Editorial feature: Adding consideration to compassionate acts

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2007:

Expressing either compassion or moral consideration toward
animals probably started just as a matter of feeding and befriending
a dog, and eventually bringing the dog into the family.
The first Neanderthal who tossed scraps to a dog just beyond
the circle of firelight, 60,000 to 100,000 years ago, probably had
no notion of extending a philosophical concept of personhood to other
dogs, other animals, the Cro Magnons who were just beginning to
push into Neanderthal territory, or even to rival Neanderthal bands.
There was just this one dog, who was hungry, who had perhaps
traveled with the family for some time, and might have helped the
family to avoid or fend off predators–and this night, the family
had extra food. This one dog, or her puppies, might have attracted
either compassion or moral consideration in response to the dog’s
contributions to the family, and probably was the beneficiary of
both, mingled with recognition that having dogs around could be
helpful in cave bear country.
Much closer to our own time, the Yellow Dog of Crypt Cave,
Nevada, lived and died about 6,360 years ago. The hunter/gatherers
who buried the yellow dog with flowers, in a woven mat, lived much
like the Neanderthals. Early in life the yellow dog suffered a
badly fractured leg. Though useless for working or hunting, the
dog was fed for years afterward, and was eventually buried as a
family member, among centuries of ceremonially buried human remains
and the less well preserved remains of other dogs, who also appear
to have been cherished companions.

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Dogs symbolize the west in Iran

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2007:

TEHRAN–Radio Free Europe on September 14, 2007 amplified
and elaborated upon accounts circulating for more than six weeks that
Iran has embarked upon an intensified campaign of harassment against
dog keepers.
“Since the creation of the Islamic republic in Iran in 1979,”
Radio Free Europe said, “the acceptability of dog ownership has been
debated by the authorities. Friday prayer leader Hojatoleslam
Gholamreza Hassani, known for his hard-line stances, was quoted a
few years ago as saying that all dog owners and their dogs should be
“In the past,” Radio Free Europe recounted, “dog owners
have received warnings or were forced to pay fines for having a pet
dog. Despite such harassment, dog ownership has increased,
especially among young people in Tehran.

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Bullfighters seek cultural shield

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2007:
LISBON– The Spanish-based
pro-bullfighting Platform for the Defence of the
Fiesta Nacional debuted just in time to give a
publicity boost to the International
Anti-Bullfighting Summit held in Lisbon,
Portugal, three weeks later.
PDFN director Luis Corrales in late April
2007 introduced half a dozen artists, actors,
and other celebrities who pledged support for his
petition to the United Nations Educational &
Scientific Organization seeking World Heritage
status for bullfighting.
UNESCO recognition, if conferred, would
amount to an internationally influential
declaration that bullfighting is an art form of
global significance.
Corrales claimed to have 1,300 Spanish
signees on a petition favoring bullfighting. He
told Barcelona correspondent for The Independent
newspaper group Graham Keeley that he hopes to
attract 5,000 signees by year’s end.

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Cultural defense of cruelty to bulls succeeds in South Africa

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2007:
CAPE TOWN–Asked to recognize
bullfighting as a “World Heritage” cultural rite,
the United Nations Educational & Scientific
Organization may look toward South Africa for
precedents–and find sharply contradictory
On the one hand, UNESCO project officer
for peace, human rights and democracy Ben Boys
in 2003 lauded South Africa for becoming the
first nation in Africa to add humane education to
the national school curriculum.
On the other, the South African National SPCA
has repeatedly been unable to accomplish anything
to reduce the ritual mayhem inflicted on bulls as
part of the Zulu “First Fruits” festival,
revived in 1992 after the end of apartheid.

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Editorial feature: Indian diets & the future of animal welfare

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 2007:


Old news and ancient history have rarely been more relevant
to the future of animal protection than in Chennai, India, in early
January 2007.
Approximately 350 delegates attended the fourth Asia for
Animals conference. Representing more than 20 nations, many
delegates had never before been to India. Yet the journey was a
philosophical pilgrimage, the conference itself a homecoming.
India is where pro-animal religious and philosophical
teachings apparently began, where animal shelters and hospitals were
India is also the second most populous nation in the world,
with the fastest-expanding economy, greatest rate of growth in
material acquisition, and second-greatest rate of growth in meat
consumption, behind only China.
India and China, having between them more than 40% of the
global human population, are where the future of animal welfare will
be decided.

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Dogs killed on their holiday

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 2006:
KATMANDU, Nepal–Street sweepers on October 20 shocked
Narayan Municipality, a suburb of Dailekh, Nepal, by poisoning 23
dogs “on the first day of Tihar and even into Kukur Tihar–the second
day of the second greatest Nepalese festival,” reported Hariharsigh
Rathour of the Katmandu Post, explaining that “On the second day of
Tihar, dogs in Nepal are adorned with flower garlands around the
neck and red tika on the forehead. They are then offered a great meal
and then ritually worshipped.”
Narayan official Nirak Rawal told Rathour that the city had
asked locals to keep dogs indoors, “But we didn’t give any order to
kill stray dogs on Kukur Tihar,” he said.

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Editorial: Culture, coonhunting, & child hunters

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2006:

Americans who express broad disgust toward Asian cultures
over the many cruelties of dog-eating and cat-eating might usefully
compare the persistence of those behaviors in South Korea and China
to the persistence of American participation in sport hunting.
About three million (6%) of the 50 million South Koreans eat
dogs, consuming about 2.6 million dogs per year at present. If the
same ratio of consumption applies to the estimated annual production
of about 10 million dogs for slaughter in China, about 11.4 million
Chinese eat dogs–or less than 1% of the human population of 1.4
billion. Cat-eating in both China and South Korea continues at a
much lower level.
Among about 300 million Americans, the U.S. now has slightly more
than 13 million active hunters: 4.3%. Another five million people
identify themselves as hunters but no longer hunt, chiefly due to
advancing age.
A traditional if often elusive goal of deer hunting is to effect a
quick kill, but causing prolonged animal suffering is built into the
method of many other forms of hunting.

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Editorial feature: National character & the quality of compassion

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2005:

Editorial feature:
National character & the quality of compassion

Josphat Ngonyo of Nairobi, Kenya, in 1999 founded Youth for
Conservation to clear poachers’ snares from the Kenyan national
parks. In 2004 Ngonyo helped to create the Kenya Coalition for
Wildlife Conservation, including YfC, which persuaded Kenya
President Mawi Kibaki to veto a bill heavily backed by Safari Club
International and USAid that would have reopened sport hunting in
Kenya, after a 27-year hiatus.
Novalis Yao of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, in 2000 formed Monde
Animal En Passion, in response to conditions at the Abidjan National
Zoo, once among the best in Africa but now a neglected ruin. While
Yao cannot yet claim big victories, he has continued his efforts for
quite long enough to confirm his dedication, under diffficult
conditions, and has managed to build a small but visible animal
welfare movement where formerly there was none.
Educated, outgoing, articulate, and multilingual, both
Ngonyo and Yao could have sought personal fortune elsewhere long ago,
had this been among their ambitions.
Instead, their common goal is to improve African treatment
of animals. Ngonyo and Yao emphasize wildlife conservation, because
the people of Kenya and Ivory Coast have unique opportunities to
conserve rare species and enjoy the benefits of ecotourism, but they
are also concerned about dogs, cats, and livestock, and can
explain to anyone who will listen how improving the treatment of
animals tends to improve the treatment of woman and children too.

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BOOKS: Animal Life In Nature, Myth, & Dreams

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2005:

Animal Life In Nature, Myth, & Dreams
by Elizabeth Caspari, with Ken Robbins
Chiron Publications (400 Linden Ave., Wilmette, IL 60091), 2003.
318 pages, hardcover. $29.95

Animal Life In Nature, Myth, & Dreams might best be
described as a field guide to human fantasy. Author Elizabeth
Caspari, 78, has spent a lifetime comparing and contrasting the
creatures of myth and dream with their living counterparts, and in
this opus attempts to explain why animals symbolize whatever they do
in different cultures. Her emphasis is on the erotic, perhaps
because this is what humans most invent myths and dream about.
In China, for example, “In folktales the fox lives for a
thousand years and becomes a master of seduction, with no fewer than
nine big, long bushy tails. Stories tell how a fox may seduce a
woman during the night. As the woman reaches orgasm and the fox does
not, the animal builds up power until eventually he gains the
ability to shape-shift into human form.”
But why does he want to? Perhaps because a female fox is “a
true femme fatale who brings doom to her lovers.”

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