Letters [Dec 2004]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 2004:

Mulesing

Re “PETA tells Aussies to back away from
sheep’s behinds,” from your November 2004
edition, Animal Liberation has campaigned to ban
mulesing since 1975.
When I went to the U.K. in l986 and asked
Members of Parliament to boycott Australian wool,
I was damned as “un-Australian,” and nothing
changed. Without PETA’s intervention, perhaps
mulesing would have continued without even debate.
If mulesing is banned, there will have
to be greatly improved animal welfare policing,
as graziers will leave sheep to die of
fly-strike, since it is quicker, easier and
cheaper to mules once, rather than to bring in
the sheep for insecticide application and to
shear the wool in fly-prone areas of the sheep,
mainly the under the tail but also sometimes
around the face.
It is not uncommon for one person to be in charge
of 10,000 sheep or more, hence it is impossible
for one person to properly care for all the
animals.

–Christine Townend
Leura, NSW
Australia
<CJTownend@bigpond.com>

The Australia Broadcasting Association
“National Rural News” reported on November 17
that, “A medical manufacturer has signed a deal
with the wool industry to help produce an
alternative to mulesing. Norwood Abbey will
build a device that looks like a hand-held drill,
to apply a new protein which should achieve the
same result.” The protein would reportedly help
the sheep to resist blowflies.
PETA meanwhile began an ongoing series of
demonstrations in front of Australian embassies
and consulates to try to get the industry to
accelerate a promised phase-out of mulesing by
2010.

P&G meets Best Friends

Congratulations on arranging the meeting
among representatives of Proctor & Gamble and
Best Friends, described in your November 2004
edition.
This is truly the way to make a
difference for animals-to create understanding,
rather than terrorize those we hope to win over.
I will never forget hearing former Los
Angeles SPCA executive director Ed Cubrda explain
many years ago, when I was first becoming
involved in animal work, that compassion is
learned, not inherited.
A few people are born into an environment
that allows kindness and love toward all living
things from a young age, but we must never throw
away the possibility of someone suddenly being
touched by rescuing a tiny bird who has fallen
into a gutter or by taking in a dog or cat who is
starving in the streets, and having his or her
entire life changed. We see this often. The
type of meeting you put together opens the door
for those in positions to make compassionate
change to be awakened.
I’d love to see a nationwide conference
of major conglomerates, smaller companies that
would like to see how they could get away from
animal research, and humane organizations,
sitting down and discussing these issues. The
media would love this, and so would the public,
because so many individuals are torn between
their belief that animal testing is essential for
medical progress and their horror at animal
suffering.
Recent threats, terrorist attacks, and
e-mail inundations have made legislators scared
to be linked with animal issues, whereas a few
years ago they eagerly sought to sponsor bills
that might bring them acclaim and votes.
If we are going to make positive changes
for animals, we are going to have to show logical
reasons why the large companies that do animal
testing should make the necessary investment to
change their current methodology. As you so well
explained, we have to deal with reality and what
is, in order to get to where we want to be.
Putting our heads in the sand and waving our
philosophical tails has accomplished little.
Best Friends deserves commendation for
courage. Everyone with whom I have discussed
your article is absolutely thrilled, and sees
this as an initial step to a major breakthrough.
–Phyllis Daugherty, Director
Animal Issues Movement
420 N. Bonnie Brae Street
Los Angeles, CA 90026
<ANIMALISSU@aol.com>

Update:

The Procter & Gamble subsidiary Iams Inc.
sponsors the Home-4-the-Holidays adoption
promotion program, coordinated by the Helen
Woodward Animal Center. (See page 13.) PETA
research associate Shalin Gala on October 29
wrote to participating shelters, asking them to
pledge non-association with Iams, in exchange
for being “entered into a limited-entry drawing
to be one of 15 shelters to receive a ‘thank-you’
check for $1,500.” Without mentioning
Home-4-the-Holidays, the terms of the pledge in
effect preclude using this opportunity to rehome
shelter animals.

Christopher Reeve

Your obit on Christopher Reeve is most disturbing.
Why did you give him so much visibility?
Because he was well-known? Is that a reason to
highlight someone who favored animal research?
(I am not faulting Reeve’s personal inability to
see the cruelty of animal research.)
Only one sentence stated in the obit
that, “He became a prominent spokesperson for
animal use in biomedical research.” Readers
unfamiliar with Reeve’s approval of the use of
animals in research might construe that statement
as an error and that non-animal use was meant.
–Rita Ross
Garrison, N.Y.

The Editor responds:
An obituary is news, not an honor. The
prominence of an ANIMAL PEOPLE obituary is
proportional to the prominence of the deceased in
reference to animal issues, regardless of which
side of the issues the person was on.
The most succinct summation we have seen
of the complexity of Christopher Reeve’s legacy
was in the December 2004 edition of the
Australian Association for Humane Research
newsletter, whose editors acknowledged that they
were saddened by his death.
“While the Christopher Reeve Paralysis
Act, a $300 million piece of legislation
currently before the U.S. Congress, recognizes
to some extent that cutting-edge research doesn’t
require animals,” the AAHR editors continued,
“and it wisely allocates resources to clinical
studies and public education about spinal cord
injuries, it also unfortunately allocates a
significant amount of funding to animal
experimentation┼áReeve’s call for increased
research into spinal cord injury was admirable,
but AAHR would like to honor that call with a
reminder that the most promising direction for
such research will be through non-animal
methodologies.”

Canadian Greens now oppose sealing

My letter headlined “Canadian Greens
endorsed seal hunt” in the June 2003 edition of
ANIMAL PEOPLE pointed out that the Green Party of
Canada had adopted a policy in support of the
commercial seal hunt held each spring off our
east coast.
Animal protectionists responded with a
two-phase strategy. First, with a federal
election coming up, we set out to show that the
party would lose votes over this. Our protests
received national news coverage. Follow-up
included going to all-candidates meetings and
calling talk shows when the party leader was in
the studio, challenging the party position.
Rebecca Aldworth, then of the
International Fund for Animal Welfare and now
with the Humane Society of the U.S., went to the
Green Party national convention in August 2004.
She showed her video of the seal hunt and talked
individually to every party member.
It worked! The party dropped its
pro-hunt policy and adopted a policy that calls
for phasing out the commercial seal hunt, by a
vote of 98 to 7. This made the Greens the first
Canadian party to have an anti-seal hunt policy.
This fight probably is not over. I think
there is a good chance that the Terra Nova
(Newfound-land) Greens, who were behind the
original policy, will try to get the present
policy dropped or weakened at the next Green
Party of Canada convention in 2005. But we will
be better prepared.
–Don Roebuck
Toronto, Ontario

Don Roebuck was a Green Party candidate
in the Ontario provincial elections of 1995 and
1999, and the federal elections of 1997 and 2000.

Japanese labs

In 2005 we have a chance to revise
Japanese animal protection law about the welfare
of experimental animals. The current law does
not give them any effective protection. Far more
animals are used in Japanese labs, more than 20
million, than the 2.7 million used in Britain.
The first animal protection law in Japan
was passed 31 years ago, after the emperor
visited Britain and Queen Elizabeth talked about
the way animals were treated in Japan. Foreign
people’s opinions will make a big difference.
Please visit our web site,
<http://homepage2.nifty.com/jikken-houseido/index-e.htm>,
and tell us what you think.
–T. Nakamura
Network for the
Improvement
of the Legal System
Concerning
Animal Experiments
in Japan
<zua03725@hotmail.co.jp>

Table Mountain tahrs

Thank you for publicizing the massacre of
the tahrs on Table Mountain. I live in the
shadow of Table Mountain, which is virtually in
my back yard, and saw the helicopters clattering
above my head in May and June when hunters from
all over South Africa waged a para-military
operation to exterminate every tahr, even though
the Marchig Animal Welfare Trust had presented a
funded, viable rescue and relocation proposal.
As you wrote, this proposal was
acknowledged by SANParks on March 18, 2004,
yet they later denied receiving it.
From this it could be assumed that
SANParks could not allow a precedent to be set to
interfere with possible future lucrative cruel
decisions, such as elephant culling.
–Cicely Blumberg
Domestic Animal Rescue Group
P.O. Box 32074, Camps Bay
Cape Town 8040, South Africa
Fax/phone: 27-021-790-2050
<darg@icon.co.za>

Fur “art” exhibit

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, a major
New York institution, has a huge exhibit “Wild:
Fashion Untamed” running through March 13, that
glorifies the use of animal parts for fashion.
Only a brief mention is made of historical
anti-fur efforts.
I was not going to go see the exhibit,
but then decided to go, so that whatever I wrote
would be from experience. It was a mob scene.
No one seemed to have any consciousness that
these hides, furs, heads, feathers, and paws
were once living beings. Captions invoked
sociology, economics, and convoluted philosophy
to mask the cruelty. A sign said,
“The exhibition is made possible by Roberto
Cavalli. Addit-ional support has been provided
by John and Laura Pomerantz.” Cavalli is a fur
designer.
What is the relationship between the
museum and the fur industry? What kind of
institution is so easily bought?
If there had been a sustained effort by
major animal rights groups to change peoples’
attitudes about the torture and killing of
animals for fashion, no prominent institution
would have dared put on such a show. There
would have been no audience for it.
–Irene Muschel
New York, New York
<BenIrv@hotmail.com>

 

Feral cats

You have often said that dog and cat
overpopulation will have ended when shelters
reach 100% euthanasia because the only animals
they will get are too sick, injured, or
dangerous to save.
Parallel to that, a feral cat rescue
group might consider itself successful when 100%
of the calls it receives are about small
colonies, newly formed by abandoned pets.
I doubt that many feral cat groups tally
by colony size, but wouldn’t it be interesting
to have comparisons of colony size in cities with
and without feral cat programs?
–Audrey Boag
Rocky Mountain Alley Cat Alliance
P.O. Box 456
Indian Hills, CO 80454
303-697-4215
<aboag@ecentral.com>

 

Corrections

The East African Standard muddled
findings by Youth for Conservation about bushmeat
consumption in Nairobi, in coverage quoted in
the November 2004 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE.
Wrote YfC founder Josphat Nyongo, “25% of the
samples we bought were pure bushmeat and 19% were
mixed bushmeat and domestic meat. Of 202 butcher
shops we surveyed, 42% sold bushmeat.”

Best Friends director of animal care
Faith Maloney did not recognize a brief quote
attributed to her in the November 2004 ANIMAL
PEOPLE cover feature “Procter & Gamble meets Best
Friends.” We deleted it from the electronic
edition.

Beth Mersten of Best Friends is 32, not
29, as stated in “‘Typical’ first-time fur
buyer isn’t buying it,” in our November 2004
edition. She still fits the profile of the
person the fur trade claims will buy her first
fur coat this winter and still finds fur “simply
disturbing.”

Tony LaRussa’s Animal Rescue Foundation
executive director Brenda Barnette on December 1,
2004 told ANIMAL PEOPLE that contrary to a note
in our December 2003 edition, her predecessor
David Stegman is not the same Dave Stegman who
played for the White Sox under LaRussa in
1983-1984, and emulated LaRussa by studying law.
That Stegman lives in Grove City, Ohio, where
he passed the bar in 2001. Barnette’s
predecessor now heads the Tri Valley Humane
Society in Pleasanton, California.

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