Letters [Nov 2003]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 2003:

Kitten in Beijing

I want to tell you how much I enjoyed reading your October cover
feature, “Four shelters serve Beijing.” The vignette at the end
about your son holding a kitten on a Beijing street and attracting
attention was very sweet. Wolf was using his act of holding that
little life to send messages to those who came around him. Wasn’t
that the most beautiful scene on the streets of Beijing?
–Peter Li
Houston, Texas
<LiPj@uhd.edu>

Ukrainian animals get newspaper

We are glad to inform you that our Centre is starting a
monthly newspaper on animal rights called Time to Protect Animals.
This will be the first such publication in the Ukraine and the former
Soviet Union. The project will be realized with financial support
from the World Society for the Protection of Animals. The pilot
edition of 5,000 copies will be distributed during the first week of
November 2003. The famous Ukrainian newspaper Vremja (Time), which
publishes 80,000 copies three times a week, is asking their readers
who would like to receive a free copy, and those who ask will get
our newspaper.

The first edition includes an article about WSPA and its
current campaigns, coverage of the international “Design Against
Fur” competition sponsored by the Fur Free Alliance and the October
14 awards ceremony in Paris, and items on stray animals and hunting.
We intend to hold competitions for the best poem, song, story,
picture, project to improve lives of wild, domestic, stray animals,
scenario for a cartoon, film, or video, etc.
We have already honored a poet from Dnepropetrovsk for her
wonderful poem about a former champion horse who ran away from a
slaughterhouse. The poem has become a song and a well-known singer
has recorded it for us. Now the song will be heard on local radio
stations.
If you have any interesting material you would like us to
publish or if you know about any competition, action, campaign we
could join in, please inform us.
–Igor Parfenov, President
Center for the Ethical
Treatment of Animals,
Leo Tolstoy Chapter
Stepnaya str. 23
Malaya Danilovka
Kharkovskaya Oblast 62341
Ukraine
Phone: 380-576-358321
Fax: 380-576-331-825
<cry@3s.kharkov.ua>

“Make it so.”

Know that I stand in awe of the work you have been doing with
Animal People. I truly believe we must learn to live in harmony in
the community of life that encompasses all life forms. The project I
am now trying to put together has that as its theme and purpose. The
information you have provided over the years has truly inspired me.
You and others like you have brought awareness and positive change to
the way humans treat animals. Please accept my gratitude for your
efforts and my wishes you keep up the great work. You are a gift
from God.
–Marty Hornstein
Studio City, California

Marty Hornstein, an ANIMAL PEOPLE reader since 1993, was
executive producer of Star Trek: Nemesis (2002), co-producer and
executive producer of Along Came a Spider (2001), co-producer and
production manager of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991),
producer of The Perfect Weapon (1991), and production manager of
Back to the Beach (1987).

Should horses go barefoot?

I was delighted to find your website. I am the wife of an
equine podiatrist from the Institute of Barefoot Equine Podiatry plus
I had horses for 20 or more years who were in horseshoes. How can we
get the message out that a hoof cannot work properly if it is put
into a vice?
Please visit <www.thenaturalequine.com> for information about the
barefoot movement.
–Stephanie Madaia
105 Fostertown Road
Newburgh, NY 12550
<horselover5552000@yahoo.com>

We asked Staci Layne Wilson for a second opinion. A
cofounder of the International Generic Horse Association/HorseAid,
Wilson is author of The Horse’s Choice: Natural, Low-key and Easy
Training You Can Do Yourself, currently out of print after selling
more than 250,000 copies, among many other books and articles about
horses.
Wrote Wilson: “I have always been for keeping horses
barefoot. Exceptions are if a horse is ridden constantly over rough
ground (endurance horses, for example); if weight is added to a
gaited horse’s feet to enhance the gait (I think the exaggerated
shoeing of Tennessee Walkers is cruelty); and if the horse has
really soft or brittle hooves, and medically needs the protection.
“Generally speaking,” she added, “pleasure horses and
weekend show horses do not need shoes at all. Horses’ hooves should
be trimmed moderately and left barefoot–that’s what I think.”

Turning veggie

I am sending this statement on “Turning vegetarian” by Dr.
Tom Heller of Seattle, who is my nephew-in-law, with his permission:
“A few weeks before Turkey Day I find myself turning
vegetarian, or at least becoming a staunch non-eater of corporate
agribusiness’s meat products.
“For years I have known the health benefits of a vegetarian
diet–less heart disease, less cancer, less obesity, better health
in later life, and longer life. I have been less aware of the
cruelty to animals that is pervasive in agribusiness.
“My intuitive sense is that there must be harmful health
consequences to consumers of mistreated, hormonally enhanced,
anti-biotic-sanitized animals.
“Further, having recognized the inhumane treatment of
animals as they are converted to food, I would feel a sense of
complicity were I to buy or eat these products. Were I to simply
rationalize that cruelty happens and there is not much we can do
about it, so just eat the meat, I would rob myself of my own moral
compass. What other forms of cruelty and injustice could I be
persuaded to accept?
This holiday season, let us not mistake giving thanks for
smugness and complacency.”
–Elizabeth Kantanen
Chicago, Illinois

Calcutta dogs

The September 2003 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE quoted Bangkok
city governor Samak Sundaravej as saying about street dogs and
homeless people, “Our city is not Calcutta. We must not allow such
an eyesore.” Friends of Dogs is proud that street dogs are found in
Calcutta still. Several local charities sterilize street dogs and
immunize them against rabies. We began more than 20 years ago.
Almost all of our members have street dogs as pets. We are proud of
our city, with dogs and all the homeless!
–Mrs. Sona Murshed
General Secretary
Friends of Dogs
1-A, Rainey Park Lane
Calcutta 700 019

The most active Calcutta charity helping street dogs is
People for Animals/Calcutta, in partnership with the Compassion-ate
Crusaders Trust, c/o 6/1, Wood St., Kolkata WB 700016, India;
<debasischak@vsnl.net>.

Excluding animals reduces religion to rote and ritual

For the past two years I have made attempts to connect with
my religious heritage. I have attended prayer services, spoken to
religious leaders, and taken courses. It has come as a shock for me
to find that with each of these contacts, support for cruelty to
animals–either through intent or indifference–was evident. Whether
it involved a glut of fur coats in a house of prayer, a dinner of
slaughtered animals, a plea by a religious leader to give to the
poor so that they may have “a chicken dinner for the holidays,” or
total indifference to the suffering of animals, I was always left
with the same experience of living in a world of different values
regarding animals than those of the religious establishment.
Why have most religious institutions not advocated the ethics
of animal rights? Compassion, kindness, respect for others, and
respect for the earth are among the most important themes in
religious texts and among the ideas most often spoken of in places of
worship, religious broadcasts, and religious schools. The faithful
are encouraged to make these values part of their everyday lives in
their relationships with people. The failure to apply these same
standards of behavior in relationships with animals is a glaring
incongruity and undermines the relevance and validity of the
religious institution.
A religious leader who hosts a barbecue, advertises
businesses that sell meat, and wears fur to prayer services is
telling others that kindness has no value, that God’s creations of
animals and the environment have no value, and that people should
engage in behavior without reflecting on its meaning or consequences.
Stripped of compassion and reflection, all that is left is rote and
ritual.
–Irene Muschel
New York, New York<Benirv@hotmail.com>

 

Fundraising and donor self-defence

Help from Thessaloniki

I have only now heard of the serious problems you have
endured in connection with the legal actions filed against you by
fundraiser Bruce Eberle. I hope it is not too late for me to offer
my small and humble contribution toward your expenses. My thoughts
and best wishes come to you for more and more strength and success in
all your efforts. You are already aware that I hold you in the
highest esteem and confidence.
–John Laden
Thessaloniki, Greece

What can donors do?

Is there anything the average donor to animal charities can
do to stop the activities of Bruce Eberle? I donate to as many
organizations dedicated to equines and canines as possible–not huge
amounts, but regularly. Through Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue I
became known to him, and he began to bombard me with appeals from
other societies, almost always with stamped envelopes, not even
bothering to change the type fonts he uses, and even seeking support
for tigers, lions, and other predators who eat horses!
I addressed a letter to him, pointing this out, but
received no reply. Then I read your exposes, and wrote to Jill
Starr, the head of Lifesavers, marking the envelope “personal.”
Again I received no reply.
In no way related to this problem, but only to inform you of
some wonderful activity, I am enclosing two recent newsletters from
Greek Animal Rescue. So many societies are doing great work out of
England–the Brooke Fund for Animals, the Society for Protecting
Animals Abroad, the new Caring for the Animals Trust, and Greek
Animal Rescue is one of the best.
My husband, who died last year, always maintained that
money used in Third World countries went much further to stop animal
suffering than in the U.S.–and certainly people like Vesna Jones
would never cause you such grief as Eberle.
–Elisabeth Arvin
Ojai, California

The Editor replies:

My personal belief is that donors should not even bother to
open appeals from charities of which they have no prior knowledge,
no matter who the fundraiser is, and no matter how much the envelope
is made to resemble an overnight letter, a telegram, or personal
correspondence.
The mere fact that you are hearing from a charity you know
nothing about suggests that you are being solicited by a professional
fundraiser, using a rented list. These are “prospect” mailings,
typically costing far more to send out than they net in returns.
The primary goal of such mailings is to add your name to a
list of respondents to be “developed” through further mailings.
“Development” is the fundraising industry euphemism for the process
many of us believe would be more accurately described as “milking.”
Often the idea is to massage the donor’s emotions as much as
possible, as often as possible, to extract as much money as
possible as fast as possible before “donor fatigue” kills the cash
cow.
ANIMAL PEOPLE believes that healthy donor/charity
relationships are based upon knowledge, contact, and service. If
donors restrict themselves to giving only to charities about which
they have either personal knowledge or third-party verification of
program activity (such as through news coverage, in ANIMAL PEOPLE or
elsewhere), and then only to charities that are promptly responsive
to requests for information or help with problems, there will be no
incentive for direct mail fundraisers and the charities they
represent to do seemingly endless prospecting, often spending more
of their receipts on further mailings than goes into program service.
The typical argument of high-volume direct mailers,
including Eberle, is that this modus operandi is necessary for new
charities, and those in unpopular causes, such as animal
protection, which annually collects only about 1% of the U.S.
charitable dollar.
Yet the fastest-growing animal protection charities in recent
years have been those that have emphasized publicizing their work
through direct contact and program service distinctly separated from
direct mailing, which they have also done–for example, the Best
Friends Animal Society and Alley Cat Allies, whose revenues have
each increased more than sixfold since 1996.
Incidentally, donors can do far more for animals by focusing
their contributions on the handful of charities they know best than
by scattershotting money every which way. A donation of up to $25 to
a charity that does high-volume direct mail will often go entirely
into further mailings soliciting more money from the same person.
Thus, if a donor gives $25 to 20 different charities that ask for
money ten or twelve times a year, the net benefit to animals may be
no more than if the total of $500 had just been trashed with the
empty envelopes.
Conversely, if the whole $500 went to just one charity that
solicits funds only the usual two to four times a year, $490 of it
might be spent to fulfill the charitable mission.

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