LETTERS [Oct. 2012]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  October 2012: (Actually published on November 1,  2012.)

Pit bulls & politics

Thank you for your September 2012 editorial feature,  “Pit bulls & political recklessness.”  I am so tired of the killing.  To stop the killing we must have breeding bans.  The statistics tossed about that we have a kazillion adoptive homes,  and just need to work to get dogs into these homes are just that:  statistics.  Amost no one wants the three year old pittie mix with facial scars.  When I first started work in rescue/sheltering,  pits and pit mixes were not common.  Now,  if I walk into a shelter,  they sit row after row, waiting for death being the common denominator. –Phyllis Lissa Fischer New Albany,  Ohio

ASPCA use of funds
Re “American SPCA grants $151,000 to help a poultry producer expand operations,”  in the June 2012 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE,  I think a lot of donors to the ASPCA would be shocked to learn where some of their donations are going.  Due to our fast paced life and overflow of media sources and my ongoing hands-on activist projects, I just became aware of this. -Marilyn Weaver Executive director League of Humane Voters-FL <www.LOHV-FL.org>
Granny,  not nanny
The Winsome Constance Gold Medal and award of $25,000, mentioned in the September 2012 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE,  is actually presented in honour of my mother and grandmother,  not my nanny– I never had one. –Philip Wollen,  founder Winsome Constance Kindness Trust Melbourne,  Australia <phil@kindnesstrust.com> <http://kindnesstrust.com/>
AV organizations
Does ANIMAL PEOPLE have any opinions or analysis as to which anti-vivisection foundation has the most impact in funding non-animal research and legislation? –Stevias Solomon Seattle,  Washington
Editor’s note: For this,  you need to order our annual Watchdog Report on Animal Charities ($25).  The recently published 2012 edition includes reviews of the American Anti-Vivivsection Society,  New England Anti-Vivisection Society,  National Anti-Vivisection Society, Physicians Committee for Respons-ible Medicine,  Stop Animal Exploitation Now,  and many others with relevant programs,  among reviews of 172 animal charities in all.
Kept dogs,  not strays,  are the problem
Thanks for publishing Carmen Arsene’s letter “Romanian sabotage” in your September 2012 edition.  Her account of our work in Oradea,  and our recent withdrawal,  is all correct. The main failure of Oradea mayor Ilie  Bolojan’s program now, and of the Turk-ish government dog population control program in the last few years,  is that they are not offering and have not offered free neutering to all dog keepers and owners. Kept dogs are the source of the problem,  not feral dogs, who by comparison do not often breed successfully. No neuter/return project can work unless it offers free neutering to all dog keepers,  even millionaires,  preferably involving commercial clinics with a voucher scheme.  It is more useful to do door-to-door canvassing than to tranquilize stray dogs in dumps. Second,  it is almost impossible for municipal employees to implement neuter/ return efficiently because most are not motivated, compassionate,  and educated.  I am amazed that the Istanbul-area municipalities have done as well as they have over the last four years.  I hardly ever see dead dogs on the roads in and around Istanbul any longer. Successful neuter/return must be a public/private partnership,  financed by government but implemented by nonprofit organizations and private contractors under nonprofit control. In Oradea the problem is not so much that Bolojan wants to kill dogs.  He doesn’t really care whether dogs live or die.  The huge mistake he is making is that he is not continuing free neutering,  and will not allow neutered dogs to be returned to the streets,  even where they don’t cause problems or complaints.  And he is charging citizens for adopting or reclaiming dogs. So our former shelter will fill up from the 200 dogs we left there to about 500,  which is the bursting point.  And at the same time newly dumped fertile dogs will occupy the territories vacated by our neutered dogs,  and will breed.  So then Bolojan,  like every other mayor in Romania,  will have to either euthanize dogs under the pretext that they are incurably ill,  or dump them in forests or in other towns.  He will of course never admit that he was wrong and will never invite us back to reinstate our project at municipal expense.
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–Robert Smith SOS Dogs Oradea Oradea,  Romania <robert.smith@thetangogroup.com>
Sri Lanka losing Buddhist vegetarian tradition
For the first time an advertisement has been published in a mainstream Sri Lankan newspaper openly highlighting the availability of innocent defenseless animals such as goats and bulls for slaughter at the haj. Sri Lanka has always been projected as a Dharmadeepa:  a country with an animal-friendly cultural heritage.  In the past Sri Lanka was always proud of its Buddhist cultural landscape.  Even non-Buddhists respected it.  Today a different cultural landscape is emerging which disregards Buddhist sensitivities and respect for the life and welfare of animals.  This advertisement is an example of such abusive conduct towards animals. It is a national shame. It is compounded by the growing feeling of helplessness among the majority of the people of this country in this type of situation. May Sri Lanka regain Dharmadeepa status and restore the noble social order that held high the virtues of kindness and compassion for all living beings. –Kamal Rajapakse Compassionate Friends of Animals Colombo,  Sri Lanka <kamal.rajapakse22@gmail.com>
At HSUS three years
In the January/February 2012 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE you ran a piece called “Who is behind ‘Humane Society for Shelter Pets’ campaign against HSUS?”   I’ve attached documentation that disputes [Humane Society of the U.S. president] Wayne Pacelle’s [quoted] comment that “Culp [while employed by HSUS in 2006-2009] did not last long,”  in the form of IRS documents verifying payment to me from HSUS for three years. –Diana Culp, director Humane Society for Shelter Pets c/o Richard Berman & Co.,  Inc. 1090 Vermont Ave. NW,  Suite 800 Washington,  DC  20005 <culp@humaneforpets.com> <www.humaneforpets.com>
Marine fish,  coral,  & reef species
High demand for tropical reef aquariums,  worldwide,  has contributed to a growing market for marine fish,  coral,  and other reef invertebrates. Extracting these creatures poses a threat to the very ecosystems that aquarium hobbyists aim to replicate. Overharvesting these species may lead to a cascading effect in the reef ecosystem, which can then lead to an overproduction of algae. Species with critical ecological roles are especially vulnerable. Casual aquarium owners are often unaware of the consequences of purchasing wild-caught marine animals.  For almost all targeted species,  there is no limit on the number or size of animals taken, nor is there any limit on the number of collectors. Common fish catching practices include blast and cyanide fishing.  Both techniques stun the fish who are to be caught.  Blast fishing shatters the stony coral and kills fish and invertebrates in large surrounding areas.  Over time,  blast fishing damages the entire reef.  In cyanide fishing,  cyanide is injected into the reef cavities,  often breaking branching coral to reach hiding fish. About 75% of the fish who are exposed to the cyanide solution die soon afterward.  Many smaller reef organisms die too.  Eventually cyanide will also kill the coral. Apart from destructive fishing methods,  reefs are also subject to human impacts related to mass tourism development, agricultural run-off,  and climate change with its associated effect of coral bleaching,  a key threat to the future of coral reefs. Left in the wild, coral reef fish that survive the larval stage can live for decades. When plucked from their natural homes, the journey to pet stores of importing countries takes a toll in each step of the process,  from collector to wholesaler to pet shops. Fish collected with cyanide may survive many days after initial exposure to the poison,  but become sick and die when fed.  The movement of aquarium species from source to home aquarium,  known as the “post-traumatic shipping disorder,”  causes enormous pain, stress,  and fear to the fish.  Fish,  even when healthy,  may starve without their wild food sources,  such as live coral or the parasites of other fish.  Those who survive to live in aquariums may die of improper water quality or improper food. Fish hobbyists must also bear in mind that no matter how spacious an aquarium or tank is,  it can never duplicate the conditions of the sea. –S.M. Mohd Idris,  president Sahabat Alam Malaysia 258 Air Itam Road 10460 Penang,  Malaysia Phone:  04-6596930 <sam_inquiry@yahoo.com> <www.foe-malaysia.org>
Rabies gone from Visakhapatnam
The Visakha SPCA  has finally gotten rid of rabies in the Visakhapatnam Circle. No cases have occurred in the past two years. These results are especially gratifying after the much publicized human rabies deaths that occurred in surrounding parts of Andhra Pradesh in early 2011. We were confident of reaching this objective by the end of 2010,  but the abrupt transfer of the municipal Animal Birth Control program away from us in June 2010 allowed some cases to occur,  as described in the June 2011 ANIMAL PEOPLE article headlined, “Refusing to make ‘donation’ to politicians,  Visakha SPCA loses animal control contract;  rabies outbreak follows suspension of subsidized dog sterilization & vaccination service.” We returned to doing extensive vaccination,  revaccination, and ABC work on our own.  Complaints about dogs continue,  but they are less serious now.  Previously they were more about dog bites. Now the complaints are based on dogs barking,  defecating on their verandas,  sleeping on the terrace,  entering into houses,  tearing away clothes,  and many much less serious reasons.  We are trying to educate about how best to co-exist with our community dogs as much as we can. We will now concentrate on consolidating this success and move into rural areas,  where the remaining rabies reservoirs must be eliminated. –Pradeep Kumar Nath Founder/President Visakha SPCA 26.15.200 Main Rd. Visakhpatnam 530 001, Andhra Pradesh,  India Phone :  0891-2716124 <vspcadeep@gmail.com> <www.vspca.org>

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