Letters [Oct 2006]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 2006:
Sanctuarians cross no-man’s-land to save asses

I hope that you will let me update your
readers on the work of the British charity Safe
Haven for Donkeys in the Holy Land, dedicated to
caring for working and abandoned donkeys in
Israel and the Palestinian Territories.
Safe Haven was founded in 2000 by former
British Airways flight attendant and Jerusalem
SPCA volunteer Lucy Fensom, who saw first-hand
the cruelty and neglect inflicted on many of the
thousands of donkeys still used as beasts of
burden in the region.
Today, at the Safe Haven sanctuary near
the Israeli town of Netanya, 100 donkeys live
free from pain and overwork, and have the chance
to form herds and roam freely on the 4-acre site.
Safe Haven’s work does not stop at the
sanctuary gates. Aware that the donkeys living
there are just a tiny percentage of those
desperately needing help, Lucy has initiated
free veterinary clinics in the Palestinian
Territories. Each week Lucy and her team make
the sometimes risky border crossing with Safe
Haven’s well-equipped mobile clinic to visit a
different village and provide veterinary care,
farriery and tooth rasping for the animals, and
of course advice and support for the owners.

Sometimes more than 100 donkeys, mules and
horses are waiting for the team when they arrive.
Please visit our web site to find out
more about Safe Haven. We now have a U.S.
auxiliary, American Friends of Safe Haven for
Donkeys in the Holy Land.
–Wendy Ahl
Safe Haven for Donkeys in the Holy Land
The Old Dairy
Springfield Farm
Lewes Road, Scaynes Hill
Haywards Heath,
West Sussex RH17 7NG
United Kingdom
Phone: 011-44-1444 -31177
Fax: 011 44 1444 831172
Humane thrift shop in Thailand

ReTails Pretty New Store is the very
first animal welfare charity shop in Bangkok. It
took about six weeks from deciding to try a
commercial venture to raise funds to the actual
opening. After lots of stops and starts and
disappointments, we now have a posh shop in a
smart location near Sukhumvit. Downstairs is
designer and smarter second hand goods, and
upstairs is a real bargain loft, which the Thais
seem to love.
Our display shelves are old planks from a
demolished Thai house, painted and supported on
terracotta and plastic flower pots. We picked up
bricks, stones and rough wood to display
jewellery. Wicker baskets hold most of our
The idea is to raise the money that we
need each month to run our spay center, but we
have no idea yet whether this is achievable.
We have partnered with Crown Relocations,
an international removal company, to run a
consignment service for large furniture items:
60% retained by the seller, 40% to Soi Dog
Rescue, and Crown will pick up and store the
items until sold. We’ll put a photo of the
furniture in the shop. We are hoping to fill
the niche for expats who arrive and leave, with
nowhere to buy or sell their unwanted large
items. Currently everyone has to resort to ads
in supermarkets or club notice boards. We hope
large furniture consignments will provide the
bulk of our income, but Thais frequent the shop,
often to buy cheap items to resell in the
markets. Foreign goods seem to be much prized.
We will also sell coffee and homemade cakes donated by volunteers.
I’m having sleepless nights, wondering
whether we can pull this off, the problems being
a fairly high rent and only volunteers to run the
shop, stock it, and beg for merchandise. On
opening day we took in twice our daily cost of
running the spay center; today less than a
third. I suppose these ups and downs will
–Sherry Conisbee
President & cofounder
Soi Dog Rescue Bangkok
2240/3-4 Chankaow Road
Chongnontri, Yannawa
Bangkok, Thailand 10120
Phone: 66-02-336-0849
Farm pigs add to waiting list of pigs needing sanctuaries

I have just read your September 2006
review of The Good Pig by Sy Montgomery. It was
an excellent book review and prompted me to get
the book. I, too had a very special farm pig
friend named Big Earl, whom I recently lost.
However, the glut of miniature pigs of
all breeds has not abated. My wife and I
operated Mini-Pigs, Inc., a 17-acre pig
sanctuary in Virginia, for a dozen years. We
have recently merged our sanctuary with
Shepherd’s Green Sanctuary in Cookeville,
Tennessee. We are now establishing a 100-acre
preserve in Jamestown, Tennessee to handle the
huge numbers of abused, abandoned and neglected
miniature pigs and rescued farm pigs we are
inundated with. The Preserve will partner with
Shepherd’s Green to provide a natural environment
for around 400 healthy and active rescued pigs,
while the sanctuary cares for the older, infirm,
or otherwise compromised pigs who would not do
well in the preserve environment.
This is an attempt on our part to try to
deal with the huge numbers of pigs needing rescue
and lifetime care in a better, less expensive
and less labor intensive manner.
You mentioned that the Ironwood Pig
Sanctuary still houses “dozens of aging pigs.”
In fact, last time I checked with my friends at
Ironwood, they were housing around 400 or more
rescued pigs…most of whom are not aged.
The vast majority of pig sanctuaries I
deal with on a daily basis are full or
overcrowded and are still turning away dozens of
pigs each month due to a lack of space and/or
To add to our difficulties, we are
finding an increased number of rescued farm pigs
needing sanctuary space. As the public becomes
more attuned to the plight of the factory farmed
pigs, many more are being rescued by animal
rights groups and private citizens. So now, in
addition to rescuing and caring for the thousands
of “dumped” miniature pigs, we are asked to take
in a steadily increasing number of full-sized
farm pigs, while our resources, thanks to
disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, are much
more severely stretched.
–Richard and Laura Hoyle
The Pig Preserve
Jamestown, Tennessee
Live animal transport legislation

Thanks for an extremely informative
September 2006 edition of Animal People,
including the thoughtful article on the exemption
in the California Animal Transport Bill, which
deliberately excludes livestock from
much-needed protection.
As Virginia Handley wisely pointed out,
our current animal cruelty laws allow prosecution
of those who leave pets in hot cars as a felony.
This bill reduced the offense to a misdemeanor.
This is shortsighted “feel good” legislation that
sadly moved California backward by ignoring
statistics and consequences.
Also, thanks for presenting the comments
of Karen Davis of United Poultry Concerns
regarding mailing baby chicks. Postal
employees estimate that up to 70% of mailed
day-old poultry does not reach the destination
alive and/or healthy. One midwestern hatchery
alone boasts on its website that it mails over
four milion of these helpless creatures annually,
and the Postal Service allows up to 72 hours
without food and water for delivery.
Your article did not mention that the
Humane Society of the U.S. launched a major
campaign this year against this horrific
practice. HSUS animal cruelty campaign
director Ann Chynoweth has gained some major
media coverage nationwide to enlist public
support to defeat Senate Bill 2395, which would
force airlines to carry birds at temperatures
between zero and 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Inform-ation about the campaign is on the
HSUS website.
–Phyllis M. Daugherty, Director
Animal Issues Movement
420 N. Bonnie Brae Street
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Phone: 213/413-6428
Fax: 213/413-SPAY
Thoughts about working animal retirement

I often wonder why there have been no
amendments to the Prevention of Cruelty to
Animals Act in India since its inception way back
in 1960, to find a way of getting some sort of a
pension for retired working animals.
I do not think any horse cart puller or
dairy farm owner, or for that matter anyone who
has abandoned his working animal who became unfit
for use, has been booked under this act, or is
serving a jail sentence.
The recent willingness of the West Bengal
Police department to pursue a pension arrangement
for their horses with the Compassionate Crusaders
of Kolkata comes as a great achievement in the
history of animal welfare in India for retired
Either we should do away with using
animals for human interests, or we should pay
them a pension, as we do for humans after
–Azam Siddiqui
107-C, Railway Colony
New Guwahati 781021
Assam, India
Phone: 91-84350-48481
Editor’s note:

The idea that dairy cattle, draft
animals, and others who serve humans should
enjoy a comfortable retirement was incorporated
into Jain, Buddhist, and Hindu teachings as
long as 2,300 years ago. This led to the often
abused custom of temples keeping animals, the
practice of animal abandonment at temples, and
the institution of gaushalas and pinjarapoles,
originally to look after retired cattle but often
operated by corrupt management as commercial
dairies and sources of leather.
Among the oldest animal care projects of
U.S. and European humane societies has been
looking after retired police horses and war
horses. Prominent early representatives of that
custom include the Ryers Infirmary for Dumb
Animals (1888) in Pennsylvania and the
London-based Brooke Hospital for Animals (1934),
founded by Dorothy Brooke to look after retired
cavalry horses in overseas outposts of the
British empire.
More recently, public pressure has
obliged the U.S. government to fund the
retirement of hundreds of chimpanzees and other
nonhuman primates who were formerly used by NASA
and projects of the National Institutes of Health.
That animals who have served humans
deserve a decent retirement has also long been
expressed in principle by zoos, the horse and
dog racing industries, and military dog units,
though reality remains that most zoo animals
remain on exhibit until they die, only the most
successful racing animals are “retired” to breed
(and often eventually are sold to slaughter or
sold to laboratories anyway), and many
ex-military dogs are killed on “retirement,”
nominally because they might be dangerous, but
cost-cutting is clearly also a consideration.
The weakness in animal retirement schemes
is that none of them to date are funded by a
pay-in system similar to the human pension plans
of most developed nations, in which money is set
aside as earned in dedicated funds.
As most developed nations already license
at least some working animals, either
governmentally or through private registries,
and as tracking systems already govern the
distribution of zoo animals, there is no
inherent logistic obstacle to adding pay-in
systems for animal retirement to the existing
procedures–except that animal users would not
like having to pay the small tax on animal
services that would be needed to fund the
animals’ retirement.
Anti-bullfighting cities

ANIMAL, in cooperation with the League
Against Cruel Sports, has launched the first
campaign ever in Portugal to establish
Anti-Bullfighting Cities.
Spain already has 32 cities which have
declared themselves to be Anti-Bull-fighting
Cities. France has at least one. Portugal does
not yet have any.
ANIMAL is now targeting 10 cities in the
Algarve region (Portimão, Lagos, Lagoa, Aljezur,
Silves, Albufeira, Loulé, Olhão, Tavira and Faro)
and one city near Lisbon (Sintra) with this
campaign. The point of the campaign is to get
tourists who visit the Algarve to write to the
presidents of the target municipalities, urging
them to commit to not allowing bullfights and to
openly condemning these cruel spectacles.
Tourists are asked to state that they are
boycotting bullfighting cities, and that they
would like to visit anti-bullfighting cities
Our effort is coordinatied with the
League Against Cruel Sports´ campaign to teach
tourists to use their economic influence.
In Portugal, seeking local bans is much
more realistic than seeking a nationwide ban for
now, although the entire campaign will obviously
make it easier for a national ban to eventually
–Miguel Moutinho
Executive Director
Apartado 2028
8501-902 Portimão
Phone: 00-351-282-491-216
First Fruits Festival

Since 1992, every year in December, at
the First Fruits Festival near Nongoma in
Zululand, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa, a large
black bull is released into the Royal Kraal of
King Goodwill Zwelithini. Thirty young Zulu
warriors kill the bull with their bare hands in
order to “prove their manhood.”
A running battle takes place. Sand is
repeatedly thrown in the bull’s eyes. Eventually
he becomes tired and is pulled to the ground.
Sand is stuffed down his throat. His tongue is
pulled out, his eyes are gouged out, his tail
is broken, his penis is tied in a knot, his
testicles are ripped off, he is kicked and
jumped upon, and his neck is broken.
Killing the bull takes about 45 minutes.
It is a display of extreme cruelty and brutality,
and is against the Animal Protection Act of 1962,
which states that it is an offense in South
Africa to treat any animal in a manner which
causes unnecessary suffering.
Yet in this instance the Animal
Protection Act is powerless, because we have a
constitution that protects people’s cultural and
traditional rights, even if cruelty to animals
is involved.
This “cultural” cruelty treats “manhood”
as an act only achieved by committing violence
against animals. It encourages a culture and
custom of violence among men. It is out of place
in a nation that is fighting an epidemic of
violence in all forms, e.g. four South African
women a day are killed by their lovers.
Kwazulu-Natal has the highest number of murders
in South Africa every year.
“Someone who is cruel and violent to
animals will also be so to people,” says
Professor Sean Kaliski, head of forensic
psychiatry at Valkenberg Hospital in Cape Town.
Member of the National Parliament Gareth
Morgan has several times over the past two years
attempted to arrange a meeting between King
Goodwill Zelithini and the National Council of
SPCAs, without success.
This ritual should be replaced by sports
and games, that do not use animals.
Living bulls are torn apart at other
public events, and sometimes on “unofficial”
occasions, but the main event each year is at
the First Fruits Festival.
–Andries Pretorius
c/o Suite 293
Private Bag x1005
Claremont 7735
South Africa
Editor’s note:

Unfortunately, the Zulu bullfighting
practices are not unique. Similar torture is
routinely inflicted on bulls and sometimes other
animals around the world, including India,
where more than 90% of the population professes
to share a belief that cattle are sacred, and
where bullfighting has been illegal since 1960.
ANIMAL PEOPLE in May 2006 reported on the often
frustrated efforts of the Blue Cross of India and
the Visakha SPCA to try to get local police to
enforce the law.
Zulu bullfighting and Indian
bullfighting, called Jallikattu, differ mainly
in that the Indian bullfights are held in public
places, and all comers may participate. Also,
the bulls sometimes “win,” briefly. In January
2006, reported The Hindu, “Two persons were
gored to death and 84 others injured in the
Jallikattu organized in connection with a temple
festival at Pallavarayanpatti in Theni district.”
In July, The Hindu noted the death of “a
mentally unsound man” who tormented a bull in
Animal advocates have been campaigning to
abolish farra do bois, the quite comparable
Brazilian form of bullfighting, for more than a
century. In farra do bois, the bulls often have
fireworks tied to their horns.
Andean condor-and-bull fights have not
been reported in several years, but on September
6, 2006, the same day that ANIMAL PEOPLE
received Andries Pretorius’ letter, the New York
Times published an extensive expose of coleo,
the Venzuelan form of bullfighting. Explained
New York Times correspondent Simon Romero, “Four
men on horseback chase a bull within a corridor
about the length of a football field for about
five minutes, competing to see who can tip the
animal over the most times by pulling his tail.
Of course, after the first fall, the coleador
must get the bull back up and running. That is
often accomplished by twisting his tail. Some
exasperated riders bite the tail. On some
occasions, attendants use an electric rod to
shock the bull back to his feet. Some bulls
break a leg when they fall. After the coleo,
many of the bulls, bruised and worn out, are
hauled to the slaughterhouse.”
Both farra do bois and coleo evolved out
of similar events held at Spanish village
festivals, in which bulls and bull calves are
chased, tortured, and usually killed by mobs
–as at a much-protested festival in Algemesi,
Velencia, Spain, on September 25-27, 2006.
The annual bull-running event in Pamplona, in
which the bulls chase the humans to the bull ring
at which the bulls will be dispatched by
professional toreadors, may have originated as a
way for the men of Pamplona to show themselves to
be braver than residents of other cities by
giving the bulls a somewhat better chance to harm
their tormentors.
As in India, most U.S. states have laws
against such activities. Most states prohibit
Spanish-style bullfighting, in which the bulls
are killed in the ring. Some also prohibit or
restrict horse-tripping, a staple of so-called
Mexican-style rodeo. However, as SHARK founder
Steve Hindi and colleagues have documented time
and again, the bulls and calves used in
U.S.-style rodeo quite commonly suffer
tail-twisting, electroshock, kicking,
punching, body-slamming, and jerking down with
ropes, all with virtual impunity. Though most
of these offenses are prohibited not only by law
but also by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys
Association rules, the rules are rarely
enforced, even when SHARK captures the
violations on videotape.
Though the rituals of rodeo and most
forms of bullfighting differ, the major
difference to the animal is that instead of being
killed on the spot, brutalized rodeo animals are
hauled to slaughter afterward–as in
Portuguese-style “bloodless” bullfighting.
In Spain, the nation most widely
associated with bullfighting, “Marketing surveys
show the number of Spaniards who say they have no
interest in bullfighting has risen to more than
70%, from about 40% in 1970,” Tom Hundley of
the Chicago Tribune recently reported. “Among
young people, the lack of interest is even more
pronounced.” Television coverage and attendance
are in freefall, while the average age of
Spanish attendees has risen to 40-plus.
The U.S. rodeo audience appears to be
similarly collapsing, with declining crowds and
television viewer share. But both bullfighting
and rodeo promoters are mounting a vigorous
defense of themselves in the name of preserving
national cultures, including in Japan, where
bulls are made to fight each other, rather than
fighting human foes. The Japanese newspaper
Yomiuri Shimbun, on September 19, 2006
headlined “Bullfight marks slow return to
normalcy for Niigata community” above an article
describing how “Bullfighting returned to a
community in Niigata Prefecture, for the first
time since a massive earthquake struck the area
in October 2004.” Representatives of nine
villages participated in a bullfighting
tournament, before 3,500 spectators, which
Yomiuri Shinbun noted as “about three times more
than usual.”
The Japanese government calls the local
form of bullfighting “an intangible cultural
folk asset,” apparently putting it in the same
category as whaling and the Taiji dolphin
slaughter, as relics to be preserved regardless
of the indifference or even opposition of most of
the public.

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