LETTERS [April 2010]
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2010:
I want to thank you for your excellent November/December 2009
editorial about the historical perspective of American SPCA president
Ed Sayres, in response to criticism of his decision to euthanize the
Even though I have been in animal welfare for many decades,
I have not had the personal insight you have had with the leaders of
the no-kill movement. Your editorial was a rededication for me,
and I am sure for many of us in animal welfare. It made clear that
we sometimes get tunnel vision, based on what is happening to us
at any point in time.
Keeping history alive is very important and gives us all a
much wider picture. It also corrects, in this day and age of
instant Internet communication, kneejerk responses and waves
of information that may not be entirely accurate.
Your editorial reminded me of my core principle: “I don’t
walk in their shoes.” Thank you for re-establishing the foundation
for which so many of us dedicate our lives.
Turtles & frogs
It was a long fight, 16 years, but the California Fish &
Game Commission finally did the right thing and voted unanimously to
order the California Department of Fish & Game to stop issuing
permits allowing non-native turtles and frogs to be imported into the
state to be sold as food. Action for Animals founder Eric Mills
worked tirelessly on this, and this is his victory. We will be
working to get the pet trade included as well. They had 20 people at
the meeting, and they had their lobbyist there, but the commission
said that if turtles keep showing up in the markets, they will stop
the pet trade too. That made them hopping mad. I emphasized in my
talk that no wild animals should be pets, so I don’t really know how
keeping turtles, snakes, and frogs became acceptable, but this is
a global problem.
Susan Tellem of American Tortoise Rescue did an awesome
presentation, posted to
Humane nation building is underway in Vietnam
I really enjoyed the editorial on humane nation building in
the March 2010 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE. This is what we are trying
to achieve in Vietnam with our Humane Edutainment program. We think
Vietnam is ripe for humane nation building because a confluence of
factors have opened the opportunity to act before factory farming and
maltreatment of companion animals become entrenched as normative.
We are still in fundraising mode, but hope to launch the
program in time for the new school year this fall. Meanwhile we are
conducting small-scale weekend workshops that combine wildlife
conservation and environmental protection issues with training in
leadership, time management, and team building for primary and
secondary school children.
We have 44 classes from Nguyen Tat Thanh secondary school
come to the International Organization of Good Templars’ Soc Son
Campus, outside of Hanoi, every year. Each class comes twice,
each time for two days. Each class has about 40 students.
Additionally, we are hosting students from Trung Vuong, Nguyen Sieu,
and Tan Trao secondary schools. The World Society for the Protection
of Animals’ local representative in Vietnam has been kind enough to
provide some of the expertise.
Things are looking up and I am looking forward to keeping you
posted as the project further develops.
–Robert E. Lucius
The Kairos Coalition
340 Bishop Ave.
Pacific Grove, CA 93950
Journalist hopes humane nation building can be done in Somalia
The National Association of Somali Science & Environmental
Journalists wishes to explain the situation of Somali
wildlife–although it is not easy to report about environmental
conditions while Somalia is still in an anarchic situation.
Somali wildlife have been shot illegally for almost two
decades. Foreign helicopters are hunting and stealing wildlife on the
outskirts of the villages in coastal areas. Most targeted by the
flying poachers are the Nugal, Karkar, and Mudug regions. Many
animals have fled to neighboring countries. Others are illegally
Most of rural Somalia is unprotected. Indiscriminate tree
cutting has led to deforestation and desertification, and has made
the country more vulnerable to climate change.
In addition, the unprotected 3,333-kilometer Somali coast
has attracted foreign vessels, which loot marine resources and flush
their wastes into Somali waters.
NASSEJ is now desperately wishing that Somali people can
organize themselves to save the animal life, both in urban and rural
areas, and enable reporting about animal needs and environmental
The first Somalia environmental organizations were Ecoterra
Somalia and the Somali Ecological Society. Ecoterra International in
1986 established a Wildlife Rescue, Research and Monitoring Centre.
As result of this activity, Somalia joined Kenya, Gambia, and
Tanzania in introducing the 1989 international ban on ivory trading
established by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered
NASSEJ is currently working with these organizations to seek
ways to improve animal rights and animal protection nationwide.
As there is much evidence that animals are capable of
feeling, we condemn totally the infliction of suffering upon our
fellow creatures and the curtailment of their behavioral and other
needs, except where this is necessary for their own individual
We do not accept that a difference in species alone (any more
than a difference in race) can justify motiveless exploitation or
oppression in the name of science or sport, or for use as food, or
for commercial profit. We believe in the evolutionary and moral
affinity of all animals and declare our belief that all sentient
creatures have rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
–Daud Abdi Daud Dhimbil
National Association of Somali Science
& Environmental Journalists
Tahliil Warsame Building
2nd floor, Room 105
KM4 Area, Hodan District,
“Animal protection” movement not advancing animal rights
I cringe at the use of the term “animal protection” in the
March 2010 ANIMAL PEOPLE article “Farm Animal Initiative in Ohio
Builds on California Success,” referring to organizations that
convince caring people that anyone can have meaningful protection
without possessing the rights to not be used, bred, owned, driven
from natural homes, or poisoned in body, soil, water, or air by
Animal use industry representatives who say they are
excluding “animal rights groups” from discussions of how to regulate
misery are pretending to not know that the animal welfare and rescue
groups they are excluding do not actually promote rights. Where
language, strategy, tactics, mission, bylaws, objectives, and
goals do not involve seeking unalienable basic rights for all
individual animals, regardless of species, an organization is not
promoting animal rights. To end the double standard that animal
welfare reinforces, “animal rights” must mean rights corresponding
to (though not identical to) human rights.
“Animal protection” assumes an organization or its methods
protect or promise protection. But the nature of our institutions
ensures that meaningful protection increasingly eludes nonhuman
animals because organizations claiming to protect them address, and
urge advocates to address, only superficial symptoms–cruelty and
other extremely inhumane mistreatment–rather than the symptoms’
source: the lack of basic rights on which to base meaningful
protective laws and enforcement. Only establishing countervailing
rights of nonhumans will be able to undo the effects of humans’
current possession of property rights over nonhuman animals and their
ecosystems. There is no conceivable way animal-welfare victories can
ever put an end to animal use and ecosystem disruption, the sources
of cruelty. Gradual steps toward eliminating tyranny’s worst abuses
occur after former victims become rights holders, not before.
Establishing rights is the huge first step making possible the “baby
steps” often invoked as “necessary” by welfarists.
The animal-rights movement slipped into a coma so quickly
after its birth that animal advocacy institutions failed to educate
about rights, how basic rights come to exist, the human impulses
behind them, and the private and public interests they serve. So
the public lacks the understanding that eventually can produce rights
for nonhumans in the way we we evolved our present concepts of human
It is doubtful that any big human problem–health,
pollution, global warming, war, genocide, food and water
shortages, poverty, species extinctions–can be solved as long as
nonhuman animals lack basic rights. All organized efforts are
failing, and animal use and ecosystem disruption, along with other
inhumane treatment of nonhuman animals are a root cause of all of
Help animals within your purview, report cruelty, rescue
animals in need–just don’t pretend these good and compassionate
practices are a strategy for establishing rights.
–David Cantor, Founder & Director
Responsible Policies for Animals, Inc.
P.O. Box 891
Glenside, PA 19038
Praises ANIMAL PEOPLE
In response to your latest mailing, which includes an
interesting and informative letter, I am again sending a modest
donation that confirms my continued support for the publication of
ANIMAL PEOPLE, your outreach to people in other countries on behalf
of animals, and your specific endeavors to find ways and means to
help animals with urgent needs in other countries, as well as to
bring attention to the problems that have an adverse effect on people
who care about animals, and to the work of shelters, sanctuaries,
and other animal charities which continue to do great things on
behalf of the rights, welfare, and other needs of animals.
Although there has been much success of which to be proud,
there is so much more to be accomplished–here in our country, as
well as in the rest of the world.
–Kermit C. Phillips
Red Hook, New York
Pakistan president kills goats to seek support
Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari has a black goat
slaughtered at his house almost every day to ward off “evil eyes” and
protect him from black magic, his spokesperson Farhatullah Babar
recently told the Dawn newspaper. Babar said the goats were killed
as an act of sadaqah, meaning “voluntary charity,” a custom whereby
one gives money or the meat of a slain animal to the poor to win
Allah’s blessing. Dawn reported that “Hundreds of goats have been
sacrificed at Zardari’s house since he was sworn in, in September
2008,” and added that “Zardari’s detractors would see in his
new-found religiosity a sign of nervousness in the face of growing
woes,” as Zardari “has become increasingly unpopular and faces a
range of problems from militancy to a stagnant economy and political
Animal Save Movement Pakistan strongly protests these cruel
acts of the President of Pakistan, and appeals to animal lovers to
send messages to him via Pakistani embassies and consulates asking
him to stop.
–Khalid Mahmood Qurashi
Animal Save Movement Pakistan
Multan 60000, Pakistan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From Swiss animal advocate in Serbia
For years I have received ANIMAL PEOPLE and have never
thanked you, for which I am ashamed. Getting ANIMAL PEOPLE is
always a big joy, combined with pain and bitterness about all the
horrible things done to animals.
I am Swiss, but have lived in Serbia for the past 24 years.
It is unspeakably difficult to live and work here, but there is a
growing movement on behalf of animals. As Serbia wants to join the
European Union, pressure is felt from Europe to improve our
treatment of animals.
Street dogs are our most visible problem. Until sterilizing
and microchipping dogs is enforced by government, we will continue
to cope with daily tragedies.
Once again I would like to thank you for sending me your very
inspiring newspaper. Thus we fighters for animal rights can see that
we are not alone.
Drustvo za zastitu zivotinja
i prirode Durdevo
Solunskih Dobrovolijaca 96
21239 Durdevo, Serbia
Tiger parts trafficking exposed in Singapore
A 3-month undercover investigation by ACRES has revealed that
59 out of 134 jewelery and antique shops visited in Singapore offered
alleged tiger parts for sale. Evidence of the 59 shops selling
alleged tiger parts was recorded on video.
Approximately159 alleged tiger claws, 303 alleged tiger
teeth, and 38 pieces of alleged tiger skin were found on sale during
the investigation, which was conducted from December 2009 until
All commercial tiger trade has been banned since 1987 by the
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, to which
Singapore is a party. However, there has been an approximate 50%
decrease in wild tiger populations since the ban was enacted.
The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority is the CITES authority
in Singapore. It is an offence in Singapore to import, export, or
re-export any CITES-listed species without an AVA permit. The
possession, sale, or display to the public of any illegally
imported CITES specimen is also an offence.
The demand for tiger parts and the amount of tiger parts
being stocked by the shops appeared to be higher over the Chinese New
Year period in this year of the tiger. Twenty-eight shopkeepers
mentioned that an order for more tiger parts could be placed with
them, and said that the delivery time ranged from one week to three
months or more. Seven shopkeepers recognised that tigers are
protected animals, that it is illegal to sell tiger parts, and that
tiger parts are customs-controlled items.
The alleged tiger parts were claimed to originate from
Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, China, Myanmar, Indonesia, Laos,
Animal Concerns Research
& Education Society
91 Jalan Lekar
“Ahead of his time”
The November 2009 passing of John A. Caltabiano, DVM,
remembered in your March 2010 edition, was a great loss, as he was
one veterinarian who stood out ahead of his time in looking for real
and advanced solutions to the age-old problem of surplus animals. It
was Dr. Caltabiano who began marketing FeralStat, a birth control
drug for feral cats, based on a drug for dogs that has been around
for 50 years.
Thirty-five years ago we had birth control animal food,
produced by an American company, that was removed from the market
because women might eat it to give themselves abortions. Well, what
would be wrong with human birth control?
Birth control animal food would solve, worldwide,
the age-old problem of killing surplus animals or watching
them slowly die on the streets.
Flushing, New York
Applauds no-kill shelters for their efforts
I just read a letter to the editor in the January/February
2010 edition of Animal People headlined “Priorities.” While the
central issue involved in dog and cat welfare is the need to
sterilize dogs and cats, I feel, after 30 years in the dog/cat
animal welfare arena, that euthanizing homeless animals is not an
answer. We have reduced euthanizing by sterilization, yet there are
other methods to help cats and dogs without euthanizing.
It is not just that there are too many animals, as the
letter author and many others seem to think. There are many homeless
pets because people once acquired them, only to abandon them for
various reasons. While there are some pet keepers in dire
circumstances, many are not committed to their pets and value
convenience more. They simply are not dealing with behavioral
issues, making adequate effort to move their pets with them to new
locations, or accepting responsibilities toward pets left when a
family member dies, among many other stated reasons for giving up
pets. In short, education is badly needed before a person even
acquires an animal, so that people understand what is required of
In Illinois it is now law that all outgoing shelter animals
be sterilized and micro-chipped. At local no-kill shelters I am
familiar with, animals are sterilized upon arrival. This helps to
correct behavioral problems, so that animals can be adopted out as
well-adjusted pets. I applaud these no-kill shelters for their
efforts–they do wonderful educational, behavioral, and veterinary
As most welfare workers know, you can only properly care for
the animals (or people) in your care. But education will allow
society to better care for animals, so that they will never enter a
shelter. The January/February Animal People article “Japanese
Shelter Numbers Fall” documented how this happens.
Being a no-kill shelter, in conjunction with educating
potential pet keepers to be responsible, will ultimately reduce the
numbers. Prevention is the best method for dealing with the cat and
dog homeless situation.
U.S. animal sheltering capacity has approximately doubled
during the past 20 years, while shelters in recent years have
received fewer dogs and cats than at any time since national data was
first compiled in 1950.
In the 40 years since shelter killing peaked, rising rates
of dog and cat sterilization have accounted for about 95% of an 85%
reduction in the numbers of animals killed. Increased adoptions and
returns of lost animals to their homes account for the balance.
Despite all that progress, total U.S. shelter capacity is
even today only about 12% of annual intake. But even that reality is
not the biggest impediment to achieving no-kill sheltering. Of
greater note, about a third of the dogs entering shelters are
surrendered or impounded for biting. About 70% of the cats entering
shelters are believed to be feral. Other than dangerous dogs and
feral cats, about 5% of the animals arriving at shelters have health
conditions requiring special care.
Unfortunately, the cumulative sheltering and fostering
capacity for long-term care of dangerous dogs, feral cats, and
special-needs animals may be less than 1% of annual intake of animals
in these categories.
Animal sheltering & neuter/return in Japan
As an avid Animal People reader, I was shocked to read in the
January/ February 2010 article “Japanese shelter numbers fall”
(Jan/Feb 2010), stating that a good case could be made for Japan
making fast progress toward becoming a no-kill nation. Only a small
fraction of the animals entering Japanese animal control facilities
exit alive. Many suffer inhumane conditions before they die.
Thankfully, neuter/return is gaining momentum, and has the
potential to decrease the destruction of cats. However, a lack of
shelter support in coordination with neuter/ return has necessitated
the release of friendly cats, who may become targets of abuse.
Those helping dogs face such issues as open and obvious
neglect or cruelty, without the option of bringing in legal
reinforcement. Japan is among the very few nations in which
dog-fighting is legal, and Japanese pet shops openly display puppies
and kittens far too young to be separated from their mothers,
isolated and curled up miserably in small plastic cases without
comfort, companionship, or stimulation.
This is not the face of a no-kill nation.
Japan Cat Network
Hikone City, Shiga, Japan
The article “Japanese shelter numbers fall” pointed out that
the number of dogs impounded and killed in Japan has dropped by more
than 60% in 10 years. U.S. shelters currently kill 2.8% of the U.S.
dog population per year; Japanese shelters kill 0.7% of the Japanese
dog population. As the article stated, ANIMAL PEOPLE has no data
pertaining to cat impoundments in Japan previous to 2007.
Christians should speak out for animals
I was at my local Christian bookshop recently and was
disappointed that there were no books or teaching aids available
specifically on or about animal welfare, animal rights, or
environmentalism Even a check of their computer data base found
There were cute pictures of God’s fluffy animals and more
majestic species, with scripture, but nothing actually about our
obligations to animals within Christian culture.
Animal rights, along with human rights, should be among
Christians’ first priorities. God expects us to give the utmost care
to his creations, as he appointed us to be their guardians. Yet
mainstream Christianity avoids discussing environmental and animal
rights issues. Even Christian media seems to avoid these topics.
When was the last time an ad ran on Christian radio, letting the
faithful know about a seminar or service where the speaker would
enlighten us about humane pest control, responsible petkeeping,
factory farming, horse and greyhound racing, animal
experimentation, the treatment of circus animals, or the ethics of
rodeos and recreational hunting?
Often I hear churchgoers criticizing Islamic slaughter, yet
how many Christians are aware of western slaughter methods?
Except on St. Francis of Assisi’s day, there seems to be not
much about animals in our sermons. And even the St. Francis Day
blessings of animals occur almost entirely within the Catholic and
If Christians do not take responsibility for caring for the
environment and the creatures living in it, we are as bad as
Blackburn South, Victoria, Australia