Letters [May 2004]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 2004:

Whole Foods & Foie Gras

I wanted to share with you part of a
conversation I just had with an attorney friend,
a vegan. She mentioned to me how upsetting it
was to her to see foie gras sold at the Whole
Food stores in New York. I wanted to make
certain Whole Foods really sells foie gras before
I denounced it, so I took a cab over to Whole
Foods and what I found was a product called
Alexian Duck & Pork Liver Mousse with Cognac or
Alexian Duck w/cognac mousse pate. The words
foie gras were not on the package, but someone
in customer service told me this was foie gras
because it contains duck liver.
VEG News has on its current cover Whole
Foods CEO John Mackey, presenting him as a hero.
In the article Mackey states that he is a vegan,
lists the books he has read on this and related
issues, talks about his discussions with PETA
and other animal rights groups, and talks about
making farming more humane. Mackey says that he
is not the only person in charge of the company
and the company must listen to the demands of
customers who are now–as a result of the Atkins
diet and mad cow disease–demanding more high
quality meat.

How does a person who wants to create
change find an appropriate balance between the
world’s realities and one’s own personal ethics?
Certainly not by selling foie gras! There is no
way that foie gras can be made humane. Mackey
lists conditions to make the lives of ducks
better but does not address the basic mechanism
of how foie gras is created, which is inherently
barbaric. How can someone who has stores which
sell foie gras be put on the cover of a
vegetarian magazine as a hero?
Also, this CEO speaks of his knowledge of
the cruelty of factory farming and yet huge
sections of his stores sell meat.
I realize this is a more complicated
issue than foie gras. I understand change is
slow and that for many people making animal
welfare changes is the first step and may be the
only step for a long time. I don’t know what
changes and plans this man is working on, or how
long it will take to create change. But I don’t
think someone who sells dead animals and foie
gras should be regarded as a role model. Perhaps
when some of the changes have started to take
place, his vision can be considered.
–Irene Muschel
New York, N.Y.

Technically, goose and duck liver patés
are foie gras only if the birds were force-fed.
The Alexian patés are not called foie gras by the
maker, but are often described as such by
sources that do not heed the distinction.

Lying awake

Thank you so much for all you do on
behalf of the animals we share our world with.
I do as much as I can personally. It is
overwhelming when one stops to think about
animals of every kind all over the world, from
factory farms to laboratories to animals in
entertainment to circuses to the little dog on
the end of a chain, and so much more! I lie
awake at night sometimes, thinking about them,
and I always include them in my thoughts and
–Linda Brough
Rock Springs, Wyoming

Confiscate animal fighters’ cars

One of the main reasons why there are so
few arrests for illegal animal fighting is
because in most jurisdictions, including Los
Angeles, animal control officers are armed with
only bite stick or animal control pole and a
Thus callers who report an ongoing
dogfight or cockfight are told that animal
control doesn’t roll on those calls, and they
are referred to the police or sheriff, where the
switchboard transfers them to “vice.” Since most
dogfights and cockfights are held at night, the
vice officers are not sitting at their desks, so
all that happens is that a message is left about
where the activity took place. Naturally there
is little the cops can do the next day–or
whenever they get the message.
Recent busts in Covington, Louisiana,
and Atlanta, Georgia, brought in nice chunks of
cash, with confiscations of 70 cars in Covington
and 93 in Atlanta. If word about that got out,
more jurisdictions might take interest.
Currently the Los Angeles police
confiscate the vehicles of “johns” who patronize
prostitutes and also the vehicles of anyone who
hauls large items to illegally discard in alleys
or on the streets. We would like to persuade
the city council to extend that to confiscating
the vehicle of anyone who has transported an
animal to a scene for the purpose of fighting.
This is certainly as easy to prove as the hauling
of a sofa, not least because animals tend to
leave forensic evidence such as fur, feathers,
and excrement behind.
If the issue of transport is proven in Los
Angeles, the offender does not get the vehicle
back. If convicted, the offender is allowed to
repurchase it from the city after trial, at a
reduced price. Even though committed doggers and
cockers might not be deterred by the thought of
losing their wheels temporarily, this might
disenchant a marginally involved hobby or street
Prosecuting animal fighting should also
always include going after the owners or managers
of rented property where fighting animals are
raised, trained, or fought.
–Phyllis Daugherty, Director
Animal Issues Movement
420 N. Bonnie Brae Street
Los Angeles, CA 90026

Compound 1080

You certainly got my blood boiling with
your excellent April 2004 expose of the human
degenerates in the Akron, Ohio’s park department
[who are shooting deer] and the verminous
two-legged mongrels in South Africa who are
opting to use Compound 1080.
Please do not ever apply the word
“conservationists” to biological imbeciles who
want to exterminate a native indigenous species
on behalf of the wooly locusts [sheep] they think
should be the only species to live on the land,
to maximize their profits!
As a wildlife veterinarian, I have seen
the agonizing deaths inflicted upon hapless
coyotes by the degenerates working for USDA
Wildlife Services. Back when they were called
Animal Damage Control, as a younger
wildlife veterinarian, I locked horns with them
many times in the American Southwest. They are
indeed a most despicable bunch.
Please do not ever permit anyone to spout
the fallacy that sodium flouroacetate [Compound
1080] kills quickly and that the animals do not
suffer much or very long. Another myth is that
1080 does not affect non-target species. Sodium
flouroacetate is a horrible poison, especially
virulent for wild and domestic canids of all
species. It causes terrible convulsions and
vomiting that can last for hours. It also is a
food chain poison, so that any birds or mammals
who eat the vomit or the carcass of a 1080 victim
also die. It is nonselective and that is one
reason why it should be banned worldwide.
Domestic dogs who accidentally ingest
this poison can sometimes be saved if they are
given intervenous infusions to stop the
convulsions and vomiting, and to dilute the
blood level of the drug. Intensive treatment may
have to continue for several days. Treatment is
effective only if the patients have not yet
suffered central nervous system damage or
respiratory paralysis.
–Marvin J. Sheffield, DVM
Pacific Grove, California

Compound 1080 in South Africa

Further to your April 2004 cover article
“Conservation-ists seek to bring back banned
Compound 1080 poison,” the Endangered Wildlife
Trust on April 16 held a public meeting in
Johannesburg to defend its actions in importing
and coordinating the testing of Compound 1080 in
South Africa.
The animal welfare community was
well-represented and well prepared to confront
the farmers and conservationists.
Independent researcher and wildlife film
maker Rob Harrison White showed photos and video
footage of tests which he himself had conducted
upon small mammals at the Lombard Game Reserve,
proving beyond a shadow of doubt what the
scientific literature had already established:
that 1080 would wipe out non-target species,
leaving the jackals and caracals untouched, and
the farmers’ problems un-addressed. White’s
research came as a shock and embarrassment to the
Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Poison Working Group,
which has helped the National Wool Growers
Association spend 400,000 rand on a completely
ineffective and environmentally ruinous method of
problem animal control.
It became painfully obvious to all
present that the Endangered Wildlife Trust had
done little scientific study before promoting
Compound 1080.
That raised the obvious question: why
1080? Of all the hundreds of poisons available,
why had the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Poison
Working Group sought to introduce a poison that
was the subject of a terror alert by the FBI and
is banned in much of the world?
Alas, although the question was asked
several times, we still do not know.
The South African government has been
alerted to the danger to national security of
this dreadful poison, and we hope that
government will act swiftly to confiscate the
Endangered Wildlife Trust’s stockpile of 1080 for
reasons of national security. This would put an
end to this misconceived project and allow us all
to move forward with a non-lethal approach to
protecting livestock.
–Chris Mercer
Kalahari Raptor Centre.
P.O. Box 1386, Kathu
Northern Cape ZA 8446
South Africa
Phone: 27-53-712-3576

Canadian seal hunters are barbaric

I have just watched the ITN News here in
England and cannot believe in this day and age I
could possibly see such barbaric scenes of people
culling seals in what must be described as a
totally inhumane manner.
This practice should stop immediately.
If the seals are to be culled, at least an
instant death should be guaranteed, not a
beating until they are half dead, after which
they are skinned alive.
Anyone who could commit the acts shown tonight
can only be considered as barbaric and must have
a lust for suffering, blood and pain.
–Linda McCormick
South Wingfield
Derbyshire, England

Dennis Kucinich

I am very disappointed in your lack of
coverage of Dennis Kucinich, who only got a
sentence in your January/February 2004 cover
article “Hunting for votes, Bush, Cheney, and
demo rivals Kerry and Clark shoot birds,”
compared to the others’ paragraphs, when he is
in fact the leading candidate for supporting
important animal issues. Dennis is vegan, which
was mentioned, but not explained. Nor was his
outlook on factory farming mentioned, and how it
is one of his top ten issues to work on if he is
elected. I think Dennis Kucinich is a voice for
the animals, and if he could get the coverage he
needs, he could gain office and drastically
change the U.S.
–Ann D. Pallo
Woodstock, Georgia

Ralph Nader

If Ralph Nader is a vegetarian, as you
wrote in your March 2004 article “How Republicans
use hunting as a ‘wedge issue'”, it is a recent
development. During the last Presidential
election, a newspaper profile described Nader as
eating meat at an event and ridiculing animal
advocates who assumed he was a vegetarian. Those
who tout Nader as a candidate supportive of
animal rights are engaging in wishful thinking.
Nader has no record of support for animal
protection. None.
I abhor hunters and hunting, but am
impressed by John Kerry’s strong voting record on
animal issues.
–Frank C. Branchini
Edgewater, Maryland

Editor’s note:
Ralph Nader has often been described as a
vegetarian by usually reliable sources for more
than 40 years. The New York Times has recently
reported both that he is and that he isn’t.
Mother Jones said he is. Nader himself told the
National Review that he isn’t, but reportedly
told Chris Matthews of Hardball that he is. His
2000 online campaign biography said that he is.
However, he was seen eating a roast beef
sandwich at a campaign event at which a printed
edition of the campaign bio was distributed to
the press.


The ANIMAL PEOPLE April 2004 cover
article “Conservation-ists seek to bring back
banned Compound 1080 poison,” confused the
abbreviations of unrelated organizations in
reporting that “U.S. opponents of Compound 1080
are unable to find out exactly where Compound
1080 is used because of an injunction obtained by
the Texas Farm Bureau Federation and the American
Farm Bureau Federation in February 2000.” The
injunction was issued in response to a 1998
Freedom of Information Act request filed by the
Animal Protection Institute, not the Animal
Welfare Institute. As reported, API appealed,
but the appeal was denied in September 2002.

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