LETTERS [April 1998]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 1998:

Street dogs
Thank you for your articles
about Help In Suffering. I have always
believed that our program is part of a
much greater whole. India is the only
country in the world with such a large
number of vegetarians by choice, and
India still has the tradition of recognizing
the animal’s right to live, even if the animal
is sometimes a nuisance. E.g., yesterday
I was watching people feeding
flocks of pigeons, which were pooing
everywhere. Pigeons are considered
sacred here, but in Sydney, Australia,
my home town, they are poisoned.
Examples are many, and street
dogs are one of them. The street dogs are
definitely sometimes a nuisance, but generally
people respect their interests,
except where the people have become
modernized and westernized, and want
clean streets devoid of animals.

I think the world needs India as
a practical and living example of how
humans and animals can interact.
Without animals the human psyche is
deprived, just as it is deprived without
the trees and the forests. We must
arrange our lives differently so that we
can live side by side and in close proximity
with the animals, as is the case in village
India and in the towns. This is one
reason why we are trying very hard to
have a model program which we can promote
in many parts of India, so that we
win the big battle for the right of street
dogs to exist on the streets as they have
done, in the company of humans, for
thousands of years. The international animal
rights community could assist us in
getting this concept across to the decision-makers
in India.
––Christine Townend
Help In Suffering
Maharani Farm
Durgapura, Jaipur
Rajasthan 302018

We suspect the decision-makers
in India are already far more sympathetic
to live-and-let-live than many U.S. animal
rights organizations, including PETA,
whose founder, the ex-animal control
officer Ingrid Newkirk, long since
aligned herself with the notion of prevent –
ing animal suffering by killing the ani –
mals. This is another of many instances
we have observed where Indians imagine
more economically and technologically
developed societies to be more advanced
in compassion as well––an area in which
India has much more to teach us than the
other way around.

I read with great interest the
two issues that you sent me. One of them
detailed the issue of salaries taken by
executives of charitable organizations listed
in the Philanthropy 400. It was quite
surprising to see some of the
numbers––that opened my eyes!
––Narendra B. Sheth
Editor, Jiv Daya
9133 Mesa Woods Ave.
San Diego, CA 92126

Jiv Daya is a Jain animal pro –
tection publication.

Cosmic Return
I just went through the
December and January/February editions
of ANIMAL PEOPLE. My compliments
to Merritt––his wit adds to a very
readable style, and I am amazed at the
range of coverage, both issue-wise and
area-wise. What wonderful work both of
you are doing!
You may laugh at this, or at
least smile indulgently, but I have a very
firm conviction about the laws of Cosmic
Return. I believe help or service offered
unconditionally to those who have no
means of asking for it or of thanking the
giver is one of the highest forms of worship.
Swami Vivekanand said, “If you
get a chance to do something good, consider
it a grace.”
I have time and again felt profoundly
thankful to be given a chance to
do this work. Being almost without formal
education, married early and in a
very conservative joint family, I longed
to lead a more fruitful life, but had neither
the ability nor the scope until I read
about Debasis Chakrabarti in T h e
S t a t e s m a n (a leading Indian newspaper)
in 1992, and joined him. After that,
there has been no looking back. When I
read ANIMAL PEOPLE and the faxes
you send, I send up a prayer of thanksgiving
that there are people like you who
care, who dare, and who give so wholly
of themselves for gain one can neither
gauge nor fathom.
––Purnima Toolsidass
Compassionate Crusaders Trust
1/13A, Olai Chandi Road
Calcutta 700 037, India

Toolsidass also gently pointed
out that on page 15 of our January/
February edition, the alleged wit Merritt
mistakenly identified Ganesh, the Hindu
elephant god who can place or remove
obstacles, as Ganesha, a goddess.
Confusing the gender of elephants is of
course not often or easily done, and
under certain circumstances could prove
painful as well as embarrassing.


Perhaps if you discuss the
relocation of Animal Rights Mobilization
to Sacramento again, you could
make some distinction between the two
ARM!s. Although Animal Rights
Mobilization!–Chicago doesn’t even
pretend to be a national organization,
we have members in many states, as
well as many members in the Chicago
area, and we’ve been around, first as
Trans-Species Unlimited’s Chicago
office, then as ARM!–Chicago while
the Denver ARM!, now moving, was
still the Rocky Mountain Humane
Society. ––Kay Sievers
Chicago, Illinois

TSU founders George Cave
and Dana Stuchell turned the national
organization, renamed ARM!, over to
Rocky Mountain Humane Society
founder Robin Duxbury in 1991, after
spinning off the ARM! Chicago office as
a separate entity. Duxbury dissolved
RMHS to take on ARM!, which she has
now handed to longtime volunteer
Carla Fechter. Fechter is movng the
national office to Sacramento. Duxbury
continues to head Project Equus, origi –
nally an activity of ARM!, now an inde –
pendent organization, still based in
Denver. ARM!-Chicago of course
remains in Chicago.


Fathers & beasts
You helped me a great deal with
When Elephants Weep, and inspired me
for the next book, Dogs Never Lie
About Love (which spent seven weeks
on the New York Times Bestseller list!).
I am very grateful, and love getting
ANIMAL PEOPLE. I am hoping you
can help me with my next book, for
Pocket Books, about fatherhood in the
animal world. I am hoping some of
your people will have relevant stories or
advice about the fatherhood book.
Please contact me at >>jff@jeffreymasson.com<<.
––Jeffrey Mousaieff Masson
Berkeley, California



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