it is preferable to avoid that sort of confrontation. This takes knowing your subject, being willing to educate yourself and to talk to people who don’t always share your philosophy, and it may mean using procedures developed by methods you would not support (as did the development of this process of protecting wildlife from rabies, as some animal research was necessarily involved).
So, getting back to turtles, thanks not only for researching the issue but for publishing it in terms that may help people understand that this is an issue involving cruelty to innocent animals.
While some people whose chief concern is fighting cruelty don’t seem to care if species go extinct, I would hope that they all at least do care what happens to these wonderful reptiles as individuals.
––Barry Kent MacKay
Animal Protection Institute (Canadian Office)
I love Frederick’s of Hollywood! I’ve
worn their bras and panties for years.
Relax, animal rights moralists! How many
of us are absolutely pure? “Let he who is without sin
cast the first stone.” We should be thrilled to receive
the support of sincere mainstream companies and
individuals. Enlightenment should always be
encouraged. The animals need all the friends they
can get. Do you think we could allow others at least
the same transition time we needed ourselves?
My car has leather seats. My choice was
either to pay the $2,000 it would cost to have them
replaced with vinyl, or give the money to a humane
organization. I chose to give the money to an animal
protection organization instead. So stone me, too.
My mother just donated $300,000 to her
favorite animal protection organization. My mother
has three cars with leather seats. Should her
$300,000 be returned? It would hurt her so deeply if
that money were returned, it would probably kill her.
Shame on you perfect ones who say her money and
love for animals are not good enough.
Wouldn’t it be compassionate to embrace
the tender and sensitive newcomers?
Welcome Frederick’s of Hollywood. I’ll
wear their bras and panties forever.
Animal Health & Safety Associates
As we reported in April, Frederick’s was
initially accepted as a $10,000 sponsor of the forth –
coming March for the Animals, and then rejected,
due to the objections of some other sponsors.
I would like to thank you for including a snippet
on the Humane Society of the U.S.’ reversal of their
ferret policy in your May 96 issue, which HSUS has
now formally announced. I was among the ferret interest
group representatives at the meeting your article
I would like to point out, however, that ferrets
are not exotics (as placed under that banner in your
publication) but are domesticated companion animals,
like dogs and cats, which is why they are under HSUS
director for companion animals Martha Armstrong’s
This was the first thing we wanted to get
straight with the HSUS, which has publicized ferrets as
“wild” and “exotic” in the past. Ferrets have been
domesticated longer than the housecat.
It would be appreciated if you would make
the distinction that Mustela furo is a domesticated
species in the future. ––Pamela Grant
The artful Dodge
I meant to write you three weeks ago after I
first read the story of how Alice Dodge of Pet Search
got marine mammologist Ignacio Agudo out of
Venezuela despite the price on his head. The delay is in
no way meant to imply a lack of wonderment at the
actions of all those involved. It’s a powerful, moving
account: true profiles in courage. And how proud you
must be, as none of it would have happened without
your help. Some may think you’re rotten, but you’re
much admired by many more.
I hope someone makes a movie and emphasizes
how the big-money groups sat on their bottom
lines while the call for help went out.
Bunny Huggers’ Gazette
I am no extremist. I love animals, teach horseback riding, and keep
a farm despite encroachments of developers, because I have a deep regard for
the wildlife with whom I share the earth. I participate in rescues of neglected
horses and volunteer my media skills for spay/neuter programs. But cat people
get angry that I also own barn cats for the sole purpose of keeping my
horses’ environment free of rodents. Bird droppings are a threat to my horses,
too. I encourage my dog to kill groundhogs because their burrows are a hazard
to horses in the field. Deer are endangered far more by each $300,000
house that goes up on the land to the east of me than by my two hunting
friends whom I’ve traditionally allowed to hunt on my property.
In short, I’m a food-chain realist. I have never once felt guilty
about eating a shrimp. Cats eat mice, baby bunnies, and all kinds of cute critters.
That’s the way nature made them. I do support vegetarian life-styles for
humans, as a lapsed veggie myself. I have students who won’t wear leather,
so we find synthetic saddles and boots to accommodate their beliefs. I myself
An ethical life is always a challenge. Years ago, a brave Good
Samaritan saved my house from burning. He turned out to be a pit-bull trainer!
My gratitude and my loathing came crashing into one another, and I realized
that reality is never black and white. In his culture, dogfighting was considered
okay; letting a neighbor’s house burn was not. Had I been given two
choices, have him forswear dogfighting or let my house burn, I would have
chosen the latter. I’m not asking for an end to ideological extremism, or begging
people to adopt a “moderate” approach and homogenize their ideals. I
am glad that people are still teasing out ethical questions and trying their personal
best to come up with morally acceptable solutions. But I wish your
newspaper would not consistently demonize the enemy.
Freehold, New Jersey
In our view, the enemy is ignorance, and is a demon indeed:
• In 19 years of living on or beside horse farms (and dairy and
sheep farms), with abundant groundhogs, we have never known any hooved
animal to be hurt from stepping in a burrow. Nor are we aware of any evi –
dence that wild horses, galloping over miles of prairie dog burrows, often
suffer harm thereby. Setting dogs on groundhogs, however, is an atrocity to
both; while the dogs will usually kill the groundhogs, a groundhog can pul –
verizing a dog’s legbone at abite.
• Whitetailed deer, not “endangered” as a species anywhere, pre –
fer edge habitat, not open fields; a neighborhood of homes on three-to-fiveacre
lots will typically feed and shelter far more deer than cleared pastures.
• Shrimp-trawling, even with the use of turtle exclusion devices, is
the primary cause of the recent rapid decline of sea turtles in the Atlantic and
Caribbean, bringing some species close to extinction, and also results in a
significant bycatch of non-target fish, whose pointless deaths adversely affect
the whole marine ecology. Shrimp-ranching simultaneously devastates the
coastal mangrove swamps of much of Southeast Asia, increasing those
nations’ poverty and vulnerability to floods, tidal waves, and typhoons.
Publicity and the Animal Liberation Front
Not only have the seal slaughters of Canada
returned to the numbers of the 1970s, but other forms
of animal abuse have risen, i.e. prairie dog shoots and
canned hunting. As welfarists attain a so-called victory
for research animals, i.e. that primates must be given
toys to play with before being “sacrificed” on the altars
of sadists, the House of Representatives votes to hand
over all of our wildlife refuges to the National Rifle
Association gun nuts.
If it were not for the actions of the Animal
Liberation Front in the mid-1980s, who are now being
painted as radical extremists by persons calling themselves
animal advocates, most of America would never
have known of animal abuse. But now that the welfarists
have increased their financial take via publicity
spurred by ALF actions, now welfarists are distancing
themselves from the real animal liberators.
If the 1996 March for the Animals doesn’t
equal or surpass the number of marchers who walked in
the 1990 March, it may be the suicidal death knell of
the animal rights movement. Long live the ALF!
I personally don’t call the ALF of the past 12
years “radical extremists”; I don’t think their commit –
ment to the cause is that strong. I call them sociopaths,
whose arsons and bomb threats––not to mention the
shrapnel bombs mailed by the spinoff Justice
Department––have repeatedly demonstrated contempt
for the ethic of nonviolence upon which the humane
movement is founded, whose sum total of animals “lib –
erated” in 20 years is–– even by ALF’s own inflated
claims––comparable to the number of animals rescued
by hundreds of individual “cat ladies,” and is far less
than 1% of the half-million-or-so animals not used in
the past 12 years because of Procter & Gamble innova –
tions in non-animal testing methods.
The historical record indicates that the ALF
emerged in a significant way only after the animal
rights movement had already gained prominence; ALF
violence hurts the animal rights movement just as
Black Panther violence hurt the civil rights movement
and links to organized crime hurt the labor movement.
As the 1986 Thomas Grey Inc. discussion paper
Defence of the Fur Trade, commissioned by the
Canadian government, and the 1988 American Medical
Association white paper on animal rights explicitly
acknowledged, if the ALF hadn’t already existed,
opponents of animal rights would have had to invent it,
precisely to marginalize the cause. A progressive
movement, controversial in its own right, simply can –
not afford association with violence––particularly when
the cause purports to advance a nonviolent ethic.
Harold Herzog recently gleaned the Reader’s
Guide to Periodical Literature statistics below, a good
indicator of the prominence of animal rights issues,
while the ALF attack stats are from the Department of
Justice’s 1994 Report to Congress on Animal
Enterprise Terrorism. The individual attacks listed are
those causing at least $50,000 worth of damage. There
were 16 such attacks during the period covered, 11 of
which came between December 1984 and August 1989,
with three more in 1992.
Clearly, coverage of AR issues fell after the
December 1984 ALF actions. Maybe that was because
of the cessation of offshore sealing––but equally clear –
ly, coverage did not rise significantly in 1987 despite
the dramatic rise in ALF activity. Coverage peaked in
1990, when there were no major ALF actions, just
instances of petty vandalism, and then fell steeply in
1991-1992, when there was a rapid rise of ALF activity
plus a resumption of major arsons. Further, the
claimed increase in ALF activity in 1994 did not bring
an increase in coverage; rather, coverage fell further.
Year Citations Major issue(s) ALF attacks
[“Major issues” = “getting most coverage.”] (ALF landmarks are in parenthesis.)
1975 4 0
1976 13 Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation; 0
Henry Spira’s victory vs. cat sex experiments.
1977 5 1
1978 9 0
1979 8 3
1980 9 Revlon quits animal testing. 1
1981 14 Debut of PETA. 1
1982 18 10
1983 32 Anti-sealing campaign peaks. 15
(1st big ALF vandalism, at Harbor UCLA Med. Ctr.)
1984 32 Offshore seal hunt ends. 31
(Two major ALF arsons in Dec. 1984.)
1985 27 (U.C. Riverside attack.) 17
1986 20 (Simonsen Labs and SEMA attacks.) 7
1987 23 (U.C. Davis arson, 2 other arsons) 53
1988 45 Rise of ivory, tuna/dolphin issues. 52
(One major arson.)
1989 45 Ivory trade ban. 37
(Three major ALF break-ins, arsons.)
1990 60 Tuna/dolphin win; 20th Earth Day 23
(No major ALF actions.)
1991 40 (OSU vandalism.) 37
1992 33 Alaska declares intent to kill wolves. 11
(Utah State, MSU, Swanson meat arsons.)
1993 39 Release of film Free Willy. 13
(ALF stats only through June.)
1994 25 (ALF claims more than 100 U.S. actions.)
1995 [no count] 68
or fed up?
In response to Vivian Lindley’s
letter “Enough,” and Nancy Draper’s letter
“Burnout,” published in your April edition,
may I ask:
1) Is it burnout Draper feels, or
being fed up with the system?
2) Isn’t it a waste of time to warehouse,
feed, and kill homeless pets, knowing
that the problem of pet overpopulation
could be solved if the national biggies
would do what they take millions of dollars
in donations to do and actually neuter some
3) Is Rush Limbaugh really on
target when he says the biggies are just in it
for the money and only need a scapegoat to
open our pockets?
4) Is it true that the biggies don’t
really want to stop pet overpopulation and
other problems because this would put them
out of business?
The national biggies could put an
end to pet overpopulation if they really
wanted to: simply go on strike. No more
shelter killing until the veterinary community
supports low-cost neutering. Humane
societies should be shelters, not slaughterhouses.
The veterinary community as a
whole is standing in the way of low-cost
neutering. After all, if we decreased pet
overpopulation, they would be directly
affected, along with the pet food industry,
the pet supply industry, and the humane
movement. Breeding, warehousing, and
killing dogs and cats is big business in this
country––and we are all wasting our time to
think it will ever come to an end.
Of the national humane groups,
only Friends of Animals and the North
Shore Animal League have ever significant –
ly underwritten low-cost neutering.
Founded in 1957 specifically to promote
low-cost neutering, FoA currently spends
about $2.2 million a year to subsidize neu –
tering operations. North Shore, the world’s
largest animal adoption agency, spends
$4.3 million a year to provide free neutering
for every animal it places, and spends addi –
tional millions to make grants in support of
low-cost or free neutering available to other
humane societies via the Pet Savers
Foundation, which it wholly funds.
Decreasing pet overpopulation
wouldn’t economically hurt veterinarians;
homeless animals don’t get much vet care.
Some laading veterinary organizationsdo
still oppose low-cost neutering and mobile
clinics, which can take low-cost neutering
services into poor and rural communities,
but our 1994 national survey of vets found
that 76% of American Veterinary Medical
Association small animal specialists have
done low-cost neutering; most still do;
about a third of all neutering operations are
done at a discount; and 60% lose money on
low-cost neutering but do it anyway. Thus
veterinarians, as individuals, cumulative
contribute markedly more to ending pet
overpopulation than all the national organi –
zations except FoA and North Shore.
Trust the process
Nancy Draper asked in her letter
about activist burnout how we can avoid
having activists drop out after several years;
how to keep from getting discouraged and
feeling that our efforts are futile; how to
deal with personal relationships with those
who disagree with us, without ghettoizing
ourselves or losing the opportunity to make
converts; and how to deal with the pain and
depression of continually dealing with animal
I will tell you what has worked for
me so far. I bear in mind that neither good
nor evil has ever been totally eradicated in
human and animal affairs. There have
always been wars, pestilence, and natural
disasters, interspersed with peace, health,
prosperity, enlightenment, compassion,
and heroic selflessness.
I don’t set myself the impossible
goal of achieving total justice now for all
animals. But I don’t think that any effort is
futile. Every effort intensifies the clamour
and climate demanding and paving the way
for justice for animals. Human slavery and
child labor were not abolished in a day, and
indeed continue in some places.
Nonetheless, after much apparently futile
effort, most of this evil has been vanquished.
Long ago an activist quoted to me
this prayer: “Oh Lord, help me not to
expect at the beginning that which can come
only at the end!”
I aim only to do the best I
can––and that means personal satisfaction
comes more from the effort and depends less
on the outcome. If the outcome is good,
then that is a bonus and cause for joy. If the
outcome is not good, then we will lick our
wounds for a while, and then plot a new
effort. Between the occasional successes
and victories, the group I belong to keeps
our spirits refreshed by generously acknowledging
each other’s efforts.
With friends and relatives who
disagree with me, I firmly make my concern
for animals off limits. I request only
that they not stand in my way. Avoiding or
cutting off fruitless discussions permits us to
freely enjoy the other aspects of our relationships.
Making converts can happen only
when someone is in a state of readiness to be
converted; i.e., “When the student is ready,
the teacher appears.” Therefore I have no
intention of making converts. Those who
are ready may be interested in “converting,”
and that is wonderful––a bonus. Otherwise,
they are not ready, and my energies will be
better spent in some other direction.
Because I am spiritually inclined,
I do what I can, then pray for the enlightenment
of humans, and the protection of the
animals and our planet. Having done that, I
“let go and let God.” In the same way that
for a good night’s sleep, one must take off
knapsack, boots, and clothing before getting
into bed, one should try to lift off and
remove completely one’s heavy occupation
with animal problems. “Cast your burdens
on the Lord,” or “on the wind,” if you prefer.
Then your mental state can truly be
Because no one person can be all
things to all people, we need to cultivate
and enjoy the company of kindred spirits.
For understanding and appreciation of my
animal concerns, I turn with pleasure to fellow
activists. This is not ghettoization; this
is mutual encouragement and support.
Especially if one is not getting this from
other relationships, it is important to get it
from somewhere. Emotional health and stamina
depend upon it.
If some activists drop out after a
while, perhaps their lives require it. New
people will join the effort they leave behind.
Over the years, many good people have
been lost to death and burnout; but the animal
protection movement has continued,
and is strong. Many gains have been made,
and there will be more. The burden is great,
but there are many to share it. As for “the
pain which is almost immobilizing because
of the overwhelming changes needed in the
world,” as Draper put it, what works for me
is to acknowledge the evil but not dwell
upon it. I focus only where I can help, keep
in mind uplifting instances of altruism,
beauty, and joy, let the rest recede to the
distant background, and trust the process.
A longtime officer of the Animal
Defense League of Canada, Esther Klein
was already among the veterans of the
cause, known for tireless work and cheerful
spirit, when we first became acquainted
with her, nearly 20 years ago.
There were three errors in your item about
the animal ambulance that Concern for Helping
Animals in Israel is trying to donate to the Tiberius
First, CHAI did not initiate the legal proceedings
in Emek-Hefer and Arad to get an injunction
to stop animal control poisonings. Arad resident
Ellen Moshenberg and animal rights attorney Danny
Sherman did that. CHAI gave them the evidence they
needed to prove their case––the documents from the
World Health Organization and elsewhere saying that
poisoning does nothing to control rabies and can help
spread it, and statements from the Royal SPCA,
British Veterinary Medical Association, American
Veterinary Toxicology Association, etc., that the
poison alpha chlorolose is inhumane.
Second, Dr. Amnon Shimshony, head of
the veterinary services branch of the Israeli
Department of Agriculture, did not tell municipal
vets they could poison as long as they used alpha
chlorolose and not strychnine. He told them to ignore
what environment minister Yossi Sarid said about
“no poisoning” and go ahead and poison anyway,
using whatever they want.
Third, I’m not sure where the date April 21
came from. The Emek-Hefer judge’s decision was
that he will keep the injunction on the poisonings in
effect indefinitely, leaving everything in limbo. As
for Arad, nothing has been decided there, either.
Concern for Helping Animals in Israel
I subscribe to many publications, as a fulltime
volunteer wildlife rehabilitator, but A N I M A L
P E O P L E is the only one that I somehow find the
time to read in its entirety––every word! You never
waste my precious time. I simply do not have time to
waste, and I want you to be aware of a little cherished
bonus that you unwittingly send to people like
me: a legitimate excuse to sit down and put our feet