From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2006:

Tony Banks, 62, died on January 7, 2006 from a stroke
sufferedon vacation at Sanibel Island, Florida. A Member of
Parlia-ment 1983-2004, sports minister 1997-1999, and named to the
House of Lords in mid-2005, Banks was a vegetarian and “a staunch
animal welfarist who played a key role in having hunting with dogs
banned in Britain,” World Society for the Protection of Animals
director general Peter Davies recalled. “He was also a strong
supporter of my separate charity which erected the Memorial to
Animals in War in Park Lane, London,” Davies said. Added League
Against Cruel Sports chair John Cooper, “In his firm belief that
people have a moral responsibility to animals, Banks was not just a
figurehead for millions of animal welfare supporters across Britain,
but a determined street fighter in the corridors of Westminster.”
At his death Banks was League Against Cruel Sports vice president.

Ethel Thurston, 94, died at home in New York City on
January 4, 2006. A longtime professor at Hunter College, Bryn
Mawr, New York University, and the Manhattan College of Music,
Thurston was globally known as a musicologist who recreated the
original sounds of compositions from the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
But Thurston was legendary, friend Sara Sohn recalled, as “a
pioneer of the animal rights movement, who devoted the last three
decades of her life to running the two organizations she founded.

The American Fund for Alternatives to Animal Research,” begun in
1974, “provided grants to scientists who were committed to
developing, validating, and implementing non-animal alternatives.
Beauty Without Cruelty USA,” started in 1978, “informed the public
on where to find cruelty-free cosmetics and household products, and
also vegan clothing and footwear. I met Dr. Thurston when I was 15
and had the privilege and honor of working with her for ten years,”
Sohn said. Funded for seven years by AFAAR, cytotoxicologist Bjorn
Ekwall of Sweden developed human cell culture tests which by 1998
could “predict human lethal concentrations with 71% precision,”
Thurston told ANIMAL PEOPLE in 1998. Ekwall died in 2000, but the
Bjorn Ekwall Foundation has continued his work. Thurston started
Beauty Without Cruelty USA as a branch of an organization begun in
Britain in 1957 by Muriel, The Lady Dowding, who died in 1993. In
1963 the Lady Dowding spun off the cruelty-free product manufacturing
firm Beauty Without Cruelty Inc. as an independent company.
Thurston’s first BWC-USA project was a week of anti-fur protest held
in March 1979 to coincide with the American Inter-national Fur Fair.
Featuring appearances by the Lady Dowding, Fund for Animals founder
Cleveland Amory, and Broadway actress Gretchen Wyler, who later
founded the Genesis Awards program (see page 15), the effort is
remembered as the ignition of the U.S. anti-fur movement. Thurston
also helped boost animal rights philosopher Tom Regan to prominence.
Recalled Regan, “On behalf of the International Association against
Painful Experiments on Animals, Ethel and IAPEA founder Colin Smith
[deceased in 2001] invited me to organize and chair a 1984 conference
on religion and animals. In 1986, I was privileged to publish the
proceedings as Animal Sacrifices: Religious Perspectives on the Use
of Animals in Science.” The New England Anti-Vivisection Society in
2000 honored Thurston with the Cleveland Amory Humane Achievement

Joan Wells Root, 69, was shot three times in her bed with
an AK-47 automatic rifle on January 13 at her home in Naivasha,
Kenya, 56 miles northwest of Nairobi. Naivasha police chief Simon
Kiragu three days later announced the arrest of a welder and a
schoolteacher, who were identified by tracking dogs. Twenty-one
other people were held for questioning. A watchman saw the
attackers approach with the gun and a machete, shining a spotlight
into the house until they found Root, but was unable to intervene,
Kiragu said. “There is speculation that Mrs. Root may have been
targeted over efforts to stop illegal fishing,” wrote Independent
correspondent Anthony Gitonga. “Mrs. Root married Alan, a
self-taught film-maker, in 1961,” recalled Guardian correspondent
Jeevan Vasagar. “The Roots were the first people to fly over Mount
Kilimanjaro in a hot-air balloon and set up the first balloon safaris
over the Masai Mara.” Together they made nature films including
Baobab: Portrait of a Tree (1973); Castles of Clay (1978),
featuring a termite hill and an aardvark; Mzima: Portrait of a
Spring (1983), focusing on the life of a hippopotamus; Year of the
Wildebeest (1984); Kopjes: Islands in a Sea of Grass (1985); Legend
of the Lightning Bird (1989) ; Season in the Sun (1989); and Heart
of Brightness (1990). Post-divorce, Root focused on operating her
own small wildlife rehabilitation center. “Raised in Naivasha, Mrs.
Root developed an early love for animals after helping to nurse an
injured baby elephant back to health,” wrote Xan Rice of The Times.

Mary Aiken Littauer, 93, died on December 7 at her home in
Syosset, New York. Raised in Manhattan, she developed an interest
in ridng during family vacations in Nevada, then volunteered as a
horseback courier for the Frontier Nursing Service in rural Kentucky.
She married Vladimir S. Littauer, a former cavalry officer in the
army of Czar Nicholas II of Russia, who authored eight books on
riding and training horses, and founded the Boots & Saddles Club
near their home on Long Island, where he taught riding until his
death in 1989, at age 96. Restricted in his own riding during the
last 20 years of his life, Littauer suggested to his wife, who did
not wish to ride alone, that she might like to try her own hand at
writing about horses. She published her first article about horses
of ancient times in the British journal Antiquity in 1968. Soon
thereafter she began a 30-year collaboration with University of
Amsterdam professor of Aegean archaeology Joost Crouwel. Together
they produced 65 scholarly articles and two books, Wheeled Vehicles
& Ridden Animals in the Ancient Near East (1970) and Chariots &
Related Equipment from the Tomb of Tutankhamen (1985).

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