Letters [June 2009]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2009:
Kangaroo culling

I seek the assistance of ANIMAL PEOPLE readers to provide
international pressure to protect our kangaroos. On May 13, 2009 in
Canberra, our national capitol, Administrative Appeals Tribunal
president Linda Crebbin ruled that the killing of thousands of
kangaroos on Australian Government Defence Department land-the Majura
Training Area, near Canberra-must be suspended immediately pending a
hearing of the full Tribunal on June 2.
Animal Liberation (NSW), through pro-bono lawyer Malcolm
Caulfield , successfully argued that the scheduled cull of 7,000
kangaroos should be stopped, as the kangaroos did not pose an
immediate threat to the ecosystem of the area. This was a tremendous
victory-but temporary, and will be back in court as the June 2009
edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE goes to press.

4,000 kangaroos had already been shot when the cull was
suspended. The existing permit allows a further 3,000 to be killed.
The Defence Department argued that the kangaroos were threatening
vulnerable flora and fauna, but Animal Liberation countered that the
most vulnerable areas are fenced off, and that kangaroo numbers are
already low enough to avoid ecological damage.
Unfortunately, no sooner was the suspension announced, than
Australian Capital Territory chief minister Jon Stanhope and the
Defence Department announced they would change the law-so that the
Defence Department decisions regarding kangaroo management would no
longer be subject to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal process.
Commercial kangaroo killing already shames Australia. Up to
four million adult kangaroos per year are killed in remote areas to
supply the meat and skin trade. Estimates are that hundreds of
thousands are wounded each year, rather than killed instantly, and
of great additional concern is the inevitable suffering of dependent
joeys. A new report, A Shot in the Dark-a report on kangaroo
harvesting, commissioned by Animal Liberation and released in May
2009, estimates that “440,000 dependent young kangaroos are either
clubbed to death or left to starve after their mothers are killed.”
See the full report at
<www.kangaroo-protection-coalition.com/shotinthedark.html> .
Please write to Australian defence minister Joel Fitzgibbon,
<J.Fitzgibbon.MP@-aph.gov.au>, and ask him to ensure that animals on
Defence Department sites are covered by Australian environmental law
and protected from unnecessary lethal population control.
Please write to the Australian environment minister Peter
Garrett, <Peter.Garr-ett.MP@aph.gov.au >, and indicate opposition
to the huge commercial kangaroo killing industry in Australia, and to
the killing of kangaroos on Defence Department land.
You may also wish to write to the Australian embassy in your
country. Contact information is accessible at <www.dfat.gov.au/
–Glenys Oogjes
Executive Director
Animals Australia
37 O’Connell Street
North Melbourne
NSW 3051
Phone: +61-3-9329-6333

Seeking to stop donkey abuse in Nepal

Animal Welfare Network Nepal on May 19, 2009 handed a
petition seeking to stop donkey abuse, signed by 1,036 people from
all over the world, to Hari Dahal, the joint secretary for the
Nepalese ministry for agriculture. The petition demands that
concerned authorities and donkey owners introduce a care system for
these animals, who offer suffer from malnutrition, open sores,
lacerations, and general neglect.
Members of Animal Welfare Network Nepal led by chairperson
Pramada Shah urged the joint secretary to implement the existing
Animal Transportation Act, and asked to participate in drafting an
Animal Welfare Act. Dahal responded positively, and expressed
commitment to monitoring the execution of the Animal Transportation
Established in 2008, Animal Welfare Network Nepal
is an alliance of six organizations working together to create a
cruelty-free society in which all
creatures can live in peace.
–Lucia de Vries
Bagdol, Patan, Nepal

PETA & “humane” meat certification

I received an e-mail inviting me to a rally held in
Gainesville, Florida on May 25, 2009 by People for the Ethical
Treatment of Animals. PETA planned to have two activists shower
behind a banner that blared “1 lb. of meat = 6 months of showers.”
The demonstration was supposed to alert passers-by that the best
thing they can do for the environment is not to take shorter showers,
but to go completely vegetarian.
The e-mail included an invitation to lunch after the
demonstration at Merlion Singapore Cuisine in Gainesville. It ended
with a request for a donation. Although I wouldn’t be able to
attend, I became curious if the meat the restaurant serves meets any
kind of humane certification standard.
PETA assistant activist liaison for international grassroots
campaigns Jeneleen Floyd only informed me that the chosen restaurant
had some vegetarian meals on the menu. Her first non-response
infuriated me so much that I asked two more times, in e-mail CAPS
(shouting): “Do these people serve any meat and if so, has PETA BEEN
ASSURED that these ANIMALS are raised and murdered HUMANELY and 100%
certainly not on a FACTORY FARM and not LED TO THEIR DEATHS via a
where they mentally and physically SUFFER?”
Ms. Floyd’s final reply was a forward by someone named
Ashley. It indicated a direct link to Merlion Singapore Cuisine,
but in reality was from Gainesville.Dining-Guide.com. This link did
not have a menu, meat or meatless.
PETA’s third reply came to me from Kristie Phelps, Ms.
Floyd’s supervisor. “I’m sorry you’re disappointed with her response
and our choice of restaurants” was as close as Ms. Phelps got to
answering my question. Ms. Phelps ended her non-reply with another
donation request.
PETA, for all its vaunted goals and aims, apparently does
not care that there are at least six organizations that monitor codes
of humane conduct on American farms. PETA has apparently never heard
of Humane Farm Animal Care, a well respected not-for-profit animal
advocacy group. PETA cannot even answer if they have asked the
restaurant owner if the restaurant only purchases meat products
certified by HFAC, the Animal Welfare Institute, or American Humane.
Why is it up to me to do the basic research that PETA should be doing?
Just 2.54 miles from Merlion, with extremely affordable
prices, is an all-veg restaurant called Krishna Lunch. Even closer,
the University of Florida offers an eatery called Vegan Corner. Why
didn’t PETA choose either of them?
–Joyce & Henry Rinehart
Ocala, Florida

Sea otters in B.C.

The Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribal Council in British Columbia wants
to kill at least 20 sea otters every year for ceremonial purposes.
Permitting a sea otter slaughter is not only cruel but opens the door
to the killing of other marine mammals such as whales.
In Canada sea otters are listed as a species of special
concern. Their exact numbers are not known, but there are fewer
than 3,500 in British Columbia. Since having been hunted to the
verge of extinction, over many decades they have only repopulated
25% to 33% of their historic territory. The impacts on British
Columbia sea otters of fishing, boat strikes, and other causes of
death are undetermined. The Nuu-Chah-Nulth are targeting a
population of approximately 2,000 in their territory. This population
is at risk from an oil spill, pollution, disease, fishing, boat
strikes and a potlatch fur trade.
Instead of killing healthy sea otters, if remains are needed
for religious reason, there are alternative sources.
Sea otters drowned by net entanglement and crab traps could
be used, or sea otters who die from natural causes, following
necropsies. In the U.S., according to U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
spokesperson Deanna Lynch, “Sea otter parts (specifically skeletons
and pelts) originating from Washington and California are loaned to
organizations for education or scientific purposes only, but
ownership is retained by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.” This
policy could be emulated.
“We do receive a few carcasses of animals who have been found
dead and we examine them (including necropsy) to investigate of cause
of death, and to develop an understanding of health and disease of
sea otters,” Department of Fisheries & Oceans Canada representative
Linda Nichols told us. “I expect that if a carcass were relatively
fresh, that the skin of a beach-cast sea otter carcass could be
used,” she said.
In addition, many items in the inventories of original
potlatch fur garments in museums may be available to borrow or
Lifeforce urges all to help stop the slaughter of precious
sea otters by writing to Department of Fisheries & Oceans Mininister
Gail Shea, c/o <Shea.G@parl.gc.ca>, and to the Nuu-chah-nulth
Tribal Council, c/o <cliff.atleo@nuuchahnulth.org>.
–Peter Hamilton
Lifeforce Foundation
P.O. Box 3117
Vancouver, BC V6B 3X6
Phone: 604-649-5258

Kerala street dogs

The May 2009 ANIMAL PEOPLE article “Kerala capital to obey
Indian dog law?” mentioned that Thiruvanathapuram, India in April
2009 quit killing street dogs after the Animal Welfare Board of India
informed the city that the program violates a December 2008 ruling by
the Supreme Court of India. The article concluded, “Animal Rescue
Kerala founder Avis Lyons contested the Thiruvanathapuram policy,
but in April 2007 the Kerala High Court authorized the city to
continue killing dogs.”
This is wrong. The high court did not say that
Thiruvanathapurm (formerly called Trivandrum) could continue killing
[in April 2007]. But the city told the High Court in September 2007
that they had an Animal Birth Control program, which is untrue.
We have had an ongoing case against Thiruvanathapuram since
January 2007, and we have a contempt order against the city
government in high court that will come up after the summer recess at
the end of May. Meanwhile, Thiruvanathapuram officials have killed
more than 29,500 dogs.
–Avis Lyons
Animal Rescue Kerala
Chanalkara Road
Kovalam 695523, Kerala

Editor’s note:

The actual Kerala High Court ruling appears to have been
issued on March 3, 2006, in response to a 2004 petition. It was
somewhat ambiguous, pertaining chiefly to the extent of municipal
jurisdiction, and was read in different ways by defenders and foes
of street dogs. The Thiruvanathapuram municipal government cited the
ruling in April 2007, when Kerala state minister for local
self-government Paloli Mohammed Kutty ordered the government to “end
the stray dog menace before May.”

Friends of the Cat stand up for whales

State of the Nation, a South African radio program, on May
2009 hosted a discussion of whale hunting. The participants were
Sarah Holden of Greenpeace Netherlands, Glenn Inwood of the Japanese
Institute of Cetacean Research, and Andrew Darby, author of
Harpoon: Into the heart of whaling.
It went very badly for the whales.
Holden immediately stated that her objections to whaling are
not moral but purely environmental, and that Greenpeace does not
condone violence, referring to Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
protest activities, but not the actions of the Japanese whale
hunters. Holden did, however, condemn the excuse that Japanese
whaling is for scientific research.
Darby said that the International Whaling Commission has
reached an impasse with Japan, whose ultimate aim was to return to
commercial whaling.
Inwood said that whales are “amorphous resources of the sea.”
Holden asked why we are worrying about a few hundred whales
in the Southern Ocean when “300,000 whales are trapped in nets
annually around the world,” counting dolphins in this estimate.
Inwood loved this. He said she had made a very good point, that
commercial whaling should resume, and that the IWC in its present
form should be disbanded because it “does not have a future.”
Inwood pointed out that there is no outcry about people
eating cows, pigs, sheep etc., so why, he asked, do people get
upset about killing and eating whales?
This is a difficult question. Only vegetarians hold the
moral high ground. Many carnivorous people also object to killing
whales. We cannot afford to lose their support. Can anyone offer a
strong argument to counter the criticism that meat-eaters are
applying a double standard? We encounter this parry every time we
protest against animal abuse.
During the next few weeks we’ll harass the Japanese embassy
in Pretoria, as in previous years. They hate bad publicity, so we’ll
give it to them.
–Joan Norman
Friends of the Cat
P.O. Box 85094
South Africa 2029

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