Letters

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 2012:

Watchdog Report

The CNN Special Investigations Unit on June 14, 2012 exposed how SPCA International took in $27 million last year, but spent most of it on further fundraising. I checked my ANIMAL PEOPLE Watchdog Report on Animal Charities and saw that ANIMAL PEOPLE exposed SPCA International back in 2009.

I never make a donation without checking my current ANIMAL PEOPLE Watchdog Report. I get it annually for $25.00. Just because a charity uses the word “wildlife” or SPCA in their name doesn’t mean it is legitimate or does not allow killing the very animals they purport to save. Many friends of mine have contributed to such organizations and were amazed and furious when I showed them what they really do, as revealed in the Watchdog Report.

–Marilyn Weaver, executive director League of Humane Voters-FL <www.LOHV-FL.org>

Editor’s note:

The 2012 edition of the ANIMAL PEOPLE Watchdog Report on Animal Charities will be available in late summer.

How to euthanize animals without sodium pentobarbital

Sodium pentobarbital is not readily available for euthanizing animals in nations with undeveloped veterinary systems. No purpose-manufactured agent may be available in some locations. However, injectable anesthesia is usually available. In these cases, any form of death can be acceptable euthanasia, once the animal has reached a surgical plane of anesthesia, so long as death is achieved within the effective time of the anesthetic. Perhaps the most common methods in such situations involve the use of air embolus, exsanguination, gunshot, and injectable poisons such as bleach. When anesthesia is not available, gunshot should be considered the first alternative, provided that the projectile goes through the brain and enters the spinal cord. This is achieved by shooting through the axis of an X drawn between the ears and eyes at a slight downward angle into the spinal cord. Exsanguination with a sharp knife or razor blade is the next best alternative, provided both arteries in the neck are severed in one quick clean cut with no sawing motion.

Common methods that are not acceptable include hot car exhaust, drowning, cervical dislocation, blunt force trauma, and any form of gunshot or cutting except as described. There are no humane poisons or kill traps.

It is important to remember that stress is a critical factor in euthanasia. If the animal suffers preventable stress, terror, or observes the deaths of other animals, the process is not humane.

This is by no means comprehensive. I fully support the American Veterinary Medical Association guidelines and recommendations of the Humane Society of the U.S. euthanasia guide, which is based on the AVMA guidelines. My advice is based on years of experience in a semi-developed country.

–John Peaveler Managing Director Kuwait Society for the Protection of Animals & their Habitat c/o 333 Goose Pond Road Lyme, NH 03768 <john@KSPATH.org>

Livestock hauling rules in Europe

Concerning “Animals’ Angels of Germany finds EU livestock haulers come up short,” in the June 2012 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE, the western European Union member states are on the whole more strict about the details of animal transport.

For farm animals, every company must have a transporters’ licence, commercial vehicles must carry an approval number, every driver must carry an authorization, every trip must have a route plan, and every load should be inspected and approved at loading.

Drivers now have, in theory, the absolute authority to refuse to load any animals who are lame or over height for the vehicle, etc., but they seldom do, from fear for their jobs.

Transporters from the new eastern European members are still trying to see how far they can stretch the envelope. In theory the border inspection posts should be policing the details, but they seldom do, simply because they do not know what to do with any loads of animals they turn around.

The initial responsibility lies with the ministry in the country of origin of the animals. They have to issue all of the approvals. The person who signs the route plan is held responsible for any shortcomings, and can be suspended as a livestock shipper. Until these sanctions are actually imposed, little improves.

–Tim Harris Manoir Kanisha Dorval, Quebec <kanisha.tim@sympatico.ca>

Humane Ed in Israel

Beginning in September 2012, 13 Arab schools in Israel will implement a series of lesson plans we designed especially for Arab students during a three-month pilot project. If these lesson plans are successful, as we anticipate, they will become a regular part of the curriculum, and will be introduced into many more Arab schools.

The Israeli ministry of education has also agreed to co-sponsor with us a conference for Jewish educators, at which we will present an extensive humane education curriculum we have been researching and writing for several years. Our goal is to get the ministry’s approval to integrate this curriculum into all Israeli schools. The more-than-100 lesson plans included in it are designed to fulfill the regular curriculum requirements for all subjects from elementary through high school. No extra class time is required to teach them.

This is a goal we have worked toward since our inception in 1984.

–Nina Natelson, director Concern for Helping Animals in Israel P.O. Box 3341, Alexandria, VA 22302 Phone: 703-658-9650 <chai.us@cox.net> <www.chai-online.org>

Sacrifice in Kenya

Further to the June 2012 ANIMAL PEOPLE editorial “Seeking an end to animal sacrifice,” Kenya on June 7, 2012 retired for the night to bizarre news aired on local TV stations about how an 8-month-old calf was buried alive in a village in our central province. The family that undertook this heinous act said it was forced to do this to fulfill the wishes of one of their dying kin, to avoid having a curse befall them. What followed was a most unspeakable cruelty toward the calf, who suffered an agonizing death by suffocation.

Following this tragic act, ANAW took action by mobilizing animal welfare stakeholders. Together, we strongly denounced this incident at a press conference. ANAW is pursuing court action against those who took part in the burial of the calf, as a lesson to other would-be perpetrators of cruelty and to ensure that a wrong

precedent is not set. We are also calling upon the government to review the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act to ensure stiffer penalties are put in place for such actions.

–Josphat Ngonyo Executive Director Africa Network for Animal Welfare P.O. Box 3731-00506 Nairobi, Kenya Phone: +254-020-600-6510 Cell: +254-722-243-091 Fax: 254-020-600-9691 <jos@anaw.org> <www.anaw.org>

Sacrifice in India

My experience, mentioned in the June 2012 ANIMAL PEOPLE editorial “Seeking an end to animal sacrifice,” is that sacrifice as practiced in India is a fertility ritual. Blood is shed for an earth goddess, in the hope that this will persuade her to bring rain. Rain-fed lands like India constantly fear drought, a very real threat.

I feel that practitioners of animal sacrifice have to be given an alternative to justify their stopping sacrifice. About half a century ago, an elderly Brahmin gentleman, whose name I have never been able to find out, went around asking the practitioners of sacrifice to break pumpkins mixed with kumkumj (red powder worn on the forehead) instead of sacrificing animals.

That has become so popular that even we do it in the cities. Of course it is promoted by the farmers who sell the pumpkins. There is no doubt that the goat herders have a part to play in the continuation of the custom of sacrificing goats.

Unfortunately, Hinduism does not have a central church which can issue orders. Stopping sacrifice is a slow process because each village temple is independent. Each caste has its religious leaders, and lower down the socio-economic scale, where animal sacrifice is most often done, the only leaders are within the community.

-Nanditha Krishna, Ph.D. Honorary Director C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation Chennai, India <drnandithakrishna@gmail.com

Kosher slaughter

Regarding your terrific and fascinating June 2012 editorial on animal sacrifice, kosher slaughter is done by a shochet, defined by Wikipedia as “a religious Jew who is duly licensed and trained.” He– females do not perform kosher slaughter– need not be a rabbi, and almost never is.

Four decades ago I had the mind-scarring experience of observing multiple kosher slaughters in a commercial U.S. slaughterhouse. The cattle were shackled and hung by a hind leg without being first stunned, unlike the stunned cattle destined for

the non-kosher market. Hanging the conscious cattle was an especially cruel act.

However, the shochet’s knife was so razor-sharp that the cattle neither moved nor vocalized when their throats were slit, as did occur when an incompletely stunned cow or steer was hanging upside down.

I know not what happens in abattoirs today.

–Bruce Max Feldman, DVM Berkeley, California

Editor’s note:

The June 2012 ANIMAL PEOPLE editorial “Seeking an end to animal sacrifice” mentioned that, “Though Judaism abandoned animal sacrifice after the destruction of the Jerusalem temple, kosher slaughter is still overseen by a rabbi.” Over time, the distance of oversight has increased, leading to recent efforts by rabbinical organizations to reinforce the maintenance of kosher standards.

Proposal for an Accord

Thanks for “Proposal for an Accord Between Animal Advocates and Biomedical Researchers,” in the April 2012 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE. Since I don’t belong to any groups and don’t see their publications, I wasn’t sure who might be working on this. Maybe with publication of this document, animal testing issues will re-emerge.

–Eileen Crossman Cape May, New Jersey

Pepsi drops “Big Lick”

I would like to thank you all for the great article in your June 2012 edition titled “Pepsi drops the ‘Big Lick’.” I have shared this story with all my equine friends. I am an advocate for the “barefoot” Tennessee walking horse. It is good to see that people who sore their horses are receiving punishment. But there are many

many more trainers within the Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration who need to receive their punishment, as did Jackie McConnell and his barn hands.

–Spencer Smith Gtay, Georgia <smith_spencer@yahoo.com>

Corrections

The commentary “How Arizona ranchers won a partial exemption from cruelty laws,” by Debra J. White, in the June 2012 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE, mistakenly reported that the bill under discussion, Arizona HB 2780, “received an inadvertent boost from the Animal Defense League of Arizona, when in March 2012 ADLA confused this bill with another bill which would have created a statewide registry of convicted animal abusers. An ADLA posting mistakenly urging support of HB 2780 went viral through social networks before ANIMAL PEOPLE caught the error and alerted ADLA.”

HB 2780 actually received the inadvertent boost on March 2, 2012 from the Animal Legal Defense Fund, when an ALDF web posting urged support of an amendment to HB 2780, offered by Arizona legislator Steve Farley, which would have created a statewide

registry of convicted animal abusers. The Farley amendment failed later on March 2, 2012. The ALDF posting was taken down that same day, at request of ADLA, but third party postings soliciting support of HB 2780, and/or the Farley amendment to it, were still online on March 8, 2012, when ANIMAL PEOPLE noticed that some animal advocates were mistakenly urging passage of HB 2780 and began making inquiries as to why. Some of those third party postings were then taken down, but others remained online late in June 2012.

The May 2012 ANIMAL PEOPLE article “‘Bait dogs’ are docile victims to some pit bull advocates, ‘urban legend’ to others” mentioned as an example of dogs alleged to have been bait dogs by rescuers the “surviving pit bulls seized in a March 30, 2012 dogfighting raid in San Pablo, Laguna, the Philippines.” Though the mention of these dogs as “bait dogs” came from an e-mail headlined “Situation of Laguna pit bulls,” ANIMAL PEOPLE has learned that the e-mail author’s intended reference was to surviving pit bulls seized in a December 2, 2011 dogfighting raid in Indang, Cavite province, the Philippines. Some of the same people were arrested and some of the same dogs impounded in both raids, and after each raid many of the dogs were transferred to the same rescue organizations.

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