Letters [March 2003]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 2003:

Lion-tamers vs. dull accountants

Thank you for sending me your fascinating publication. I
have just returned from meetings in Kenya and a visit to Mount Elgon
National Park to find your December 2002 edition in my pile of post.
I enjoyed your editorial on “Lion-tamers vs. dull
accountants.” Having watched a number of organizations evolve from
“founder’s passion” into “professional institution,” I am very
familiar with that difficult process. Difficult, but necessary, I
would say, because unless the “founder’s passion” is enough to solve
the problem, the organization must outlive the founder to continue
the work. Finding the balance is the challenge, and I agree with
your conclusion, though I fear your plea will fall on deaf ears in
the case of those receiving salaries in the hundreds of thousands of

–Ian Redmond, Head
UNEP Great Ape Survival Project Technical Support Team
Chairman, Ape Alliance and U.K. Rhino Group
Co-ordinator, African Ele-Fund
P.O. Box 308
Bristol BS99 7LQ
United Kingdom
Phone: 44-117-924-6489
Fax: 44-117-924-6489

Voting blocks

I would like to thank you for making me aware of the National
Institute for Animal Advocacy training seminar given in Connecticut
last October by Julie Lewin. I attended, and was so impressed that
I plan to bring Julie down to Brazil to put on a similar program,
tailored to our situation.
In Brazil voting is mandatory, thereby eliminating the often
difficult task of getting people out to vote, and there is proof
here that people do care about animals. In Sao Paulo, a city of 20
million people, the city councillor who received the fifth most
votes in the last election has a platform almost completely devoted
to animal rights and the environment.
I have ideas about an economically feasible way to start
developing voting blocks in order to support the lobbyists who would
interface with the city, state, and federal governments, and
Julie’s visit would help to start this new organization.
NIFAA opened my eyes to the dynamics of power in legislative
chambers, the world of lobbying, and why there is no substitute for
a politically organized grassroots. I now have the savvy and the
tools to implement a system that will allow people concerned for the
welfare of animals to effect significant change. And, all as a
result of ANIMAL PEOPLE, because without your publication I would
never have heard of the National Institute for Animal Advocacy (P.O.
Box 475, Guilford, CT 06437; telephone: 203-453-6590;
–Debbie Hirst
Sao Paulo, Brazil

Have a heart for chained dogs

Dogs Deserve Better, Inc. is a voice for all dogs living
chained and penned outside. They deserve a better life. I have
formed this organization to raise awareness about chaining and
penning, in my own area and across the country.
Dogs are loving, pack-oriented creatures who want nothing
more than to feel as if they belong to their family. Chained dogs,
living the lives of prisoners instead of valued pets, often become
very territorial and may bite or become overly aggressive.
Dogs long to stretch their legs and their knowledge of the
humans they work so hard to please. To be endlessly chained by the
neck or imprisoned within four tiny walls is the ultimate torture for
a creature so full of life and love.
Some parts of the U.S. already ban or restrict prolonged
chaining, so it is possible to abolish this abusive practice.
We are working on as many avenues of education toward this
goal as we can afford. We sell t-shirts and bumper stickers that
send a message. We just had our first 5,000 brochures printed, and
got orders in the first week for 7,500! We are now printing 10,000
more. We ask everyone interested in this cause to help us get these
brochures into the hands of those who need to see them.
We held our first “Have a Heart for Chained Dogs” campaign
during the week before Valentine’s Day, publicized nationwide thanks
to an article first published by the Cox News Service. We sent
Valen-tines to chained and penned dogs who were sponsored by
neighbors or family members, mostly anonymously. Each dog got
a chewie and each caretaker got information about the cruelty of
chaining. We personally delivered more than 50 Valentines to local
chained dogs.
We have also bought crates to help housetrain dogs, and will
continue to do so. We would like to help with fencing costs for
people who want to properly fence their yards so that their dogs can
run. We would also like to mount a nationwide billboard campaign
targeting areas with high concentrations of chained dogs.
We will move forward, step by step and dog by dog.
–Tammy Sneath Grimes, Founder
Dogs Deserve Better, Inc.
P.O. Box 23
Tipton, PA 16684
Phone: 814-941-7447
Fax: 814-742-8679

San Francisco Zoo orangutans

Denny, the San Fran-cisco Zoo orangutan also known as Rusty,
whose obituary was in your January/February 2003 edition, was my
baby from age 18 months until he was more than 20 years old. He came
from the Chaffee Zoo in Fresno as a companion for our female,
Josephine, who was then three. He was registered as Denny in the
Species Survival Plan orangutan studbook, but the then-San Francisco
Zoo keeper said he was going to call him Rusty, and called Josephine
“Rita.” We never changed the names we called them, and I always
said they were smart enough to go by two names.
We saw and played with them daily. For a time there was a
sign on their grotto saying “Denny, donated by Mrs. Carroll
Soo-Hoo,” and as you reported, their daughter Violet was named
after me.
They were together for 20 years, beloved by one another,
but then the zoo decided that they had to be separated because Denny
was Sumatran while Josephine was Bornean. I stood at the grotto in
the zoo and collected 5,000 petition signatures against the
separation, to no avail. They sneaked her out before daylight and
sent her to the Philadelphia Zoo, as witnessed by In Defense of
Animals founder Eliot Katz. I never will forget the newsreel photo
of her pounding herself on the pavement.
I told Carroll, “I think my life is over.”
A couple of times I talked to the Philadelphia Zoo about her,
and they said how wonderful she was. She died there in the March
1996 fire that asphyxiated 23 nonhuman primates in all.
–Violet Soo-Hoo
San Francisco, California

Violet and Carroll Soo-Hoo, who died in June 1998, donated
more than 40 animals to the San Francisco Zoo between 1958 and the
early 1970s, but eventually became outspoken critics of zoo policies
that harm individual animals in the name of preserving species.
Often, they pointed out, the species are only being preserved as
zoo specimens, since there is little chance that they can be
reintroduced to wild habitat which no longer exists. The first
priority in maintaining captive animals, Violet Soo-Hoo continues to
emphasize, should be keeping the animals as happy as possible.

Caucasus leopard & Turan tigers

A campaign to save the Caucasus leopard was launched here in
Baku, Azerbaijan, last month, where fewer than 25 of the species
still exist.
The World Wildlife Fund says it plans to set aside reserves for the
remaining leopards in southern Azerbaijan, Armenia, and the Azeri
exclave of Nakhchivan.
I don’t fancy the leopards’ chances. In a country where most
of the population struggles to get by on $45 a week and pensions
don’t even cover the cost of bread, leopards are a fairly low
One of the reasons for their decline is that they can’t find
anything to eat. Impoverished and hungry families are eating their
traditional prey, including wild goats, sheep and deer. Those who
don’t starve are shot by hunters, who sell their hides on the black
market. And the handful that live in the mountains of Karabakh–the
disputed territory over which Azerbaijan and Armenia fought a
six-year war–are blown up by the tens of thousands of land mines
that still litter the region.
Even worse, the few remaining leopards are spread out across
the South Caucasus. Records suggest that about 10 remain in southern
Azerbaijan near the border with Iran, five to eight survive in
Armenia, and less than seven may still live in Nakhchivan.
They face the same miserable end as the Turan tiger. A
hundred years ago, Turan tigers roamed the Talysh mountain range in
southern Azerbaijan. But over-zealous hunters saw to their demise,
and by the 1930s they were extinct.
The bodies of the last two Turan tigers–one male, one
female –were donated to the University of Medicine in Baku 70 odd
years ago. They were stuffed and put on display. They are still
there–their magnificent fur with its toffee and chocolate-colored
stripes moth-eaten and torn, their teeth chipped, and their claws
long gone.
An apologetic caretaker told me it was a disgrace that the
tigers had been allowed to crumble away in this forgotten corner.
“They are the only two Turan tigers left in the world, and
students come and sit on their backs and have their photographs
taken,” he said sadly. “But there is no money to restore them or
even put them behind glass.”
God help the Caucasus leopard.
–Azar Garayev, President
Azerbaijan SPCA
Baku, Fisuli str. 53\96
370014 Azerbaijan
Phone: 99450-3125089

Veg scholarship

Thanks for mentioning our new vegetarian scholarship fund in
your “Events” calendar. This will be an annual project for at least
six more years.
I also greatly enjoyed your January/February coverage from
Moscow. I met Tatyana Pavlova for the second time there in 1999,
after previously meeting her in New York City once. She’s a neat
–Debra Wasserman
The Vegetarian Resource Group
P.O. Box 1463
Baltimore, MD 21203
Telephone: 410-366-VEGE



The photos used with the November 2002 article “South African
sanctuaries challenge canned hunts” should have been attributed to
Diversity Nature Animals, not the Kalahari Raptor Centre. KRC sent
them to ANIMAL PEOPLE on behalf of DNA.

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