Letters [Nov 2004]
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 2004:
Dogs in trucks
Re “Reducing the vehicular accident risk
to dogs,” in the September 2004 edition of
ANIMAL PEOPLE, back in the 1980s the Colorado
Federation of Animal Welfare Agencies found a
sponsor to introduce a state bill that would have
required dogs riding in the beds of pickup trucks
to be tethered. We had estimates of the number
of human and animal fatalities and traffic
accidents caused by unrestrained dogs; we had
the state police and the state sheriffs’
association on our side; we exempted working
ranch dogs; and the law would have applied only
in the urban counties along the Front Range, as
with the automobile emissions law.
The bill was soundly defeated by the
House Agriculture Committee because there was no
law in Colorado prohibiting children from riding
in the back of pickup trucks, and no legislator
wanted to have to explain to his constituents why
he favored dogs over kids.
Most states, if not all, have
anti-cruelty legislation prohibiting people from
carrying animals “in or on” a vehicle in an
inhumane manner. These statutes are generally
enforced when someone locks a dog in a hot car.
It would be interesting to know if anyone has
used these statutes to prosecute drivers for
carrying unrestrained dogs in pickup trucks.
–Phil Arkow, chair
Animal Abuse & Family Violence Prevention Project
The Latham Foundation
1826 Clement Avenue
Alameda, CA 95401
Cruelest Miles & the Iditarod
You wrote in your October 2004 review of
The Cruelest Miles by Gay Salisbury and Laney
Salisbury that “the All Alaska Sweepstakes field
in early runnings included many rough-and-ready
trappers, miners, and hunters who ran their
dogs to death.”
Dogs do die in harness, in racing and
working teams. But in my experience of more than
35 years as a musher, including competing in the
1974 Iditarod, there is always an underlying or
pre-existing pathology. What you know about
ecology, evolution and physiology should make
you doubt the claim that any cursorial predator
like a dog could be run to death in a dog team.
You also wrote that the Iditarod “is in
actuality more a re-enactment of the All Alaska
Sweepstakes race, held annually from 1908 to
1917, than an authentic reprise of the serum
run” it is held in honor of.
The Iditarod was dreamed up by Dorothy
Page and Joe Redington, Sr. The Iditarod trail
from Anchorage to Iditarod and the other mining
camps in the Interior between McGrath and Ruby
went through Knik, where they lived. They well
knew of the famous 1925 serum run from Nenana to
Nome. They also wanted the race to go from
Anchorage to somewhere. So they combined the
Of course they knew about the All-Alaska
Sweepstakes. That race began at the time of the
Nome Gold Rush, and was a round-trip from Nome
to Candle and back. That certainly started the
tradition of sled dog racing in Alaska and New
England, but there were other racing traditions
already in Minnesota and Canada, like the trail
run from St. Paul to what is now Winnipeg.
So, it is correct to say that the Serum
Run inspired the Iditarod and the Sweepstakes
inspired dog racing in Alaska.
Grand Marais, Minnesota
What is an anti-fur campaign?
As advertisements promoting fur appear
everywhere daily, I hope the Humane Society of
the United States and the Fund for Animals, soon
to formally merge, with combined assets of more
than $105 million, will fund anti-fur
advertisements targeting middle and upper class
people, especially in New York City and the
other major cities where fur-wearing is most
In connection with publishing your
December 2004 “Who gets the money?” section, you
need to remind readers to pay careful attention
to the language of fund raising appeals.
What does it mean when an organization says it campaigns against fur?
Does it mean they put up a few posters in places where no one will see them?
Distributed a public service announcement
to TV stations that seldom if ever aired them?
Held a sidewalk protest?
Sent a few volunteers out to give away pamphlets?
Or merely mentioned fur in direct
mailings to people who are already confirmed
anti-fur donors, and then called that “public
None of these low-investment, low-impact
efforts really qualify as a “campaign,” because
they are not sustained and reach hardly anyone.
What about “We are covering the cities
with the anti-fur message”? What does that mean,
if there is no activity targeting neighborhoods
where people wear fur?
What if donors live in the cities that
are supposedly being covered, and see nothing?
What does “We are winning the war against
fur” mean, when fur is everywhere?
Who holds organizations responsible when they deny reality?
New York, New York
Please mention that people can write to
me or call me for a free antifur action kit.
8 Hutchins St.
Concord, NH 03301
Making film in Ukraine
Thanks for including information about
the ban on bear hunting in Ukraine in the June
2004 edition of Animal People. But bear hunting
is now banned all year, not just in spring.
The Center for the Ethical Treatment of
Animals, Leo Tolstoy chapter, is now completing
a feature film on animal rights, titled
Insanity: Challenge & Fight. We are sure this
project will be unique, not only within the
former USSR, but all over the world.
We decided to use the feature format,
rather than produce a documentary, in order to
affect as many souls as possible. We hope that
this film will make a powerful case for animal
protection and moral coexistence.
Famous Ukrainian and Russian actors and
athletes, some of them world champions and
Olympians, act in the film. There are also many
wild and domestic animals, e.g. horses, dogs,
chimps, wild boars, a bear, etc.
The film will be in Russian, subtitled
in English. If film festivals or film companies
in Europe or America are interested, we will
surely dub it into whatever languages they ask,
in order to reach as many people as possible.
It would be excellent if you could write
that we are in great need of money, as this film
has considerably shortened our budget.
Stepnaya str. 23
Kharkovskaya Oblast 62341
Tel./Fax: +380 5763 58321
A blood drive to replace animal sacrifice
As a part of our ongoing protest against
killing of animals in the name of religion,
People for Animals/Calcutta is organising a blood
donation camp on the day of Kali Puja, Thursday,
November 11, 2004, at our Ashari animal
In the past we protested in front of
Kalighat temple on Kali Puja day, which resulted
in considerable reduction in the numbers of
animals sacrificed. Because of our protest King
Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah of Nepal abstained from
animal sacrifice during his last visit to Kolkata.
Our slogan is “Want to offer Blood to the
Mother Kali? Why not give human blood for the
benefit of society?” If humans are the best
creations of the Mother, human blood should be
preferred. Why compromise on quality and kill a
poor hapless goat?
The blood we collect will be given to the
Haemophilia Society of Eastern India.
People for Animals/Calcutta
6/1 Wood Street
Kolkata WB 700016, India
I recently participated in a course on
the welfare of poultry and swine, given by the
agricultural school at a top Brazilian
university. It was held in farm country, and
the audience consisted of people working at
various levels in agriculture.
You can imagine my surprise when the
course opened with the translated Proudly Human
video from the Compassion In World Farming branch
in South Africa.
I first learned of this video through a
review that Animal People published about a
different CIWF video. I requested a copy, and a
Brazilian nonprofit organization translated it.
I can tell you that it made a strong impression
on the group taking the course, and I want to
thank you both in a way that words simply do not
convey for making this possible.
The course was given by a farm animal
welfare research project, conducted by the
university with government funding. They are
putting the fear of God into the agricultural
industry here that if they don´t change, their
products may be banned in Europe. They also seem
to have a slightly delusional impression about
the power of U.S. animal advocacy
groups–thinking they are omnipotent–but I did
nothing to dispel that view.
Sao Paulo, Brazil
We recently received yet another
Compassion In World Farming video entitled Eat
Less Meat: It’s Costing The Earth. This
17-minute presentation might be described as a
short, visual version of John Robbins’ 2001 book
The Food Revolution, featuring some of the same
sources, but while Robbins built The Food
Revolution around the core chapters of his 1991
hit, Diet For A New America, Eat Less Meat
comes from a distinctly Third World perspective.
Many of the sources interviewed on camera are
from underdeveloped nations, and have worked
extensively to try to end hunger. Ordering info:
$12.00, c/o CIWF, Charles House, 5a Charles
St. Petersfield, Hampshire, GU32 3EH, U.K.;
The October 2004 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE
cover article “Four hurricanes in six weeks
stretch rescue efforts from the Caribbean islands
to Texas” mentioned a column by New Orleans
Times-Picayune columnist Chris Rose about a women
who “lost her cat when the disoriented animal
pushed a motel room door open and bolted into the
night in Paul’s Valley, Oklahoma.” Actually,
the animal who did that was a Rottweiler, who
was found after ANIMAL PEOPLE went to press.