Letters [March 2005]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 2005:

Belgrade zoo

I am a concerned citizen asking for guidance on how to help
the animals who reside at the Belgrade city zoo. Built in 1936, on
six hectares of rocky fortress, this privately operated zoo is among
the oldest in Europe. It is located in the Belgrade city center, on
city property. It has approximately 2.000 animals of about 200
species. Many big animals are in very small cages. Many animals
look distressed. They often show signs of “stereotypic behavior,”
such as pacing, head-bobbing, neck-twisting, bar-biting and
sucking, coprophagia, over-grooming, and self-mutilation. Many
animals have been born who are not in the zoo, including tigers,
bears, and a hippo. What has become of them?
–Jelena Zaric
Belgrade, Serbia


What can Bruce D. Patter-son himself add to more than 100
years of discussion?
Quite a lot, as it happens. Patterson and Dr. Samuel Kaseki
of the Kenya Wildlife Service have retraced every known step of the
stories of The Ghost and The Darkness, who hunted humans together
more avidly yet elusively than any other lions on record.
Discovering a compass error in Colonel John Patterson’s
description of the site, Bruce D. Patterson and Kaseki found and
explored the long-lost cave that the lions had supposedly filled with
human remains. Flooding long since emptied it, and it may have been
a tribal burial location, not a lion dining hall–but even if it was
a tribal burial chamber, the lions might have feasted there.
Looking into local history, Patterson established that the
attacks of The Ghost and The Darkness were not without precedent,
nor without subsequent parallel. Meat-hunting to feed the railway쵺࣐ఀ耀

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 2005:

Just back from helping with post-tsunami animal relief work
in Sri Lanka, Noah’s Wish founder Terri Crisp has announced her 2005
disaster relief training schedule.
Eleven regional three-day workshops will offer interactive
training in animal intake, reclaim, and lost-and-found; shelter
management; emergency management; safety; search and rescue, the
emotional aspects of disaster response; and disaster preparedness.
“Participants will stay on-site the entire three days,”
spokes-person Shari Thompson said, “to give them a realistic
experience of the physical challenges of responding to a disaster.”
Workshop dates and locations include March 4-6 in
Charles-ton, South Carolina; March 18-20 in Tulsa, Oklahoma;
April 1-3 in Nashville, Tennessee; April 22-24 in Columbus, Ohio;
May 6-8 in Boston; May 20-22 in Flagstaff, Arizona; May 27-29 in

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 2005:

NAIROBI–Used to fighting heavily armed Somali poachers who
strike Tsavo National Park from the northeast, Kenya Wildlife
Service wardens found themselves under fire from a different
direction near Lake Jipe on January 21 when they ordered a battered
blue Toyota pickup truck to stop.
Hauling two eland carcasses, the truck appeared to be
engaged in routine bush meat trafficking. Bush meat traffickers
rarely risk their lives in shootouts. They tend to try bribery
first, then pay a small fine and perhaps spend a few days in jail.
But this time the wardens’ vehicle was quickly disabled by a
.404 slug from an elephant gun. The wardens shot back.
“Two middle-aged poachers died on the spot. Three made a
hasty escape through the scrubland, leaving their bloody cargo and a
shotgun behind,” Kenya Wildlife Service deputy director for wildlife
security Peter L콸૒฀耀

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 2005:

Miriam Rothschild, 96, died on January
20 in Northamptonshire, England, recalled by
The Times of London as “Beatrix Potter on
amphetamines.” Like Potter, Rothschild
performed dissections and vivisection early in
life, but became a strong animal advocate later
in life. The daughter of banker Charles
Rothschild, who as a hobby identified more than
500 flea species, Miriam Rothschild catalogued
more than 30,000 flea species between 1953 and
1973. Her uncle Lionel Walter Rothschild also
encouraged her interest in biology, collecting
more than 2.3 million butterflies, 300,000 bird
skins, 300,000 birds’ eggs, several pet
cassowaries, and 144 giant tortoises. Miriam
Rothschild followed them into entomology,
working with Nobel Prize-winning chemist Tadeus
Reichstein to decode the relationship between
insects’ consumption of t

Editor’s note:

Photographs accompanied this letter, illustrating conditions
already documented by more than a dozen years’ worth of information
on file here from other sources. The Tower of London menagerie was
built to a similar plan circa 1235, recycling ancient fortifications
on a much smaller scale, and was closed as inhumane in 1825, under
pressure from the London Humane Society (which became the Royal SPCA
in 1840], soon after the opening of the London Zoo.
To meet current “best practice” standards, the Belgrade city
zoo might need to be completely rebuilt, but substantial
improvements could be made just by placing some animals elsewhere,
to focus on the species whose needs can be most readily accommodated
within the facilities that now exist.

Praise for editorial “Prioritizing animal & human suffering”

Good for Kim Bartlett for taking an uncompromising stand on
behalf of animals in her remarks quoted in the ANIMAL PEOPLE
January/February editorial “Prioritizing animal & human suffering.”
The attitude that humans must always come first, and by
extension that nothing must ever be done for animals until all human
suffering is ended, is responsible not only for withholding help
from animals in a crisis (and questioning the morality of people who
give help), but also for tolerating the most appalling atrocities
against animals, since to protest about them would divert resources
from human causes.
That Worldwide Veterinary Service chief executive Luke Gamble
should take such an attitude, and even apparently feel guilty about
his job, is really discouraging. This is all the more reason why
animal advocates should stop using human-centred arguments, such as
“meat is unhealthy,” “vivisection doesn’t work,” etc., and state
firmly that we care about the animals, and that there should be
recognized moral limits to what we do to animals even where it would
benefit humans.
Speciesists will say “Yes, we should have concern for
animals, but it should be less than that for human beings.” Apart
from the lack of any good reason for this recommendation, what it
amounts to is that in practice any concern for animals is seen as
robbing humans of that amount of concern, so that, with “any”
equaling “more than,” “less” really means “none.”
To the frequent accusation, “You care more for animals than
for human beings,” my reply would be that where political action is
concerned, I do indeed, for the following reasons:

1) Animals are worse treated, both in the numbers affected
and the amount of suffering and death inflicted, than even the most
oppressed human beings.
2) Animals can’t defend themselves effectively against humans.
3) They have only a negligible, if any, place on most
political agendas. In all these respects, their need is greater.

–Kathy Perlo
Dundee, Scotland

FoA asks feds to explain bird hit list

Friends of Animals has submitted the following comments to
the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in response to the Draft List of
Bird Species to Which the Migratory Bird Treaty Act Does Not Apply,
as published in the Federal Register on January 4, 2005.
Congress passed the Migratory Bird Treaty Reform Act (MBTA)
on December 8, 2004. The MBTA has protected many birds, including
the 113 species proposed for removal, since 1918, yet the U.S. Fish
& Wildlife Service took less than a month to compile the list of
birds to be removed.
Controversy surround the native or non-native status of many
species listed by the Service, yet the Service provides no
case-by-case scientific justification.
For example, naturalist William Bartram referred to a bird
who could have been the king vulture (Sarcoramphus papa) being
sighted in Florida in the late 18th century. A case could be made
that king vultures were native to North America and might even be a
candidate for reintroduction.
The red-breasted goose (Branta ruficollis) has been recorded
on the Chukotsk Peninsula of Siberia, 40 miles west of the Seward
Peninsula of Alaska.
According to The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior, “Several
Florida records of the Cuban grassquit (Tiaras canora) may be of
escapees, or they may be natural wanderers, from Cuba or the
Bahamas, where the species has been introduced. In December 2000,
the South Florida Birding web site reported that a Cuban grassquit
had been sighted in the dunes of South Point Park, south of Miami,
Upon examining the Federal Register notice, it is clear that
the bird of interest is the mute swan. At least a third of the text
space is taken up in discussion of this one species, among 113 birds
listed for exemption.
The Service’s hastily-drawn list suggests that the concern is
every non-native bird, but this pretense of neutrality is
incongruent with the documentation.
To avoid unintended consequences, the Service must go through the
entire list and provide justification for the inclusion of each
individual species, conducting an exhaustive search of existing
literature and consulting with ornithologists to assure that no
naturally occurring species are included.
–Priscilla Feral, President
Friends of Animals
777 Post Road
Darien, CT 06820

Friends of Animals has opposed federal and state attempts to
kill mute swans since 1987. The impending extermination effort is
also opposed by the Humane Society of the U.S. The amendment to the
Migratory Bird Treaty Act that authorized the extermination was
another stealth rider to the same budget bill that orders the Bureau
of Land Management to sell all impounded wild horses who are either
10 years or age or have been offered for adoption at least three
times without takers.

A Texan’s tribute to the mustangs

I am writing, calling, and emailing my Congressional
representatives, asking them to co-sponsor HR-297, to repeal the
November 2004 stealth rider that has jeopardized our wild horses.
There is a Mustang Memorial at the University of Texas in
Austin. With the monument is an inscription by Old West cultural
historian J. Frank Dobie, who authored The Mustangs (1952), and
later received the Metal of Freedom from President Lyndon Johnson.
Dobie recalls in the inscription that “In 1829 Stephen F. Austin
wrote: ‘Immense herds of wild horses… Next to God, we owed our
victory to the horses,’ in those times when, as sayings went, a
man was no better than his horse, and a man on foot was no man at
Congress would do well to behold the statue and the words of
deepest gratitude to the wild horse by the men who settled the land.
–Barbara Scott
San Francisco, California

J. Frank Dobie also warrants remembrance for Voice of the
Coyote (1949), which made one of the earliest arguments against
exterminations of coyotes.

Bottle-feeding a baby llama is not an act of kindness

We at Southeast Llama Rescue sincerely appreciate Animal
People and the tremendous job you all do to help and educate us.
Founded in 1999, we are all-volunteer. Though we come from a
variety of backgrounds, none of us have a particularly lengthy
resume in animal rescue. However, we are no-kill, and we have open
intake, with transport provided east of the Mississippi and south of
New York. We have never turned down a llama or alpaca surrendered
to us.
I’m writing to you today to hopefully educate more people on
the fate of bottle raised llamas, usually for use in petting zoos.
Baby llamas, called “crias”, are adorable, soft to the touch, and
entirely endearing to the public. However, when these bottle-fed
crias reach sexual maturity at the ages of two to four years old,
they typically become difficult at best and often down right
dangerous. Most are euthanized as soon as they exhibit behavior
Crias should be left with their mothers. The only reason for
bottle feeding is medical necessity, to prevent the death of the
cria or mother, and then the cria still needs to be raised with
other adult llamas to be properly socialized.
Mal-socialized llamas are rare. Llamas in general are
gentle, intelligent, and safe for children to be around, due to
their lack of hooves and upper incissors, and hesitation to bite
even under the worst circumstances. However, bottle raised llamas
are a horse of a different color, and even when bottle feeding is a
medical necessity, a trainer or rescue organization should be
consulted about proper socialization.
Southeast Llama Rescue is one of the few llama rescues or
sanctuaries that takes in llamas with aggression problems.
Currently, we have over a dozen in our care. Several of the llamas
we have here have caused serious injuries to their former caretakers,
who have required emergency hospitalization for bite wounds, back
injuries, and broken ribs. Several of the llamas here have also
sustained injuries and abuse from people trying to “discipline” them,
or simply protecting themselves from an attack. Two of our current
residents have permanent facial deformities.
Although I’m sure it is a real treat for children to pet and
hug a soft, cute bottle-fed cria, please educate and boycott any
facility that provides these babies as an attraction. It is a
practically a death sentence for the animal, and people could be
seriously harmed too.
For more information about Southeast Llama Rescue, behavior
problems in llamas, and other llama rescue organizations, please
visit our website.
–Alvin Bean
Southeast Llama Rescue
2403 East Fork Rd
Marshall, NC 28753


A text box overflow error cut short the quote from Clementien
Pauws of the Karuna Society that ended the January/February 2005
ANIMAL PEOPLE feature “Indian humane community rises to meet the
challenge of tsunami waves.” Said Pauws, “We fed hundreds of
animals along the shore and in Naggapattinam, but there was only very
little that we could do, compared to the need.” Author Merritt
Clifton’s byline was also lost.
The names of greyhound racing opponents Carey and Connie
Theil were misspelled as “Thiel” in the January/February 2005 ANIMAL
PEOPLE article “Greyhound racing ends on U.S. west coast.”

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