Letters [July/Aug 2009]
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 2009:
Lucy is a female Asian elephant living alone since 2007 at
the Valley Zoo in Edmonton, Alberta. She has lived there for 30
years. Many people feel that Lucy should be moved to a sanctuary
because she is socially isolated, Edmonton is too cold for
elephants, her enclosure is too small, and she has many health
problems that the zoo has been unable to take care of. Two
accredited sanctuaries have offered to take her and pay for her
transportation. We would like Lucy’s story to get more exposure in
hopes of continuing to build public pressure so that the zoo may one
day let her go.
c/o Zoocheck Canada
788 1/2 O’Connor Drive
Canada M4B 2S6
Some good news on the animal front! The Nanaimo city council
voted unanimously to ban the use of the gas box to kill cats. I had
the chance to address the council before the vote. Until June 15,
gas boxes were used on cats and lethal injection on dogs.
Lantzville, British Columbia
Remembering the Princess Elizabeth de Croy
It was with great sorrow that I learnt from ANIMAL PEOPLE
that my close and much admired friend Elizabeth, Princess de Croy of
France, had passed away on May 18, 2009 at her Refuge de Thiernay
at the age of 88 years.
For over 30 years I had a steady and affectionate
correspondence with her. She visited Chile in 1959 and accompanied
me to the horrible perrera where thousands of dogs were cruelly
killed. She rescued a little mongrel she called Tribilin, and left
him with me until his death, enquiring always about his health. On
that occasion she met recently elected President Educardo Frei
Montalva and received from him the assurance that bullfights would
never be allowed in Chile. Later on I visited her at the Refuge de
Thiernay, which impressed me as a model institution. I continued to
receive regularly her Nouvelles de Thiernay newsletter, informing me
about her wonderful work.
Elizabeth certainly was an outstanding woman and never
equalled animal friend. I must be grateful to her to have been her
confidante and very close friend.
I am close to my 92nd birthday, and am battling the woes of old age.
What to do about Michael Vick?
Dorothy & Toto
Your June 2009 editorial “Has Michael Vick truly hit the road
to redemption?” made it impossible for me not to write. At the end,
you state that “Dorothy and Toto would have given Vick a chance.” I
would venture to say that in Vick’s universe, Toto would have been
stolen for bait! I try to follow Gandhian principles in my life as
much as possible, and I do believe in forgiveness as one of
the highest forms of reform. But Vick is outdoing my principles.
Everything he has said and done publicly since leaving Leavenworth
prison, to my eye and ear, is strictly aimed at reinstating his
It is easier for me to believe that the Wizard of Oz was real
than to believe Vick’s well-rehearsed shamefaced appeals for
forgiveness. I don’t believe Vick for a second. He has a very, very
long way to go before many of us will believe he deserves a
thimbleful of tea and sympathy. And until he truly proves himself,
he should not be reinstated into any NFL team to be made a hero to
young people, who will see that as “See, he said he was sorry, and
he got away with it! What the hell, let’s do the same thing!”
Sorry, but Vick gets a thumbs down from me. I truly hope he
can overcome his personality traits, but as you pointed out,
dogfighters have a high rate of recidivism. Let him stand as a
rebuke to others who commit the same crimes he did, and leave it at
Welcome Home Sanctuary
868 Martindale Road
Craryville, NY 12521
I always love what you guys do, but your June 2009 cover
feature “Dog bite prevention weak,” about dog bites and pit bulls,
was exceptional. Just terrific.
The editorial on Michael Vick and his deal with the Humane
Society of the U.S. to speak against dogfighting was also incredible
and well reasoned. You are right, this is the best option. Only
HSUS has the resources to really monitor this guy or to utilize him
well. It is also difficult to say that dogs can be rehabilitated but
not people. While not all dogs can be, some can. Likely the same
with people. One of my students here at the Western University of
Health Sciences College of Veterinary Medicine went to high school
with Michael Vick and was friends with him then. She is just
destroyed by this whole mess as it clashes so with her own
values–but also with her experience with him during that time. So
maybe he has it in him to become that kind kid again, unless he had
them all fooled all through high school. Only time will tell.
Devore Heights, California
I found your June 2009 editorial about Michael Vick very
thought provoking. While some people can be rehabilitated, in my
opinion Vick is just using his deal with the Humane Society of the
U.S. as a way to get back into the National Football League.
However, if HSUS can use Vick to help educate a lot of people,
especially the emerging generation, this is good.
Maybe the best solution would be to have him do this and only
be allowed back into football when he is too old to play.
Cardiff by the Sea, California
Dog-eater caught in Japan was Korean
The March 2006 ANIMAL PEOPLE editorial “Chinese ‘Year of
the Dog’ begins with good omens” mentioned that “Confirmation that a
clandestine dog meat industry persists in Japan, decades after overt
dog-eating disappeared, came in mid-December 2005 when an
82-year-old man was arrested for dumping the heads of about 30
The man’s identity was not disclosed. According to the Kyodo
News Agency, he imported dog carcasses from China and sold the meat.
ANIMAL PEOPLE has recently learned that while the dog
butcher was a Japanese resident, he was a South Korean citizen,
whose customers were fellow immigrants.