From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1999:

Edward (Mike) Seymour-Rouse,
79, died on March 19 after a long struggle
against cancer. “The son of the late Major
General James Seymour-Rouse, Edward at
age 19 followed his father into the Brigade of
Guards as World War II broke out,” friend
and colleague Chris Fisher recalled. “Serving
with Special Duties, he was captured by the
Germans in Belgium in May 1940. He made
four unsuccessful attempts to escape, finally
reaching Switzerland in 1944. He was repatriated
the following year. During this time
he fought alongside the Polish resistance in
Warsaw, and was subsequently awarded the
Polish Army Cross, a link he often renewed
on Remembrance Day with Polish veterans.”

Post-war, Seymour-Rouse worked in advertising
and marketing and became active in
Conservative party politics. “Although from
a strong hunting background, having served
as Master of the East Devon Hunt during the
1950s, Edward joined the RSPCA in 1970 as
Director of Public Affairs and went on to
become one of the most decorated, popular,
and effective animal welfare campaigners,”
Fisher continued. “He received nine distinguished
awards, including the RSPCA’s
Queen Victoria Silver Medal. Just days
before his death, he became the first
Englishman to be awarded the Albert
Schweizer Medal from the Animal Welfare
Institute.” Seymour-Rouse founded the
Eurogroup for Animal Welfare in 1979, to
lobby the European Union on animal protection
issues. He retired from that post in 1985
but, Fisher continued, “took on a new role in
leading the EU public affairs work of the
International Fund for Animal Welfare. He
was instrumental in securing and maintaining
political support for the EU ban on the import
of baby whitecoat seal skin products. He continued
to consult and campaign on animal
welfare matters, dictating his final letter to a
government minister just days before his
death.” His last major project, an intended
grant-giving foundation called the Windsome
Register, solicited applications and accountability
information from many animal protection
charities in 1997, but stalled during his
terminal illness. “I do not know how this is
likely to develop,” said Fisher.

Helen Aberson Mayer, 91, author
of Dumbo, the Flying Elephant, died on
April 3 in Manhattan. The first edition of her
only known published story was illustrated by
Harold Pearl and issued as a scroll-in-a-box
by a firm called Roll-A-Book in 1939, in a
printing of under 1,000 copies. Walt Disney
noticed it shortly after finishing P i n o c c h i o
(1940), and brought Aberson (later Mayer) to
California to help script the Dumbo animated
film, chiefly authored by Joe Grant. It was
apparently Grant who incorporated into
D u m b o the dark subtext about the cruelties
often inflicted on circus elephants which
makes it one of the earliest and most influential
of all circus exposes––as well as one of
the most popular films of any type ever made.

Lieutenant Colonel Leofric Boyle,
100, was reported dead on April 2 by The
Times of London. Born in India, Boyle
served as secretary of the Fauna Preservation
Society (now known as Fauna & Flora
International), 1950-1963, and led the expeditions
that saved the Arabian oryx in 1962
by taking four specimens to the Phoenix Zoo
in Arizona. By 1972 the Arabian oryx was
extinct in the wild––but there were already
thousands in captivity, and the oryx has since
been successfully reintroduced to native habitat
in Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Savvas Savvas, 52, chief wildlife
warden in Limassol, Cyprus, was blown up
in his car by remote control bomb on March
23, just after leaving his children at school.
“He tried to do his job against all odds,”
recalled Pat Kyriacou of Animal Responsibility
Cyprus. “We often contacted him about
thug hunters. He paid a big veterinary bill for
one of our cats whom they shot in the eye,
and had ‘no hunting’ signs put up around the
cottage.” Charlambos Spyrou, 26, whose
brother was reportedly killed by wildlife wardens
in November 1998, was charged with
the murder, said Cyprus media. Andreas
Andreou and Christophoros Georgiou were
reportedly charged as co-conspirators.

Nora Fielden Hecksher, 80,
whose fortune came from the animal feed
firm her family had in Liverpool, England,
has left the National Canine Defense League
an estate worth an estimated $10 million––
more than half the annual operating budget of
the NCDL, the largest no-kill shelter network
in England, and also extensively involved in
assisting shelters in eastern Europe.

Peter Reinalt Stratton, 94, died
on January 27. Born in Shropshire, England,
he emigrated to Vancouver, British
Columbia, after distinguished service with
British military intelligence behind enemy
lines in World War II. An early patron of the
Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing
Animals (The Fur-Bearers), Stratton also
founded the first free veterinary clinic in
Vancouver, and “was instrumental in drafting
the first Canadian humane slaughter law in
the 1950s,” remembered Fur-Bearers
cofounder George Clements.

Howard S. Kessler, DVM, 56,
died on April 8 in Southampton, New York.
A former board president of the Bide-A-Wee
Home Assn., Kessler founded the New York
Veterinary Hospital in Manhattan; cofounded
the Ansonia Veterinary Center, also in
Manhattan; and was a sponsor of the Pet
Owners With AIDS/ARC Resource Service.

Donald Savage, 81, died on April
5 in Rossmoor, California. Credited with
many of the fossil finds that unraveled the
evolutionary links of humans and apes, and
also with important discoveries about rhinos
and horses, Savage taught and studied mammalian
paleontology at the University of
California, Berkeley campus, 1946-1997.

Print Friendly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.