Letters [Sep 2005]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2005:

PETA in N.C.

I read and re-read your July/August 2005
article “PETA staffers face 62 felony cruelty
counts in North Carolina.”
A central aspect of the case is the
pervasive arrogance underlying so much PETA
behavior -“We know best, the opinions of others
don’t count, we are not interested in your
ideas, we don’t listen to you but we do want
your money.”
Profound and constant arrogance comes through again and again.
-Irene Muschel
New York, N.Y.

Nevada horses

In your May 2005 article “BLM suspends
wild horse sales after 41 are resold to
slaughter,” you mentioned a proposed
adoption/visitor center in Mound Horse, Nevada.
I think you mean Mound House, on U.S. 50 in
northern Lyon County, just east of Carson City.
–Henry Smith
Sorrento, Maine

“Madness in Karachi” update

Re “Madness in Karachi,” in your June
2005 edition, local government elections in
Karachi have been keeping politicians busy these
days, and so (through mid-August) the city has
not yet begun their street dog poisoning
campaign. We hope the new government will be
more responsive to humane management methods.
–Mahera Omar
Pakistan Animal Welfare Society

Safari World orangutans

Forestry officers raided Safari World in
Bangkok in Nov-ember 2003 to investigate alleged
cruelty in connection with kick boxing matches
held between orangutans to amuse visitors. They
found that many of the 115 orangutans present
were kept in cramped and unhealthy conditions,
and were not registered with the authorities.
Safari World claimed that the many young
orangutans were produced by a successful breeding
program, but DNA testing paid for by the Bornean
Orangutan Survival Foundation found in 2004 that
at least 72 of the orangutans were illegally
smuggled into Thailand. In the wild, mothers and
other relatives are shot in order to catch the
Two years later, these orangutans are
still suffering at Safari World. At least 15 of
them have reportedly died, in strange
circumstances, without adequate medical
Some of the Safari World orangutans were
smuggled to Cambodia last year and are now part
of a similar show at a casino.
All of the surviving orangutans found at
Safari World should be returned to the wild in
Indonesia. This is part of the protocol for
handling confiscated wildlife described in the
detailed rules and regulations of the Convention
on International Trade in Endangered Species,
and Thailand as a signatory should adhere to this.
The Indonesian government is backing the
return of the orangutans. Rehabilitation for
release into the wild has been offered by the
Bornean Orangutan Survival Foundation.
Our campaign represents many different
organizations and wildlife activists who urge the
Thai authorities to return the Safari World
We also condemn all illegal wildlife smuggling, worldwide.
–Karmele Llano
Stichting ProAnimalia Intl.
Postbus 93029
2509 AA Den Haag
The Netherlands

Calgary licensing system works

Thanks for the positive comment on our licensing
program in your June 2005 edition.
I was interested to see that your survey
of eight representative U.S. cities did not find
a relationship between high license compliance
and kill rates. That has not been our
experience. Our dog license compliance is now
over 90%. We have reduced euthanasia to 3% of
the dogs we impounded in 2004. We only euthanize
dogs who cannot be adopted because of aggression
or non-correctable health issues.
We return 88% of the dogs we impound to
their homes, and adopt out 9%. About half of
the dogs we pick up go directly home. I can’t
push that program enough. The savings achieved
by not bringing dogs back to the shelter is
significant, both in monetary terms and in
making more productive use of animal control
officers’ time.
Additionally, we have reduced aggressive
dog incidents by two thirds over the past 20
years while our city has doubled in size.
Revenues are up and exceed our operating
costs. In fact, we have enough to allow us to
provide a quarter million dollar annual operating
grant to the Calgary Humane Society.
We don’t license cats yet, so are not
doing as well there. However, our numbers on
cats are 50% returned to owner, 31% adopted to
new homes, and 19% euthanized. Healthy
adoptable cats are not euthanized. We are
working closely with local humane groups and
veterinarians on cat identification, seeking to
reduce the euthanasia rate for cats.
–Bill Bruce, Director,
Animal & Bylaw Services
The City of Calgary
POB 2100, Station M,
Calgary, AB T2P 2M5
Phone: 403-268-5811
Fax: 403-268-4927

The Editor replies:

The Calgary licensing program works,
unlike any other I have looked at, anywhere in
the world, because it is managed in a very
different manner.
The enabling legislation was initially
identical to the Los Angeles ordinance of 1985,
but enforcement differed from the start in two
key respects.
One Calgary innovation was that licensed
dogs found at large initially got a free ride
home. Eventually a small service fee was added.
People whose dogs escape tend to cheerfully pay
it; most would spend far more to try to find a
lost pet, worrying all the while.
The other Calgary twist was that instead
of trying to make licensing pay for itself from
the first license sold, Calgary priced licensing
low and ubiquitously and positively promoted it
as an inexpensive public service to people who
have dogs, attracting enough voluntary
compliance to make money on volume. Reminders to
license are everywhere, always selling the
advantages instead of threatening with penalties.
The Calgary success, now sustained for
many years, redefines “high licensing
compliance.” Few jurisdictions anywhere can
claim even a third of the Calgary licensing
compliance rate. Other communities claiming more
than 30% licensing compliance usually get it
through door-to-door enforcement that rarely pays
for itself, is hated by the public, and cannot
be sustained.
Of note is that contrary to the common
belief that licensing increases the dog
sterilization rate, the percentage of U.S. dogs
who are sterilized–more than two-thirds–is more
than twice the percentage who are licensed.
Calgary meanwhile returns dogs to their
homes at an unheard-of rate. Many U.S. animal
control agencies manage to achieve 50% returns to
home, with return rates typically coming in
around double the local licensing rate, but the
dogs typically spend several days in the shelter
before being found. A 60% return rate is
considered high, and most animal control chiefs
would consider 88% impossible.

The World Society & the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare

The July/August 2005 ANIMAL PEOPLE
editorial feature on the Universal Declaration on
Animal Welfare is a masterly historical review of
the many attempts that have taken place
over decades to achieve some sort of
Declaration–and we will keep it as a reference.
I would like to make some comments:
You took issue with including the word
“legitimate” in the phrase “Where animals are
used in legitimate sport and entertainment, all
appropriate steps shall be taken to prevent them
being exposed to cruelty.”
Without this word we would not have
received support from a number of governments
that accept activities such as horse
riding, sheep dog trials, etc., and, even if
we did have their support, it is unlikely that
governments would have agreed to attack sports
and entertainments which were legal and enjoying
large public support in their countries.
That decision did not imply that,
notwithstanding any adoption of the Declaration,
WSPA and/or its member societies would not
continue to campaign against any form of cruelty
or unnatural behaviour imposed on animals in the
name of sport etc. as we are continuing to do,
e.g. bull fighting in Spain.
You also stated that “WSPA presented a
redraftÅ ” at the March 2003 Manila Conference
on Animal Welfare.”
In fact it was the 22 nations who
attended the Manila Conference who presented the
redraft. WSPA could only act behind the scenes
to reduce the several attempts to weaken the
draft further and, most importantly, to keep
the draft going forward.
You stated that “Replacing the idea that
the Five Freedoms ‘should be afforded’ to captive
animals with the notion that the Five Freedoms
merely ‘provide valuable guidance’ amounted to
replacing the concept of law with unenforceable
I would argue that the Manila Declaration
kept the show on the road and if eventually it
becomes a United Nations Declaration, all the
enforceable legislation that you and I seek will
then be required to be built on its premise that
animals are sentient.
The conclusion is the only bit I didn’t
warm to. I thought it was a little condescending.
WSPA does not “…purport to collectively
represent the animal welfare community.” It
does actually represent our 560 member societies
in 126 countries with that number growing
almost monthly.
WSPA and I personally have no intention
of abandoning the “…oft expressed conviction of
generations of animal advocates worldwide that
the right of animals to not suffer should
supersede human claims about culture and
Rather we draw strength from those
generations, build on their aspirations, and by
bringing our collective and increasing member
society strength to bear, have every hope of
achieving permanent improvements for all.
–Peter Davies
89 Albert Embankment
London, SE1 7TP
Phone: +44-20-7587-5000
Fax: +44-20-7793-0208


Because ANIMAL PEOPLE unknowingly
received total shelter intake data for Asheville,
North Carolina, from the Asheville
Citizen-Times, rather than just the total
numbers of animals killed, the line for Buncombe
County, N.C. in the tables following our
July/August 2005 feature “Shelter killing drops
after upward spike” was incorrect. In the most
recently ended fiscal year, Buncombe County
agencies killed 5,444 dogs and cats, for an
actual rate per 1,000 humans of 25.6.

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