From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 2011:
New U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations went into effect June 1, 2011 that ban the sale of anticoagulant rodenticides, and all rodenticides that residential customers may buy in loose or pellet form.
There are both benefits and drawbacks to this ban. Rodenticides in pellet form are very easy for dogs and cats to simply pick up and eat. Selling poisons only in bait stations will make it more difficult for non-target animals to access the chemicals. However, an ambitious and determined dog will most likely still find a way to tear apart a bait station.
The potential drawbacks are significant as well. Regulating the use of anticoagulants will increase the use of chemicals such as bromethalin and cholecalciferol. Anti-coagulants have a Vitamin K antidote. After an animal ingests an anticoagulant, the animal can be brought to the vet and given the antidote. Usually the animal will recover. Bromethalin and cholecalciferol have no known antidote. Bromethalin causes neurological problems, and cats are particularly sensitive to it. Cholecalciferol is also extremely toxic to both dogs and cats.
520 8th Avenue
New York, NY 10018 Phone: 212-876-7700
Both cats and dogs are vulnerable to secondary poisoning from ingesting a poisoned rodent, as well as to poisoning from directly ingesting a rodenticide. As the mere presence of a cat or dog is often an effective deterrent to rodents, using rodenticides can actually increase the likelihood that a habitat with a convenient rodent food source will attract rodents. Since cats, dogs, and rodents have equal capacity for suffering, ANIMAL PEOPLE does not condone poisoning rodents in the first place. The most humane way to prevent rodent infestation is to ensure that food is stored so that rodents cannot gain access to it, and that potential rodent entrances into a dwelling are securely blocked. Several contraceptives have been tested for potential use in rodent control. None are close to regulatory approval, but this approach may eventually emerge as a humane alternative to rodenticides.
Killing animals doesn’t build empathy
An idea put forth by sectors of the animal welfare community is that killing one’s own animals for food will somehow develop empathy in the killer. But is this so?
In the case of billionaire Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, there is no evidence in his account of his latest “personal challenge” that killing animals himself began or ended in empathy for the animals he had previously “bonded with” only as meat. According to the story, Zuckerberg “evolved,” from boiling a lobster to death to cutting the throats of a goat and a chicken. And so on from there. Of the lobster episode, Zuckerberg said, “The most interesting thing was how special it felt to eat it after having not eaten any seafood or meat in a while.”
In other words, the “most interesting, special thing” for Zuckerberg, by his account, was not the lobster, or his relationship with the lobster as a fellow creature; it wasn’t about expanded or deepened empathy at all. It was about his seafood experience, his meat experience and the thrill of eating an animal he had, just minutes before, intentionally tortured to death in boiling water.
(Don’t plead that Zuckerberg didn’t know the lobster was sentient.)
So what does it mean to bond with an animal or anyone else one chooses to kill for pleasure? Bear in mind that rapists and serial murderers sadistically, ritualistically “bond” with their victims–they know their victim’s pain and they experience it vicariously as pleasure. The fact is that bonding and “connecting” do not necessarily entail compassion, and violating another’s body does not invariably lead to sympathy with the victim or with anyone else. Indeed, hurting others is a thrill for many people who lust for more of the delicious sensation.
We know this is true when it comes to humans intentionally hurting other humans, but when it comes to humans intentionally hurting animals, the rhetoric disconnects from reality as easily as the face disconnects from a small helpless body under the smack of a hatchet.
–Karen Davis, founder
United Poultry Concerns
PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405
Concerning war and animals, discussed by Gopi Shankar in the June 2011 ANIMAL PEOPLE letters colum, a book for children’ that has always touched me deeply is Faithful Elephants, by Yukio Tsuchiya, about how the Ueno Zoo in Tokyo decided in 1943 to kill all the animals to prevent escapes in case the zoo was bombed. All of the animals were killed, but the elephants were the hardest to kill. You will have to read the story for yourself. It is heartbreaking. A memorial to the elephants stands at this zoo.
We read this story one year to high school students in an English/reading class. I began but could not continue reading aloud. Another teacher had to read it. I was in tears the whole time–tears rolling down my face. My students were astonished at my emotions and of course the story itself. It is a tear jerker. It shows how innocent animals suffer and die from human ignorance!
Joyful Journey Books
P.O. Box 216
Rock Falls, IL 61071
Published in 1951 as a true story, Faithful Elephants was exposed as in large part a fabrication by historian Frederick S. Litten in a September 2009 Asia Pacific Journal article entitled “Starving the Elephants–The Slaughter of Animals in Wartime Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo.” Wrote Litten, “The governor of Tokyo, Ôdachi Shigeo, decided in August 1943 to have the animals killed to use their death as propaganda, aimed at children. There was no immediate reason to kill the animals to keep humans safe. It was not even a precautionary measure. This also explains why the governor did not allow even some animals to be evacuated; they had to die to serve the purpose.”
Koh Samui zoo
We have recently returned from a holiday on Koh Samui, Thailand, where a visit to the zoo was extremely stressful. The animals were visibly stressed, under pressure to perform crazy tricks, and appeared to be suffering from malnutrition. The fish tanks were dirty. The poor otter appeared to be visibly crying for help. The tigers looked as if they could and would consume the zoo owners. Is there anybody or any organization that could investigate the manhandling of animals in captivity on Koh Samui?
More about it
I am aware of the Koh Samui zoo. We have complained about it several times. The Department of National Parks say they have received a Zoocheck report on several zoos in Thailand, including this one, that was done by the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society in Singapore and Love Wildlife in Thailand. However, the report is confidential, and the DNP hides behind it, saying the place is okay.
I will forward Dalene Worrall’s concern in another official complaint letter.
108, Moo 6
TNR succeeds in Cook Islands
The Cook Islands are unique in the South Pacific in regard to the condition of their dog and cat populations. More than 15 years of veterinary care with emphasis on making spay/neuter available to every family and every cat and dog has made a significant difference. The Esther Honey Foundation has now treated more than 30,000 dogs and cats, and has desexed more than 12,000.
The situation is definitely not perfect yet, but compared to any other South Pacific island travel destination, if the tourists who write to us and participate in on-line travel forums are right, the Cook Islands animal population is noticeably healthier, fewer in number, better cared for, and perhaps as a result, much better natured than those in competing desginations.
Before the Esther Honey foundation came to the Cook Islands, we were advised that there were 6,000 dogs and 8,000 cats on Raratonga. In 2010, 26 Esther Honey Foundation volunteers spent 93 days going door to door island-wide counting all dogs, recording the number who were desexed, were intact, or were of indeterminate status. This census found that there are now 2,000 dogs on Raratonga, of whom 78% are desexed.
One of the most rewarding aspects, for me, is that we have been able to get to this point without killing healthy animals.
We now plan to reach a 70% sterilization rate on the outer islands where this has not yet been accomplished, having already sterilized more than 80% on Mangaia. We expect to reach at least 70% on Atiu this year. Our only obstacle there is overcoming the reluctance of the men who use dogs to hunt wild pigs. They fear that sterilization will make their dogs less successful hunters.
Thanks to ANIMAL PEOPLE for your guidance in achieving our goals for the dogs and the Cook Islands. We hope our results will encourage other nations in the region to begin their own 70% programs. If we had not been the only agency in the country providing full veterinary services, and providing a default shelter in addition to treating animals on outer islands, we could have achieved this goal in a fraction of the time.
An advantage of staying long enough to become a member of the community is that we have been able to demonstrate day in and day out for more than 15 years a different way of regarding and treating animals, contributing toward cultural change.
— Cathy Sue Ragan-Anunsen
President & CEO
The Esther Honey Foundation
2010 Ash Lane SE
Jefferson, OR 97352
Phone: 541-327-1914 < Frogfarm@aol.com>
TNR is starting in Cairo, Egypt
On June 13, 2011 a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Director of the Cairo Veterinary Service Department, Dr. Soad El Kholy, and the chairpersons of three of Egypt’s most established animal welfare societies, to launch a pilot trap-neuter-release program to reduce the population of street dogs in the neighborhood of Medinat Nasr. The three societies participating in the project are the Egyptian Society of Animal Friends, the Society for the Protection of Animal Rights in Egypt, and the Egyptian Society for Mercy to Animals.
The goal of the pilot program is to test and develop a TNR program in this area that will become a model that can be replicated in other Cairo districts to reduce the population of street animals over time, and to provide a humane alternative to using mass poisoning and shooting to control the population of street animals. The pilot program will focus only on the dog population, with street cats to be added at a future stage.
Discussion of developing and launching a pilot TNR program in Cairo was initiated during a meeting between minister of agriculture Ayman Farid Abuhadid and representatives of the animal welfare societies in mid-April.
The Veterinary Services Department has agreed that no street dogs from the area where dogs are being operated on will be killed, that local authorities and police will be informed of these terms.
Six government vets are to be trained in spay and neuter techniques. Veterinarians affiliated with the three participating societies and with the Egyptian Mau Rescue Organization will be donating their time to the project. ESAF will provide space for the surgeries and recoveries, along with other assistance and support, and the animal welfare societies will provide cages, surgical and medical equipment, vaccines and other resources to the project, as well as trained dogcatchers and veterinarians. All financial costs in the pilot phase will be underwritten by the animal welfare societies.
All parties will work together, in conjunction with other government ministries, to inform the public about the nature and goals of the project as a contribution to public health and animal welfare. In addition, the three local animal welfare societies will be launching a fund raising campaign to ensure the sustainability of the initiative.
–Ahmed El Sherbiny
Egyptian Society of Animal Friends
30 Korshed St. /Rd. 293
New Maadi, Egypt
Thanks for reviewing the 1984 book Animal Shelter, by Patricia Curtis, in the June 2011 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE. I read Ms. Curtis’s 1985 book All Wild Creatures Welcome, and was suprised at how progressive it was. Curtis was even talking about vegetarianism at a time when most major animal groups were still serving steak and chicken dinners. I’m looking forward to reading Animal Shelter as well.
Wheeling, West Virginia
I am pleased and gratified to have my book Animal Shelter revived and reviewed. I wanted it to make a contribution to the humane shelter movement, and I’m glad you think it did.
The book closely followed an article on animal shelters that I wrote for the September 1982 edition of Smithsonian. That brought a good response, I remember, including from a man who wanted to know if
I could suggest several shelters that in my opinion deserved to be remembered in his and his wife’s wills. It was fun making some inquiries and doing some research and responding to him. I never directly contacted any of the shelters I recommended, so they never knew, and years later I heard that one struggling shelter was really thrilled when one day a big chunk of money just fell out of the sky for it to use.
The man even wrote to me again, later, after his wife had died, and said he was updating his own will, and did I feel that the first list of shelters was still worthy. I think I made few substitutions. I suppose by now those shelters have gotten a nice surprise.
New York, New York
Animal experiments halted
The Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences (HIMS), Dehradun, the largest in the state of Uttarakhand, India, has been directed to stop experimentation on animals after major anomalies were exposed in the methods of experiments and treatment of animals used, until further instructions are issued by the Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals under the Animal Welfare division of the federal Ministry of Environment & Forests.
Ministry animal welfare division director and CPCSEA member secretary Anjani Kumar issued this order on the findings of an inspection of the HIMS animal house facility conducted by People for Animals (Uttarakhand). PfA Uttarakhand has also been directed by the CPCSEA to take care of the HIMS animals as a stop-gap arrangement.
People for Animals (Uttarakhand)
D4 Chandralok, Rajpur Road
Taiwan bans leghold traps
A bill to amend Taiwan’s animal protection law which “prohibits the sale, use, manufacture, display or import of all types of leg hold traps without permission from the central government” was passed on June 13, 2011 after three readings at the legislative Yuan. In aid of the campaign for passage, my letter published in the March 2011 edition of Animal People and your strong Editor’s note in support of my letter were translated into Chinese and posted on the Life Conservationist Association website. PETA Asia gave us a lot of support to the very end. Now we want to make sure that the law is implemented.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Pets in housing complexes
Depriving people of pets in housing complexes and retirement homes is deprivation of human rights, and could be solved through compulsory sterilization of all pets and keeping them safely in their people’s units.
–Adele Joffe, Friends of the Cat
5 Montrose Ave., Craighall Park
Johannesburg, South Africa
Rescuing Zarine Patel’s 153 dogs
What’s been happening to Dr. Zarine Patel’s dogs?
As ANIMAL PEOPLE reported in May 2011, Dr. Patel, 61, died of a heart attack on March 26 in Mumbai, India, reportedly leaving 135 dogs at her home in Pune.
We discovered there were really 153 dogs on site. We treated each one for mange and dewormed them. A kind businessman donated fencing and sent men to erect it. This means there are finally separate spaces for the five different packs to relax and play in.
Monsoon hit hard. Our volunteers got very wet during the first few showers, running to cover cages in plastic sheets to keep the dogs dry and constructing tents for the loose packs. ResQ desperately needs blankets, old beds and gunny bags to keep everyone warm throughout the monsoon.
When ResQ arrived, two dogs were pregnant and 15 puppies were born. Sarvodaya Sevabhavi Sanstha came from Bangalore and held a sterilization camp. We got 69 dogs neutered in two days. Now all of the dogs are neutered, vaccinated and ready to go to their new homes. 34 lucky dogs have found new homes so far, but we still have over a hundred to go! They are mostly adult Indian breeds, all loving and good-natured.
Manager, Operations & Rescues
ResQ Charitable Trust
5, Vikas, Ashok Nagar
Off Range Hills Road
Pune, India 411007
Phone: +91 9373888500
Rinderpest, CAMPFIRE, & Kenya
The June 2011 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE reported that the cattle disease rinderpest, which once killed millions, and hit Kenya very hard, has been declared extinct by the World Organisation for Animal Health. We had heard about it, but were not too sure it was true. We can now rest knowing that rinderpest is really extinct.
The June 2011 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE also reported that “Seven years after USAid quit subsidizing the Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources program to promote trophy hunting in Zimbabwe, some Zimbabwean sources are cautiously beginning to recognize that CAMPFIRE was a boondoggle which chiefly benefited insiders of President Robert Mugabe’s 31-year authoritarian regime.”
The article noted that CAMPFIRE “was engineered by Brian Child, originally from Zimbabwe, now an associate professor of geography at the University of Florida.”
Brian Child tried to persuade Kenya to embrace CAMPFIRE, but Kenya did not adopt any of his strategies because we had received information that CAMPFIRE has failed to alleviate poverty. The huge revenues earned from hunting did not trickle down to communities.
In Kenya the World Wildlife Fund is spearheading the establishment of Community Based Natural Resource Management, using local strategies and solutions. The CBNRM model will be used in the newly established community conservancies in Maasai Mara.
–Steve Itela, President
Youth for Conservation
P.O. Box 27689, Nyayo Stadium
Nairobi 00506, Kenya
Speaking up for fish
Thank you, ANIMAL PEOPLE, for once again leading the animal rights movement, this time with your editorial on fish welfare. It is heartening that a major publication in the animal rights movement is talking about this enormous group of animals who have been almost entirely ignored by almost every animal rights organization.
Nigeria SPCA is back up & running
Our refurbished Nigeria SPCA hospital and shelter were formally commissioned and presented to the public on June 22, 2011 by Dr. Deinde Shoga, district governor of the Rotary Club of Lagos. The Rotary Club of Palmgrove Estate in Lagos was among the supporters who helped in the rehabilitation.
The Nigeria SPCA was founded in 1947 as the Nigeria Federal Branch of the Royal SPCA of Great Britain. The hospital and shelter were built in 1959 by Trevor.Scott, who later became the first director general of World Society for the Protection of Animals. Records at the society’s office indicate that the Nigeria SPCA was the first branch of the RSPCA outside the British Isles. It was administered directly by RSPCA until 1963.
Unfortunately, after 2000 the organization nearly died. The hospital was in ruins, used by hooligans as a hideout. In 2005, I formed the Save Nigeria SPCA Protect to seek help in restoring the organization and the facilities. WSPA manager for Africa Stephen Chacha visited Nigeria in 2007. With WSPA support, we began rebuilding and refurbishing the building in 2009. N.G. Patel, the president of Rotary Club of Palmgrove Estate, and Chief C. Dugad, the executive director of the Chandaria Foundation, are both patrons and supporters of the Nigeria Vegetarian Society, which I founded and still direct. We persuaded them to make their annual donations to the Nigeria Vegetarian Society to support the rehabilitation work at the Nigeria SPCA instead. This meant that the Nigeria Vegetarian Society may not receive funding from either organization for two years.
Today we have completely rehabilitated the shelter, the hospital building, and the entire complex. In addition, we were able to acquire adjacent land to expand the Nigeria SPCA structures. The organization had tried for more than 25 years in the past to acquire this property.
Above all, we began doing work that directly helps animals, such as street dog vaccination, vaccination of pets, de-worming, sterilization, and humane education. We plan to hold the first-ever West Africa Animal Welfare Conference in Nigeria in 2012.
There is still lots to be done to bring the NSPCA back to life. For example, the clinic equipment is obsolete. It was last re-equipped in 1972, nearly 40 years ago, by the William Longman Trust of Great Britain. We also need laptop computers, office equipment, veterinary supplies, etc.
We wish to say a big thank-you to everyone who has helped. This includes those who have helped to provide staff training, among them the Alice Morgan/Edith Wright Trust, Africa Network for Animal Welfare, Humane Society International, the Capital Humane Society in Lincoln, Nebraska, and the Gambia Horse & Donkey Trust.
Director, Nigeria SPCA
Africa Regional Coordinator
International Vegetarian Union
PO Box 104
11 Gray Street Lagos Onike
Phone: +234 – 8037226279
Livestock produce the most methane gas
Some scientists agree that inaccurate information repeated often enough will convince you it is true. They also agree that some of the information given about global warming is misleading. I believe that a good example of this repeated inaccurate information is that gobal warming is caused by human-made carbon dioxide.
In 2004 the Environmental Protection Agency reported that methane gas is 20 times more effective in trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.
The EPA breakdown of kilotons of methane emissions in the U.S. for 2004 was as follows: urban landfills 6,709, natural gas systems 5,658, animal flatulence 5,363, coal mining 2,682, animal manure management 1,875, urban wastewater treatment 1,758, petroleum systems 1,222, and all others 1,245. [Total from livestock: 7,238.]