LETTERS [June 2011]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2001:


Coke reneges on rodeo

Coca-Cola has decided to renege on its promise to abandon rodeos. I have had quiet discussions with them on this issue since their signed promise last November. All along, the idea was that Coke would take some time to persuade resistant bottlers to leave the rodeo arenas, and to keep peace in the corporate family. Now, apparently facing more resistance than anticipated, Coke has gone back on its word. This of course means that SHARK is going right to a campaign. We aim to make what we did to Pepsi support of bullrings look like a walk through the park.

The Tiger Video Truck is being modified to operate during the day. Within the next few weeks, the Tiger will ready to roll 24 hours a day when needed. Employees and visitors to Coke headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, will soon be subjected to unappreciated but well deserved images of the pain, suffering and death caused by rodeo, day and night.

Feel free to express your opinion of Cola-Cola to their chairperson, Doug Daft, c/o P.O. Box 1734, Atlanta, GA 30301; telephone 404-676-2121.

–Steve Hindi, SHARK
P.O. Box 28, Geneva, IL 60134
Phone: 630-557-0176, Fax: 630-557-0178
<SHARKIntl@SHARKonline.org>, <www.sharkonline.org>

Uganda SPCA

I have been working in the wildlife/natural resources conservation field in Uganda for almost four years, and also volunteer for the Uganda SPCA. The USPCA will open the Kamwokya Animal Centre in early August. It will mainly be a humane education centre, but is also equipped to do sterilization surgery, and provide other basic veterinary services. We will be serving hundreds of children, many of whom will be exposed to the concept of kindness to animals for the very first time.

For our grand opening, we’d like to have a well-stocked library with childrens’ books mainly on dogs, cats, and farm animals. We’ll have a TV and VCR to show animal videos. We expect to get adult visitors too, who are interested in information on dogs, cats, and livestock. We are holding a book and video drive to collect donated books, magazines, and videos for children and adults. They can cover any topic, as long as the focus is on animals, and they certainly do not have to be Uganda- or Africa-specific. We gladly accept used items. Please address items to me c/o the address below, at U.S. domestic mail rates.

–Karen Menczer, USAID/Kampala
Department of State, Washington, DC 20521-2190
Fur data

We were very pleased to see your April 2001 editorial about fur. We are glad to see you share our skepticism regarding the fur industry’s claim that fur is back. In Canada, the number of animals trapped for fur has continued a 20-year downward trend, from a peak of 5.5 million to fewer than 1 million animals during the winters of 1998-1999 and 1999-2000. Ranched fur production is steady at about one million animals pelted each year. We suspect that fur industry claims about rising volumes of fur apparel sold include everything with a bit of fur on it, like leather coats with fur-trimmed collars.

–Marianne Verigin, Assistant Executive Director
The Fur-Bearers Association
Phone: 604-435-1850, Fax: 604-435-1840
<furbearers@banlegholdtraps.com>, <www.banlegholdtraps.com>

102 Dalmatians

After we read Kim Bartlett’s May edition review of 102 Dalmatians, PIGS cofounder Dale Riffle and I rented the video. We were amazed at the pro-animal message throughout it, especially the anti-fur message. Like Kim, we were surprised that it was virtually ignored by the animal rights crowd and the Genesis Awards.

This movie, perhaps more than any other, depicted fur-wearing as horrendous and evil, something a sane person would never do. It was one of the most pro-animal movies we’ve seen in a very long time. We will add it to our video collection and will promote it to our
visitors. We also highly recommend Gordy–he is some pig!

–Jim Brewer, PIGS: A Sanctuary
P.O. Box 629, Charles Town, WV 25414
Phone: 304-262-0080
<pigsanct@aol.com>,  <www.pigs.org>

Genesis Awards

Kim Bartlett wrote in her review of 102 Dalmatians that Glenn Close and Gerard Depardieu deserve Genesis Awards for their performances. Actors do not receive Genesis Awards. The awards honor individuals in the major media for works that raise public awareness of animal issues. Actors do present Genesis Awards to the winners.

Referring specifically to the Genesis Awards criteria and 102 Dalmatians, there can only be one Genesis Award winner in each category. The feature film category in 2000 was dominated by Chicken Run. Our winners are chosen by a 17-member committee made up of activists from a wide variety of perspectives and experiences, including a PETA employee, the founder of Orange County People for Animals, a sanctuary representative, and others with similar backgrounds and experiences.

I agree that 102 Dalmatians has a powerful anti-fur message. But we did not receive one call suggesting 102 Dalmatians as a Genesis Award nominee–probably because of the opposition to it from people in the animal sheltering community, who believed the film would again burden shelters with unwanted Dalmatians. Of course the same could be said of Babe and unwanted potbellied pigs. That is why we let our diverse committee weigh the nominees, ending with a vote by secret ballot.

Bartlett wrote, “I don’t think a Disney film has ever been seriously considered,” but Disney has won feature film Genesis Awards for The Rescuers Down Under, White Fang, Mighty Joe Young, and Benji the Hunted. Bambi was honored as an Outstand-ing Film Classic.

–Gretchen Wyler, The Ark Trust, Inc.
5551 Balboa Blvd., Encino, CA 91316
Phone: 818-501-2ARK, Fax: 818-501-2226
<genesis@arktrust.org>, <www.arktrust.org>

Zoo in Sri Lanka

I have a sad story to relate from the National Zoological Gardens, in Dehiwela, Sri Lanka. The zoo had a female black rhino called Momella. In March of this year the Sri Lankan authorities began investigating the disappearance of a crocodile carcass from a freezer and the discovery of an elephant hide in the room of zoo veterinarian Dr. Alahakoon. She was also implicated, I recall, in the 1988 disappearance of a Bengal tiger’s head, which was eventually found in the zoo aquarium.

The recent incidents brought an inquiry into whether the zoo was involved in selling wildlife parts. Meanwhile, on April 6, Momella was found dead. An electric wire had fallen down. She reportedly died of electric shock after munching the wires. The zoo director and assistant director administration were transferred, but Dr. Alahakoon retained her post.

Meanwhile a local newspaper reported that Momella`s body was cut into three pieces, which were burnt. The death of Momella was considered very suspicious, and burning the body was also condemned. I inquired and was told that some parts were collected for the National Museum–but the Museum didn`t receive anything. I was told that the horn was reportedly buried on the hospital grounds. When the dust has setttled, someone with access to the location can collect the horn. I reported this to the highest authority, but have received no reply.
–Kala Santha, DVM
Rajagiriya, Sri Lanka

Sea otters

Two Japanese aquariums are seeking permission to capture northern sea otters from Alaska for public display. A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service survey recently found that the sea otter population in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands has declined 70% since 1992 and 95% or more throughout much of the region.

If the applicants are seeking capture permits because they are unaware of the declining sea otter population, this shows their lack of interest in conserving endangered wildlife. If they are aware, it means they do not care if the capture process puts additional stress on the already stressed population.
It should also be noted that the standard of care at Japanese aquariums does not meet the requirements of the U.S. Animal Welfare Act. For this reason, the U.S. Marine Mammal commission recently denied an application for a capture permit filed by an American animal dealer who sought to catch sea otters for sale to Japanese aquariums. In fact, Japan does not have any effective animal protection law.

Finally, of six sea otters captured off Alaska in 1998 and sent to three Japanese aquariums, two died within a week of arrival. Comments on the application must be submitted before July 14, to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Management Authority, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Room 700, Arlington, VA 22203;  fax 703-358-2281.

–Masako Miyaji, Elsa Nature Conservancy
Tukuba, Ibaraki, Japan

Bergen SPCA

I would appreciate the opportunity to respond to your May edition front page lead article, “Era of SPCA cops may end in N.J.” The State Commission of Investigation report on which the article was largely based correctly pointed toward several individuals who abused their former positions at the Bergen County SPCA, but the State Commission failed to note [unlike ANIMAL PEOPLE–Ed.] that we cleaned house long before the report was issued.

The Bergen County SPCA was actually prevented from taking legal action against those same individuals by the State Commission of Investigation. [ANIMAL PEOPLE has requested documentation of this claim.]

–Lt. Bob Nesoff, Bergen County SPCA
Law Enforcement Division

Dutch primates

Your May cover article “Primates Freed for World Week” reported a little about the Biomedical Primate Research Centre, in Rijiswijk, against which Een Dier Een Vriend has been campaigning for about three years. Our first contact with this place dates back to when EDEV co-founder and president Geoffrey Deckers visited it on a 1986 school field trip.

As you mentioned, there is now a coalition of animal groups, called CEECE, who seek the closure of this center. Campaign information is posted in English at the <www.ceece.org.uk>.

–Adrie van Steijn, Een DIER Een VRIEND
Postbus 93029, 2509 AA Den Haag
Phone: 070 383 36 99, Fax: 070 381 92 55
<info@edev.nl>, <www.edev.nl>

Success with feral cats

I wonder if anyone else was struck by the irony of two items published on facing pages of the May issue of ANIMAL PEOPLE. On page 10, the Saskatoon SPCA was reported to be threatening to fine the Street Cat Rescue Program forneutering and releasing feral cats. On page 11, California veterinarians supported by a grant from Maddie’s Fund reported neutering 82,000 feral cats in just 20 months.

All of the groups involved in these issues presumably believe they are acting in the interest of feral cats. However, it seems likely that real long-term cat population control is most likely to occur when community coalitions including animal control, humane societies, veterinarians, and feral cat caretakers work cooperatively together, rather than against each other.

The achievements of the Feral Cat Altering Program in California are unprecedented in terms of the number of cats sterilized and the widespread acceptance of the program throughout the state. It is now projected that more than 150,000 feral cats (more than twice the original goal) will be sterilized within three years. This group has set the pace for others dedicated to reducing cat overpopulation, and has revealed how much can be accomplished when a respect for life, community involvement, and a large grant are blended into a creative action plan.
— Julie Levy, DVM, PhD.
Operation Catnip (more than 10,000 feral cats fixed)

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