From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2000:

OKINAWA; SEOUL––Joining Korean activists in seeking global support for a campaign against dog-and-cat-eating, Okinawan animal rescuer Risa Nakamura in February 2000 asked leaders who are scheduled to attend the G-8 summit in Okinawa this summer to speak out in particular against the alleged Okinawan practice of drowning stolen cats and then boiling them into stew.

None of the world leaders responded on the record, but Sadayuki Hayaski, Japanese ambassador to Britain, denied Nakamura’s allegations in a February 25 letter to the London Times which appeared to have been modeled after a letter apparently originally authored by former South Korean ambassador to New Zealand Philip Choi in 1988, and used ever since as a stock response to complaints about dog-eating.

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Indonesian fires again threaten orangutans

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2000:

JAKARTA––Indonesian president Abdurrahman Wahid pledged on March 8 that he would try to control as many as 500 fires set in Sumatra to clear forests for logging and planting. The fires became a public issue when smoke briefly engulfed Sumatra, as occurred for months in mid- 1997, when Borneo was covered as well.

Farmers and loggers raze the forest understory each spring and summer partly to save labor and make charcoal; partly to avoid meeting deadly snakes. Animals escaping the flames are often trapped or shot. Wild pigs and deer are hunted for meat; orangutans may be illegally captured for sale.

Ashta Nita Bustani, head of the Semboja Wanariset Orangutan Rehabilitation Project, told the Indonesian state news agency Antara in February that the 1997 fires cut the orangutan population of Borneo by about 30%. Bustani said that some orangutan refugees from the 1997 fires were still wandering outside Kutai National Park, seeking new habitat. His organization had reportedly relocated seven orangutans in the preceding week.

More $$ for USDA-APHIS?

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2000:

WASHINGTON, D.C.–– U.S. President Bill Clinton in February proposed a $5 million boost in funding for the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, charged with enforcing the Animal Welfare Act.

Congress in 1999 approved a raise of $1 million for USDA-APHIS, the first raise it had won since 1992. The USDA-APHIS then had 88 inspectors, to cover more than 10,000 federally regulated animal care facilities. It now has just 64 inspectors.

Beers behind D.C. allegations?

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2000:

WASHINGTON, D.C.– – ANIMAL PEOPLE suspects former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service chief of refuge operations and liaison to state agencies James Beers is the “former Fish and Wildlife official, who asked not to be identified,” who was the primary source behind a February 22 Washington Times “expose” of Friends of Animals’ 1993 use of $46,000 in USFWS funding to outfit anti-poaching patrols in Senegal.

All the information in the article pertaining to FoA had already been summarized several times both in the FoA magazine Action Line and in ANIMAL PEOPLE.

FoA president Priscilla Feral in a memo to ANIMAL PEOPLE accused former Fish and Wildlife Service and FoA special investigator Carroll Cox of planting the story. Cox has filed discrimination cases against both the Fish and Wildlife Service and FoA. The Washington D.C. Department of Human Rights in September 1999 ruled that there was probable cause to believe that FoA violated the D.C. Human Rights Act of 1977 when it fired Cox in August 1997; FoA is appealing.

The National Rifle Association in 1997 named Beers “Conservationist of the Year” for his work as coordinator of the successful U.S. effort to kill the European Community ban on imports of trapped fur, to have taken effect in 1997.

ANIMAL PEOPLE in April 1997 revealed a Beers memo to wildlife refuge managers which in essence ordered them to use leghold traps for predator control work which might be said to help endangered species. The claim that leghold trapping was used to save endangered species was central to the U.S. case against the EC ban.

The Beers memo was leaked to ANIMAL PEOPLE via Cox. Cox has long been outspoken against the prohunting-and-trapping orientation of USFWS, contending that it inhibits wildlife protection law enforcement.

Soon thereafter, Beers opposed an application from the Fund for Animals for a Pittman-Robertson grant in support of a wildlife education program. Beers held that as an anti-hunting organization, the Fund should not share in revenues collected from taxes on hunting and fishing equipment.

Beers later told Austin Gribbin of The Washington Times that he was transferred to Massachusetts in retaliation, and alleged that USFWS was trying to fire him for accepting the NRA award––much as Cox was dismissed for accepting the 1994 Joe A. Calloway Award for Civic Courage from the Shafeek Nader Foundation, formed by consumer advocate Ralph Nader in memory of his father.

In early June 1999 USFWS apologized to Beers and paid him $150,000 plus legal fees and back pay.

In July 1999, Beers told the House Resources Committee about alleged extensive misuse of PittmanRobertson funds and purported collusion between the Fish and Wildlife Service and “animal rights representatives.”

Beers thanked the National Wildlife Institute for support––a wise-use group whose national advisory board includes House Resources Committee chair Don Young (R-Alaska), and Eugene Lapointe, who formerly led Canadian efforts to defend trapping and seal hunting.

Beers’ testimony was backed by NWI executive director Rob Gordon, the only source quoted on the record in the Washington Times article about FoA.

Beers’ House testimony was also backed by Bonnie Kline, a former Fish and Wildlife Service clerical staff member who claims she was wrongfully treated for refusing to destroy computer records pertaining to the Beers case.

The Beers and Kline claims resurfaced concurrent with the Washington Times article of February via public allegations from James J. Baker, executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, and James J. Fotis, executive director of the Law Enforcement Alliance of America, which appears to work parallel to the pro-hunting Wildlife Legislative Fund of America and Wildlife Conservation Fund of America. The latter were formed initially in opposition to an anti-trapping initiative which failed in Ohio in 1984.

“Clinton Administration appointees funneled money to extreme animal rights groups,” Fotis charged.

But even the USFWS and USAid programs that have granted some money and equipment to FoA and the Fund have sent far more support to the pro-hunting National Wildlife Federation, African Safari Club, Safari Club International, Friends of Conservation, and NRA “educational” affiliates.

Nonprofit hunting fronts are also financially assisted at many other levels of government. The National Wildlife Federation headquarters, for instance, is reported beneficiary of a $300,000-a-year tax break from Fairfax County, Virginia. NWF is the national umbrella for 48 state hunting clubs.

Animal foundation ranch allegedly used for hunting

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2000:

The Ed Rachal Foundation, of Corpus Christi, Texas, on February 16 lost a $500,000 verdict for lost wages, damages, and legal fees to former vice president Claude D’Unger. D’Unger was reportedly paid $80,000 a year for his board-related services.

“Ed Rachal bequeathed the 67,000- acre Galvan Ranch to his charitable foundation to help children and mistreated animals,” wrote San Antonio Express-News columnist Carlos Guerra, but the foundation, with $6.5 million in assets, described itself to the online charity reference as having a religious/spiritual orientation.

The only record ANIMAL PEOPLE found of Rachal Foundation charitable activity pertained to six grants totaling $155,214 made to Texas A&M University in 1996 for studies of the ecological effects of oil and gas production. A paper on the same topic published by D’Unger in the journal Environmental Management, also in 1996, identified him as a Texas A&M environmental science researcher.

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Warrant out for scam artist Bartron

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2000:

The Florida Parole Commission on March 3 issued a warrant for the arrest of Ron Bartron, 55, founder of the Priscilla Project, described by Ron Matus of The Gainesville Sun as “a head-spinning plan to save thousands of stray and unwanted cats.”

On January 3, Gilcrist County passed an emergency ordinance to keep Bartron from bringing 3,000-4,000 cats to a 20-acre site he leased along with a mobile home from supporter Diane Boswell, 57, of Alachua. The land and the mobile home were reportedly each valued at $50,000.

On January 13 Bartron sold the mobile home for $20,000, and on February 1 sold the land for $25,000, after shifting title to Molly & Friends, a cat-furniture-making firm begun by his wife Trayce––who said she had not seen or heard from Bartron since he sold Molly & Friends and absconded with the down payment, but left six cats behind who were taken by Alachua County Animal Control.

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From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2000:

Former Hornocker Wildlife Institute biologist Patrick F. Ryan, 49, was bound over for trial on 41 criminal counts on March 10 in Reserve, New Mexico, after failing to convice Sierra County Magistrate Thomas Pestak t o exclude as evidence three videos Ryan allegedly made of himself in repeated sexual assaults against former co-worker Jennifer Cashman. As a graduate student assigned to do bear research with Ryan in the Gila Wilderness during 1996-1997, Cashman refused his sexual advances, according to the charges, and was then kept in a zombie-like state on clandestinely given overdoses of the animal tranquilizer Ketamine. Cashman was eventually hospitalized for two weeks, reportedly almost died three times, and suffered severe neurological damage. Cashman received an undisclosed sum in July 1999 in settlement of a civil suit against Ryan and the Hornocker Wildlife Institute.

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Arrivals & Departures

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2000:

The American Humane Association on February 19 confirmed as president six-year board member Timothy O’Brien. O’Brien, a Denver accountant, had served as acting president since October 1999.

Jeanne Westin, involved in humane work since 1961, has become president of United Animal Nations, after 10 years on the board. Westin worked for the California office of the Humane Society of the U.S. during the 1960s. After office chief Belton Mouras left to form the Animal Protection Institute i n 1968, Westin volunteered and served on the board with API, before following Mouras again when he left API to found UAN in 1986.

Former Last Chance for Animals executive director Eric Mindel, who left in January, has become community director for the Los Angeles-based online veterinary service and support firm One2One Care.

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