From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  October 2011:



Hope the bear cub
I have never seen anything in Animal People about the North American Bear Center,  in Ely,  Minnesota.  They are a group of scientists and researchers who study bears without sedating them by following them in the woods.

In January 2010 they put a camera into the den of a bear named Lily who gave birth to her first cub online.  This was followed by people throughout the world.  The cub was named Hope.  Hundreds of teachers used the children’s interest in Lily and Hope in their classrooms.

On September 16,  2011 a hunter shot and killed Hope.  Her many fans have been devastated by her death. I can’t imagine how the teachers are handling this.  This is also a huge loss to the research project,  as Hope was part of a rare mixed-age litter.  Mixed-age litters had never been studied before.

Although Hope was almost 20 months old,  she and her eight-month-old sibling were both still nursing.

Updates,  and more information about the North American Bear Center,  can be found at <www.Bear.org>.

–Judy Meincke
Nellysford,  Virginia

Donor mentality

Concerning your September 2011 cover article,  “To feed or not feed at the Giza pyramids,  having worked on international development projects for over 20 years,  I can testify that the dilemma of how to avoid creating a “donor mentality” among assistance recipients is universal.  A well thought out program is required to balance meeting current needs with producing a sustainable long-term solution. Often,  however,  those being ultimately helped have no control over their situation (e.g, children,  war or disaster refugees,  or in this case,  animals).  When we,  as animal welfare people,  have an animal right in front of us who is suffering or in need,  can we say  “We’re not going to help you right now because we’re pursuing a long term solution”?

We must accept that rarely will we find the perfect solution,  or even a good solution. Sometimes we must allow for accepting some degree of “donor mentality” as the only way to help those who cannot help themselves while we strive, in parallel,  to implement longer-term solutions. Often we must measure progress in inch-pebbles instead of milestones.
–Robert Blumberg,  co-founder
Tsunami Animal-People Alliance
34 Maximo Court
Danville,  CA 94506

Swiss may hunt cats

According to Article 5 of the Federal Game Law of Switzerland,  feral cats can be hunted during the whole year.   SOS Chats in June 2011 launched a petition calling for changing this law to ban hunting stray cats in Switzerland.  More than 15.000 people signed, including Brigitte Bardot and Michel Drucker This petition was submitted to the National Council of Switzerland by member of Luc Barthassat,  a Christian Democrat.

SOS Chats says that shooting cats is a cruel and barbaric practice and could be even dangerous for people.  In addition,  a hunter is not able to distinguish if the cat in front of him is feral or a pet.  Many pet cats do not wear a collar,  but are microchipped.  Pet cats can also be shot in Switzerland if they stray more than 200 yards from their homes.

It is not clear how many cats per year are shot.  But certainly the trade in cat fur persists,  even though SOS Chats in 2008 won a modification of the Federal law to forbid the import and export of cat and dog pelts.  Before that,  only the import of cat furs was illegal.

Unfortunately,  the National Council has rejected our petition.  Stray cats continue to be hunted in Switzerland!

Defenders of hunting cats say that it would be too costly to stop,  and that it is necessary to regulate the stray cat population by hunting them,  so that cats do not threaten the survival of indigenous birds,  reptiles,  and rabbits,   and that do not mate with indigenous wild cats.   Further,  the National Council does not want to intervene in the sovereignty of the Swiss cantons.
–Tomi Tomek
Sos Chats
Chemin du Plantin 2
1217 Meyrin?
Geneva,  Switzerland


S/N guide en Español

We are pleased to inform you that, thanks to a grant received from the Marchig Trust,  and together with our sister organization,  Organización Nacional Protectora de Animales,  we have recently published a manual in Spanish to help communities to organize low-cost mass spay and neuter campaigns.

This manual was greatly needed, especially in the most rural and remote communities of Central America.
–Carla Ferraro,  Program Director
Fundación Mckee
Alajuela,  Costa Rica
Phone:  506-2440-3293


Pigeon shoot fracas

Thanks for the article “Shooter hits Hindi with car,”   in your September 2011 edition.  Just a few corrections.  We do not believe Frederick K. Campbell,  who drove the vehicle,  was a shooter.  Rather,  we believe he was an employee at the Wing Pointe gun club property.  What his exact position is we do not know,  but he was observed and filmed entering and leaving a number of times.  Also,  you referenced one octocopter damaged but not downed by shooters in August 2011.   There were actually two,   one hit the day after the other.
–Steve Hindi,  founder
Showing Animals Respect & Kindness
P.O. Box 28
Geneva,  IL 60134
Phone:  630-557-0176


Shares vision to help

I share your vision to help all animals in every corner of the world.  You have become a powerful force in the animal rights and protection movement.  This is the civil rights movement of the 21st century.  You have been a major contributor to building the foundation for those who will follow us.
–Stephen Serota
Brooklyn,  New York


Vancouver aquarium

Yet another baby beluga has died at the Vancouver Aquarium:  Tiqa,  born in June 2008, died on September 16,  2011.   There have been three such beluga deaths in the past six years. Two were three years old;  one was just a year old.  Tiqa was the 37th known dolphin death at the Vancouver Aquarium.

The aquarium breeding programs have failed.  There were never any successful orca births.   The only two male belugas have now been sent to Sea World for breeding.

Lifeforce has been opposing the City of Vancouver’s planned issuance of a permit for a proposed Vancouver Aquarium expansion.  The city Parks Board did not hold hearings,  claiming that the new plans are similar to plans approved in 2006,  which did not proceed due to lack of government funding.

In addition to keeping more dolphins in captivity,  Vancouver Aquarium plans include exhibiting river otters and beavers.  Public opposition closed the adjacent Stanley Park Zoo, which would have had such prisons.  Now there is now a live camera project to show the free-living beavers in Stanley Park’s Beaver Lake.  People can enjoy the diversity of wildlife found living freely in the park without animal prisons!
–Peter Hamilton,  founder
P.O. Box 3117
Vancouver,  B.C.
Canada  V6B 3X6
Phone:  604-649-5258

Failure to stop ivory trade threatens free-ranging elephants

The spotlight has again focused on Malaysia as a transit point for the illegal elephant ivory trade,  after the seizure on August 29,  2011 of 695 bloodstained tusks hidden among a container of “recycled crushed plastic” bound for Penang and Johor for re-export to China.  This seizure came 10 days after 664 tusks were seized from a cargo of anchovies.

Sahabat Alam Malaysia expresses concern that Malaysia is becoming a major hub for smugglers to transship wildlife products to neighboring countries. Where and how these elephants were slaughtered remains a mystery, but such large-scale killing,  leaving countless young animals orphaned,  has numbed conservation groups to the core.

The huge quantity of seized contraband was a striking indicator of the growth of the illicit ivory trade.  Moving this much ivory requires expertise in commodity trading, international finance,  and other commercial disciplines.  The ultimate responsibility for this wholesale destruction of species is due to rising demand for wildlife products in countries like China,  Vietnam,  and Thailand.

The illegal wildlife trade involves a complex and diverse set of actors.  These include illegal hunters–both traditional and professional– plus layers of middlemen, top-level traders and organized crime, launderers of wildlife products (such as corrupt officials,  captive breeding farms and private zoos) as well as consumers,  both affluent and poor.

In Southeast and East Asia,  government policies to prevent illegal trade in wildlife continue to be generally characterized by weak laws,  limited enforcement and low penalties. Government efforts to inform the public–who are largely unaware of and often indifferent to how their consumer behavior contributes to the devastation of ecosystems–are immensely inadequate.  Monitoring of captive breeding is often poor,  thus facilitating the laundering of illegally sourced wildlife and undermining the capacity to curb illegal and unsustainable wildlife trade.

Trade through web sites whose location is difficult to detect and who operate beyond the current realms of wildlife legislation and enforcement is a further challenge. Wildlife traders are adept at changing routes and modes of operation,  working through routes where there is lack of enforcement.  Wildlife officials are often outwitted by sophisticated wealthy smugglers who employ the latest technology, techniques,  and corruption to avoid arrest.

As the recent seizures came to light, wildlife police from 11 African nations were meeting in Botswana to learn new strategies to combat poaching.  Unfortunately there are no easy solutions to the problem.  At the rate things are going,  wildlife will go extinct.  The survival of elephants,  tigers,  rhinos,   and innumerable other species depends on law enforcement,  the judiciary,  governments,  nonprofit organizations,  and the public coming together to tackle the problem seriously.

It is high time that wildlife authorities refocus their efforts on the wholesalers and traders,  who often escape prosecution,  and even if convicted,  are given lenient penalties.

The authorities need to track the traders,  arrest them,  check their mobile phones to retrieve numbers,  and arrest more people in the wildlife network.  Old-fashioned enforcement needs to be updated to challenge the ever-increasing sophisticated methods of smuggling.  This requires an increased number of highly trained and well-equipped staff along key trade routes and in the end markets,  where many wildlife parts are sold openly.
Another concern is achieving cooperation and coordination among agencies such as the army, forestry department,  police,  marines and customs.

If the ivory trade in particular is not brought under control soon,  most countries will lose their free-ranging elephants.
— S.M. Mohd Idris,  President
Sahabat Alam Malaysia
258 Air Itam Road
10460 Penang
Phone:  04-6596930

Animal shelter killing terminology debate rages on

We must be on a free subscription list for ANIMAL PEOPLE because I’m quite sure no one here is paying for it.
I have been disgusted by some of your articles in the past,  but your response to Doug Fakkema’s letter in your September 2011 edition was “the straw.”  Try walking a  mile in our shoes before casting stones.  I’ve been busting my ass to improve conditions in my community for years.  We do not euthanize (or “kill” as you put it) for space–and I resent the implication that those of use who do have to euthanize for whatever reason are doing it out of laziness.

Take us off your mailing list.  I’m too busy saving what animals I can to read your garbage,  and so is my staff.  We want you to realize that any form of shelter-bashing is only making it harder for us to save animals.  It’s not helping the animals!
–Monica Gardner,  operations manager
Humane Society of
Waupaca County
P.O. Box 145
Waupaca,  WI  54981

I just received the September 2011 edition of Animal People and was so astonished at Doug Fakkema’s letter headlined “Animal shelter killing terminology” that I feel compelled to respond.  Your response,  printed under Fakkema’s letter,  broached some of what I think,  but I want to add a few thoughts.

There are several critical problems with the distinctions that Fakkema wants to make. First is his definition of “killing” in only the aggressive and violent senses of the word–“murder,  slaying,  executions and the like”–as if these were complete.  The basic meaning of killing is quite simple:  it means to end a life,  to cause a death.  Since Fakkema has been involved in shelter euthanasia for 40 years, we cannot avoid that he has killed a great many animals,  regardless of his undoubted humane motivation. Only rhetorical sleight-of-hand could allow denial of this fact.

Similarly,  Fakkema goes on to speak, strangely I think,  of having “a relationship with euthanasia,”  but doesn’t define it,  except by implication as always compassionate and gentle,  which it no doubt is intended to be. But “euthanasia” has a very specific meaning, despite constant misuse by shelters to label the killing they do.

Euthanasia is a painless death administered to a suffering creature who has no hope for remission and for whom death is a gift of mercy for the sake of the creature who is killed.  Euthanasia is also killing,  but of a specific sort.  Most killing in shelters is not euthanasia,  even though it may be a humanely administered death.

Using language accurately is one of the ways that truth is expressed and shared. To mask reality with euphemism and misuse of words is simply untruthful.  And in the case of the animals who die in shelters,  the use of euphemism helps to mask the injustice that they suffer,  first at the hands of the people they once lived with or among,  and then finally at the hands of people in shelters.
–Craig Brestrup,  development associate
Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation
P.O. Box 369
Kendalia,  TX 78027
Phone:  830-336-2725

Editor’s note:

Craig Brestrup previously served as executive director of the Progressive Animal Welfare Society,  in Lynnwood,  Washington,  the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center,  The Association of Sanctuaries,  and San Antonio Animal Services. In the latter capacity Brestrup on arrival in May 2006 made implementing reforms to the killing protocol recommended earlier by Doug Fakkema one of his first priorities–and achieved the most dramatic drop in the numbers of animals killed in the history of the agency.

ANIMAL PEOPLE president Kim Bartlett comments:

Craig Brestrup also puts his own spin on the word euthanasia,  as we all tend to do.  It means “good death”–that’s all.  “Good death” would have to refer to a death that is as pain-free as possible,   but the recipient of the “good death” would not have to be suffering hopelessly.   It is really up to everyone involved in decisions of life and death to carefully craft a policy on euthanasia that specifies under what conditions it should be performed,  or under what circumstances the word “euthanasia” might be applicable.   But even if it is “euthanasia,”  it is still killing.  It is hard for people trying to help animals to accept the word “killing” because of its sinful connotation,  whereas “euthanasia” is perceived as an act of mercy.

Praises donor letter

Your donor letter received in September is one of the finest pieces of work on the subjects dear to us (to which we’re locked into a relentless struggle…embraced for a lifetime) that I have read in the years I’ve been in the anti-vivisection and humane/animal rights movements.  That goes back to 1972.  It is such a superb statement,  so beautifully crafted that I’m filing it away with my most important writings about animal issues,  that provide inspiration via the written word.

And no,  you do not have “too much coverage of international issues.”  Cruelty and suffering touches all shores.
As to people who cancel their subscriptions because they feel ANIMAL PEOPLE is “extremist”:  I say to hell with ’em,  cut ’em loose!
–Richard Abbott
Santa Paula,  California

Live cattle sent to Indonesia

Re “Australia halts ‘six month’ suspension of live cattle exports to Indonesia after 30 days,”  in the July/August 2011 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE,   people from all walks of life across this nation are still angry and grieving over the merciless cruelty.  This means that the issue lives on.

There is a Senate enquiry,  Senator Tony Zappia and Members of Parliament Andrew Wilkie and Adam Bandt are seeking votes on legislation to at least require pre-stunning,  the media are still showing interest,  and Meat & Livestock Australia and LiveCorp have been investigated at a separate enquiry.  Organizations continuing to campaign and support Animals Australia and the Royal SPCA include PETA,  Humane Society International, Live Export Shame,  and Compassion in World Farming.  Additional international agitation is most welcome.
Thank you for your continued professional committment to the alleviation of animal suffering across the world.  You really do a superb job!
–Cheryl Forrest Smith
Mona Vale,  Australia

More about Joseph V. Brady

We conducted several demos at Johns Hopkins Bayview National Institute on Drug Abuse, where Joseph V. Brady,  whose obituary appeared in the September 2011 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE, was long the principal investigator in drug addiction experiments.  Brady spent at least 20 years repeating the same experiments on a variety of animals.  To this day,  Johns Hopkins has animals addicted to heroin,  cocaine, barbituates in all varieties,  amphetamines,  and alcohol.
–William H. Morrison,  treasurer
Maryland Animal Advocates
P.O Box 9184
Baltimore,  MD 21222

Editor’s note:

This aspect of Brady’s career,  easily verified,  should have been mentioned.  We received and confirmed extensive obituary information about Brady’s role in preparing rhesus macaques and squirrel monkeys for space flight,  but none of it mentioned his separate and much longer involvement in pharmacological experiments on animals.

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