LETTERS [Sep 2000]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2000:

AHA mag is free

Your July/August 2000 article on recent happenings in Utah and Albuquerque indicated that shelters must pay for subscriptions to AHA’s sheltering publication, Protecting Animals.

Actually, we provide Protecting Animals to every shelter and animal control agency for which we have an address free of charge. This is similar to your philosophy of providing ANIMAL PEOPLE t o all shelters and agencies without charge. We provide extra copies to shelters which are members of AHA. But regardless of membership, we send every shelter at least one copy for free.

We do charge for participation in our professional training events and workshops. But we provide a scholarship for every training event we hold, and the application process is not burdensome. We also offer special scholarships to people who provide animal care and control on Native American reservations.

We are always seeking funding to keep our training events and workshops as inexpensive as possible.

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Editorial: Introducing a different needle

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2000:

A gathering of moment to the future of humane activism on behalf of dogs, cats,
and wildlife occurred on stage at Bentley College in Waltham, Massachusetts, on July 8,
brought together by Esther Mechler of Spay/USA.
Meeting for the first time––with animal advocates and with each other––were
immunosterilant researchers Richard Fayrer-Hoskins, Ph.D., of the University of Georgia;
Terry Nett, Ph.D., of Colorado State University; and Stephen Boyle, Ph.D., of the VirginiaMaryland
Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.
University of Florida at Gainesville researcher Julie Levy, DVM, founder of
Operation Catnip, made the introductions. Operation Catnip surgically sterilized 1,575 feral
cats in its first year, Levy explained, and then picked up the pace. It is an all-volunteer project,
depending like thousands of others on donated resources. It can do more than most
because Levy herself is a veterinarian. But like everyone else, she must earn a living. There
are limits to the number of cats she can fix, even when others catch the cats, return them to
their habitat after surgery, and monitor their well-being for the rest of their lives.
As a vet, Levy continued, she soon realized surgical sterilzation is an awkward and
expensive stopgap. Surgery works, having hugely reduced unwanted animal births and animal
control killing wherever it has been made affordable. But surgery still takes more veterinary
time, training, and equipment than many places have to offer.

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China, Japan, Korea vary their pitch on bear-bile tapping, whaling, & dog-eating

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2000:

– –Challenging animal advocates with an
array of both overt and covert strategies, the
government of Japan in July took the offensive
in a decade-long effort to reopen commercial
whaling, the government of Korea
turned defensive about dog-and-cat-eating
after denial and dismissal got nowhere, and
China may have tried to quell growing global
outrage over tapping 7,000 live bears’ stomachs
to extract bile by handing the Animals
Asia Foundation a “victory” that may be
more of a Trojan Horse.
Activists around the world cheered
a July 23 joint announcement by AAF
founder Jill Robinson, Huang Jian Hua of the
China Wildlife Conservation Association,
and the Sichuan Forestry Department that 500
Asiatic black bears will be retired from the
247 Sichuan bear bile farms during the next
five years, to spend the rest of their lives at a
sanctuary to be created by AAF and the two
Chinese agencies near the city of Ziyang.
“As one can expect, the living conditions
in these bear bile farms are often disturbing.
There is a pressing need for us to
rescue the bears,” Huang told Reuters.
Added Robinson, to Chloe Lai of
the South China Morning Post, “This is not
just about rescue. It is about the future elimination
of bear farming across Asia, and a significant
and permanent turnaround in the protection
of one of the most endangered species
of animal.”
That was a bold spin to put on it,
since as big as the deal is, it still amounts to
receiving only two bears per active bile farm,
who may be at the ends of their usually brief
productive lifespans. The farms are tapping
an average of 28 bears each. The price of bile
has meanwhile fallen 90% in 10 years,
according to Reuters, due to “the advent of
synthetic bear bile and greater awareness of
the inhumane method of harvesting.”
Chinese entrepreneurs reportedly
copied their techniques of bear bile farming
from North Korea––and bootlegged bile
imports from economically desperate North
Korea could also be a factor in the Chinese
bear bile price slump.
A July 20 report from Seoul by
Roger Dean du Mars of the South China
Morning Post hinted that the illegal export of
poached bear parts from South Korea may
have something to do with it as well.
As many as 2,500 Chinese bile farm bears are believed to have died from infections or been killed for their paws, claws, pelts, meat, and bones in recent years, while about 230 bile farms have reportedly folded.

Bears tapped for bile frequently become severely infected from the abdominal wounds where the collection tubes are inserted, according to Robinson’s past statements and descriptions ANIMAL PEOPLE has received from Chinese witnesses. Giving 500 retired and possibly gravely ill bears to opponents of bear bile farming could enable AAS et al to establish an effective public exhibition of the cruelty involved––or it could enable the bile farmers to escape financial liabilities, tie up AAS’ resources, and set AAS up for scathing denunciation when, inevitably, infected bears die.

A guarded view seemed prudent after London Daily Telegraph Beijing correspondent David Rennie reported that Fan Zhiyong, chief of the Chinese delegation to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, said he hoped to lift the present global ban on traffic in Asian bear parts, so that China can sell a stockpiled surplus of bile and other products taken from bears to Japan and South Korea. Fan Zhiyong later denied only mentioning Japan and Korea.

Robinson told Rennie that AAS agreed to accept the 500 bears “on the understanding that the central authorities have approved the long-term goal of eliminating bear farming.”

But a World Society for the Protection of Animals spokesperson countered that WSPA believes, “At present the [Chinese] government has no intention of ending this industry.”

Japan kills sperm whales

The four-ship Japanese whaling fleet sailed on June 29 from separate docks in Shimono-seki, Inonshina, and Shiyogawa to rendezvous at sea and kill 50 minke whales, 50 Brydes whales, and 10 sperm whales in the North Pacific.

Done for “research,” but with official acknowledgement that the whales’ meat will be sold, the hunt was the first open assault on Brydes whales and sperm whales since Japan in 1990 belatedly joined the global whaling moratorium declared by the International Whaling Commission in 1986.

Japan reportedly also plans to kill 300 or more minke whales in southern waters for “research” and meat sales.

The expedition defied a nonbinding resolution opposing so-called research whaling, ratified at the 52nd annual IWC meeting held earlier in July at Adelaide, Australia.

“This is really an aggressive move by Japan,” U.S. deputy assistant secretary for commerce Roland Schmitten told Robin McKie, science editor of the London Observer.

White House spokesperson P.J. Cowley told media that, “We have at the highest levels expressed our opposition to the expanded Japanese whaling program. We are disappointed that the Japanese are moving ahead with it.”

Cowley reportedly said that U.S. trade sanctions against Japan were a possibility, and would be discussed at a scheduled meeting among Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Japanese representatives.

Responded Sea Shepherd Conservation Society founder Paul Watson, “We will be pleasantly surprised if President Bill Clinton actually enforces U.S. law to protect whales. Seven years of political accommodation and compromise by the Clinton administration has led the world and the whales to this pass.”

Watson pointed out that just before the IWC met, a senior campaign worker for U.S. Vice President and Presidential candidate Albert Gore “told [U.S. Citizens Against Whaling founder Sandra Abels] that the Vice President would be in favor of eliminating the global whaling ban so that whaling could be ‘better regulated.’”

Gore retreated from that position after the remarks to Abels hit the Internet. Watson recalled, however, that Gore as far back as October 1993 pledged to then-Norwegian prime minister Gro Brundtland that the Clinton administration would cooperate with Norway, and by implication Japan as well, to “complete all aspects of the Revised Management Scheme,” the protocol for setting whaling quotas which must be approved by the IWC before legal commercial whaling can resume.

In Adelaide, 10 nations formerly opposed to whaling, including Sweden, South Africa, Ireland, Mexico, and the Netherlands joined with Japan and allies to expedite the approval of a final draft of the RMS. If the draft is ratified, as expected, at an intercessional meeting set for February 2001, commercial whaling could resume as early as July 2001, after the 53rd annual IWC meeting, which is to be held in London.

Japanese clout was evident throughout the four-day Adelaide meeting, as on July 4 Japan won just enough votes to block a motion from Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S. to create a South Pacific Whale Sanctuary. This, in effect, would have forbidden any high-seas whaling in the southern hemisphere. Needing a 75% majority, the motion fell short, 18-11, with four abstentions and two IWC member nations absent.

One of the swing votes was cast by the Caribbean nation of Dominica, population 70,000. Dominica environment minister Atherton Martin then resigned, saying that being “held to ransom by Japan, in return for promises of aid” was “undignified, unacceptable, and must be resisted.”

Dogs and cats

Dog meat eaters including some of the most influential figures in the Korean mass media meanwhile struggled throughout the summer to portray opposition to dog-and-cateating as just a manifestation of western ethnic intolerance.

Traditionally that approach has worked––but unlike 15 to 20 years ago, when dog-and-cat-eating were fought mainly by the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the World Society for the Protection of Animals, the opposition now comes chiefly from the fast-growing but economically challenged Korean animal protection movement. Korean Animal Protection Society founder Sunnan Kum and her younger sister, International Aid for Korean Animals founder Kyenan Kum, are leading the protests, mailing the literature, and producing the undercover videos confirming how dogs are slowly strangled, beaten, and blowtorched before they die to insure that their bodies are saturated with the adrenalin that the mostly middle-aged-to-elderly male dog meat eaters crave.

The Kum sisters are also testifying from direct observation about how cats are boiled alive to make a tonic favored by aging Korean women.

The growing weight of evidence that these practices are not accepted even by most Koreans––who until recently have had no political authority––has forced Korean representatives into a defensive posture.

“A protest against Korean dog and cat eating held on June 29 at the United Nations building in New York City elicited an apparent staged counter-demonstration by the South Korean Consulate,” Companion Animal Network founder Garo Alexanian told ANIMAL PEOPLE.

But Alexanian and others who described the scene to ANIMAL PEOPLE were more anxious about possible covert disruption than by attempts to play the race-and-culture card.

Concern about sabotage surfaced when a frequent participant in New York City animal rights events, identified by acquaintances as Bobby Flowers, age unknown, circulated among the June 29 protesters and bystanders claiming to have beaten his cat to death over a week’s time earlier in the month.

What to do about Flowers became a topic of heated discussion both during the day and on the Internet throughout the next several weeks. The American SPCA, responsible for cruelty investigations in New York City, reportedly interviewed Flowers at his home. Informed close observers told ANIMAL PEOPLE that in absence of physical evidence, cruelty charges probably could not be laid.

The Flowers incident was a distraction, but did not cost Kyenan Kum et al any momentum.

“On July 1,” she wrote, “we held another demonstration in downtown Flushing, where the largest Korean population in the U.S. is found. Hundreds of people signed our petitions and took our literature. Three young Korean women from Flushing offered to start a chapter of IAKA in Flushing and table for us. At the height of our rallies on both days,” Kyenan Kum confirmed, “a Korean group claiming to love dogs but accusing us of harming Korean people were forced by the police to leave when they began harrassing us.”

“On July 9 in downtown Seoul, South Korean,” Kyenan Kum continued, “Sunnan Kum [her sister] and 50 members of the Korean Animal Protection Society [ w h i c h Sunnan founded] led a demonstration, joined by three members of the Anti-Dog Meat Headquarters, six people representing Citizens Forum to Prevent Cruelty to Animals, and six dogs.”

Sympathy protests were held in many other cities around the U.S. and Canada, while Czech activist Petr Hejl amplified an Internet appeal for a boycott of Korean goods.

Victory in Korea is still nowhere in sight, but Thai officials are reportedly using the momentum of the campaign to help them curtail dog slaughter. Most Thais are Buddhists, many of them vegetarians, to whom dog-eating is abhorent. However, Thailand is also a very poor nation, with a strong tradition of cultural tolerance. This has created a national dilemna over the past 25 years, as relatively well-educated and affluent ethnic Chinese refugees from Vietnam settled in the northern provinces, introduced dog-eating, and started a lucrative export industry, selling as many as 500 dog pelts per week to China, and selling the dogs’ frozen meat to Korea.

On July 6, Sakhon Nakhon province public relations officer Ruksit Wadayotha announced a public education campaign meant to show residents that, “dogs are pets, not food.”

Ten days later, Thai foreign ministry spokesperson Don Pramudwinai told media that a new national anti-cruelty law is being drafted which would forbid killing either dogs or cats for meat, fur, or leather.

[The Korean Animal Protection Society may be contact – ed c/o International Aid for Korean Animals, POB 20600, Oakland, CA 94620; 510-271-6795; fax 510-451-0643; <ifkaps@msn.com>.]</ifkaps@msn.com>

“Dogman” says Kentucky officials need court-ordered obedience lesson

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2000:

Randy “Dogman” Skaggs, 48, founder of the
no-kill Trixie Foundation shelter, on July 10
bit 326 Kentucky county magistrates and commissioners,
70 county judge-executives, and
Agriculture Commissioner Billy Ray Smith
with a lawsuit accusing them of willful failure
to obey 1955 and 1958 laws requiring each
county to certify rabies vaccination, license
dogs, and use the fees to maintain a dog pound.
Skaggs warned the defendants for
more than four years that the lawsuit was coming.
Legal help from animal rights attorney
Katy Brophy and contributions of $2,500 each
toward the filing costs from In Defense of
Animals and the Animal Protection Institute
finally helped Skaggs get it underway.

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Drought, flooding cycles spell hard times even for vultures

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2000:


INDIA, MONGOLIA, KENYA––Among the most
ancient of living bird species, vultures feasted at the extinction
of the dinosaurs. Cartoonists often depict them thriving on the
demise of humanity.
But even the notoriously well-fed vultures of India
are in deep trouble now, in apparent indirect consequence of
drought and flooding cycles afflicting much of the earth.
Associated with global warming, droughts and floods
should be good for vultures, littering the land with carrion.
But Bombay Natural History Society chief scientist
Vibhu Prakash reports that the total numbers of the four main
Indian vulture species are down by 97% since 1990. The
Kanpur population has dropped from 4,000 to as few as eight.
At Keoladeo National Park in Bharatpur, there were
2,000 resident vultures in 1986. Only 150 nesting pairs
remained by 1997. This year only eight vultures have even visited
Keoladeo––and none nested.

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From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2000:

John Aspinall, 74, died from cancer on June 29 in London. The illegitimate son of a British Army officer, born in India to a British mother, Aspinall had “two great loves––wild animals and gambling,” recalled BBC News. “He started gambling while a student at Oxford University,” following three years in the Royal Marines, the BBC continued. Added Warren Hoge of The New York Times, “On the day of his final exams, he feigned illness and went to the Gold Cup at Ascot instead. He consequently never earned a degree, but he did bet on the right horse and his professional life was launched.” Known for outrageously sexist and racist remarks, and for frequent expressions of general misanthropy, Aspinall nonetheless quickly befriended almost every animal or human he considered worth his while. He ran an ever-moving illegal gambling club from circa 1955 until a 1958 police raid nabbed so many well-connected players that the outcome was the legalization of casino games. With his winnings Aspinall acquired a Capuchin monkey, a tiger who killed a neighborhood dog during a 1957 walk, and two Himalayan bears. He then financed Howlett’s, his first zoo, with the profits from the Clermont Club, a high-toned casino he opened in 1962. He sold the Clermont Club in 1972, using the proceeds to start the 275- acre Port Lympne Zoo near Folkestone.

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From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2000:

Ganesha, India’s oldest domesticated
elephant, whose age was variously estimated
at 72, 78, and 79, died on June 29 at the
Mysore Zoo. She was captured in 1948 for
then-Mysore Maharaja Sri Jayachamarajendra
Wodeyar. He donated her to the zoo in 1951.
Sukanta, 12, a white Bengal tiger,
on July 29 became the 13th tiger in less than a
month to die of uncertain cause at the Nandankanan
Zoo in Bhubaneswar. The deaths
brought an investigation by the Supreme Court
of India, expanding into a broader probe into
the deaths of 221 lions and 366 tigers at Indian
zoos and wildlife parks during the past five
years. The Nandankanan tiger deaths have
been variously blamed on the fly-carried bacterial
disease trypanosomiasis, bad food, and
bad veterinary drugs. The zoo has bred more
than 300 tigers in captivity since 1967, 123 of
them white, and still has 43, including 18
white tigers.

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BOOKS: Framework for Understanding Poverty

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2000:


Framework for Understanding Poverty
by Ruby K. Payne, Ph. D.
RFT Publishing Co. , 1998. 232 pages, paperback. $26.50 includes postage.

A cruelty investigator once told me that wealthy neighborhoods were the ones he really dreaded going into because “you can’t tell those people anything.”

Whether you need help understanding the poor, the middle class, or the wealthy, here is a book with insights for you. Framework for Understanding Poverty was written in the belief that “an understanding of the culture and values of poverty will lessen the anger and frustration that educators [and others] may periodically feel” when working with students and parents of poverty. The “hidden rules” of the middle-class and wealthy are also exposed. The book demonstrates that “middle-class solutions should not necessarily be imposed when other, more workable solutions might be found.”

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REVIEW: Chicken Run

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2000:

Chicken Run
Animated feature co-directed by Peter Lord and Nick Park,
starring the voices of Mel Gibson, Julia Sawahla, and
Miranda Richardson. Aardman Studios, 2000. 80 minutes.

Burlesquing the World War II prisoner-of-war camp
films Stalag 17 (1953) and The Great Escape (1963), Chicken
Run features the laying hen Ginger as the indomitable prisoner
who is repeatedly hunted with dogs and thrown into solitary
confinement in a coal bin, yet continues her escape attempts.
Time and again Ginger sacrifices her own chance at
freedom to help less comprehending, less ambitious, and less
agile chickens escape with her. Each time she is roughly
returned to Coop 17 and dawn inspections at which unproductive
hens are singled out for the pot, as examples to the rest.
The TV comedy series Hogan’s Heroes (1965-1968)
parodied The Great Escape and Stalag 17 just for laughs.
Chicken Run is far funnier, to serious purpose.

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