Letters [April 2005]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2005:


Thanks for sending ANIMAL PEOPLE and I must congratulate you
for investigating details and info.
Hardly any issue of yours does not have useful info, and we
maintain a separate clipping file for ANIMAL PEOPLE.
Your December 2004 edition gives a good analysis of funding
for animal welfare organisations. Every year your summary of funds
received by different organisations is also kept by us, and we also
disseminate these to many people and NGOs.
–Laxmi Narain Modi
Executive Director
Animal Rights Intl.
Ahimsa Bhawan F-125 Lado Sarai
New Delhi, India 110 030
Phone: 011-29523250

Activist priorities

Kathy Perlo, in her letter, “Praise for editorial
‘Prioritizing animal and human suffering,” published in your March
2005 edition, makes an excellent case for putting a high priority on
improving conditions for animals. However, I respectfully believe
that since many people argue that they can’t be concerned about
animals when humans face so many problems, we should stress that
improving conditions for animals also has many benefits for people.
Without reducing efforts to make people aware of the many horrendous
examples of the mistreatment of animals, we should also point out
that a shift toward vegetarianism is a societal imperative because of
the many negative environmental and health effects of animal-based
diets, and a religious imperative, because production and
consumption of animal products violate many basic religious mandates,
including those involving treating animals with compassion.
–Richard H. Schwartz, President
Jewish Vegetarians of North America
Phone: 718)-761-5876
Fax: 718-982-3631

Good words from Sri Lanka

Your efforts to help vaccinate and sterilize orphaned cats
and dogs after the tsunami will never be forgotten by the pet lovers
of Sri Lanka. The veterinarians and the Humane Society
Inter-national team had a tough ordeal to go to the camps and perform
sterilization and vaccination under trying conditions in the midst of
human suffering.
We are grateful to Sherry Grant and Robert Blumberg for
organising the campaign in a timely manner, despite the obstacles.
We at Pets V Care will give our full co-operation to
eradicate rabies from Sri Lanka. We are confident that it can be
–Bernard Peiris, DVM
#35, Staples Street
Colombo-02, Sri Lanka

I have just read the January/February edition of ANIMAL
PEOPLE, and was delighted to read the article on Sri Lanka
highlighting Robert Blumberg’s role in bringing relief to the animals
of Sri Lanka. Bob has been truly an answer to prayer and this is
not an exaggeration.
We do not have an organized national animal welfare program.
Most of the work is done by a handful of individuals operating from
their homes. Our few shelters are terribly overcrowded and short of
Bob came and just threw himself into doing whatever he could.
All of us are so grateful to him for everything he has done.
–Anusha David
Colombo, Sri Lanka

Blumberg responds:

Anusha has actually been the moving force–we’re a good team.
She picked me up a number of times when I was at rock bottom, too.
And she personally rehomed 103 animals last year–all through her

Gambian donkey club

We strive to find ways of getting our message about animal
welfare across in a way that is fun and not too judgemental. We
encourage everyone to name their animals, as this builds a bond and
they regard an animal who has a name somewhat differently. Chrissie,
our manager, has started the Gambian Donkey Club, to teach the
children who care for the donkeys about welfare and management. She
discovered that the children all love football, so suggested that
they name the animals after their heroes.
Recently three men arrived at our center being pulled along
by a donkey with attitude. They brought him to see if they could buy
a headcollar, bridle, and bit, as this donkey was uncontrollable.
The donkey was called Manchester United, because there was no
stopping him, and he was stronger than any one player.
I wrote to Sir Alex Ferguson, the manager of Manchester
United Football team, to tell him this story and he very kindly sent
out two sets of full team strips (uniforms) for our village football
team. You can imagine the delight! The only problem was that they
play barefoot as they have no boots, but when the football socks
came, they wanted to wear them.
The villagers feel this gift came as a result of the donkeys,
so the donkeys are held in slightly higher esteem, and have become
mascots of the football team. To show their status, they now all
have to wear red headcollars!
This worked well for us, as the Gambian people are humorous
and have a good sense of fun, but a charity farther north tried
involving football and it didn’t work there at all.
–Heather Armstrong
The Gambia Horse & Donkey Trust
Brewery Arms Cottage
Stane Street
Ockley, Surrey RH5 5TH
United Kingdom
Phone: 01306-627568

Kalahari Raptor Centre

The Kalahari Raptor Centre is the only registered wildlife
rehab center in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa, an area
about two-thirds the size of Great Britain. Founded seven years ago,
we specialize in the care of raptors and predators.
Working with wild animals has taken its toll. Tendonitis in
cofounder Beverley Pervan’s elbows has left her with chronic severe
pain in both arms. Cortisone injections proved ineffective and
orthopedic advice was that she would have to rest her arms completely
or even surgery could not help.
After spending 14 months seeking persons to take over
responsibility for the many birds and animals under care at KRC, we
have been fortunate to find a British family, the Finlays, who meet
the criteria. They previously ran a small rehab facility in West
Africa. They took over from us at the end of March 2005.
We will move closer to Cape Town, where our son lives, and
where Bev can get all the medical attention she needs to restore her
Our enforced retirement will not affect our campaigns to ban canned
hunting and cruel methods of problem animal control. Our booklet
Canned Lion Hunting –A National Disgrace goes into the bookshops
this week.
–Chris Mercer
Phone: 082-967-5808

Saving the street cattle of New Delhi

I was most interested to see your article about the absurdity
of encouraging small-scale animal farming for the world’s poorest
people, especially in urban areas. We have been running our Mobile
Cattle Clinic to try to alleviate the suffering of cattle in Delhi,
India for the last two years, and can testify to the horrific
neglect that these animals endure–from keepers, the public, and
the cow shelters.
Actually, here in Delhi, the biggest threat to the welfare
of the cattle now lies in being lifted from the city streets and
deposited in one of the cow shelters, which in some cases offer
nothing more than a place to die. A combination of bad management
and deliberate neglect mean that the cattle are effectively condemned
as soon as they are captured by the Delhi Municipal Corporation.
Starvation and lack of adequate drinking water overtake the inmates
on a daily basis. We have seen many strong animals reduced to bags
of bones in just a few weeks.
–Jonny Krause, Trustee
Jim Brown Animal Welfare Foundation
East Newton Farm
Foulden, Berwickshire
Scotland TD15 1UL
Phone/fax: 44-0-1289-386720

Artificial colors, preservatives

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration does not prohibit the use
of artificial colors or chemical preservatives in pet foods, but
because they are suspected carcinogens, have no nutritive value,
and are unnecessary, the FDA does not recommend their use.
Purina, America’s largest pet food producer, after many
years of proudly advertising that its products contained no
artificial preservatives or colors, last year added red, yellow,
and blue artificial colors to most of its products. While several
other pet food manufacturers continue to avoid these colors, they
use risky chemical preservatives such as BHA or BHT. To its credit,
Purina continues to naturally preserve most of its pet foods with
mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E.
Whatever brand of pet food you purchase, always check the
ingredients. If there are artificial colors, or BHA or BHT
preservatives, please call the toll-free number printed on the
outside packaging and ask the manufacturers to stop using them.
(Purina’s toll-free number is 1-800-778-7462).
–Joel Freedman, chair
Public Education Committee
Animal Rights Advocates
of Upstate New York
Canandaigua, NY 14424

Thoughts about euthanasia

Euthanasia comes from two Greek words meaning “good death.”
To many animal control professionals, for a dog to have a “good
death” merely means that the animal receives a lethal inter-venous
injection of a barbituate. In reality to have a “good death” is far
more than just this.
In my years in animal welfare, I have observed dogs that
have been poisoned, shot, gassed and electrocuted, in some of the
most appalling circumstances imaginable. These dogs were clearly not
having a good death. I have also observed dogs being administered
pentobarbitone, who did not have a good death. Because barbiturates
were used, this was termed “euthanasia,” but “execution” would have
been a more accurate term.
For example, I have seen dogs contained in a communal kennel
adjacent to the room reserved for the final procedure. In theory
this is good practice, for the dogs could not observe anything
untoward. But the dogs were dragged through on catchpoles,
defecating and urinating as they went–after being given a sedative.
The dogs knew that something bad awaited them. There are many cues
available to a dog, and to other animals, that we are just
beginning to understand. Perhaps a fear message was transmitted
chemically by the dogs who preceded them, or by the behavior of the
Compare this to the administration of euthanasia at a well
run, caring veterinary clinic. The veterinarian may have a
technician or nurse to assist, and the dog’s human caretaker may be
present. The dog is comforted throughout the entire process, spoken
to gently, and treated with dignity.
There are many people in dog control who do care and do treat
a dog with dignity during his final moments, but the mere use of a
barbiturate for ending a dog’s life may not be euthanasia.
–Brian Faulkner
Stray Animal Solutions
P.O. Box 5905
Poole, BH12 5ZX
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)1202 247072
Fax: +44 (0) 1202 388737
Mobile: +44 (0)7778 457999

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