Letters [May 2000]
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 2000:
Just a short note to say thank you for ANIMAL PEOPLE, which always makes interesting reading. It is good to have a publication that is not attached to any one society and so can criticize as well as praise!
We are still working hard and struggling with the same old problems. We have just sorted out one lady who had eight bitches and three male dogs. Most of the bitches were pregnant. The dogs had attacked her livestock one night and killed eight of her sheep and goats, so at that point she called us in to help. We removed the ring leaders for rehoming where there is no livestock, spayed the bitches, and returned seven to her. This exercise cost us roughly $400. She gave us a donation of $14. She said she could not afford any more. She does have two large cars and a large house. What to do? We did not want 80 new puppies being born to suffer. She did also say that she had given us four dogs to sell, so we are very lucky. She refused to believe that they also would cost us money.
Otherwise we have our ups and downs like any other society, but the weather is sunny and the animals thrive. Thank you for your support of us. I hope you will come this way again and come and see us.
[Donations to the Kenya SPCA should be sent via the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare KSPCA Fund, c/o The Old School, Brewhouse Hill, Wheathampstead, Herts AL4 8AN, U.K.]
I wholeheartedly agree with your March editorial bemoaning the lack of good opinion surveys regarding animals. I would like to offer my services, without charge, to any animal advocacy organization which would like to sponsor a quality poll or survey. I have over 30 years of experience in design and sample selection for major government surveys, and would be pleased to use that experience to improve animal welfare.
––Gary Shapiro 1813 Glendora Drive District Heights, MD 20747
WWF is “very mixed up”
The World Wildlife Fund seems to have become very mixed up, and no longer seems sure whether it is supposed to be protecting wildlife or protecting people! Its association with the CAMPFIRE projects under the “sustainability” label appears to have caused it to lose its sense of direction. I joined the WWF right at its start, but after an exchange of correspondence with the U.K. office about “sustainability” I took the very hard decision to leave, having learned that they support ranching of captured animals as well as trophy hunting.
To quote one of their letters, “The moral question of killing any animal is a separate issue… WWF does not necessarily believe it is wrong to kill any animal for food and use the byproducts for manufacturing purposes, except where its population or environment is threatened by this action. There are already a number of well-known organizations concerned with animal rights…”
As another issue, you often mention that notorious murderers began their careers by torturing and killing animals. But is nature or nurture in early childhood the deciding factor? We didn’t have any pets at home when my son was a baby, so he’d never really been set any example of kindness toward animals, yet following a visit to one of London’s parks where there were some deer, he looked unsmilingly at them for a very long time, and early the next morning I heard him say, with real compassion, “Poor deer got tree on top.” He was barely two-and-a-half years old.
Today he is 50, and was recently involved in the successful fight to stop Marshall Farms from opening a dog-breeding establishment for laboratory experiments at Montbeugny. He translated all the information sent from the States about this concentration camp for dogs for the associations campaigning against its introduction here in France.
La Bruyere, France
First of all, I appreciate your support to help us prevent the legalization of dog meat production in South Korea last year.
Unfortunately, nothing has changed except that governmental action has been postponed until after the 2002 soccer World Cup. Boshintang (dog soup) restaurants and dog farms are still expanding, and again this summer about three million dogs will be slaughtered in pain that is beyond our expression.
Currently, Korea is preparing for general elections. The prime mover of the dog meat legalization bill, Rep. Kim Hong Sin, was not nominated for reelection. But the other legislators who supported him are projected to win. They are not yet well recognized by the public, and have a broad base of support. Some who have publicly praised dog-eating are expected to advance into the National Assembly.
We at the Anti-Dogmeat Movement Headquarters have concentrated on informing Koreans of their behavior. We intend to continue our movement whether they get elected or not.
The most effective way to make Korean government crack down on dog meat restaurants, we believe, is to rally international pressure. It was international pressure, after all, which caused the Korean government to make a show of curtailing dog meat consumption in 1986––a small victory, even though it turned out to be only tentative and make-believe.
The number of dog meat restaurants and dog farms is now five times greater than it was in 1988, indicating that this uncivilized and barbaric custom is even penetrating to young people.
We believe the Korean government should release our dogs from massacre as part of the price of hosting World Cup 2002.
So what is the most practical way to achieve this?
Anti-Dogmeat Movement Headquarters
Where have all the anti-fur tables gone––and why?
I want to commend you on your April editorial, “Why Fur Sales Soared,” for giving a frank picture of what is going on in the anti-fur world.
Most reports still talk about our successes, but what I have personally observed is a far cry from this propaganda. Living and working in New York City, the fashion and finance capital of the country, I have noticed the resurgence of fur for some time––from basic sale coats to expensive and exotic skins, worn by neighbors, co-workers and the average person on the street. People of all ages again wear fur with impunity, giving others the courage to either buy a new coat or wear the old one which was shoved to the back of their closet––almost as if the anti-fur movement never existed.
Admittedly NYC presents a formidable challenge. Yet I see almost no anti-fur billboards, bus ads, antifur buttons, or anti-fur information tables. Tabling is exhausting and often not much fun, but it remains one of the best ways to get information out cheaply. Solvejg Zafares for many years tabled on 57th St. near Fifth Avenue, but for the past few years has been caring for her ill husband. No one has taken her place.
There are, however, still many volunteers for demonstrations offering the opportunity to get arrested for civil disobedience. A few years ago at an anti-fur protest, I overheard several activists bragging about how many arrests they had to their name. It sickened me, and I wondered just when\ this movement shifted from a focus on animal suffering to building human egos.
The late (and very effective) Steve Siegel, director of Trans Species Unlimited and leader of the Fur Free Friday protests in New York City from the late 1980s into the early 1990s always emphasized knowing the target audience— including dressing neatly and conservatively at protests. TSU also heavily promoted educational tabling. As you mentioned, most fur wearers appear to come from socially conservative circles––or aspire to enter those circles, wanting to look affluent. Activists wearing face jewelry, dirty, scruffy clothes, carrying dirty posters, smoking, or wearing obviously leather shoes hurt the cause. They may feel cool, but––having ignored the most basic principles of marketing––they are not credible to the fur-wearing target audience.
Your editorial mentioned that the Coalition Against the Fur Trade seems “hell-bent on repeating every mistake already made by others, while inventing more.” I cannot attest to that, but I have observed that many people who recently came into the animal rights movement seem to neither look toward nor learn from the past. They act as if the movement began with them.
To those of us who have been involved for a long time, the disintegration of the anti-fur movement in NYC is very sad and frustrating. I know these issues are difficult, and I certainly do not have the answers, but I believe I have at least paid my dues and have earned the right to offer constructive criticism. If we are going to win this cause, we need to face the truths you address and strive to be more effective.
New York, N.Y.
California animal shelters balk at humane reform
In 1998, the California legislature overwhelmingly passed a law to save the dogs and cats in animal shelters. We believe that the law––called the “Hayden Bill”––is a modest, thoughtful, incremental step toward reducing the killing of 560,000 dogs and cats in California shelters each and every year.
Before its lifesaving reforms were even given a chance to work, however, opponents moved to delay some of its provisions through AB 1482. While agreeing to grant some delays, the legislature wrote into law that, “there be no further statutory delay in implementing the holding periods established by the Statutes of 1998.”
Since then, despite public promises to the contrary, opponents of the original legislation have been gathering support to further weaken reforms. Four bills have been introduced this year to amend the Hayden Bill, two of which seriously undermine many of the most important measures enacted in 1998.
AB 2754 would repeal all of the protections given to feral cats in the Hayden Bill. Nonprofit organizations like the San Francisco SPCA and others would no longer have the right to take healthy feral cats from shelters and place them into their programs. Instead, AB 2754 allows shelters virtually unfettered discretion to kill feral cats and other animals they deem to be a “nuisance” by claiming that their release is contrary to “public health, safety, or welfare”––in the case of feral cats, even if they are healthy, steirlized, and well-cared-for.
AB 2102 would take away protection for dogs and cats if they are over five years old or have a mild case of upper respiratory infection, the equivalent of a common cold in humans. The bill also allows shelters to kill dogs within minutes of arriving, with no holding period of any kind, if shelter personnel determine that the dogs are “vicious”––even if the shelter personnel are untrained to make such a determination, and even if they are using a protocol that has not been proven to be valid. As a result, lost pet dogs––with no history of biting or aggression––may be killed immediately if they are just scared and mistakenly classified.
Unfortunately, many “animal protection” organizations are supporting AB 2754 and AB 2102, due to misinformation about what the bills are designed to do. They have been relying on a flawed study from a vocal opponent of the reforms––a study that claims the Hayden Bill is leading to overcrowding and results in the killing of adoptable dogs and cats. Information supporting this conclusion, however, was obtained from shelters that had not implemented all the Hayden reforms, were n o t spaying or neutering all of their animals, were impounding dogs and cats due to punitive ordinances, and/or were already experiencing overcrowding due to a steadily increasing impound and killing rate prior to Hayden.
Given a chance, the reforms enacted in 1998 will change the status quo and bring much needed improvements to California shelters, resulting in many more lives being saved. For further details, please contact me.
––Nathan J. Winograd
Law & Advocacy
San Francisco SPCA
2500 16th St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
I was shocked to read about some of the animal charities I have been giving to that do not support the no-kill movement and actually spend so little money on the animals we all want to help (whom I thought they wanted to help too.) Aren’t there any laws or regulations governing the activities of these so-called nonprofits? It makes me sad and upset, most of all for the animals. I hope you will print more about various questionable charities.
––Angela K. Scott-Gosnell
APO, New York
This is only to say thank you for sending ANIMAL PEOPLE. As English is not our language, it takes quite a long time (and big effort) to translate it. Then, before we can finish one, the next one comes! Seriously, ANIMAL PEOPLE is always an excellent information source.
We would like you to have a look at our web site. We are working really hard, with remarkable achievements in some places, and lots of trouble in others.
We are a no-kill organization. Eighty Argentinian humane organizations are now gathered in the Red Argentina de Entidades Protectoras de Animales Noeuthanasicas (Argentine No-kill Animal Protection Associations Network.)
Club de Animales Felices
Casilla De Correo 43
1431 Buenos Aires Argentina
ANIMAL PEOPLE was Wild Burro Rescue’s very first connection to the national animal protection community when we set out to save the Death Valley wild burros in 1994. Your encouragement and advice was invaluable. Support from your subscribers has been ongoing and strong.
This year the wild burros of Death Valley National Park are safe again. Late this past winter Wild Burro Rescue successfully removed 100 live burros from the Park, thus meeting the National Park Service’s condition for suspending their wild burro shooting program. No burros suffered injury or death during capture.
The 100 burros were taken to WBR’s temporary facility at Death Valley Junction, California, where they were de-stressed and received veterinary services including blood work, vaccinations, parasite control, physical examinations and health certification for transport.
Several very old burros suffered stress-induced anorexia, refusing to eat hay or drink water out of a tub. For two weeks Diana foraged the desert for natural food and dug a small waterway through their holding corrals to simulate naturally runing water. Finally they regained their will to live.
Diana is staying at Death Valley Junction with the newly rescued burros, while I remain at the WBR sanctuary caring for the 63 rescued animals here. We expect to reunite when we have located and bought a much larger home base, closer to the scene of capture.
Establishing a bigger sanctuary is urgent for several reasons. The present WBR sanctuary is crowded with burros from six previous rescues. The Park Service will not allow even very old burros, close to the end of their lives, to remain on Park land. WBR must therefore take all of the burros who are captured. WBR formerly placed burros with individual animal protectors under a lifetime contract that returns the burros to us if the placements, for any reason, do not work out. Several burros have been returned in this manner, chiefly because their guardians’ circumstances adversely changed, and we expect to reacquire another ten burros this year.
Finally, the dramatic increase in the number of burros the Park Service requires us to rescue each year to hold the shooting in abeyance, formerly 25, exceeds our ability to find quality placements. Rather than compromise our high standards for burro homes, we need to bring all newly rescued burros directly to WBR, where more time and attention can be focused on placement while the burros receive initial gentling and rehabilitation.
Diana and I are separated by 1,200 miles, while the number of rescued burros to care for is now up from 63 to 163––and will grow further as 25 burros who were pregnant at capture give birth.
Despite our separation, however, our purpose and commitment is stronger than ever. Many compassionate people came together with us to save the Death Valley wild burros from the NPS sharpshooters. Many more assisted WBR in providing lifelong care for these magnificent survivors. Now the burros need a new home.
Wild Burro Rescue
665 Burnt Ridge Road
Onalaska, WA 98570
I had an idea the other day about a way to deal with the extreme cruelty (boiling alive) endured by shellfish. There are actually two problems: 1) People don’t identify with anything that isn’t human or doesn’t look cute and loveable, and 2) People don’t understand the pain and horror of being boiled alive.
The solution to problem #1 is to recruit people who have been burned to help get the message out. People may not identify with a lobster, but they can empathize with another human being who has been burned. The solution to problem #2 is the same as the solution to problem #1! That is, people believe the experience related by another human being. They could hardly claim that the human burn victim didn’t feel pain (as they commonly claim about lobsters).
Your April 2000 cover feature, “The rite stuff,” was excellent. Too many people think that because it seems to them that organized religion is no longer viable, it does not influence our attiudes towards animals. Your article made clear that religion remains an important factor in the development of cultural attitudes.
P.O. Box 25354
Sarasota, FL 34277
Illinois Federation of Humane Societies and rodeo
March 16, 2000
Ms. Lauren Malmberg
Illinois Fed. of Humane Societies
c/o Peoria Animal Welfare Shelter
2600 NE Perry Avenue
Peoria, IL 61603
Dear Ms. Malmberg:
As you may recall, at the June 1998 Illinois Federation of Humane Societies meeting of humane investigators in Naperville, I raised the issue of rodeo animal cruelty to Dr. David Bromwell, the Illinois Department of Agriculture chief veterinarian within the Bureau of Animal Welfare, and later, to the assistant DuPage County State’s Attorneys who explained to us what evidence they require to prosecute animal abuse.
Apparently there were those who took exception.
It is now rumored that the meeting of humane investigators this year was held in relative privacy, with a very short list of people invited. Is this true? I waited for information which never came, and a number of other humane investigators I know were similarly not informed. I am concerned that my bringing up the rodeo issue might in some way be responsible for this, and that would be most distressing. If rodeos had anything to do with the meeting becoming private, this could be construed as a determined effort by the sponsors––the Illinois Federation of Humane Societies, the Illinois Department of Agriculture, and the Humane Society of the U.S.––to keep rodeo animals from being protected.
I have acquired a copy of your letter to one of the speakers at the 1998 meeting of humane investigators, apologizing because my questions put her “on the hot seat.” She found my behavior “reprehensible,” and you seemed to agree.
What I find reprehensible is that these people would appear at a meeting of the humane community and try to sidestep some of the worst cruelty that occurs in their county, including animals being shocked, kicked, and beaten.
I would like answers to the following:
• What is the Illinois Federation of Humane Societies’ position on the treatment of animals at rodeos?
• Were the invitations to the 1999 meeting restricted, and if so, why?
• What organizations sponsored the 1999 meeting?
• When and where will this year’s meeting of humane investigators be held, and will that meeting be open to the public? If not, what qualifications will be required to receive an invitation?
It is my hope that my concerns about the 1999 meeting are unfounded. I trust the Illinois Federation of Humane Societies will take a strong stand against rodeos this year and beyond.
If the Illinois Humane Care for Animals Act were enforced, these acts of cruelty could be eliminated from the Land of Lincoln.
P.O. Box 28 Geneva, IL 60134
Hindi has had no reply. The Illinois Department of Agriculture, charged with enforc – ing the Humane Care for Animals Act, is a sponsor of the National High School Rodeo, to be held July 24-30.