From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 2005:

Tina Nelson, 48, executive director of the American
Anti-Vivisection Society since 1995, died on October 19, 2005,
after fighting cancer for a year and a half. Hired by the Bucks
County SPCA after earning a biology degree from the Delaware Valley
College of Science & Agriculture, Nelson became chief cruelty
investigator, then worked as a domestic relations officer for the
Bucks County court system, program coordinator for the Great Lakes
Regional Office of the Humane Society of the U.S., and founder of
Kind Earth, a cruelty-free products store in Doylestown,
Pennsylvania, which she sold to take on the AAVS leadership. Under
Nelson, AAVS sued the USDA for excluding rats, mice, and birds
from federal Animal Welfare Act protection in 1970 by writing them
out of the definition of “animal” in the enforcement regulations.
This meant that more than 95% of all animals used in U.S.
laboratories have no coverage. In September 2000 the USDA agreed to
protect rats, mice, and birds in an out-of-court settlement. The
USDA then delayed implementing the settlement. In May 2002 former
Senator Jesse Helms (R-North Carolina) attached a rider to a USDA
budget bill that made the exclusion of rats, mice, and birds from
the enforcement regulations an actual part of the law.

Michael H. Murphy, 48, of Dayton, Ohio, was killed in a
Thanksgiving Day 2005 housefire. Legally blind, he led his aged
mother outdoors, then went back to try to rescue one of their two
cats who was still inside. “It’s never a good idea to go back into a
burning house to get an animal,” Dayton Fire Department prevention
specialist Greg Smith told Ismail Turay Jr. of the Dayton Daily News.
“Usually cats and dogs are much smaller and nimbler, and can find
their way out better than people. Jumping out of a window is not a
problem for them,” if windows are left open or are broken from

Donald Watson, 95, founder of the Vegan Society, died on
November 16 at his home in Cumbria, northern England. Recalled the
London Times, “While staying at the farm run by his much-loved Uncle
George, Watson was shocked to see his uncle direct the slaughter of a
pig. Its screams remained with him ever after.” Wrote Watson, “I
decided that farms and uncles had to be reassessed: the idyllic
scene was nothing more than death row, where every creature’s days
were numbered.” Watson not only became a vegetarian but convinced
his elder brother and younger sister to join him. All three
registered as conscientious objectors during World War II. In 1944
they organized a 25-member committee of “non-dairy vegetarians.”
Watson coined the word “vegan” that November while seeking a title
for their first 12-page newsletter, which became Vegan News. More
interested in growing vegetables than activism in his later years,
Watson remained involved, but left the leadership to others. At
Watson’s death the Vegan Society had 5,000 members; there were
reportedly 250,000 vegans in Britain.

Jennifer Diekman, 29, of Aplington, Iowa, stopped to help
a dog who had been hit by a car on Iowa Highway 57 at about 6:30 a.m.
on November 13, 2005. The headlights of her car apparently blinded
oncoming driver Glenn Frey, 54, of Aplington, who struck and
killed her. The dog also died. Diekman left her husband Kelly and
two young children.

Charles Jacobsen, 67, of St. Petersburg, Florida, on
December 14, 2005 stopped to help a dog he had hit at the
intersection of Polaris Road and U.S. 98. Jacobsen and the dog were
both struck by a vehicle driven by Brian Born, 35, and then a third
car hit the dog again. Both Jacobsen and the dog died at the scene.

Jasmin Kung, 46, died from a heart attack on December 14,
2005, in Clearwater, Florida. As volunteer supervisor of surgical
preparation for the Animal Coalition of Tampa in 2001, Kung met
Gracie King and Penelope Sandarg, and in June 2002 co-founded the
rescue group Cat Call with them and Michaele Collaud. Kung remained
involved with ACT. “Jasmin worked at every one of our 48 clinics,”
recalled Frank Hamilton, who cofounded ACT with his wife Linda.
“Even Linda and I have missed clinics,” Hamilton told Alley Cat
Allies, “but Jasmin never did.” Kung was to manage ACT’s first
full-time fixed-site clinic, scheduled to open in 2006. Her husband
Derek Hyps asked that memorial contributions be made to benefit the
ACT clinic.

Steve Courson, 50, offensive guard for the Pittsburgh
Steelers 1977-1983, including for the 1979 and 1980 Super Bowl
winners, was killed on November 10, 2005 while trying to save a
black Labrador retriever named Rufus from a falling 44-foot tree that
Courson had just cut in his yard in Farmington, Pennsylvania. Rufus
survived but required orthopedic surgery. Rufus, another Lab named
Ray Ray, and his cat Cassandra were offered for adoption by the
Noah’s Ark Animal Shelter in Uniontown. Director Robin Moore told
Jennifer Harr of the Uniontown Herald-Standard that the shelter would
be renamed Steve Courson’s Humane Society of Fayette County. Courson
also played football for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1984-1985,
before retiring due to a heart condition he attributed to misuse of

Thomas “Tab” Burke, 48, called “a man of enormous
compassion” by family and neighbors, drowned near his home in
Violet, Louisiana on August 29, 2005, while trying to rescue his
family’s Rottweiler.

Richard Pryor, 65, known to the world as a provocative
stand-up comedian and comic actor, died from multiple sclerosis on
December 10 in Los Angeles. Friends knew Pryor as an animal
advocate. “Richard Pryor, animal activist, is a relatively recent
phenomenon, but Pryor has always been an animal lover,” recalled
Ark Trust board member Nora Fraser. Actress Jennifer Lee, whom he
recently married for the second time, remembers the animals he kept
at his ranch in Northridge when she first knew him–a miniature pony,
a great Dane, and a couple of monkeys. According to Lee, Pryor
always stressed kindness to animals to his children.” Pryor’s web
site at his death carried an appeal for donations to the United
Animal Nations post-Hurricane Katrina disaster relief effort. His
2004 Christmas card urged recipients to boycott charities that fund
vivisection. Added Fraser, “He has been honored by PETA for saving
baby elephants in Botswana,” who were to be sold to circuses, “and
last year, as the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus prepared
to open at Madison Square Garden, Pryor gave the Big Top’s first
African-American ringmaster something to think about. ‘While I am
hardly one to complain about a young African American making an
honest living,’ Pryor wrote to Jonathan Lee Iverson, ‘I urge you to
ask yourself just how honorable it is to preside over the abuse and
suffering of animals.'”

Olga Northron, 92, died circa August 29, 2005, at her
home in Gentilly, Louisiana, after refusing to leave her cats. The
cats’ fate is unknown.

Roy Tidwell, 82, and Rosalie Tidwell, 83, drowned
together at their home in Gentilly, Louisiana, on August 29, 2005,
one day before ther 32nd wedding anniversary, after refusing to
leave their dog King.

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