Letters [Jan/Feb 2006]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2006:

Scoring system

This letter is to address reviewer Kim Bartlett’s concerns
about the numerical scoring system for slaughterhouse evaluation that
I described in my book Animals In Translation. She was concerned
that many animals would suffer because a plant can pass even when it
makes some mistakes. Audits by restaurants that hold a plant to a
numerical standard have resulted in great improvements. The audit
criteria allow a plant to pass if 1% of the cattle fall down. In
2005, the 20 largest beef plants that were audited by more than one
restaurant company had 0% of the cattle falling. Cattle slipped in
only three plants. These plants have been in the audit system for
five years. This is a big improvement compared to my 1996
pre-restaurant audit data in 11 beef and veal plants. In two plants
(18%) a total of 8% and 12% of the animals fell down.
Reducing vocalization (moos and bellows) from distressed
cattle has also been greatly reduced. In 1996, the worst plant had
35% of the cattle vocalizing and in 2005 the worst vocalization score
out of 43 plants was 6%. In the 20 most heavily audited beef plants
the worst vocalization score was only 3%.
In 2005 the average scores for the heavily audited beef plants were:

Insensibility 100%
Stunned with 1st shot 98.5%
Falling 0%
Vocalization 1%
Electric prod use 6%

There are still serious problems and outright animal abuse in
some plants outside the audit system. A plant with a horrible 19%
stunning score was removed from the approved supplier list. Another
plant that slaughtered emaciated half-dead cows was also delisted.
Before the audits started some of the big plants did really
atrocious things such as dragging downer animals and cutting live
animals. In the 1980s I saw a man drag a live pig by plunging a meat
hook into its shoulder. Today, I no longer see these terrible
things in audited plants. More data and reports can be viewed at
<www.grandin.com>. Click on the survey section.
–Temple Grandin
Dept. of Animal Sciences
Colorado State University
Animal Sciences Dept.
Fort Collins, CO 80523


Cruel culling

I am very disturbed by the images that we are seeing on TV in
connection with bird flu outbreaks: poultry and other birds being
buried and /or burned alive. While I understand the potential
disastrous consequences of avian flu for humanity, and while I
accept that protecting humans has to be the first priority, these
animals are sentient beings. (Yes, one solution may be for all of
us to become vegetarians, but I don’t think that’s necessary here.)
Therefore I believe that humane methods of killing these poor
animals must be found and used. I also understand that this may be
more expensive and require resources. I would be willing to pledge
money to help with this, if I knew someone who would work on making
this possible.
If anyone knows any group that is working on more humane methods for
these cullings, please contact me.
–Markus Finkemeier
Brooklyn, N.Y.


“A gift to bile farm bears”

Thanks a million for your December 2005 cover feature
“British readers send a gift to bile farm bears.”
We got the number of signatures required from members of the
European Parliament to win a declaration calling for China to end
the horrific practice of bear bile farming. The declaration will now
become official European Parliament policy.
This is only the fourth time in the current Parliament that a
written declaration has gained enough signatures and cross-party
support to be adopted. This was all due to our U.K.
director Dave Neale and his team.
Also, our figures on bear bile farming in Vietnam have been updated.
Today, according to official statistics, there are 3,410 farmed
bears in Vietnam, 90% of them moon bears. Another 602 captive bears
are on exhibit.
–Jill Robinson
Founder & CEO
Animals Asia Foundation
P.O. Box 374
General Post Office
Hong Kong


Year of the Dog

2006 is the Chinese Year of the Dog. I hope the year will
bring a better life for the animals in China. Your support in much
–Irene Zhang
Animal Rescue Beijing
Beijing, China



Thanks for the editorial feature on breed-specific
legislation in the December 2005 edition of Animal People. Often I
find that you are the only source for information on what is
happening pertaining to dangerous dogs and related legislation. It
is greatly appreciated!
Here in Portland/ Multnomah County we are also experiencing a
rising number of pit bull-type dogs entering the shelter. Pit
bull-type dogs represented approximately 33% of all live dog intakes
in fiscal year 2005, and approximately 50% of all dog euthanasia.
This trend is holding through the first half of fiscal year 2006.
This population demographic is impacting our ability to successfully
place dogs who do not have behavioral or temperamental
characteristics that pose a health or safety risk to the community.
We are also seeing increases in pitbull-type dogs represented in
abandoned dog calls, bite investigations, abuse/neglect
investigations, and loose aggressive dog calls.
An Oregon law in effect since January 1, 2006 defines and
regulates the ownership of potentially dangerous dogs (breed
neutral), and imposes criminal sanctions on the owner/keeper of a
dog who inflicts serious injury to a person (Class A misdemeanor,
carrying a penalty of up to one year in prison and a $6,250 fine) or
kills a person (Class C Felony, with a penalty of up to five years
in prison and a $125,000 fine).
In addition, anyone found to own or keep a potentially
dangerous dog-where there is a repeat incident, or a failure to
comply with conditions and restrictions-is committing a Class A
misdemeanor (with a penalty of up to one year in prison and a $6,250
The new law makes the owner/keeper strictly liable for
economic damages incurred by a person who is injured by a dog. We
are working directly with our District Attorney’s office on
developing investigation and prosecution procedures.
–Mike Oswald
Multnomah County
Animal Services
P.O. Box 698
Troutdale, OR 97060


Dog I.D.

Great editorial–thank you for clarifying Animal People’s
stance on breed-specific legislation.
Does anyone have any other suggestions about how to make pit
bulls identifiable to law enforcement without handling the dog?
–Desiree Bender
Where Angels Run
P.O. Box 534
Conway, AR 72033



The Tompkins County SPCA has just completed five years of
being both no-kill and open admission–a combination that I believe
distinguishes our work among U.S. agencies.
–Jeff Lydon
Executive Director
Tompkins County SPCA
1640 Hanshaw Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-257-1822


Tsunami anniversary

As I look back on 2005 and reflect on the first anniversary
of the Indian Ocean tsunami here in Sri Lanka, I would like to give
special thanks to Animal People for your help and support. Your
immediate financial help allowed the Tsunami People Animal Welfare
Coalition to hit the ground with initial response assistance,
vaccination (ultimately vaccinating 14,000 animals) and assessment
even before the full extent of the tsunami was realized. Your
follow-up assistance to the Tsunami Memorial Animal Welfare Trust has
helped provide the longer-term response of sterilizing animals in the
tsunami zone and refugee camps to reduce rabies and dog bites, while
improving the welfare of the animals and protecting them from mass
Even more, thank you for moral support. Knowing that we had
your backing gave us the strength to push on during some dark early
days. Your candid observations about resources helped us to chart
our course.
I have been very pleased to see the Animal People name
continue to pop up giving a helping hand, especially assisting
groups in developing countries, where that small helping hand can
make a huge difference in very difficult animal welfare environments.
–Robert Blumberg
Tsunami Memorial
Animal Welfare Trust
45-B Skelton Road
Colombo 05, Sri Lanka



Three years have passed since Safariworld here in Thailand
was found to be illegally importing baby orangutans from Indonesia.
Courts found the owner of Safari-world guilty of illegally possessing
the orangutans over eight months ago.
The zoo confessed to the offense, yet the Department of
National parks, Wildlife and Plants returned the orangutans to the
zoo without any explanation.
Since then, at least 17 orangutans have died, over a span of
25 months. Of the 115 orangutans found at Safariworld, only 44 were
believed to be there legally. The other 71 were “donated” by various
people, according to the Safariworld management. All of the dead
orangutans were from the illegal lot.
How can 17 orangutans out of 71 die within two years, while
the zoo claims to be very successful at breeding and raising
orangutans? How many more babies need to die before the authorities
do something?
Send them back home!
–Edwin Wiek
Wildlife Friends of Thailand
& Borneo Orangutan
Survival Foundation
108, Moo 6
Tambon Thamairuak
Amphoe Thayang
76130 Petchaburi
Phone: +6690600906

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