Letters [July/Aug 2008]
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 2008:
In your July/August 2000 edition you mentioned that I had put
up $2,500 worth of turtle crossing signs at my own expense, with an
under-cost contribution of materials by Western Signs Inc. For an
update of how much this project has grown, please visit our web site.
–Michele Andre-St. Cyr
Safety Habitat Education Long Life
The original project has expanded into an organization that
has now placed several hundred turtle crossing signs in nearly 50
No need to apologize for helping animals”
Just wanted to thank you for yet another amazing editorial,
“No need to apologize for helping animals,” and say that there are
certainly those of us out here who are deeply disturbed by the trend
many animal advocacy groups and individuals are taking. Michael
Mountain and the Best Friends Animal Society represent me and mine,
and I’m sure many other advocates as well. Those groups that seem
only to value animals for their use to humans will not get my
I really appreciated the editorial perspective on the Noah
story. I have always thought that the Creator of all life certainly
values EVERY life–as is abundantly evident in nature and in most
major religions’ holy writings–and that, as all species have been
created and must serve a useful purpose for the whole, any neglect
or abuse of members of other species by humans must not be in accord
with natural and spiritual laws.
South El Monte, Calif.
I think Best Friends Animal Society cofounder Michael
Mountain put it most beautifully in your June 2008 editorial “No need
to apologize for helping animals,” when he said that there is no
question of what comes first–helping people or helping animals–and
that each complements the other.
To almost every person in the animal welfare movement, it is
not a question of people or animals. and has always been people and
animals. We certainly do not apologise for helping animals.
–S. Chinny Krishna
Blue Cross of India
1-A Eldams Rd. , Chennai
Tamil Nadu 600018, India
The value of attending conferences
In reply to John Dalley’s letter about fundraising, in the
June 2008 edition of Animal People, Animal Refuge Kansai, like the
Soi Dog Foundation, started from grassroots in an Asian country. At
first we too lived hand to mouth rescuing animals and spending any
money we raised to feed and care for them, with the help of
volunteers. Eighteen years have passed and ARK has grown. We now
have 30 paid staff, including four in a Tokyo office who primarily
do public relations, education and fundraising. Although we do not
have a shelter in the Tokyo area, many animals are flown there from
Osaka, kept in foster homes, and adopted out from there.
We felt that the move to Tokyo was justified, despite the
high prices there, because that is where all the big corporations,
including foreign companies, are based, and is where the
opportunity for fundraising is greatest.
I think it was ANIMAL PEOPLE editor Merritt Clifton, whom I
first met at the International Companion Animal Welfare conference in
Sofia nine years ago, who said “If you are unable to leave your
organization and take time off once in a while to attend conferences,
too busy or with nobody to manage the place while you are away, then
something is wrong with your organization.”
At that time it was difficult for me to leave, worrying the
whole time that the place would fall apart in my absence. However,
I have subsequently reaped the benefit of conferences in many ways.
First, they enable me to get away from the day to day stress of my
own organization to see the forest through the trees. Second, they
enable me to learn how other organizations are coping, many in far
worse circumstances than us, and to network. Third, I bring back
new ideas into my own organization. As just one example, ARK was
able to pioneer early neutering eight years ago, despite the
skeptical opposition of many Japanese veterinarians, as a result of
learning about it at a conference.
Conferences are not fundraising opportunities, but we can
learn at conferences how to raise funds more successfully. Our
objective is not to make money but without it we cannot help the
Animal Refuge Kansai
595 Noma Ohara, Nose-Cho,
Boycotting snow crabs to save seals
I want to thank you for the article on Environment Voters’
founder Stephen Best. His strategies and advice have guided the
current anti-seal hunt campaign, created the Canadian Seafood
Boycott, and have assisted less experienced colleagues in gaining
political savvy. The seafood boycott has brought a 22% reduction in
the value of sea-food exports from the sealing provinces, after
factoring out rising fuel costs and the increase in the value of
Canadian dollar relative to the U.S. dollar. The last figure I have
for the snow crab industry –snow crab being the #1 export of
Newfoundland and Labrador, where most of the seal slaughter takes
place–is that the value of snow crab exports to the U.S. has
decreased by $465 million since the boycott was started in March
2005. The Animal Alliance of Canada has partnered with the Humane
Society of the United States to spread the boycott. More than 3,700
restaurants, grocery stores, resorts, casinos and seafood
companies have stopped purchasing some or all Canadian seafood.
Canadian Seafood Boycott
c/o Animal Alliance of Canada
221 Broadview Ave.
Toronto, Ontario M4M 2G3
Turkish cities not observing 2004 neuter/return mandate, says author
I want to share with you my worries about the future of stray
dog management in Turkey. Most municipalities have not understood
the meaning of neuter/return [required by law in Turkey since 2004].
They are thinking that stray dogs have to be taken away from human
contact and think that the easiest way to do this is to put them into
I am not sleeping well since I received an e-mail about the
opening of a shelter in Osmangazi, Bursa region, on July 5, 2008.
Their plans include keeping impounded dogs in a fenced area after
they have been neutered. There is no mention of returning them to the
street. The dogs will be kept there for the rest of their lives.
This is directly against the articles of the law.
In the law it is stated that municipalities have to create a
temporary shelter, to keep dogs safely for a few days before and
after neutering. The law also states that each dog must be returned
to the place of capture.
Since we have had the law, some municipalities have adopted
a neutering program, but are keeping dogs indefinitely in shelters.
Soon the number of dogs in the shelters will be a big burden to the
municipalities, resulting in secret killings, as we saw a short
while ago in Cankaya Municipality in Ankara.
Other municipalities are releasing dogs into forest areas,
far from human habitat.
Dogs are companion animals, or urban scavengers, and like
to live close to humans. Dogs are not wild animals like foxes and
wolves who can survive in a forest–but releasing dogs into a forest
will harm wildlife, as the dogs hunt for food in competition with
wild predators and scavengers.
It is frustrating that municipalities do not or will not
understand that the dogs are territorial animals. If they have been
taken away and not returned, then their places will be taken by
un-neutered dogs who come from elsewhere. Removing dogs and not
returning them ensures that their will be no decrease in the numbers
of stray dogs on the streets.
Unfortunately, the government that enacted the policy of
neuter/return has not used its powers to properly enforce the
I know of only two places in Turkey where stray dog
management has worked successfully: Denizli and Fethiye.
In Fethiye, where Fethiye Friends of Animals began
sterilizing dogs in 2000, there are no more stray dogs to neuter.
Whilst Fethiye is small in comparison to other large cities, there
is no reason why larger cities cannot also be successful in stray dog
control if their programs are properly managed.
Our problems in Fethiye are unfortunately not finished yet,
because we have too many irresponsible dog keepers who bring their
unwanted newborn puppies and dogs to us. We take them so that they
will not be abandoned on the street.
The responsibilities of private dog keepers, according to
the law, are quite heavy, but have not been publicized by the
authorities. Fethiye municipality and FHDD have agreed on a program
we are going to start soon to sort this out.
Fethiye Friends of Animals Assn.
Orman Deposu Karsisi
Fethiye, Mugla, Turkey;
Perihan Agnelli was the principal author and motivator behind
the passage of the 2004 Turkish law mandating that neuter/return
replace traditional poisoning and catch-and-kill dog control.
Corrections & updates
Scottish SPCA chief inspector John Carle objected to a March
2008 mention of the “Royal SPCA of Great Britain,” as distinguished
from the Royal SPCAs of several other nations, that “The RSPCA does
not cover the whole of Great Britain. Scotland is covered by the
Scottish SPCA and Northern Ireland is covered by the ISPCA.”
The April 2008 ANIMAL PEOPLE article “Enviros expose lab
monkey business” stated that “An especially dramatic indication of
the recent rise in laboratory demand for monkeys was disclosed in
February 2008 by Dave Howden of Students for Transparency in Animal
Research and Testing at McGill University in Montreal.” Howden wrote
to clarify that while he helped to share the findings with Jennifer
Markowitz of The McGill Daily, who first reported about them, he
was a relatively new member of START and did not wish to appear to be
claiming credit for the investigative work of the senior members.
The May 2008 ANIMAL PEOPLE article “Bard of rescue” Jim
Willis convicted of dog theft” stated that “A pre-dawn fire on
January 25, 2004 killed nine dogs and four cats at Willis’ former
home in Avella, Pennsylvania.” The fire actually occurred in the
afternoon. Willis says 10 dogs were killed. Willis later lived at
the home of a woman who operated a private animal rescue, who was in
September 2005 convinced of mass neglect. The article transposed the
name of the investigating agency, Animal Friends, with the name of
the rescue, which was not incorporated and may not actually have had
The October 2007 ANIMAL PEOPLE article “Future of Hunting TV
show and future of hunting itself in question” mentioned that show
host Kevin M. Hoyt, 37, of Bennington, Vermont, pleaded innocent
to felony charges of lewd and lascivious conduct involving a
nine-year-old girl in 2005. “According to a court document, the
charge against Hoyt was dropped,” on June 24, 2008 “because the
now-12-year-old girl was unable to testify,” reported Rutland Herald
staff reporter Patrick McArdle.