LETTERS [May 1998]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1998:

Your articles on the treatment
of animals in India are especially interesting
to me, since I met Maneka Gandhi in
July, 1995 when she was in Chicago to
address a Jain convention. She took 20
vegetarian activists to dinner at a local
vegetarian restaurant, and told us about
the opening of American fast-food franchises
in India, which were and are trying
hard to convince Indians that eating
meat is the “modern” way to eat. Buyers
roam the country offering people money
for their cows. The people, as everywhere,
are shortsighted enough to take
the immediate cash in exchange for their
cows. To a person in rural India, cows
are their life. They drink the milk, and
use the dung for fuel. With no cow, they
have no way to cook, and indeed often
have little to cook.

You mentioned how laws
against cow slaughter are circumvented
there. Slaughterhouses open in poor rural
areas where officials are tempted by
quick money. But India has severly limited
water in those areas. Around one of
the biggest slaughterhouses, Maneka told
us, most of the available water is used to
process the dead animals. Water is turned
on at the village taps for only half an hour
a day at 11:30 am. Women begin lining
up at 2 am for their turn at the taps. If
they are late, they have no water for their
family that day. If they do get water,
they must choose between using their
limited supply for cooking or washing.
Children going to the temple school located
next to the slaughterhouse must run to
and from school to avoid the vultures that
gather there to feast on the wastes of the
slaughtered and carry away pieces of
flesh and offal, spattering the area with
blood. When the slaughterhouse has
ruined the area with its wastes and has
depleted the water supply, it will simply
move on to another region.
Maneka is quite an activist, full
of energy and vision. Her status in India
has allowed her to work more productively
than most individuals there. Whenever
people accuse animal rights activists of
being effete products of a wealthy society,
and disparage animal issues as unimportant
or irrelevant in the face of the
overwhelming needs of the Third World,
I tell them about India and Maneka.
––Kay Sievers
Animal Rights Mobilization–Chicago
Chicago, Illinois

Your April edition was wonderful,
especially the ongoing coverage of
India. I took it to the laundromat, where
Henry Spira’s review of Gail Eisnitz’s
book Slaughterhouse converted the clerk.
It seems it is impossible to act
with ahimsa in this world. Once, 20
years ago, I was criticizing the Jains re
the masks that some of them wear to
avoid inhaling bugs, and immediately
God sent a fruitfly up my nose.
––Saiom Nellie Shriver
Akron, Ohio

Peggy Larson
As an all-volunteer rescue
group in rural Vermont, with simple
but ongoing basic needs, we are often
quite short of financial resources. As
result of information we read in A N IMAL
PEOPLE, we were recently able
to enlist the skilled help of Peggy
Larson, DVM, who came to the rescue
of a cat in our care who was severely
dehydrated and in dire need of surgery.
We would like to publically thank you,
and thank Peggy Larson for her compassion
on behalf of all animals. The
cat has made a dramatic recovery.
––Lisa Haynes
Save Our Strays
Burlington, Vermont

Foie gras
Foie gras, the French term for
“fatty liver,” is made by force-feeding
ducks through tubes thrust down their
throats. Over several weeks, this
enlarges the ducks’ livers to many times
the normal size.
New York State Department of
Environmental Conservation wildlife
pathologist Ward Stone, who has necropsied
such force-fed ducks, is only one of
many authorities who believes foie gras
production is “something civilized society
should not be doing.”
Germany has outlawed foie gras
production. Poland’s ban begins next
year. France, Israel, and the U.S.,
where foie gras operations are concentrated
in Sullivan County, New York, are
among the few countries in the world
which still have foie gras farms.
U.S. Representative Carolyn
Maloney (D-N.Y.) says that, “New York
state should take a strong stand against
this brutal practice.” At least 11 New
York state legislators have sponsored bills
to outlaw foie gras production, but their
efforts have died in the state senate agriculture
committee, chaired by John Kuhl
(Room 310, Legislative Office Bldg.,
Albany, NY 12247).
Claiming to print “all the news
that is fit to print,” The New York Times
has ignored all the above. Instead, it routinely
publishes puff pieces on foie gras
that amount to free advertising. On
November 26, 1997, for example,
reporter Ruth Reichl likened eating f o i e
g r a s to sexual ecstacy. Of making f o i e
g r a s, Reichl wrote only that it “is not
pretty. Let’s leave it at that.”
Several weeks ago I asked Bill
Keller, managing editor of The New York
T i m e s, to publish detailed coverage of
why foie gras production is opposed by
virtually every organization concerned
with animal protection. To date, I have
had no reply. Others may address Keller
at The Times, 229 West 43rd St., New
York, NY 10036-3959.
––Joel Freedman
Canandaigua, New York

Your March 1998 article about
the impact of this winter’s ice storm on
animals showcased a lot of great rescues.
But there is another story no one wants to
acknowledge. As soon as I heard of the
devastation, I as co-president of
Whiskers, an all-volunteer no-kill shelter
in Albany, New York, personally contacted
state agencies and the Federal
Emergency Management Agency, who
agreed that animals might need help, but
had no idea what to do. I also called the
American Red Cross and the Salvation
Army, and any other disaster rescue
organizations I could find. Most never
returned my calls. Those that did had no
interest in helping animals. The Humane
Society of the U.S. told me that so far as
they knew, no one needed help.
I then called individual shelters.
None had contact with other shelters, and
no one was helping them do much of anything.
We sent food and medical supplies
to several shelters, but it was clear that
much more help was needed. Yet, not
knowing where to go and who to talk to,
there wasn’t anything else we could do.
We have vowed that we will
never be put in that position again. We
are contacting every other shelter in New
York state, as well as in western
Massachusetts and Vermont, to set up a
resource network and a telephone tree so
that organizations who need help have
someone to contact to spread the word.
We would love to hear from
individuals and organizations who would
like to be listed in our data base, or from
anyone who has done anything like this,
and can share some ideas.
––Sue Mahar
Whiskers Benevolent League
POB 11190, Albany, NY 12211
518-448-9565 or >>qcats@albany.net<<


As animal control officer in Gunnison,
Colorado, I handle humane law enforcement, public
education, and shelter management. In 1996
and 1997, more than 90% of the dogs we received
were returned to their owners. Last year, my 11th,
I euthanized eight dogs, and adopted out nine.
I’m a bit confused on this no-kill shelter
issue, and hope you can answer my concerns. Yes,
neutering is important. But what about people who
bring animals into shelters because they are moving
and don’t want to take pets, or for behavioral reasons,
or because of problems with a landlord?
It’s not just pet overpopulation we’re
talking about. It’s getting people to keep their pets
throughout the pet’s lifetime, 10-15 or more years.
––Trish Winslow
Neighborhood Services Officer
Gunnison, Colorado
If you do enough low-cost and outright free
neutering to eliminate unplanned dog and cat
births, shelter-surrendered pets gain value––as in
many locales where after years of aggressive neu –
tering, the major shelters now import adoptable
animals from animal control shelters in outlying
areas to keep up with adoption demand.
It is also essential to provide support services
such as obedience training, counseling, fostering,
and a list of pet-friendly landlords to help keep pets
in homes. In addition to all these services, the San
Francisco SPCA has had a rental insurance pro –
gram for pet owners for about 10 years now,
whereby the shelter guarantees the cost of repairs if
the pets of participating people harm accommoda –
tions on the local pet-friendly list. That gives land –
lords an incentive to participate––as does the
demographic verity that pet owners move less often.



As you reported in your April edition,
“the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish
Commission gave nothing to the effort” to rescue
from canned hunts the four survivors among seven
Texas cougars who were used in Florida panther
habitat evaluation in 1993-1994.
However, the 1997 Florida state budget
appropriated $50,000 from the Florida Panther
Research and Management Trust to reimburse
expenses incurred in recovering, housing, and
maintaining the cougars. Approved by the Florida
legislature in April 1997, the appropriation was
ratified by the governor in June 1997. We have
since requested and received reimbursements in the
amount of $45,622, covering our costs to date for
the recovery, loan repayment, construction costs
for free-roaming sanctuary for the cougars, and
their care and maintenance through June 30, 1998.
The balance and funds contributed by
individuals go into a special escrow account, used
only for the care and maintenance of the cougars.
As of today, we still have heard nothing
from either the National Wildlife Federation or the
National Parks and Conservation Association, both
of which recently solicited funds on the pretext of
helping Florida panthers, but have not been visibly
part of the Florida Panther Recovery Program.
––Sumner D. Matthes
Sarasota In Defense of Animals
POB 15653
Sarasota, FL 34277


NWF & panthers
I read with interest your April article
about the National Wildlife Federation and Florida
panthers. Although I do not work for NWF and
cannot explain why NWF did not respond to
Sumner Matthes’ simple inquiry, I can report that
a significant portion of my program expenses are
underwritten by the NWF Everglades Project
Office and the majority of my efforts are wrestling
habitat (often Priority I and II) from developers,
agricultural enterprises, mining interests, and
“don’t get it” county commissioners.
Besides advocacy, through Florida
Wildlife I am coordinating five legal/administrative
actions which have serious implications for
Florida panthers and their habitat. In one instance,
Florida Wildlife bought property in the path of a
proposed road into Picayune Strand State Forest to
guarantee standing.
––Nancy Anne Payton
Southwest Florida Field Representative
Florida Wildlife Federation
Naples, Florida

Campus crusaders
We have just completed a five-week
speaking tour of west coast universities. Our
tour seemed to be amazingly effective, and we
hope at least one of the major national animal
protection organizations might be willing to
consider doing such touring nationwide, on an
ongoing basis. Simply put, I believe touring
and tabling at universities is the most important
activity I have personally seen in my nine
years of involvement in animal rights work.
The flagging nature of the movement
at this time, I believe, is directly due to
the absence of any major organized presence
on college campuses. New activists are not
being cultivated and the animal rights message
is rarely getting out, even though students are
hungrier than ever for this kind of information.
A case in point is that the clear
majority of young activists in the U.S. are
emerging not from college environments, but
from the working class Straight Edge movement,
which has been enormously more energetic
in getting the animal rights message out.
What needs to happen, to my mind,
is that the animal rights movement needs to
market its ideas incessantly to college-age
young adults. An ideal model may be the
Campus Crusade for Christ, omnipresent on
most college campuses, which probably
brings more young adults to Christianity than
any other vehicle.
The animal rights movement and the
CCC have entirely different messages, but I
believe the CCC methods are extremely effective
and worth considering. Essentially, I
believe this movement is dead in the water if
we don’t have nationals tabling, campaigning,
speaking, and setting up organizations yearround
at universities.
––Joe Haptas
The Margaret Kyros Foundation for Animals
and Northwest Animal Rights Network
Seattle, Washington

Back when the animal rights move –
ment really was a movement, not yet co-opted
at the national leadership level by self-aggran –
dizing hucksters, campus activism was at the
heart of the recruiting strategy. However, as
the so-called national leaders became more
focused on fundraising than upon achieve –
ment, they realized that student activists usu –
ally don’t begin to give significant cash until
after they pay off educational loans and obtain
steady jobs––and then often raise a family
before directing really big bucks to charity,
whereas older people without children at home
can be tapped heavily, right now, for both
immediate contributions and lucrative
bequests. Accordingly, the national groups
largely stopped recruiting and started milking.
Activists who individually or in groups contin –
ued youth recruitment into the 1990s have not
received essential financial support and have
largely disbanded or given up, demoralized.

I am a fundraiser. I find that many
people make remarks out of ignorance about
well-paid fundraisers, who may not only raise
large sums of money, but also doing it efficiently.
Fundraising efficiently, wisely, and
effectively are aspects of charity management
not always evident to donors, as it’s often not
immediately clear who’s effective and who’s
simply glamorous. Yet fundraisers create the
engines which establish for the long term the
agencies that benefit animals.
There are, of course, zillions of
inefficient bureaucrats, executive directors,
board and committee members, meetinggoers,
etc., and we do all have to watch out
for the execessively bureaucratic types who
merely look as if they are effective, sound
effective, and so forth, without actually saving
or improving many animals’ lives.
I am so glad to have discovered your
newspaper––handed to me by my veterinarian.
––Paul Kearney
New York, New York

Thanks for printing my letter in
your April edition, but there was a typo in
my e-mail address. It should be:
I am still looking for stories about
fatherhood in the animal world.
I loved your piece on Bruno
Bettelheim. I had no idea about the son.
The father I knew. Slime. The expose book
on Bettelheim by Richard Pollock is terrific.
––Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
Berkeley, California

More B.S. in bullrings than “moments of truth”

A new Spanish bullfighting season
is about to begin, and we are concerned that
many American visitors to Spain may feel
inclined to attend a bullfight, having been
told it is a matter of folkloric tradition, or
artistry, or just desiring to see personally a
Roman circus, in which men, horses, and
bulls fight for their lives. When such visitors
see the poor horse falling to the ground, horribly
injured, and the bull covered in blood,
being stabbed again and again, many leave
the ring crying and vomiting. Spanish spectators
laugh at them as being too sensitive or
weak, but they have already paid for their
quite expensive ticket, and next Sunday new
busloads of tourists will take their places.
Bullfighting promoters are quite
worried that Spaniards follow the spectacle
less and less, and young people not at all.
Therefore bullfighting is pushed to tourists,
without whom it would die.
Bullfighting is not a cultural or
artistic spectacle. It is breeding a beautiful
and tame animal just to torture and kill him. It
may look from the seats as if the bull is fierce
and powerful, trying to defend his life and
take that of his killer, but an attentive watcher
can see that the bull only wants to escape, and
is constantly looking for a way out.
To make sure there is no real fight,
bulls are weakened not only with lances and
darts, but also with cape manipulations causing
them to twist their heads in a manner that
increases the pain from the wounds and accelerates
the flow of blood. Before the show,
bulls’ horns are generally filed to the nerves
so that the animals lose their sense of distance
and hurt themselves if their horns touch anything.
It is usual to administer drugs with
bulls’ water so that they develop diarrhea, or
to drug them by injection. Vaseline is put in
their eyes to blur their vision, and if a bull
looks aggressive, sandbags will be dropped
on his kidneys before a fight. If a bull looks
too tame, needles are introduced into his
body, sometimes in his testicles or anus.
Other such horrid methods are applied to the
horses, who once they have been attacked by
a bull typically refuse to enter the ring.
Bullfighting is still a very profitable
business, mostly for the bull breeders, who
are subsidized by the Spanish government
and––as cattle producers––by the European
Union. It is quite infuriating that Europeans’
tax money is used to keep alive a spectacle
that most Europeans hate.
Even most Spaniards abhor bullfighting
and feel ashamed that it continues.
Polls indicate that no more than 14% admit to
being fans, and these are usually over age 50.
About 40% are indifferent, while the rest
have never been to a bullring and don’t plan to
go. Television ratings show similar patterns.
Bullfights are shown on TV almost every day,
always on children’s time as part of the promotional
campaign, but the ratings show the
audience still consists mainly of men over 60.
The bullfighting lobby is the most
powerful in Spain, formed by bankers, aristocrats,
and media tycoons, whose influence
inhibits politicians and media. Our Queen is
one of the few important people who has
refused to attend bullfights, but she is very
careful not to get involved in public debate.
Please be very careful in planning
your vacation to Spain, and refuse to pay for
any bullfight tickets––and tell your tour operator
why you won’t buy them.
––M. Sanz de Galdeano
Asociacion Nacional Para
La Defensa De Los Animales
C/Tudescos, 4.4 Ext. Izda
28004 Madrid, Spain

The above descriptions of bullfight –
ers’ prefight cruelty seem well supported by
media coverage in both Spain and Mexico.
Reported Ricardo Castillo Mireles on
February 21 in the Mexico City News, “For
35 years Monumental Plaza Mexico veterinar –
ian Javier Garcia de la Pena has consistently
said that bulls are of age, and that their horns
were not tampered with. New authorities at
the Benito Juarez District, headed by Ricardo
Pascoe, ordered that the horns, jaws, and
hooves be removed from the bullring and ana –
lyzed at the National Autonomous University
of Mexico Veterinary School, at their Institute
of Morphology. Their first report differs
totally from what Dr. Garcia de la Pena had
diagnosed. The UNAM study says, among
other things, that the horns of the Santa Fe
del Campo bulls were tampered with, and one
of the bulls was not even three years old. By
law, bulls killed during a formal corrida must
be over four years of age.”
Garcia de la Pena resigned, but
according to Mireles, “His resignation was
not accepted.” Instead, he was to continue
certifying bulls through the March 15 end of
the local bullfighting season.

The Almanor Humane Society is
closing. It has been 10 long years of fulltime
volunteer work for the two of us. We live in a
rural mountain community and have had little
luck finding reliable volunteers. We have
helped to neuter almost 1,000 dogs and cats,
offered a senior program, educational programs,
low-cost rabies vaccination clinics,
and much more, all on a shoestring. We even
became state humane officers and put out a
newsletter. But we are really tired and want to
spend time with our families. It’s a huge decision,
but one we feel is right.
Thanks for caring and for all that
you do. Our Senior program was developed
from an article you published, many of the
books we bought for our county library were
ones you reviewed, our traps were bought
from an ANIMAL PEOPLE advertiser, and
much inspiration to go on came from letters
you published.

––Marci Van Ausdall
Quincy, California

Visakha SPCA
I am extremely glad for receiving
ANIMAL PEOPLE. It is very informative
and frank, and obviously is of immense help
to societies for animal welfare who need assistance
in any possible way.
I am also happy that you have taken
the trouble of publishing news of India. In this
regard, I would have been happy if you could
have visited our beautiful, picturesque, and
natural place, which is now one of India’s
fastest growing cities. I could have shown you
how we protect and conserve sea turtles and
dolphins. I am enclosing copies of photographs,
newspaper clippings, etc., to document
also our project to construct a hospital
for animals in distress, our program for sterilization
and immunization of stray dogs, and
our shelter for stray cattle.
can you tell me from which period I should
subscribe? I shall be grateful for more of your
paper, but I do not know for how long you can
provide it to us free.
––Pradeep Kumar Nath
Secretary, Visakha SPCA
26-15-200, Main Road
Visakhapatnam 530 001, India

ANIMAL PEOPLE from inception
has sent a free subscription to each nonprofit
humane society and animal shelter, world –
wide, for which we have an address, as for
many of those most in need of information, the
choice would otherwise be between paying for
a subscription and saving the life of an animal.
Only small portions of the cost of providing
free subscriptions, sent also to all interested
schools, libraries, and fellow media, have
ever been covered by grants and specific
donations. We are grateful to the many caring
individuals who add a few dollars to their own
renewals to help keep ANIMAL PEOPLE
going wherever we’re needed.

British wise-users
As you reported in April, the
Countryside Alliance, in organizing the
recent Countryside March on London, drew
support from thousands of disaffected countrysiders
who had complaints about issues
completely unrelated to hunting. I have spoken
to some who attended who were unaware
that pro-hunters assembled the event.
Since the march, pro-hunters may
have discovered they have awakened the
Kraken. After almost two decades of countryside
destruction under the Conservative
government, country people are suddenly
lobbying for all sorts of country causes, and
hunting has been marginalized.
A small example of this came when
the BBC recently broadcast a two-hour special
report on country issues. Hunting was
not among them.
A rather bigger example is a surprising
shakeup within the Countryside
Alliance. They have a new chief executive,
Edward Duke, who it is said will continue to
campaign in support of field sports and “in
opposition to a statutory right to roam and
greenfield development.” Mr. Duke was
chief executive of Beauford Pic, whose web
site shows him at the “official opening for a
purpose-built £2 million factory on a greenfield
site in Northern Ireland.” The company
has also invested “in a new greenfield factory
in Winchester, Kentucky.”
Apart from a new chief executive,
however, the Countryside Alliance is fielding
a completely new board. They will
include a former London Times e d i t o r ,
Charlie Wilson, who worked with Rupert
Murdoch at News International; former
heroin addict turned to lotteries Tory peer
Lord Mancroft; Lord Nickson, who chaired
Scottish and Newcastle Breweries; John
Jackson, who chaired bookmakers
Ladbrokes; and former G u a r d i a n j o u r n a l i s t
Carolyn Tisdall. Former board members the
Duke of Westminster, Earl Peel, and the
Earl of Stockton are to go. This is to rid the
Alliance of the traditional upper class countryside
image of “tweeds and Barbour.”
T h e London Times of April 4
reported that “hunters fear they are being sacrificed
in favor of more ‘politically acceptable’
issues.” Horse & Hound e x p r e s s e d
concern on April 2 that “the chief executive
and the majority of the board will be new to
defending field sports,” and added, “More
serious is the impression of political bias. At
least five consecutive chairs have been Tory
Members of Parliament. Two members are
Tory peers. It could well send the wrong signal
to Labour MPs. For too long, the British
Field Sports Society has been labelled as a
branch of the Conservative Central Office.
Politically, the Alliance’s credibility will be
prejudiced from day one.”
Let us hope so!
––Christopher Fairfax
Countryside Protection Group
Oakleigh House, Oakleigh Court
Newbury, Gillingham, Dorset
United Kingdom SP8 4HZ

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