Money spent to help animals would not be lost

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2009:

Parables in every faith warn against
hoarding wealth, instead of using it to good
purpose. Those who doubt the wisdom of the sages
might look instead to the headlines.
The New York Times on page one of the
last day of 2008 observed that Wall Street losses
during the year had eradicated every gain made
since 2001, the most recent previous year of
economic downturn.
Another New York Times page one item
discussed the losses to charities resulting from
the activities of former NASDAQ chair Bernard
Madoff, who is charged with bilking investors of
$50 billion. Among the victims were many of the
wealthiest nonprofit foundations in the U.S.,
and investment funds that handled the assets of
possibly thousands of other charities and
individual donors. The extent of the damage will
take months to assess.

Both the Wall Street crash and the Madoff
scam underscore the wisdom of investing money
donated to charity in the work of the
charity–and so did the high tech stock crash of
2001, which deeply eroded the reserves of animal
charities. Some animal charities whose boards
envisioned high tech as a cruelty-free way to get
rich quick have now lost their assets twice in
less than a decade.
The conventional “conservative” strategy
for managing nonprofit assets calls for investing
bequests and other large gifts in accounts which
will produce dividends or interest, and then
using the proceeds to further the work of the
charity. The principle furthers the work of the
bank or mutual fund or whatever other investment
institution holds it.
If a charity keeps too much money
invested, and receives more money from dividends
and interest than from public donations, the
U.S. Internal Revenue Service may reclassify it
as a private foundation, meaning that it may no
longer issue tax-exempt receipts to donors.
Therefore, charities often dedicate all returns
from investment to fundraising. The more they
have invested, the more fundraising they can do,
so they use only part of the money raised
directly from the public in support of their
mission, and invest the rest.
The net result is that wealthy charities’
investment portfolios often grow much more
rapidly than their program service. Indeed, if
donations slump, some large charities may
actually cut back program service in order to
avoid using any of the money that deceased donors
left to them to actually do the work that
attracted the legacies in the first place.
Charities that did this during the past
eight years may now be right back where they were
in 2001. Years of receipts that might have
funded hugely expanded programs have evaporated
with only lines of red ink in charities’ ledgers
to show for it. The element of risk involved in
their investments may be less obvious than if
they had taken donors’ money to Las Vegas instead
of Wall Street, but speculative investments
offer the possibility of higher returns than bank
interest precisely because they are a form of
Charities that invested in program
service, including ANIMAL PEOPLE, may have
struggled all along, and be struggling still,
as we are, but can point toward years of having
used everything received to help animals, in
fulfillment of donor expectations.
It is often said that charities should be
managed like businesses, and there is much to be
said for using successful business strategies
where appropriate. The purpose of a business,
however, is profit. The purpose of a charity is
to solve a social problem so effectively that the
charity may move on to another mission or
disband. To amass wealth while the social
problem a charity was founded to address
continues to fester is to disregard the reason
why charities enjoy tax exemptions: to encourage
investment in work which would not be done if the
motivation was to make money.

Lessons from the Great Depression

Pundits and bloggers around the world
have remarked on parallels between the economic
conditions challenging incoming U.S. President
Barack Obama and those that Franklin Delano
Roosevelt confronted when he began his first of
four terms as U.S. President in January 1933.
The National Humane Review, published by the
American Humane Association, presented economic
commentaries throughout 1933 which except for
some archaic language might have been written in
2008 or 2009. Then too, huge sums were lost
which might have been invested in humane work,
but instead were invested as the business people
on humane society boards recommended, with no
net benefit to anyone.
National Humane Review editors Sydney H.
Coleman and Richard C. Craven in 1933 published
much else of present relevance, and not just
because of historical parallels.
Among Franklin D. Roosevelt’s early
misjudgments, as The National Humane Review
noted immediately, was appointing Kentucky-born
cockfighting enthusiast Robert Hayes Gore
(1886-1972) to become Governor of Puerto Rico.
Forgotten in recent years, amid
successful efforts to abolish legal cockfighting
in Louisiana, Arizona, New Mexico, and
Oklahoma, is that as of 1933 cockfighting was
already illegal in all 48 states that were then
part of the U.S., and had been illegal in Puerto
Rico, as well, for more than three decades.
The abolition of legal cockfighting throughout
the U.S. during the past 20 years merely recouped
losses suffered during the mid-20th century.
James R. Beverley, a Texan who served
two terms as Governor of Puerto Rico, undid the
Puerto Rican ban on cockfighting as one of his
last acts before leaving office.
Robert Hayes Gore in his July 1, 1933
inauguration speech declared his intent to boost
the Puerto Rican economy by promoting an annual
“great carnival of cockfighting.” Less than a
week later he attended a cockfight organized in
his honor.
Gore was removed from office due to
corruption and incompetence within less than
eight months. The chief legacy of his tenure
was the growth of the Puerto Rican cockfighting
industry, which now purports to be of indigenous
Comparably bastardized history lies
behind the U.S. hunting ranch or “canned hunt”
industry. “Canned hunt” promoters commonly
pretend that shooting captive-reared trophy
animals in small enclosures was introduced in
Texas in the mid-1930s by World War I fighter
pilot Eddie Rickenbacker, as if Rickenbacker’s
feats as the first U.S. “ace” might somehow make
shooting a penned animal seem braver.
However, Associated Press and Time
magazine extensively exposed the actual
introduction of “canned hunts” to the U.S. in
October 1932. The National Humane Review
summarized their reports in March 1933.
The actual culprit was one Duncan M.
Wright, of St. Louis. “All around him was
hostility,” reported Time. “In Mississippi
County waited a sheriff with an insanity warrant.
In Cape Girardeau County waited 800 vigilantes
determined that he should hunt no lions there.”
But eventually four lions were massacred
as result of Wright’s exploits. The Humane
Society of Missouri and American Humane
Association did everything they could to try to
stop the hunts, including sending two humane
officers to the scene, who “drove all night,
200 miles in a terrible thundering rain storm.
The last 14 miles they had to ride on mules in
order to get through the gumbo mud,” The
National Humane Review recounted, but to no
avail. There was no law they could invoke to
stop the killing, “because no legislature had
ever conceived the possibility of a man buying
circus lions,” as Wright did, “and
manufacturing his hunt in the bullrushes of a
Mississippi island.”
There appeared to be considerable weight
of public opinion behind legislation proposed to
ban any further hunts of a similar nature, but
the bills apparently died because the legislators
did not imagine anyone else would be fool enough
to emulate Wright. But other landmark humane
legislation did advance.
National Humane Review editors Coleman
and Craven might have been dismayed to read in
the December 2008 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE that
the American Veterinary Medical Association has
adopted a resolution opposing ear-cropping and
tail-docking dogs, because Pennsylvania banned
ear-cropping in May 1933, with other states
expected to follow. The Western Pennsylvania
Humane Society won the first conviction for
ear-cropping two months later. The $25 fine was
sufficiently daunting that in an unrelated case
adjudicated at about the same time, convicted
Brooklyn dogfighter Henry Smith, 42, chose to
serve 10 days in jail rather than pay $25.
The National Humane Review in 1933
vigorously exposed the Atlantic Canadian seal
hunt, which had already been opposed by the
global humane community since circa 1900.
On December 27, 2008 the Canadian
Department of Fisheries & Oceans sought to evade
a proposed European Union ban on imports of seal
products by announcing that sealers may no longer
club seals who are more than one year old.
“Banning the use of hakapiks,” as seal
clubs are called, “to kill seals older than one
year does little,” responded Humane Society
International Canada director Rebecca Aldworth,
“given that 97% of the seals killed in Canada are
less than three months old. Furthermore, the
Marine Mammal Regulations, regardless of any
amendments, cannot be enforced. For decades,
veterinary panels have concluded that adequate
monitoring of the commercial seal hunt does not
occur and is a practical impossibility.”
This was the conclusion of the humane
community in 1933 too, in response to offers of
similar regulations.
The city of Colorado Springs, effective
on January 1, 2009, is the most recent of
dozens of communities to introduce cat licensing.
Cat licensing proposals are typically promoted as
potential sources of income for animal control
and as incentives for keepers of pet cats to keep
them at home, but tend to be most vigorously
promoted by birders who hope to use licensing
requirements to cripple neuter/return programs
and expedite the capture and extermination of
feral cats. The idea is that if animal control
agencies think they can make money by rounding up
unlicensed cats and holding them for ransom,
they will inevitably round up ferals, and kill
them when they go unclaimed. Though this does
nothing to lastingly reduce the feral cat
population, unlike neuter/return, it satisfies
the demand of birders that cats who stalk their
feeders be terminated now.
There were few animal control departments
in the U.S. in 1933, but similar cat licensing
schemes were ceaselessly promoted by birders
then, too, in alliance with hunters who hoped
to be allowed to shoot cats. The Connecticut
legislature alone defeated three cat-licensing
proposals in 1933. Sixteen years later, a
hunter-backed scheme to license cats cleared the
Illinois legislature, but was memorably vetoed
by Governor Adlai Stevenson. The veto appears to
have halted efforts to license cats for about 40
years–until neuter/return began catching on,
reducing the feral cat population by about 75%
within a decade but increasing the visibility of
the survivors.
Animal control in 1933 was still done
primarily by private contractors. This practice
fell into disrepute after private contractors
were repeatedly caught stealing pet dogs to sell
to laboratories as alleged unclaimed strays. One
such incident brought to light in 1933 resulted
in Des Moines, Iowa firing a private dogcatcher
who had done the job for 18 years. The Animal
Rescue League has kept impounded dogs in Des
Moines ever since.
Laboratory animal supply was probably
more a national issue in 1933 than at any time
recently, partly because of the
anti-vivisectionist leanings of newspaper tycoon
William Randolph Hearst. Readers in three
nations were horrified in January 1934 when 300
monkeys shipped from Calcutta to New York City
suffered from severe cold during a stop at
Halifax, en route. Many died. The National
Humane Review noted that in view of the
experiments that were to be performed on the
monkeys, the dead may have been the lucky ones.
India has not exported monkeys for lab
use since 1978, and monkeys now are flown to
labs, not shipped, but the Animal Welfare
Network Nepal and Stop Monkey Business Campaign
on December 12, 2008 disclosed that among 310
rhesus macaques raised in Nepal for export to the
U.S. during the year, “at least 30 were deemed
unfit and euthanized.” As many more died a
“natural death.” Another 133 monkeys were
diseased. In short, 75 years has brought little
improvement in the monkey business.
As Coleman and Craven wrote, “We protest
with all our might against the cruelty involved.
Nothing could justify it.”
A frequent contributor to The National
Humane Review in 1933 was Bhagat Ram, secretary
of the Animals’ Friend Society in Ludhiana,
Punjab, India. Bhagat Ram wrote about the use
and misuse of working oxen, horses, mules, and
donkeys in India in words closely resembling
those of Friendicoes SECA founder Geeta Seshamani
in her October 2008 ANIMAL PEOPLE guest column
“Remembering Marco.”
The column concerned the January 2007
rescue of an injured working donkey from
alongside the Delhi/Agra highway by ANIMAL PEOPLE
president Kim Bartlett. The donkey spent the
remainder of his life at the Friendicoes SECA
Gurgaon Sanctuary just outside Delhi.
What has changed since 1933 is that
Bhagat Ram could only wish for projects such as
Friendicoes, the Gurgaon Sanctuary, and the two
Friendicoes mobile equine clinics, one of them
funded by ANIMAL PEOPLE.
Bhagat Ram also called for better
treatment of Indian street dogs and feral cats,
attacked the captive bird trade, denounced
animal sacrifice, and exposed the mismanagement
of overcrowded and filthy gaushalas and
pinjarapoles, as cow shelters are called.
In July 1933 Bhagat Ram objected to
traveling exhibitors of “unhappy wretched monkeys
and bears.” On the same page The National Humane
Review approvingly noted that “All licenses for
leading performing bears through the country have
been cancelled by the ministry of agriculture of
Germany,” presuming that this was done for the
bears’ benefit. Eight years later The National
Humane Review apologized for failing to recognize
that this edict was actually issued as an early
act of Nazi discrimination against gypsies, and
not so that bears should no longer be led about
to “dance.”
Coleman, Craven, and Bhagat Ram would
be gratified to see the work of Wildlife SOS,
founded by Geeta Seshamani and Kartick
“Six years after the first rescued
‘dancing bear’ arrived at the Agra Bear Rescue
Center, Wildlife S.O.S has rescued its 500th
sloth bear from a life of misery and suffering,”
Satyanarayan announced on December 23, 2008.
Among the many reminders in 1933 editions
of The National Humane Review of how much that
era presaged the present, two of the most
poignant concern captive elephants.
At the Kapiolani Park Zoo in Honolulu,
elephant keeper George Conradt resigned in
protest over the miserable conditions that the
zoo elephant, Daisy, had to endure. For the
next two and a half months Daisy stood shackled
to a tree. Hawaiian Humane Society president
Gertrude M. Damon recommended that Daisy should
be shot, rather than being left out like that,
in all weather. This generated controversy that
enabled the zoo to raise $8,000 toward the cost
of building an elephant stockade. Conradt
returned to work with Daisy–but she killed him.
“Latest reports indicated that the money
subscribed toward the stockade would be turned
over to the widow of the deceased keeper,” The
National Humane Review concluded. “The entire
story will cause many people to ask themselves if
zoos are worth the price.”
Three months later The National Humane
Review reported the death of Tusko, 42, at the
Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle–reputedly the
largest elephant in captivity. Acquired by the
A.G. Barnes Circus in 1922, an ancestor of the
Carson & Barnes circus of today, Tusko finished
his circus days with a rampage at Sedro Woolley,
Washington, in which he destroyed 20 cars and a
house. Thereafter he was exhibited in Portland
before being sold to the Woodland Park Zoo.
Editorialized the Portland Journal, “He
was a vivid example of inhumanity. He was the
product of the jungle. He belonged to the
jungle. And there could be no place for him in
civilization. To keep him as he was kept, by
chains, hobbles, enclosures, and other
implements of force and tyranny, was cruelty,
brutality, inhumanity. He was untamed and
untamable. He had a right to resist fetters and
shacklesÅ In his own heaven, if elephants have a
Valhalla, Tusko is back in the jungle, entitled
to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
These words may sound as if taken
directly from the current campaign literature of
In Defense of Animals, in the U.S, or
Compassion Unlimited Plus Action, in India,
among other organizations now waging prominent
campaigns on behalf of captive elephants. But
this appeal for elephant rights came from an
anonymous writer for a mainstream newspaper in
the depths of the Great Depression, who could
scarcely have imagined the animal advocacy
movement of today–and may not have imagined that
it would ever be necessary.
The humane movement of 1933 was broke but
optimistic. Entering 2009, still confronting so
many of the same issues, we must wonder what if
all of the funding donated to help animals but
lost to bad investments in the interim, or
remaining in investment accounts, had been put
to work as the donors intended.

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