Letters [Nov/Dec 2007]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2007:

Jewish Vegetarians of North America on global warming

Because the world is heading rapidly
toward an unprecedented catastrophe from global
warming and other environmental threats, Jewish
Vegetarians of North America has produced a
documentary, A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish
Values To Help Heal The World, to address these
threats. JVNA will send a free DVD of this
documentary to anyone who will help arrange a
screening or help promote it in some other way.
Produced by the multi-award-winning film
maker Lionel Friedberg, A Sacred Duty shows how
a shift toward plant-based diets is essential to
reduce global climate change. It also challenges
people to consider the many moral issues related
to our diets, including how animals are treated
on factory farms and the effects on human health
and the environment.
Although intended for a Jewish audience,
A Sacred Duty is like Jewish rye bread: you
don’t have to be Jewish to appreciate it. The
movie will appeal to anyone interested in such
topics as Biblical teachings, Israel, the
environment, health, nutrition, vegetarianism,
hunger, and resource usage.
–Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D.
Jewish Vegetarians
of North America
and Society of Ethical &
Religious Vegetarians
Phone: 718-761-5876
Fax: 718-982-3631

Update on efforts to stop animal sacrifice in India

The October 2007 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE
quoted the report of The Hindu that “Animal
sacrifice for Dasara has been banned in Greater
Visakhapatnam,” and “would be prosecuted under
the Andhra Pradesh Animals and Birds Sacrifice
Prohibition Act of 1950, according to city
veterinarian N. Karunakara Rao.”
This year the slaughtering was done, but
much more slyly. At public places like the
railway station, hundreds of animals were
sacrificed. Every temple depicting the goddess
Durga had animal sacrifices. The municipal
office itself had blood on it.
All their statements are nothing in the
face of hundreds of sacrfiices. There was no
police protection or support to stop the killing.
–Pradeep Kumar Nath
Visakha SPCA
26.15.200 Main Rd.
Visakhpatnam 530 001,
Andhra Pradesh, India
Telephone: 91-0891-3296217

Editor’s note:

In Indian use, the term “sacrifice”
often means any animal slaughter done at a
religious holiday, or in a ritual manner,
regardless of whether the meat is eaten.
Elsewhere, “sacrifice” usually means ritualized
killing from which the killers will not get meat;
ritualized killing to get meat is recognized as
just another form of slaughter.
Most of the animal killing undertaken in
India at Dasara and the Eid (Feast of Atonement)
is routine slaughter, practiced on a much wider
scale than usual because even meat-eating Indians
seldom eat meat every day. As Indian affluence
rises, meat slaughtering is increasingly
frequent at all times of year, but still peaks
at major holidays.
Meanwhile, the minorities who conduct
animal sacrifice in the strictest sense of the
phrase are killing more animals than in the
recent past, and are increasingly politically
This has brought challenges in recent
years to progress made toward the abolition of
sacrifice. For example, The Hindu reported on
November 10, 2007, “Notwithstanding the fact
that animal sacrifices have stopped in all
Cuttack temples during Durga puja,” as the
October 2007 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE described,
“the oldest Kali temple in the Bidyadharpur
locality of Cuttack is set to restart the age-old
The Kali cult is the largest of the
several Hindu minorities that practice animal
Thus alerted, Cuttack officials took
appropriate action. Chauliaganj police inspector
S.N.Behera told The Hindu that “No animal
sacrifice was allowed at the Bidyadharpur Kali
temple, and the locals cooperated without
resistance to follow an Orissa High Court
directive in this regard.”
At the Dakshini Kali Peetha temple in
Puri, meanwhile, where as many as 1,000 goats
were killed in defiance of the Orissa High Court
in 2005, prosecutor J.K. Mohanty warned local
officials “to sensitize the people against the
ill-practice,” The Hindu added, and the offense
was not repeated.

Trying to eradicate rabies in Pakistan

Many thanks for the wonderful September
2007 editorial “How to eradicate canine rabies in
10 years or less.” I would like to put it up in
its entirety on the PAWS website with your
Your editorial offers great insight into
the current global situation on rabies control.
I have been invited as a guest next week on
Dawn’s First Blast, a local TV talk show, to
talk about rabies control. The points made in
your editorial are exactly what need to be made
clear to policymakers here in Pakistan.
–Mahera Omar
Pakistan Animal
Welfare Society

Martial law & shooting birds in Pakistan

The reasons for the imposition of martial
law disguised as an emergency here in Pakistan
are getting clearer by the day. It is intended
to facilitate the militants to hunt the towns,
the government to hunt the citizens, and the
governors to hunt the partridges.
Retired general Ali Mo-hammad Jan
Orakzai, governor of the North-West Frontier
Province, the most disturbed province in the
world, has had sufficient time to fly to
Nawabshah, especially to spend a weekend hunting
partridges at the Pai forest near Sakrand in
Sindh. He and his companion shot at least 59
innocent partridges, thus further depriving
this country of dwindling biodiversity, besides
misusing tax money for personal pleasure.
Clearly in their order of priority,
getting rid of partridges takes precedence over
getting rid of militants.
–Naeem Sadiq
Karachi, Pakistan


Thank you for your July/August article
about Lama Kunzang Dorjee and the Jangsa Animal
Saving Trust. On a recent trip to Bhutan, we
saw street dogs everywhere. In even the smallest
towns, the silence was broken every night by
dozens of dogs barking. These dogs were in
better shape than those I’ve seen in Nepal and
India, but there is a huge need for the Jangsa
Animal Saving Trust’s Animal Birth Control
We did some trekking while we were in
Bhutan, and we had some horses and mules with us
to carry the supplies. We were very upset to
discover that the horsemen planned to abandon one
of the mules in the high country at the farthest
extent of our trek. He was too old to work any
more, and they were either unable or unwilling
to continue caring for him. I wish I had known
about the Jangsa Animal Saving Trust.
-Lisa Towell
Los Altos, California

Collected facts about turtle racing

Turtle races are held at county fairs,
community festivals, and other events across the
United States. For the event, wild-caught box
turtles are placed in a circle, with the first
turtle to exit the circle being the winner.
In 2005 I began an ongoing study to find
out how many box turtles are removed from the
wild for turtle races, what effect this may have
on turtle populations, and how the turtles are
cared for. I found turtle races through
telephone surveys and Internet searches.
When I could, I recorded the number of
turtles entered in races. I also attended turtle
races and heard accounts from other people who
had attended them. I found that the turtles were
mostly kept in unsanitary conditions, were
usually not returned to their home ranges, and
were sometimes released en masse.
I found more than 520 annual turtle
races, held in 35 states. Based on entry data
from more than 50 races, I estimate that more
than 31,000 box turtles are taken from the wild
annually for these events. This is enough to
adversely affect box turtle populations, which
are in steep decline throughout the U.S.
Wildlife agencies should consider
prohibiting or regulating turtle races.
-Alex Heeb
Chaffee, Missouri

Political mobilization to stop dogfighting

Last night at the Pace University Law
School I addressed students and local animal
rescue leaders on dogfighting. Although more
than 99% of people abhor dogfighting (and know
about it because of the Michael Vick’s case),
overwhelming condemnation will not reduce
dogfighting any more than 70 years of media
exposés have shrunk the puppy mill industry.
Beating dogfighting requires public monies to pay
for professional, full-time undercover
detectives who infiltrate the dogfighting world
and present solid inter-jurisdictional cases to
prosecutors. Law enforcement agencies will not
divert existing resources for this work. Nor
will lawmakers fund new positions, unless not
doing so could threaten their re-election. Staff
cost money, and to the community at large,
additional staff spell abhorrent tax increases.
I learned these truths several years ago
from Connecticut’s then chief prosecutor, a
dog-lover I’d known since he was an entry-level
prosecutor. I heard them again on October 20,
2007 from a concerned local prosecutor at a
National Pit Bull Awareness Day event in New
Haven, Connecticut (which suffers much
dogfighting). And again last night from
Officer Kenneth Ross, Humane Law Enforcement
Director of the SPCA of Westchester, New York,
a fellow panelist at the Pace Student Animal
Legal Defense Fund event.
A small political group for animals could
win the necessary staff positions and aggressive
enforcement by using them as electoral
endorsement issues. The top factor that
determines what action a lawmaker
takes on legislation or public policy is whether
it could harm his re-election bid. Lawmakers
know an endorsement by your political group for
animals would change the votes of some citizens
who usually do vote and draw some usual
stay-at-homes to the polls to vote for your
endorsed candidates. All your group need do is
threaten the winning margin of a election, which
is a very small number of voters. Two activists
who launch a local political group for
animals could quickly become power players while
holding full-time jobs.
Until we develop politically, most of
our goals for animals will remain fantasies,
and the dogs and bait animals–and
other animals–will continue to pay the tragic
–Julie Lewin
National Institute for
Animal Advocacy
P.O. Box 475
Guilford, CT 06437

Editor’s note:

Further to Lewin’s point, the Vick case
broke after police in Hampton, Virginia, on
April 20, 2007 arrested Vick’s cousin Davon
Boddie, 26, for alleged distribution of
marijuana and possession with intent to
distribute. Boddie lived in Vick’s house. The
dogfighting case came to light after a narcotics
task force raided the house five days later.
Among the hundreds of dogfighting cases about
which ANIMAL PEOPLE has collected details during
the past 15 years, just a few have resulted from
actual investigations of dogfighting. Most have
been uncovered by investigations of drug-related
offenses or through animal control investigations
of complaints about barking and alleged neglect.
Arapawa goats

I would like to share some special news
about the Arapawa goats. We have the results
from DNA testing back at long last, and it is
very positive! The Arapawa goats were tested
against numerous breeds and stand alone as a
unique breed. I am still pinching myself and
have hugged my Arapawas to pieces and cried tears
of joy.
–Betty Rowe
Wildlife Sanctuary
Private Bag
Picton 412
New Zealand

Editor’s note:

Betty and the late Walt Rowe emigrated to
New Zealand with their children in 1969.
Acquiring land on Arapawa Island, they
discovered feral sheep, goats, and pigs whom
they recognized as descendants of now scarce
ancient breeds, and began an ongoing 35-year
battle with New Zealand Forest Service officials
who have been determined to exterminate
“non-native” livestock. Now DNA testing has
affirmed the Rowes’ contention that the Arapawa
goats should themselves be recognized as an
endangered subspecies. ANIMAL PEOPLE previously
reported about the Rowe’s struggle in October
2001, and September and December 2002.
Passing the hat

Your October 2007 editorial “Why animal
charities need to learn to pass the hat” was
encouraging to a small group like ours with
growing pains–helping us to overcome the misery
we sometimes feel about taking time away from
program work to raise our profile and funds,
which are then spent on salaries and other
overheads, marketing our money-earning thrift
stores, etc.
Formerly called Soi Dog Rescue, Bangkok, we are now just SCAD.
–Sheridan Conisbee
c/o ReTails Too
289 Soi Pridi Phanomyong 42
Soi Sukhumvit 71
Prakanong, Wattana,
Bangkok 10110
Telephone: 02-713 3354
< sheridan@scadbangkok.org>

More on hat-passing

Your October 2007 editorial “Why animal
charities need to learn to pass the hat” is
terrific in its coverage of crucial aspects–and
the dynamics between them–of raising money for
animals. It will help the directors of
many animal organizations learn to use their time
and energy productively.
–Irene Muschel
New York, N.Y.
Elected in Colombia

Last Sunday we won a spot on the city
council to work for animals! We are so happy!
We are going to work against animal abuse from
this important place in the city.
–Juliana Barberi
Corporacion Red de Ayuda
a los Animales
Carrera 71 # 78 a 11
Medellin, Antioquia
Phone: + 57 (4) 257 8536

The role of globalization in making adaptive species “invasive”

I found Merritt Clifton’s October 2007
essay “How adaptive species became ‘invasive'” to
be a most insightful analysis of the rising trend
towards demonizing so-called “invasive species.”
Here in Marin County, California a
battle has been brewing over introduced deer who
have long inhabited Point Reyes National
Seashore. Now called “invasive,” they are being
hunted down and destroyed.
Your analysis of the recent predominance
of the term “invasive” over “exotic” and other
terms and the linkage to the intensifying attack
on undocumented immigrants and the so-called “war
on terror” was very compelling. But I felt that
there was something still missing from your
The intensifying drive to eradicate what
are essentially migratory and introduced species
by environmental organizations and governments is
no accident. It is a symptom of the overwhelming
urge to address the symptom at the expense of
achieving necessary systematic change.
Rather than address the fundamental
causes which have led to the accelerating spread
of introduced species, many are relying on
techno fixes. Our ever-expanding global economy
and rampant rates of consumerism are driving
rapid growth in cargo vessel transport of people
and goods. It is not the animals and insects who
are invasive but our global economic system that
has dangerously invaded, disrupted and threatens
the very ecological systems that sustain all of
While there has been much attention to
the problem of species being transported in bilge
water of cargo vessels, little attention has
been paid to the nearly tripling of the global
fleet in the past five decades. The rapid
expansion of global shipping brings with it the
wide ranging dangers of oil spills, noise
pollution, ship strikes of marine mammals,
greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution that
accompany cargo vessels and oil supertankers-all
just to import cheap plastic junk to feed our
consumer addiction.
Demonizing, persecuting and even
terrorizing introduced species is the flip side
of the persecution of immigrants. It allows
those doing the demonizing to evade
responsibility for addressing a destructive
global system. Since many of the environmental
organizations that are fighting this war on
introduced species are funded in part by the very
corporations that are primarily responsible for
pillaging the planet, it is no accident that
they are missing the proverbial forest for the
–Robert Ovetz, Ph.D.
Sausalito, Calif.

Merritt Clifton responds:

Thanks for the good words. My
perspective is that a genuinely global economy
provides the framework and incentive for
abolishing war, the most ecologically
destructive of all human activities; and the
mechanisms invented for regulating and promoting
international trade are likely to evolve into the
mechanisms that eventually enshrine the
principles embodied in 85 years of effort to
adopt a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare.
Improvements in communication are
beginning to demonstrate, however, that
intellectual commerce is likely to become the
enduring staple of the global economy, while
rising energy costs and wages in the developing
world, together with the declining value of the
U.S. dollar, promise to slow the commerce in

Giving livestock

I remember reading an excellent article
in Animal People about why people should not send
live goats etc. to Africa to “help” the people
there. A friend is planning to make another
donation to this project. Would you please tell
me how I can find a copy of this article for her?
–Marg Buckholtz
Kingston, Ontario

The article “Livestock gift charities do
not help poor nations, say global critics,”
from the January/ February 2007 edition of ANIMAL
PEOPLE, along with all other ANIMAL PEOPLE
articles, may be copied from
<www.animalpeoplenews.org> in either text or html
format, or can be e-mailed on request. Write to


The October 2007 ANIMAL PEOPLE article
Court holds Georgia in contempt for allowing
gassing mentioned that “Humane Society of the
U.S. media contact Kathy Covey credited the end
of gassing in Virginia to work begun in November
2000 by longtime HSUS staffer Kate Pullen and
Teresa Dockery, then president of the Virginia
Federation of Humane Societies, now legislative
analyst for Virginia Voters for Animal Welfare.”
Dockery is actually chief operating officer for
the Margaret B. Mitchell Spay/Neuter Clinic, and
has never worked for Virginia Voters for Animal

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