LETTERS [Nov 1998
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 1998:
I really appreciate your publication
of so much material by and about
Henry Spira in your October edition. As
you know, ANIMAL PEOPLE was for
many years his favorite animal publication,
and the one he always recommended.
I really liked the ending of the editorial––the
image of Henry slouching in the
doorway is spot on. I guess he did it
because he never liked being trapped
inside, and was always liable to go for a
walk if he couldn’t take it inside any
more. The “patch of light” bit was brilliant.
Your obituary was excellent, too.
But just to set the record
straight, Henry had nothing to do with
my decision to turn my 1973 essay on
animal liberation into the book Animal
Liberation. The original encouragement
came from an editor at Simon &
Schuster. Although that fell through, I
was already well on the way with writing
the book, and had a contract with The
New York Review of Books, before I had
ever heard of Henry. The classes to
which he came were, in fact, based on
the draft chapters of the book. Not that
this matters, but Henry had enough
achievements without crediting him with
a role in creating Animal Liberation.
Centre for Human Bioethics
Your October editorial and the
guest column by the late Henry Spira
said it all. He was one of the chosen, an
unsung prophet and hero who went
where only a few others have dared. He
shall be missed, but his spirit lives.
SPCA of Josephine County
Grants Pass, Oregon
Friends! I was delighted to see
a copy of your paper, given to me by a
friend. I have volunteered as a humane
worker for many years, but had never
come across in-depth articles before such
as you print. I was especially happy to
see your September profile of Leo Grillo
and DELTA Rescue. I contribute to his
organization, and often wondered how
he could possibly handle all that he does.
I am preparing to write checks
for my annual charitable contributions,
several thousand dollars per year, and
would like to thank you for putting out
The Watchdog Report on Animal
Protection Charities as a special supplement
to ANIMAL PEOPLE earlier this
year. For me, it is the most important
work you do, since it helps guide me on
where to donate my hard-earned cash. I
would like to see more groups covered,
with more information and more opinions
as to how effective these groups are.
We are at work on our ninth
annual report on the budgets, assets,
and top salaries paid by more than 100
animal and habitat protection organiza –
tions, to appear in our December edi –
tion. Our second annual W a t c h d o g
Report on Animal Protection Charities
will follow in spring 1999, adding
resumes of major programs and any con –
troversies involving the organizations
listed. The 1998 Watchdog Report
remains available for $20, c/o A N IMAL
PEOPLE, POB 960, Clinton,
Bill Clinton country
The letter from Melissa Cothron
Waldron of Lafayette, Tennessee, in
the October ANIMAL PEOPLE, could
have been written about Arkansas.
Maybe conditions are
even more pitiful in Arkansas. Animals
are suffering beyond all reason and imagination––and
almost nobody cares. Grant
County, 35 miles from Little Rock, with
a population of 14,000, is 75% owned by
timber companies, and is among the
poorest rural counties in the southeastern
part of the state. The Grant County
Animal Protection Society, formed in
November 1997, consists of about a
dozen people with five foster homes. We
handled more than 100 animals between
April and October, 1998, fighting indifferent
county officials, an ignorant public,
and an insidious gun-and-hunter
mentality–– remember Jonesboro?
We wish to build a shelter with
a no-kill policy, sponsor a low-cost neutering
service with the cooperation of
veterinarians in a five-or-six-county area,
teach children to care for animals and
love and respect them through programs
in the schools, and sponsor community
events that promote animal welfare.
Who is interested in helping a
small, struggling humane organization?
Who can we ask for assistance, money,
advice, support, or food? Who will help
us help the animals?
ANIMAL PEOPLE maintains
and shares on request a list of founda –
tions which make grants to animal care
organizations. Please send SASE.
Thank you for announcing the
Stamp Out campaign in the October edition
of ANIMAL PEOPLE. Owing to
the thousands of letters received, the
U.S. Postal Service’s Citizens’ Stamp
Advisory Committee voted on October 2
to raise the proposal’s status to “under
consideration for future issuance.”
Whereas before the proposal was one of
more than 7,000 requests, it is now
among the 200 or so serious contenders
for future commemoration.
––Hope C. Tarr
Pet Overpopulation Stamp Out
Reversing a decree which had stood since 1974, forbidding the slaughter for any purpose of male horses under age 12 and female horses under age 15, Argentine President Carlos Menem on August 19, 1998, by Decreee 974/98, reauthorized horse slaughtering for human consumption. The horse slaughtering ban, he said, “is inconsistent with the government’s equine meat production for consumption, promotion, and development policy, especially in international markets.”
Please protest this decision to Carlos Saul Menem, President, Balcarce 50 (1064), Buenos Aires, Argentina; fax 541-344-3800 or 3700; e-mail >>firstname.lastname@example.org<<.
Please send us a copy of your letter.
S.O.S. Horses Campaign Coordinator
Club de Animales Felices
Casilla de Correo 43 Sucursal 31 (1431)
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Lucky cats bring perspective from China
I am appealing to you to arouse awareness
of the suffering bears who are being kept in
tiny iron cages in mainland China, for extracting
gall from an open wound in their stomachs.
Accompanying is documentation of the practice,
translated from The World Journal, a major
Chinese language newspaper published in
California. I have contacted international animal
rights organizations, including the World Wildlife
Fund in Washington D.C.––but I received no reply.
I am from mainland China. In 1993 I
came to the U.S. for my Ph.D. studies, and brought
my cat Mimi––perhaps the first immigrant cat from
China. He is so attached to me that he might have
crossed the Pacific to look for me if he had been
left behind. He was almost thrown to the cold
street in the biting wind of a Beijing winter by my
neighbor. I adopted him without getting my wife’s
consent. Mimi was born white-haired, but the
night he came to my home, he was filthy. He was
nothing but bones. Now he is is a big macho cat.
The next year, when my wife came to
join us, she brought our other three cats. We had
managed to feed them all, even though there is no
pet food produced or sold in China, and spayed or
neutered them all. Each has a unique story. In fact,
we are thinking of writing a book so that more people
will know how sad our cats could have been
had they been left behind in mainland China,
where cats are brutalized on a daily basis.
Since then, we have adopted three
American cats, who at first had some difficulty
communicating with the immigrants.
We don’t just love cats, but love all other
animals. It is very sad for us to see inhumane treatment
of animals, particularly in our homeland,
where animals are the least protected souls.
The stray dog situation in Taiwan is
another sad fact about greater China. When it
comes to treating animals, I am so ashamed of
being Chinese. Most Chinese have no concern
whatsoever for our animal friends. I believe there
exists a causal relationship between the lack of love
for animals in Taiwan and the mounting number of
crimes committed against humans there.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you
need more information about animals in China.
We have asked Li to write again, not
only about his cats and other animals in China, but
also about how he and his wife came to develop
their empathy toward animals.
We pointed out that many people in the
U.S. are no more enlightened or kindly toward ani –
mals than anyone in China. Even with the recent
decline of hunting and trapping, Americans still
hunt and trap more animals than the people of any
other nation, and the U.S. also leads the world in
numbers of animals raised and killed for meat.
We told Li that we are pained when he
expresses shame at being Chinese, because of
atrocities which other Chinese commit. What oth –
ers do is not the fault of those who neither do nor
condone the deeds. So long as Li and his wife set a
positive example of kindness, they are helping to
change what is wrong, not only there but here—
and their real nation is not China, but rather the
global community of people who respect life.
We noted that every nation and culture
has a humane tradition, though often quite
repressed, just as every person has within himself
or herself the capacity for empathy, which may not
develop if the person is not raised with kindness
and taught that empathy is a positive emotion, part
of having a good character.
In China, for instance, though many ani –
mals are treated with great cruelty, some caring
families have kept and protected koi fish and par –
rots for generations, who may outlive their original
owners and perhaps their owners’ children, too.
There is also the vegetarian tradition of Buddhism,
exemplified by the Shaolin monastic order, who
developed karate rather than bear arms.
Part of the knack of promoting humane
values is finding within each particular culture,
community, or individual the foundation of a
humane tradition, and then building upon it so that
it becomes an integral aspect of the culture, or of
the individual psyche—and seems to be that cul –
ture, community, or individual’s own idea, rather
than something imposed from outside.
People tend to resist invasions, of what –
ever sort, but cultivate what comes from within.
This is why cancers are so dangerous, whether of
the physical variety or “cancers of the mind,” such
as attitudes which accept and promote cruelty.
The bloody Brits
I enjoyed your column “The bloody
British” in the October edition of A N I M A L
P E O P L E. You summed up the Countryside
Alliance paradox very well. However they
reinvent themselves, they will always have to
face the fact that they represent a minority in
both town and country. We at the Countryside
Protection Group are undermining this by asking
farmers and landowners to ban hunts from
their property through our Land Bridge initiative,
which is already proving very successful.
Hunters are usually their own worst
enemy, as was seen in the North Magistrates
Court on October 20 when Captain Ian
Farquhar, joint master of the prestigious
Beaufort Hunt, was fined £6,000 for polluting
a river with highly toxic pesticide, killing
thousands of endangered white-clawed crayfish
and other invertebrates.
Farquhar’s hunt boasts Prince
Charles, Camilla Parker Bowles, and Princess
Michael of Kent among its members, and is
based on the Duke of Beaufort’s renowned
Badminton Estate. Farquhar’s staff used the
sheep dip cypermethrin––a deadly synthetic
pyrethroid––to treat 160 mange-ridden foxhounds,
and then tipped the chemical down
The chemical drums stated that the
substance was dangerous to fish and aquatic
life, but apparently Farquhar “had not been
aware” of these warnings. Instead, he left his
lawyer to do the talking, with a statement saying
he hoped “some good will come of this
case by publicizing how lethal this particular
chemical is, and the dangers to wildlife of
The lawyer also claimed Farquhar
would “never have deliberately done anything
to harm wildlife,” a sentiment that cannot rest
easily with the occupation of foxhunt master.
The irony of this case cannot be
missed when you remember that the
Countryside alliance only weeks ago released
a single composed and sung by George
Bowyer, whose father, former Tory chief
whip Lord Denham, wrote a book entitled
Foxhunting in 1988. What was the single
called? Guardians of the Land!
Countryside Protection Group
Dorset, United Kingdom
The bloody Brits
This is a short note to say a big
Thank You! to you for all the articles you have
published about the Bombay SPCA. Your
coverage obviously was very well received, as
we have gotten quite a few letters and donations
to our organization. All of us at the
Bombay SPCA, including the Bai Sakarbai
Dinshaw Petit Hospital for Animals, send you
our sincere thanks and wish you every success.
We hope to be able to see you all again soon.
––Lt. Col. A.R. Nageshkar (Retd.)
The Bombay SPCA
Dr. S.S. Rao Road
Parel, Mumbai 400 012
I am leaving my position as manager
of the Bombay SPCA, including the Bai
Sakarbai Dinshaw Petit Hospital for Animals,
and expect to relocate soon to Saigon, a.k.a.
Ho Chi Minh City, in Vietnam. My boyfriend
is working there for a big Indian company that
has opened a factory there, and he has a contract
to remain there until March 2001. We
hope to be married soon, and God willing,
things will work out. I went for one month in
July 1998 to check the place out, and was
shocked to find that in the entire country there
is not one animal welfare organization. There
are numerous organizations working for
humans, but not one for animals. There are
also no stray animals seen on the streets of
Saigon [a hint that any loose animals may be
killed]. If you have any thoughts and suggestions,
please do let me know.
c/o Mr. Navroze Printer
23, Tran Nhat Duat
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
The October 1998 edition of A N IMAL
PEOPLE stated that Farm Sanctuary
kills animals to maintain a population balance.
This is not true. Farm Sanctuary has never
killed an animal at our shelters to maintain a
population balance. The only time any animal
at Farm Sanctuary is ever euthanized is to prevent
suffering from an untreatable terminal illness
We have not advertised ourselves as
a no-kill shelter, but this does not mean that
we therefore kill animals at our shelters to
maintain a population balance. From the
beginning, and continuing today, Farm
Sanctuary is a haven and permanent home for
rescued farm animals.
Watkins Glen, New York
Asked whether Farm Sanctuary may
kill or have killed animals in their custody
who never actually reached the sanctuary
premises, Bauston responded, “In 1988,
Farm Sanctuary pressured Lancaster
Stockyards (near Philadelphia) to implement a
‘no downer’ policy whereby it agreed to euthanize
downed animals instead of selling them
for slaughter. Until the stockyard implemented
its own method of humane euthanasia,
Farm Sanctuary arranged for a veterinarian to
euthanize downed animals at Lancaster
Stockyards. At the same time, we rescued as
many of the healthiest animals as we could.
Most of these animals survived, but some
ultimately succumbed to their illnesses. We
do not believe that the animals who were euthanized
at Lancaster Stockyards were in Farm
Your October article about the
Humane Farming Association’s new 4,000-
acre farm animal refuge is disturbing. HFA
president Brad Miller stated “We don’t
believe in killing predators to protect our farm
animals. If predation occurs, it is part of a
natural life for these animals.” I’m glad he
does not intend to kill predators, and I would
be the last to stand in the way of traditional
predator/prey relationships for wild animals.
But domesticated farm animals are not a part
of nature, and to ignore this fact is irresponsible.
If Miller does not plan to provide proper
fencing for the animals he takes in, he has no
business calling his facility a refuge. In fact,
he has no business taking animals in at all.
One of the Editor’s first jobs as a
part-time farm hand, long ago, was trying to
capture four Holstein heifers who had run free
for six months in 50 acres of Quebec woodlot.
Weeks of effort and tranquilizer mixed into
buckets of grain did finally bring them in, but
none ever tamed into satisfactory milk cows.
Escaping human hunters, coyotes,
and run-amok local dogs as well as the
Editor, whom they dragged through briar
patches and half-frozen swamp on several
occasions, they memorably illustrated how
quickly so-called farm animals can revert into
fleet-footed, predator-alert wildlife, even
without help from older herd members.
The animals at the HFA’s Suwanna
Ranch are properly fenced, to prevent them
from disturbing neighbors, but no standard
farm fencing is either coyote-proof or pumaproof.
Coyotes and pumas share the Suwanna
Ranch. Yet HFA, so far, has lost no animals
to predators––which coincides with the find –
ings of biologist Mike Tewes in a recent fouryear
study of puma predation in south Texas.
Working for the Caesar Kleberg
Wildlife Institute at Texas A&M University’s
Kingsville campus, Tewes found only eight
examples of domestic livestock among 69 kills
made by 19 radio-collared pumas in a 1,600-
square-mile area. The domestic victims were
seven sheep and a calf: no adult cattle, no
horses or burros, no goats, and no emus, the
quasi-domesticated species the Suwanna
Ranch has most of, whose beaks, claws, and
running speed would probably deter any but
the most desperate predators.
The pumas did kill 15 javelinas and
six feral hogs, who might be compared to the
feral boars at the Suwanna Ranch, but the
boars came from puma territory and their
ancestors had run free for 200 to 300 years.
What HFA seems to be demonstrat –
ing is that critics of USDA Wildlife Services,
formerly Animal Damage Control, have been
right all along: wild predators scavenge the
remains of livestock who die from disease and
bad weather, but they don’t do even a frac –
tion of the killing they are blamed for, as a
convenient excuse for poor husbandry.