Letters [April 2007]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2007:
“Dr. Bean” of Mdzananda clinic in South Africa

When Thobane Dolophini was ten years old, he investigated
the comings and goings of cats and dogs at Mdzananda Animal Clinic.
At the time, neither he or friends and family were aware that he
possessed an innate affinity and ability to care for sick and injured
Vet Mario van Rensburg nicknamed Thobane “Dr Bean,” and the
name has stuck.
Recalls Mdzananda director Jane Levinson, “In 2003, when
we did a spayathon, a very badly burnt puppy needed constant care
and nursing. Dr. Bean helped put this puppy on a drip. He nursed
the puppy, dressed the puppy’s wounds, and fed the puppy. Dr.
Bean saw the staff members involved in the spayathon and on his own
initiative, he cleaned the cages and gave the dogs in hospital clean
water and food. He also washed the floors of the clinic.”
Over the years Dr. Bean has quietly watched vets and vet
assistants clean, stitch, dress wounds, administer medication and
patiently explain proper animal care procedures to pet keepers. Even
though Thobane has a quiet and reserved manner, he has never needed
an invitation to do the same. His continued interest and hands on
approach to animal care has earned him the attention of the vets at
Mdzananda, who have become determined to further his education and
teach him clinical skills whenever they can.

Now 15 and aspiring to become a veterinarian, Dr. Bean is
today described as extremely competent in many veterinary nurse
applications, and it is not unusual to find him being addressed as
“Dr. Bean” by visitors many years his senior, while he is
administering to their sick or injured pet, or explaining a
sterilization procedure.
Dr. Bean lives and goes to school in Khayelitsha. His father
is unemployed. His mother is a domestic worker. While his family
have made every effort to further his education, and provide him
with at least the basics, there are shortfalls and definitely no
extras. Dr. Bean now earns “pocket money” at Mdzananda, which he
typically spends on food for his family.
Considering his character, determination and talents, we
believe it would be more than worthwhile to invest in his future and
the future of his community.
Of course we also encourage contributions to the animal care
facilities and sterilization services at Mdzananda, where much of
Dr. Bean’s time is spent, and where his ultimate passions and
perhaps his future lie.
The Mdzananda sterilization program is funded by the South
African Mass Animal Sterilisation Trust (SAMAST). Mzdananda is the
only permanent animal welfare clinic in an area of about 1.6 million
human residents and it is estimated that for every sixth person there
is a cat or dog. Currently SAMAST is funding 65 sterilizations per
month at just under $20 U.S. each, and hope to raise this figure by
50-100 each and every month during 2007.
Staff travel from street to street, house to house, shack
to shack, collecting animals specifically to sterilize. A hired
traveling sterilization team is contracted to perform the procedures,
vaccinate for rabies, and administer treatments and drugs as
–Tamsin Nel
Founder & fundraiser
52-B Mount Rhodes Drive
Hout Bay, Cape Town
South Africa 7806
Phone: 0112721-790-8337

Feral cat crisis on U.S. Navy base

I have been rescuing and feeding animals here in Plaquemines
Parish, Louisiana, since Hurricane Katrina. With the help of Alley
Cat Allies, I formed a volunteer group called PCAT. We educate
residents and caretakers about neuter/return, and try to resolve
complaints about feral cats.
The Belle Chasse Naval Air Station is practically in my back yard. I
have lived here for five years, and have always heard there are many
feral and stray cats there–dogs too. I was recently contacted by
someone on the base who believes they are about to call animal
control in to start trapping and removing the cats, who would
probably all be killed. I also found out recently that base
residents face eviction if they feed feral cats.
I have no idea how many cats are on the base and relocation is not an
option, as there is nowhere to relocate them.
I need help figuring out who to go to about this. I have no
idea of the hierarchy of the military, or who to start with, or how
to do this. I appreciate any guidance or help you can give me.
–Ramona Billot
Plaquemines Cat Action Team
Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana

and on deer refuge

Please help us stop the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service from
killing feral cats and kittens at the National Key Deer Refuge at Big
Pine, Florida. We have asked the Fish & Wildlife Service to delay
the trapping until we can find a place to take these cats and
kittens, but they are being inflexible and plan to start trapping
–Valerie Eikenberg
Forgotten Felines
Phone: 305-745-7457

Editor’s note:

The Belle Chasse feral cat extermination is in accord with
a”Policy Letter Preventing Feral Cat and Dog Populations on Navy
Property, ” issued on January 10, 2002 by Admiral Vern Clark, Chief
of Naval Operations. This letter ordered “humane capture and removal
of all free roaming cats and dogs” by January 1, 2003. It could be
amended or rescinded only by the Chief of Naval Operations,
Secret-ary of the Navy, Joint Chiefs of Staff, the President, or
an act of Congress.
The National Key Deer Refuge feral cat extermination is in
accord with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and National Park Service
policies followed for more than 50 years, more recently adopted by
the U.S. Postal Service, all branches of the military, and many
other federal agencies.
Many local facility managers prefer to look the other way and
allow rescuers time to remove cats, but the local managers have
little or no leeway if they are directed from above to get rid of the
cats, which tends to happen whenever someone who is offended by the
cats’ presence complains.
Until and unless the federal agency policies are amended,
which can only be done at the top administrative levels or by
Congress, they make federal property a highly unstable place to try
to do neuter/return.

Diet & global warming

I felt a sense of almost hopelessness on reading your
excellent March 2007 editorial feature “Indian diets & the future of
animal welfare.” In addition to its major negative effect on animal
welfare, the rapid increase in meat consumption in India (and other
countries like China and Japan) will also have a great impact on
global climate change, which will affect all animals, including
human beings, very severely.
I believe that the vegetarian and animal rights organizations
should initiate a major campaign based on the following three
important recent events:
1. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, including
hundreds of the world’s leading climate scientists, reported in
February 2007 that there will be large temperature increases with
catastrophic effects if present trends continue.
2. Some leading climate scientists are warning that global
warming may spiral out of control within a decade if major changes
are not soon made.
3. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in a
November 2006 report indicated that animal-based agriculture causes
more greenhouse emissions (in CO2 equivalences) than all forms of
It is clear that the world is rapidly heading toward disaster
and the many wake up calls that we are receiving almost daily about
record temperatures, droughts, rapid species extinction, floods
due to rising waters, spreading diseases, melting glaciers and
polar ice caps and much more are not being sufficiently heeded.
Hence, we should start a campaign to urge a shift toward plant-based
diets, to help move our imperiled planet to a sustainable path.
–Richard H. Schwartz, President, Jewish Vegetarians of North America
& Society of Ethical and
Religious Vegetarians
Phone: 718-761-5876
Fax: 718-982-3631

Dick Gregory, veggie

Social justice leader Dick Gregory is probably the most
influential animal rights advocate and vegetarian in the
African-American community. Gregory, a devout vegetarian for over
40 years, has consistently denounced slaughterhouses, hunting,
trapping, vivisection, rodeos, circuses, and all other forms of
animal abuse.
Dick Gregory at the same time has remained a civil rights
activist, empowering and enlightening the African-American
community. He is a pacifist who adeptly inspired the late Coretta
Scott King to become a vegetarian. Dick Gregory has rightfully
asserted that vegetarianism is compatible with the Judeo-Christian
ideal (Genesis 1:29, Isaiah Chapters 11 and 65).
–Brien Comerford
Glenview, Illinois

Quick help from www.QuickSpay.com

We have launched <www.QuickSpay.com> to discuss and
demonstrate sterilization technique for dogs, cats and bunnies of all
ages, using the QuickSpay method developed by Marvin Mackie, DVM,
of Animal Birth Control Clinics, Inc. in Southern California.
A goal of <www.quickspay.com> is to highlight and link to
animal birth control projects all over the world, and provide
educational material on this subject in as many languages as
possible. We encourage visitors to write us about their efforts and
send links to articles, statistics or events regarding pet
overpopulation and sterilization programs everywhere.
The website also offers Dr. Mackie’s videos in DVD format on
sterilization techniques and related subjects free of charge–just
send a suitable self-addressed envelope with sufficient postage for
return mailing.
We link to <www.AnimalPeopleNews.org> to download the
video QuickSpay either in English, or in Spanish translation,
Castracion Rapida. More than 5,000 copies of these videos have been
distributed worldwide, through the efforts of Animal Issues
Movement, ANIMAL PEOPLE, and Esther Mechler of SpayUSA.
–Phyllis M. Daugherty, director
Animal Issues Movement
420 N. Bonnie Brae St.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Phone: 213-413-SPAY

Recommends film “Amazing Grace”

I recently saw the independently produced British film
Amazing Grace, now in limited U.S. release. If you can’t see it
now, please try to see it when the DVD is released. It is one of
the best movies I have seen in a long time–and as a lifelong film
buff, I see almost everything.
Amazing Grace is a biography of William Wilburforce, a
longtime member of the British House of Commons, who helped to found
the Royal SPCA, and who brought an end to the slave trade in the
British Empire in 1807. Wilburforce was an absolutely incredible
human being: intelligent, compassionate, dedicated to a difficult
cause, who jeopardized his career and his health to attain his goal.
Wilburforce was influenced as he was growing up by a minister
who spent most of his adult life as a captain of slave-trading ships.
In a moment of spiritual realization, he left that trade, became a
clergyman, and wrote the beautiul hymn “Amazing Grace.”
–Eileen Liska
Holly, Michigan

No-kills in N.C.

We have a no-kill shelter in North Carolina, and are in
constant battle with the state Department of Agriculture over
licensure. Many local shelters are pressured to take animal control
contracts to finance buildings that have to pass inspection standards
stricter than are required by the state veterinary board for a
licensed vet hospital. In my area alone, shelters under pressure
include the Moore County Humane, which gave up an animal control
contract about 2 years ago, the Hoke Raeford Humane Society, the
Scotland County Humane Society, and the Richmond County Humane
Private groups in our area usually can’t raise the money to
build shelters that meet the specs, and if they do, they are forced
by the building cost per square inch to reduce the living areas for
the animals, which is a quality of life issue, and to concentrate
animal populations, which is a disease control issue. The
organizations trade blood money for a building, and their animals
–Linden Spear
Friends for Life at The Haven
400 Fulford-McMillian Rd
Raeford, NC 28376
910 875 6768

Editor’s note:

There is some logic to requiring animal shelters to meet
stricter standards than vet hospitals, because shelter animals are
usually of unknown history, and may be returned into the community
more-or-less at random, taking with them whatever problems they
harbor. In addition, shelters typically house far more animals at a
time than vet clinics; vet clinics usually have a vet handy,
whereas shelters often have only veterinary visits; and a badly
managed vet clinic usually soon puts itself out of business, whereas
badly run shelters often struggle on for years.

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