Letters [March 2011]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 2011:

Decompression–now the AHA-approved way to kill chickens

Just a quick note to let you know I’m
reading some of the literature on decompression
of poultry, as endorsed in September 2010 by the
American Humane Association.
It seems from what I’ve read that the
main case Yvonne Vizzier-Thaxton et al are making
for the Low Atmospheric Pressure System’s
“humaneness” to chickens is the rate of
decompression. If the rate is slowed down to
what they are using in the experiments, the time
it takes for the birds to go limp and appear
insensible is said to be about four minutes.

This includes a “death struggle.” A view through
an infrared monitor shows birds “disoriented and
flapping their wings” against the walls of their
crates–but Vizzier-Thaxton et al claim it
doesn’t cause pain or serious discomfort to the
birds. “Very rapid systems result in pain and
distress caused by expansion of gas trapped in
body cavities,” they say, versus “using
controlled slow decompression which allows the
body of the bird to adjust to changes in pressure
and thus lose consciousness with minimal
They also focus on lack of signs of deep
breathing and other respiratory responses to CO2
exposure to suggest that therefore the birds are
not suffering very much in the oxygen removal
They don’t give any attention to the
effect of lowered pressure on the eardrums,
which I imagine would be absolute torture for the
birds. Chickens have very sensitive hearing and
there is also the American Veterinary Medical
Association’s point that among mammals, at
least, younger animals are much harder to render
unconscious using decompression than older ones,
so what does this say about subjecting 5-6 week
old chickens to the Low Atmospheric Pressure
–Karen Davis, founder
United Poultry Concerns
PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405
The AHA at horse slaughter summit

The January/February edition of ANIMAL
PEOPLE reported about the Summit for the Horse,
held in Las Vegas during the first week of
January 2011 by proponents of horse slaughter for
human consumption and of slaughtering wild
horses. “The lone speaker from a prominent
humane organization was Tim Amlaw, director of
the American Humane Certified program of the
American Humane Association, which certifies
livestock production methodsŠAmlaw, assessed
Suzanne Roy of Wild Horse Preservation,
‘delivered essentially a sales pitch about what
the AHA certification program could do for the
horsemeat industry, touting what it had done
previously for other meat industries’.”
We asked AHA president Robin Ganzert to
respond to Roy’s summary, and to explain how the
AHA reconciles Amlaw’s statements with the AHA
position statement on wild horses, which
“opposes attempts to weaken the Wild Horse &
Burro Act,” passed in 1971 to discouraged the
sale of wild horses to slaughter.
Thirty-one days after the ANIMAL PEOPLE inquiry, the AHA replied:

In response to your inquiry of January 7,
the following statement is sent on behalf of
Robin R. Ganzert, Ph.D., American Humane
Association’s president and CEO. Thank you for
your interest in American Humane Association.
American Humane Association participated
in the Summit of the Horse conference to listen
and learn about the issues surrounding unwanted
horses in this country.
We are studying the various proposals and
want to ensure that there is a voice at the table
representing the interests of animals and
recognizing the vital importance of the
human-animal bond.
The issue of how to most humanely address
unwanted and potentially abandoned horses is a
complex and emotionally wrenching one that
doesn’t lend itself to easy answers. The
national dialogue regarding this issue needs to
be honest, thorough and evidence-based. We
believe in working to establish humane, stringent
and scientifically based animal welfare standards
that are affirmed by our Scientific Advisory
Committee, which includes internationally
renowned animal welfare expert Temple Grandin,
who also spoke at the conference. We also
believe in the use of independent, multi-tiered
monitoring practices to ensure that those
standards of treatment, housing and management
are maintained at all times.
Above all, American Humane Association
believes that, in all human-animal interactions,
a fundamental principle of human compassion
should be upheld: That all animals should be
treated humanely throughout their lives.
In regard to your question about
statements made at the Summit of the Horse by Tim
Amlaw, our Vice President, Farm Animal Program,
nothing he said conflicted with American Humane
Association’s stated position on wild horses and
burros. One statement he made was, “The most
important thing – whatever the solutions – we
have to focus on the animal. That’s our role,
and it has been for 133 years.”
Ensuring the humane treatment of animals
is clearly consistent with our stated positions
and our mission.
–Steve Nayowith
American Humane Association
63 Inverness Dr. E.,
Englewood, CO 80112
Phone: 303-792-9900
Tom Scholz of Boston

Tom Scholz is the talented leader,
guitarist and keyboard player for the renowned
American rock band Boston. Scholz is a longtime
ethical vegan and philanthropist who has
contributed more than $3 million to animal rights
groups, homeless shelters, and charities for
children. The notes inside Boston’s Greatest
Hits Album and three of their other cassettes
encourage people to embrace a cruelty-free
lifestyle. Scholz’s song “Corporate America”
denounces factory farms and the destruction of
the planet perpetrated by powerful inhumane
–Brien Comerford
Glenview, Illinois
Training curriculum needed for animal control personnel

We on the front lines of animal
rescue/welfare are over-extended like never
before. We have worked for decades and still
often have unqualified and non-progressive Bubbas
running animal control departments and
obstructing our efforts.
Our humane leaders have supported the
education of veterinarians to do juvenile
sterilization surgeries and operate high volume
sterilization clinics. They have supported the
coalitions to bring animal control agencies
along, but the taxpayer-supported agencies often
continue to pursue retrograde policies.
For instance, Seminole county– one of
the richest and most educated in
Florida–recently hired an animal control
director who wants a leash law for cats and
opposes neuter/return. In Putnam County, animal
control obtained a new ordinance that says if you
feed an animal you are the owner. This clearly
opens the door to prosecute neuter/return
Space Coast Felines has worked tirelessly
for decades to have a successful neuter/return
program in Brevard County, but their program is
also now threatened by new county legislation.
In the Florida Keys the U.S. Fish &
Wildlife Service and Florida Fish & Wildlife
Commission are now pursuing extermination of the
same neuter/return colony where cats were killed
in large numbers in 2003.
My wish is that the national animal
advocacy organization should create a humane
animal control curriculum for animal control
officers. Then, with the help of the national
organizations, we can seek legislation to require
that those in charge of animal control agencies
must have taken these courses and passed the
–Bonnie Carolin
Angel Paws Animal Fund
Putnam, Florida
Editor’s note:

The good news is that the curriculum
exists. The National Animal Control Association,
formed in 1978, has held annual training
conferences since 1980, published the first
comprehensive training manual for animal control
officers in 1989, and published an updated
edition in 2001. The NACA training academy
debuted in 1992.
The NACA curriculum differs from the
curriculums offered by national humane society
training conferences chiefly in recognizing that
the first responsibility of an animal control
officer is protecting the public from animals,
whereas the first responsibility of a humane
officer is protecting animals from the public.
In addition, while most humane officers are
employed by nonprofit humane societies, most
animal control officers are public employees.
Usually animal control officers have somewhat
more law enforcement authority than humane
officers, but not always; usually they work
under narrower constraints.
The Humane Society of the U.S. published
Animal Control Management: A Guide for Local
Governments, by Geoffrey L. Handy, in 2003,
and also offers an animal control curriculum
through the subsidiary Humane University.
The bad news is that while these
curriculums exist and are well-regarded by animal
control professionals, neither NACA nor Humane
University accreditation is required anywhere to
become an animal control officer, or even an
animal control director. Indeed, many graduates
of the NACA and Humane University programs attend
at their own expense, on their vacation time.
Llamas rescued

The Camelid Rescue Coalition, comprised
of Northeast Llama Rescue, Southeast Llama
Rescue, Southwest Llama Rescue, the Llama
Association of North America’s Lama Lifeline
Committee and several other llama associations,
is thrilled to announce that all llamas have been
evacuated from the Montana Large Animal Sanctuary.
Of the 506 llamas who were held in triage
at the sanctuary in preparation for transport,
495 are now receiving the best of care at foster
facilities throughout the country.
Four llamas were euthanized on site when
it was determined that their conditions were not
improving and that they would not survive
transport. Three llamas died in transit or
shortly thereafter, and five others died prior
to transport due to their extremely compromised
The CRC wishes to extend our gratitude to
the kind persons caring for the 495 llamas in
foster facilities, located in California,
Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri,
Montana, Nebraska, New York, Oklahoma, Texas,
Utah, and Washington State.
We are also pleased to announce that one
of our member organizations, Southeast Llama
Rescue, is the recipient of a $20,000 grant from
the ASPCA. The grant will help to defray some of
the $50,000-plus spent by SELR and the CRC on
initial transportation costs. Donations are
still needed to help us provide hay and supplies
for the hundreds of llamas now in foster care,
and to assist with future transport of llamas to
their adoptive homes.
–L’illette Vasquez
Rocky Mountain
Llama Association
on behalf of
Camelid Rescue Coalition
c/o Southeast Llama Rescue
678 Mill Creek Road
Luray, VA 22835
Recalling better days

Thanks for the unfortunate news about the
collapse of the Montana Large Animal Sanctuary.
Scanning your January/ February 2011 edition, I
was shocked to see the headline “Montana Large
Animal Sanctuary becomes largest-ever sanctuary
failure,” and saddened to learn the bad news,
both for the animals and cofounders Brian and
Kathryn Warrington. In 2000, we were married
there, after your recommendation, with Wendy
(mule deer), Teddy Roosevelt (elk), and Dolly
(llama) as witnesses. Clearly your early
suggestions regarding their limited funding
sources were spot on.
Reading the obituaries in this edition
brought to mind a true friend of animals, Dr.
Thomas Van Cise, who died suddenly on December
30, 2010, leaving a huge hole in both the
veterinary field and the holistic medicine field.
We attended his funeral on January 7, 2011 and
were surrounded by people who were truly touched
by a great man who not only saved “unsaveable”
animal lives, but did the same for humans. He
also taught a style of Aikido he established,
based on mind, body, and spirit.
–Jackie & Tim Martin
Corona, California
Anti-sealing in Quebec

We supposedly live in a democracy, but
in Canada it is perilous, nay impossible, to
oppose the commercial seal hunt. Insults,
threats and heinous propaganda rain down on all
those who oppose it. There are many low blows,
including backstabbing.
It’s impossible to give one’s opinion,
utter a comment, quote scientific sources or
present videos exposing the cruelty of this hunt.
When it comes from those against the hunt, it’s
characterized as disinformation,
demagogic and emotional cries of Brigitte Bardot
sentimentalists, and ploys to raise funds. Even
worse, those who dare raise their voices for the
survival of seals are labeled “dangerous
animalists,” and terrorists working for powerful
organizations that make money off the backs of
poor seal hunters.
Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette, in a
recent communiqué about China agreeing to sell
commercial seal products, again attacked,
as has been her habit for several years, the
“vegetarian extremist.” She said, “The federal
government defends Canadian sealers who have been
victims of the cynical European boycott and
callous campaigns from animalist pressure groups.”
–Marjolaine Jolicoeur, AHIMSA
(Association Humanitaire
d’Information et de
Mobilisation pour la
Survie des Animaux)
7 Lacs, Ste-Rita, Quebec
Canada, G0L 4G0
Anti-sealing in India

Thanks for your January/February cover
articles “Oslo Fashion Week bans fur from
catwalk” and “Chinese activists object to
Canadian deal to sell seal meat & oil to China.”
I have been involved for years now in the
campaign to stop the Canadians from killing baby
seals and reading these help me to continue.
–Prem Krishnan
Chennai, India
Black day in Ireland

February 15, 2011 was a black day indeed
for those of us who campaigned for 20 years
against the barbaric Ward Union deer hunt, which
was finally banned last June. The Fine Gael
Party manifesto, published today, states that
if elected they will “reverse the ban on stag
Elsewhere in their manifesto they say
they will “update existing animal welfare rules
which are outdated and need to be reformed.”
They are off to a bad start by threatening to
repeal an act which has banned gratuitous cruelty
to vulnerable animals, which for over 150 years
were hounded by dogs for “sport.”
This would be a callous and despicable
move by Fine Gael if they attain power, as seems
likely, and we have no doubt that the majority
of people in this country would find this utterly
–Aideen Yourell
Irish Council
Against Blood Sports
PO Box 88, Mullingar
County Westmeath, Ireland
Phone: 086-2636265
Leghold trapping used to kill dogs in Taiwan

I would like to report the growing
practice of catching homeless dogs with steel jaw
leghold traps in Taiwan. The situation needs
concerted international intervention. Dog and
cats caught by these traps often die slowly and
painfully from dehydration and starvation. Those
who are rescued often must have injured legs
amputated. Taiwan has become a land of
three-legged dogs and cats.
Recent news reports document that steel
jaw leghold traps have been found near schools,
in markets, resorts, urban streets, and
residential areas, along mountain trails, and
in Yang Ming Shan National Park. Among the
recent incidents, three dogs were injured in
February 2011 by leghold traps set near the
Taiwan National University.
Indiscriminate use of leghold traps has
also injured Formosan black bears and the small
native cats called leopard cats, among other
rare and endangered Taiwanese wildlife.
Public protest against the use of steel
jaw leghold traps began in 2008. Pressured by
animal welfare groups, the government in 2009
increased the penalty for illegal trapping. The
Council of Agriculture has set up a hotline for
people to report illegal use of metal traps and
has funded humane education. At the present
time, the Council of Agriculture is printing
brochures and posters as well as sponsoring
public events.
In 2009 the Taipei city government and
Life Conservation Association co-produced a video
called The Unlawful Use of Leg Hold Traps. In
April 2010 it was broadcast in rapid transit
stations of northern Taiwan and on public
channels. The government and the Hardware
Association agreed that permits and registration
are now required to purchase leghold traps. In
addition, stores must educate buyers about the
danger of using the traps. But this is not
enough to stop the crisis. Taiwan has homeless
animals all over the island, and it is almost
impossible to trace the trappers.
Through international campaigns,
including your in-depth reporting, the Taiwan
government finally passed an animal protection
law back in 1998. I hope ANIMAL PEOPLE will
help now to expose the leghold trapping issue.
Letters of protest against the use of leghold
traps may be sent to the Taiwan Council of
Agriculture, 37 Nanhai Road, Taipei, Taiwan
10014, Republic of China, or by e-mail to
–Mira Fong
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Editor’s note:

In January 2010 I saw for myself the
evidence of illegal but extensive leghold
trapping to catch dogs, cats, and wildlife in
the mountains surrounding Taipei. From 1977 to
1989, as volunteer assistant to a Quebec deputy
game warden, I patrolled about 50 miles per week
of prime furbearer habitat on foot throughout
each winter, detecting and removing traps and
snares from posted land. In this capacity,
seeing more of trapping than most trappers, I
saw that leghold trapping and snaring are
cruelties which are actually understated by much
anti-trapping and anti-fur literature. Currently
there appears to be more leghold trapping in
Taiwan than in Quebec back then, at the height
of trapped fur prices. The trapping in Taiwan is
done out of a superstitious and irrational fear
and hatred of animals among a tiny but aggressive
and influential minority of the human population.
Though the trapping is rationalized in the name
of protecting agriculture, much goes on far from
any crops, and many of the trappers, when
identified, have no involvement in farming.
Campaign for Democracy within the Royal SPCA

Animal Concern incorporates the Scottish
Anti-Vivisection Society, which has been
campaigning for animals since 1876. We have had
several policy disagreements over the years with
the Royal SPCA, which covers England and Wales
and is not to be confused with the Scottish SPCA,
with whom we have also had our share of similar
For nearly three years now we have been
trying unsuccessfully to get the RSPCA to stop
endorsing seal-shooting salmon farmers through
the RSPCA Freedom Foods scheme. We have also
been trying to get the RSPCA to insist on
installation of closed circuit television cameras
throughout the Freedom Foods system to help
ensure that the highest welfare standards are
adhered to.
Some of our supporters are also
supporters of the RSPCA and SSPCA. Some have
asked if they should stop giving money to these
organisations. Our reply has been that if you
give money to such an organization, which is
governed by representatives elected by
membership, it is important to do so by way of a
membership fee and not just a donation. As a
member you have a right to question the way an
organization is run, and have a chance to change
and improve the policy of the organization.
If you are a member of the RSPCA, or
donate to it, I recommend that you contact the
Campaign for Democracy within the RSPCA. This is
a group of RSPCA members who are trying to
contact the 500 members they need to call an
emergency governance meeting to try to make the
RSPCA more accountable and responsive.
To find out more about this, please
e-mail to <Joseph.Piccioni@btinternet.com>.
–John F. Robins
Campaigns Consultant
Animal Concern
P.O. Box 5178
Scotland G82 5YJ
Cockfighting compared to agribusiness

Re “Judges allow cockfights in violation
of Indian law,” in the January/February edition
of ANIMAL PEOPLE, I think there are far more
serious welfare issues facing chickens than a
few odd cockfights held in some selected areas of
rural India.
For example, Open Magazine revealed
recently, “Each day, across India, millions of
male chicks are put to death in ways that would
be unimaginable to most. In many instances, the
rejected chicks are simply thrown live into
incinerators. In other cases, they are shoved
live into gunny bags that are dunked into barrels
of poisonous chemicals.”
I think killing male chicks in such a
gruesome manner is much much more barbaric than
cockfights. It does not create as much furor,
because it is hidden, but the intensity of
cruelty is definitely higher. I can safely bet
that more male chickens are killed each day by
the egg industry than the sum total of all birds
killed in cockfights in the last 20 years.
I am not saying that we should actively
encourage cock fights, but cockfighting may be
an inevitable byproduct, in some parts of India,
of encouraging free range egg farming, which
unfortunately is dying out in much of the world.
Cockfighting is cruelty, especially when done
with attached blades as is the norm, but by
giving undue focus to it, we may miss the woods
for the trees.
–Avin Deen
Bangaluru, India
Editor’s note:

ANIMAL PEOPLE has often pointed out the
cruelty of egg industry procedures for “sexing”
chickens, in most depth and detail in a March
2004 feature entitled “How the U.S. kills sick &
‘spent’ chickens.” By far the most common method
in the U.S. is live maceration. But as the March
2009 ANIMAL PEOPLE editorial “No more treating
sentient lives as trash” pointed out,
“Cockfighting, bullfighting, and dogfighting
each originated through the quest to find
profitable uses for lives that would otherwise be
snuffed out and discarded: birds who would never
lay eggs, cattle who would never give milk, and
barge-born mongrel pups who might combine big-dog
stamina with small-dog feistiness, but would
grow up to be too small to pull carts, too big
to hunt ratsŠCockfighting continues as a virtual
shadow of the poultry industry. Pinpointing the
locations of cockfighting arrests around the U.S.
produces a de facto map of factory chicken
farming.” Cockfighting thrives, worldwide, as
an adjunct to commercial egg production. Where
cockfighting has historically been culturally
tolerated, for example in Arkansas, Missouri,
and North Carolina, factory-style poultry
farming and high-volume chick liquidation tends
to become established and tolerated as well.
Where cruelty to animals is accepted as a public
recreation, one should not be surprised that it
becomes a way of life & business.
3,208 greyhounds injured at just one track

For years, Grey2K USA has tried to
obtain greyhound injury reports from the
Tri-State Racetrack in Cross Lanes, West
Virginia. During that time, we have been
repeatedly denied injury data from state
officials. Until now.
According to newly-obtained state
records, at least 3,208 greyhound injuries have
been reported at this track since 2005. Nearly
200 dogs have died. Further, it’s likely that
the actual number of injuries is even higher, as
the state still refuses to produce several months
of records.
This is a staggering and sad example of
the cruelty of greyhound racing. While we have
documented severe injury problems at other dog
tracks, this is the most severe injury problem
we have discovered to date.
–Christine A. Dorchak, Esq., president,
–Carey M. Theil, executive director
Grey2K USA
P.O. Box 440142
Somerville, MA 02144
Phone: 866-2GREY2K
Editor’s note:

There are two greyhound tracks in West
Virginia. The other, the Wheeling Island
Hotel-Casino-Racetrack, spent $400,000 on
purported track improvements in August and
September 2010, after the average number of dog
injuries increased from 19 per month in 2009 to
more than 27 per month through July 2010, but
Billy Wolfe of the Charleston Daily Mail reported
on December 3, 2010 that “Records filed with the
West Virginia Racing Commission show injuries
actually increased in the weeks immediately
following the track renovations. From September
18 through the end of October,” a six-week span,
“there were 41 reported injuries,” Wolfe wrote,
“including at least 22 broken legs, the records
show. Four dogs had injuries so severe that they
had to be euthanized.”
New Malaysian wildlife law is just a start

Further to “New Malaysian Wildlife
Conservation Act including anti-cruelty language
comes into effect,” in the January/ February
2011 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE, Sahabat Alam
Malaysia is relieved to learn that the Malaysian
wildlife department, Perhilitan, will improve
security at all entry and exit points into the
SAM welcomes the strengthened Wildlife
Protection Act. Under the old law most wildlife
crime cases ended in acquittal.
Wildlife smuggling should be treated like
narcotics crime, with punishment based on the
quantity of seized materials.
Though tigers are protected by the
Convention on International Trade in Endangered
Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, tiger numbers
are falling alarmingly. Efforts to save this
magnificent animal have unfortunately not yet
reversed the decline in tiger populations. The
actions taken remain insufficient and marred by
bureaucratic procrastination. There needs to be
stronger effort to patrol forest reserves,
protect tiger prey, and remove snares and
CITES depends on member states to provide
data and enforcement. Yet many CITES parties
fail to systematically monitor and report
wildlife trade. Most CITES-listed species occur
in countries where governance is often weak and
corruption high. Poor data collection also lead
to massive underreporting of the animal and plant
Another contributing factor to the rapid
growth of illegal trade in wildlife is fast,
convenient, anonymous wildlife trading on the
Internet. Countries who are parties to CITES
should review their domestic laws to ensure that
offering animals and animal products of
CITES-listed species for sale on the Internet is
treated as an offense against the
CITES-implementing legislation.
Also of other serious concern is that the
pet trade mostly operates without regulation.
Asian countries have become hubs for dealers
engaged in sale and purchase of birds and
turtles, while deterrents are not forthcoming.
People do not realise the kind of money involved
in wildlife trafficking. Networks of
professional criminals are organized to kill and
ship wildlife on a massive scale.
The increasingly organized and
sophisticated nature of wildlife crime requires
the close collaboration of wildlife
departments with forestry departments, customs
agencies, and police. Internationally, a
culture of cooperation and criminal
intelligence-sharing is needed to stop
trafficking in endangered species, with Interpol
playing a lead role.
–S.M. Mohd Idris
Sahabat Alam Malaysia
258 Air Itam Road
10460 Penang
Phone: 04-6596930
Help dogs in Sri Lanka

In the backdrop of a no-kill policy and a
half-hearted national spay program, the Sri
Lanka health ministry wants to set up district
dog shelters.
Holding dogs in shelters that are likely
to offer zero care is as bad as killing dogs, or
worse. People will not have their dogs spayed at
all if these shelters are set up as they will
have ready-made places to dump dogs.
Instead of making the national dog
sterilization program cost-efficient and
sustainable, the present program has been
allowed to run for three years, covering a few
areas in a few provinces, prone to much
malpractice as there is no monitoring and the
vets are paid piecemeal.
Could ANIMAL PEOPLE readers please write
to the Health Minister in support of a
results-oriented nationwide sterilization
program, as opposed to nationwide animal
shelters? His address is: Hon. Maithripala
Sirisena, M.P., Minister of Health,
Suwasiripaya, 385 Rev. Baddegama Wimalawansa
Thero Mawatha, Colombo 10, Sri Lanka.
–Champa Fernando
Secretary, KACPAW
191 Trinco Street, Kandy, Sri Lanka

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