LETTERS [October 2002]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 2002:

 

Australian “aliens” in their native land

Thank you for speaking out against the illogical mass killing
of both introduced and native animals in Australia. It will be
beneficial for people with no understanding of the fact that animals,
feral or not, are each and every one the experiencing subject of a
life, to learn that Australia is being criticised overseas for its
callous attitudes.
An item last night on our national ABC Seven Thirty Report
absolutely bore out everything in the September 2002 ANIMAL PEOPLE
cover feature, “Aliens in their native land.” There was a big story
about the “plague” of kangaroos, said to be in “pest proportions,”
eating all the grass that should be left for the starved cattle
during the drought. Many farmers were interviewed, all saying we
need a vast slaughter of kangaroos, and that kangaroos are the most
prolific breeder, and that we should be farming kangaroos, not
sheep, without a single animal rights person included to even
comment that the kangaroos were here first and we took their land,
and they have come in to eat in the paddocks because all their
rangelands have been destroyed by sheep and cattle grazing.
This year the legal kangaroo kill has already been increased
25% from last year. The topsoil that belonged to the forests and the
aborigines and the kangaroos is blowing away. If the earth was left
unploughed and ungrazed, there would be enough dry grass and scrub
to hold the soil until the drought passes. It has been known for 100
years that the Australia inland has erratic rainfall which cannot be
depended upon, yet in times of plenty the paddocks are still
overstocked, so that in the bad seasons the earth is degraded,
cracked and eroded.
–Christine Townend
Leura, NSW
Australia
<CJTownend@bigpond.com>


 
On the spot

It is very refreshing to see someone write about the way
things really are in Australia, and put some of the alleged animal
advocacy groups who favor the wanton killing on the spot.
–Pat O’Brien, President
Wildlife Protection Assn. of Australia
and Coordinator
Natl. Kangaroo Protection Coalition
P.O. Box 309
Beerwah, Queensland
Australia 4519
Phone: 07 54941890
<austwildlife@rocknet.net.au>
<www.wildlifeprotectaust.org.au>
 
Accurate dog, cat, human birth ratios

For many years the Humane Society of the U.S. disseminated an
erroneous claim that there were 15 dogs and 45 cats born for every
person each year in the U.S.
HSUS no longer publishes these statistics, but has not
corrected them. Therefore, hundreds of organizations continue to use
them.
The number of humans born each year in the U.S. is just over
four million. The number of dogs born is generally agreed by
researchers to be about 8 million or a little less. This makes the
ratio of dog births to humans births approximately two-to-one, not
15-to-1.
Producing a reliable estimate of the number of cats born is
made difficult by the large number of feral cats, but most estimates
(using a variety of techniques) put the number of cats born per year
in the U.S. at 20-35 million.
Using a mid-point of 28 million, the ratio of cats born to
humans born is 7-to-1, not 45-to-1.
Animal welfare organizations, almost all of which actively
support spay/neuter programs, continue to use the outdated statistics
for their shock value, in an effort to persuade the public to
sterilize more of their pets. The goal is noble, but the use of
obviously incorrect information eventually diminishes the stature and
reputation of any organization publishing the false data.
Of even greater importance, these absurdly inflated
statistics are trusted by many organizations which have concluded
that the no-kill movement does not provide a viable solution to the
pet overpopulation problem. The use of outdated data has become a
prop for those unwilling to countenance the possibility that maybe
there are now sufficient homes available for all adoptable dogs and
cats, if the appropriate efforts are made to unite the homes with
the animals.
Finally, the continued dissemination of these old statistics
undermines the efforts of those involved in solving animal welfare
problems by robbing us of the realization that substantial progress
has been made over the 30-plus years since they may have been
accurate.
–Carol & Gary Stover
Sarasota, Florida
<cstover9@comcast.net>
 
Gas chambers

Your July/August editorial stated that gas chambers are on
their way out of use in U.S. animal control shelters. Wrong! The
gas chamber at the Craven/Pamlico Animal Services Center in Craven
County, North Carolina, killed approximately 5,800 animals last
year. Little or no attempt is made to promote adoption. There are
no plans to change to lethal injection in the near future.
Yes, sterilization is very important to quell
overpopulation. But what of the animals who are already born? Don’t
they deserve to live their lives out? The old excuse that there
aren’t enough homes has grown redundant. If so many animals are
finding homes through the no-kill movement, why can’t Craven County?
–Jean L. Smith
New Bern, N.C.
<catnip@aboutcny.net>
 
Rosenberg Award

The Bill Rosenberg Award is a plaque and a $300 cash prize
presented each year to a person under the age of 18 who has made a
substantial contribution to ending the abuse of animals raised for
food.
The award was established in 1990 in memory of a young
champion of farmed animals who passed away earlier that year. Past
winners include Kathryn Blomgren, Mike Markarian, David Berman,
Katy Reagan, Marc Freligh, Danny Seo, Ella Magers, Paul Shapiro,
Chu Hui Cha, Patrick Kwan, Nathan Runkle, and Erin Creegan.
To be considered for the Bill Rosenberg Award, please submit
to the address below a one or two-page typed statement of your
accomplishments to help stop the suffering of farmed animals. You
may also send up to three pages of supporting materials, including
recommendations from animal rights leaders or others who are familiar
with your work. The deadline for nominations is September 30.
–Patrick Kwan
Bill Rosenberg Award Committee
c/o Farm Animal Reform Movement
10101 Ashburton Lane
Bethesda, MD 20817
Phone: 212-696-7911
<pkwan@defendanimals.org>
 
Brach grants

Your September 2002 obituary for Charles Vorhees, brother of
Helen Vorhees Brach, stated that the Helen V. Brach Foundation is a
“major funder of animal welfare projects.” Although Helen Brach
created her foundation with the intent that grant money would be used
for animal welfare, she would sadly note that her foundation
currently is not a major funder of animal welfare organizations–but
is a major funder of human services organizations. The Brach
Foundation is not honoring the wishes of its creator, and animal
organizations, badly in need of funds, are being deprived of help.
–M. Susan Hess
President/Founder
Kindness Inc.
P.O. Box 7071
Elgin, IL 60121
Phone: 847-888-2750
Fax: 847-742-0461
 
Editor’s note:

Before Helen V. Brach was murdered in 1977 while
investigating a ring who killed race horses to collect insurance,
100% of the grants issued by the Helen V. Brach Foundation were made
to projects benefiting animals, reported Steve Warmbir of the Elgin
Daily Herald in July 1995.
From 1989 to 1993, however, animal-related projects got
just 20% of the grant money, Warmbir found. His expose of the
conflict between the intent of Helen V. Brach and the priorities of
the Helen V. Brach Foundation, however, seems to have achieved
nothing: in 2000-2001, the Brach Foundation gave just $581,000 to
animal-related projects, 12% of total allocations, and of that
amount, $102,000 went to zoos, guide dog training, and therapeutic
riding programs, for which humans rather than animals are the main
beneficiaries.
 
Live feeding at Chinese zoos

I am just back from China where I visited two facilities that
feed prey animals to predators.
At the Badaling Safari Park, five miles from the Great Wall,
terrified chickens were held out of bus windows as tigers and wild
dogs congregated. Then they were tossed out.
The Guilin Bear/Tiger Park was a nightmare. A terrified
buffalo was introduced into an arena, held with ropes. A
medium-sized tiger also held by ropes was brought in and the tiger
tormented the buffalo for a while, but was removed from the scene.
Then a really large tiger was let in with the buffalo. The tiger did
not have good killing skills, but did go for the neck, and started
eating the buffalo alive. The wretched animal was bellowing in agony
and twice got up and staggered away only to be seized again. Finally
the tiger lost interest and the buffalo started stumbling around the
arena with a huge bloody area around his neck. A truck was brought
and men with sticks hit the buffalo to get him into the right
position to be trussed in the bin behind the truck.
The owners claim to be preparing the tigers for release, but
where? They are all humanized and would present a real public danger
anywhere.
The worst thing was the glee shown by the public–including
children. I know this is nature but children were being desensitized
to animal suffering.
Sadly, most of the adults were already desensitized.
–Shirley McGreal
President
International Primate
Protection League
P.O. Box 766
Summerville, SC 29484
Phone: 843-871-2280
Fax: 843-871-7988
<info@ippl.org>
<www.ippl.org>
 
Editor’s note:

Actually, this sort of performance is not nature, and does
nothing to prepare a predator for life in the wild, where by far the
greater part of hunting is locating and stalking the prey. The
dispatch, by any wild predator with a chance of survival, is swift
and efficient, as a predator who is not swift and efficient will
soon be killed or incapacitated.
We have reported about the appalling performances at the
Badaling and Guilin parks, as well as others in China, many times
since 1996, when we received our first eyewitness accounts from
Asian Animal Protection Network founder John Wedderburn, of Hong
Kong.
At least once the government of China pledged to stop live
feeding, but failed to do so.
On December 15, 2000, ANIMAL PEOPLE asked the American Zoo
Association–which actively promotes exchanges of animals and
expertise with Chinese zoos and wildlife parks– to take a strong
public stand against live feeding in China, as well as in the U.S.,
and to refuse to aid institutions which practice live feeding. The
AZA acknowledged receiving the correspondence, but did not respond
to it.
It must be noted that although live feeding of large
carnivores at U.S. zoos has always been discouraged by the AZA, it
was common at non-AZA institutions as recently as the 1960s. The
last U.S. zoo alleged to have fed live animals to predators as part
of the entertainment was the Steel City Petting Zoo in Florida,
closed by the USDA in 1996.
 
Seeking WWII animal stories

I am researching animals and the environment during World War
II, and hope elderly animal lovers can help me. I would like to
hear from any person who lived through World War II and has memories
to share.
I am seeking contact with anyone associated with military use
of animals, such as dogs, horses, carrier pigeons, etc., during
the war, and am also seeking stories about animal mascots of
military personnel, as well as of veterans who met wildlife in war
zones, such as the Pacific islands and Asian jungles.
Among children during the war, did special pets substitute
for loved ones who were away?
Who was your favorite wartime animal star of the cinema?
Rin-Tin-Tin? Trigger? Lassie?
I am also interested in hearing from persons who lived
outside the U.S. during this time, and am seeking photographs of
animals taken during the war. Please send duplicates. I cannot pay
for photographs or correspondence.
Thank you,
–Robert J. Clark
P.O. Box 685
Collinsville, IL 62234
 
Corrections

One date was transposed and another was omitted in “Animal
Advocates lead in preventing hot car deaths,” page 7, September
2002. The convictions of Christine Hayes, 34, of Lafayette, New
Jersey, for reckless manslaughter and Paul Wayment, 37, of Weber
County, Utah, for negligent homicide, in connection with the
deaths of children left aone in cars, occurred in 2001, not 1991.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department successfully prosecuted
Cynthia Boot Binewicz for cruelty for leaving her dog alone in a hot
car in 1991.

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