Letters [April 2006]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2006:


Concerning your January/ February 2006
article “Kites vs. kite-birds & other species in
the skies of India & Pakistan,” kite-flying is
very popular in sub-continental Asia. But due to
kite-fighting, hundreds of thousands of birds
lose their lives. Kite-fighters use monofilament
“chemical” thread for flying kites. Countless
birds become entangled and injured, and often
die slowly from hunger, thirst, and infected
The Animal Save Movement appeals to the
governments of Pakistan and India to immediately
ban monofilament thread for kite-flying.
–Khalid Mahmood Qurashi
Animal Save Movement
H.#1094/2, Hussain Agahi
Multan, Pakistan 60000
Phone: 92-61-549623

Editor’s note:
Humans as well as birds are killed in
kite-fighting accidents–as ANIMAL PEOPLE
reported–and measures taken to protect humans
help birds too.
Punjab province, Pakistan, banned kite-flying
during the mid-March 2006 Basant festival, “after
seven people died from being slashed by kite
strings reinforced with wire or glass fiber,”
wrote Asif Sahzad of Associated Press.
“Last year 19 people died on Basant day,”
Lahore mayor Mian Amir Mahmood said. “No one
died here this year.”
About 800 people were arrested in Lahore for
kite-flying, firing celebratory gunshots, and
playing loud music. Throughout Punjab, more
than 1,400 people were arrested.

Great Poland

We neuter cats and bitches free of charge
in the Great Poland region, which constitutes a
tenth of Poland. Our dream is to introduce
sterilization all over Poland.
There are no feral dogs in Poland. Stray
and homeless dogs are brought to pounds in every
big city. However, there is a problem with
un-neutered cats and bitches in the country and
in villages. Puppies and kittens are drowned,
or older dogs and cats are killed and their
offspring kept instead.
Using my own money I announced in the
newspaper that our foundation sterilizes bitches
and cats free of charge. I bought a delivery van
to bring to the clinics the animals whose
caretakers do not have their own vehicles.
Minimally invasive sterilizations are done by
doctors in stationary clinics in Poznaf.
We state with joy that the success of
this idea is beyond our expectations. Local and
regional newspapers told the public about this.
Even TV reporting appeared. These announcements
and recommendations of our services by relatives
and acquaintances of owners for whom we performed
sterilizations caused us to drive to get animals
from as far as 50 kilometers from Poznaf. Some
clinics gave up income and payment and sterilized
animals for us at a reduced price.
Our foundation is poor, maintained by
the income from my two tenement buildings. We
have begun seeking outside help.
–Alina Kasprowicz
Animals & Us
ul. Dabrowskiego 25/3
Poznan, Poland


Down Under

Just wanted to thank you for including a
CD on desexing in your October 2005 edition.
We run a pet desexing program for people
on low incomes in Newcastle, New South Wales,
Australia. We have given financial assistance to
over 11,000 petkeepers over the last eight years.
We have passed your CD to one of the
veterinarians who does a large proportion of our
work. He will find it interesting.
–Olga Parkes
Hon. Secretary
Hunter Animal Watch
139A Beaumont St.
Hamilton, Australia
NSW 2303
Phone: 2-4952-1358


Temple Grandin & the “Stairway to Heaven”

Concerning the two letters about
slaughterhouse designer Temple Grandin that
appeared in your March edition, and ANIMAL
PEOPLE editor Merritt Clifton’s spirited defense
of Grandin, I recall that at the end of a
television feature about Grandin she sang the Led
Zepplin song “Stairway to Heaven” at the top of
her voice, referring to the last of the
buildings on the animals’ trip to slaughter.
This display of mockery elicited my shock and
disgust, and will haunt me always.
–Greta Bunting
St. Petersburg, Florida

Merritt Clifton replies:

Mockery is very much in the eye of the beholder.
Errol Morris’ 1998 documentary Stairway to
Heaven, including the scene in question, covers
the formative ideas and experiences that Grandin
describes at <www.spinninglobe.net/cowlady.htm>.
Some excerpts:
“I had never seen an animal slaughtered. It
wasn’t until I first drove past the Swift
meatpacking plant that I began to understand what
would become my life’s workŠI could see all the
cattle out in the pens, waiting for the end to
come. I realized that mankind believes in
heaven, hell, or reincarnation because the idea
that after the cattle walk into the
slaughterhouse it is all over forever is too
horrible to conceive, too ego-shattering…
“I made many entries in my diary …
“April 7, 1971: “It is important that
the animals not be defiled at the
slaughterhouse. Hopefully they will be allowed
to die with some sort of dignity. The animals
probably feel more pain when they are put through
the cattle chute to be branded or castrated.”
“October 25, 1971: [dream] Swift was a
six-story building. Only the first floor was a
slaughterhouse. A secret elevator transported
me to the upper floors. These upper levels
consisted of beautiful museums and libraries that
contained much of the world’s culture.
“A few days before I had visited an
Arabian horse farm where great pains were taken
to treat each horse as an individual. I petted
the beautiful stallions, and felt that they
should never be subjected to the feedlot or the
slaughterhouse. The next day I was on a feedlot
…Each steer had the same look of individuality
as the stallions. How could I justify killing
them?…The night after I first killed cattle I
could not bring myself to say that I had actually
killed them myself. Instead, during the next
two weeks I made suggestions for simple
improvements that would reduce bruises.
“[In 1974] I got my first large design
project at the Swift plant, building a new
cattle ramp and conveyor restrainer system. The
construction crew and I named this project the
‘Stairway to Heaven,’ after the Led Zeppelin
song. At first the crew thought it was a joke,
but as the stairway took shape, the name took on
a more serious meaningŠI felt almost mercenary
in accepting money for what I had done. The
changes I initiated at the plant made it more
humane for the cattle. Even if I didn’t get paid,
I was at peace with myself knowing that 1,200
cattle a day were less frightened.”

Poaching in the zoos of northeastern India

A Royal Bengal tiger was poisoned at the
Itanagar Zoo in the state of Arnunachal Pradesh
in northeastern India on February 20, 2006. A
leopard at the zoo was targeted the same night,
despite the presence of three guards on duty.
The tiger died. The leopard is in critical
This is the fourth recent incident of
poaching in the zoos of northeastern India.
At the Aizawl zoo in Mizoram, a keeper
killed a bear to sell the bear’s gall bladder.
At the Assam State Zoo in Guwahati,
miscreants laid electric wires in the middle of
the night from across the zoo boundary wall to
poach an Indian rhino. The rhino got frightned
and raised alarm by thumping the ground and
running in circles around his enclosure. This
alerted the guards and the poachers fled,
leaving the electric wires behind.
In November, residents of villages on
the fringes of the Orang National Park in Assam
poisoned two Royal Bengal tigers with a carcass
of a cow laced with insecticide.
The zoos in India have always been soft
targets. I just completed a tour of the zoos in
northeast India. I visited the Aizawl Zoo in
Mizoram, the Alipore Zoo in Kolkata, the Kohima
Zoo in Nagaland, the Lady Hyde Park and Animal
Park in Shillong, of Meghalaya, and the Assam
State Zoo in Guwahati.
Every inmate is in a pathetic state. There seems
to be no hope unless the Central Zoo Authority
holds the respective state governments
Please go to the CZA web site, <www.cza.nic.in>, and register your protest
–Azam Siddiqui
107-C, Railway Colony
New Guwahati 781021
Assam, India
Phone: 91-84350-48481

Frida the lion still at Camorhi Game Lodge

We promised to update you about Frida,
the baby lion sent from Romania to South Africa,
whose case was described in “Rescuers send lion
to canned hunt supplier,” in the March 2006
edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE.
Unfortunately, Frida is still at the
Camorhi Game Lodge. Vier Pfoten publicly
admitted having done wrong [in sending Frida
there] and promised to do all they can for Frida
to be relocated from Camorhi to Drakenstein Lion
Park in Western Cape, South Africa. Yet Frida
is still at Camorhi, and Vier Pfoten cannot
offer an explanation for this fact.
Frida’s story can be read on <www.leulfrida.ro>.
–Gabriela Savu
Radio Total
Bucharest, Romania

Editor’s note:

Frida was born in June 2005 in a
Romanian zoo. Radio Total in Bucharest “bought
the newborn lion cub from the zoo, in the hope
of giving the baby lion a life in the wild,”
<www.leulfrida.ro> explains. “For six months,
Frida was lovingly cared for by Gabriela Savu,
girlfriend of Bogdan Popescu, general manager of
Radio Total,” the site adds. “To find Frida the
right place, Savu and Popescu contacted Vier
Pfoten, who assured them that it had done this
before, and could make the arrangements.”
Frida was delivered to the Camorhi Game
Lodge on December 5, 2005, despite warnings
that “Camorhi is a hunting game farm where canned
lion hunting has taken place in the past, owned
and run by one Marius Prinsloo, a self-confessed
lion hunting operator.”

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