Editorial: Trust

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 1996:

Building a humane world begins with building trust, the basic understanding that
permits peaceful interaction among living beings. Whether sharing a watering hole,
stroking a cat, or shaking hands on a deal, it starts with establishing mutual confidence that
vulnerability will not bring attack. Even infants must be able to trust their mothers before
they learn to reciprocate love; if infant trust is betrayed by neglect or violence, as the late
vivisector Harry Harlow showed through some of the most appalling experiments ever executed,
the capacity to engage in reciprocal relationships of any kind is lastingly impaired.
Trust in itself does not preclude violence, as even the most trustworthy humans
and animals may sometimes bite when they shouldn’t, but a climate of trust at least precludes
cruelty, since to do intentional harm is to erode trust.

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Editorial: The King, the Duke, and who gets the money

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 1996:

North Shore Animal League president John Stevenson spends more money on animal
sheltering, neutering, and adoption promotion than anyone else ever. He spends more,
too, to help other animal shelters, through North Shore’s Pet Savers Foundation subsidiary.
To support $33 million a year in animal rescue work, Stevenson further spends $10 million on
fundraising––more than any other hands-on animal care organization.
Stevenson strongly favors donor accountability and strict public oversight of
fundraising, to ensure that charities do the work they claim to be doing. The North Shore and
Pet Savers IRS Form 990 filings are among the most detailed of the many we monitor. But,
as a nationally respected expert on nonprofit law long before assuming his present post, who
spends much commuting time contemplating how to make charities in general more honest,
Stevenson admits to being perplexed by donor attitudes. The most important number in the
annual ANIMAL PEOPLE charts on animal protection spending, he believes, should be not
the percentage of receipts an organization spends to raise more money, but rather the amount
of money actually spent to fulfill charitable purposes.

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Editorial: Help the ones who really help animals

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 1995:

“I gave those people all I had,” the caller wept. “I don’t have a lot, but I thought I
was helping animals. I sent them my inheritance.”
We’d published warnings about this crooked outfit for years.
Unaware, the caller sent them money enough to neuter every dog and cat in the
county, or to equip an anti-poaching patrol to save African elephants and rhinos, or to provide
humane education to every school in the state.
But the people she trusted blew every penny. About half went for further
fundraising. The rest bought a customized motorcycle, a sports car, a boat, many nights in
Las Vegas, and evenings of snorting cocaine in their seaside condominium.
The caller, still determined to help animals, asked for one favor:
“Please,” she begged. “If I send you a list of animal groups I send donations to,
could you tell me which ones are good?”

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Editorial: Opportunities for humane education

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 1995:

News clips from readers provide our best index of public concern about current
events. Our regular clippers notice anything about animals, no matter how small and
buried, but when clips flood our desk from folks who don’t even read ANIMAL PEOPLE,
yet find out about us in their desperation to address an outrage, we know a groundswell of
concern can be channeled into positive action.
Four events in particular have lately brought tidal waves of clips, faxes, e-mail,
and telephone calls. One was the torture-killing of Duke the Dalmatian in Bucks County,
Pennsylvania, by three Beavis-and-Butthead imitators. The second was the death of a pig
at a county fair in Tyler, Texas, when an adolescent pushed a hose down the animal’s
throat and turned on the water, hoping to achieve last-minute weight gain sufficient to win a
prize. The third case was the September 14 torture-killing of a quarterhorse named Mr.
Wilson Boy in a pasture near Silsbee, Texas. Ten boys and a girl, ages 8 to 14, chased the
horse into barbed wire, beat him to death, and bragged about it.

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Editorial: The sounds of silence

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 1995:

At least a third of the ANIMAL PEOPLE readership is actively involved in animal
protection law enforcement, as animal control officers, conservation officers, humane
society legal counsels, cruelty investigators, and so forth––and we’d bet at least a third of
them are at this very moment frustrated by an animal abuse or neglect case, or a poaching
case, or some other investigation that could result in a successful prosecution or civil suit if
known witnesses would just step forward.
Journalists work to a similar standard. We’re not actually prosecuting cases or filing
lawsuits seeking enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act or Endangered Species Act,
but we do have to consider courtroom rules of evidence in connection with everything we
print. Contrary to the common misassumptions of nonsubscribing callers, who often expect
us to publish their side of an issue and no other, based on hearsay, and keep their own
names out of it, we don’t publish unverified allegation; we always try to get every side of
controversial stories; we work hard to be fair, as a matter of personal and occupational
pride; and we must at all times be cognisant of the consequences of libel, not just as a matter
of law but out of our own sense of responsibility.

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Editorials: Prepare for post-pet overpopulation

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 1995:

Any defunct gas station could become a vibrant example of a new age in animal
care-and-control: a neighborhood humane outpost. Offering easy access and plenty of
parking, ex-gas stations can’t keep lots of animals, but that isn’t what they should do.
Their showrooms can display cats in all the decorator colors; they have garages able to keep
adoptable dogs in spacious runs, and park a van for the night; and they have adequate
office space for a small-scale operation, which could be either a satellite of a larger organi-
zation or an independent entity cooperating with other shelters of differing capabilities.
The van would be not just wheels, but an extension of the job. In normal configu-
ration, it would do animal pickup-and-delivery. A slide-in veterinary module would make
it a mobile neutering-and-vaccination clinic, or a rescue vehicle.
A humane outpost obviously couldn’t receive lots of drop-off litters and other
owner-surrendered animals. Nor could it house animals through a multi-day holding period,
or do any but emergency euthanasias. Those would remain the duties of central shelters.
Likewise, a humane outpost couldn’t do law enforcement. But it might hold drop-offs tem-
porarily, for exchange with adoptable animals from a central shelter. It might also do com-
munity liaison for anti-cruelty and animal control officers working out of a larger office.
A humane outpost would not be an animal shelter in the familiar sense. It would
exist not to collect, keep, or kill animals, nor to deal with pet overpopulation per se, the
main job of animal shelters for the past 120 years, but rather to facilitate responsible pet-
keeping in the post-pet overpopulation milieu, by arranging appropriate placements, help-
ing pets get essential care, and providing referrals for other services. In some towns, a
low-overhead, high-traffic humane outpost might even pay for itself.

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Editorial: Compromise & the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 1995:

Editorially favoring hunting, trapping, fishing, ranching, logging, rodeo, and ani-
mal use in biomedical research, the Spokane Spokesman-Review has probably never in recent
decades been mistaken for an exponent of animal rights.
Yet on September 15, 1952 the SpokesmanReview became perhaps the first and
only daily newspaper in the U.S. to editorially endorse “A Charter of Rights for Animals,”
drafted by the World Federation for the Protection of Animals.
The oldest of the three organizations whose mergers eventually produced today’s
World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), the Dutch-based World Federation then
represented “humane societies in 25 countries,” the Spokesman-Review editors noted.
“Most civilized countries already have laws to cover most of the protection for ani-
mals that the federation asks,” the Spokesman-Review continued. “Beating animals, forcing
them to do work beyond their strength, transporting them in a manner to cause pain or without
adequate food, all are punishable now in the U.S., for example.”

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Editorial: Low-status primates & chicken-manure

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 1995:

In hindsight, the Oklahoma City bombing seems predictable, as a reversion of
low-status males to a form of basic animal behavior observed to varying degree among most
primates, as well as some canine, feline, avian, and fish societies:
Excluded from mating opportunities and other currency of the animal world, the
low-status males form a parallel troop of their own at the fringe of the tribe. Within that all-
male troop, obsessed by status, the low-ranking males establish and defend a superficially
rigid but fragile hierarchy of their own. Eventually, emboldened by numbers, they risk
raids on the main tribe, killing the offspring of low-status females who are not well-defend-
ed by the males of dominant and secondary rank. The vulnerability of the young is indeed
often how the low-status males determine which females may be accessible to them,
through a mating strategy amounting to psychologically coerced rape, if not overt rape.
The equation of often only momentary vulnerability with lower status is indicative
of the low-status males’ frequent inability to read more subtle social cues, which in turn
often explains why they are low-status males to begin with. Certainly there is no reason to
believe the victims in Oklahoma City were of lower status in our society in any respect
except in the eyes of their attackers, to whom their vulnerability to a truckload of refined
chicken manure signified expendability in the pursuit of power. Note that Henry Kissinger,
another enthusiastic bomber at the zenith of his own influence, once defined power as the
ultimate aphrodisiac. The only other indication of lesser status one could assign to the
Oklahoma City victims, with a certain sensitive reluctance, would be the need of many for
government-sponsored workplace daycare, since upper-rank families in our society enjoy
the luxury of being able to provide their children with in-home care. It is worth pointing out
in this regard that the daycare provided in the blast-shattered Alfred P. Murrah building was
considered to be of an elite quality, as workplace daycare goes.

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Editorial: Earth Day is over. Take a clod to lunch.

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1995:

The Editor’s most original contribution to the initial Earth Day, 25 years ago,
may have been coining the slogan, “Today is Earth Day; take a clod to lunch.” In the 1970
atmosphere of Berkeley, California, where the Editor was then a cub reporter, it went
without saying that the lunch would be vegetarian. The radical idea was not that meat-eat-
ing was and is the most fundamental environmental issue. Already Food First author
Frances Moore Lappe, Population Bomb author Paul Erlich, and Silent Spring author
Rachel Carson had delineated the links between meat production and depleted topsoil, star-
vation, and overuse of pesticides. Every incipient environmentalist in that particular time
and place at least paid lip-service to the ideal of vegetarianism. Disagreement arose, rather,
over the affirmation that the path to change lay through breaking bread instead of heads;
that environmental problems were due not to inherent flaws in the capitalist system, but to
rectifiable ignorance, which could be overcome more easily through discussion than
through fulminating about smashing the state.

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