LETTERS [December 2003]
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 2003:
I noticed that the November 2003 full page ad from Animal
Rights International asking the American Veterinary Medical
Association to adhere to ethical animal treatment did not mention the
AVMA position on tail-docking. Their policy is very “fudgy,” and
AVMA members dock tails wherever state law allows it.
The new American Assoc-iation of Equine Practioners policy
on tail docking, adopted in July 2003, protects horses against
cosmetic tail amputation, but not against all amputation. The AAEP
Tail docking in horses should only be performed when it is a
medical necessity or when it is vital to ensuring the horse’s safety
in a work environment. Tail docking should not be performed for
cosmetic reasons. To protect the health and welfare of the horse,
tail docking should be performed by a licensed veterinarian to ensure
adequate pain management, sterile technique and appropriate
aftercare. Tail docking should always be done in compliance with
individual state laws.
If European horse users can put full-tailed horses into
multiple hitches without endangering anyone or anything, how come we
cannot? You and I know what will happen: The person with a horse
who wants to be like his “peers” will plead safety issues and get the
tail lopped off.
Draft horse judge John Blaisdell, P.E.I. tells me that if
there are two teams competing in the ring with identical scores, he
has to chose the team with the shortest tails as winners. Where are
the winners here? The judge is weak, the horses are mutilated,
the handler remains uneducated. A dock-tailed horse proclaims the
ignorance of his handler and trainer. Blaisdell also cites many
cases in his experience where this totally unnecessary operation led
to infection and worse in the horses.
The new president of the AAEP is Thomas D. Brokken of Ft.
Lauderdale. He works exclusively with thoroughbred racehorses. He
has served on the AAEP ethics committee and educational programs.
The headquarters for the AAEP is 4075 Iron Works Parkway, Lexington,
KY 40511; 1-800-443-0177; or fax 1-859-233-0147. Email:
Prince Edward Island
More about the Wildlife SOS Dancing Bear Project
Thank you for the November 2003 mention of the Wildlife SOS
Dancing Bear Project.
We initiated the project in 1996 after an 18-month study of
the socio-economic status of the Kalandar tribe. As you mentioned,
the Kalandars are the people most involved throughout Asia and Europe
in training bears to dance, although other tribes do most of the
capturing of bears from the wild, and there are more Kalandars in
India than anywhere else.
We firmly believe that it is important to provide alternate
employment to the Kalendars to reduce their dependency on sloth bears
and other wildlife. This needs to be combined with education to
contribute to conservation in the larger sense.
Wildlife SOS learned that the younger generation of Kalandars
were already frustrated with the dancing bear profession. Their job
preferences included welding, driving auto rickshaws, operating
cold drink stalls, vehicle maintenance, providing overnight
accommodations to truckers, and carpet weaving. Our Kalandar
rehabilitation project started by offering the Kalandars a financial
incentive to employ themselves in alternate work if they surrendered
their bears and signed a contract agreeing to change their
livelihood. The contract states that if they are later found in
possession of any wild animals or wildlife products, they will be
To date 65 bears whose owners have accepted rehabilitation
have been rescued by Wildlife SOS.
Many of these Kalandars are doing well as indicated by the
constant impact assessment that we are running parallel to the rehab
scheme. It is still too early to say if the rehabilitation is
successful and if this will have a permanent effect in protecting
sloth bears in the wild, but we are encouraged by the success we
have had so far.
Presently Wildlife SOS also employs some Kalandars at our
Agra Bear Rescue Facility.
The kalandars are also keen to produce tribal art, such as
carpets, bags, and other accessories, as a cottage industry
supported and encouraged by Wildlife SOS. We are seeking technical
and financial assistance to help make this dream a reality. The
Kalandars also require schools and medical clinics, and again we are
seeking committed partners to help us start them.
Wildlife SOS is aware that conservation is only effective if
constant and continuous monitoring of the trade is vigilantly carried
out. Wildlife SOS is now setting up a dedicated anti-poaching unit
comprised of informers and undercover decoys to collect information
on any continuing illegal trade in sloth bear cubs.
We hope to obtain an anti-poaching vehicle in the next few
months so that it will be easier to assist the police and the forest
department with raids or to rescue cubs or ambush poachers with their
goods and weapons.
c/o D-210 Defence Colony
New Delhi 110024, India
Compassion fatigue survey
Do you love your work? Are you feeling stressed out at times
despite the satisfaction you get from working with animals?
If you said, “yes” to either question, we at Tuskegee
University’s Center for the Study of Human/Animal Interdependent
Relationships invite you to participate in our on-line surveys at
The site describes our research into what you and other
associates may be experiencing.
If you choose to participate, you will be assisting with the
development of a self-administered survey for people in
animal-related fields. Our goal is to help individuals determine
their levels of risk for experiencing work-related stress and their
The work in this pilot study is made possible by the
generosity of The Kenneth A. Scott Charitable Trust, a Key Bank
Trust. During the course of this study, we established a
partnership with Humane Society University, a program of The Humane
Society of the United States. To thank you for participating, HSUS
is sponsoring a drawing. Once you have completed the surveys, you
may enter a drawing to win one of three cash prizes.
Caroline Schaffer, DVM
Your November 2003 feature on Asian bear sanctuaries was
quite interesting. I am enclosing a photo of myself holding a panda
in June 2002 at the Giant Panda Breeding and Research Center in
Chengdu. It was my 79th birthday, and what a thrill!
–Eleanor Edmondson Collins
SPCA of Josephine County
P.O. Box 5045
Grants Pass, OR 97527
For the record, I personally appreciate what you and ANIMAL
PEOPLE have done to expose hypocrisy in the movement. I also
appreciate ANIMAL PEOPLE’s attention to issues outside the USA.
–Pattrice Le-Muire Jones
Eastern Shore Sanctuary
& Education Center
13981 Reading Ferry Road
Princess Anne, MD 21853
Thank you for a great November 2003 editorial–says it all.
I will send it along to others who may not have gotten the paper. I
was also intrigued with the evidence that feral cat numbers are
declining. So much is happening!
–Esther Mechler, founder
2261 Boatridge Ave.
Stratford, CT 06614
Nepal selling monkeys to labs
The Government of Nepal recently not only legalized
biomedical research on primates, but also decided to provide to
laboratories monkeys from the Nepalese national parks, managed by
the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation. Monkeys
will be delivered to the Nepal Natural Society, which is working
closely with the Washington Primate Research Center.
The latter is known for establishing overseas breeding and
research facilities where oversight is completely impossible and
information is very difficult to obtain.
Already people are catching and selling monkeys to middle men
for about $300 U.S. each.
Please help us fight this unfortunate development by sending
an e-mail to the director general of the Department of National Parks
at <firstname.lastname@example.org>, with copies to <email@example.com> and
–Lucia de Vries
PO Box 1691
Naxal Nag Pokhari
A lesson on the value of video
A now notorious alleged horse abuser in Tel Aviv is facing
cruelty charges because Concern for Helping Animals in Israel
provided video footage of his actions to authorities and got it shown
The accused bought horses cheap and resold them to cart
vendors, to spend their last days hauling vegetables, furniture, and
rocks from construction sites. Starved, beaten, and forced to haul
loads beyond their strength, many were abandoned on roadsides at the
end of the work season. Some were hacked apart with an ax, fully
conscious, in front of each other, and their meat sold as beef.
When CHAI learned of this, we sent an investigative
reporter, who crouched on the roof of an adjacent building for days
to film the animals’ horrendous living conditions, filled with
jagged, rusty metal and other garbage. Exposed on TV and sent to
jail, the suspect was released in a few short months, and returned to
abusing horses. Again, CHAI arranged to have the cruelty videotaped,
to expose the plight of the horses and pressure the government to act.
This was the first time we have been able to get Tel Aviv
municipal veterinarian Zvi Galin to respond effectively. Previously,
he and other authorities merely brushed off reports of cruelty. The
only time Galin ever called CHAI to report a starved and abused horse
was when a horse collapsed in the street and was blocking traffic.
Then he called to ask that the horse be dragged out of the way. In
this case, however, because the horrors were videotaped and shown
on TV and to authorities above Zalin, action was taken.
The horses, as well as stolen dogs the suspect kept in
squalor, have been seized and rescued. The dogs, who were
microchipped, were returned to their guardians. The suspect will be
charged with cruelty to animals, and if convicted, as we expect he
will be, there will be no second chances.
CHAI has asked members of the Knesset, the Israeli
parliament, to sponsor legislation mandating that horses and donkeys
be regularly licensed and inspected, that they not be allowed to haul
carts through heavy traffic, and that no one convicted of animal
cruelty ever be allowed to have animals again.
CHAI is also seeking funding to board rescued horses and
start a horse sanctuary.
To stop animal cruelty, we have learned, showing video of
the cruelty to authorities is the first and most important step.
P.O. Box 3341
Alexandria, VA 22302
Re editorial: Sheltering is pointless until the need is reduced
Finding out in Romania
It is almost three years since we started our work on behalf
of the animals of Arad, Romania. We have rescued almost 400 abused
animals from the streets and for most of them we have found new and
loving human companions.
We have come to this conclusion: we are a very small charity
and we cannot afford to build or run a proper shelter. Birth control
is the only thing that truly works. Therefore, we are forced to give
up our initial idea of building and running a shelter. Instead, we
will focus on building a small clinic and running a neutering
program. When we can afford to, we will start an educational program
–Claudiu Iosim, founder
310091 Blanduziei 3,
Starting in Minnesota
Great lead editorial in your November 2003 issue! In 2002 I
started moving the Lake Superior Humane Society from the former
emphasis on rescue, foster care and re-homing to prevention of
births. This month marks the beginning of a program designed to
provide low cost spay/neuter services to low income pet guardians.
Lake Superior Humane Society
P.O. Box 244
Knife River, MN 55609
Moving in Montana
Thanks for a great editorial on spay/neuter as the top
priority in stopping pet overpopulation. I will share it with all I
Montana Spay/Neuter Task Force
P.O. Box 701
Victor, MT 59875
Starting in Turkey
Most friends of animals start out sheltering strays,
protecting them from starvation, poisoning, or shooting. I agree
with your November editorial that shelters should be models of
excellence from the beginning. But starting out properly requires
financial support. This is the dilemma most animal organizations are
faced with. Shelters with bad conditions are unacceptable, but
leaving strays on the streets to starve or be tortured and killed is
not acceptable either. Sterilizing animals and leaving them on the
streets until they disappear somehow is something many of us can
The good models of sheltering in Turkey mostly succeed
through the cooperation of municipalities or through having personal
or organizational income to spend.
In the Aliaga area, the unsatisfactory condition of the
shelter has led us to implement a sterilization project. Partially
funded by the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad, as well
as donations from other sources, we started the S/N campaign in
January 2002. Within the Aliaga town center, its 20 villages and
two neighbouring municipalities we sterilized 165 dogs and 95 cats.
We have just started a new sterilization campaign, and in
November 2003 sterilized about 15 female dogs and 20 female cats.
Our most important success is in arousing public awareness.
We also believe our project can be emulated in nearby locations.
We recommend euthanasia only in very rare cases, when we are
absolutely sure that there is no hope for the animal to live. We do
not want animals being put to sleep due to the lack of space, being
too aged, or for any other non-vital cause. We believe that there
is always an alternative solution, which we really try hard to
develop. Every animal has the right to live as happily as possible.
Adoption is therefore critically important.
–Mrs. Hulya Alpgiray
Istikal Cad. #96-C