LETTERS [March 1997]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 1997:

St. Hubert’s
Since we are Catholic, we
paid close attention to a paragraph in
your January/February “Religion &
Animals” column about a hunting
camp, St. Hubert’s, near Alpena,
Michigan. It seems that priests have
been killing deer at St. Hubert’s for
40 years, on the pretext of using it as
a place to “just get away.” Killing
anything is not the way to spiritual
growth, and it raises the question if
these priests are in the right profession.
They need to re-read the Fifth

We believe St. Hubert’s
should be closed to hunting and be
turned into something peaceful and
Christ-like, such as a rustic retreat
center for priests, nuns, and lay people,
or maybe a summer camp for
children, or (could it be possible?) a
sanctuary for wildlife.
If anyone wishes to write to
the bishop of the diocese where this
killing has been going on, his name
and address are: Bishop Patrick
Cooney, 1665 West M-32, Gaylord,
MI 49735-8932.
––B. Stasz
St. Paul, Minnesota

Bear in mind when writing
that St. Hubert’s is not church prop –
erty; it is a private club owned by the
member priests. This tends to limit
the bishop’s authority over what may
be done there to making moral rec –

Maverick Cats
I was pleased to see mention
of my book Maverick Cats i n
your December article “Turning Catastrophe
to cash flow.” My book,
now in its fifth printing, is still the
only serious book about feral cats. It
was a labor of special love for
me––and for some years I have been
working with animal welfare groups
across the U.S. to help them raise
money by selling it. Any organization
representative who might like the
details may contact me.
––Ellen Perry Berkeley
Box 311
Shaftsbury, VT 05262

Chico cats
Your January/February editorial,
“Biological xenophobia,” put
a great persective on what we ran into
in trying to provide a Trap-TestVaccinate-Alter-Release
program for
colony cats in the Chico park.
About a month ago we
announced a TTVAR plan for back
door feeders, just after the meeting
with the group that so opposed the
Chico plan. We withdrew our offer
of $8,000 to Chico because we are
not going to pay park rangers to kill
the cats. To avoid being overwhelmed
all at once by everyone with
back-door-fed cats, we require that
the first two be done by the owner,
with our help if the owner is of low
income. Beyond that, we pay the
whole vet bill. In the last several
months we have approved over 90
alterations of back-door-fed cats,
with a bit over half already paid for.
As our funding is limited, we will
have to see how much support this
program generates in the community––but
it is clear that we must do
something about back-door-fed cats if
we wish to reduce shelter killing.
Thanks again for your kind
comments and for providing insight
into the nature of our opposition,
whose response was so unexpected
and inexplicable to us.
––Robert L. Plumb
Promoting Animal Welfare Society
Paradise, California

Introductory biology students
at Cornell University must
attend demonstrations of biological
research. Some choices among a list
of 128 involve the harmful use of an
animal. In one of them, an anesthetized
rabbit’s chest is opened,
allowing students to see the heart and
lungs as air intake is manipulated and
various drugs are injected.
Afterward, the rabbit is euthanized.
Last November, Bio 101
student Bryan Pease led a candlelight
vigil to protest the rabbit dissection.
But unknown to us, instructor Robert
Corradino had cancelled the exercise
that night to avoid confrontation.
Three weeks later, during
finals, Pease and I were notified by
Cornell’s Judicial Administrator that
we were accused of harassing and
inciting others to harass Corradino.
Weeks passed before we got details.
The entire basis of the accusation
against me was a two-line announcement
of the vigil that I posted to the
Cornell Students for the Ethical
Treatment of Animals web page. I
stated that the dissection consisted of
a rabbit being “drugged and mutilated.”
Corradino felt this was a mischaracterization.
I pulled a dictionary
off the J.A.’s shelf and looked up the
word “mutilate.” It seemed accurate
to me, but the J.A. disagreed, questioned
that the exercise was a “dissection,”
and remained unconvinced.
There was no question that
I had not contacted Corradino and
had not encouraged others to contact
him. I hadn’t even mentioned him.
Pease wrote more extensively about
the dissection, and wrote an unfavorable
description of Corradino’s
research, but again there was no
question of abusive personal contact
or of encouraging others to contact
Corradino. No factual errors were
identified, either. Corradino simply
disliked our portrayal of his work.
The J.A. decided no violations took
place, but we were officially given
an “oral warning.”
The campus paper then
printed a letter from seven biology
professors, denouncing us for
allegedly harassing students and,
because three students could not
attend the secretly rescheduled dissection,
for denying these students
their right to attend––even though the
dissection was cancelled by
Corradino, not us, days before,
without our knowledge.
These professors have
failed to uphold the scientific ideals
of critical review, open debate, and
intellectual honesty.
––Peter Wilson, M.S.
Ithaca, New York

Early fixing
Re Sam McClintock’s
January/February letter advising
mandatory neutering to effectively
reduce dog and cat populations,
please add to his prescription neutering
before adoption or sale, except for
show/breeding stock in the care of a
certified breeder. With early neutering
becoming common, this is definitely
passable. It is ridiculous for animal
lovers to wring hands and weep over
horrid euthanasia-managed control of
dogs and cats, and simultaneously
give/sell/adopt out fertile animals.
Shelters often cite expense as the reason
they can’t neuter before adoption,
yet fixing animals is generally cheaper
than killing them. It is a matter of
redirecting funds toward prevention,
e.g. sterilization, and away from
––Petra Murray
Howell, New Jersey

Bar horse killers
Please join the Humane Society
of New York in our efforts to ensure that
people responsible for the killing of horses
as part of insurance fraud schemes are not
allowed to participate in horse shows.
Many guilty parties have been convicted
and imprisoned, including multi-millionaire
George Lindemann, but the American
Horse Show Association has yet to permanently
ban Lindemann and others from
future participation. Rather, they have
been suspended, and no decision has been
made about the length of the suspensions.
The AHSA can bar from recognized
competitions and expel from membership
any persons who have participated
in any plan or conspiracy to commit an act
of cruelty or abuse to a horse. Since it
took the jury only six hours to convict
Lindemann, one must wonder why is taking
the AHSA so long to act accordingly. I
asked the AHSA, but have not received a
I believe the AHSA should send
a speedy message that this type of behavior
will not be tolerated.
Please write to Eric Strauss,
AHSA, 220 E. 42nd St., NYC 10017-
––Virginia Chipurnoi
The Humane Society of N.Y.
New York, New York

Mickey Mouse
Your beatification of Walt Disney is
naive. Disney has made billions of dollars off
of animals and the innate compassion of children,
without giving a cent back toward animal
protection. Are we to be grateful to
Disney for not glorifying the killers and
exploiters of animals, or for not merchandising
toy hunters and fur-farm coloring books?
Disney’s plan to capture elephants
in Africa for their Animal Kingdom was
thwarted by protests from animal rights
activists, not because some benevolent need
to save them had changed. And honestly, do
we need another zoo?
After this Disney tribute, I wouldn’t
be surprised if you puffed McDonald’s.
––Bill Dyer
Venice, California

Walt Disney Inc. has sold humane
ideas far more effectively, to more people,
than all advocacy groups combined. It might
be intelligent to learn from their success.
Our April 1994 issue reported that
McDonald’s had just become the first and still
only restaurant chain to sign a protocol with
Animal Rights International, setting stan –
dards for animal husbandry by their suppliers
which, though minimal, are a level above
legal requirements. Unfortunately, we under –
stand McDonald’s has to date failed to pro –
vide verification of enforcement.

In the doghouse

Eight winters ago, discouraged by the many
people who let their chained dogs suffer in the elements,
I started an ongoing list of addresses where I saw doghouses
without visible bedding, borrowed a truck,
bought straw from a farmer, and offered the straw for
free to those on the list, as well as to other places with
outdoor dogs that I saw along the way. I did this whether
or not the owner appeared able to afford it, as affording
the straw and caring about the dog are separate issues.
I’m still doing it. I’ve learned that I need to
include an instruction sheet with the straw, covering
how much to put into a doghouse, how to store the rest
of the bale in plastic to keep it dry, and a reminder to
add straw every week or so. I also remind people to put
out fresh water daily, change the direction that the house
faces if wind blows through the door, and to check their
dog’s collar, as growing a thick winter coat could make
a tight collar choke the dog.
I remind people that outdoor cats need a dry
box of straw, too.
By doing this around Christmas time, I find
just about everyone receptive.
Most people become better pet owners when
they see how happily their dogs take to straw beds, and
their dogs become better cared for.
Of course, if a dog lacks shelter, please call
your local humane agency. It is illegal to keep an animal
without shelter, and you can call anonymously.
––Jim Clark
Finksburg, Maryland

We erroneously stated in
a December review of Gary
Francione’s book Rain Without
Thunder that Animal Rights
America, a group he cofounded,
had “shattered in factional disputes
and vanished.” According to ARA
board member Anne Crimaudo,
nine of the original 14 board members
departed, but have been
replaced. “The unpleasantness with
Francione is behind us,” Crimaudo
wrote, “We have gone on to
become a conduit for connecting
individuals with groups and to connect
groups with one another.”
Larry Wallach, a cruelty
investigator for the Nassau County
SPCA on Long Island, was
misidentified as an employee of the
American SPCA in New York City
in a December 14 article by Johnny
Diaz of the Miami Herald; summarizing
the article in our
January/February “Animal Control”
section, we repeated the error.

Thanks for the December
issue of ANIMAL PEOPLE. I felt
first astonished and then angry to see
the budgets and the executive compensation
for many of the environmental
I feel so saddened by the
facts and figures while thinking
about all the troubles and economic
hardships Ignacio Agudo, myself,
and our families have endured for
pointing out an ecological crime.
The next one who tells me
that there is justice in life after
all…well, I better not think about it.
––Aldemaro Romero, Ph.D.
Department of Biology
Florida Atlantic University
Davie, Florida

Major animal and habitat
protection groups have been con –
spicuous by their failure to assist
Venezuelan ecologists and scholars
Aldemaro Romero and Ignacio
Agudo, who in February 1993
videotaped a fishing crew in the act
of killing a dolphin for bait. After
the video embarrassed Venezuela as
it worked to undo U.S. dolphin-safe
tuna import standards, Romero and
Agudo were charged with treason.
They and their families have been in
danger ever since. The Romeros
fled to Florida in February 1994.
They won residency, after much
hardship, in early 1996––while
sparing no effort to rescue the
Agudos, who remained in hiding.
In December 1994, Agudo’s father
shot himself from fear he might
betray the family’s location under
intense interrogation. In April 1995,
soon after giving birth to the
younger of two Agudo daughters,
Saida Agudo, 36, died because she
couldn’t get medication she needed
for a chronic heart condition. Alice
Dodge of Pet Search finally escorted
Ignacio Agudo out of Venezuela in
February 1996. The daughters and
their caretaker followed by another
route. ANIMAL PEOPLE assisted
both escapes, as did Jose Truda
Palazzo, Brazilian representative of
the International Wildlife Coalition,
who used his own resources. Truda
and family continue to host the
continues to help them, as under
Venezuelan pressure for extradition,
Brazil continues to delay granting
them resident status––even though
Ignacio Agudo has been recognized
as a bona fide political asylum
claimant by the United Nations High
Commission on Refugees.

My cats are sniffing
around my “cereal cupboard,”
which is not a cupboard for cereal in
the winter, when it becomes a
mouse cupboard. The cereal comes
out to the counter and an apple and
ear of field corn go into the former
cereal cupboard, where the mouse
or mice dine and poop happily until
spring. Of course the pantry
becomes a mouse parlor. They
respectfully dine on Oreos on the tile
floor and leave the rest of the staples
for the humans paying the heat bill.
All of these mouse accommodations,
of course, are occurring under the
noses of a dozen overfed cats, who
of course have a cat room and cat
perch and cat toys and cat…
––Donna Robb
Medina, Ohio

Help neuter
I noted with interest the number
of humane organizations listed in your
December edition with multi-million-dollar
budgets. Many own their own buildings.
This leads me to ask, why doesn’t each
one have a free neutering clinic, or at least
a mobile neutering clinic? Perhaps the
smaller organizations could pool their
money and buy a mobile unit. They could
park it in the same needy area every weekend,
all weekend, for as long as it takes to
administer free neutering and vaccinations
to every dog and cat in their area.
Advertising space on the sides of
the mobile units could be sold to sponsors.
I’m for free neutering and vaccination
with no qualifications, no questions
asked, and no donations requested, period.
––Sherry DeBoer
Alamo, California

Animal needs
I cancelled my donation to 11
organizations that I thought had unreasonable
salaries. In my letter to them, my last
statement read, “From now on I will contribute
to animal needs rather than human
salaries.” Thank you.
––Homer Hardin
Jamestown, North Carolina

Helping whom?
“Who gets the money?” in your
December issue was a shocking eye-opener.
Is this what they do with our donations––put
it toward their outrageous
salaries? Do these groups really help animals,
or just help themselves?
––D. Froelich Jr.
Sandy Hook, Connecticut

Two questions
Enclosed are two questions that I
ask of solicitors. If this became common
practice, perhaps high salaries and donor
name/address swapping could diminish,
adding to the effect of your publishing the
salaries and fundraising expenditures:
To soliciting organizations:
I have contributed in the past,
but am now reassessing future donations. I
wish to know:
1) Do you exchange donors’
names and addresses?
2) What is the highest salary and
the highest total (including expense reimbursement)
that you pay to any individual?
If I don’t receive a reply, I’ll
assume that my level of contribution is not
significant. ––Charles G. Santora
St. Petersburg, Florida

Seaquarium lacks waiver
USDA inspector Kristina Cox, whose beat included
the Miami Seaquarium, in her final report before leaving
the USDA last year said the orca Lolita’s tank is compliant
with the Animal Welfare Act standards only if the Miami
Seaquarium has a “valid waiver” of the AWA standards.
Responding to my Freedom of Information Act
request for a copy of any such “valid waiver,” I was told on
December 20, 1996 that “the only document in Miami
Seaquarium’s file concerning a variance” indicates that
“Miami Seaquarium was issued a variance in 1979. However,
it expired in 1984. Agency personnel have conducted a second
search, but have been unable to locate any variance in
Miami Seaquarium’s file.”
If there is no waiver/variance on file, then Lolita’s
tank does not meet minimum space standards.
Two questions leap to mind: Why is the USDA
ignoring Dr. Cox’s final report? Why are USDA/APHIS officials
continuing to cover up for the Miami Seaquarium’s
repeated violations of the Animal Welfare Act?
If the Miami Seaquarium staff are experts in dolphin
care and handling, as they claim they are, why haven’t they
noticed that the tank does not meet the AWA minimum space
requirements? It would seem that they are experts when it
suits their needs, but ignorant when ignorance is in their best
interest. I contend you cannot be an ignorant expert.
Lolita is held in the oldest, smallest orca tank in the
United States. USDA/APHIS knows her tank is too small,
but won’t enforce the AWA space regulations. The Miami
Seaquarium has promised Lolita a new tank for the last 20
years, and a year ago this month announced plans to start
immediate construction. Have they even broken ground?
Lolita deserves a good attorney, and a fair trial.
––Russ Rector
Dolphin Freedom Foundation
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

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