LETTERS [Dec 1999]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 1999:

Hens, calves
I really get something out
of every issue of ANIMAL PEOP
L E. The sincerity of B.J., the
October winner of the North Shore
Animal League’s Lewyt Award,
was quite moving. He has the character
of a human, and a learned
human at that. I wish him a very
long, good life.
I would like to see a little
more coverage of broilers, layers,
and veal calves.
––Miriam Cohen
Forest Hills, New York

Cohen began subscribing
in mid-1999, just after we published
two long articles about the pending
American Anti-Vivisection Society
petition asking the USDA to extend
Animal Welfare Act regulatory pro –
tection to birds, rats, and mice, as
well as several items about the June
15 European Union agreement to
abolish battery caging of layer hens
within 12 years. Our focal topics
shift with the news, but we never
forget the creatures who do more
than 95% of all the suffering and
dying associated with human diet.

I’m an isolated AR
activist, 61 years old, a Virgo who
feels responsible for all cruelty to
animals, including stuff I haven’t
heard about yet! Are there any other
loner animal rights people out there
to correspond with? I’m sure I’m
not the only one who gave all her
inheritance away to animal
rights/rescue groups, finding herself
earning a living in various part-time
low-income jobs (I cherish the list
you publish each year of the budgets
and assets of all the animal help
groups). I know there are chat
rooms for animal lovers on the
Internet, but my modem is slow,
and I have to access this marvelous
service at midnight or early in the
morning, so meanwhile would welcome
––Ms. Sydney Most
4509 N. Montana Ave.
Portland, OR 97217


Visakha SPCA survives

We wondered if the
October 29 cyclone that killed an
estimated 10,000 people and
200,000 animals in the Jagatsinghpur
region of India had also hit
Visakhapatnam, farther south on
the same coast, and in particular,
if it had hurt the Visakha SPCA,
which in November 1998 won an
agreement that Visakhapatnam
would quit electrocuting stray dogs
if the SPCA sterilized them instead.
Experts say the cyclone
was so deadly because the coastal
mangrove swamps that formerly
protected Jagatsinghpur were
logged to make way for shrimp
farms––an ecodisaster of which
Visakha SPCA founder Pradeep
Kumar Nath and many others had
often warned.

Jeremy Townend of Help
In Suffering responded:
We had a fax from
Pradeep Kumar Nath on 10
November seeking our help in
obtaining chlorpromazine, which
is used as a pre-anaesthetic sedative.
He said that “Due to the severity
of the cyclone which crossed us,
hitting our neighbouring state of
Orissa, 12 hours journey from
here, the transport is badly hit.”
Help in Suffering was
able to send two weeks supply to
the Visakha SPCA by speed post.
We don’t know yet if it has arrived.
Despite this, working
under their usual extreme conditions,
made worse by the heavy
rains, Pradeep and volunteer veterinarian
Saidou Nacambo (from
Burkina Faso, Africa) were able to
handle the 230 street dogs delivered
to them by the municipal contractor
during October.
Saidou reported that of
these dogs, 13 females had been
spayed by them previously; 153
females were spayed, vaccinated
against rabies and released back
into their home areas; the males
were similarly vaccinated and
released. The terminally ill and
one dangerous dog were humanely
During this period power
cuts were frequent, as always, and
as Saidou explained, “We sometimes
had to finish off the operations
by candlelight!”
One of the Visakha
SPCA’s other problems is the wire
cages they have to use as temporary
kennels. It is hard to keep the
rain out, and during post-op checkups
six-foot-plus Saidou has to
stoop down to the three-foot height
of the cages. Funds being limited,
Pradeep is having trouble locating
suitable land on which they can
build permanent kenneling. The
job they are doing in the circumstances
is truly amazing, and still
they are being pressured by the
––Jeremy Townend
Help In Suffering
Maharani Farm
Durgapura, Jaipur
Rajasthan, India



Your November 1999 editorial,
“Scam-proof yourself,” raises
an interesting point about what
you call the “immense differences in
approach and philosophy among
animal and habitat protection
Obviously, groups which
don’t adhere to your own editorial
party line––pro-vegetarian, “no
kill,” neuter/release of feral cats,
anti-hunting and fishing, etc.––
wouldn’t buy ads in your paper.
Nor would you have much incentive
to “feature” them (except critically)
in news stories. But does that mean
they aren’t legitimate candidates for
donations from readers who do happen
to feel as they do?
The wording of your editorial
seems to suggest that it does.
We all want, of course, to protect
ourselves from scams, ambiguities
and other artful dodging by the charities
we support. But that certainly
doesn’t mean that agencies like the
Nature Conservancy, the Humane
Society of the U.S., PETA, the
World Wildlife Fund and some others
you badmouth are unworthy of
our dollars simply because their philosophy
and policies don’t correspond
––Susan M. Seidman
East Hampton, New York

The editor replies:
Your letter misses the
point of our editorial, to wit that of
the 25 active groups we named,
nine (36%) do not routinely and vol –
untarily disclose to donors the poli –
cies and practices we described––
among them HSUS, PETA, and the
World Wildlife Fund.
The 11 groups that signed
r e c e n t New York Times ads favor –
ing exterminating feral animals
(including The Nature Conservancy),
disclose their animosity
toward “invasive” species but do
not routinely and voluntarily men –
tion that it extends to endorsing and
often actually funding egregious
cruelty, e.g. strafing animals, burn –
ing them in their dens, and poison –
ing whole rivers and lakes.
In other words, 80% of
the groups we named simply do not
have the integrity to tell donors what
exactly they stand for.
Three groups (12%) were
named for hoarding rather than
using the assets entrusted to them,
collecting more in dividends than
the cost of running their programs
while continuing to raise funds.
That leaves just two orga –
nizations (8%), neither of which
you mention, named for policies
and practices which are fully dis –
closed to donors. These are the
Animal Welfare Institute and the
Royal SPCA. They are named for
pursuing projects which may tend to
undermine their own policy goals.


I am currently traveling in
India, writing to comment on something
you published back in June,
which just recently reached me:
“Free Willy! Six years later.”
Kristin Gazlay says Keiko has not
figured out how to feed himself.
Isn’t this a little like expecting someone
to learn to grow vegetables in a
cafeteria? I would hope to see Keiko
released to his original pod and see if
he would be accepted there and learn
to eat from his peers in the appropriate
––Joanne Baek
Denver, Colorado

There is one case on
record of a wild dolphin helping a
recently released long-time captive
male dolphin to feed himself––and
several cases on record of wild male
dolphins severely injuring former
captive males in tests of dominance
to which the ex-captives did not
know how to respond. We don’t
know how other male orcas would
respond to Keiko; but orcas are
essentially big dolphins, and the
outcome could go either way.


Operating costs
In your June 1996 edition,
on page 15, you stated that the U.S.
average paid per capita for basic animal
pickup and impoundment was
$1.18. Can you tell me if this figure
has been updated and what the current
average might be?
Your 1996 article helped
us a great deal in our contract negotiations
three years ago and I hope
you can help us again.
––Mike Philbrook
Executive Director
Humane Society for Greater Nashua
24 Ferry Road
Nashua, NH 03064-8109


The 1996 article cited fig –
ures we researched and originally
published in mid-1994, at request of
Marty Kurtz, founding director of
the New York City Center for Animal
Care and Control. We have not for –
mally updated the data, but contin –
ue to monitor animal control con –
tract funding, and have seen no evi –
dence that municipal governments
are overall any more generous now
than then. Figuring 3% inflation
over the past seven years would put
the current figure at $1.43 per capi –
ta––close to what many recent con –
tracts are paying, and about half of
what we estimate agencies need to
do a first-rate job.


An open letter from Maneka
to Roger Enrico, PepsiCo CEO:

I have received extensive
information, including video
footage by Steve Hindi, revealing
PepsiCo’s presence in the form of
prominent signs in stadiums that
host bullfights.
This is not acceptable in a
world which is increasingly aware
that damage done to the earth and
its creatures impacts each one of us.
In India you have already
faced a problem with your former
subsidiary Kentucky Fried Chicken.
I can assure you the same public
outcry against PepsiCo, should
your connection with bullfighting
be exposed here.
In India nonviolence and
compassion for animals, particularly
cattle, who are revered, is part
of our folklore, tradition, and religious
beliefs. We do not take kindly
to people or companies who violate
this ethic.
I have seen the flimsy
defense from your public relations
department, attempting to excuse
PepsiCo on the grounds that the
company cannot be held responsible
for what transpires in the stadia.
You claim that you do not
control what goes on in these arenas,
but you do, through the
money you put into them. Yours is
the same argument put forth by
companies that continued to do
business with the apartheid regime
in South Africa. Only when the
corporate world confronted the fact
that it was propping up cruelty and
exploitation, and largely withdrew,
was South Africa forced to reform.
I ask you to do the same
in Mexico. Withdraw all patronage
in the form of advertising in any
way connected to bullfighting. You
protest that your competitor is present
there as well. Let me put it to
you that your well-publicized
absence will speak louder than the
largest and loudest banner. It will
tell people all over the world that
PepsiCo stands for more than profits,
that it stands for decency and
against exploitation.
India has a passionate and
burgeoning animal welfare movement.
I head its largest organization,
People for Animals. I have
two television programs on national
networks about animal issues. I
propose to feature PepsiCo’s presence
at bullfights in both, featuring
the footage I have received. Indian
consumers may then decide if they
wish to patronize products from a
company associated with this level
of animal abuse.
I would appreciate your
response in this matter.
––Maneka Gandhi
Minister of State for Social Justice
and Empowerment
Shastri Bhawan
New Delhi 110001



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