LETTERS [March 2001]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 2001:


Ahimsa of Texas tries really hard to table our unique spay/neuter ideas and tools at national humane conventions. We were thrilled to display at both the Spay/USA Waltham conference and the Doing Thing for Animals conference in Tuscon. Because Ahimsa is such a small group, we all work at least one full time job, and we have such a small donation base that we always feel good if we can table at two conferences a year.

Hence, I was excited to see that the Humane Society of the U.S. Animal Expo 2001 was in Dallas. I thought, “I live close enough that we could save on both travel and accommodations.” Imagine my disappointment when I learned that their fee for
non-profit vendor space was almost $500. If HSUS were really working with other nonprofits, wouldn’t it make sense to treat them humanely???

–Kat Chaplin a.k.a. The Neuteress of the Night
Ahimsa of Texas

1875 Ottinger Road, Roanoke, TX 76262
Help for pigeons

Your excellent paper ANIMAL PEOPLE is greatly appreciated. We are a charity specializing in providing humane and effective solutions to feral bird problems –pigeons in particular. We have done this for nearly 30 years. Our services are free of charge.

All of us also have other work in wildlife rehabilitation. I am projects manager for the CARES Wildlife Hospital here in Cambridge. For practical help and advice on deterrents and humane, effective alternatives to lethal control, please contact us.

–Guy Merchant, Pigeon Control Advisory Service
29 Victoria Green, Witchford, North Ely
Cambridgeshire, U.K. CB6 2XB
Tel / Fax: 01353 667230
<picas@nildram.co.uk>, <www.picas.org>
Reform AVMA, says Hindi

Does your veterinarian care about animals? Not if he or she follows the policies of the American Veterinary Medical Association, spelled out at: <www.avma.org/ care4pets/morewelf.htm#about>.
The AVMA Animal Wel-fare Committee is supposed to write animal welfare policies to protect animals from inhumane treatment. The committee consists of “13 members who represent small animal practice, swine practice, private equine clinical practice, private food animal clinical practice, poultry medicine, laboratory animal medicine, government service, humane or animal welfare organizations, industrial veterinary medicine, veterinary education and research, pet bird medicine, zoo and wildlife medicine, and the student AVMA.”
The AVMA does not recognize the rights of any animal, and has been a scathing critic of anyone addressing the needs of animals. Consider the fact that the fast-food giant MacDonald’s now requires suppliers to enlarge the size of hens’ cages, and to stop forced molting. The AVMA still supports both forced molting and tiny cages.

The AVMA “commends livestock and poultry producers, animal scientists, and veterinarians who have advanced the science of animal agriculture to the benefit of animals and mankind.” To this end, the AVMA supports raising veal calves in tiny stalls, on a diet with poor nutrition, to make so-called white veal; pigs confined in crates; calves fattened in feedlots where they are fed antibiotics as growth stimulants; and PMU farming, in which the pregnant mares are confined to small stalls for 6 months or more during pregnancy, while their foals are sold to slaughter.

Coca Cola ceased sponsoring rodeos after executives viewed video documentation of cruelty to animals in rodeo events. The same information was presented to the AVMA, and yet the AVMA continues to adamantly support rodeo.

The AVMA does consider steel-jawed leghold traps inhumane. However, the wildlife vet on the AVMA Animal Welfare Committee wants to change that policy. This is the same individual who advocated shooting feral cats as a solution to reducing their numbers. The AVMA policy document also states that, “The AVMA believes that there is ample justification for the prudent and humane use of random-source animals in veterinary medical education and biomedical research.”

And the AVMA supports the use of biological specimens, including cats, frogs, and other animals, in pre-college education.If you care about animals and don’t want them to continue to suffer, you must contact the AVMA. Let them know what you think of their heartless and hopelessly outdated policies. Tell them that condoning and promoting animal abuse is unacceptable, and that the AVMA must change their policies to protect animals, not harm them.

The AVMA may be contacted c/o Bruce Little, DVM, AVMA Executive Vice President, 1931 N. Meacham Rd., Suite 10, Schaumburg, IL 60173; Phone: 847-925-8070; fax 847-925-1329; e-mail <blittle@avma.com>.

–Steve Hindi, SHARK
P.O. Box 28, Geneva, IL 60134
Phone: 630-557-0176, Fax: 630-208-0562
<SHARKintl@SHARKonline.org>, <www.SHARKonline.org>

Editor’s note:

AVMA policies and policy amendments are proposed by a House of Delegates, elected by the membership at large. Therefore the AVMA is unlikely to adopt any positions which is at odds with the views of most practicing vets.

Until under 10 years ago, vets in small animal practice were a minority, as were female vets. Both small animal vets and women vets tend to be more sympathetic toward animal welfare. Today small animal practitioners have become approximately as numerous as agricultural and industrial vets; about a third of all small animal vets are female, as are up to 75% of the students at major U.S. vet schools; and many of the agricultural and industrial vets are approaching retirement.

The public is also beginning to expect more of vets–and to follow through when expectations are not met. For example, from 1992 through 1997 ANIMAL PEOPLE became aware of only 15 instances of veterinarians being prosecuted for criminal malpractice, of whom just nine (60%) were convicted. During the past three years, however, we have become aware of 31 such prosecutions, resulting in 23 convictions (74%).

Concerning the January/ February 2001 ANIMAL PEOPLE editorial “The White House and One Little Bird,” I would like to voice my discomfort at the statements of Harrison Lloyd, head of the Metro Humane Society in Birmingham, Alabama, re Gore versus Bush and their stands on abortion. Lloyd’s concerns about abortion causing him to vote for a ticket that is anti-animal and anti-environmental, and Lloyd being in a position where he works with animals, sums up neatly the reasons why Alabama continually fails to pass effective humane legislation.

Too many Alabamans fail to realize that bettering the lives of animals does not mean degenerating the lives of humans. Many dedicated animal welfare workers have left the field because of this ‘Bama way of thinking. Most Alabamans seem to constantly juggle the pros and cons of animal versus human rights. As a former animal welfare worker in Alabama, I have actually heard the memorable statement, “Well, if animals get rights, they might end up voting.” If that were to happen, ol’ George W. and his cronies would never be able to reach the White House.
–Mary Mansour
Point Clear, Alabama
Cows, geese

In your otherwise thoughtful review of Sacred Cows & Golden Geese, by Ray and Jean Swingle Greek, you wrote that “Whenever a more effective method of pursuing a particular type of investigation has evolved, animal research in that pursuit has dwindled.” I wish that were true, but there are just so many examples to the contrary.

There have been excellent and rigorous scientific studies of maternal deprivation since the 1940s, and that has not stopped millions of dollars worth of research in that area with primates–the University of Washington being one of the main centers for these protocols.

There have been huge cohorts of human volunteers for several protocols involving the proposed AIDS vaccine, and that hasn’t ended the use of primates for these tests. In some cases what you claim is true, but the generalization is not.
–Wayne Johnson, Ph.D.
Seattle, Washington
No comparison

You made my day with your kind words about our spay project surgeries! But the Connecticut Humane Society is not even in a class with us, as they are probably reporting the total number of animals spayed before adoption at their four shelters, along with helping some pet owners who can’t afford it, and they ask for fee help.

They grant, as I understand it, a variable amount toward the spay fee, and then may cover only a few shots, whereas we identify needy low-income owners and then pay 100% of all tests, all shots, surgery, and other treatments and medications as needed. We send home an animal free of all parasites, fully protected against everything. I think few programs in the U.S. match ours. All income goes for program; we have almost no overhead at all.

–Mildred Lucas, Foundation for Animal Protection
P.O. Box 5263, Brookfield, CT 06804
Phone: 203-775-3954

We pointed out on page 13 of our January/February edition that the Foundation for Animal Protection, with net assets of just $46,460, raised and spent $112,057 to spay 1,033 female animals in 1999–which was only $51,000 less than the Connecticut Humane Society spent on all animal sterilizations. Connecticut Humane, cofounded by P.T. Barnum, has available assets of $55 million plus $14 million more in trust.

In the flurry of recent news coverage concerning the Humane Farming Association’s expose of cruel and illegal slaughterhouse practices at the Iowa Beef Packing plant in Wallula, Washing-ton, one syndicated article misquoted our national director and misrepresented our position.
HFA is steadfastly against the consumption of meat, due to our commitment to protect both human and non-human animals. For the latest update on the ongoing criminal investigation of IBP, please see our web site at <www.hfa.org>.

–Brad Miller, President, Humane Farming Association
P.O. Box 3577, San Rafael, CA 94912
Phone: 415-771-2253, Fax: 415-486-0106

The no-kill shelter from whom the San Francisco SPCA recently took over the night care contract at the San Francisco Animal Care & Control shelter was Pets Unlimited, also of San Francisco, not Pets In Need, of nearby Redwood City. The transition was mentioned in “After-shocks ripple from SF/SPCA,” in our January/February edition.

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