Letters (December 2012]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  November/December 2012:


Where the Leaping Bunny is going

Thank you for your September 2012 article “Where is the Leaping Bunny going?”   The issue of using animals to test cosmetics, personal care,  and household products is far from resolved, especially given the new animal testing requirements instituted by the People’s Republic of China for companies registering products there.  As mentioned in the article,  the emerging market of China and the sheer population of the country make it an enticing place to set up shop.  However, until China adopts non-animal alternatives for safety testing,  untold numbers of animals per year will needlessly suffer and die.

The more compassionate consumers voice their opinion on this issue by contacting offending companies,  the more likely these companies will change their minds.  A case in point,  which was not mentioned in your article:  Urban Decay.  This popular cosmetics company announced that it would be expanding into China.  As a result,  the Leaping Bunny Program removed Urban Decay from our Compassionate Shopping Guide and word spread quickly through social media and the press.  Intense consumer backlash followed.  In only one month,  the company reversed its decision to sell there and was recertified as cruelty-free.

I also wish to clarify a one point from the article. Several companies were listed as having lost their Leaping Bunny certification: Christian Dior,  Yves Saint Laurent,  Chanel, L’Oreal,  and Avon.  The Daily Mail on July 31,  2012 reported that “Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel and L’Oreal are among the high end brands that can no longer use the internationally recognized official Leaping Bunny logo to show their cosmetics are free from animal testing.  Other media reported the Avon loss of certification.  But none of these companies have ever been certified by the Leaping Bunny Program,  for various reasons,  including that they may have retained the option to allow animal testing if “required by law.”

The Coalition for Consumer Inform-ation on Cosmetics’ Leaping Bunny Program celebrated our 15th anniversary one year ago.  An October 2011 poll showed that 67% of survey participants agree that companies should not test consumer products like cosmetics and dish detergent on animals,  and 60% of respondents are more likely to buy a product that has not been tested on animals,  whereas only 11% are less likely to buy it.  It is a program still valued by consumers today and is more relevant than ever as companies enter foreign markets that require animal testing.     Thanks again for bringing this important issue to light. –Kim Paschen Communications Manager Leaping Bunny Program 1-888-546-2242 <kim@leapingbunny.org> <www.leapingbunny.org>

Editor’s note:

Christian Dior,  Yves Saint Laurent,  Chanel,  L’Oreal,  and Avon were formerly certified as cruelty-free by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals,  which has an entirely different certification program,  with different standards,  but also uses logos depicting a stylized rabbit.

Eradicating anthrax requires vaccination

Your October 2012 review of Spillover:  Animal Infections & The Next Human Pandemic,  by David Quammen,  included some critical discussion of “stamping out,”  the traditional approach of attempting to eradicate or at least slow the transmission of an animal disease by exterminating or drastically thinning the host population – usually including animals who are only potentially exposed,  as well as those who are confirmed to be infected. It always puzzles me why some countries insist on slaughtering clinical bovine cases of anthrax.  Actually cattle respond well to last-minute antibiotic treatment.

Sheep die very quickly from anthrax and horses recover more often than dying,  but even if infected animals die,  treating them for anthrax is worthwhile,  as the antibiotic will kill the anthrax organism,  which will stop subsequent contamination of pastures and stables with anthrax spores. Anthrax spores can otherwise persist,  especially where carcasses have been buried,  for many decades,  infecting other animals who graze or dust-roll at the site.

The only reason I can see for killing clinical anthrax cases is to prevent farmers from butchering the moribund animals after the veterinarian who makes the diagnoses has left the farm.

In many nations it is forbidden to butcher and eat animals who have already died,  but unfortunately this practice persists, especially where poverty is felt more acutely than anthrax is understood.  Thousands of people per year die from anthrax as a result.

This can also be a problem for animal rescue organizations that gratefully accept donations of meat for the carnivore species in their care from livestock found dead or dying,  without asking questions about why the animals died.  Bringing a carcass contaminated with anthrax spores into a shelter or sanctuary environment can create a health hazard for years to come for the resident animals and the humans who work or volunteer there. –Martin Hugh-Jones Coordinator,  Anthrax Research & Control Working Group Professor Emeritus School of the Coast & Environment Dept. of Environmental Sciences Louisiana State University Baton Rouge, LA 70803 <mehj@vetmed.lsu.edu>

Court victory for street dogs in Romania

As I informed you two months ago,  SOS Dogs Oradea president Robert Smith could no longer afford to finance the neuter/return project that he founded in Oradea seven years ago.  Believing that he had proved that neuter/return is the only successful approach to street dog population control,  Smith invited the city government to continue the investment and management.

Instead,  the Oradea city government decided to kill all impounded dogs if they remain unadopted after seven days.

We,  the National Federation for Animal Protection, registered an administrative appeal with the Oradea city hall,  which remains unresolved.

As well,  we brought the case to court,  requesting that the Oradea city council resolution be dismissed at once.  After two months of debating,  we won in court the Oradea dogs’ right to live! Oradea is compelled by a court decision to stop the mass killing that they were preparing to do in the shelter,  which until four months ago belonged to SOS Dogs Oradea and served as a model of efficiency and civilized dog management.

Killing dogs who are not incurably ill or injuried has been prohibited by law in Romania since 2008.  But because a 2001 law that allowed killing healthy dogs was not expressly repealed, many local authorities give the 2008 law their own interpretation,  deciding to work “according to the old law,”  or asserting that the 2008 law “refers only to dogs with owners.”

Therefore,  the court ruling in the Oradea case is an important precedent for the entire country. –Carmen Arsene Pitesti,  Romania <cmarsene@yahoo.com>

Animal charities merge in Indianapolis

Last year,  the FACE Spay/Neuter Clinic launched our Neighborhood Cat Program in conjunction with IndyFeral to target spay/neuter to neighborhood (stray and feral) cats.  By the end of 2011, this collaboration had netted more than 800 neuters of these outdoor neighborhood cats.     As we worked together,  it became clear that our organizational approach to overpopulation and animal welfare in Indianapolis matched.  It didn’t take long for us to see the opportunity that merging our two organizations would offer.  In April 2012 IndyFeral became a program of the FACE Spay/Neuter Clinic.  This merger will create seamless services for our city.

The FACE Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic, opened in 1999,  is still Indianapolis’s only high-volume low-cost facility.   Since we opened,  the numbers of animals killed at the Indianapolis shelters has dropped from 22,000 to just over 8,000.  We have performed more than 145,000 spay/neuter surgeries.

IndyFeral,  founded in 2002,  has neutered 3,000 cats per year,  and won passage of an ordinance in 2005 which allows Indianapolis residents to care for neighborhood cats.

The city shelter is now killing 47% fewer neighborhood cats per year.

FACE is now pursuing a capital campaign to expand our clinic. We plan to add a wing dedicated to housing neighborhood cats in traps awaiting surgery,  and being monitored post-operatively.  There will be an isolation area for cats suffering from the airborne illnesses so often seen among shelter and neighborhood cats,  and a long-term recovery area for cats receiving medical treatment.     Making IndyFeral a program of FACE allows IndyFeral to focus on their expertise in doing neuter/return colony management and outreach,  while FACE oversees surgery and medical care. –Ellen Robinson,  Executive Director –Lisa Tudor,  Founder,  IndyFeral FACE Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic 1505 Massachusetts Ave. Indianapolis, IN 46201 (317) 638-3223 <ellenr@facespayneuter.org> <www.facespayneuter.org>

Canada authorizes live transport

As you are aware,  the Canadian government has authorized the live export of sheep to Vietnam and dairy cattle to the United Arab Emirates.  Live animals may soon be exported as well to China,  which has no national animal welfare law. Could ANIMAL PEOPLE possibly arrange monitoring of how Canadian livestock are treated in other countries,  as Animals Australia has done to reveal the abuse of Australian sheep and cattle in destination countries?  Canadians must be made aware of the handling that livestock receive in countries with histories of inhumane treatment. Our government is not beneath sending livestock into conditions that within Canada we would clearly deem animal cruelty. –Dennis Davey Harrow,  Ontario

The editor responds:

Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates,  as well as China, lack national anti-cruelty laws.  The Canadian anti-cruelty law has not been updated since 1892.

Monitoring Canadian livestock transport is a job beyond the mission and capacity of ANIMAL PEOPLE,  and should properly be undertaken by a Canadian animal welfare agency with strong law enforcement authority.  Unfortunately,  such an agency does not exist in Canada,  where humane societies which have objected to cruel industriessuch as sealing and the fur trade,  have been stripped of charitable status.

Only 10 “retired” New Iberia chimps are going to sanctuary

In September 2012 the National Institute of Health announced that 110 chimpanzees would be retired from the New Iberia Research Center in Lafayette,  Louisiana.

While this news seems encouraging,  only 10 chimpanzees will be moved from the New Iberia Research Center to Chimp Haven,  a nearby chimpanzee sanctuary. The other 100 chimpanzees are not so fortunate.  The rest of the chimpanzees will be moved to the Texas Biomedical Research Institute in San Antonio,  Texas.   Further,  the New Iberia Research Institute will continue to house other primates, including 240 privately owned chimpanzees.

The 100 chimps who will be moved to the Texas Biomedical Research Institute will not be used for invasive research,  but they can still be used for noninvasive procedures such as behavioral studies.  This means that these chimps will still be locked in cages. Additionally,  more than 300 chimpanzees will remain in other facilities supported by the National Instit-utes of Health.  These chimpanzees will be available for invasive research.

While retiring 110 chimpanzees from the New Iberia Research Institute is a step toward eradicating testing on chimpanzees, further measures must be taken. –Margaret Coates Duke University Durham,  North Carolina <mmc43@duke.edu>

High praise

As with many people in the animal rights advocacy community, my mailbox and my e-mail in-box are filled with incoming material every day.   But of all the publications and notices I receive, whether in hard copy or digitally,  there is nothing equal to ANIMAL PEOPLE.  I salute your entire administrative and operational staff for all the extremely important and gallant work that you do. Without ANIMAL PEOPLE,  I would be far less informed of what is going on around the world regarding critical animal issues.  So,  this is a brief note to thank all of you for your crucial and, no doubt, far-too-unrecognized efforts.  Please keep it up,  no matter what the odds.  Without ANIMAL PEOPLE we will not be able to bring about the changes that are so critical to helping eradicate cruelty to animals and the immeasurable suffering that afflicts so many of them all over our planet. –Lionel Friedberg Woodland Hills,  California


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