LETTERS [April 1997]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 1997:

Native tradition
When we go into the sweatlodge,
during prayers, and upon
leaving the sweatlodge, we are
taught to say, “Hou Mi Takuye
Oyacin,” which means, “All our
relations.” With these words we
honor and bless all living things.
How then can people go
out and murder and eat innocent animals
who are our brothers and sisters?
I view this as cannibalism.
When people wear animal and bird
body parts and feathers, for whatever
reason, that is wrong. If animals
could speak, I am sure they would
ask to live and be free. Yet killing
animals continues, with people trying
to justify it by claiming it is done
“in the proper way,” with “respect,”
and that tradition and culture must be
carried on.

Traditions have changed
and must be changed if at any time
we are doing something wrong. At
one time some people believed it was
right to sacrifice humans––until
someone else had the courage to
speak up and change that tradition.
Not too long ago, a white
buffalo calf was born, a sign that
Indian people had long awaited.
Many people went to honor this
sacred animal, who symbolized a
new era of peace and harmony for
Mother Earth and all those who dwell
upon her. But the birth of the white
buffalo calf did not mean this could
all happen without our help. We
must get busy and help bring this
about by becoming caretakers of this
planet, and each become an example
of showing love and empathy toward
all living things, helping to support
those who are already taking the lead.
We need to become sensitive as children
who are naturally repelled by
negative energies. It’s time for a
––Red Bear and Friends
Red Bear Plant & Animal Sanctuary
Bandon, Oregon

Henry Spira
The incomparable Henry
Spira has done it again! His handbook
Strategies for Activists,
reviewed in your March edition, is
yet another in a long list of successful
campaigns, different only in its
intended target: the initiated, rather
than the adversary. Even lifelong
activists can find much to emulate
and admire in Spira’s blueprint for
continual, unceasing, progressive
This inspired effort to energize
and empower grassroots individuals
and encumbered entities alike is
a selfless gift, to be embraced and
cherished. The likes of Henry Spira
rarely grace this earth.
––Sherry L. Schleuter
Broward County, Florida

Eating pets
I feel the ad promoting
“eating your pets” by the Coalition
for Nonviolent Food is inappropriate
and sends out the wrong message. It
is upsetting to see this in each issue.
––Cindy McCoy
Newport, New York

Coalition for Nonviolent
Food founder Henry Spira became a
vegetarian many years ago upon
realizing the kinship of his beloved
cat and the animal in a hamburger.
The ad, inspired by that recognition,
has been reprinted in periodicals as a
news item and posted on bulletin
boards around the world, and may
be the most popular anti-meat statement
ever, causing millions of people
to rethink meat-eating .

Wild horses
For a year I encouraged
Associated Press Albuquerque
Bureau reporter Martha Mendoza to
tackle the plight of wild horses on
the range as a story idea. The fierce
competition of all wild animals for
forage and water was especially
acute during 1996. In my opinion,
story “The wild horse story no one
wants to hear” represents a balanced
look at a difficult and highly emotional
story. Ms. Mendoza chose a
different spin.
––Tanna (Beebe) Chattin
Chief, Office of External Affairs
Bureau of Land Management
Santa Fe, New Mexico

More wild horses
Thank you for your great
article on the wild horses. You and
the Animal Protection Institute are
doing excellent work on all these
––Camille Frost
Oxnard, California

Early fixing
Re Sam McClintock’s
January/February letter advising
mandatory neutering to 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
possible. Shelters often cite
cost 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 killing.
––Petra Murray
Howell, New Jersey


Thank you for your March
1997 editorial. The first section, re
animal and human response to
housefires, will be distributed to
animal and disaster exchange advisors.
We will be increasing interaction
with emergency service personnel
over the next three months in our
public safety center.
––Cecily Westerman
AOL Public Safety Center
St. Louis, Missouri

Fur poll and political strategy

In mid-February, newspapers all over North
America printed polling results distributed by the Gannett
News Service under the caption “I’m okay, your fur’s okay.”
The article, taken almost verbatim from a fur industry press
release, indicated that only 11% of those questioned oppose
wearing fur. A whopping 86% appeared to support fur. The
fur industry now cites the coverage to claim, “Fur is back.”
The pollster’s question was, “Should people be free
to choose to wear fur?” Fifty-six percent of respondents
strongly agreed; 30% moderately agreed; 5% moderately disagreed;
6% strongly disagreed; and 3% didn’t know.
The question parroted fur industry marketing slogans.
Trying to prop up sagging sales, and sidestep the questions
of cruelty to animals and environmental damage, furriers
have strategically positioned fur as a “rights” issue. In the tradition
of the cigarette marketing slogan “You’ve come a long
way, baby,” the fur industry now tries to portray fur as something
a woman works hard for, and that nobody should tamper
with her right to wear.
There is an underlying political savvy in the fur
industry use of the phrase “free to choose.” Other surveys on
attitudes toward fur find nearly opposite results from this one,
with opposition strongest among educated middle and upper
income women, the very consumer group that furriers most
covet. This group also leans toward the “pro-choice” side of
the abortion debate––so, as outlined in fur trade publications,
furriers hope to revive their business by posing fur as a prochoice
issue. Similarly, in Europe, where Native Americans
are most romanticized, they try to defend leghold trapping by
portraying fur as a Native product, though more than 95% of
all furbearer pelts are either trapped or ranched by Caucasians.
Such ploys are having some success.
But why would a supposedly reputable pollster use a
manipulative marketing phrase in a public opinion survey?
The name of the polling firm, Responsive
Management Inc., is the warning sign. The Gannett use of
polling data from an opinion management company, as
opposed to an opinion research company like Gallup, suggests
that the editors are unaware of the machinations of the wise use
movement, if not just biased. But the man who actually is
Responsive Management, Mark Damian Duda, should be recognized.
Duda has a long history of doing public relations for
consumptive use groups, including affiliations with pro-trapping
and pro-hunting groups, and in particular has a history of
fronting polls that support their views. Duda was even a consultant
for a hunters’ tutorial on how to debate critics of hunting.
Accordingly, Duda is a tainted source for data on actual
public attitudes, as opposed to attitudes as he seeks to reinvent
Why didn’t Gannett filter out a poll so obviously
stacked to yield a predetermined outcome? Would Gannett
take seriously a pollster who fronted for animal rights groups,
whose polls asked, “Should animals be painfully murdered by
drowning, freezing, or anal electrocution, simply for vanity?”
Probably not.
The problem appears to be systemic with Gannett:
their “Snapshot” poll department invites any comers to submit
their surveys. Apparently Gannett doesn’t check their credibility
or affiliations when selecting the survey data to publish.
––Pat Fish
Computer Professionals for Earth & Animals
Utica, New York


Fur Free Friday
The number of arrests at last year’s multi-site Fur
Free Friday demonstrations was among the highest ever, yet
print coverage fell to the lowest level since Fur Free Friday
began in 1986, according to my findings in a survey of major
newspapers in the ten largest U.S. metropolitan areas. In 1996,
only three of the ten papers mentioned the protests, and the
most space given to it by any one paper was a mere 100 words.
The animal rights movment continues to use protest
in observing Fur Free Friday despite diminishing and increasingly
negative results. Unlike in the 1980s, much recent coverage
has focused on individual activists and the legal status of
their actions, rather than upon the animal exploitation their
actions are intended to expose. Yet there are many non-protest
alternatives for observing Fur Free Friday, including commentaries
and letters-to-the-editor, tabling and leafleting, press
conferences featuring designers and celebrities, etc.
The public mood, and tolerance of social protest,
constantly shifs. What works in one place and time may be
counterproductive in another. Judicious use must be made of
any tactic, and of civil disobedience in particular: failure to do
so can have dire consequences. Inappropriate protest is a waste
of time and resources, can marginalize and trivilize activism,
and contribute to a loss of public support.
The animal rights movement would be well advised
to develop criteria for the use of protest and civil disobedience.
And the quantity and quality of media coverage should be monitored
and changes in strategy made accordingly.
––Dena M. Jones
Sacramento, California

As an animal activist, I am
proud to be part of a very effective
and dedicated movement. I took a
month off to fight the destruction of
the less-than-4% of the majestic
ancient redwoods on the Californa
coast. The awe-inspiring beauty and
sense of history I felt walking among
these two-thousand-year-old trees
defies explanation. Most of what
remains in private hands is held by
Pacific Lumber, which attempted
sustainable logging until 1985, when
it was taken over by Charles
Hurwitz’s MAXXAM. Hurwitz looted
$1.6 billion from a Texas savingsand-loan
to secure financing for the
takeover, which the taxpayers ultimately
paid for when they bailed out
the savings-and-loan.
The small group of dedicated,
caring people working to save
the remaining giant redwoods need
our dynamic help. It is related to our
animal work, since any time you
save a forest, you are saving many
animals and their future generations.
In addition to other wildlife, the redwood
forest is a critical habitat for
several endangered species. One is
the marbled murrelet.
The coho salmon also
clearly qualifies for federal protection
under the Endangered Species Act.
The delay in listing is clearly political.
Five to 10% of California’s
remaining wild coho salmon spawn
in Headwaters forest streams.
Please ask your readers to
write to Bruce Halstead, U.S. Fish &
Wildlife Service, 1125 16th St.,
Room 209, Arcata, CA 95521-
5582, to insist that he enforce the
ESA, to list the coho salmon and to
protect the nesting habitat of the marbled
Also please ask them to
write to their Senators and members
of the House of Representatives,
demanding a debt-for-nature swap,
trading Hurwitz’s savings-and-loan
debt for the Headwaters forest. For
further information, contact EPIC,
POB 397, Garberville, CA 95542;
––Heidi Silva
Pinole, California

What Mickey Mouse does for animals

A letter in the March edition of ANIMAL
PEOPLE inquired about the environmental
and wildlife conservation efforts of
Walt Disney World. A wildlife conservation
ethic is deeply rooted in Disney’s corporate
history and culture. From many of Walt
Disney’s visionary concepts to the diversity of
programs in place at Walt Disney World today,
the company has embrased wildlife conservation
as a cornerstone of its development.
Over one quarter of the Walt Disney
World resort property is committed to wildlife
preservation. This natural scrub and wetland
habitat continues to provide homes for species
from bald eagles and ospreys to gopher tortoises
and whitetailed deer.
As the resort grew, two facilities
were added which focused on animals and
conservation: Discovery Island and the Living
Seas. Both are accredited members of the
American Zoo and Aquarium Association.
Both place a high priority on science and conservation
education, and both partner with
other organizations to rescue, rehabilitate,
and return injured native wildlife to the wild.
Walt Disney World has also entered
the global conservation arena with its
Conservation Awards Program. Over the past
two years more than $2 million have been
awarded to support 62 wildlife conservation
programs in 29 nations throughout the world.
Established with the guidance of world
renowned zoologists and conservation biologists,
the Disney Conservation Awards
Program serves to promote wildlife conservation
organizations worldwide by supporting
qualified scientists, educators, and organizations
committed to preserving biodiversity.
Projects funded range from the International
Rhino Foundation development of a breeding
center for endangered Sumatran rhinos in
Indonesia, to providing a visitor education
center for the Jane Goodall Institute at Gombe
National Park in Tanzania––and from providing
nest boxes for the prosimian lemurs at
Duke University, via the American SPCA, to
vaccinating domestic dogs in Africa to prevent
the spread of distemper, via the World Society
for the Protection of Animals.
The awards program has also supported
conservation and animal welfare organizations
locally, including the Orlando
Humane Society, the Save the Manatee Club,
and the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of
Central Florida.
Walt Disney World has retained an
emphasis on responsible and environmentally
sound development. In 1992, Walt Disney
World expanded Central Florida’s conservation
acreage with the establishment of the
8,500-acre Disney Wilderness Preserve. As a
result of a landmark partnership among government,
environmental organizations, and
the private sector, Disney gave the land to one
of the nation’s most respected conservation
organizations, the Nature Conservancy, to
manage and restore to its original wetland
habitat. In exchange, Disney was able to
develop additional areas on the Walt Disney
World Resort property.
The company has committed more
than $45 million over the next several years to
fund the land purchase and restoration. In
addition, the company will fund an environmental
education center on the property.
Managed as an intact ecosystem, the Disney
Wilderness Preserve is home to one of the
country’s largest concentrations of bald eagles,
and provides habitat for sandhill cranes,
woodstorks, and crested caracaras.
The Walt Disney Company
embraces a policy of Environmentality, which
means integrating the company’s business
needs with environmental values. The
Environmentality program is devided into five
components: habitat conservation; resource
conservation; waste minimization; education
and awareness; and research. The elements
combine to form a comprehensive program of
which both our employees and guests are part.
Since 1941 and continuing through
1996, the Walt Disney Company has wonawards
and recognition from many conservation
and animal welfare organizations, including
the National Audubon Society, the
National Wildlife Federation, the Sierra Club,
the U.S. Department of the Interior, the
American Humane Association, the Izaak
Walton League of America, the Los Angeles
SPCA, the American SPCA, the Humane
Society of the U.S., the USDA, and the
Florida Department of Environmental
Regulation, among others, for commitment to
animals and the environment.
Walt Disney World’s conservation
efforts will continue to expand with the opening
of Disney’s Animal Kingdom in 1998. An
advisory committee selected from the nation’s
leading zoologists and conservationists is contributing
its world-class expertise to the design
and development of Disney’s Animal
Kingdom and the company’s conservation programs.
combined with the expertise of an animal
care and research staff selected from a
nationwide search, Walt Disney World is
uniquely positioned to continue its significant
contributions to wildlife and conservation.
––Jane Adams
Government Relations & External Affairs
Walt Disney World Co.
Lake Buena Vista, Florida

In a March article about
the National Charities Information
Bureau giving negative reports on
various charities, ANIMAL PEOPLE
stated that, “Both Project Cure
and the Cancer Fund,” two charities
getting negative reviews, “have
been recommended at least since
1990 in lists of acceptable biomedical
research charities published by
the Physicians Committee for
Responsible Medicine, American
Anti-Vivisection Society, and
National Anti-Vivisection Society.”
This is definitely not the
case for the American AntiVivisection
Society. The two charities
mentioned in the article were
removed from our listing as soon as
we became aware of their negative
status. Our 1996 listing, which has
been available for over a year, does
not include these charities, and our
1997 listing, which is about to be
printed, will not include them either.
––Dean Smith
Outreach Director
American Anti-Vivisection Society
Jenkintown, Pennsylvania
Unfortunately, some
activists are still distributing the
older recommendations in undated
form, attributed to AAVS and the
other groups, on the Internet and
World Wide Web.

We received your high
quality magazines, which give us
great support. Unfortunately, at
present in Hungary, there is no magazine
for the prevention of cruelty to
––Violetta Kovacs
Assn. of Hungarian Journalists for
the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Budapest, Hungary


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