LETTERS [January-February 2001]
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2001:
As of December 6, 2000, I am officially retired, after 25 years as director of Calgary Animal Services. We moved into our new Animal Services facility at the end of September, as you reported in October 2000, and all is well. The Calgary Humane Society had housed cats for Calgary Animal Services for the past decade, but Animal Services took back that job on January 1, 2001.
I am now chair of the newly formed Calgary Zero E Foundation. Our goal is to end the killing of adoptable cats and dogs in Calgary. We have joined with caring corporate citizens in the hope that we can carry out subsidized pet sterilization for needy Calgarians, primarily focusing on cats. It appears that we will have sufficient funding in place to alter at least 1,000 cats in 2001. If this reduces Calgary shelter killing by 2,000 cats during the year, our per capita rate of animal control killing will be nearly the best in North America.
Thank you kindly for forwarding us Animal People. We are an SPCA located in Thames, a small town of about 6,000 people on the Coromandel peninsula in New Zealand. You have opened our eyes to what is happening in other parts of the world regarding animal welfare, and by that widened our viewpoint on our progress here: your efforts do
make a difference.
P.O. Box 306
I have a small costume shop. Recently I was called to do subcontract costume work for the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus. My first instinct was to say no, but the call came the same week that my cat Natasha died, and I
wanted to do something in her memory. I took the job, convinced myself that I was doing it on behalf of the elephants, charged the salary that the elephants should receive, and donated over 20% of the gross to PETA’s anti-Ringling campaign and to ANIMAL PEOPLE.
I know many others also run small businesses, are in a position where finances are tight, and do not have the luxury of always being able to choose “clean” clients. My approach may be a way for others to cope with this dilemma: accept the job only on behalf of an appropriate cause, and donate funds to an organization which actively fights your temporary employer. The job will be taken by someone anyway, so why not use the money to work against what the ethically problematic client does?
New York, N.Y.
Like all animal lovers, I am appalled at the Korean practice of eating the meat of dogs who die a cruel and tormented death. However, we should recognize that to many Asians, eating dog meat is no different that eating horsemeat is
to the French, or eating beef and pork is to North Americans. Traditionally the Japanese bred Chows and Akitas for food, as well as for work.
Sending letters to Korean officials and holding rallies against eating dog meat is unlikely to effect any meaningful change, I feel, since it does not address the reason why Korean men eat the meat of tortured dogs. In Korea, and maybe other nations too, many men believe that eating the meat of dogs who die a cruel and lingering death will enhance their sexual prowess and pleasure. The more the dog suffers, the more adrenalin will be in the tissue, and the greater the benefit to the men. The men who eat dog meat will not give it up because we find it barbaric: to them, their own pleasure comes first.
I don’t know what can be done to change their perspective. Perhaps educating children and young adults against dog-eating and cruelty is the way to go. Usually it is difficult, if not impossible, to change the views of the middle-aged and elderly, but children’s minds are open. Korean women do not favor dog-eating, in general, but Korea is very much male-dominated, and women have little influence. With the arrival of western influence in clothing, movies, music, etc., things are slowly changing, especially in the cities, so perhaps Korean women could help promote the idea that eating meat from dogs dying in agony is not sexy and does not improve male performance.
I very much appreciate that you publish the salaries that animal protection groups pay to their directors and officiers. It has certainly helped me to make smart-er choices in making my donations.
Animal Control Officer award
The Western Australia Rangers Association is proud to announce the New Millennium International Animal Control Officer Award. We know there are many people in the world working hard for the care and control of animals, and we
would like to honor someone special. The award will be presented as part of our first international conference, to be held on September 27-28 in Mandurah, Western Australia. Nominations are due by April 30. Further details are posted on the Information Page at <www.warangers.asn.au>.
The Western Australia Rangers Association is among the founding members of Compassion-ate Animal Control International, whose web site also just debuted, at <www.petfinder.org/caci>. Through CACI we and the other participating organizations of animal care and control workers hope to strengthen our international ties and share our know-how worldwide.
P.O. Box 334
North Beach 6920
Update on three caracal kittens
Your December edition has arrived and we have already had response to our guest column, “Apartheid and three caracal kittens,” about our battle to save some of the Kalahari predators from extinction. Action Volunteers for Animals
in Chicago sent a supportive letter with 200 signatures. That we get such support from people on the other side of the world is greatly encouraging.
As we wrote, the North-ern Cape Province Conservation Department laid criminal charges against me for transporting the caracals without a permit, and used this charge to confiscate them. We went straight to the High Court and the department was compelled to return the caracals to us at their own considerable expense. The bullying bureaucrats now find themselves in an impossible situation–and I am not in a forgiving frame of mind. If they withdraw charges, they virtually abandon any defense to my action for damages for malicious prosecution. Any attempt, on the other hand, to press the charges will oblige them to explain in public:
1) Why they protected from prosecution a hunter who tortured to death over an eight-hour period a tame white rhino cow, firing 16 or more shots into her during that time, yet they go to extraordinary lengths to prosecute a man who is
lovingly caring for three helpless orphaned caracals. The answer will then emerge that we publicised their failure to prosecute the rhino killer, and then did their job for them by taking statements from witnesses, handing the evidence over to the National SPCA and getting charges laid against the hunter for cruelty. (The rhino cow’s mate was shot by the Russian prime minister when he last visited South Africa.)
2) Why a racist and hopelessly unconstitutional law such as the Problem Animals Control Ordinance of 1957 is still being enforced when the Conservation Department knows it is obsolete.
Kalahari Raptor Center
P.O. Box 1386
Kathu, Northern Cape
ZA 8446, South Africa
Fiona Macleod of the Johannesburg Mail & Guardian reported on January 5, 2001 that the Northern Cape Province Conservation Department recently broke from precedent to release 30 wild baboons who had been caught for sale to
laboratories but were confiscated in July 1999 from the premises of trapper Eric Venter, of Vaalwater, who had allegedly neglected them.
Baboons, like caracals, vervets, jackals, and bushpigs, are classified as vermin under the Problem Animals Control Ordinance. Northern Cape Prov-ince Conservation director Greg Knill told Macleod that his staff is rewriting the law to
require that specific problem animals must be identified and targeted by any control action, and that nonlethal relocation shall be the preferred response.
Our campaign to suspend grizzly bear hunting in British Columbia pending protection of adequate habitat and completion of population studies is almost at critical mass. In recent months:
* Acknowledging that the hunt threatens tourism, the B.C. tourism minister in August 2000 asked that the hunt be suspended. He is now the new B.C. environment minister, but has yet to act.
* The Canadian government has issued recommendations to B.C. regarding our effort to invoke the Convention on Inter-national Trade in Endangered Species to prevent foreign hunters from taking grizzly trophies out of Canada. The B.C. government is considering its response.
* The B.C.-based Raincoast Conservation Society is running a billboard and radio advertising campaign, in expectation of a spring election.
To maximize the chance that the B.C. government will curtail grizzly hunting somewhow before the election, we must show that such action would be popular. Therefore <www.WildCanada.net> has set up a free link to the Premier of B.C.: <www.wildcanada.net/action_centres/stgh/stgh.asp>.
Environmental Investigation Agency
69-85 Old Street
London EC1V 9HX
Rabies in Guatemala
Hi! We are the Guatemalan SPCA. We are writing because we need your help in maintaining our 50-year-old shelter. Our economic resources are very bad, because we don’t have the support of anyone. Not long ago we tried to communicate to the World Society for the Protection of Animals but they didn’t answer.
Ave. Elena C 14-65
Zone 1, Guatemala City
A rabies outbreak in October and November 2000 that killed four people in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, caused Guate-malan health minister Mario Bolanos to order a poisoning campaign against street dogs. After humane societies
pointed out that vaccinating at least 70% of a vulnerable population against rabies consistently halts outbreaks, while trying to kill the potential hosts does not, Guatemalan health ministry press officer Lucia Dubon announced in mid-December that the government suppy of strychnine was exhausted, and that instead, “The ministry will provide animal protection organizations with syringes and rabies vaccine, so that vaccination coverage will be increased, and will not kill the dogs.” ANIMAL PEOPLE has asked Martinez to keep us informed of the progress of the campaign.
Your November 2000 article “Dog-shooting passé in S.A.” cited the Cape Town Star in describing “the outrage of residents of Sutherland, Northern Cape, at discovering more than 100 dead unlicensed stray dogs in a pit at
the municipal dump,” and stating that “The dogs were apparently shot with captive bolt guns by the staff of the Worcester SPCA, upon request of Sutherland municipality.” The dogs were not killed by SPCA staff.
The SPCA Worcester was only present to ensure that the killing was done properly. The SPCA presence was requested by the municipality. The killing was carried out by a person authorised by the South African Veterinary Council–who was also charged with ensuring that the dead animals were buried properly. No dead animals were left
in a pit, as was alleged, but all were buried in a communal grave.
SPCA of South Africa
P.O. Box 1320
Gauteng, South Africa
I am a veterinarian practicing in Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka we faced the same problem of public officials wanting to kill dogs because of the money to be made by doing it. Fortunately the regional director of health gave us permission to give contraceptive injections of depo-provera to dogs, together with antirabies vaccination. This is very economical as one depo-provera vial costing about $l.00 can be used to prevent three female dogs from having litters. A 50 milligram intramuscular injection is enough.
My mother and I donated the injections used in our own city last March. Now Colombo Municipality (our national capital) is using the contraceptive injections too.
Using an injectible contraceptive has lots of advantages. For instance, it can be given with vaccination; it reduces the cost of anti-rabies vaccinations for future generations of dogs, since there will be fewer of them; and it is cheap. After-care is unnecessary. The only disadvantage is that depo-provera is effective for only six to eight months per injection, requiring that dogs much be caught and re-injected at regular intervals.
–Kala Santha, DVM
615 B Nawala Road
Rajagiriya, Sri Lanka
Rabies in Skopje
On December 7 a woman here in Skopje was bitten by a feral cat. The cat injured five other people prior to death. The cat was found to have had so-called “silent rabies.” This was the first officially recognized rabies case in Skopje in more than 30 years, so huge panic and hysteria followed. Making matters worse, the medical clinics did not have either pre-exposure or post-exposure innoculations in adequate supply.
The local government and the state veterinary institute formed a so-called Crisis council to deal with the outbreak. They decided to exterminate all homeless dogs and cats in Skopje by hiring professional hunters. More than 200 dogs were shot dead on the streets and taken somewhere. But, two weeks later, the Crisis Council still had not found a proper way to dispose of the corpses.
Meanwhile, many citizens also killed animals. Local animal protection organizations pleaded for a massive vaccination campaign instead, but it became obvious that the city officials just wanted to cleanse the city of homeless animals.
I am frustrated and helpless. So are many other people who love animals. The only thing I can do is vaccinate my pets and hope and pray that all this agony will end, and that a proper and effective way of dealing with this problem will be found.
Your December edition obituary for Summer, the pygmy sperm whale who stranded in June and died on November 21 in Key West, Florida, contained five inaccuracies: we do not know what her age was, as every report gave a different guess; other stranded juvenile pygmy sperm whales have survived over 100 days, though none survived longer than 153 days; she suffocated rather than drowned; she was not found near the remains of her mother (there was never a sighting of her mother or any other whales); and to say that her mother suffocated from ingesting plastic is to state a near impossiblity. Another whale was found a few weeks after her, but of a different species and 70 miles away. Where did you get your information?
Wildlife Rescue of the Florida Keys
P.O. Box 5449
Key West, FL 33045
The points that Arnold disputes were all mentioned in the November 1 Associated Press report, “Pygmy Sperm Whale, Survivor of Florida Keys Stranding, Dies.” Our obituary summarized that item. Rick Trout of the Marine Mammal Conservancy alleged in a January 16, 2001 complaint to the Florida members of Congress that mishandling by rescuers contributed to the May 2000 death of a female pygmy sperm whale at Fiesta Key, not long before Summer was found.
Trout & dolphins
Thank you for the kind words in your December review of my books To Free A Dolphin and Behind The Dolphin Smile. But you made a mistake in the next-to-last paragraph: Rick Trout no longer has any of the Sugarloaf dolphins. Molly
and Buck went to the Dolphin Research Center. Luther and Jake went back to the Navy. Trout filed a lawsuit seeking to get Molly from DRC, but lost. This is all in the book.
The Dolphin Project
P.O. Box 224
Coconut Grove, FL 33233
“Who gets the money?” compensation note #13 in the December edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE stated that, “Since 1998 Mark and Delia Owens [of the Owens Foundation] have done surveying for the proposed reintroduction of grizzly bears to the Bitterroot region of Idaho.” Owens Foundation executive director Mary Dykes confirms that Mark and Delia Owens are surveying grizzly bear habitat in the Selkirk range, which is the northern end of the Bitterroots and is part of
the proposed reintroduction area, but adds, “We are not associated with the reintroduction project. We do not have the resources to enter that arena, and do not want to be painted as being fully briefed on the Selway-Bitterroot issue.”