LETTERS [June 2000]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2000:

Zimbabwe crisis

The Wet Nose Animal Rescue Centre has formed a fund to help the Zimbabwe National SPCA in their fight against cruelty to animals left on the farms of fleeing white farmers. So-called freedom fighters are reportedly invading these farms, hacking dogs with pangas and cutting meat from live animals who are left to die slowly.

Vicious beatings of dogs were broadcast by ETV and CNN on April 21. We offer these updates on those dogs’ condition, furnished by Meryl Harrison of the Zimbabwe National SPCA:

• The black Great Dane suffered a perforated eye and eardrum. He has a fractured skull, and his right back leg will have to be pinned. He also has a panga slash on his back. He suffered severe heat exhaustion, as he was unconscious in the sun for more than 12 hours. His should recover.

• The golden Labrador is recovering well from the gash on his head, and is wagging his tail again.

• The ridgeback was also beaten badly, injured mostly around the nose area, but is recovering.

• There are many more animals in distress. It is hoped that help will arrive in time for them.

Wet Nose representatives are working with the Zimbabwe National SPCA to help these animals. Some Zimbabwean white farmers are starting to bring their domestic animals to their local SPCAs before fleeing the country. According to Meryl Harrison, the Zimbabwe National SPCA urgently needs to buy additional fencing, blankets, and other supplies to be able to tend to these animals.

Wet Nose is also trying to get some of the animals into South Africa, with the special cooperation of the South African Department of Agriculture and International Fund for Animal Welfare. We received permits to proceed in early May.

Contributions can be made to the Wet Nose Zimbabwean Animal Rescue Fund, ABSA Bank, Lynnwood Ridge, Account #9070261530, branch code 333845.

––Elmine van der Merwe

Wet Nose Animal Rescue Centre

105 Wonderzicht 536 De Beer Street

Wonderboom–S. Pretoria 0084 South Africa


Watchdog Report

I just received your 2000 Watchdog Report on Animal Protection Charities. Mama mia! I wish we had you in Brazil. Congratulations!

––Ila Franco

Alianca International do Animal

c/o 2535 La Serena Escondido, CA 92025

The 2000 Watchdog Report on Animal Protection Charities describes the programs and any program, policy, or administrative issues of note involving the 60 charities we are most often asked about. The price is $20.00. Order from ANIMAL PEOPLE, P.O. Box 960, Clinton, WA 98236.


Pets & poverty

I think you were right on the money in your May editorial about the role of poverty in causing pet overpopulation. Comparing poverty rates and rates of shelter killing, I found that as of 1995 the poorest 11 counties in California killed animals at almost three times the rate of the richest counties.

We continue to make good progress in New Hampshire, driven by the success of our neutering assistance program for low income companion animal caretakers. Total shelter killing statewide is down from 17,378 in 1980 to 3,441 in 1999. Killing per 1,000 human residents is down from 17.3 to 2.9––half the level of only five years ago.

With our dog killing rate now well below 1.0 per 1,000 humans, I think better preventive and rehabilitative programs can get the overall dog-and-cat killing rate below 2.0 per 1,000.

I’m working on a project in North Carolina that should soon yield statewide shelter killing statistics. Preliminary data shows a statewide killing rate of about 35 dogs and cats per 1,000 people.

––Peter Marsh

Solutions to Overpopulation of Pets

24 Montgomery Street Concord, NH 03301

Telephone: 603-228-6755

Fax: 603-224-3055


Bullfighting and Coca-Cola

During our successful boycott of Pepsi-Cola for advertising in bullrings, Coca-Cola promised in writing that it had enforced a strict policy against bullring ads for several years. This was less than truthful. SHARK has received photos from two bullrings in Mexico and a bullring in Barcelona, Spain, showing prominent Coke ads both inside and outside of bullrings. These photos, less than one year old, are posted at .

In March, right after receiving the photos, I sent copies to Coke with a letter of inquiry. On May 18 Coca-Cola consumer affairs specialist Cristi Fernandes claimed that although Coke has had a policy against advertising in bullrings for a few years, it was not “until the beginning of 2000” that it was fully implemented.

It is difficult to say at this moment if this is true. If it is not, if either Coke or Pepsi is still in bullrings, it is our burden to prove it.

We ask anyone traveling abroad to watch for any indications that Coke, Pepsi, or other U.S. advertisers are in bullrings, and to document any bullring ads they may see with photos, video footage, or slides––clearly identified as to where and when––so that we can expose them and urge them to stop. We believe that the biggest battle against bullfighting must be fought right here in the U.S. and Canada, which are the major sources of advertising and tourism revenue. When the bucks stop coming, bullfighting will die.

––Steve Hindi

President SHARK

P.O. Box 28 Geneva, IL 60134

Telephone: 630-262-9908

Fax: 630-208-0562  


Helping carriage horses in Edfu, Egypt

I have just returned from a week in Egypt, the land of paradox––where the glory and beauty of an ancient land contrasts with the present poverty.

I would like to file a complaint to the Edfu carriage horse inspectors, if there are any, about the care and conditions of many of the horses used in Edfu to transport tourists from the many river boats on the Nile to the Temple of Edfu.

Not only did these animals have to suffer the chaos of noisy masses of people disembarking from the boats onto the streets, but they had to suffer the intense heat of the day with temperatures above 95 degrees. Many horses were obviously tired from running on the scorching asphalt streets. Many were extremely thin, with their ribs showing. They were whipped unmercifully and some had open lesions on their sides and backs. Some were swollen and pregnant. These poor animals struggled to pull 5 to 6 people at a time in their carriages. I even witnessed one frail horse slip as she struggled to pull her overweight charges. I saw very little shade provided to these horses and never any water. Worst of all, I witnessed a horse struggling to pull her load because she was lame, only to feel the pain of the whip on her back. I am repulsed at the thought of that day. I attempted to notify a person of authority but received no help. I was told that I did not understand the Egyptian culture and their view of animals.

In the name of decency, is there anything that can be done to protect these suffering animals?

––Elisabeth Colville


Brooke Hospital replies:

Edfu can indeed be a frustrating sight. The tonga carriage owners are very poor people who are in direct competition with each other to find business from tourists arriving on the Nile boats.

The Brooke Hospital operates a clinic in Edfu with a team of dedicated vets whose skills are especially advanced given the level of veterinary training available in Egypt. But the clinic in Edfu has not long been established and so has not had much time to re-educating owners about animal management.

As we have found in other areas, building shade shelters and water troughs is incredibly difficult. The municipal authorities have repeatedly refused us permission to build these essential facilitiess. We continue to address this issue.

We are also trying to educate tourists, who overload carriages and sometimes spare little thought for the animals. We have produced several leaflets for travel companies and Nile cruises to distribute to spread the word. All carriages are numbered and tourists are urged to report the carriage number to the Edfu clinic if they feel the animals are malnourished.

We are doing our utmost to bring animal welfare to the forefront of owners’ minds but they have learnt their husbandry from generations of fathers who used the same methods. It takes many visits to our hospitals and many words of advice from our vets for the owners to heed. The problem is not cruelty so much as poverty and ignorance.

We have six clinics across Egypt altogether, and other Brooke teams in Pakistan, Jordan and India. The staff at each eagerly welcomes the chance to meet tourists and to demonstrate our work to ease suffering in working animals.

––Hannah Thomas

Public Relations & Press Officer

Brooke Hospital for Animals

Broadmead House

21 Panton Street

London, U.K. SW1Y 4DR

Telephone: 44-171-930-0210

Fax: 44-171-930-2386



Early-age sterilization in India

Thanks to the generosity of Esther Mechler of Spay/USA, Jeff Young, DVM, and his wife Janet came to Chennai in April to introduce early-age neutering to India at a week-long workshop hosted by the Blue Cross of India, which initiated the Animal Birth Control program in 1964. Young taught 21 veterinarians from Andhra Pradesh, Maharastra, Pondicherry, West Bengal, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to safely do early-age neutering, and to train other vets to do it.

The ABC program is now underway in all major cities of India, assisted by the Animal Welfare Board of India and the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. We expect that early-age neutering will soon become standard here.

Dr. Young runs three lowcost spay/neuter clinics in Denver, Colorado, under the banner Planned Pethood Plus. He has done more than 100,000 sterilization surgeries, including more than 20,000 on dogs and cats who were six to eight weeks of age.

Seeing the enormous potential of early-age neutering, we asked Dr. Young to go to Delhi, as well, to train veterinarians from the northern states. He therefore held a five-day workshop at the Sanjay Gandhi Animal Hospital in Delhi.

This program was funded by the Animal Welfare Board of India and the Rukmini Devi Arundale Trust. Rukmini Devi Arundale was the architect of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960 and the founding chair of the Animal Welfare Board of India. She held this post from the inception of the Board until her death in 1986, with only one two-year break.

Our chief veterinarian, Dr. T.P. Sekar, has done more than 25,000 operations. During the closing valedictory function of the earlyage neutering program, which was presided over by current AWB chair Justice Guman Mal Lodha, Dr. Young paid Dr. Sekar the ultimate compliment, stating that not only was Dr. Sekar an exceptional surgeon but that he had been able to teach Dr. Young many things during the week they worked together.

Any organisation wishing to send their vets for training in ABC or EAN may please contact us.

––S. Chinny Krishna

Blue Cross of India

#1 Eldams Road Chennai-600 018

Fax 91-44-2349801


Pet insurance

The Humane Society of the U.S. is now promoting Companion Pet Protector, a private health insurance program. After a $100 deductible, the insurance pays 80% of covered expenses. Not covered are pre-existing conditions, dental hygiene, special diets, parasite prevention, and treatment for congenital abnormalities. There is a $3,500 maximum benefit per illness.

In other words, only healthy animals are approved for coverage. Dogs must be under age 9; cats must be under age 11. After age 11 for dogs, or age 12 for cats, all coverage ends. This is not mentioned in either HSUS or CPP promotional literature.

I decided against insuring my dog. Halting coverage when an animal is no longer young is like stopping our health insurance once we are senior citizens.

HSUS receives “an average of $8.25 for each policy sold and renewed,” according to the fine print in the literature.

––Joel Freedman

Public Education Committee chair

Animal Advocates of Upstate N.Y.

329 N. Main Street Canandaigua, NY 14424-1229


No more bull in Hérault

After 17 months of struggle, the prefect of Hérault, a large county in the south of France, has banned the tradition of “the bull with the rope.” A bull was attached to a long rope in some villages, with people at the end of that same rope. The animal used to run in the street of the village for about half an hour, and was sometimes injured.

Now the mayors are furious, and threaten to keep on doing it.

Please thank the prefect of Hérault, via fax, at 33-4-6767- 6630.

––Claire Starozinski


Alliance pour la Suppression des Corridas

Boite Postal 85 F-30009 Nimes – Cedex 4 France

Telephone: 33-6-0348-5652

Fax: 33-4-6664-2297


Fetal bovine serum

I have done research into the animal welfare aspects of production of fetal bovine serum. FBS is the most widely used serum in culturing cells, tissues, and organs in vitro, in industry, medicine, and science. It can be used for nearly every cell type. Nations with facilities for FBS extraction include the U.S., Canada, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Honduras, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, New Zealand, Slovakia, South Africa, Sweden, Uruguay, Venezuela, probably Mexico, probably Paruguay, and possibly Spain, Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.

This represents an ethical problem because it is becoming more clear with time that both unborn mammals and mammal newborns can experience pain. FBS is gained from a bovine fetus discovered after the slaughter of the mother, and is obtained by means of putting a needle straight into the beating heart of the living fetus without any form of anaesthesia! In an adult animal this is an extremely painful procedure if done without anaesthetics. Worse, it has been shown that mammal fetuses and neonates are actually more susceptible to pain than adults of the same species, as certain “dampening” systems from the brain stem are not yet fully developed in fetuses and neonates.

For more information on this issue, please see my report, a summary of which is at the Netherlands Centre for Alternatives to Animal Use web site, , under the subheading “Documents.”

––Carlo Jochems

Department of Experimental Cardiology

Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences

Erasmus University, Rotterdam The Netherlands

Telephone: 31-10-4088029

Fax: 31-10-4089494


Underworld exposé

Congratulations on your excellent review/exposé of Animal Underworld, by Alan Green. Real investigative reporting is hard; so many just use old data and lies. I’m proud to be a supporter of ANIMAL PEOPLE, even though we disagree upon occasion.

––Eleanor E. Collins

Grants Pass, OR 97527

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