Letters [Nov-Dec 2010]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2010:

CO2 isn’t humane

My letter is a response to “Controlled
atmosphere stunning moves ahead,” October 2010.
I disagree with the view set forth in
this article by the proponents of carbon dioxide
gassing that CO2 is a humane method of killing
chickens. It is most likely less cruel than the
conventional method of dragging conscious birds
through electrically-charged saltwater to
paralyze their muscles in order to facilitate
feather removal after they are dead, and to
immobilize the birds on the slaughter line, but
anything is likely to be better than being
riddled with electric shocks.
Evidence shows that birds, like mammals,
have chemical receptors in their lungs that are
acutely sensitive to CO2, with the result that
subjection to this toxic gas induces pain,
panic, suffocation and breathlessness (dyspnea)
in those who inhale it.
By contrast, chickens and other birds do
not have the chemical receptors in their lungs to
detect inert gases such as argon and nitrogen,
which is why animal welfare proponents,
including scientists like Dr. Mohan Raj, have
fought for decades to get poultry slaughter
plants to switch from electrical “stunning” to
the stun/kill method of inducing permanent
unconsciousness in poultry by means of
Behavioral evidence supports the
biological evidence. Whereas chickens subjected
to CO2 show clear signs of distress, shaking
their heads and stretching their necks to
breathe, chickens in the presence of argon or
nitrogen exhibit no comparable signs of suffering.
Poultry companies sincerely wishing to
reduce the suffering of their birds to a minimum
should bypass CO2 and invest in inert gas
systems. Then their proposed “humane” labels
will have at least a semblance of truth.
–Karen Davis, PhD.
United Poultry Concerns
12325 Seaside Road
P.O. Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405
Phone: 757-678-7875

Chicken slaughter & rare breeds

Could you please send me an e-mailable
version of your October 2010 page one article
“Controlled atmosphere poultry stunning moves
ahead”? I want to send it to some folks at the
Farm Bureau and our local organization Urban
Chicken Advocacy of Nashville.
I would like to see an article about the
different slaughter practices for livestock,
including chickens in Asian, Hispanic, and
European markets. I would also like to see an
article about the push to save the heritage
breeds of livestock and chickens in this country.
There are many breeds becoming extinct as we
speak. They have lost favor with Tyson and
Purdue-type operations because they grow more
slowly, with normal body mass. We have a
handful of farmers and breed enthusiasts facing
insurmountable odds to bring this matter to
public attention.
If you have ever attended a heritage or
urban chicken meeting, the manner in which
husbandry and care is presented is entirely
different from similar meetings I have attended
where the subject was commercial agricultural
production. I sat on a bale of straw at a CoOp
in Murray County, Tennessee once with a variety
of rural and city folks and listened to an older
man, a farmer who had acquired some hertitage
chicks, who discussed tending to them after they
came down with an illness. He shared his sadness
about the loss of one, and was proud of those
who survived as he cared for them around the
clock. He wanted the group to know that ill
chicks can be saved. I was taken with the
tenderness and caring that he and others
expressed for their chickens. Some did raise
birds for meat, but not all.
The evolution of interspecies empathy
begins in steps–we arrive at the destination at
different speeds and in different times.

–Mary Pat Boatfield
Executive Director
Nashville Humane Association
213 Oceola Avenue
Nashville, TN 37209
Phone: 615-354-6335
Fax: 615-352-4111
Label products by how animals are kept

The Farm Animal Welfare Forum, supported
by Compassion in World Farming, the Food Animal
Initiative, Co-operative Food, the World Society
for the Protection of Animals, the Royal SPCA,
the Soil Association, and the University of
Bristol’s Animal Welfare and Behaviour Group have
proposed to the European Parliament the mandatory
labeling of all meat and dairy products sold
within the European Union to identify the farming
methods used to produce them. The European Union
has a similar labeling scheme for eggs already in
effect. This will enable people to choose
products based on how the animals have lived.
FAWF wants other organizations to support
this proposal. Please send an e-mail to
<jo@fawf.org.uk>, titled “We support mandatory
labeling of farm animal products,” and in the
e-mail text mention at least the name, e-mail
address of your organization, and your
nationality. Thank you!
–Carmen Arsene
Pitesti, Romania
Using eggs to de-worm Bali street dogs

I would like to add a few thoughts to the
commentary by Merritt Clifton, “Deworming makes
a real-life ‘slum dog millionaire,'” published
in the September 2009 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE
and distributed as a handout at the 2010 Asia for
Animals conference in Singapore.
If you can catch a street dog who has
parasites, an Ivermectin injection works best as
the first treatment. Then I like to follow a
weekly schedule of administering a teaspoon of
Ivermectin inside a boiled egg. Eggs from our
multitudes of free-roaming hens are a dietary
staple of dogs here in Bali, but any kind of
food that the dogs of a particular locale are
familiar with will work.
Once the dogs are used to me feeding
them, they wait for my car to drive by. Then I
can hand boiled eggs, with meds inside, out the
car window and they gulp them down.
I give worm tablets when needed this way
as well. I have seen the skinniest most mangy
dogs bounce back after 1-2 months of treatment.
Then I give them one teaspoon of Ivermectin each
month. If you cannot get Ivermectin, a good
worm tablet will help a lot. Street dogs usually
seem to get enough food somehow, but
uncontrolled parasites are a problem they need
help to overcome.
It is important to watch for other health
problems that can cause a dog to waste away. We
often get dogs here with pancreatic problems.
These dogs never gain weight, and without
expensive and difficult ongoing care,
they slowly starve to death. We have worked hard
to try to save dogs, only to find that week
after week their condition gets worse until we
have to euthanize them. We are trying to learn
when we can help a dog, and when we can’t.
–Janice Girardi, President
Bali Animal Welfare Association
Jalan Monkey Forest 100X
Ubud, Bali
Phone: +62 (0) 361 977217
Humane Legislative Fund vs. the NRA

Thanks for the rundown of election
results in the October 2010 edition of ANIMAL
PEOPLE [actually published on November 3]. Just
one correction: the Humane Society Legislative
Fund endorsed three gubernatorial candidates.
Ted Strickland lost in Ohio, but John Kitzhaber
in Oregon and Patrick Quinn in Illinois won very
One of the best markers of our political
progress is to compare how our endorsed
candidates did in comparison with the National
Rifle Association.
In Arizona the NRA and allies in the
state legislature placed Proposition 109 on the
ballot, which would have made hunting a
constitutional right and the preferred method of
wildlife management, and would have blocked
voters from advancing citizen initiatives on
wildlife topics. The NRA spent more than
$200,000 advocating for Proposition 109, but
Arizona voters said “no,” 56.5% to 43.5%.
The Humane Society Legislative Fund and
the NRA each endorsed about 300 Congressional
candidates. We endorsed 249 candidates who won
and 47 who lost, for a win rate of 84.1%. The
NRA backed 244 winners and 59 losers, for a win
rate of 80.5%. In the seven contested Senate
races where we and the NRA endorsed opposing
candidates, we won four and the NRA won three.
Since Republicans took the majority of
the House of Representatives, one might think
that the political environment favored the NRA.
But NRA influence is waning. Some Democrats
pander to the NRA to prove their Second Amendment
bona fides, but of the 65 Democrats endorsed by
the NRA, 32 lost, and most of the winners were
in very safe districts.
The NRA continues to oppose common-sense
policies on inhumane and unsporting practices,
such as canned hunts, bear baiting, aerial
gunning of wolves, and even poaching. By
contrast, our message of protecting animals from
cruelty and abuse has universal reach, including
with swing voters who are critical to both
parties in tough races.
–Mike Markarian, President
Humane Society Legislative Fund
519 C Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002
Making humane education progress in Vietnam

You published a brief letter from me in
the April 2010 edition of Animal People that
discussed our initial efforts in Vietnam. This
is to give you an update.
On November 1, 2010, I and two other
trainers flew to Hanoi to commence a nine-month
Humane Edutainment pilot project in partnership
with the International Organization of Good
Templars/Vietnam, Live & Learn, Green Network,
Fauna & Flora International, and the Vietnam
Veterinary Medicine Club.
Our six-day workshop aimed to provide
participants with the skills needed to plan and
implement Humane Edutainment events throughout
the Hanoi region. We provided training in
techniques designed to stimulate critical
thinking, perspective-taking, conflict
resolution, and divergent thinking.
Representatives from the World Society for the
Protection of Animals, Live & Learn, the
Animals Asia Foundation, Education Nature
Vietnam and VietPet also gave presentations.
More than 35 Vietnamese attended. The
culmination was a Humane Edutainment performance
featuring vignettes created by the participants.
The vignettes covered such topics as how to help
a chained dog, dealing with conflict at home
over rescued kittens, refusing to use medicines
made from endangered animals, and not
participating in bullying.
Vignettes such as these are the core of
the Humane Edutainment approach, which calls on
audience members to become part of the sociodrama
with an eye toward developing successful
resolution of complex ethical dilemmas. The vast
majority of our participants were not “animal
people,” though there were a few in the group.
The lack of prior pro-animal attitudes among most
of group was helpful in allowing us to gauge
their response to the material. Most were
enthusiastic about continuing. Humane
Edutainment field projects are to be planned and
led by Vietnamese youth with mentoring and
subject expertise from other organizations and
We had some interesting discussions with
the participants about dog and cat meat and the
relative perceived importance of cultural
traditions. I got some pushback about the notion
that the dog meat trade is intrinsically cruel,
but the participants almost universally agreed
that dogs destined for the dinner table should
not suffer intensive confinement and beatings,
and that such mistreatment should be addressed.
I was pleased to hear several Vietnamese
veterinarians and veterinary students sharing
strategies for dealing with backyard dog breeders
using existing health and noise statutes.
I heard almost universal repugnance in
discussions concerning bear bile farming.
Several years of intensive public anti-bear bile
awareness campaigns by groups like the Animals
Asia Foundation and Education Nature Vietnam
apper to have hit their mark, at least with
youth audiences. The medicinal use of bear bile
is no longer viewed as representing Vietnamese
cultural values. This gives me hope that a
similar strategy addressing the consumption of
dog and cat meat might eventually gain traction
with youth.
On November 16 graduates of the workshop
presented a Humane Edutainment performance for 30
students at the Hanoi University of Agriculture,
which includes the College of Veterinary
Medicine. Several veterinary students attended
and took the lead in setting up and running the
performance. They wrote and performed new
vignettes dealing with trapping exotic wildlife
and caring for sick water buffalo.
The first full scale Humane Edutainment
event is planned for next month at Nguyen Tat
Thanh high school in Hanoi. Over the next
several months the team will visit high schools
and universities throughout Hanoi.
A presentation on humane education was
also given at the U.S. Embassy’s American Center
in Hanoi. More than 80 Vietnamese youth
attended, many of whom subsequently volunteered
to be part of the pilot Humane Edutainment
Following conversations with
representatives of VietPet.com and Vietnam’s
Veterinary Medicine Club, we have also decided
to support the formation of a home-grown animal
rescue club in Hanoi. We are currently in
discussions with Soi Cats And Dogs of Bangkok to
coordinate a 3-4 day visit to their facility by a
handful of Vietnamese veterinary medicine
students and a senior vet to explore what it
would take to establish an animal rescue
operation in Hanoi.
Ultimately, I’d also like to get a couple
of them to Jakarta and Manila to see what is
going on there. This group currently carries out
very limited and informal animal rescue
activities, but we feel that mentoring by a
professional animal rescue organization in the
region would significantly enhance and accelerate
the development of animal rescue capacity in
Hanoi, and serve as a model for similar projects
in other Vietnamese cities.
Humane Society International recently
provided a generous grant to help get our work
underway and the Farm Animal Reform Movement also
helped out.
Keep up the good work at Animal People.
It is the best single source of info available
for those of us who care about animals in every
clime and place!
–Robert E. Lucius
The Kairos Coalition
340 Bishop Ave.
Pacific Grove, CA 93950
Killing dogs is haram

The Egyptian Gazette on November 26,
2010 quoted Sheikh Farahat Saeed of Al-Azhar
University, Egypt’s highest seat of Islamic
learning, saying that it is necessary to get rid
of stray cats and dogs because they are a health
hazard, but that they should be killed
mercifully. I made an inquiry to the hotline for
Azhar Islamic Advisory Opinions and asked, “Is
killing roaming peaceful dogs not prohibited in
The answer was “Yes, as they harm and threaten people.”
I made another inquiry and said, “I
mentioned clearly, stray peaceful dogs, who do
not harm anybody. If you allow killing peaceful
dogs, as per the answer to my previous question,
you permit killing all dogs. Please, I am
asking specifically about stray peaceful dogs.”
This time the answer was, “Killing stray
peaceful dogs is haram (prohibited) unless there
is evidence that they have caused harm and
–Dina Zulfikar
Cairo, Egypt
CAFO & Bodega

Thank you for your outstanding review of
CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations):
The Tragedy of Industrial Animal Factories! You
obviously have an extensive knowledge of this
topic. I especially liked that you highlighted
Matthew Scully’s work. I’m sure many readers
will be surprised to see him included in this
— Kathlene Carney
Bodega Bay, California

Editor’s note:

Carney is publicist for CAFO, edited and
published by Daniel Imhoff of Watershed Media in
nearby Healdsburg.
Carney’s Bodega Bay Life web site offers
many of her photos of local wildlife, among
them bobcats photographed from her porch, and
includes three pages of my memories of
participating as an extra when Alfred Hitchcock
filmed The Birds in the twin villages of Bodega
and Bodega Bay in 1962.
Though crows, gulls, and many smaller
birds were abundant in 1962, and were attracted
in astonishingly large numbers by the papier
maché decoys Hitchcock brought as props, bobcats
and quite a few other species Carney has recently
photographed had not been seen around Bodega then
in decades. Hitchcock himself noticed and
pointed out to several of us local lads that
raptors should also have been attracted to prey
on the smaller birds, but seemed strangely
missing. His discussion of this was the first
time I heard about the effects of pesticides on
I knew that pumas, bobcats, bears and
foxes were missing from old books about northern
California wildlife that I read at Potter School,
the central location of The Birds. I kept some
of the books after the school was closed at the
end of 1961 and still treasure them. Except for
coyotes and turkey vultures, who were sometimes
seen despite all efforts to kill them, wild
predators and scavengers had been extirpated on
behalf of sheep and cattle ranchers by the Animal
Damage Control division of the U.S. Fish &
Wildlife Service. Transferred to the USDA in
1986, the agency is now called Wildlife Services.
I wondered in a 1977 article for the long
defunct nature magazine Snowy Egret whether the
Bodega wildlife could recover, if the
countryside was no longer littered with
“coyote-getters” firing the poison Compound 1080
at any animal or human who stumbled across one,
and if the food chain build-up of DDT that had
made many raptors endangered could be stopped.
Carney’s photographs document a much more
optimistic outcome than in 1977 I imagined
Manganas & piales

To date, nine states have outlawed horse
tripping (manganas), one of the nine standard
events of the Mexican-style rodeo called
charreada. California was the first, in 1994,
followed by Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico,
Arizona, Maine, Illinois, Florida and Nebraska.
Nevada and Colorado are expected to ban horse
tripping in 2011.
The horse tripping language in most state
laws says that it is illegal to rope a horse by
the legs and “cause it to fall or lose its
balance.” This language is crucial. I have six
recent statements from California animal control
agencies declaring that charreada’s event called
piales is also illegal, and prosecutable under
this definition. In manganas horses are roped
by their front legs. In piales, running horses
are roped by their hind legs. These horses
usually do not fall, but they do lose their
balance. Some veterinarians say piales is even
more harmful to the horses than manganas.
Animal activists where horse tripping is
illegal should demand that local agencies monitor
charreada and put a stop to piales.
–Eric Mills, coordinator
Action for Animals
P.O. Box 20184
Oakland, CA 94620
Charitable status revoked

In your July/August 2010 obituary for Fur
Bearer Defenders cofounder George Clements you
quoted Clements saying that “The four main
Canadian anti-trapping and anti-fur groups were
told by Revenue Canada that if they persisted in
their criticism of the fur trade, they risked
losing their charitable status. All of the
groups but ours quickly acquiesced. We had our
charitable status annulled.” The Animal Defence
League of Canada gave up our charitable status at
the same time for the same reason. Animal People
ran the news of our loss of charitable status on
page one.
–Esther Klein
Animal Defence League of Canada
P.O. Box 3880, Station C
Ottawa, Ontario K1Y 4M5
Phone: 613-233-6117

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