LETTERS [Jan/Feb 1999]
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 1999:
Cyprus zoo feeds hunt
Thanks for sending us ANIMAL PEOPLE.
You might think much of it is irrelevant to Cyprus, but
often articles about other countries are of value.
One of our ongoing campaigns focuses on the
Limassol Zoo. We won commitments to stop importing
large exotics, stop breeding, and enrich cages–– but
soon afterward, the leopard was pregnant, more mixed
Asiatic-African lion cubs were born, the substrate was
removed from cages, and kangaroos were to be
imported from Australia. (We got that stopped).
The latest was that eight lion cubs were sent
off to “freedom,” the zoo told us, in South Africa.
Who, I thought, would pay to transport and
feed eight tame lions born to tame parents? They could
never be released. They were of no use for conservation
purposes, being hybrids.
Suddenly I remembered having read in ANIMAL
PEOPLE of canned hunts in which tranquilised
lions are murdered by the intellectually challenged who
pay well for the privilege.
We contacted the lions’ destination from
Britain, saying we were rich and wanted to shoot lions.
Sure enough! They faxed us a price list, confirming
our fears that our young lions were to be butchered.
Two of the lions didn’t even get to Boskoppie,
their destination. They were traded on arrival in Africa
to an unknown party to pay for the travel expenses.
We gave this information to the media and
the zoo vet found himself under a lot of pressure.
We’re against animals in captivity, but the children of
Limassol thought of those lions as theirs. The municipality
held several committee meetings to investigate
their fate. Cover-ups were attempted. However, we
have a place on the investigating committee.
Fighting for justice for the animals at
Limassol Zoo will continue. But thanks to ANIMAL
PEOPLE, the zoo vet got a roasting, and will have to
be more cunning in the future. Or maybe he’ll just turn
ethical. We’re not holding our breath.
Animal Responsibility Cyprus
Stray cats and dogs in Pakistan are beaten,
kicked, run over by cars, poisoned, and thrown stones
at. There isn’t one shelter to protect them, not one.
They are seen as vicious, and are treated worse than
anything else I have heard or seen. Please post information
about the animals in Pakistan and ask people to
urge the authorities to build shelters. I will do anything
I can to assist. Thank you. ––Beena Ali
FREED CIRCUS ANIMALS
In an extraordinary victory for animal welfare
and wildlife conservation, on December 16,
1998 the High Court of Delhi banned the use of
tigers, lions, leopards, bears and monkeys by circuses
Funds are now desperately required for the
care of 220 lions and 64 tigers who are being surrendered
The cruel methods often used to train wild
animals to perform in circuses are well documented.
There is also substantial evidence that circus owners
here and elsewhere have long been involved in illegal
trade in live wild animals, and have provided cover
for the transportation of wildlife skins. In May 1997
six tiger skins were seized from the owner of the
Great Raymond Circus, the origin of which could
not be accounted for. Wild animals in Indian circuses
have generally lived miserable and short lives. As
soon as an animal died, he or she was replaced by
another one bought from the illegal market, usually
after capture from the wild.
Earlier this year, ownership and display of
wild animals by travelling zoos in India was banned
for similar reasons. With this latest court order, the
Wildlife Protection Society of India believes that the
illegal trade in live animals will be greatly curtailed.
However, the court order has created an
urgent problem. Since circus owners can no longer
earn revenue from the animals, the court has ordered
that the feeding costs for the lions, tigers, 11 leopards,
26 sloth bears, and 11 monkeys will have to be
borne by the Indian Government from the date of the
judgement. An alternative home would be an authorised
zoo, but most of the animals are not fit enough
to go on display. A decision has been made to create
rescue centres within zoos where the animals will not
be on display but will receive humane care for the
rest of their lives.
Authorised zoos will be able to absorb the
leopards, monkeys and bears. But no homes have
been found for the tigers and lions, as most zoos are
overpopulated with these species. Rescue centers for
the lions and tigers have been proposed at Vendaloor
Zoo near Chennai (Madras), Sakkabaugh near
Junagadh in Gujarat, and at Banner Ghata in
Karnataka. The centers––with chain link enclosures
for about six animals each, connected to feeding
houses––will take around six months to construct.
Temporary shelters are under consideration but it will
be difficult to achieve this for all but a small number.
Funds are urgently required not only for
building the rescue centers but also to feed the 220
lions and 64 tigers while they remain with the circuses
pending completion of their new homes, and for
the rest of their lives. The total cost, including transportation
from circuses to rescue centers, feeding,
staff salaries, and veterinary care, may amount to
nearly $4 million U.S. dollars. It is hoped that some
costs will be paid by the Indian Government, but
without substantial help from donors the program
We appeal to Indian and international
organisations in the field of animal welfare and
wildlife conservation to assist with this program.
The project will be undertaken by the
Animal Welfare Board of India, which comes under
the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment,
headed by Mrs. Maneka Gandhi. Mrs Gandhi is also
issuing an appeal for assistance.
––Belinda Wright, Executive Director
Ashok Kumar, Vice President
Wildlife Protection Society of India
Thapar House, 124 Janpath
New Delhi 110 001, India
E-mail : >>firstname.lastname@example.org<<
Telephone: 91-11-621-3864/623 8710
Too many appeals
I just looked out the window
beside me at a large covey of
quail in our small back yard, where
we feed all the birds. To my left, I
saw all the animal magazines, bulletins,
cards, etc., that I have stacked
for years, which come with requests
for donations every time I go to the
mail box. For over 20 years I wrote
and sent the letters and postcards that
were requested, but I had to quit
reading the horror stories because I
already knew how horrible humans
can be. If I had the chance and wasn’t
put in jail, I would happily remove
the perpetrators from the earth.
I really can’t stand looking
at pictures of pathetic animals any
more. I already know how they look.
Can you just tell me, in a few sentences,
who I should or should not
send money to?
We can’t choose your prior –
ities for you, but you will find our
Watchdog Report on Animal
Protection Charities useful––a supple –
mentary publication which identifies
the major programs and any pro –
gram, policy, and/or administrative
controversies of note pertaining to the
50-plus animal protection charities
we’re most often asked about. We’ll
publish the 1999 edition in March.
The 1998 edition is still available for
$20, c/o ANIMAL PEOPLE, POB
960, Clinton, WA 98236.
Thank you for your recent
report on budgets, assets, and top
salaries of 124 animal protection
organizations. This information motivated
me to notify two organizations
to remove my name from their mailing
lists. One did not furnish its IRS
Form 990 to ANIMAL PEOPLE
upon two requests. The other pays an
officer over $135,000 yearly.
All charities should send
IRS Form 990 when asked. It seems a
simple enough request. [They are
also legally required to do so.] Further, with countless animals needing
help and so many volunteers barely
making ends meet, I cannot in
good conscience contribute to exhorbitant
––Gregory M. Sampson
Thanks again for your
December “Watchdog” section. I too
believe, as the late Cleveland Amory
did, that charity executives should
demonstrate commitment by taking
no more pay than necessary. Have a
Jamestown, North Carolina
Credit to Henry
With regard to the recent
death of Henry Spira, it is important
to note that one of his main accomplishments
was to reduce the acrimony
between the animal protection
community and biomedical
researchers. Henry thus opened the
way to dialogue and, in many cases,
I also think that this change
in climate is due in part to publications
like ANIMAL PEOPLE,
which have consistently encouraged
activists to replace self-righteous militancy
with more constructive
approaches. One consequence of this
change has been greater willingness
by researchers to acknowledge the
legitimate concerns raised by animal
I am renewing my ANIMAL PEOPLE advertisement for all of 1999. I believe the ad has helped my web site visitor count considerably. I used to get about 100 visitors to >>www.bigcats.com<< per day. Now the average is over 360. I’ve made other changes that I’m sure have contributed to the increase, but the timing coincides with the ANIMAL PEOPLE ad I started running in September 1998.
If you haven’t seen it, I run the >>www.az-rescue.org<< site as well (as a volunteer).
––Annie Dunn The Cheetah’s Workshop Chandler, Arizona >>email@example.com<<
I am on the San Francisco Animal Care and
Welfare Commission. Contrary to your October 1998
report, we recommended in July that the Board of
Supervisors should adopted the new bylaw requiring
veterinarians to inform the Department of Animal Care
and Control whenever they vaccinate a dog––a month
before former SF/SPCA president Richard Avanzino
[who opposed the bylaw] announced his retirement.
San Francisco, California
Thank you for reviewing my book The Horse:
The Most Abused Domestic Animal. Unfortunately,
while you correctly identified me in the headline, you
misidentified me as Greta Marsh in the text. I believe
there is a Greta Marsh involved in greyhound rescue.
St. Petersburg, Florida
Yes, we confused two Gretas with distin –
guished records in animal protection. Greta Marsh,
founder of Massachusetts Citizens Against Dog Racing,
wrote two articles for Greyhound Tales: True Stories
of Rescue, Compassion and Love. (See ad, page 21.)
JAGUARS, NOT CHEETAHS
Based on a late bulletin from Agence France
P r e s s e , ANIMAL PEOPLE reported in December
that “Two five-year-old female cheetahs…tunneled
under a fence on December 5 at the Doue-la-Fontaine
Zoo near Saumar, France, killed a three-year-old boy,
and mauled the boy’s father.” The edition had just been
printed when Agence France Press issued an update:
contrary to the initial police account, victim Gregoire
Lucazeau was actually five, the animals were jaguars,
and though both were dispatched, only one attacked.
FEATHERS FLY OVER THE ARIZONA ANTI-COCKFIGHTING INITIATIVE
Since we’re on your mailing list,
you might have asked how much our campaign
cost. It was $193,000. The opposition
didn’t file all of its donations and expenses,
so it’s hard to know how much they spent,
but it was less than us.
Grady Coker’s claim that violent
crime only occurs away from cockfighting is
misleading. Cockfighting has long been illegal
in Tucson, and Phoenix doesn’t allow
roosters with intact vocal cords within city
limits. The main pits were in tiny towns on
the California border where there is little
crime or anything else, for that matter.
Coker also claimed that the Humane
Society of the U.S. pushed this initiative.
Yes, they did help, as did eight other national
groups, but none of them started this and their
combined contributions were only 26% of our
budget. This campaign was conceived by
Arizonans and achieved by 822 volunteers
and over 2,000 in-state contributors.
Yes, there are other atrocities that
should be address, but I believe Coker overestimates
our power. Our success took many
years and thousands of volunteer hours. We
who have seen the blades, know that children
are brought along, and have heard the venomous
bile cockfighters spew know we have
achieved a substantial victory.
Citizens Against Cockfighting
Having worked for nine years to ban
cockfighting in Arizona, I knew Grady
Coker’s letter was that of a cockfighter the
second I saw it. How? First, he said he’d
made a study of crime in cockfighting areas,
but the media never mentioned the location of
more than a few pits. Even we knew of only a
dozen or so of the 45 pits in Arizona.
Second, his arguments were the
same we heard from cockfighters. They said
we should go after the poultry industry––
which we should––but that doesn’t mean we
should leave the brutality of cockfighting
alone. They said that cockfighting was just an
easy target, but we all know there are no easy
targets. Animal welfare advocates in our state
have spent 40 years attempting to outlaw this
Finally, cockfighters claimed that
the ban was an HSUS plot that existed only
for the money. That’s an insult to all the good
people of Arizona.
Why did Coker write this letter?
The cockfighters are desperate not to lose
their last three legal states, and they hope to
divert activists and donors from helping future
Why did ANIMAL PEOPLE publish
Coker’s letter? Because he said something
negative about HSUS? News flash:
cockfighters hate HSUS more than you do.
Grady Coker responds:
I bred and fought gamecocks off
and on for 55 years. I have attended many of
the major cockfighting events in the U.S. over
the past 30 years, and some in Puerto Rico. I
am past president of the United Game Fowl
Breeders Association, and served six years on
the board of directors. I am founder and
spokesperson for the Colorado Association for
the Preservation of Gamefowl. I have written
more than 130 published articles on gamefowl
and cockfighting. I write a monthly column
on gamefowl and associated subjects in the
magazine Feathered Warrior, under the title
of The Attitude From The Altitude.
I got rid of my own gamecocks in
1987. The older I get, the more reverence I
have for all animal life. I was once an avid
hunter, but I no longer hunt, nor own a gun.
I used to fish, but I don’t do that any more.
Fifteen deer were in my yard the other day,
and I worry about what will happen to them
with the fast urban growth in Colorado.
On the cockfighting issue, I come
down on the side of the gamecock. The idea
that to get rid of the gamecock will get rid of
cockfighting is trash––like the idea of killing
all deer to get rid of deer hunting.
The Editor responds:
Grady Coker, 74, is a retired med –
ical doctor from rural Georgia, who retired
to Colorado in 1990. He is sharply critical of
the cruelty endemic to the commercial poultry
industry, as his December letter clearly
expressed. We find his views on animal pro –
tection paradoxical, but no more so than
those of humane societies which raise funds
by holding pig roasts and chicken dinners,
and less so than that of HSUS, which over a
decade ago attacked the cruelty of the pork
and poultry industries with a highly effective
“Breakfast of Cruelty” publicity campaign,
but backed away from it when some meat-eat –
ing donors and board members took excep –
tion, and has said little on the subject since.
We welcome strategic insights from
all perspectives. Several questions raised by
the successful Arizona anti-cockfighting ini –
tiative remain worth pondering in seeking to
outlaw other cruelty:
• Why did cockfighting foes spend
38 years trying to push a ban through the
agriculture committee of the state legislature,
always dominated by cockfighting supporters,
before taking the case directly to voters and
getting it approved by a four-to-one margin?
• Spending $193,000 to win a state
ban on cockfighting was in our view a bargain
in cruelty prevention, compared to paying
HSUS president emeritus John Hoyt $348,000
and HSUS president Paul Irwin $239,204,
but it must also be remembered that persuad –
ing even one public school to serve vegetarian
m e a l s o n c e, instead of fried chicken, could
prevent equivalent animal suffering.
We’d like to see animal protection
organizations pay more attention to doing
what works, as Arizona activists have since
passing the first of a series of anti-cruelty ini –
tiatives in 1992––and we’d like to see an
ongoing effort to remind Arizonans that the
cruelty of the cockpit, which they found atro –
cious enough to outlaw the first chance they
got, is exceeded by what goes on to produce
every plate of bacon and eggs.
A week before Christmas the
Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club, the
National Parks and Conservation Association,
and the Wilderness Society sent postcards to
members urging them to write to Death Valley
National Preserve superintendent Richard
Martin and his wife Mary Martin, superintendent
of the Mojave National Preserve, to
voice their support for “direct reduction” of
the burro and wild horse population.
We polled members of the Angeles
Chapter who received the cards, asking them
if they knew what “direct reduction” meant.
They did not. They were horrified to find out
that “direct reduction” means to shoot burros.
We consider this a misleading way to gain
support from loyal environmentalists for the
inhumane removal of wild horses and burros
from NPS parklands, as proposed in the current
General Management Plans/ Environmental
Impact Statements of Death Valley
National Park and Mojave National Preserve.
Please ask the Martins to support
only the humane removal of wild horses and
burros from the parks. Tell them you do not
support shooting of wild horses and burros
who stray into NPS land by accident from
Bureau of Land Management property, where
they are protected by an act of Congress.
In addition, let the Martins know
that you oppose the continued trophy hunting
of bighorn sheep (whose scarcity is blamed on
the burros, contrary to the findings of many
scientific studies) and also oppose cattle grazing
on NPS land while wild horses and burros
are going to be removed by direct reduction.
Please write to: Richard Martin,
Superintendent, Death Valley National Park,
POB 579, Death Valley, CA 92328; and
Mary Martin, Superintendent, Mojave
National Preserve, 222 E. Main St., Suite
202, Barstow, CA 92311.
Unless the comment period is
extended, letters are due by January 15.
Sierra Club Life Member (Toiyabe Chapter)