LETTERS

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  April 2012:

Letters

“The Animal Rights Agenda 25 years later”

Concerning the January/February 2012 ANIMAL PEOPLE editorial “The ‘Animal Rights Agenda’ 25 years later,”  how I wish I had read the original “Animal Rights Agenda” co-authored by Kim Bartlett, Marti Kheel,  and Henry Spira way back in 1987;  I would not have had to muddle through in complete ignorance all these years!  Every word you wrote I say “amen” to.
I also liked Kim’s memorial to a poor injured rat in that issue.  Oh, how sad!  One consolation was that he experienced love before he died.  I love rats,  too.  My husband and I secretly nurtured one when we were staying with my in-laws.  Valentino,  as we named him,  enjoyed the special meals we put for him in the fuse box closet.  But his blissful life ended tragically a few months later when he decided to approach me as I sat in the living room with our dog Spotty.
–Nita Hontiveros-Lichauco
New Manila,  Quezon City
Philippines

Editor’s note:

Nita Hontiveros-Lichauco was among the youngest volunteers recruited by Muriel Jay,  the British missionary teacher who founded the Philippine Animal Welfare Society in 1954.  PAWS lapsed into inactivity after Jay returned to Britain,  but Hontiveros-Lichauco revived it in 1986 and led the campaign that won passage of the Philippine Animal Welfare Act in February 1998.

Wildlife Friends

Re “Accused of involvement in elephant poaching,  Thai officials raid Wildlife Friends,”  in the March 2012 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE,  I am glad you are covering this.  Nearly all the primates were removed from Wildlife Friends,  including 33 gibbons and 47 macaques.  Their current location is unknown.  I have visited Wildlife Friends.  It was irreproachable.  Several gibbons lived on islands.  Babies born there had never had human contact,  yet were shot out of the trees with tranquilizer darts.  Someone caught a video of a darted youngster crashing to earth and not knowing what to do.
We are hoping that Wildlife Friends founder Edwin Wiek and his wife Noi will be present at the International Primate Protection League conference here in Summerville,  April 13-15,  2012.
–Shirley McGreal,  OBE,  Chairwoman
International Primate Protection League
P.O. Box 766
Summerville,  SC 29484
Phone:  843-871-2280
Fax:  843-871-7988
<smcgreal@ippl.org>
<www.ippl.org>

Greyhound racing is cruelty

Commenting on the January/ February ANIMAL PEOPLE editorial “The Animal Rights Agenda 25 years later,”  in your March 2012 edition,  former World Society for the Protection of Animals director general Peter Davies states that “If it is cruel to animals,  I am against it.”  Bravo!   But what does he mean by the word “cruel” exactly?
Davies is “relaxed” about using certain animals in circuses, but rejects dog fighting altogether.  He would like that vivisectors always be “licensed,”  but states his firm opposition to fur farming. Fishing is described as a “sport,”  but puppy farming should be completely “abolished.”  No rationale and no measuring stick is given for these varied positions.     Similarly,  Davies offers a view of dog racing that seems unanchored in fact or compassion.  While racing,  greyhounds risk serious injury.  The most commonly reported injury is a broken leg, and other reported injuries include broken necks,  crushed skulls, puncture wounds,  paralysis and seizures.   Many times, a dog is killed rather than being offered treatment.  Cost-benefit analysis is constantly in place.
Off the track,  greyhounds are confined in solitary stacked cages inside barren warehouses that are hidden from public view. They spend up to 23 hours a day in these cages.  Surely this is no way to treat a dog.     Since 2001,  the number of operating dog tracks in the U.S. has been cut in half.   In England,  the most well-known dog track, at Walthamstow,  closed more than two years ago.  The reason for this change is that citizens here and abroad have learned the facts about dog racing.  As long as greyhound racing continues,  dogs will suffer.
–Christine A. Dorchak,  Esq.
President & general counsel
Grey 2K USA
P.O. Box 442117
Somerville, MA  02144
Phone:  617-666-3526
<christine@grey2kusa.org>
<www.GREY2KUSA.org>

Hare coursing

My book Bad Hare Days,  about the anti-hare coursing campaign in Ireland and its impact on the campaigners,  reviewed in the September 2010 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE,  is now available as a free e-book,  from <http://banbloodsports.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/bad-hare-days2.pdf>.
I hope that the book’s wider availability will assist the campaign to abolish this medieval so-called sport.  There are many books promoting blood sports in shops and libraries,  but this one promotes the campaign to protect the Irish Hare from the organized savagery of coursing clubs,  while also highlighting the sacrifices that campaigners have had to endure over the years for taking up this cause.  I hope that campaigners against animal cruelty and exploitation in whatever country may find the book useful or of interest.
–John Fitzgerald
Callan,  County Cork
Ireland

Dogfights in Pakistan

Dog fighting is legally banned in Pakistan.  However,  rich people do not care. We of the Ravi Foundation have learned that this year’s All Pakistan Dogfighting Contest was held on February 26, 2012 in  village called Chak 310-JB,  Thatha,  near Gojra in the Toba Tek Singh district of Punab province,  Pakistan.
Our daring journalist friend Rana Khalid Mehmood put his life at risk and went to cover the event to highlight the cruelty to animals.  He was stopped at gunpoint.  However,  he was able to get some images.  Dawn,  Pakistan’s leading English newspaper,  covered the event,  condemned it strongly,  and highlighted the negligence of law enforcement agencies.  The police have reportedly registered a case against the culprits,  but have not provided details.  No arrest has been made.  Rana Khalid Mehmood has informed us that scores of dogs were badly injured. One owner killed his two dogs on the spot for losing their fights.  Rana said that thousands of people were present to watch the fighting,  that millions of rupees were bet on the fights,  and high profile private security ensured that the fights were not disrupted.
We take this opportunity to praise and encourage Rana Khalid Mehmood,  who is district reporter for Dunya News TV,  and also Tariq Saeed,  district reporter for Dawn,  for their daring steps to cover the issue in the national media. The Ravi Foundation condemns the government of Pakistan for not stopping inhumane crimes against animals in Pakistan. The Ravi Foundation believes Pakistani society needs to be educated about the rights of animals.
–Ashfaq Fateh
Ravi Foundation
Pakistan
<mjeanfoundation@gmail.com>

Praises coverage of rats,  mice & hens

Thank you for your March 2012 editorial,  “Evolving an ethical response to mice & rats.”  I can’t recall how long it has been since this subject was comprehensively addressed.  Rodents do not fall into the “cute and cuddly” category,  and too often suffer in silence.
I also thought you provided an outstanding overview of the pending federal hen legislation,  providing a fair opportunity for both proponents and opponents of the bill to articulate their positions.  Treating such a charged subject equitably is not without journalistic challenges,  and this synopsis was artfully done in every respect.
–Ed Duvin
San Francisco,  California
<eduvin@comcast.net>

Against HR 3798

Concerning HR 3798,  also called “The Rotten Egg Bill,”  Ed Duvin spoke for me in his “Broken Movement” essay,  excerpted in the Humane Farming Association ad on page 5 of the March 2012 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE.  And so did United Poultry Concerns founder Karen Davis in her guest column “Agreement Raises Flags for Egg-Laying Hens.”   HR 3798  is the biggest betrayal of animals I’ve witnessed in my 35 years of activism.  Has anyone even read the bill?  (It’s available online.)  Good intentions are not enough.
The statement by Chris Huckleberry,  legislative director for the bill’s author,  Representative Kurt Schrader (D-Oregon),  bears repeating:  “The Humane Farming Association said the bill nullifies existing state laws that ban or restrict battery cages,  deprives voters of the right and ability to pass ballot measures banning cages,  and denies state legislatures the ability to enact laws preventing cruelty to laying hens [in standard agricultural practices].  ‘Those points are all true,’  said Huckleberry.”
So,  in brief,  HR 3798,  as written,  would enshrine battery cages forever, invalidate California’s Proposition Two (which,  by the way,  did not ban battery cages), and outlaw any future state ballot initiatives to improve the plight of millions of chickens. This is “progress”?  This is insane!
Opponents of this misguided legislation include,  besides United Poultry Concerns and the Humane Farming Association,  Friends of Animals,  Farm Animal Reform Movement,  Associated Humane Societies,  Canadians for the Ethical Treatment of Animals,  and me, amongst others.
People should study the bill carefully,  then contact their federal legislators.  The chickens (and we) deserve better than this.
–Eric Mills,  coordinator
Action for Animals
P.O. Box 20184
Oakland,  CA  94620
510-652-5603
<afa@mcn.org>

Hens & horse slaughter

While straightening up my coffee table,  I just re-read the Humane Farming Association ad in your January/February 2012 edition entitled “A Veterinarian’s Perspective On UEP’s Federal Cage Bill.” Thank you,  Dr. Ned Buyukmihci,  for making it crystal clear that the enrichment of hen’s cages will not enrich their lives,  nor will it relieve their pain and suffering.      That’s the final word for me.  If you can’t believe Dr. Ned, who can you believe?
I have been a lobbyist,  lobbyist employer,  initiative co-director and initiative co-sponsor in California.  One afternoon, after I got a humane bill passed,  I remember Doris Day Animal League executive director Holly Hazard saying to me,  “Congratulations.  You got lucky again.”  Well,  I choose my topics wisely.  I work on what I feel will pass at that time,  and there is always something important whose time has come.  You can also hire pollsters to do that research.  I never go after some half-assed compromise law that does nothing,  because that’s what you will be stuck with long after you could have gotten much more,  if you had waited for the appropriate time.  Putting hens in bigger cages is a waste of our time and money.
The timing is right for an outright ban on American horses being slaughtered in the U.S. or being taken out of our country to be slaughtered.  The U.S. media are ready.  The public is ready. Madeleine and Boone Pickens and all their friends are ready.  Carpe diem. Why are our lead organizations not focusing all their considerable power on getting this job done?  It’s doable now!
–Sherry E. DeBoer
Political Animals
Carmel,  California
<SherryDeBoer@aol.com>

SCOTUS on downers

I just received the March 2012 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE in the mail.  As always,  much of the news is heartbreaking,  but the article concerning the U.S. Supreme Court overturning the California law that downed pigs must be euthanized is especially shocking.  I don’t mean to be disrespectful toward the Supreme Court,  but this kind of immoral decision is an indictment against our society.  When humane standards and ethical values are dumped in the interests of industry–any industry–you know that our nation is in trouble.  If we cannot get heinous cruelties out of agriculture,  what hope is there of more broadly achieving a more just,  peaceful and better world?  I am appalled and deeply saddened.
I just want you to know how much I respect and appreciate the enormous value of your newspaper.  In a vast sea of indifference and ignorance about the plight of animals worldwide,  the voice of ANIMAL PEOPLE speaks untold volumes  I look to it as my primary source of information regarding a topic that we as humans will inevitably have to care more about.  The status quo of suffering and unspeakable atrocities perpetrated against animals must surely end one day,  but until then ANIMAL PEOPLE is a brightly shining beacon that has few peers.
–Lionel Friedberg
Woodland Hills,  California

HFA & Farm Sanctuary dispute roles in law

The March 2012 ANIMAL PEOPLE article “U.S. Supreme Court overturns California law requiring downers to be euthanized” stated that “Farm Sanctuary had in 1994 won passage of a California law intended to prohibit abuse of downed livestock,  but the law had been successfully enforced only once.”  Correction:  the 1994 California downer law (PC599f) was activated in CA at least three times before it was amended, including to prosecute the former Hallmark/Westland slaughterhouse in Chino,  California after the Humane Society of the U.S. exposed abuses there in 2008.
Farm Sanctuary supported passage of the updated downed animal law later in 2008.
–Gene Baur ,  President
Farm Sanctuary
P.O. Box 150
Watkins Glen,  NY 14891
Phone:  607-583-2225
<gene@farmsanctuary.org>
<www.farmsanctuary.org>

Thank you for your March 2012 articles “Federal laying hen standards bill goes before Congress” and “U.S. Supreme Court overturns California law requiring downers to be euthanized.” We really appreciate your fairly and accurately representing our perspective and for all the time and work you obviously put into your coverage.  However,  Farm Sanctuary had no role or participation whatsoever in passing the 2008 downed animal law that former Humane Farming Association general counsel and now California Assembly member Paul Krekorian introduced on HFA’s behalf.  Farm Sanctuary had no role whatever in drafting the bill,  nor did they participate in one single hearing.  They did not lobby for the bill in any way, shape,  or form while it was being considered in the legislature, and they did not conduct one single mailing in support of HFA’s bill. This is understandable.  They couldn’t very well ask members to help outlaw the transport and marketing of downed animals in California, since for the previous 14 years they had been falsely claiming that they already had.
If Farm Sanctuary or anyone else has led you to believe that they “joined forces” with us in lobbying for the 2008 bill,  they are dead wrong,  and we would challenge them to find any evidence to back up their claim.
–Brad Miller,  National Director
Humane Farming Association
P.O. Box 3577
San Rafael,  CA 94912
Phone:  415-485-1495
<hfa@hfa.org>
<www.hfa.org>

Correction

The March 2012 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE included a photograph on page 9 of a male pigtailed macacque who had been abusively handled by Thai National Park,  Wildlife and Plants Conservation Division personnel during a raid on the Wildlife Friends Foundation of Thailand sanctuary in Bangkok,  after Wildlife Friends founder Edwin Wiek criticized the agency for allegedly failing to prosecute elephant poachers and traffickers who illegally sell wild-caught baby elephants to tourism venues.
Former Primarily Primates president Wally Swett accurately identified the macaque,  at request of ANIMAL PEOPLE,  but through a transcription error the species was miscaptioned “pygmy macaque.

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