American SPCA honors American Airlines

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1996:

American SPCA on March 27 honored
American Airlines with a
Corporate Citizen Award, a year
after American Airlines received the
Animal Transportation Association’s
Animal Welfare Award.
Both awards recognize not
only safe routine handling of about
100,000 animals per year, but also
American Airlines’ donation of
transportation in connection with
numerous exotic animal rescues
facilitated by ASPCA wildlife programs
director Kathi Travers. In one
instance American Airlines put a
jumbo jet on a route normally handled
by smaller aircraft, to fly three
African lions to a sanctuary near Fort
Worth, Texas.

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Children & Animals

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 1995:

Iqbal Masih, 12, of Murdike, Pakistan, was
shot dead on Easter Sunday by a man he and his relatives
Liaqat Masih and Faryab Masih caught allegedly raping a
donkey, police say. As the circumstances were not imme-
diately disclosed, media linked the murder to carpet mag-
nates whose child labor practices Iqbal Masih disclosed to
an international conference in Sweden last November. A
member of Pakistan’s Christian minority, Masih was sold
by his parents to a carpet factory at age four, where he
worked until age 10, often shackled to a loom. Foreign
carpet orders reportedly plummeted by $10 million in the
three weeks after Masih’s murder. “The $10 million is
only an immediate loss,” said Imran Malik, vice chair of
the Pakistan Carpet Manufacturers and Exporters
Association. “Irreparable damage is done when Western
consumers think Pakistani carpets stand for a child’s blood
and slavery.” Despite the outcry, also affecting carpet
exports from India and Bangladesh, Indian commerce min-
ister P. Chidambaram expressed satisfaction on May 8 that
the newly created World Trade Organization is unlikely to
address either child labor or environmental issues.

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From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1995:

The Sierra Club, National Audubon
Society, and Natural Resources Defense
Council on April 4 unveiled a $1.3 million TV
campaign and a $500,000 radio blitz to inform the
public about how regulatory rollbacks under the
Republican “Contract with America” will affect
“the food they eat, the water they drink, and the
air they breathe,” and about the links between
“those who pollute and those who write the laws
on pollution.” Sierra Club director Carl Pope
called it the largest such effort “ever launched by
the environmental community.” The announce-
ment came five days after Speaker of the House
Newt Gingrich accused “left-wing environmental-
ists” of using environmental protection laws as a
vehicle to “oppose free enterprise, jobs, and eco-
nomic activity.” They look for the “hysteria of
the year,” Gingrich charged, “whether it’s going
to be nuclear winter or global warming or whatev-
er this year’s particular hysteria is.”

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Animal entertainment

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 1995:

Known for wounding bulls rather
than killing them outright, then dragging
them about the ring before kneeling in front of
them preliminary to the final sword thrust,
Jesuslin de Ubrique, 20, is the latest star of
Spanish bullfighting. Pelted with bras and
panties by female admirers when he enters the
ring, de Ubrique says, “Having fought with
thousands of animals, I have learned that the
woman is the best of all. I love bullfighting,”
he adds, “but if I decided upon this profession,
it was only to make money.”
At deadline, pending authorization
from Congress, the Ringling Brothers
C i r c u s was booked to perform an 18-elephant
“Salute to Congress” outside the U.S. Capitol
on April 5, to which Speaker of the House
Newt Gingrich proposed to bus school children.
Friends of Animals, the Fund for Animals, and
the Washington Humane Society planned to
protest. Ringling has otherwise ceased holding
circus parades and other outdoor performances
––and even asks reporters not to disclose the
hour at which animals will be marched from
railway station to arena. Once held in mid-day
with great fanfare to drum up interest in the
show, the processions now take place at night.
Police in Chonburi province,
Thailand, on March 16 shot a circus elephant
who killed two handlers during a performance.
Fearing such an incident, the city of Bangkok,
60 miles west, on February 11 banned ele-
phants from the city streets. Thousands of for-
mer logging elephants, thrown out of their old
jobs by forest conservation measures imposed
in 1989, have been brought to Thai urban
areas, where they perform to earn their keep.
The Columbus, Ohio city council
on February 7 voted 7-0 to bar novelty animal
acts, exempting zoos, rodeos, horse shows,
and circuses. The object is to keep out
wrestling bears, boxing kangaroos, and diving
mules. The ordinance also increased the penal-
ty for cruelty from $750 to $1,000, and made it
a first rather than third-degree misdemeanor.
Guests of honor at the Genesis
A w a r d s presentation on March 12 included
wildlife biologist Gordon Haber and Weela, a
pit bull terrier. Hired by Friends of Animals to
monitor the wolf massacre authorized by for-
mer Alaskan governor Walter Hickel, Haber
in November took dramatic video of the deaths
of four snared wolves that led new governor
Tony Knowles to announce the killing would
be halted as his first act after inaugeration.
Weela, a trained rescue dog, “rescued 30 peo-
ple, 29 dogs, 13 horses, and one cat during
the floods that plagued southern California
during the winter of 1993,” according to the
Ark Trust, the awards sponsor. The awards
honor media for outstanding contributions to
awareness of animal issues. Winners this year
included Black Beauty (feature film); D r .
D o l i t t l e (film classic); T i m e magazine; the
ABC news program 20/20; and The Simpsons
TV show.
Questionaires received from 619 of
the 2,301 active members of Circus Fans of
A m e r i c a listed elephants and big cats as the
favorite circus acts among 40 possibilities.
Horses ranked ninth, exotic animals 12th,
domestic animals 14th, and elephant rides
23rd. Acts involving chimpanzees, bears,
and sea lions were barely mentioned. Ninety-
five percent of the respondents were males,
average age 62; just 6% were under 40.
Three dogs died in the mid-
February running of the 1,000-mile Yukon
Quest sled race, as seven of the 22 teams
dropped out. Two died of “sled dog myopa-
thy,” a genetic disorder; one suffered severe
internal injuries after being hit by a sled.
Doug Swingley, 41, of Simms,
Montana, on March 14 became the first non-
Alaskan to win the 1,161-mile Iditarod Trail
Sled Dog Race, in a record time of nine days,
two hours, and 22 minutes. Despite the loss
of $450,000 worth of national sponsorship,
the race––the first in which no dogs died––fea-
tured a record purse of $350,000, of which
Swingley got $52,000.
The American Humane Assoc-
i a t i o n has amended its guidelines for the use
of animals in TV and film productions to bar
sedation for non-medical reasons. In April
1994, a drug overdose killed a vulture who
was sedated to appear dead in the film In The
Army Now.
Greyhound racing
Cleveland car dealer Ed Mullinax
is reportedly trying to talk a city task force
into adding $20 million worth of accommoda-
tions for greyhound racing to the estimated
$100 million cost of bringing 63-year-old
Cleveland Stadium up to date for football.
A Massachusetts bill to ban dog
racing and dog racing simulcasts, introduced
by Rep. Shaun Kelly, is reportedly stuck in
the legislature’s joint committee on govern-
ment regulations. State residents may ask
that the bill, HB 899, be favorably reported
out, c/o representatives Steven Angelo and
Vincent Ciampa, and senators Michael
Creedon and Robert Travaglini, at the State
House, Boston, MA 02133.
Vermont senator Jean Ankeney
has introduced a bill to ban dog racing in that
state. The only dog track in Vermont, the ex-
horseracing circuit in Pownal, has been
closed since 1992, but could yet be reopened.
The Texas Greyhound Assn. o n
January 15 opened a $675,00 training and
research center near Lorena. About 300 dogs
at a time are to be trained there, in sessions
open to the public.

Animal control & rescue

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 1994:

New York prepares
The $5,253,894 1995 budget for the
newly formed New York City Center for
Animal Care and Control includes a far
lower salary scale than that of the American
SPCA, which is reliquishing the NYC animal
control contract it has held since 1895 on
January 1. The yet-to-be-named executive
director will get $75,000, the chief veterinari-
an $60,000, and animal pickup and care
salaries will peak at $44,000. Duties will be
limited to basic animal control service.
Objects the Coalition to Oversee Animal Care
and Control in NYC, a watchdog group
formed by local animal rescuers, “New York
City is treating lost and homeless animals as
primarily a public health problem. Killing
over 40,000 animals each year without taking
actions to humanely reduce that number, is
unacceptable.” The Coalition argues that, “A
significant portion of the CACC budget must
be allocated for low-cost spay/neuter,” along
with public education about the need to neuter;
the CACC should have “an aggressive and
well-advertised adoption program”; each of
the five NYC boroughs should have its own
shelter; strays should be held longer than the
present 48 hours before euthanasia; the CACC
should offer 24-hour-a-day animal pickup ser-
vice; and the CACC board should include
humane representatives. The ASPCA has
promised to redirect resources into low-cost
neutering, public education, and adoption
promotion, once out of the animal control con-
tract, but Coalition members say they’ll
believe it when they see it.
A five-week effort to find a mew-
ing kitten somehow trapped in the walls of a
house in London, England, ended sadly on
November 11, as the kitten died just minutes
after removal by members of the International
Rescue Corps, who used thermal imaging
equipment to find her. The kitten had already
evaded teams of firefighters, builders, and
members of the Cats Protection League.
The city of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe,
on November 14 enacted perhaps the first anti-
pet overpopulation law in Africa: a fine of $19
for allowing a bitch in heat to roam free.
The Japan Health Ministry is test-
ing the prototype of a proposed mandatory
national microchip identification system for
dogs. The Japanese Veterinary Medical
Association objects that the microchip injec-
tions may have negative side-effects, but the
Health Ministry argues that better ID of
Japan’s 4.1 million registered dogs is essential
to further reduce stray pickups and euthanasias.
Already, stray dog pickups in Japan have fall-
en from 463,088 in 1987 to just 243,207 in
1993. About 7,000 strays per year are returned
to their owners, up to 60,000 are sold to labo-
ratories, and most of the rest are euthanized.
Pet overpopulation isn’t a problem
in Cuba, says Cuban Association for the
Protection of Animals head Nora Garcia, but
pet theft is. “You won’t see cats in gardens,
and it is very hard to find stray cats roaming
the streets because people are hunting them for
human consumption,” Garcia told the 14th
Symposium of the Animal Protection
Federation, held in Ponce, Puerto Rico, on
November 16. “The few cats that are left must
be placed in cages or locked up inside homes.”
The cat shortage is reportedly enabling rodents
to overrun Havana.
The Humane Society of the U.S.
has updated its General Statement Regarding
Euthanasia Methods for Dogs and Cats, for
the first time since 1985. The statement fol-
lows the recommendations of the American
Veterinary Medical Association, agreeing
that intravenous injection of sodium pentobar-
bital is the most humane method now avail-
able. (Contact HSUS at 2100 ‘L’ St., NW,
Washington, DC 20037; 202-452-1100.)
The San Francisco SPCA is a
world leader in training shelter dogs to
help the deaf––but training the dogs seems to
be easier than training the San Francisco
Municipal Railway. “Any number of signal,
service, and guide dogs for the disabled are
allowed to ride Muni Free and Unmuzzled,”
according to railway policy. Yet practice is
often different, charges SFSPCA executive
director Richard Avanzino, even a year after
Muni settled a federal discrimination suit
brought by three hearing dog owners, and
issued a formal pledge to train drivers to rec-
ognize the distinctive SFSPCA-issued hearing
dog vests and collars. Further legal action is
apparently possible, arising from summer
incidents in which passengers were not
allowed to board with hearing dogs.
The Dallas-based SPCA of Texas,
with the highest adoption rate of any shelter
in the state, is now taking in adoptable sur-
plus from 16 other shelters, using a truck
bought with the aid of the Bernice Barbour
Foundation. During the first six months of
the Adoption Transfer Program, the SPCA of
Texas placed more than 120 animals a month
who would not have been adopted otherwise.
Innovating in multiple directions, the SPCA
of Texas has also opened a permanent
humane education exhibit, Tom Thumb
PetPal Central, at the Dallas Zoo. Why
there? Because that’s where children often
are when they decide they want an animal.
The Bucks County SPCA, of
Lahaska, Pennsyvlania, has collected more
than $10,000 in contributions to the Duke
Memorial Fund, honoring the memory of a
Dalmatian whom three youths now on trial
for cruelty allegedly stole via free-to-good-
home fraud, used as live bait for a pit bull,
and then tortured to death. The money will
be used to assist cruelty investigations.
Terri Crisp, director of the
Emergency Animal Rescue Service division
of United Animal Nations, is profiled as a
“Hero of Today” in the December edition of
Reader’s Digest.. Two weeks earlier, Crisp
and 25 EARS volunteers were given a place
of honor in a parade held by the town of
Liberty, Texas, to thank all who helped the
region recover from recent flooding.
Humane Society of Sonoma
County shelter manager Carol Rathmann
has been named the Outstanding Registered
Animal Health Technician of the Year by the
California Veterinary Medical Association,
in recognition of her innovations in animal-
assisted therapy. Earlier in 1994, the
California Consortium for Prevention of
Child Abuse honored HSSC for accomplish-
ments in pet therapy for abused children. The
children start out growing and learning to care
for plants, progressing to pet animals as they
develop empathy.

Zoo & aquarium notes

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 1994:

The Granby Zoo, in Granby, Quebec, will
begin building a new monkey house next spring, to
open in 1997. In 1989, as described in the April 1994
issue of ANIMAL PEOPLE, zoo director Pierre Cartier
demolished the old substandard monkey house and sent
all the monkeys to other institutions––even though they
were the zoo’s most popular exhibits––to oust the “old
zoo” atmosphere and clientele. The move worked;
while the peanut-tossers vanished, overall attendance
quadrupled. After three years with no primates on exhib-
it, the zoo brought back a family of macaques and
returned its aged silverback gorilla to display last year.

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Laboratory animals: rodent and bird verdict reversed

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 1994:

The U.S. Court of Appeals in late
May struck down a 1992 federal court ruling that
Congress meant the Animal Welfare Act to
apply to rats, mice, and birds, exempted by the
USDA since 1971. Declining to hear arguments,
the court held that the Humane Society of the
U.S. had no standing to bring the case because it
could not prove it is harmed by the USDA policy
in question. ““We intend to petition the Appeals
Court for a rehearing based on errors in the rul-
ing,” said Martin Stephens, Humane Society of
the U.S. vice president for laboratory animal
programs. Stephens dismissed the precedential
import of the verdict on standing, but Valerie
Stanley of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the
lead attorney in the case, told the Chronicle of
Higher Education that it means, in effect, that
no animal protection organization may sue to
protect laboratory animals.

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Woofs and growls

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 1994:

It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy (not!)
U.S. Surgical Corporation chairman Leon Hirsch, 67, was
sued on June 16 by his former housekeeper, Gizella Biro, 40, for alleged-
ly keeping her in virtual sexual slavery from November 1989 until May of
this year. Hirsch is noted in animal protection circles for funding pro-vivi-
section groups and for having purportedly set up an alleged assassination
attempt on himself in 1988 to discredit antivivisectionists. Biro’s husband
of 20 years, former U.S. Surgical groundskeeper Denis Sebastian, made
similar allegations to acquaintances during his divorce from Biro in 1990,
while Biro formally charged Sebastian with sexual abuse. According to
Biro, a Romanian immigrant who lived next door to Hirsch in a million-
dollar mansion that Hirsch provided, and drove cars furnished by Hirsch,
she was forced abouty once a week to have non-consensual sex with Hirsch
and sometimes his wife, U.S. Surgical executive vice president Turi
Josefson, as well as with other women. Biro further alleged that Hirsch
sexually asaulted her two daughters, whose education Hirsch paid for,
along with her friend and fellow former housekeeper, Eva Kale, whom
Biro invited to join the staff. Kale is reportedly preparing a similar suit.
Biro is asking $21 million to drop her charges, all of which Hirsch denies.

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From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 1994:

Hard-pressed sturgeon, sharks, and
rays got a break courtesy of the birds in May when
the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge
closed a popular fishing road to protect the nests of
threatened snowy plovers. Killed mainly for kicks,
not eating, the sturgeon, sharks, and rays are less
protected than the plovers but perhaps in greater
jeopardy of extinction because of their rapid deple-
tion and slow reproductive rate.
Oregon State University professor
Morrie Craig has received an award from the
American Racing Pigeon Union for developing a
way to test guano to detect the use of performance-
altering drugs. Doping has lately become a prob-
lem in pigeon racing, as the top prizes in interna-
tional competition have soared above $200,000.

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