Letters [Jan/Feb 2005]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2005:

Vaccine, poison

Israel is now cooperating with the
Palestinian Authority in distributing the oral
rabies vaccine in Palestinian areas, funded by
the European Union. Israel has permission to fly
planes over Palestinian territory to distribute
the vaccine. However, Israeli Veterinary
Serv-ices also sells strychnine to the
Palestinian Authority, and encourages them to
use it along the border to keep rabid dogs out of
At long last all the steps have been
taken to get Fatal Plus into Israel, in powdered
form. The head of Veterinary Services has
repeatedly assured us that when the drug is in
stock and proves effective, he will ban
strychnine. The Veterinary Services official
responsible for distributing strychnine within
Israel told me that he hands out enough of it to
kill about 25,000 dogs per year. Municipal vets
in Jerusalem, Arad, the West Bank, and other
border areas use the most.

The American vet responsible for the
entire southern region supports the use of
strychnine and sees no other way to control the
situation, but the vets doing the poisoning say
they hate having to do it.
–Nina Natelson
Director, CHAI
P.O. Box 3341
Alexandria, VA 22302
Telephone: 703-658-9650
Fax: 703-941-6132


Sofia dog panic brings threat of purge

I contacted you a year or so ago about a
student project I wanted to design, to study
stray dogs in Greece. Actually, I ended up
volunteering for 3 weeks in my home country of
Bulgaria, in the summer, in a small town near
Sofia called Elin Pelin. I intended to write a
letter to ANIMAL PEOPLE about the Elin Pelin
projectŠ but I still haven’t found time, and in
addition, results were mixed. We used the help of
the Romanian Vier Pfoten and their mobile clinic,
but it seems the number of neutered dogs was well
below the expected.
But let’s get to the coreŠ On January 7,
2005 a woman was attacked while jogging on a
track by more than 10 dogs in a Sofia
neighborhood called “Studentski grad” (“Students’
town”). A female dog was in heat there and
intact males clustered around her, including a
runaway or abandoned Dogo Argentino [a breed
developed by crossing pit bull terriers and other
“fighting” breeds with Great Danes and mastiffs].
The woman, in her thirties, was badly bitten and
in shock. The event received a lot of media
attention; dogcatchers swamped the neighborhood,
catching and immediately killing in the city
“shelter” the dog pack, along with ten or so
other animals. They now want to clean the entire
neighborhood of all stray dogs. The entire city
The municipality immediately tried to put
the blame on humane organizations. Animal
protectors were accused of adopting animals and
releasing them into the streets (the fact that
these are neutered dogs was left out). Public
officials and the media claimed the 8000+ dogs
caught and killed last year were too few to
combat the stray dog problem. The municipality
promised to increase its dogcatching power and
provide money for a new shelter outside the city.
Unfortunately the municipal council never
really took NGO advice into consideration. There
was only a semi-formal agreement to leave alone
neutered and marked dogs, which are about 5,000
currently alive, out of about 10,000 neutered
altogether since nonprofit sterilization efforts
began. The stray population in the city is
estimated at from 20,000 to 40-50,000. From 1999
though 2002, 45,000 dogs were killed; 8,000
dogs have been killed annually in the past two
People now fear that there will be dog pogroms in Sofia.
–Alina Lilova
Sofia, Bulgaria


Stars fight the dog & cat fur trade

Some time ago I requested information
about the dog fur industry. You sent me many
wonderful articles. I am now working with Paul
and Heather McCartney, Kim Cattrall, Alicia
Silverstone and many others to educate people
about this horrific industry. Heather showed
photos and a video on a talk show in England that
sent shock waves around the country. The press
picked it up. Next month she is meeting with
Tony Blair and holding a press conference in
Brussels with the European Parlia-ment to promote
enforcement of a total European Union ban on dog
and cat fur. We are also doing a documentary.
Charlize Theron has put up a billboard
here in Los Angeles of herself and her dog that
asks, “Would you wear your dog as fur?” (Having
nothing to do with us, Simon Cowell has done the
same thing–which is fantastic.)
We are doing much more, and it all started with you.
–Dennis Erdman
Los Angeles, California


Fiona Oakes

I am writing to you as Fiona Oakes’
partner, as she would never consider writing
about her wonderful achievements herself.
Fiona looks after 250+ animals here at
the Towerhill Stables Animal Sanctuary,
including horses, cattle, sheep, pigs, and
goats. She is on 24-hour fire call, and also
runs marathons to promote animal rights and
veganism. Last year Fiona won the Vegan
Society’s Vegan Achieve-ment Award for service to
In November 2004 Fiona was the 5th female
finisher at the Florence International Marathon
with a time of 2:49. She has earned an elite
starting position for the London Marathon, to be
held on April 17. In a field of 42,000 runners,
she hopes to place among the top 20 women. The
BBC have asked to feature Fiona on their
pre-London Marathon program, to be shown the day
before the race.
We are still seeking sponsors for Fiona,
who will be raising funds for the animals as well
as promoting veganism.
–Martin Morgan
Towerhill Stables Animal Sanctuary
Asheldham, Essex
CM0 7DZ, U.K.

Catholic Concern for Animals

I know you like to be on top of
everything and I couldn’t find anything about
Catholic Concern for Animals in your archives.
Catholic Concern for Animals is a British group,
active since 1929, now working in 52 countries.
They will soon be opening a U.S. chapter.
Promoting vegetarianism and an end to all
“human inflicted cruelty perpetrated on animals
today–in the wild, on factory farms, in
laboratories, during long-distance transport,
and in captivity,” their influence is growing
rapidly, especially among Christians who had all
but given up on their churches.
Their campaign partners include Quaker
Concern for Animals and the Anglican Society for
the Welfare of Animals.
You can check them out at
<www.catholic-animals.org/>. Another terrific
site, offering wonderful inspiration and hope is
–Bobbie Anderson
Boulder City, Nevada

Enabling caring people to help

Concerning your December 2004 editorial
“The importance of enabling caring people to
help,” fundraising by needy organizations is
very important and all avenues must be explored.
I have emphasized the importance of increasing
our fundraising activity at every Visakha SPCA
board meeting in the past three years. We are
torn between immediate and urgent field work and
the need to raise the money we needed to create
awareness, add staff and volunteers, and invest
in more fundraising activity, so as to sustain
our growth.
I began with field activities, with my
salary only meeting my expenses, to prove that
this nonprofit organization is genuinely working
for the cause. Nonprofit organizations are often
suspected of corruption in India, as I heard
from bystanders on February 19, 2004 while I was
under attack by a group of butchers. The
bystanders were saying that I was stopping animal
slaughter and helping street dogs as part of a
scheme to make money.
My intention was to come through the hard
way, though this was risky, but the Visakha
SPCA did come through, and now with a strong
record of good work behind us, I am
concentrating very hard on strategically raising
funds to make the Visakha SPCA as strong
financially as it needs to be to do the best for
the animals.
One of the most valuable ANIMAL PEOPLE
how-to articles about fundraising for humane work
describes the use of an animal shelter to raise
revenue, by attracting and inspiring visitors.
What you say is true. People enquiring and
witnessing our work are often impressed enough to
give us donations, both in animal feed and cash.
For example, we were surprised to begin
receiving donations of milk for our animals from
the temples where milk poured in ritual by
devotees used to be lost, but is now collected
and given to us. They also give us green feed
that is offered by devotees.
Our expenses are now at least $130 per
day U.S., on average, not counting our
additional expenses for tsunami relief. Having
to raise this much just to meet daily needs is a
constant stress, as it is for most humane
However I am happy to say that the
Visakha SPCA has quickly learned and gained
immensely from your guidance and help with
innovative decisions. We are a
research-and-development project for others who
wish to start humane organizations in India, and
hope to become a role model.
–Pradeep Kumar Nath
Visakha SPCA
26-15-200 Main Road
530001, India
Phone: 91-891-564759

Band-aid responses

Thank you for your extremely sensible
holiday appeal letter, stressing the usually
futile use of band-aid responses to cruelty and
neglect, instead of working to abolish the
causes through education, legislation, and law
One of the weapons most successfully used by our
opponents is the animal shelter. The use of
shelters as an all-purpose response to everything
diverts energy, time, and money away from
outreach to the public, pitting long-term
against short-term programs. This is not to say
that a supply of band-aids should not be on hand
and used when appropriate.
Another tool of the opposition is the
preoccupation with the tax-deductible status of
donations that scares too many animal advocates
away from political activity.
As you know, I am among your staunch
supporters, and will continue to help as best I
can (my friend who reads each edition to me and
is transcribing this, also.) It is good that
you have key articles translated into French and
Spanish. How expensive would it be to add
Mandarin, Arabic, and Hebrew?
I pray that 2005 will bring some
enlightenment, and that the peoples of the world
will learn to thrive on a more compassionate
–B.B. Eilers
Mesa, Arizona

Eilers, now more than 90 years old and
blind, was long associated with Animals’
Crusaders, founded in Spokane, Washington in
1950 by L. Constance M. Barton, with affiliates
in New Zealand, Scotland, and Canada.
The strategic concept behind Animals’
Crusaders was sound, but the technology required
to inexpensively build, maintain, inform, and
activate the global pro-animal network they
envisioned did not exist until the advent of the
Internet in the early 1990s.
Though the Animals’ Crusaders network
broke up due to the difficulty of maintaining
communications with the methods and very limited
donor base that animal advocacy had at the time,
at least two groups descended from it still exist.

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