Letters [May 2011]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 2011:

Camel Rescue Centre

Thanks so much for publishing “Camel Rescue Centre in India
is world’s first,” such an interesting and well researched article.
One important point is that the idea for the Camel Rescue Centre
originated from Janine Vogler, president of Animaux Secours in
Arthaz, France. She has always been particularly concerned about
the condition of the camels in Rajasthan, and additionally about the
poverty of the camel owners. In 2008 it was Vogler who said that she
would find the money if Help In Suffering could buy the land and
build the Camel Rescue Centre.

Alongside their animals, the camel drivers labor from dawn
to dusk for a very small sum, carrying building materials, grain
and other commodities. The Raita, who breed the camels, were
traditionally nomadic. Now their lands are being claimed and sold by
the government for development of housing, so that grazing
opportunities are limited.
The loss of a trained working bull camel can be a total
disaster to a family, because they no longer have the ability to earn
an income. Whilst it is good in a way that camels are being replaced
by vehicles, this also represents a loss of a whole traditional way
of life. The Camel Rescue Centre has long been urgently needed, and
is now urgently in need of funding, so that a full-time vet can be
employed to live at the Centre.
–Christine Townend
Patron, Help In Suffering
Sydney, Australia
Editor’s note:

Christine Townend was head trustee for Help In Suffering from
1992 to 2007.
Good words

I’d just like to say again how much I appreciate your
publication. I feel as if I can count on Animal People to give me
informed, intelligent articles. I value your opinions too, since I
know you are super knowledgeable about the animal rescue groups and
issues. I feel I can trust your views because I know you are big
animal lovers. I read everything, but the coverage of cat issues
such as neuter/return and high volume sterilization interests me most
of all. I appreciate that ANIMAL PEOPLE was among the first to
endorse neuter/return. I also love to read your articles about the
politics involving all the rescue groups. It’s informative to know
what is really going on.
Personally I am a vegan and support animal rights and rescue,
so I find it frustrating when groups hate each other and won’t work
Keep up your investigative articles–they are appreciated!
–Linda Dennis
Sequim, WA
Lost dog to illegal trap

We have been going up on the Powderface Trail to Canyon Creek,
near Elbow Falls, Alberta, for more than four years to run our
dogs. Until last year we had two big Alaskan malamutes, Ben and
Keesha, and Sarah, an SPCA special, part cocker spaniel and part
border collie.
On November 29, 2010 my husband and I took Ben and Sarah
for their last run of the year, as the Powderface Trail is closed on
December 1 for the winter. We left before noon, putting their coats
on, as it was hunting season and we didn’t want Ben to be mistaken
for a wolf.
Ed has asthma and waited in the truck while I walked with
the dogs down the valley to the east of the trail.
The snow was deep, and little Sarah had problems in the
snow. Ben ran about 15 yards ahead. I bent down to break snowballs
out of Sarah’s feet, and when I looked up, Ben was gone. I called
and called, and walked farther down the valley, but found no sign
of him. At dusk we decided to go home and come back the next morning.
My daughter made some “Lost” posters and I printed out a
bunch to take back and post on signboards. We were up at 5:00 a.m.
and put up our posters everywhere we could. We also talked to many
people. We got back to Canyon Creek at about noon. Near where I
last saw Ben, I found his lifeless body in the trees with a wire
snare around his neck. I couldn’t get it off, so called Ed to help.
Ed couldn’t get it off either, and ended up cutting the cable so
that we could carry him home.
In the same area was another trap, a big wooden box with a
large Conibear trap in it and a huge chunk of raw meat. The trap was
set about one foot off of the ground. The jaws of this trap were
about 12 inches square, with two strong springs. Trappers use a rope
or clip to set this type of trap, to avoid being caught themselves.
With great difficulty, Ed and I loaded Ben’s 120-pound body
into our truck. At the Ranger station on the Elbow side we met
conservation officer Bill O’Conner. It took him an hour before he
was able to free Ben from the trap.
Bill asked us to take him to where Ben was caught. He walked
in and said it was 300 meters off of the trail. He also asked us if
we had taken an off-road vehicle in there, as he found fresh tracks.
We said no. He left to go back to the Elbow side. We went north
toward the Transcanada highway. We soon came upon a truck with an
off-road vehicle in the back and fresh snow in the cleats.
A man came out of the trees carrying some tools. We asked if
he had been in the Canyon Creek valley. He said yes. He was the
trapper. He was eventually charged with hunting out of season.
–Lorna Thomas
Calgary, Alberta

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