Letters [June 2004]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2004:

Anti-veggie ad?

The following ad ran this morning of WBIG/FM in Washing-ton D.C.:
“I’m a hypocrite. No, I’m not a vegetarian who wears
leather shoes. You see, I used to smoke pot, and when I found pot
in my kid’s room I confronted him about it.”
Why is the Office of National Drug Control Policy singling
out vegetarians for criticism?
I am an animal protection advocate, and a vegetarian, and I
don’t wear leather shoes. But I suspect that if everyone in the U.S.
stopped wearing leather, it wouldn’t save the life of a single
animal, given that millions of animals are slaughtered every year
for food production.
Picking a fight with vegetarians is a really poor method of
discouraging drug use.
–Frank Branchini
Edgewater, Maryland

Testimonial

Thank you for keeping everyone honest, or at least trying.
Nobody else does what Animal People does.
As you well know, it is hard enough finding the funding to
free the dolphins without having to compete with bogus claims.
–Ric O’Barry
Marine Mammal Specialist
One Voice – Miami
Phone/fax: 305-6681619
<ricobarry@bellsouth.net>
<www.onevoice-ear.org>
<www.dolphinproject.org>

“Watch” timing

Thanks for the mention in your May edition that “Farmed
Animal Watch founder Mary Finelli on April 17, 2004 turned the
electronic newsletter over to new editors Hedy Litke and Che Green,
after two years and 47 editions.” I’d actually written Farmed
Animal Watch for three years. The first was released on April 9,
2001, and there were a total of 147 editions.
–Mary Finelli
Silver Spring, Maryland
<MaryFinelli@Comcast.net>

Jihad vs. cruelty

Thank you very much for publishing “How Muslims can wage
jihad against ‘Islamic’ cruelty,” by Kristen Stilt–a valuable
article that helps to clarify some of the misconceptions about Islam.
–Mahdi Bray, Director
Muslim American Society
Washington, D.C.
<director@masmail.org>

Cesar Chavez: compassionate veg

In the tradition of Tolstoy, Gandhi and Albert Schweitzer,
the venerable Mexican/American social justice advocate Cesar Chavez
adhered to a compassionate vegetarian world view. He was the impetus
behind forming the United Farm Workers’ union, and rightly opposed
unfair wages, harsh working conditions, and ecological destruction
caused by greedy profiteering and the pernicious use of insecticides.
Chavez had deep respect for Martin De Porres, Mahatma Gandhi and
Martin Luther King’s philosophies, which were all rooted in
pacifism. He became a strict vegetarian who eschewed bullfights,
rodeos, cockfighting, and the inhumane treatment of any sentient
creature.
Chavez was buried in close proximity to his beloved dog Boycott.
–Brien Comerford
Glenview, Illinois
<Bjjcomerford@aol.com>

Ukraine outlaws spring bear hunts

Please find enclosed the latest edition of our Ukrainian
newspaper Time To Protect Animals. This time we are informing our
readers that on April 21, 2004 the Supreme Rada of Ukraine banned
spring bear hunting. This means that our country is the first of the
former Soviet socialist Republics to put an end to this cruel and
foolish business. The campaign to stop spring bear hunting was
supported by many Ukrainian pro-animal groups, including ours.
We have also written about the terrible Canadian and Russian
seal hunts. Killing seal pups is legal in Russia, and this year
more than 40,000 harp seal babies were killed.
The complete edition is accessible at our web site.
–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
<ceta@bi.com.ua
<www.cetalife.h10.ru>

Mass cattle seizure follow-up

Regarding the 305 cattle we rescued from slaughter on
December 15, 2003, mentioned in your June article “Why cattle
‘offerings’ prevail where cow slaughter is illegal,” almost
immediately the 36 lorry drivers, owners, and others who were
arrested admitted to their crimes. They were released on bail, and
were later fined.
The court placed the cattle in custody of the Karuna Society
and appointed a committee to auction them, as they are government
property. We were planning to buy all of them, but on the auction
day so many butchers turned up that the auction was called off.
The judge declared a second auction day but the Karuna
Society won a stay against the decision of the lower court. This
means that the cattle are still government property in the custody of
Karuna Society, awaiting permission for us to buy them.
Meanwhile, we have spent over $17,000 on food and
maintenance for them. It will take quite some time before the
expenses will be partially reimbursed by the government.
We felt that we could not wait any longer to adopt the
bullocks to good farmers who act as “caretakers” for us. The farmers
use the bullocks for work and feed them, but they are still the
responsibility of the Karuna Society.
We still have 30+ buffaloes to give and plan to implement the
same caretaking program, giving them only to women.
At present, there is less transport of cattle to slaughter by
truck in Anantapur District. But we have seen cattle being walked
from the markets to far-away loading places, and even to Bangalore
and Kadiri, which is very cruel in the soaring heat. We have to
think about the next step to take. Meanwhile we have filed petitions
in the High Court about the cruel practices and illegal overloading
at the cattle markets in the district.
–Mrs. Clementien Pauws
President
Karuna Society for
Animals & Nature
Karuna Nilayam
Enumalapalli
Prasanthi Nilayam, AP
515 134, India
<karuna_arp@yahoo.co.in>

 

Elephants & the Nambor reserve

In this land where conflicts between humans and elephants
have reached alarming heights, the Forest Department instead of
finding solutions is making things worse.
Elephants have now been denied the right to drink water out
of Mother Nature’s very own hot spring in the wilderness of Assam.
The Garampani hot spring by the side of National Highway 39 in Karbi
Anglong district, Nambor Reserve forest, is now guarded by a huge
ugly concrete wall. The area is an elephant corridor which the
jumbos use almost on a regular basis.
Nambar is our oldest forest reserve. Two-thirds have already
been encroached. The same applies to adjoining forest reserves,
including Doyang, Diphu, Rengma, and upper and lower Doigrung.
Everything is in a shambles.
The Nambar reserve is still host to many rare and endangered animal
species, including 19 varieties of mammals in addition to elephants,
at least eight birds, and 12 reptiles. However, the rare plants
are vanishing day by day, and the places for the animals to live and
wander is decreasing in an alarming way.
–Azam Siddiqui
Master Trainer in Animal Welfare
Animal Welfare Board of India
107-C, Railway Colony
New Guwahati 781021
Assam, India
<azamsiddiqui@animail.net>
Phone: 91-84350-48481

The Gambia Horse & Donkey Trust

We have been receiving ANIMAL PEOPLE since shortly after we
set up the Gambia Horse & Donkey Trust 20 months ago, and I thought
you might be interested in our work.
My sister Stella Marsden and I grew up in Gambia, where our
father, Eddie Brewer, established the Wildlife Department. Stella
continues to work in Gambia, running the Chimpanzee Rehabilitation
Trust, which is now almost 30 years old. Stella feels very strongly
that it is impossible and possibly unfair to expect very poor people
to embrace conservation unless they see some kind of benefit from it.
As a result, the CRT has become involved in many community projects,
including an education center for conservation, and school
sponsorship scheme, and the Alexander Edwards clinic.
Through the close relationship enjoyed by CRT and the local
community, Stella began to see the huge problems that were
developing with the growing equine population. In June 2002 she
returned to the United Kingdom with photos of animals in appalling
condition, and asked me, as the horse-lover of the family, if we
could do something about it. The Gambia Horse & Donkey Trust
developed as a result.
We are approaching the problems from many angles, education
being the most important. We sought assistance from some of the
major British charities working in this field, and without exception
they have been very supportive.
The Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad gave us an
outreach grant to help us set up the charity. They have also been
exceptionally helpful in providing training manuals for our students
and kind equine bits to exchange for the harsh bits used locally.
The Donkey Sanctuary very kindly paid for our Gambian
para-vet to go to Ethiopia for a training course on donkeys, and has
given us a grant to build stables for donkeys at our headquarters.
They have also supplied us with donkey dentistry equipment.
A new organization called Worldwide Veterinary Services,
which coordinates vets who want to do volunteer work, has come to
help us in training para-vets.
[Worldwide Veterinary Service, 3 New Borough Rd., Wimborne,
Dorset BH21 1RA, U.K.; 44 (0) 7870-642948; <luke@wvs.org.uk>;
<www.wvs.org.uk>.] There are very few vets in Gambia, and the country relies
heavily on para-vets called “livestock officers” for veterinary
assistance. They are supposed to have taken a two-year training
course at The Gambia College, but the recent explosion in use of
equines to replace many of the oxen formerly used as work animals has
caught them by surprise, as there is no equine content in the
course. We hope to address this.
The International League for the Protection of Horses
responded to our pleas by setting up training courses for farriers
and harness makers, and in equine nutrition and management, and now
plans to visit four times a year. Already the Gambians are seeking
out farriers with training, rather than using a machete to trim
hooves. The trained farriers are delighted because already they are
able to earn some money. On successfully completing training, each
student receives a full set of tools, so as to set up in business.
We hope that the students we now have in harness-making
courses will reduce the harness problems we see in the future.
Meanwhile, we collected hundreds of headcollars, bridles, bits,
and harnesses in the U.K. and Germany. These are sold to farmers for
a nominal price to discourage them from being resold and to establish
an ethos of paying for goods, so that the harness-making students
can earn money when qualified.
Our “up-country” headquarters is very close to the CRT. We
are seen as one of their projects. We have modest stables, where
sick and injured animals are treated. Apart from our Gambian staff
of seven, manager Chrissy Foley is our only paid employee.
Foley also runs a donkey club for the small boys who take
care of donkeys. They are encouraged to name their animals, as this
helps them to regard the animals as living things. From time to time
we have a little show, in which animals are judged for condition,
handling, and games are held. The winning animals receive rosettes,
which are highly prized, and the children each receive a lollipop.
We also have a good relationship with the district school.
Children visit to observe and learn. We in turn send our visiting
vets, farriers, and trainers to the school to talk to the children.
It is our hope that these children will become the vets, doctors,
and teachers so badly needed by the community.
We recognize that we have a great deal of work ahead of us.
According to the latest estimates, there are now 26,000 horses and
40,000 donkeys in the country.
Of course fundraising is always a problem. Our plans are
always ahead of our finances. We are lucky in that a lot can be done
on relatively little in Gambia.
–Heather Armstrong
The Gambia Horse & Donkey Trust
Brewery Arms Cottage
Stane Street
Ockley, Surrey RH5 5TH United Kingdom
Phone: 01306-627568
<gambiahorseanddonkeytrust@hotmail.com>

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