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From ANIMAL PEOPLE, NOVEMBER/ DECEMBER 2009:

EDITORIAL: 

No-kill sheltering and the quest for the Holy Grail

PetSmart Charities, as the November/December 2009 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE goes to press, is celebrating four million adoptions achieved through the Luv-A-Pet adoption centers located in each PetSmart store, the first of which opened in February 1992.
"That's four million lives saved, thanks to the collaborative efforts of PetSmart Charities, more than 2,500 local animal welfare groups and shelters across the U.S., and PetSmart, Inc.," said PetSmart Charities communication manager Kim Noetzel.
PetSmart Charities is also expecting to grant $10.3 million to "local animal welfare agencies, shelters, and rescue groups to support their pet adoption efforts" this year, Noetzel mentioned--an increase of $1.3 million from 2008, when PetSmart Charities was already granting more money to small animal charities than any other grant-giving institution.
Few other funders have increased their aid to animal charities at all in the past two years. Many foundations have cut their grantmaking. Some have ceased operation.
Yet Friends of the Plymouth Pound, on Cape Cod, called a boycott of PetSmart because, after 10 years, the PetSmart store in Hyannis chose to work with a different adoption partner. Friends of the Plymouth Pound had placed 49 cats through the Hyannis store in 2009. Other adoption partners had placed 821 cats through the PetSmart store in Plymouth.
As that issue smouldered, the American SPCA--rather than be accused of doing anything covertly--announced on November 12, 2009 that a pit bull terrier named Oreo would be euthanized because of dangerous behavior. Fabian Henderson, 19, pleaded guilty to felony cruelty for throwing Oreo from a six-story building on June 18, 2009, and faces a four-year prison sentence after failing to appear in court to accept a plea-bargained probationary sentence on December 1, 2009. Few dogs survive long falls, but Oreo did. The ASPCA made every effort to save her, but found after her physical recovery that she "triggered on everything, redirected unpredictably, and was extremely dog-aggressive," ASPCA president Ed Sayres told ANIMAL PEOPLE. "She could have been kept in drugged isolation for the remainder of her life," Sayres said, "but I can't support that philosophy."
Hardly quick to kill dogs, especially since giving up the New York City animal control contract in 1994, the ASPCA has led New York City to the second lowest rate of animal shelter killing of any major city in the U.S., just a whisker behind San Francisco. Nor was Oreo a victim of "breed discrimination." The ASPCA has actively opposed breed-specific dog legislation since the mid-19th century, a position ANIMAL PEOPLE has often criticized, and was the first major humane society to try to rehabilitate pit bull terriers for adoption.
Sayres is a second-generation lifelong humane worker, who grew up helping his father at St. Hubert's Giralda, one of the first successful low-kill adoption shelters in the United States. Sayres succeeded his father as director of St. Hubert's. Later, as then-head of the animal protection division of the American Humane Association, Sayres co-hosted the second of the No Kill Conferences (1996), which introduced no-kill approaches to the mainstream of the humane community. Still later, as head of PetSmart Charities, Sayres markedly increased PetSmart Charities support of no-kill shelters and shelterless rescues. Sayres subsequently headed the no-kill San Francisco SPCA, 1999-2003, before moving to the ASPCA.
Despite the ASPCA's record, and Sayres' record, the ASPCA in general and Sayres in specific were savaged for weeks by no-kill sheltering advocates and pit bull enthusiasts. "The intensity of the response and violence of the language is stunning," Sayres understated.
Many critics of the ASPCA decision mentioned that the no-kill Pets Alive shelter in Middletown, New York had offered Oreo lifetime care. Few seemed to be aware that Pets Alive is still recovering from the 2007 death of founder Sara Whelan, who tried to provide care-for-life to hard cases, with eventually catastrophic results. The Best Friends Animal Society evacuated nearly 200 dogs from the dilapidated premises and spent nine months getting Pets Alive back into working condition.
The San Francisco SPCA, under Richard Avanzino from 1976 through 1998, enjoyed 22 years of ever-increasing fundraising success, including a ninefold rise in donations and bequests after giving up the San Francisco animal control contract in 1984, going no-kill in 1989, and introducing the Adoption Pact in 1994, guaranteeing a home to any dog or cat relinquished by the city animal control agency. As animal control does not relinquish animals who are deemed to be dangerous, or too ill or injured to be recoverable, this in effect made San Francisco a no-kill city. Successful fundraising enabled rapid program expansion, including importing animals for adoption from crowded Central Valley animal control shelters where they were almost certain to be killed.
Avanzino intended to build a state-of-the-art animal hospital on the site of an adjacent warehouse, but the hospital was still on the drawing board when he left to head Maddie's Fund. Sayres, during his tenure, moved the hospital project forward despite catastrophic financial losses resulting from the high tech stock collapse of early 2001 and the subsequent economic shocks produced by terrorist attacks of 9/11. A $13 million bequest received just before Sayres' departure enabled construction to proceed.
But the work did not go smoothly. By the time current San Francisco SPCA president Jan McHugh-Smith formally opened the hospital in February 2009, the cost of building it had increased to more than $32 million--mostly before McHugh-Smith's tenure.
McHugh-Smith came to the SF/SPCA in February 2007. She had headed the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, in Colorado, since 1995. She wrote to ANIMAL PEOPLE in January 1999 to explain how the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, while continuing to hold the animal control contract, had cut the rate of shelter killing per 1,000 residents to just 4.2, trailing only San Francisco among U.S. communities of at least 100,000 people.
McHugh-Smith at the SF/SPCA had little opportunity to innovate. First the hospital budget overruns squeezed the rest of the organization into a corner. Then came two years of global financial catastrophe, accompanied by a 37% increase in requests for free or low-cost veterinary care from hard-pressed pet keepers.
Trying to keep core services, McHugh-Smith cut other popular but fiscally draining programs--and was lambasted by local activists and some media. McHugh-Smith expanded rescues for adoption from Central Valley shelters, achieving a 20% increase in adoption placements--and was lambasted for that by activists who demanded that she should instead rescue more of the dogs, mostly pit bull terriers, who were euthanized by animal control as too dangerous to adopt. Meanwhile, a 2007 San Francisco ordinance requiring that pit bulls be sterilized cut the community rate of pit bull killing in shelters to the lowest of any major U.S. city except New York City (0.03 per 1,000 human residents below San Francisco), and Denver, where pit bulls have been banned for all but 15 months of the past 21 years.
McHugh-Smith resigned on November 20, 2009, effective in March 2010, to succeed Wes Metzler as president of the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region in Colorado. McHugh-Smith was lambasted for that, too, by critics who wanted her gone yesterday.
By comparison, the attacks recently directed at Lucas County, Ohio dog warden Tom Skeldon, amplified by the Toledo Blade, have been almost understandable, if still unjustified. Skeldon, who resigned in November 2009 after 22 years of service, never identified himself with no-kill sheltering. Outspokenly critical of people who believe that every dog can be saved, Skeldon refused to adopt out pit bulls, and endorsed breed-specific laws to combat pit bull proliferation. But the Blade editorially alleged on October 23, 2009 that the Lucas County animal control data under Skeldon "leads to the reasonable conclusion that the dog warden enjoys killing dogs."
In truth Skeldon, 61, is the third generation of a family whose lives have centered around animal care and public education since his grandfather, Frank Skeldon, served as Toledo Zoo director, 1922-1948. Frank Skeldon died in the same year that Tom Skeldon was born, but Frank's son Phil Skeldon headed the Toledo Zoo from 1953 to 1980. Tom Skeldon began volunteering at the zoo at age 8. Before becoming the Lucas County dog warden, Tom Skeldon served as a U.S. Air Force dog trainer in Vietnam, directed a small zoo in Delaware, and after two Peace Corps stints, trained dogs with his two brothers in the Philippines.
As dog warden, Skeldon cut the volume of shelter killing of dogs in Lucas County by 77%--a little better than the improvement in the U.S. national rate over the same years.
Critics howled that 54% of the dogs Skeldon killed in recent years were pit bull terriers. Yet the national figure in 2008 was 58%, and under Skeldon the Lucas County rate of killing pit bulls per 1,000 people was 2.9, compared to 3.2 for the U.S. as a whole.

 

Frustration

Many proponents of no-kill sheltering are bitterly frustrated lately that despite more than a decade of ambitious effort to save animals, U.S. shelters are still killing between four and five million dogs and cats per year--barely fewer than 13 years ago, when the numbers last showed a substantial annual decrease.
Pit bull advocates are especially vocal: even though about 16% of the people who adopted dogs from shelters in 2008 took pit bulls or pit bull mixes, three times higher than the rate of pit bull acquisition by people who purchase dogs from breeders, shelters killed more pit bulls than ever. But the pit bull birth rate must be cut by about 80% just to reduce the numbers of pit bulls coming to shelters to a volume proportionate to their numbers in homes.
Feral cat advocates are perhaps quieter, but no happier. Despite more than a decade of volunteers energetically funding and staffing neuter/return programs, the numbers of cats killed in U.S. shelters are also barely changed in 13 years, and 70% of those cats are still believed to be feral. Many new techniques introduced to animal care-and-control and humane work achieve immediate drops in shelter intakes and killing, only to hit limits to efficacy just a few years later. Neuter/return appears to have hit such a limit several years ago, succeeding in reducing feral cat numbers and shelter intake wherever practiced in a concientious and thorough manner, but proving problematic or even impossible to practice in other situations, particularly those where hostile neighbors, property owners, birders, or other wildlife advocates object to cats being present at all.
Though feral cats may be present anyway, if adequate food and cover exists, regardless of the intensity of efforts to kill them, many people will not accept the return of any cat to particularly sensitive locations, even if sterilized and vaccinated. Typically cats continue to reproduce in these areas, many of whom are later killed after being trapped and taken to shelters. Cats also continue to reproduce in areas where most neuter/return practitioners have difficulty gaining physical access, or do not feel safe working at night, alone. As such locations also tend to be relatively inaccessible to people who practice catch-and-kill, or simply shoot cats, they sometimes become incubators from which feral cats may radiate out to repopulate areas where neuter/return was successfully practiced years earlier.
Hiring and equipping professional neuter/return practitioners to augment and assist volunteers in hard-to-reach places might help, but that leaves the question of what to do with cats who cannot be returned responsibly or humanely to places where they may be persecuted.
Increasingly often, the "answer" that well-meaning rescuers find is to telephone around, or search the web, until they discover someone purporting to operate a no-kill shelter or sanctuary, who will accept unlimited numbers of hard-case dogs and cats in return for a donation. Frequently these people will have obtained nonprofit status, and will have posted an attractive web site. Some attend and even speak at animal advocacy conferences. A few no-kill sanctuarians who accept almost any animal are endorsed and even partially funded by national animal advocacy organizations.
But adequately caring for large numbers of animals requires a significant and sustained fundraising operation and a trained fulltime staff, including veterinarians and veterinary technicians. Adequately caring for special needs animals requires even more. And any care-for-life sanctuary will soon be filled to capacity, if not also managing or partnering with an effective high-volume adoption program. If any quality care-for-life no-kill sanctuary--or high-volume adoption center--has ever existed anywhere in the world without strictly limiting admissions, ANIMAL PEOPLE is unaware of it.
We are acutely and painfully aware of the many failures of would-be no-kill shelters and rescues begun by people who hoped that every animal could be saved. Excluding animals recovered from animal hoarders who had no credentials as operators of shelters or rescues, the humane community rescued at least 3,323 dogs and cats from "rescuers" in 2007; at least 3,410 in 2008; and at least 4,397 thus far in 2009, including 2,118 cats and 2,196 dogs.
The numbers of animals who suffer and die in custody of failed rescuers is still tiny compared to the numbers who are killed at shelters that cannot find appropriate homes for them, but we have seen a 62% increase in rescues from once seemingly legitimate rescuers in only five years, and a 175% increase above the average annual rate from 1982 through 1998, before "no-kill" sheltering advanced from an idealistic ambition, occasionally achieved under favorable conditions, to a quasi-religious ideology.
ANIMAL PEOPLE observed after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 that the annual burden on the humane community resulting from hoarders was equivalent to a disaster of Katrina magnitude. Since then, the burden from puppy mill rescues has also increased to Katrina magnitude, and the burden from rescue failures will reach Katrina magnitude in only another two years at the present rate of increase.
Among the most prominent recent bail-outs, the City of LaBelle Animal Control Department in Hendry County, Florida, on November 17, 2009 accepted custody of about 600 cats from the Tenth Life Sanctuary in Clewiston. Moving to Clewiston after founder Maury Swee ran into trouble in Palm Beach County for keeping more cats than zoning allowed, Tenth Life had 1,200 cats as recently as April 2008, according to the IRS Form 990 that Swee filed for 2007.
Asked by NBC2 reporter Amy Oshier what became of the missing 600 cats, Swee said on camera, "Okay, they have usually passed on."
Swee in November 2004 asked ANIMAL PEOPLE how he could avoid allegations of "warehousing" cats.
"The best defense in that regard is to be wide-open," advised ANIMAL PEOPLE editor Merritt Clifton, "so that anyone interested can see everything you are doing at all times--and that is also the best and fastest way to raise funds." ANIMAL PEOPLE sent Swee the packet of material on fundraising and shelter management that became the free handbook Fundraising & Accountability for Animal Charities. The 2010 edition may now be downloaded from <www.animalpeoplenews.org>. Hundreds of shelter and sanctuary operators around the world have used it, but Swee apparently did not.
In December 2005 Swee e-mailed again, looking for help to distinguish Tenth Life from "closed access facilities" that "claim to be no-kill," but "send the excess animals to animal control to be disposed of."
Responded Clifton, "Sounds to me as if you are conflating 'no-kill' as a modus operandi with not killing animals as a matter of principle. The now-defunct No-Kill Directory and all literature for the No-Kill Conference series, 1995-2001, always carried on page one the statement that, 'Implicit to the no-kill philosophy is the reality of exceptional situations in which euthanasia is the most humane alternative available. Those exceptional situations include irrecoverable illness or injury, dangerous behavior, and/or the need to decapitate an animal who has bitten someone, in order to perform rabies testing. They do not include 'unadoptable, too young, or too old,' or lack of space."
Successful no-kill shelters and rescues augment the work of the open-admission shelters and animal control agencies in their community, Clifton explained, to help the community as a whole reach the point where the volume of animals in need of sheltering is low enough and the humane resources in the community are large enough to provide good alternatives for the "unadoptable, too young, or too old."
This requires, first of all, that the numbers must be reduced. All of the animal shelters in the U.S. of every type, combined, have space and budget enough to accommodate only about 1% of the total U.S. dog and cat population--but about 5% of the total U.S. dog and cat population arrives at shelters each and every year, including about a third of the pit bull population and 20% of the feral cat population.
Getting to no-kill requires finding ways and means of preventing enough dog and cat births, facilitating enough adoptions, and keeping enough animals in homes through good problem-solving outreach to avoid killing three animals out of each five admitted to shelters.
Of these approaches, reducing dog and cat births through sterilization has accounted for more than 90% of the reduction in shelter killing achieved during the past 35 years. Targeted sterilization, aimed directly at the animals most likely to arrive at shelters and be killed, is still the most promising approach to further lowering the numbers.
Even when the numbers of incoming animals are reduced until there are no more surplus puppies and kittens, and no more healthy but unruly one-year-old dogs, other than those who are dangerous, so that shelter intake is reduced to just the animals who are irrecoverably ill or injured, dangerous, or possibly rabid, about one animal in five now coming to shelters is among these categories. Most of these animals go to animal control shelters, which have the duty of taking in every animal reported as an alleged threat to public health and safety. Even allowing for the "exceptional situations" in which animals must be killed, no community can hope to achieve no-kill sheltering with present resources if the volume of animals arriving at shelters exceeds about 2% of the community dog and cat population.
No useful or humane contribution to the "no kill" quest results from boycotting funders, attacking adoption venue providers and shelter directors who act to maximize adoptions, ripping shelters that perform necessary euthanasia, insisting that shelters should save every animal regardless of the prospects of the animal for enjoying good quality of life, ignoring economic reality, and dumping ever more animals at "no kill" shelters that cannot properly take care of them.
Like the quest for the Holy Grail, the quest to achieve no-kill sheltering may seem endless, yet can also be ennobling. The true value of the quest comes through the lessons learned--and the animals helped along the way.


—MERRITT CLIFTON

••••••

 

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2009:

Animal obits

Felony, 11, a black Lab employed since 2002 by the Howard Lake Police Department in Wright County, Minnesota, escaped from his kennel on October 30, 2009. Tammy Bren of Howard Lake found Felony and took him to the Animal Humane Society in Buffalo, Minnesota, the next day. The Animal Humane Society posted his photo online, but he was not identified until after he was euthanized on November 6, due to poor body condition and difficult disposition.

Isabella, 17, a white tiger kept at the Liberec Zoo in Prague, Czech Republic, was killed on November 19, 2009, by African lions Sultan, 14, and Elsa, 11, who opened a door to an exercise area that the zoo lions and tigers used on an alternating basis. Born at the Eskilstuna Zoo in Sweden, Isabella came to the Liberec Zoo in 1994. She birthed triplets in 2002, who inspired the name of the Prague White Tigers professional hockey team. The lions came in 2001. Opened in 1919, the Liberec Zoo houses about 1,000 animals in all.

Kannan, 19, an African lion, was killed by two younger lions on November 3, 2009 at the 10-year-old Rescue & Rehabilitation Centre for Circus Animals operated by the Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Vandalur, India, a suburb of Chennai. Lions previously killed each other at the facility in May and September 2009. The rescue center houses 41 of the 57 lions kept by the zoo.

Uga VII, 4, the white English bulldog mascot of the University of Georgia football team since 2008, died of heart failure on November 19, 2009. He succeeded as mascot his father, who also died of heart failure.

 

--

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2009:

Obituaries

Joyce Kitsemble, 70, of Wisconsin Rapids, suffered a fatal heart attack on December 1, 2009 at the Wisconsin state capitol in Madison while waiting for Governor Jim Doyle to sign a bill strengthening regulation of dog breeders. (See page one.) "Kitsemble, who had past troubles breathing, arrived at the capitol with an oxygen tank. As Doyle spoke, she appeared suddenly to struggle for breath and the governor interrupted his remarks so she could be taken out of the room in a wheelchair," reported Jason Stein of the Wisconsin State Journal. A longtime volunteer for the South Wood County Humane Society in Wisconsin Rapids, Kitsemble had lobbied for the new law for 10 years.

Wilbur D. "Bill" Gross, 88, died on October 25, 2009 in Barrington, Illinois. Recalled Kathryn A. Hert, of Hoffman Estates, Illinois, "Bill served in the Army Air Corps during World War II. Involved in the Battle of the Bulge and liberation of the Nazi concentration camps, he returned to Chicago to marry his high school sweetheart, Ann," who died in 1996. "They rescued cats and dogs, volunteered at various Illinois no-kill animal shelters, and sent very generous donations to animal groups," Hert remembered. "Bill kept a shovel in his trunk and removed any dead animal off the road--that's how much he respected all of God's creatures, alive or dead."

Stanley H. Wald, 84, died on June 19, 2009 in Portland, Oregon. Admitted to Harvard at age 16 in 1942, Wald enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1943. He completed his B.A. in 1949, but worked 25 years for a meatpacking firm before earning a master's degree in public health in 1982. In 1985 Wald formed the Pets & People Foundation, one of the organizations that popularized pet-assisted therapy. Wald and Anne Kullman, his wife of 57 years, relocated the Pets & People Foundation to Portland in 1999.
Mark Stover, 57, of Fidalgo Island, Washington, disappeared on October 28, 2009. His Belgian malinois Dingo was found at his home bleeding from gunshot wounds, but is reportedly recovering. Although Stover's remains have not been found, Michiel Glen Oakes, identified by Associated Press as boyfriend of Stover's ex-wife Linda Opdycke, has been charged with first degree murder for allegedly killing him. After Stover's fiance reported him missing, "A sheriff's deputy found Oakes and Opdycke at her home," wrote Associated Press writer Gene Johnson. "Oakes asked to go outside and get some medicine out of his car, then threw a plastic bag containing a .22-caliber pistol over an embankment, authorities said. He was also carrying a 9 mm pistol." Stover and Opdyke "opened Island Dog Adventures in the early 1990s on an island her wealthy family owned 55 miles north of Seattle," recalled Johnson. "The kennel offered massages, pedicures, a raw-meat diet, and weight-loss programs." Clients included rock stars, film makers, Starbucks chair Howard Schultz, and Seattle Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki.

Anton Turner, 38, a Children's BBC expedition guide, was killed by an elephant on October 29, 2009 while filming an episode of the program about 19th century explorer David Livingstone. Three children who were with the film crew were evacuated unharmed, a BBC spokesperson said.

Nancy Sorrell MacKall, 55, died on November 3, 2009 in Arlington, Virginia. A former horse breeder, MacKall later founded the Polo Pony Retirement Foundation, but at her death was "charged with 10 criminal misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty and 20 counts of failure to bury or cremate dead animals. Ten emaciated horses and three dogs were removed from MacKall's Langley Farm in Mine Run on August 6, 2009," recalled Robin Knepper of the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star.

Linda Sloan, 50, of Nitro, West Virginia, was killed just after dark on November 16, 2009, when she was struck by a tractor/trailer while trying to pick up a road-killed dog. The dog, a lost pet, ran into the road just after being spotted by would-be rescuers, Nitro mayor Rusty Casto told Ashley B. Craig of the Charleston Daily Mail.

Jessica Goode, 23, of Winchester, Virginia, an environmental science major at Ferrum College, near Roanoke, was killed by a rifle shot to the chest on November 17, 2009. Classmate Regis Boudinot, 20, was injured when the same bullet passed through his hand. A third classmate who was with them was unhurt. Deer hunter Jason Cloutier, 31, of Ferrum, was charged with manslaughter, reckless handling of a firearm, and trespassing. An early news report said that the three students were collecting frogs for a biology class. They were actually non-invasively tracking turtles through an open field, corrected Kimberly Boudinot, mother of Regis Boudinot. Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries spokesperson Julia Dixon told Hamil R. Harris of the Washington Post that Goode was the 39th human hunting fatality in Virginia since 1998, but was the first non-hunter killed since then.

Edward Berry, 65, of Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada, died of cancer on September 9, 2009. Berry founded The Elephant Commentator, a web site tracking elephant issues, co-moderated by Cora Moore. "He was passionate about elephants and dearly loved the Sheldrick Orphan Project. We raised over $2,000 in his memory," Moore told ANIMAL PEOPLE. "Many of us animal advocates are not against the concept of zoos," Berry posted in June 2007, "if only the needs of the particular animals would be met in a realistic and humane manner. Elephants require very large area to roam, actually many acres, and of course, companions and natural surroundings, not concrete cells. Thankfully," Berry said, "there is a sea change in the public sentiment and understanding regarding the lives of captive elephants, and the days of tiny and un-natural confinements are on the wane."

Charles "Tig" Siddle, 50, youngest son of Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage co-founder David Siddle and chair of the Chimfunshi board of trustees, died on November 26, 2009 at his farm in southern Zambia. "David Siddle had two sons by a previous marriage--Tony, 54, and Charles-- when he married Sheila Siddle in 1968. Together, David and Sheila Siddle established the Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage on their farm along the Kafue River in 1983," recalled the Chimfunshi web site. Charles Siddle had become a prominent dairy and cattle farmer, but later refocused on growing organic coffee. Succeeding David Siddle, who died in 2006, as Chumfunshi board chair, Charles Siddle promoted staff member Innocent Mulenga to manage the sanctuary, "making Mulenga the first African to control the day-to-day operations of a chimpanzee rescue center," said the web site.

--

 

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2009:

Struggle for humane euthanasia continues in U.S., Philippines

An employee of the Lincoln County Animal Shelter in Lincolnton, North Carolina escaped serious injury on October 20, 2009 when a newly installed gas chamber exploded. The man had just killed several dogs. "Carbon monoxide was clearing out of the machine when a fireball, propelled by pressure, blew open the door of the gas chamber, burning the man and slamming the chamber door into him," reported Diane Turbyfill of the Gaston Gazette.
North Carolina Coalition for Humane Euthanasia secretary Michele King, of Garner, North Carolina, forwarded to ANIMAL PEOPLE a purchase order which she said "shows that the gas chamber was formerly used in Reidsville, at Rockingham County Animal Control," where King said it "leaked repeatedly and was finally removed. The same gas chamber company, Cutting Edge Fabrication in Gastonia, sold another used gas chamber to Iredell County last year," King added. "That chamber also later exploded," on July 22, 2008, with 10 dogs inside at the time.
Twenty-four North Carolina county animal control departments still use gas chambers, said King.
New state legislation required shelters in New Mexico and West Virginia to stop gassing animals effective on July 1, 2009. Gassing also ended on that day in Griffin, Georgia, Dawn Bechtold of U.S. Animal Protection told ANIMAL PEOPLE. Georgia law prohibited installing new gas chambers after 1990, but allowed shelters that already had them to continue using them. Bechtold and others have been lobbying and litigating ever since to ensure that gas chambers are retired and not replaced.
Police chief Jeff Straub, of Taylor, Texas, ended gassing later in July 2009, upon learning that Taylor was the last to gas animals within a 30-county radius.
U.S. progress against gassing encouraged Anna Cabrera of the Philippine Animal Welfare Society to try again, after the national Committee on Animal Welfare voted to continue to allow Philippine animal control agencies to gas dogs with exhaust fumes from motor vehicles. "We shall start campaigning actively with government officials and the media," Cabrera said, "to show them the cruelty of such a practice."
The Manila Times in November 2009 published photos of dogs being gassed at Zamboanga City. "In other areas in the Philippines, unclaimed dogs in pounds are either drowned or shot," the Manila Times mentioned, "while in some provinces, stray dogs are hunted for meat."
Instances of U.S. animal control agencies drowning and shooting animals continue to come to light.
In Victorville, California, former Adelanto Animal Control supervisor Kevin Murphy, 38, charged with drowning 50 kittens between July and October 2007, on October 16, 2009 plea bargained a sentence of 90 days of weekend jail time, three years on probation, a fine of $350, and an order to attend six weekly personal counseling sessions. Charged in March 2008, Murphy resigned his animal control job in May 2008.
But there was apparently no penalty for animal control officers in Navajo County, Arizona, who shot 40 to 50 dogs in May 2009 at the home of Edward Harvey, outside of Heber in the northeastern part of the state. Harvey was jailed for a month after Navajo County Sheriff's officers found him in possession of unlicensed and illegal firearms.
""We feel the decision made in the field [to shoot the dogs] was the right one to prevent suffering for the animals," Navajo County health director Wade Kartchner told Glen Creno and Alex Alenburg of the Arizona Republic.
The Navajo County contracts for shelter services with the Humane Society of the White Mountains in Lakeside, but the humane society was apparently not asked to impound the dogs. "Shooting is not a humane way to end an animal's suffering," said Humane Society of the White Mountains executive director Anna-Marie Rea.

--

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2009:

Further thoughts about service dogs
Commentary by Merritt Clifton

In November 1993, when the use of service dogs other than to guide the blind was still quite new to most of the public, ANIMAL PEOPLE devoted a cover feature to the legal and philosophical issues involved, including the perspectives of leading figures in the animal rights movement as to whether training dogs for human service constitutes exploitation. We followed up several times, until the precedents recognizing the use of hearing dogs, seizure alert dogs, and various other now common uses of service dogs appeared to be clearly established, and ethical objections to the use of service dogs were no longer commonly voiced.
The San Francisco SPCA hearing dog program, 1978-2008, introduced both the use of hearing dogs and the now routine retraining of shelter dogs to perform service. Eventually many specialized hearing dog programs emerged, and the SF/SPCA program was dropped as redundant. Yet more shelter dogs than ever are now trained for service
But trends have developed which jeopardize the service dog concept.
One is a tendency by many people to blur the distinction between a "service" animal and a "therapy" animal.
The most essential difference is that a "service" animal is on the job of assisting a particular human in need 24 hours a day, seven days a week, without days off. The service animal is of necessity extensively trained. This includes training in when to take the initiative, doing something extraordinary in a crisis without awaiting a command.
Though there are service animals other than dogs, only dogs have adapted successfully to the demands of service in significant numbers.
Therapy animals may also be extensively trained, and may also be very hard-working, but the animal who visits hospitals and nursing homes is not on the job 24/7, and is not expected to take the initiative when a particular person is unconscious, having a stroke or seizure, unaware of a fire or other special danger, or otherwise at extreme risk.
The "service" title has in recent years been extensively misued by people who seek special privileges for their pets by claiming the animals have a therapeutic roles, independent of any association with a medically recognized program. Often the animals involved are not dogs, and some are species much more difficult to accommodate in public places, including miniature horses, goats, and in one case, a python. This has led to much litigation.
The Department of Justice in 2008 proposed to narrow the definition of "service animal" to exclude wildlife, reptiles, rabbits, farm animals, amphibians, ferrets, and rodents. "The guidelines also would have eliminated as service animals those whose sole function is to provide emotional support, comfort, therapy, companionship, therapeutic benefits, or to promote emotional well-being," summarized Seattle Times staff reporter Nancy Bartley.
More than 4,500 people protested.
The Barack Obama adminstration suspended the rulemaking process until after the appointment of a new assistant U.S. attorney general to handle civil rights matters. This was done on October 7, 2009. "We are now in the process of reviewing the proposed regulations and public comments," Department of Justice spokesperson Alejandro Miyar told Bartley in late October. "We anticipate that we will issue final rules this year."
A second trend of increasing concern is the use of pit bull terriers and Rottweilers--like Bronson--as service animals. Certainly these dogs can be trained to perform service, and can excel in situations requiring strength and courage.
ANIMAL PEOPLE noted in a May 1996 cover feature that pit bulls and Rottweilers appeared to be as disproportionately represented in performing heroic acts of service to humans as in killing and maiming humans. Unfortunately, reported instances of pit bulls and Rottweilers killing and maiming humans then occurred about 25 times more often than reported examples of heroism. That was when pit bulls and Rottweilers together constituted less than 2% of the U.S. dog population. Today pit bulls and Rottweilers are together about 6% of the U.S. dog population, and the ratio of reported deadly and disfiguring attacks to reported life-saving incidents has risen to 59-to-one.
People who train pit bulls and Rottweilers for service roles typically imagine that this will help to improve the image of these breeds, leading to more of them being adopted. Yet people who need service dogs, including to cope with high-stress situations, are inherently less able than most others to control a dog if any dangerous behavior occurs. Purported "service" pit bulls and Rottweilers have run amok, and the more these breeds are put into roles requiring absolutely perfect self-discipline, the more such incidents are likely to occur.
Already apprehensive about admitting service dogs to the premises for which they are responsible, landlords, bus operators, storekeepers, restauranteurs and school administrators have even more reason to be apprehensive when the dogs are breeds that are responsible for approximately 75% of all lethal and disfiguring attacks.
The public also has cause to be uneasy about being subjected to the presence of dogs of breeds that have killed or maimed nearly 2,000 people in the past 26 years.
The bottom line may be that a service animal-of any breed or species-is not meant to be a walking advertisement for anything. "A service animal should be almost invisible," Delta Society spokesperson JoAnn Turnbull told Bartley of the Seattle Times. "If you are eating at a restaurant, you shouldn't know a service animal is there."
Putting a service animal into the role of ambassador is subjecting the service animal to a second high-stress job, on top of the first, and is inherently interfering with the goal of enabling the person whom the animal assists to lead an otherwise normal life.

 

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From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2009:

BOOKS

Cowboy & Wills: A Love Story by Monica Holloway
Simon & Schuster, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020), 2009.
Hardcover, 288 pages. $24.00.

"Something is wrong with my son," the nagging inner voice whispers. "Something's terribly wrong."
Autistic spectrum disorder. No parent wants to hear that diagnosis and neither does Monica Holloway.
Wills Price is a complicated three-year-old. Intelligent, lovable, but hobbled by complications from autism. According to his mom, he knows the components of a Boeing 747 and every state capitol by heart, yet he can't use the bathroom outside of their home. Strangers send him into a tizzy. He throws tantrums. Reaching him is a challenge.
"Watching Wills recede so deep inside himself that I saw no way to grab hold of his tiny hand and pull him back to me," Holloway felt a more crushing blow when she learned that autism has no cure and will afflict her son for life.
The day after the diagnosis Holloway bought an aquarium. Since Wills seemed to connect with the fish, Holloway bought more pets, beginning with hermit crabs. Perhaps, she hoped, animals might calm her son, so that he would not be strangled by his fears. At a pet store, Wills saw puppies and wanted one. During a trip to buy fish food they ended up with a hamster.
Meanwhile, Wills began regular therapy sessions. The plan included mainstream activities such as attending birthday parties, playing in public parks, and socializing with children his age. Wills attended a neighborhood birthday party, but the children's interaction overloaded him. Ready to bolt, he was only convinced by goody bags full of sweets to stay until his mother arrived.
More pets arrived, including African dwarf hogs and a rabbit. Wills enjoyed helping Holloway care for the animals and interacting with them.
Locating an appropriate school for Wills proved harder than finding clean air in their Southern California community. School after school rejected him. A private school finally accepted him, but despite supportive parents and an outside therapist, Wills cried, held his hands over his ears, and refused to speak. "Wills seemed like a tiny frightened bird," says Holloway.
Wills' parents finally acquired a puppy.
Holloway and her husband Michael once rescued a dog named Hallie, who was skittish. Seeking utmost stability, they shunned animal shelters and rescues. Only a golden retriever puppy would do. But from where?
Holloway surfed the internet, seeking breeders. On nearly every website prominent warnings said, "Never buy a dog from a pet store." Holloway knew that pet store puppies often come from puppy mills, where purebred dogs live in despicable conditions, birthing puppies who are often sick or born with inbred congenital abnormalities. But calls to reputable breeders came up short. No one had puppies meeting Holloway's timetable.
Finally Holloway purchased a golden retriever puppy at a pet store in fashionable Bel-Air, sure the store would not sell defective animals to millionaires. The puppy arrived three days early from a Missouri breeder, but the pet store told the family they would keep her until she recovered from a cough and rash. Holloway and her husband questioned the purchase, but went ahead with it anyway.
Wills, delighted, named the puppy Cowboy. Their bond was instant. They played together, laughed together, and slept together. One day Holloway washed Wills in the tub. Cowboy, always at Wills' side, threw herself in, splashing water all over. Mother and son laughed.
Playful and friendly, Cowboy was also sickly, which Wills did not understand. First she had bouts of diarrhea. Skin lesions and hair loss followed.
Then came the diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus. The dog's immune system faded. The family paid handsomely for specialists to prolong Cowboy's life, but after three short years Cowboy could no longer swim, romp around the yard, or chase Frisbees. Food and snacks lost their appeal. Euthanasia ended her suffering.
Cowboy's short life touched Wills in profound ways. She was the rock solid companion he needed in a world that confused, frightened, and knocked him off balance. Death of a beloved pet is tough for any child, but for Wills the loss was especially traumatic.
Attending a progressive school that seems able to deal with his erratic behaviors, Wills continues to move forward. His family pushes him to succeed.
Though Cowboy & Wills is primarily a book about autism and a mother's love for her son, it also raises critical issues about how people acquire dogs. Holloway did not have to buy a puppy, or a golden retriever. Shelters and rescue groups in Southern California almost certainly could have offered healthy mixed-breed dogs to become their son's best buddy, who might have lived a normal lifespan.
Yet, even after making a conscientious effort to find the right dog for her family, Holloway bought a puppy mill dog. Then, despite doing everything possible to give the dog a good home for life, Holloway--and Wills--endured a tragic outcome. --Debra J. White

 

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From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2009:

Bombproof: A true story of second chances
by Leana Beasley & Stephen Sawicki
L'Universe Inc. (1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403; www.iuniverse.com), 2009.
288 pages, paperback; $18.95. E-book download: $6.00.

Bronson, a young Rottweiler mix, almost died at a Washington animal shelter. But a dog trainer for the Prison Pet Partnership Program at the Washington Corrections Center in Pierce County sensed something special about Bronson, formerly known as Bruce, as she scouted the shelter for candidate dogs to be trained by inmates to assist the disabled. Sergeant Barbara Davenport, master canine trainer for the program, chose to give him a chance."
Leona Beasley entered the military in 1982, seeking economic and educational opportunities. Her military career ended violently two years later, but not in combat. Her superior officer taunted, teased, and finally raped her, slicing her arm with a knife. Beasley's commanding officer accused her of lying when she reported the crime. Married to another soldier, she later became pregnant and opted out of the military.
The attack continued to traumatize her. Beasley endured troubling flashbacks, pounding headaches, and frightful nightmares. During the next several years she attempted suicide numerous times. She was found wandering on the road, incoherent. In and out of psychiatric institutions, she took anti-depressant medication. She saw psychotherapists. She separated from her husband, but they later reunited.
Seizures, resulting from a fall, became nearly uncontrollable. She almost died after aspirating vomit during one seizure. Memory loss overwhelmed her. She felt easily frustrated. A therapist suggested a seizure alert dog and put her in touch with the prison program. The program eventually matched her with Bronson. Partnership with the well-trained dog uplifted her mood and improved her attitude toward life.
"Given my isolation in recent years, it was an adventure," Beasley recalls of their first outing together. "We window-shopped for a whileŠ..Afterwards, we took a break for a soda, then strolled around the marina to admire the boats."
Not all of Beasley's outings with Bronson flowed so smoothly. Store owners demanded that she leave, a common experience of people who use service dogs, even in the familiar role of guide dogs for the blind. Even storekeepers on the military base where Beasley lived ordered her out.
A vest identifying Bronson as a service animal and an official identification card made little difference. Once Beasley experienced a seizure in public. Bronson alerted her. She tied him to her wrist. Someone called 911. By the time help arrived, the seizure had passed. A state trooper threatened to take Bronson to the pound, causing Beasley to experience extreme emotional distress. Only the arrival of her husband, in military uniform, diffused the tense situation.
Bombproof is an interesting story of an unwanted dog's emergence as a service dog. It also describes a long segment in a troubled woman's life, actually spending less time on her relationship with Bronson than on her earlier psychological issues. In addition Bombproof exposes nagging interpersonal problems at the prison program-in tedious detail-that distract the focus from Bronson's effect on Beaseley and the importance that seizure alert dogs have, in general, to their people.
This is not the only extensive digression. One of Beasley's therapists was Margarethe Cammermeyer, who fought a prolonged legal battle with the military over her discharge for being a lesbian.
Acknowledging her identity with a brief summary of her case would be appropriate, but Bombproof provides much more information about it than really fits into Beasley's story.
--Debra J. White

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From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2009:

Walking with the Great Apes
by Sy Montgomery
Chelsea Green Publishing (85 N. Main St., Suite 120,
White River Jct., Vermont 05001), 1991, 2009
264 pages, paperback. $17.95.

Jane Goodall, asserts Walking with the Great Apes author Sy Montgomery, is the most easily recognizable living scientist in the western world, primarily from her 50 years of researching and advocating for chimpanzees.
Dian Fossey, who began her work at about the same time but reached global prominence sooner, was murdered in 1985. Though her killer has never been prosecuted, popular belief is that she was killed in retaliation for her efforts to protect mountain gorillas from poachers in Rwanda.
Birute Galdikas, starting more than a decade later, spent years rescuing captive orangutans in the swampy jungles of Indonesia.
All three women were recruited and sent to study great apes by anthropologist Louis Leakey. All three were sponsored and first made famous by National Geographic.
Sy Montgomery profiled each of the three in Walking With The Great Apes (1991), now reissued. The first section describes each woman's entry into the field.
Asthma, smoking, and a bout with pneumonia nearly crippled Fossey's lungs, but she hiked up the mountains in Rwanda, albeit slowly, to be with her beloved gorillas. Fossey's father, a heavy drinker, split with the family when she was young. Fossey clashed with her stepfather. "She would spit on the ground whenever her stepfather's name was mentioned," says Montgomery. Fossey socked away money from her job as an occupational therapist to visit Africa on a safari. Her parents nearly thwarted her plans, but she went anyway. Africa changed her life.
Goodall always loved animals and nature. A high school guidance counselor admonished Goodall for wanting to study animals. She said, "No girl can do that."
Goodall's long career with chimpanzees started in 1960 at Tanzania's Gombe Stream Reserve, when she was just 26 years old. Mothering, she soon observed, is the single most important force in chimpanzee society. Good chimpanzee mothers raise "adept, competent offspring."
A Lithuanian born in Germany, who grew up in Canada, Galdikas moved to Borneo in 1971. Sent to do research, Galdikas became better known for rehabilitating captive orangutans for return to the wild.
In section two, Montgomery describes each woman's relationship to Louis Leakey. Not until late in his career did Leakey envision studying the great apes, says Montgomery. She suggests that Leakey prefered women as his "right-hand people," which his wife must have noticed.
Rwandans called Fossey "Nyirama-chabelli," meaning "the old woman who lives alone in the mountains without a man." But a tracker and students always lived in Fossey's camp, though she preferred the company of gorillas. By 1977 poaching became such a threat to the gorillas Fossey studied that she first rewarded park rangers to capture the interlopers, then turned to vigilantism.
Fossey humiliated and threatened any suspects she caught, even shoving mind-altering drugs down their throats and kidnapping their children.
Despite the widespread belief that poachers killed Fossey, evidence suggests that she was actually killed by an employee or close associate.
Goodall, preferring to work alone, learned at Gombe that chimps, like humans, hunt other animals and share the meat. Goodall also documented that chimps make and use tools. After 20 years her small camp had become an international research center. But guerillas from the Marxist Popular Revolutionary Party crossed from Zaire (now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo) into Tanzania, kidnapping students to extort money. Chimps were slaughtered. The region is still recovering from the violent instability that followed.
The last section of Walking With the Great Apes, which repeats some information found in the first two sections, reviews each woman's accomplishments, challenges, and aspirations. --Debra J. White

 

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From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2009:

Search for the Golden Moon Bear   By Sy Montgomery
Chelsea Green Publishing (85 N. Main St., Suite 120, White River Jct., Vermont 05001), 2002, 2009.
336 pages, paperback. $19.95.

No bear like the golden moon bear is known to science, says Sy Montgomery--but science, so far, says the golden moon bear is just a rare color morph of the Asiatic black bear, also known as the moon bear for a crescent-shaped patch of light-colored chest fur.
Hoping that the golden moon bear might be a new species or a subspecies, Montgomery and Northwestern University professor of evolutionary biology Gary J. Galbreath in 1999 trekked through much of Southeast Asia seeking material evidence. They found none, yet Montgomery's 2002 book Search for the Golden Moon Bear became a cryptozoological classic. Rarely mentioned during the 40 years that the U.S. had troops and aircraft in Southeast Asia, the golden moon bear has become one of the best-known undocumented animals that anyone still seriously contends might once have existed.
Few bears of any species remain in the dwindling forests of Cambodia. Galbreath and Montgomery found bears mostly imprisoned in rusty cages as roadside attractions, enduring a life of being poked with sticks by visitors. Eventually most would be butchered. Some would have several paws amputated for use in pricy stews first.
Founding the Free the Bears Fund in 1993, Mary Hutton of Australia established a sanctuary in Cambodia in 1997, which has now rescued 139 bears. The Free the Bears Fund also operates in Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and Indonesia, working with the Hong Kong-based Animals Asia Foundation and Wildlife SOS, of India, to help bears throughout the region.
But Hutton et al had barely begun in 1999, when Galbreath and Montgomery hiked through dense forests and steamy jungles, searching for the elusive golden moon bear while discovering mostly horror stories.
Whenever they found a possible golden moon bear, they plucked hair for DNA testing to determine the species of the animal.
They met an intrepid U.S.-educated Cambodian conservationist named Sun Hean, who helped them in their quest.
Still recovering from five years under the Khmer Rhouge guerilla faction, 1975-1979, who killed nearly a third of the human population of the nation, Cambodia remains desperately poor. Cambodian life expectancy when Galbreath and Montgomery visited was 57 years, the lowest of any nation outside of Africa among the 221 nations included in the CIA Factbook. Cambodian life expectancy is now 62, ahead of Laos but below North Korea.
Thailand is relatively affluent, but affluence has stimulated the illegal wildlife traffic for which Bangkok has long been notorious. Illicit logging destroys wildlife habitat and makes the remaining animals more vulnerable to poachers. But Galbreath and Montgomery were pleasantly surprised to find that the Thai Buddhist culture retains teachings of reverence toward animals. Historically Buddhist temples doubled as sanctuaries for animals in need. Many have abandoned that role, while others have perverted it into exhibiting chained elephants or caged tigers, but still others continue to treat and care for discarded animals.
Galbreath and Montgomery observed that while Thai street dogs were often mangy and thin, they rarely were taunted or teased.
Hair specimens from bears at the Lop Buri Zoo completed the collection that Galbreath sent for DNA testing, upon return to the U.S. Unconvinced by DNA results showing that the golden moon bear is not a new species, Galbreath and Montgomery next interviewed members of a Hmong community in Skokie, Illinois. The Hmong are a mountain people living in some of the most remote parts of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Thousands of Hmong who fought as U.S. allies during the Vietnam War were airlifted to the U.S when Saigon fell to the Viet Cong in 1975. Others escaped from Vietnam later as "boat people." Many Hmong still practice animal sacrifice. Montgomery and Galbreath heard stories from the Hmong about golden moon bears, but found no hard evidence.
"It seemed to both Gary and me that if there remained a new species of bear to be discovered, it lived in remote mountains," wrote Montgomery. George Schaller, who has discovered several new species in Southeast Asia, advised Galbreath and Montgomery to go to the Annamite Mountains in Laos.
Laos, with an adult illiteracy rate of 31% and a high rate of opium addiction as well, during the Vietnam War became the most heavily bombed nation on Earth. About two million of the 6.3 million tons of bombs that the U.S. dropped on Indochina landed in Laos. Some that failed to detonate then are exploding now.
Laotian street vendors sell roasted rats and bats. Almost anything that can be killed is eaten. The habitat is not promising for golden moon bears.
Montgomery contended in conclusion that the scientific studies she and Galbreath began in Cambodia produced new information validating the existence of the golden moon bear. Time has not affirmed her hope. Instead, Galbreath has become known for studies disproving the species status of two storied Southeast Asian hooved animals. The kouprey, the cow-like extinct national animal of Cambodia, was a feral hybrid of the banteng and domesticated zebu cattle, according to DNA evidence. The khting vor, another cow-like animal known only from horn specimens, was a fake. The spectacularly twisted horns were produced from ordinary cow horns by human artisans. --Debra J. White

 

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From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2009:

KaZulu-Natal bull sacrifice continues, but Bali sea turtle sacrifice is prevented

JOHANNESBURG, DENPASAR--Opponents of animal sacrifice failed to halt ritual bull-killing at the annual First Fruits Festival in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, but thwarted an attempt to revive sea turtle sacrifice in Bali.
Pietermaritzburg High Court Judge Nic van der Reyden on December 4, 2009 rejected the request of Animal Rights Africa for either an injunction against the bull-killing or authorization to witness and videotape it. Van der Reyden accepted the testimony of Zulu professor Jabulani Maphalala that the ARA complaint was based on inaccurate second-hand information, which ARA members could not personally confirm because only Zulus are allowed to see the ceremony.
Maphalala testified that the killing, done at Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithini's palace in Nongoma on December 5, "must be performed without rope, thongs or weapons of any kind. The animal is overpowered and his air passage closed barehanded. His neck is then broken. No bloodletting of any kind is allowed, nor is dismemberment part of the ritual slaying," summarized Sharika Regchand and Sipho Khumalo of the KwaZulu-Natal Mercury.
Animal Rights Africa cited claims by witnesses who did not testify in person that the killing takes about 40 minutes each year, while dozens of men trample the bull, wrench his head around by the horns, pull out his tongue, stuff sand in his mouth, and try to tie his penis in a knot.
The Makhonya Royal Trust proposed just before the trial that cattle should be sacrificed at each of the soccer stadiums that will host the 2010 World Cup. "Government minister Sicelo Shiceka has promised to lobby football's governing body in support of the plan," reported BBC News.
The outcome was more encouraging in Bali, where most of the population practices a pre-Manu form of Hinduism featuring animal sacrifice, most closely resembling the rites of some "tribals" in rural Orissa state, India.
The Indonesian forestry ministry "has rejected a push for rare turtles to be legally slain in Hindu ceremonies, siding with conservationists of the protected reptiles," reported Niniek Karmini of Associated Press on November 30.
Elaborated Jakarta Post correspondent Ni Komang Erviani, from Denpasar, the Bali capital, "Governor Made Mangku Pastika proposed a quota of 1,000 turtles per year for religious and ceremonial purposes. However, according to data from the Turtle Conservation and Education Center, Bali only needs 80 turtles a year for religious purposes."
Sacrificing sea turtles was banned in 1999. The Indonesian environmental organization Pro Fauna found that from 27,000 to 30,000 sea turtles per year were killed in Bali before 1999, as turtle sacrifice and consumption was a prominent part of many social and cultural celebrations. The toll dropped to about 2,000 sea turtles per year after 1999.
A World Wildlife Fund source told Erviani that Bali buyers illegally imported about 500 sea turtles from other parts of Indonesia in 2009.

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From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2009:

Monkey research moving abroad to escape stricter standards & activism

STILLWATER--Oklahoma State University president Burns Hargis personally vetoed anthrax experiments on baboons planned by the university veterinary school and funded by the National Institutes of Health, revealed Susan Simpson of The Oklahoman on November 30, 2009
"This research was not in the best interest of the university. Testing lethal pathogens on primates would be a new area for OSU, outside our current research programs," OSU spokesperson Gary Shutt told Simpson.
The rare cancellation of a funded animal research project was disclosed about six weeks after InVivo Therapeutics Corporation, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, sued Oregon Health & Science University over the condition of monkeys supplied by the Oregon National Primate Research Center, an Oregon Health & Science University facility, located in Beaverton, a Portland suburb.
The InVivo Therapeutics experiment called for severing the spinal cords of 16 rhesus macaques, "leaving portions of their lower body paralyzed," reported Boston Globe correspondent Sean Teehan. "Researchers would then insert a polymer device developed by InVivo into the monkeys to see whether it helped them recover lower body motor skills. InVivo said the Oregon school failed to provide the number of monkeys required, reducing the pool of animals available for the surgery. The procedure was performed on seven monkeys, all of whom developed bladder complications soon after."
Four of the seven monkeys were euthanized due to the severity of their bladder problems. "Another five monkeys suffered setbacks ranging from a broken ankle to a staph infection," wrote Teehan. "InVivo said the bladder problems developed because Oregon staffers failed to provide the proper after-surgery care and necessary medical devices to keep their bodily systems functioning, even after being directed to do so by InVivo researchers."
Oregon Health & Science University responded in a written statement that it "completely disagrees with InVivo Therapeutic Corp.'s assertions in this lawsuit and we plan to vigorously defend ourselves."
"The stench of monkey excrement is thick at the Oregon National Primate Research Center, scenting the air long before you hear the screeching of the center's 4,200 nonhuman primates," reported Willamette Week staff writer James Pitkin in August 2009, after Oregon Health & Science University applied for $14.8 million in stimulus funds to expand the center.
"Funding would come from $10.4 billion in stimulus money allocated to the NIH," Pitkin wrote. "The new facilities would be barely distinguishable from a human hospital. Last year the primate center gave its monkeys 264 ultrasounds, 7,917 physical examinations and 154 dental procedures, the grant application says. In other words, OHSU lab monkeys may have better access to health care than 46 million uninsured Americans."
But that might not be saying much. For example, the USDA Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service in December 2008 issued a warning letter to the Oregon National Primate Research Center for multiple alleged violations of the Animal Welfare Act.
"The warning cited three errors in veterinary care, including a serious 2007 incident where a pregnant monkey died when a researcher failed to notice she was having a troubled labor. The two other incidents involved a sponge being left in a monkey after surgery and a surgery performed on the wrong monkey," summarized Andy Dworkin of the Portland Oregonian.
Stop Animal Exploitation Now co-founder Michael Budkie on October 21, 2009 issued similar allegations in a 61-page complaint to USDA-APHIS about conditions at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's New Iberia Research Center. The SAEN complaint is based on a year's worth of health records for 592 monkeys kept in one colony at New Iberia. SAEN obtained the records through the federal Freedom of Information Act.
"The colony of primates experienced 58 deaths in that year, or 10% of the colony," summarized Heather Miller of The Daily Iberian. "Budkie said when projected to the research center as a whole," which houses nearly 6,000 monkeys plus 325 chimpanzees, "the number suggests 650 primate deaths per year. Of 149 pregnancies, 48 resulted in infant mortality, Budkie added."
Both SAEN and the Humane Society of the U.S. filed complaints about monkey care at New Iberia in 2008, Miller recalled. The HSUS complaint followed "a nine-month undercover investigation of the facility and extensive media coverage," beginning with an exposé aired by the ABC news magazine program Nightline. A series of USDA-APHIS inspections followed, including a reinspection personally ordered by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "The investigation is complete, but the findings remain under legal review," Miller said she was told by USDA-APHIS spokesperson David Sacks.


Monkey use rises
The intensified scrutiny of nonhuman primate research facilities comes as monkey studies continue trending upward. Chimp studies fell into disfavor in the 1990s, after chimps proved almost useless as subjects of HIV research, but monkeys in the early 21st century have become the subjects of choice for studies of biological agents which might be used as weapons. As laboratory monkey suppliers have increased the numbers of monkeys available to researchers, use has expanded in other directions.
Total U.S. lab use of nonhuman primates reached an all-time high of 69,990 in 2007, the most recent year for which USDA-APHIS has published data, up from 49,382 in 2001. Increased monkey use is evident in Britain, as well, rising 16% in 2008 alone.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration recently disclosed that it has resumed monkey studies, decades after abandoning them in the early years of human space flight and more than 10 years after divesting of the former NASA chimpanzee colony by transferring them to the now defunct Coulston Foundation. Coulston eventually retired 34 ex-NASA chimps to Primarily Primates. The remainder were acquired by the Center for Captive Chimpanzee Care (also known as Save The Chimps) in 2001 and 2002.
"For the new study, 18 to 28 squirrel monkeys will be exposed to a low dose of the type of radiation that astronauts traveling to Mars can expect to encounter," reported Irene Klotz of Discovery News. "The animals will not be killed," but will remain under longterm observation.
A more forceful jolt to activist ambitions of abolishing nonhuman primate experiments may be under construction soon at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. The university has applied for $15 million in federal economic stimulus funds to finance new monkey research facilities that would combine all monkey research on campus into one building.
The site, between two existing monkey research centers, formerly belonged to bicycle shop owner Roger Charly. Charly initially agreed to sell it to retired California physician Richard McLellan for $675,000, to house a National Primate Research Center Exhibition Hall, to be developed by Primate Freedom founder Rick Bogle. But Charly changed his mind before the sale was completed, and after a four-year court fight, sold the property to the university for $1 million.
"A staggering 27,905 monkeys were imported to the United States in 2008," says International Primate Protection League founder Shirley McGreal, "with most of the doomed animals coming from China," according to U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service import records. China sold 18,074 monkeys to U.S. laboratories in 2008, four times as many as runner-up Mauritius (4,502). Cambodia exported 1,920 monkeys to the U.S., Vietnam sent 1,800, and Indonesia sent 535.
Ninety-five percent of the monkeys bought from abroad by U.S. labs in 2008-- 26,499 in all--were crab-eating macaques. "Ironically, the species most traded from China, the crab-eating macaque, is not native to China," McGreal notes, "but China appears to be vacuuming up the monkeys from neighbor countries." For example, Laotian exports of crab-eating macques to China soared from 100 in 2006 to 7,700 in 2007, but fell back to 800 in 2008, according to United Nations Environment Program data.
Also imported into the U.S. in 2008 for lab use were 838 rhesus macaques and 390 African green vervets.
U.S. labs are only allowed to buy captive-bred monkeys, but the lab suppliers' breeding stock are wild-caught, and wild-caught monkeys have sometimes been detected among monkeys sold as "captive bred."
The increasing traffic has encouraged Bioculture Ltd., of Mauritius, already breeding monkeys at 19 sites around the world, to breed crab-eating macaques in Puerto Rico, closer to the U.S. market. "Bioculture Ltd. hopes to begin operating next summer in Guayama," reported Jill Laster of Associated Press in November 2009, "much to the dismay of islanders already dealing with a plague of patas monkeys--descendants of lab escapees who run though backyards, stop traffic, and destroy crops."
Attempts to capture and sell the patas monkeys have failed for decades. Puerto Rican secretary of natural resources Javier Velez Arrocho in December 2008 authorized wildlife rangers to trap and shoot as many as 1,000 monkeys in 11 troupes who inhabit the Lagas Valley, after 92 research organizations showed no interest in them.


Novartis to China
China, meanwhile, is rapidly moving from supplying monkeys to U.S. and European labs to becoming a direct participant in breaking-edge biomedical research.
Already operating in China since 2006, the Swiss-based Novartis pharmaceutical empire on November 3, 2009 anounced that it would spend $1 billion to expand the Novartis Institute for BioMedical Research in Shanghai, and $250 million more to build an "advanced technical research and development and manufacturing facility in Changshu." The Novartis research staff in China will grow from 160 to "about 1,000," Novartis said.
Novartis did not disclose how many animals will be used in China, nor will Novartis be required to disclose animal testing data under current Chinese law.
Swiss reports said that all Novartis animal testing will move to China, after antivivisectionists in July 2009 allegedly stole an urn containing the ashes of chief executive officer Daniel Vasella's mother, who died in 2001; spray-painted slogans on her headstone; torched Vasella's hunting lodge in Bach, Austria; and sprayed slogans attacking Novartis and Vasella on the village church in Risch, Switzerland, where Vasella lives. Vandals earlier damaged the homes and cars of Novartis staff, and a suspected arson in May 2009 damaged a restaurant at sports facilities Novartis owns in St. Louis, France.
One of the slogans sprayed on the headstone was "Drop HLS Now," in apparent reference to the testing firm Huntingdon Life Sciences, but Novartis spokesperson Satoshi Sugimoto told Associated Press writer Thomas Brunner that Novartis had not done business with Huntingdon in years.
In Malaysia, meanwhile, the Johor State Investment Centre in May 2009 applied for permission to import macaques from Indonesia, China, or Vietnam for use in a new animal testing laboratory. Saharuddin Anan, director of the Malaysian wildlife department's legislation and enforcement division, told Agence France-Presse that the proposal was under study, with input from animal and environmental groups. Friends of the Earth/ Malaysia president Mohamad Idris told Agence France-Press that the project appeared to be backed by an unnamed French pharmaceutical research company.
Indonesia, like Malaysia and India, officially prohibits exports of wild-caught monkeys for research, but the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection charged in April 2009 that the Indonesia ban is "a sham."
Charged BUAV spokesperson Sarah Kite in the Bali Times, "The Indonesian Ministry of Forestry has increased trapping quotas for wild-caught long-tailed macaques from 5,100 in 2008 to 15,100 for 2009." Even if the wild-caught macaques are used only as breeders, the numbers indicate an imminent expansion of macaque exports.
Indonesia "exported a total of 24,811 macaques worldwide between 1997 and 2006," wrote Anissa S. Febrina of the Jakarta Post.
A May 18, 2009 arson that did $300,000 worth of damage to the Reno offices of Scientific Resources International may further encourage the trend toward exporting animal research to authoritarian states in the developing world. SRI imports monkeys from China. A North American Animal Liberation Front Press Office web posting claimed the arson was an ALF action.

 

Suspect is bowhunter

The most recent suspect charged with allegedly attacking animal research facilities, meanwhile, didn't sound much like an animal rights activist in an interview with Associated Press writer Patrick Condon.
Scott DeMuth, 22, was in November 2009 charged with one count of conspiring to commit animal enterprise terrorism, for allegedly participating in an unspecified manner in a November 2004 raid on Spence Laboratories at the University of Iowa.
The raiders "released more than 300 animals, dumped chemicals on data, damaged about 40 computers, and publicized the home addresses of several researchers," wrote Condon. "One other person, Carrie Feldman, has been detained in connection with an investigation into the raid. She has not been charged. DeMuth says Feldman used to be his girlfriend. DeMuth," a meat-eating bow hunter, "denies he was involved in the raid at all," Condon reported. "He says he has never been an animal rights activist and believes he has been targeted because he got to know some underground animal rights activists and holds unpopular political views."

 

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From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2009:

Toronto Humane Society raided, execs arrested, by Ontario SPCA

TORONTO--Nearly 30 years of turmoil over control of the Toronto Humane Society reignited on November 26, 2009 when Ontario SPCA investigators backed by Toronto police arrived at the THS shelter with search warrants and led THS president Tim Trow, veterinarian Steve Sheridan, general manager Gary McCracken, and senior staff members Romeo Bernadino and Andy Bechtel out of the building in handcuffs.
Trow was reportedly charged with cruelty to animals, conspiracy to commit cruelty to animals, and obstruction of a peace officer. The others were reportedly charged only with cruelty. The search warrants gave the Ontario SPCA access to animal adoption, veterinary, and financial records, according to Toronto Star staff reporters David Bruser and Raveena Aulakh. THS was closed indefinitely after the raid.
Trow was in the ninth year of his second stint as THS president. Sheridan is a 35-year employee. Trow and Sheridan face "criminal charges of animal cruelty for running a dysfunctional shelter where animals were allegedly denied food and water and left to die suffering in their cages," wrote Kate Hammer of the Toronto Globe & Mail, whose June 2009 exposés brought some of the allegations against Trow and Sheridan to light.
"Toronto police moved into Trow's second-floor office," Hammer wrote, "where Bandit, Trow's rescued pit-bull/Labrador cross, lunged at them. They pepper-sprayed the dog. Bandit first made news in 2003," Hammer recalled, "when he bit a three-year-old's head, leaving a gash that required 200 stitches. The city ordered Bandit euthanized, but Toronto Humane refused and the dog came to live in Trow's office. Former staff said that Bandit was aggressive and badly bit at least two more people."
The biting incidents were described in a 2006 report produced by The Investigators Group, a private security firm commissioned by the Ontario SPCA. Compiled shortly after the Ontario banned pit bull terriers, except for those who were already in the province, licensed, vaccinated, and sterilized, the Investigators Group report documented Trow's alleged involvement in relocating pit bulls to the U.S.
"According to financial documents from August obtained by the Star, the humane society owed more than $750,000" to various vendors, wrote Toronto Star staff reporter Jesse McLean. Some of the bills were later paid, McLean found, but J&D Benefits on December 4, 2009 sent notice to the Toronto Humane Society that an employee benefits package had lapsed because of nonpayment of $30,000 in premiums, and Toronto Central Animal Clinic head vet Ahmad Badri told McLean that the clinic was owed more than $30,000, including $8,000 due since 2008.
But Hammer of the Globe & Mail reported on December 4, 2009 that "the Animal Care Review Board, an independent panel that oversees the Ontario SPCA, found that only one of four cats" who were the subjects of neglect reports in June 2009, leading to her original investigation, were in distress as legally defined. The other three, Hammer wrote, "were not in distress because they were under the care of head veterinarian Sheridan. The concerns raised by the Ontario SPCA's veterinarian, they decided, boiled down to a difference of professional opinion."
The board found that the fourth cat "was in distress because she hadn't been seen by a veterinarian in over two weeks," despite having visible symptoms of illness.
The June 2009 complaints were similar to those of November 2009, but did not result in criminal charges.
Hired to represent the Toronto Humane Society and two of the arrested staff, attorney Frank Addario denounced the "tabloid-style investigation" by the Ontario SPCA. "There are humane societies that won't take in pit bulls," Addario said. "Toronto Humane does. There are also different approaches to euthanasia--but they are reasonable differences, based on beliefs held in good faith by people with different approaches to the issue."
"The College of Veterinarians of Ontario inspects the Toronto shelter annually," and reaccredited the Toronto Humane Society on November 19, 2009," Addario pointed out to McLean of the Star.
"However, the college only accredits veterinary clinics, not entire animal shelters," McLean observed.
"Accreditation focuses on the required standard of equipment, drugs and record keeping at the veterinary clinic," affirmed College of Veterinarians of Ontario spokesperson Martin Fisher.
Ontario Ministry of Natural Res-ources officers on December 1, 2009 relocated seven animals from Toronto Humane to the Toronto Wildlife Centre in Downsview Park.
Ontario SPCA investigator Kevin Strooband told Toronto Star staff reporter Daniel Dale that the animals were moved because THS veterinarian Sheridan "now faces criminal charges, including animal cruelty, and his bail conditions prevent him from working at the shelter," Dale wrote.
"The wildlife centre housed fewer than 10 animals," Dale wrote. "It has been the target of frequent criticism since it was founded in the mid-1980s," including complaints about understaffing and poor training from veterinarian Sue Carstairs and vet tech Sandra Prins, who resigned in 2006.
"The centre was also criticized in 2006 by Kip Parker, the wildlife director of Earth Rangers, a Woodbridge wildlife rehabilitation agency which once had a contract with THS to take in animals whom the humane society had first stabilized," Dale recounted.
"Toronto Humane Society documents obtained by the Star appear to show that THS has violated provincial regulations by releasing wildlife captured in Toronto to the Newmarket-area farm of a board member," Dale continued. "Under Ontario rules, rehabilitated adult wildlife must be released a maximum of one kilometre from the site of capture," Dale expalined. "But according to kennel cards obtained by the Star, three raccoons captured in downtown Toronto in 2007 were released to 'Bud's farm,' the farm of board member Bud Walters."
The Ontario rules are intended to inhibit the spread of disease, especially rabies, occurring among raccoons in the Toronto area at the time the rules were introduced.
Walters, 85, told Dale that his 90 acres of forest, with three ponds, is "a perfect spot for animals," but said he had no specific recollection of the releases.
Star national affairs columnist Thomas Walkom termed the November 26, 2009 raid and ensuing developments "part of a long-running dispute over the direction of the Toronto Humane Society," which is the largest humane organization in Canada, with an annual budget of about $10 million.
"It was Tim Trow's stubborn insistence on minimizing euthanasia that finally led the Ontario SPCA to launch the investigation," Walkom assessed. "Trow said he was protecting animals. His critics claimed his no-kill policy left too many to die in pain."
Walkom's wife, former Toronto Star journalist Charlotte Montgomery, in her 2000 book Blood Relations described the first 20 years of the struggles for control of the Toronto Humane Society.
Trow, who first headed THS from 1982 to 1984, introduced a no-kill policy. Robert Hambley, acting president after Trow's arrest, was a board member. Backed by the Ontario SPCA, then-THS chief vet Angelo Filiplic in 1983 "charged that the shelter's no-kill policy was cruel to animals," Walkom summarized. Trow was ousted, but "In 1986," Walkom continued, "activists dissatisfied with what they saw as the society's overly cautious approach amassed enough proxy votes to take over the board of directors. In effect, they staged a coup."
For the next four years the Toronto Humane Society was led by a team including Ark II animal rights group founders Vicki Miller and Kathie Hunter; film maker Stephen Best; longtime Toronto Star nature columnist Barry Kent Mackay; Animal Alliance of Canada founder Liz White; ZooCheck Canada founder Rob Laidlaw; and longtime Green-peace Canada environmental health coordinator Holly Penfound.
Miller, as Toronto Humane Society president, discontinued the no-kill policy. But she also introduced a low-cost dog and cat sterilization program that cut animal control impoundments by 60% in six years.
Meanwhile, having underbid a laboratory supply company to win the Toronto animal control sheltering contract before Miller's tenure, THS accumulated an operating deficit that peaked four years after Miller's departure at $9.2 million. Miller was ousted, Walkom recalled, when "Hambley--by this time treasurer--gathered enough proxy votes to stage a counter coup."
"I don't believe it was ever the intention of the people who founded the society to fund radical animal protectionists and to get involved in concerns, however legitimate, such as the fur trade or the seal hunt," said Jake McLoughlin, who succeeded Miller.
The Miller team scattered, but "Battles continued over charges that the society was unduly secretive," Walkom summarized. "In 1996, a Toronto councillor quit the THS board because, she said, her attempts to discover financial information had been stonewalled. In one of the most bizarre defences of its opaque operating style, the society countered it needed to keep its affairs secret in order to deter terrorists."
THS lost the animal control contract in April 2000. As the society again went no-kill, by default, laying off 15 staffers, Trow and another former board president, Brenda Bronfman-Thomas, in 2001 led another coup.
"Euthanasia--at one time the core of the critique against Trow's regime--has quietly receded from centre stage," Walkom asserted. "According to the Ontario SPCA, only about 10 of the roughly 1,000 animals in the Toronto Humane Society's care have been put down" after the November 26, 2009 raid.
"Even the discovery of a mummified cat found trapped in the crawl space between floors raises more questions than it answers," contended Walkom. The cat apparently died of starvation and dehydration after being caught in a cage trap. Ontario SPCA investigators found and displayed the remains for media, telling reporters that they searched the crawl space in response to a tip.
"But if someone knew a cat had been inadvertently trapped for months above the ceiling at the shelter, why did he wait until the Ontario SPCA raid to mention it?" asked Walkom. According to Toronto Humane Society records the cat was adopted out, then returned to the society, and was euthanized in October 2008. --Merritt Clifton

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From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2009:

U.K., Ireland may stiffen dog regs

LONDON--Stricter regulation of dog breeding may be imminent in the United Kingdom and Ireland, after an exponential increase in dangerous dog incidents. London deputy mayor Kit Malthouse has asked that all "bull breeds" be banned, to curb the proliferation of "canine weapons that terrorise the streets of Peckham, Toxteth and Moss Side."
The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 banned "pit bull terriers," but exempted Staffordshire terriers, and imposed on police a cumbersome procedure for distinguishing illegal pit bulls from legal Staffordshires. Thus the ban has never been vigorously enforced.
Of six toddlers fatally mauled by dogs in Britain 2007-2009, three were killed by pit bulls, two by Rottweilers, and one by an Akita. At least one of the pit bull victims was killed by a dog reportedly kept for illegal breeding.
There was already rising pressure to regulate breeders, largely due to the August 2008 BBC exposé "Pedigree Dogs Exposed." Six weeks after the exposé aired, the Kennel Club announced that it would redraft the show standards for 209 breeds to eliminate rules that favored dogs with extreme and unnatural characteristics which might impair their health.
Scotland Yard expects to seize more than 1,000 dangerous dogs by the end of 2009, 800 of them in London, after impounding 719 dogs in 2008 and an average of just 45 a year between 2002 and 2006, wrote Cahal Milmo, chief reporter for The Independent. "In the past five years," observed Malmo, "hospital admissions for dog bites have risen by 43% across the U.K. and by 79% in London. Battersea Dogs Home says bull breeds now account for nearly 50% of its 'inmates,' a proportion that has doubled in five years."
Noting the presence of 249 unlicensed dog breeding kennels in Wales, Welsh rural affairs minister Elin Jones on November 11 promised to review the applicable legislation.
Six hundred Northern Irish dog breeders, rallied by Canine Breeders of Ireland, meanwhile asked the Department of Agriculture to ban people who have been convicted of cruelty or neglect from keeping animals. The Republic of Ireland exports as many as 1,000 puppies per week to Britain via Northern Ireland, Fionola Meredith of The Irish Times reported in October 2009. The breeders believe their sales may be harmed by exposés of negligent competitors.
"Lack of effective legislation both north and south of the border leaves animal welfare workers frustrated," Meredith wrote. "In the Republic, legislation to regulate large-scale commercial dog breeding has been promised since 2006." However, environment minister John Gormley "says the legislation will be published and enacted by the end of 2009," Meredith said.

 

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From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2009:

Quebec to regulate dog breeders

QUEBEC--Quebec Agriculture Minister Claude Béchard pledged recently to CBC News that the provincial government will act upon all five recommendations issued on October 7, 2009 by a Task Force on Companion Animal Welfare appointed in February 2009 to investigate the Quebec puppy industry.
The task force was empaneled a month after the Montreal SPCA impounded 367 dogs in three raids on alleged puppy mills.
Chaired by Geoff Kelley, Member of the National Assembly from Jacques-Cartier, the task force recommended that 15 new inspectors should be appointed to enforce humane laws, quadrupling the present inspection force, at cost of about $500,000; that $1 million should be invested in improving animal shelters; that new regulations should more explicitly define proper care of animals; that fines for animal abuse and neglect should be increased; and that the task force should continue working.

 

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From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2009:

Viet pol asks South Korea to help stop bear bile trade

SEOUL--Vietnamese National Assembly member Nguyen Dinh Xuan on October 28, 2009 confirmed to Moon Gwang-lip of the South Korean newspaper Joong Ang Daily that he has asked the South Korean government to cooperate with Viet efforts to halt bear bile farming.
"Nyuyen Dinh Xuan said that Korean visitors are involved in illegal bear bile sales in Vietnam," South Korean environment ministry senior deputy director Kim Won-tae told Gwang-lip. "He requested that we instruct Koreans to refrain from these illegal acts when they travel to Vietnam."
Bear bile farming is now illegal in Vietnam, but about 10 bile farms with about 80 bears remain near Ha Long City, Quang Ninh Province, a seaside area popular with South Koreans.
Xuan said he learned from the environmental group Education for Nature/ Vietnam that more than 100 tourist buses took as many as 1,500 South Koreans to visit bear farms within 10 days in April and August 2009. A South Korean travel agency director told Gwang-lip that "a significant portion of the profits from the sales of bear bile to tourists return to us in the form of commissions."
"We want to emphasize that we feel regret for this, and we hope that we might work with others in the future to stop such violations," Xuan said. Xuan told Gwang-lip that all 33 members of the National Assembly Committee on Science, Technology and Environment are working to end the bear bile traffic.
Other Vietnamese officials, however, seem to be in no hurry, while customers keep arriving. The Hong Kong-based Animals Asia Foundation in May 2009 opened a sanctuary for the Ha Long bears, on the promise that the bile barms would all be closed, but so far has received only one bear, founder Jill Robinson told ANIMAL PEOPLE.

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From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2009:

Greyhound racing comes to end in Wisconsin

MILWAUKEE--Greyhound racing will end in Wisconsin on December 31, 2009, 20 years after it started, with the closure of the Dairyland Greyhound Park in Kenosha.
"In 1989, state regulators with dollar signs in their eyes approved five operating licenses for pari-mutuel greyhound racing," recounted Don Walker of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Tracks opened in Geneva Lakes, Kaukauna, Lake Delton, Hudson and Kenosha, attracting 3.5 million visitors in 1991, the first year all five tracks were open. But by 1994, four of the five tracks reported losses. Costing $45 million to build, Dairyland was the last survivor, but lost $17 million in the last seven years that it operated. Attendance dropped 19% in 2009; wagering dropped 29%.
"With the shutdown of the Dairyland Greyhound Park in Kenosha set for the end of the year, concerns have been raised over who will be responsible for the greyhounds expected to be left behind," Walker noted.
"There is no plan," charged Linda Cliffel, adoption coordinator for the Central Illinois Greyhound Adoption Group. "I want the state and the track owners to say that, as of January 1, 2010, somebody will provide food and heat until every dog is gone."
The Central Illinois Greyhound Adoption Group rehomed 542 greyhounds during the first 10 months of 2009, Walker reported, but Cliffel expected the Dairyland shutdown would leave another 300 greyhounds--about a third of those kept at the track--in need of placement.
Her estimate may be low. "Roughly 850 to 900 greyhounds reside in Dairyland's 12 kennels. About 25 to 30 percent of them - the top racers - will move on to other tracks, while the rest will be "petted out" to adoption agencies," reported Joe Potente and John Krerowicz of the Kenosha News, quoting Silverhawk Kennel owner Tom Thomas.
"When the Geneva Lakes track closed in 2005," Walker remembered, "homes had to be found for an estimated 400 to 450 greyhounds. Simulcast off-track betting continued for several months afterward. That revenue was used to care for and feed the greyhounds who were unclaimed or taken away. That possibility does not exist for Dairyland, executive president Roy Berger said, because the track cannot simulcast other races around the country without committing to 200 race dates in 2010." Berger and Wisconsin Division of Gaming chief Robert Stoey told Walker that placing the dogs would be the responsibility of their owners.
Reports circulated earlier that some or all of the dogs would be killed, but Dairyland general manager Bill Apgar told Diana Kuyper, freelancing for the Waukegan News-Sun, that "There is absolutely no truth behind the rumor. The state gives us three choices," Apgar said. "The dogs can go with their owners, they can go to another track, or they can be adopted."
Greyhound racing is also to end in Massachusetts at the end of 2009. However, Boston Globe correspondent Christine Legere reported, "The Raynham-Taunton Greyhound Track and Wonderland in Revere will be allowed to simulcast races until July," due to enabling legislation signed by Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick on November 24, 2009. The object of the legislation was to keep about 100 track workers employed.
"Our understanding is that the vast majority of the simulcasting is of horse racing rather than greyhound racing," Grey 2K USA executive director Carey Thiel told Legere. "We took a neutral position on the simulcast bill as an olive branch to the track workers," Thiel said. Thiel and Grey 2K president Christine Dorchak led the campaign that led to the abolition of greyhound racing in Massachusetts via ballot initiative in November 2008.
The Phoenix Greyhound Park is also to close at year's end, the operators informed the Arizona Department of Racing in September. "Track officials said the park would remain open for live racing until December 19, continue to simulcast races until December 31, then shift some of its simulcast operations to Apache Greyhound Park in Apache Junction," reported Amy B. Wang of the Arizona Republic.
Opened in 1954, running live races seven days a week, the Phoenix Greyhound Park claimed pari-mutuel betting revenue of almost $100 million in 1998, but attracted only $46.4 million in 2008.
"UTGR Inc.," owner of the Twin River greyhound track in Rhode Island, "has agreed to pay the Rhode Island Greyhound Owners Association $2 million to end racing at the track if a restructuring plan is approved by a federal judge, according to court documents," Associated Press writer Ray Henry reported on October 23. "The dog owners would receive an additional $3 million if Twin River successfully emerges from bankruptcy."
The track, the last in Rhode Island, declared bankruptcy in June 2009. UTGR Inc. hopes to continue operating it as a slot machine gambling venue.

 

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From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2009:

Biggest cat rescue yet succeeds in China

BEIJING--More than 200 animal advocates on November 24, 2009 converged on the Hongqiao district of Tianjin, about 70 miles from Beijing, to free more than 800 cats from a trader who intended to export them to Guangzhou, far to the south, for sale to cat meat restaurants.
More than 200 people surrounded the caged cats for more than 24 hours and beseiged the Shaogongzhuang police station for three hours, reported Li Qian of the Global Times, before Qin Xiaona, head of the Beijing-based Capital Animal Welfare Association, managed to meet with police and arrange for the cats' release. The trader claimed the cats were strays, but the rescuers pointed out that they were clean and many wore collars and bells.
The mass cat rescue was the latest and largest of many such incidents occurring in China since 2007.

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From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2009:

Eight California cities ban declawing

MARIN, Calif.--Racing to beat a January 1, 2010 deadline imposed by the state legislature, cities including about a sixth of the population of California had banned declawing cats by December 8, 2009, and Marin County was expected to join them.
"I'm leaning very heavily toward going for it, given the cruelty issue," Marin County supervisor Charles McGlashan told Richard Halstead of the Marin Independent Journal. McGlashan indicated that declawing might be banned at the county board meeting of December 15, 2009, one day after the 102nd anniversary of the founding of the Marin County Humane Society. Marin County is also home of national animal advocacy organizations including In Defense of Animals, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, and the Humane Farming Association.
West Hollywood banned declawing in 2003, the first city in the U.S. to do so. Failing to overturn the West Hollywood ordinance in court, the California Veterinary Medical Association prevailed upon the state legislation to pass Senate Bill 762, preventing cities and counties from banning any veterinary or medical procedure after January 1, 2010 that is legal at the state level.
The cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Monica, Berkeley, Burbank, Beverly Hills, and Culver City all banned declawing within 60 days of the deadline.

 

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From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2009:

Efforts continue to ban the "elephant hook"

BOSTON--"All ears to the plight of the GOP symbol," according to Boston Herald reporter Jessica Van Sack, Massachusetts state senator Robert Hedlund has tried since 2004 to ban keeping elephants in chains and striking them with the ankus, or bullhook. The 2006 edition cleared the Massachusetts senate, but not the house of delegates. The 2009 edition reached a legislative hearing on November 16.
A Republican representing Weymouth, Plymouth and Norfolk, Hedlund distances himself from those he calls "politically correct left-wing do-gooders," but concerning chaining and the ankus, ""The more I got involved in the issue, the more I became passionate about it and emotionally tied to it, knowing the abusive conditions these animals have to endure," he told Van Sack.
Endorsed by the Massachusetts SPCA, the Hedlund bills have each been fought by the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus, apparently to avoid a precedent for other states to follow. Reported Van Sack, "A Herald review shows Ringling Bros. has paid $94,962 since 2008 to a lobbyist, Robert Rodophele, who has donated a total of $1,550 since 2008 to five members of the senate who sit on the subcommittee that will hear the measure."
American SPCA founder Henry Bergh in 1884 persuaded the theatrical elephant exhibition company Poole & Gilmore to stop using the ankus. Few others have had success. Chaining elephants, at least overnight, also remains standard procedure almost everywhere that elephants are kept.
But neither the ankus or chaining are needed to train and control elephants, Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee founder Carol Buckley told ANIMAL PEOPLE.
Before becoming a sanctuarian, Buckley was a university student who stumbled into becoming the caretaker for a newly imported baby elephant named Tarra. Not knowing that conventional elephant training belief held that an elephant could not be taught to roller skate, Buckley and Tarra developed a roller skating act.
"I really came full circle with Tarra," Buckley said. "At first, before we started performing, I did not use a hook on her. I knew nothing of elephant hooks. I trained Tarra by using operant conditioning: positive reinforcement. But then Tarra and I caught the eye of the circus industry and we were taken into the fold. At 21 years of age I thought I was the luckiest want-to-be-trainer on the planet. Unfortunately I was trained to use the weapon, and that is how it is used, to inflict pain or the threat of pain. The use of the hook is part of a mindset of dominance.
"I was indoctrinated with the traditional style of elephant management, of chains, bullhooks, dominance and systematic abuse," Buckley regretted. "I was young and naïve. Tarra was good to me, even though I changed and was not so good to her. But we survived the circus and zoo industry influence on me, because deep inside I really cared about Tarra. When I got some perspective and a few years older, I began to realize that the industry was full of rather sadistic people who really knew little and cared even less for the elephants in their care. When I realized what I had become and how it was affecting Tarra, I started the Elephant Sanctuary and we started a new life.
"It is my experience that you cannot have bullhooks without abuse," Buckley emphasized, "because the bullhook is the tool used in a system that thrives on dominance and systematic abuse. Bullhooks, chains and dominance are banned from the Elephant Sanctuary. We care for our elephants with a system that requires mutual respect. The elephants dictate their own lives," Buckley said. "We are simply here to serve."

 

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From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2009:

 

L E T T E R S

Japan beyond Tokyo

Your mention in the July/August 2009 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE that a man who was arrested in Japan in 2006 for dumping butchered dogs' heads was of South Korean descent does not surprise me. Nor am I surprised that dog-eating persists in Japan. But it is not the Japanese who eat dog meat; it is Korean residents. The Japanese, except during World War II when dogs almost became extinct because they were eaten by the starving population, have never had the custom of eating dogs.
Kansai (West Japan) and particularly Osaka is home to a large Korean population, but since most have adopted Japanese names, it is hard for outsiders to recognize them. They live in Korean areas of Osaka city, and dog meat is on the menu of restaurants that serve these communities. Perhaps because there is not enough dog meat to buy in Korea, most of it is imported from China.
Kansai is home to many other businesses that exploit animals for food or trade. One of the first signs that greets visitors on their way from Osaka International airport into the city advertises a whale meat restaurant. Kansai also has the most burakumin, the Japanese "untouchables," who live in enclaves and perform jobs such as butchery, tanning, leather work, undertaking, and plumbing. which they have done for centuries.
Then there are the yakuza (gangsters). Some Koreans and some burakumin are gangsters, but not all gangsters come from these origins. Gangsters formerly kept to the traditional vice trades of money laundering, prostitution, gun-running, and extortion, but in recent years they have moved into dog breeding and operating pet shops. The police and other authorities are reluctant to inspect or monitor these businesses.
Another business flourishing in Kansai, perhaps in the hands of Koreans and/or burakumin, is the shamisen trade. The shamisen is a traditional Japanese musical instrument made from cat skin pulled over a drum. The skin must be replaced yearly to keep it supple and keep the shamisen in tune. People are often shocked to find out that their pet moggie has disappeared after she was let out at night. We are told that the cats are skinned alive, but due to the clandestine nature of this trade, it is impossible to get firm evidence of this.
Japan is basically two countries: Tokyo and the rest. Move down to Kansai and then into the nether regions of Shikoku, home to tosa dog fighting, cockfighting, and Japanese-style bullfighting, all labelled "cultural traditions," and beyond that to Kyushu, and you will discover a very different side of Japan.
--Elizabeth Oliver
Animal Refuge Kansai
595 Noma Ohara, Nose-Cho,
Toyono-Gun, Osaka-Fu
563-0131 Japan;
Phone: 81-727-37-0712
Fax: 81-727-37-1645
<lizwizdogz1@mac.com>
<www.arkbark.net>

 

Animal rights history

"The 1st Church of Animal Rights tried to launch the movement in 1921" and your review of The Human Side of Animals by Royal Dixon, published in 1918, both in the October 2009 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE, were great reminders of the wonderful and wild people behind all efforts to change the social conditions of their times.
--James Myers
Animal Aid
Udaipur, India
<alice321_2000@yahoo.com>

 

Zimbabwe update

I am a private veterinary surgeon in Zimbabwe. I am married to veterinary surgeon Anthony Donohoe. Together we run a mixed practice in Harare.
For many years we worked closely with Merryl Harrison, when she worked for the National SPCA. Anthony assisted the National SPCA for several years during the land invasions, carrying out the humane destruction of abandoned animals, including dogs and the majority of the horses. We were very sad when Merryl left the National SPCA and Zimbabwe. She left a gap that no one has been able to fill.
With the deteriorating conditions in this country there is an ever-larger need for animal welfare. Poaching is out of control at this stage. There are reports of leopards, lions, and elephants in illegal captivity. There are problems related to hunting using packs of dogs. There is cruelty to donkeys, stray dogs need sterilization, pet shops are substandard, and animals from pigs to crocodiles continue to be abandoned on invaded farms.
The National SPCA no longer has the resources or the personnel to respond to all of the animal welfare issues that are occurring on a daily basis country wide.
Merryl has decided that she would like to resume her work in Zimbabwe. We welcome this decision and would like to ensure that she has the opportunity.
Merryl has indicated to us that she would like to start a private welfare organization that runs parallel with and complements the work done by the National SPCA. We have large premises near Harare that we can utilize for this purpose, but some of the buildings have been burnt by squatters and are in a state of disrepair. However, the property has great potential for developing into an animal welfare center. We envisage creating a center which is ultimately self-sustaining and can generate its own funds, with an educational facility for school children.
I feel that if we get the message out far and wide that there are dedicated and wonderful people fighting to relieve the suffering of the animals of this country, someone, somewhere may help us with initial funding.
--Helene Donohoe, DVM
Harare, Zimbabwe
<laney@zol.co.zw>

Time to ban horse-tripping and steer-tailing

Charreadas, the Mexican-style rodeos, are fast spreading across the United States.
Though I'm a big fan of cultural diversity, legislation is needed to ban charreada's more abusive events, including horse tripping, called manganas and piales, and steer- tailing, called colas. Video of these abuses may be seen at <www.SHARKonline.org>.
Nine states have already outlawed horse tripping. California was first, in 1994, followed by New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Maine, Florida, Illinois, Nebraska, and Arizona, whose ban was passed in 2009. Nebraska in 2008 also banned steer-tailing, the only state to do so. Steer-tailing is also cruel to horses, who sometimes break their legs when the steers run the wrong way.
In addition to the states that have banned horse tripping, charreadas are known to occur in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Colorado, Kansas, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and Georgia, and probably occur elsewhere too.
These brutal events are not standard ranching practice anywhere in the U.S. Neither are they approved by any rodeo association. Cesar Chavez prominently opposed them.
Most state legislatures reconvene in January. Animal activists would be wise to sponsor legislation simultaneously around the country to stop this cruelty. We also need laws requiring on-site veterinarians to be at all charreadas and rodeos to care for injured animals.
We will be happy to send copies of our recommended legislative language.
--Eric Mills, coordinator
Action for Animals
P.O. Box 20184
Oakland, CA 94620
Phone: 510-652-5603
<afa@mcn.org>

Tweety, Sylvester, & predation vs. bird numbers

The article title "How often has Sylvester killed Tweety?" above Judith Webster's guest column in the July/August 2009 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE belittled the seriousness of cat predation on our native wild birds. Scientists estimate that nationwide, cats kill hundreds of millions of birds a year. Our valuable native wild bird population is declining.
Judith Webster says that the American Bird Conservancy literature includes disputable studies. But contrary to what she says, the American Bird Conservancy literature cites documented impacts on birds from feral cat colonies. Where there are cat colonies, there are very few birds, if any. When the cat colonies are removed, the bird count increases.
I pick up and deliver injured and sick birds for the Santa Rosa Bird Rescue Center. Of the birds that I pick up, between a third and half have been catted. Many of them do not survive the ordeal. Until people can eliminate feral cat colonies, and until people can all keep their cats indoors, or else walk them on a leash and not let them roam free, we will continue to lose our wild birds, who are vitally important to every ecosystem.
--Elaine I. Woodriff
Petaluma, California

 

Editor's note:

The goal of neuter/return is to eliminate feral cat populations in the most humane and ecologically sound manner possible--which will end any predation by feral cats.
Meanwhile, Judith Webster pointed out that BirdLife International's 2008 State of the World's Birds report recognizes cat predation as a possible factor in the decline of only three North American bird species, and that "Data sheets for the same birds from the National Audubon Society list cats not once."
Wild bird species, like other wildlife, have evolved to withstand intensive predation. Most terrestrial bird species have always been menaced by abundant cat-like predators, as well as birds of prey, snakes, and small primates. Thus many bird species lay far more eggs than they hatch, and produce more hatchlings than they feed to fledging. The extra eggs and hatchlings are insurance against nest predation, and are often left to predators once the eldest and strongest offspring appear likely to survive.
Predators of any species target mostly the sick, the injured, the very old, and the most vulnerable young, especially those not defended by parents. To a considerable extent predation is among the first defenses of a species against disease, as diseased animals often become prey before they can infect many others.
Predation becomes a threat to the survival of a species only if it harms the reproductive capacity of a population, for example by killing healthy adults or young who would otherwise have a good chance of survival.
Several major studies have found reason to suspect that most cat-killed adult birds are caught because they are already afflicted by illness, parasites, injuries from collisions with windows, vehicles, wires, or microwave towers, or pesticide intoxication. Though a cat may dispatch these birds, the cat is not the reason why they are not successfully reproducing.

 

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From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2009:

Animal Cruelty & Dehumanization in Human Rights Violations by Wolf Clifton

Almost annually people who care about animals are shocked by accounts of how the U.S. military prepares combat medics to work in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Petty Officer Third Class Dustin E. Kirby, for example, described his training to C.J. Chivers of The New York Times in November 2006, almost a year after Kirby himself was severely wounded on Christmas Day 2005.
"The idea is to work with live tissue," Kirby explained. "You get a pig and you keep it alive. Every time I did something to help him, they would wound him again. So you see what shock does, and what happens when more wounds are received by a wounded creature. My pig? They shot him twice in the face with a 9-millimeter pistol, and then six times with an AK-47, and then twice with a 12-gauge shotgun. Then he was set on fire. I kept him alive for 15 hours."
In July 2008 a similar exercise conducted at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, by the 25th U.S. Army Infantry Division attracted protest from PETA.
"Shooting and maiming pigs is as outdated as Civil War rifles," alleged PETA spokesperson Kathy Guillermo.
Responded Major Derrick Cheng, "Alternative methods just can't replicate what the troops are going to face. What we're doing is unique to what the soldiers are going to actually experience."
Nine members of Congress opposed yet another such exercise, undertaken in August 2009 at Valley Center, California, by the U.S. Marine Corps.
"This is kind of the shock-and-awe treatment," responded Corpsman Mark Litz to Tony Perry of the Los Angeles Times. "A lot of these guys have never really seen blood and could freeze up the first time they do," Litz explained. "What good is a Marine or corpsman who's frozen up in combat?"
What the pig training is really all about has very little to do with practicing whatever medical techniques the participants use. Before the trainees ever handle a pig, they will have practiced the procedures many times with realistic mannequins and computer programs. The central purpose of the pig training is to prepare combat medics to cope emotionally with the realities of warfare: to learn to distance themselves from suffering, bloodshed, and death, even when it happens to their buddies.
Schooling medical personnel would seem to have a higher and more benign purpose than the bayonet drills that are still a routine part of military training worldwide. Yet the underlying goal is similar.
U.S. armed forces last mounted a battalion-sized bayonet charge on February 2, 1951. U.S. military officers recognized as early as the Civil War that modern firearms had made the bayonet charge an obsolete tactic. U.S. Army and Marine Corps recruits nonetheless still practice bayonet charges in basic training and boot camp, because the exercise of repeatedly ramming a bayonet into a mannequin, screaming "Spirit of the bayonet--kill!", is believed to be of enduring value in enabling troops to take human lives, despite using much more sophisticated and distant methods. A soldier may sit safely at a desk in California while guiding a Predator drone to strike a suspected Taliban hideout in Pakistan, but killing even an avowed enemy nonetheless tends to trouble most people--until they have learned to suppress inhibition while following orders.
Killing animals in preparation for combat is no longer part of the training of most U.S. soldiers, but exceptions have surfaced. Pilots, for example, whose rockets and bombs tend to kill the most people in modern warfare, may be taught to dispatch tame rabbits and poultry with their bare hands, ostensibly as part of "survival training" in case they are shot down over enemy territory. Reality is that U.S. military pilots have not had occasion to use such "survival training" in living off the land until rescue since World War II. But the advent of rapid transmission of photographs of dead and wounded civilians hit by misdirected airstrikes may have exponentially increased the awareness of pilots of what their weapons do.
Killing animals is occasionally exposed as a part of military training abroad. Some Peruvian recruits were taught to bayonet dogs as recently as 2000. This training was apparently introduced years earlier to prepare troops for counter-insurgency work during a grisly civil war, in which the enemy was almost indistinguishable from themselves.
Within Western ideology, as distinct from the Hindu/Buddhist tradition, animals have typically been regarded as qualitatively different from humans. Standards for the treatment of humans exist in all cultures, but moral consideration of animals is usually a non-issue. Even where there are rules governing how animals may be killed, as in slaughter and sacrifice, few people--especially in the West--have ever questioned whether animals may be killed.
Thus animals may be used to desensitize soldiers to killing. More than that, excluding animals from ethical consideration may be a first step toward a society rationalizing persecution of any people it might relegate to "sub-human" status.
ANIMAL PEOPLE readers will be keenly aware of the ever-expanding body of research demonstrating the association between criminal animal abuse and violent crimes against humans. Among the landmarks, a 1983 study by E. DeViney, J. Dickhert, and Randy Lockwood found that in 88% of families where children are physically abused, animal abuse is also present. A 1999 study by Arnold Arluke, Jack Levin, Carter Luke, and Frank Ascione found that animal abusers were 5.3 times more likely to have a violent criminal record than non-abusers.
The association of violence against animals with violence against humans is scarcely limited to illegal forms of violence. ANIMAL PEOPLE in 1994-1995 discovered a positive correlation between the numbers of licensed hunters and rates of family violence at the county level in New York, Ohio, and Michigan.
None of these studies prove that animal abuse causes human-to-human violence. Yet they do show the two to be inextricably related and fundamentally similar in nature.
Cruelty to animals and human rights violations have mostly been viewed as separate subjects. However, they may be seen as part of a continuity if one considers the process of dehumanization, by which a victim or enemy comes to be exempted from ethical consideration.
Human rights violations may also be understood as the collective practice of acts that are considered criminal when inflicted on people other than the dehumanized class of victims.
Frequently human rights violations take the form of societally condoned serial killing, by secret police "death squads," mobs, or private militias. To understand how this occurs, one might examine dehumanization as practiced by criminally prosecuted serial killers.
From the beginning of systematic study of serial killers, criminologists have recognized that the overwhelming majority kill and torture animals as well as people--sometimes as a prelude to killing humans, sometimes between killing human victims. ANIMAL PEOPLE pointed out in 2006 that there is a visible association between the gender of human victims and the species of animal victims targeted by serial killers. Specifically, while serial killers who target women also tend to persecute cats, those who target males (such as John Wayne Gacy and Jeffrey Dahmer) display a clear preference for persecuting dogs. This suggests that in the minds of the perpetrators there is an equation of the human victims with the animal victims, and that this equation contributes to the ability and motivation of the serial killer to kill.
Dehumanization occurs quite openly and ubiquitously in comparisons of human enemies to animals. To call someone a dog is an insult in many languages, and in societies with traditional taboos against dogs the term is considered especially hateful. Thus Iraqi journalist Muntader al-Zaidi on February 14, 2008 threw his shoes at then-U.S. President George W. Bush while screaming in Arabic, "This is your kick in the butt, you son of a bitch!" And thus Chinese propagandists under the notoriously dog-hating dictator Mao tse Tung made frequent reference to American allies as "capitalist running dogs."
Terms such as "pig" and "snake" are used similarly.
Theodore Roosevelt offered a more visceral example of dehumanizing an enemy when he reportedly boasted that he had "killed a Spaniard with my bare hands like a jackrabbit" during the Spanish/American War.
As dehumanization progresses from insult to homicide to genocide, the victims are not only compared to animals, or treated in the same manner as animals, but are considered animals. The very word "human" can come to have a highly selective and subjective context. Slavery in the U.S., for example, was often rationalized by maintaining that Africans constituted a separate species from Europeans. Many quasi-scientific efforts were made to try to prove this. The 19th century physician Samuel Morton is remembered for ranking human races in terms of moral and intellectual endowment on the basis of skull shape, with Caucasians predictably at the top of the list. Other scientists of the time, such as Josiah Nott and Louis Agassiz, proposed that blacks were not only an inferior race, but had in fact evolved from different ancestors than Europeans.
Dehumanization progressed to perhaps the best-documented extreme under the Third Reich. The Nazis literally categorized Jews, gypsies, dark-skinned Africans, and other non-Aryans as "untermenschen," meaning sub-human, and took dehumanization to the extent of experimentally attempting to hybridize some "untermenschen" with great apes. Jews in particular were commonly described as "vermin," "parasites," and "microbes." Regarded not only as animals but as parasites, Jews were killed by the millions with the insecticide Zyclon B.
The Nazi concentration camps, gas chambers, assembly lines for dismembering the dead in order to recycle their hair, fat, and gold teeth, and crematories that reduced the remnants to bone ash fertilizer were directly modeled on mechanized slaughterhouses, introduced to Europe just as the Nazis came to power.
The World War II Japanese military performed comparable atrocities, with similar pretexts. Chinese captives were used in experiments including vivisection, deliberate infection with disease, and exposure to all manner of extreme conditions. The extent of dehumanization practiced by Japanese researchers in China and Korea was so extreme that comparing the victims to animals gave way to calling the subjects "maruta," literally meaning "logs of wood."
Americans were also dehumanized in Japanese wartime propaganda. "Let us kill these animals who have lost the human spirit," suggested one widely distributed cartoon.
Americans in turn dehumanized the Japanese. Merely "Japs" early in the war, the Japanese became "zips" later. This was short for "zipperheads," but the word "zip" is also a slang synonym for "zero."
In post-war pretense Americans who spoke of killing "zips" were said to have been referring to the top Japanese warplane, the Mitsubishi Zero--but the context of "zips" tended to be "persons who may be killed with moral impunity," including with atomic bombs that killed hundreds of thousands of unarmed civilians.
Dehumanization requires sharply differentiating between "humans" and "animals," in order to remove the victims from moral consideration. This was much more easily done when much less was known--or recognized--about human and animal nature. Charles Darwin, however, was troubled by moral constructs that place humanity at the apex of creation with more than just the theory of evolution. As well as demonstrating that humans are kin, though distant, with the "lowest" of life forms, Darwin concluded that "the difference in mind between man and the higher animals, great as it is, certainly is one of degree and not kind."
Science has increasingly revealed this to be true. Traits once believed unique to humans, such as tool use, self-awareness, expressions of empathy and mourning, and even the invention and use of language are not only ubiquitous among humans, even the dehumanized, but have also all now been identified in multiple other animal species. Conversely, human infants, sociopaths, and those with mental disabilities may lack some or all of these traits. Thus definitions of "humanity" based on behavior are defining tendencies, not absolutes.
Yet even a firm and inflexible definition of "humanity," if one could be found, would undercut only conscious dehumanization. The propensity of animal abusers to also commit human rights violations would remain unchanged: defining terms does not destroy the basic nature of violence, or the inclination of violent people to inflict mayhem on all vulnerable forms of life.
Eliminating the contributions of dehumanization to crimes against humanity therefore requires that moral consideration not be restricted solely to humans. Extending compassion to animals can have only beneficial effects for society.
Mohandas Gandhi is often quoted as stating that, "The moral progress of a nation may be judged by the way it treats its animals." Though Gandhian scholars have been unable to find any such explicit statement in his writings, this was among his evident insights. If animals may not be mistreated, cruelty to humans is also categorically condemned, and dehumanization may no longer be used as a pretext or rationalization for cruelty.

[Wolf Clifton is studying comparative religion and film animation at Vanderbilt University.]

 

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From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2009, page one:

"Swine flu" infects cats, ferrets, & dogs

A cat in Des Moines, Iowa, a cat in Lebanon, Oregon, nine ferrets in Rice Hill, Oregon, four ferrets in Nebraska, and two dogs in Beijing in November 2009 became the first household pets known to have contracted the pandemic H1N1-2009 "swine flu" virus, which is believed to have evolved in humans from swine flu strains. Humans have passed the H1N1-2009 strain back to pigs on at least 12 different occasions in as many nations.
Each infected pet lived with humans who displayed H1N1-2009 symptoms earlier. The humans all recovered, as did the 13-year-old Iowa cat and both Beijing dogs. The 10-year-old Oregon cat, one of the Oregon ferrets, and one of the Nebraska ferrets died.
By early December H1N1-2009 had also been discovered among turkeys in Canada, Chile, and Virginia, and in a captive cheetah in California. "One almost gets the feeling that H1N1-2009 is a case of seek and you shall find," suggested ProMed infectious disease moderator Tam Garland.
Added David Thomson, an animal health specialist for the Secretariat of the Pacific Community in Papua New Guinea, "H1N1-2009 appears to be crossing rather easily to multiple species, including both mammals and birds after apparently minimal exposure. It seems to be capable of immediate transmission amongst at least pigs and turkeys after apparently crossing from humans. This latter feature may be of relatively high significance when one considers the potential for reassortment-based viral mutations."
The major epidemiological concern associated with H1N1 is that while it is a relatively mild flu strain, it may mix with the much deadlier but not easily transmitted H5N1 avian flu to produce a strain which is both fast-spreading and deadly.
However, the mixing is most likely to occur in species that easily transmit influenzas, such as humans, pigs, and birds--and is relatively unlikely to occur in apparent dead-end hosts, such as cats, ferrets, and dogs.

 

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From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2009:

KaZulu-Natal bull sacrifice continues, but Bali sea turtle sacrifice is prevented

JOHANNESBURG, DENPASAR--Opponents of animal sacrifice failed to halt ritual bull-killing at the annual First Fruits Festival in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, but thwarted an attempt to revive sea turtle sacrifice in Bali.
Pietermaritzburg High Court Judge Nic van der Reyden on December 4, 2009 rejected the request of Animal Rights Africa for either an injunction against the bull-killing or authorization to witness and videotape it. Van der Reyden accepted the testimony of Zulu professor Jabulani Maphalala that the ARA complaint was based on inaccurate second-hand information, which ARA members could not personally confirm because only Zulus are allowed to see the ceremony.
Maphalala testified that the killing, done at Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithini's palace in Nongoma on December 5, "must be performed without rope, thongs or weapons of any kind. The animal is overpowered and his air passage closed barehanded. His neck is then broken. No bloodletting of any kind is allowed, nor is dismemberment part of the ritual slaying," summarized Sharika Regchand and Sipho Khumalo of the KwaZulu-Natal Mercury.
Animal Rights Africa cited claims by witnesses who did not testify in person that the killing takes about 40 minutes each year, while dozens of men trample the bull, wrench his head around by the horns, pull out his tongue, stuff sand in his mouth, and try to tie his penis in a knot.
The Makhonya Royal Trust proposed just before the trial that cattle should be sacrificed at each of the soccer stadiums that will host the 2010 World Cup. "Government minister Sicelo Shiceka has promised to lobby football's governing body in support of the plan," reported BBC News.
The outcome was more encouraging in Bali, where most of the population practices a pre-Manu form of Hinduism featuring animal sacrifice, most closely resembling the rites of some "tribals" in rural Orissa state, India.
The Indonesian forestry ministry "has rejected a push for rare turtles to be legally slain in Hindu ceremonies, siding with conservationists of the protected reptiles," reported Niniek Karmini of Associated Press on November 30.
Elaborated Jakarta Post correspondent Ni Komang Erviani, from Denpasar, the Bali capital, "Governor Made Mangku Pastika proposed a quota of 1,000 turtles per year for religious and ceremonial purposes. However, according to data from the Turtle Conservation and Education Center, Bali only needs 80 turtles a year for religious purposes."
Sacrificing sea turtles was banned in 1999. The Indonesian environmental organization Pro Fauna found that from 27,000 to 30,000 sea turtles per year were killed in Bali before 1999, as turtle sacrifice and consumption was a prominent part of many social and cultural celebrations. The toll dropped to about 2,000 sea turtles per year after 1999.
A World Wildlife Fund source told Erviani that Bali buyers illegally imported about 500 sea turtles from other parts of Indonesia in 2009.

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From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2009:

"Reality TV" & Rescue Ink Unleashed
National Geographic Channel: 10 p.m. Fridays. Debuted September 25, 2009

After the success of Animal Precinct, Rescue Ink Unleashed was inevitable. Since the beginning of television, each successful series theme has been followed by variations, trying to emulate the aspects of the prototype that captured an audience, while adding twists that the producers hope might attract even more viewers. Typically the successful prototype is a gritty realistic drama. After knock-offs exploit that approach to the point of running out of ideas, caricatures follow. Some are forthrightly cartoons: The Flintstones (1960) followed The Honeymooners (1955). Others are merely cartoonish in live-action format: Charlie's Angels (1976), for instance, was a distant descendant of the cop show format pioneered by Dragnet (1951).
So-called "reality" TV scraps the costs of scripting, choreographing, and hiring professional actors, in favor of editing impromptu footage into something with enough semblance of a plot to hold viewers through the commercials. Yet, despite the pretense of being "real" because it is unrehearsed, "reality" TV tends to closely parallel the conventions of scripted TV, which evolved in the first place because those conventions work.
Early "reality" crime shows, like Animal Precinct, which debuted in 2001, follow actual law enforcement personnel on their actual rounds. After Animal Precinct became a smash hit came virtual copies: Animal Cops Detroit, Animal Cops Houston, Miami Animal Cops, Animal Cops San Francisco, Animal Planet Heroes: Phoenix, Animal Cops South Africa, and Animal Cops Philadelphia.
Then came cartoon time. Much as the private detective genre follows the cop show, with protagonists who have more liberty to violate the constraints of real-life law enforcement, the Rescue Ink rescuers aid animals without having to observe warrant requirements and carefully maintain a chain of custody of evidence. Instead of being neatly outfitted and clean-shaven public servants, the Rescue Ink characters are tattooed bikers, with the muscle-bound bodies of power lifters. Rather than driving mundane animal control vans, they are shown with flamboyantly painted motorcycles and hot rods. At times they use language that animal control officers cannot use on the job.
Mostly, on camera at least, they do things like feed pit bull terriers whose person is hospitalized, drive animals to sanctuaries, take animals to be sterilized, and talk about how they feel about animals. The image they project, however, constantly cultivated by the voice-over narration, is that they are vigilantes on behalf of abused animals, who at any moment might knuckle a bad guy's head.
Like Animal Precinct, Rescue Ink Unleashed is videotaped in New York City. Knowingly or not, it follows a tradition begun locally by ASPCA founder Henry Bergh. On November 21, 1870, Bergh coordinated a police raid on a dogfight at Kit Burns' Tavern, the animal fighting venue depicted in the 2002 Martin Scorcese film Gangs of New York. One of the raiders, apparently a Captain Allaire, dropped through a skylight into mid-ring in mid-fight to call an abrupt halt to the proceedings.
Later renditions of the raid, including on the ASPCA web site, mis-attribute the plunge to Bergh himself, who at six feet tall, age 47, probably could not have fit through the skylight and made the hard landing safely enough to confront the dogfighters. Bergh loved to tell the story, though, to impress upon animal abusers and potential donors that if diplomacy failed--and Bergh himself was a former diplomat--any means would be taken to bring perpetrators to justice.
The tradition of the tough guy for the animals has played out through countless variations since, including the quasi-piracy of Paul Watson and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, the undercover videography of Steve Hindi and SHARK, the nightrider tactics of various factions operating as the "Animal Liberation Front," and the feral cat feeding done by the late New York City crime boss Vicente Gigante. Though examples exist everywhere, New York City seems to produce a disproportionate number--at least of those that get high-profile media attention. Of note as a possible antecedent for Rescue Ink Unleashed was The Witness, a 1999 Tribe of Heart video, much aired at animal rights conferences during the next few years, which dramatized the animal rescue work of then-Brooklyn building contractor Eddie Lama, an ex-convict portrayed as a tough guy. Actually a soft-spoken fellow who acknowledged the decades of work of many little known rescuers before him, Lama even at the peak of his transient celebrity tended to stand in the back of the room at conferences and listen attentively to the other speakers. His most confrontational activity appeared to be airing animal rights videos to sidewalk passers-by on a widescreen TV mounted in the back of his van. Lama and partner Eddie Rizzo, also an ex-convict, in 1998 founded the Oasis Sanctuary in Callicoon, New York. Rizzo died in 2004. Donations fell as The Witness was shown less and less. By mid-2009 Lama was trying to find other homes for the remaining animals, and trying to sell the property, after paying $25,000 in back property taxes. "The plan remains to relocate," Lama told ANIMAL PEOPLE in November 2009, "but unfortunately that can not take place unless we sell some of the property. Our concern is that unpaid property taxes will once again put our place in jeopardy."
Animal advocates, frustrated by the slow pace of trying to bring abusers to justice through often inadequate laws and a clogged, sometimes indifferent judicial system, tend to like the idea of tough guys for the animals meting out vigilante justice. Yet, while this is the image that Rescue Ink Unleashed plays up, reality is that the show frequently illustrates the limits of the tough-guy approach. The alleged cat-shooter they confront in the early episodes is a scrawny apparent immigrant who stands up to them and calls the police on them. They yell in the man's face, and offer him non-violent help to keep cats out of his garden, but appear to be no more successful in amending his outlook and his ways than the neighbors who summoned Rescue Ink.
Neither do the men of action accomplish anything extraordinary in two afternoons of trying to help an animal control officer catch four free-roaming chickens. Instead of baiting and netting them all at once, as successful chicken-catchers do every day all over the world, Rescue Ink chases the chickens all over the neighborhood. The chickens are finally caught, but only after the Rescue Ink members demonstrate many ways to stress already frightened animals--albeit animals who soon receive good homes at a sanctuary.
Polling other animal rescue agencies, Patrick Whittle of Long Island Newsday found Rescue Ink praised by Associated Humane Societies of New Jersey chief executive Roseann Trezza and Katie's Critters Small Animal Rescue founder Wendy Culkin, but criticized by Michelle Curtin of Second Chance Wildlife Rescue and Suffolk County SPCA chief Roy Gross. Rescue Ink members had crashed a Suffolk County SPCA press conference a few days earlier to denounce how the agency had handled a major serial cruelty and neglect case, and argued with Curtin at the scene--in front of local TV news cameras.
Regardless of the apparent sincere intent and efforts of the rescuers, Rescue Ink Unleashed is more about television than humane work. But there is also some real-life crime drama behind the TV scenes, exposed on November 14, 2009 by Mark Harrington of Long Island Newsday.
"Robert Misseri, 40, has alternately been described as the executive director, organizer, dispatcher, CEO and principal" of Rescue Ink, Harrington began. Rescue Ink itself is nonprofit, but "two separate entities, Rescue Ink Productions and Rescue Ink Publications, are for-profit enterprises that pay members for participation in the TV show" and a book deal, Harrington explained. "Misseri is managing partner of both companies."
The book was co-authored by former Newsday reporter and columnist Denise Flaim.
Misseri told Harrington that he has donated at least $12,000 of his money to the nonprofit Rescue Ink entity, said the production company pays expenses for the show, including 'payments to all participants,'" Harrington added. "In a 2000 indictment against him and 10 others," Harrington revealed, "Misseri was accused by federal prosecutors of directing the 'Galasso-Misseri crew' of the Colombo organized crime family. But as the case neared trial, the charges against him largely disintegrated. According to the indictment, a witness had accused Misseri of being in a car during the 1994 murder of Louis Dorval, an accused mobster. Prosecutors have since charged a Long Island gym owner, Christian Tarantino, who was not among the original 11 defendants, with ordering Dorval killed. Tarantino's lawyer said he denies it."
Misseri was also charged with arson. "The arson accusation involved a fire at the Have-A-Home Kennel in Old Brookville," wrote Harrington, "in which Misseri denied any role. A police report made no mention of him having been in a car of men who confessed to the crime, court papers said." The murder and arson charges were dropped, but Misseri pleaded guilty to alleged money-laundering in 2002. "In addition to 37 months in prison, Misseri was sentenced to three years supervised release and ordered to pay $109,349 in restitution, court papers say. He was given credit for time served, and he says he served 32 months," Harrington wrote.
Another Rescue Ink cofounder, Joseph Panzarella, allegedly survived an attempted mob "hit." According to Harrington, "In court papers filed in the 2008 racketeering and murder trial of convicted mobster Charles Carneglia, Panzarella is described by prosecutors in Brooklyn as a 'Gambino family associate who was shot in a 1995 mob conflict. Carneglia, according to the papers, sought to avenge the shooting of Panzarella by another accused mobster. The court papers in a footnote describe Panzarella as an 'unnamed co-conspirator' in five racketeering acts of the Carneglia case. He has not been charged with any crime."
In April 2000, when Misseri was jailed for five months awaiting trial, "the North Fork Animal Welfare League recalled [in a letter to the court] how Misseri and his wife happened to be driving by when a dog escaped from its kennel," Harrington noted. The Misseris helped to slow traffic and recapture the dog.
Thus there is some evidence that Misseri and friends were always tough guys for the animals. But the most serious work done against animal abuse in New York City is still done by the direct successors of Henry Bergh et al, the ASPCA officers featured in Animal Precinct, who have badges, search warrants, and gather evidence that stands up in court. --Merritt Clifton

 

 

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2009:

Dog dealers raided at jet speed

PHILADELPHIA--Will air power trump horse-and-buggy in the courts of law and public opinion?
Main Line Animal Rescue founder Bill Smith on October 7, 2009 bet that it will, relying on jet speed to gather evidence that he hopes will finish the image of Pennsylvania puppy millers as plain, simple people who are just out of step with modern times.
Amish dog breeders in Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey, and upstate New York have come to dominate the dog breeding industry in the northeastern U.S. during the past 20 years. The Amish reputation for producing quality handcrafted furniture, growing pesticide-free fruit and vegetables, and managing farms that look like those of a century ago has helped the dog breeders--but traditional commercial dog-breeding practices were unacceptable to the humane community even 120 years ago, and are much less so in light of vastly increased knowledge about what dogs need to become happy, healthy, well-behaved pets.
When Smith learned that nearly 400 dogs from breeders in heavily Amish Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, had been trucked to an Ohio auction, recounted Philadelphia Inquirer starf writer Amy Worden, "he saw it as a chance to call attention to animal abuse in Pennsylvania. But because the dogs had crossed state lines, time was working against efforts to file cruelty charges. So Smith rounded up a private jet and flew to the Farmerstown Sale Barn in Baltic, a village in eastern Ohio."
Smith took along a team of Pennsylvania SPCA agents and veterinarians. Veterinarian Cari Thomson identified Lancaster County dogs whose condition indicated that their breeders were in violation of Pennsylvania law--the old law, not the much stricter version adopted in 2008 that came into full effect two days later.
The team bought 12 of the dogs.
"After the purchases, the group got back on the jet for the 45-minute flight back to the Chester County Airport with the dogs," Worden wrote. "They were whisked to the Pennsylvania SPCA headquarters in Philadelphia, where the animals were examined and documented--all within two hours of leaving Ohio.
"We got the evidence in another state and we had to establish that the animals were in this condition at the time the people being charged were in possession of them," explained attorney Scott Withers.
The Pennsylvania SPCA "prepared charges against six of the 12 Lancaster County breeders who sent dogs to the auction," wrote Worden.
"Pennsylvania kennel owners ship unwanted breeding dogs to Ohio to be sold, usually to other breeders, because auctions are illegal in the commonwealth," Worden explained.
Smith believes that Pennsylvania breeders were using the Baltic auction to dump dogs before the new state law could be enforced. The new law allows dogs more kennel space and exercise opportunities, and requires that they receive regular veterinary care.
"Of the 134 commercial dog kennels licensed by the state in Lancaster County at the beginning of 2009," wrote Lancaster Sunday News associate editor Gil Smart, "14 have closed and another 33 plan to close by the end of the year--a full 35% of the total."
Since the beginning of 2007 the state has revoked or refused 15 kennel licenses in Lancaster County, said Jessie L. Smith, special deputy secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement.
But Lancaster County still has almost a third of the 294 licensed breeding kennels in Pennsylvania. Statewide, 184 dog breeders have asked for waivers of enforcement of the new dog law, to give them additional time to bring their facilities into compliance.
Two of the most notorious convicted puppy millers in Pennsylvania may be running out of wiggle room to stay in business--but not for lack of trying.
Derbe ''Skip'' Eckhart, of Upper Milford Township, on November 16, 2009 withdrew the guilty pleas he had entered on September 22 to multiple charges filed after state officials seized 216 dogs from his Almost Heaven kennels on June 23.
Eckhart, 42, was "handcuffed and taken to prison under $25,000 bail to await trial on animal cruelty and dog law charges, many of which had been dropped in the previous plea deal," wrote Patrick Lester of the Allentown Morning Call.
Eckhart "has long been notorious in animal protection circles because of a 20-year history of cruelty charges and other offenses," summarized Daniel Patrick Sheehan of the Allentown Morning Call after one of his previous conflicts with the law in 2008.
Judge Robert L. Steinberg imposed the high bail, he said, because Eckhart had "'thumbed his nose at the judicial system," reported Lester.
In October 2009 the Pennsylvania Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement revoked the kennel license of Lancaster County dog breeders Joyce and Raymond Stoltzfus, whose license had already been suspended for six months by court order. The Stoltzfuses appealed the revocation. Their kennel, CC Pets, "sold more than 1,800 puppies last year," reported Worden of the Inquirer, "putting it among the state's highest-volume dog sellers. The kennel, once known as Puppy Love, has been the subject of investigations and consumer fraud lawsuits for at least 20 years."
Added Lancaster Intelligencer Journal staff writer Janet Kelley, "The recent ruling stemmed from a 2005 lawsuit against the Stoltzfuses under the state's "puppy lemon law" for selling sick dogs to more than 171 customers. The lawsuit ended in the largest-ever consumer-fraud settlement in Pennsylvania. The Stoltzfuses paid a $75,000 fine and agreed to conditions set by state Attorney General Tom Corbett. One of those conditions was that the kennel's advertisements clearly state the kennel's name. In April, Corbett charged the kennel owners with violating that agreement after learning that CC Pets had been running ads--more than 800 of them--without including the name of the kennel."
The Stoltzfuses were fined $16,000.

 

Record impoundment total

As of December 1, 2009, law enforcement agencies across the U.S. had impounded 9,162 dogs from 93 alleged puppy millers during the year, with a month to go. Puppy mill impoundments in a year topped 3,000 for the first time in 2007, and soared to 8,000 in 2008.
Involved in about 1,600 impoundments since it was formed in June 2009, the Wilde Puppy Mill Task Force on December 3 introduced a national telephone tip line, 1-877-MILL-TIP, to collect information about possible puppy mills that might not be known yet to law enforcement. A project of the Humane Society of the U.S., the Wilde Puppy Mill Task Force was funded by the estate of Kenneth and Lillian Wilde.
The increased seizures reflect a combination of stronger laws and better-coordinated enforcement efforts, including more active involvement of large national organizations in helping local agencies to cope with seizures that often bring in more dogs than the total capacity of community pounds and shelters.
Typical divisions of labor include HSUS assisting with investigative work, the American SPCA providing veterinarians and forensic help, and the Best Friends Animal Society and North Shore Animal League Amer-ica rehabilitating and rehoming the impounded dogs, when legally cleared to do so.
Wisconsin governor Jim Doyle on December 1, 2009 signed into law a bill that will introduce to Wisconsin a requirement that dog breeders who sell more than 25 dogs must be licensed by the state, and must meet care standards similar to those now in effect in Pennsylvania.
Thwarted thus far in efforts to push stricter legislation through the Ohio General Assembly, including an end to dog auctions such as the one that prompted Bill Smith to jet to Baltic, the Coalition to Ban Ohio Dog Auctions on October 13, 2009 won certification from the Ohio Ballot Board "to begin collecting 120,683 petition signatures toward a goal of putting the issue before voters next year," wrote Mark Niquette of the Columbus Dispatch. "If the General Assembly fails to act within four months" of receiving the initial 120,683 signatures, explained Niqu-ette, "the coalition then may collect an additional 120,683 signatures to get the issue on the November 2010 ballot."
The Colorado legislature in February 2009 "rejected legislation that would regulate the dog breeding industry," recalled Associ-ated Press writer Steven K. Paulson, but a task force convened by Kate Anderson, administrator of the state's Pet Animal Care Facilities Program, "will address the regulation of issues like cage sizes without seeking new laws," Paulsen continued. "Anderson said the state can use its rule-making authority instead."
Any new rules would require approval from the Colorado Commission of Agriculture.
Animal advocates in some regions are having to fight, both politically and in court, to keep gains already made.
In Lincoln, Nebraska on November 10, 2009, "After hearing howls of protest from the Nebraska Humane Society and others, the Agriculture Committee of the Nebraska Legislature voted 7-0 to kill a proposal that would have weakened a 2007 law requiring inspections of dog kennels and other pet-breeding outlets every two years," reported Paul Hammel of the Omaha World-Herald News Service. Introduced by state senator Tom Carlson as a budget-cutting measure, the proposal would have required that inspections be done only in response to complaints, as was done before 2007.
Since relatively few people have the opportunity to see enough of commercial dog breeding facilities to be able to complain about the conditions, inspection procedures driven only by complaints tend to become prescriptions for non-enforcement of standards.
In Kentucky, the Louisville Kennel Club and co-plaintiffs in October 2009 lost a bid to have declared unconstitutional a comprehensive dog law adopted in 2007 by the city of Louisville and Jefferson County.
U.S. District Court Judge Charles R. Simpson, III struck down provisions of the law requiring owners of unaltered dogs to obtain written approval of their enclosures and mandating "permanent forfeiture of a seized animal if the judge finds probable cause [of inhumane treatment or other violation of the law justifying confiscation of the animal] and the owner fails to timely post the appropriate bond." The legal defect in the latter provision is that a person could be acquitted of charges and still lose his or her animals.
Assessed Laura Allen of the Animal Law Coaltion, "Important sections of the animal control law challenged by the Kennel Club and upheld by the court include the prohibition of cruelty to animals; provisions preventing animal nuisances; restrictions on tethering animals in a cruel or neglectful manner; provisions concerning impoundment and license revocation; restrictions on sales of dangerous and potentially dangerous dogs; provisions granting animal control the authority to seize animals of owners violating the ordinance; requirements for veterinarians to report public health information, such as vaccination records and animal bites, to the government; and definitions of 'dangerous dog,' 'potentially dangerous dog,' 'proper enclosures' for unaltered dogs, 'nuisance,' 'attack,' 'restraint,' and 'cruelty.'"
A potentially problematic loss, however, came on September 15, 2009 when U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge of Couer d'Alene, Idaho, ruled that dogs raised by a commercial breeder may be legally considered livestock, and may therefore be kept at kennels located within a federally-designated Wild & Scenic River corridor.
The case originated more than 10 years earlier, according to David Johnson of the Lewiston Morning Tribune, when the U.S. Forest Service ordered Ron and Mary Park, of Kooskia, to relocate their Wild River Kennels away from the Clearwater River.
Lodge in 2005 ruled that dogs could not be considered livestock, but, wrote Johnson, "The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Lodge, and remanded the matter back to his court."
"We are following the case," Humane Society Legislative Fund president Mike Markarian told ANIMAL PEOPLE, "since it has to do with the definition of livestock under federal law. In general, defining breeding dogs as livestock will further reduce the already meager humane protections for dogs confined in large-scale puppy mills."
--Merritt Clifton


From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2009:

India bans keeping elephants in zoos & circuses

NEW DELHI--The Central Zoo Authority of India on November 9, 2009 sent a rumble throughout the world with a decree that elephants may no longer be exhibited by zoos and circuses.
Rumored to be coming for more than 18 months, the order came from the government of the nation with the most captive elephants, about 3,500 in all; the oldest history of elephant use and exhibition, about 3,500 years; the largest population of wild Asian elephants, approximately 28,000; and the longest record of protecting both elephants and elephant habitat, beginning about 2,240 years ago.
While many Indian zoos are notoriously substandard, several others are among the best-regarded in Asia. In effect, the CZA has concluded that even the best zoo elephant exhibits are incapable of providing elephants an acceptable quality of life.
If zoos in Asian elephants' native habitat cannot keep elephants in adequate conditions--and Asian elephants are believed to adjust much more comfortably to captivity than African elephants--then by implication no zoo or circus anywhere can humanely display elephants.
Zoos worldwide are not expected to quickly or easily accept the CZA message, especially since elephants are by far the most popular species commonly kept by zoos and circuses. Only a third of the zoos accredited by the American Zoo Association have elephants, but those zoos attract two-thirds of total U.S. zoo attendance.
If the CZA decree withstands legal and political challenges, elephant exhibitors in other nations are likely to have increasing difficulty defending their practices. Especially difficult will be making a case that zoos and circuses should be allowed to import more elephants to replace the rapidly aging and dwindling captive populations they already have.
The arguments for keeping elephants in captivity were already undercut by a 2008 study published in the journal Science which found that among 4,500 female elephants residing in European zoos, Burmese logging camps, and Amboseli National Park in Kenya, the zoo elephants had the shortest life expectancy, less than 17 years, while wild elephants had a life expectancy of just under 36 years--56 years if not killed by humans.

Ringling et al

The future of elephant captivity is especially keenly debated in the U.S., where the verdict is pending in a lawsuit alleging that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus use of elephants violates the 1973 Endangered Species Act.
Brought by the American SPCA, Animal Welfare Institute, and a coalition of other animal charities, the case was outlined in a six-week trial that concluded on March 18, 2009 at the U.S. District Court in Washington D.C., after eight years of preliminary legal skirmishing.
The antagonists and their antecedents have fought almost since the day sea captain Jacob Crowninshield brought the first elephant seen in the Americas since the ice ages to New York City on April 13, 1796. Customs inspector Nataniel Hathorne, father of author Nathaniel Hawthorne (who spelled his name differently), logged the arrival.
Named Old Bet, the elephant was sold to farmer Hackaliah Bailey, of Somers, New York. Bailey formed the ancestor of the Ringling Bros., Barnum & Bailey circus with Old Bet, a trained dog, a trained horse, and several trained pigs. Bailey and Old Bet toured the east coast together for 20 years. Eventually Bailey also founded a Zoological Institute, which was among the first zoos.
Old Bet was reputedly shot by a religious fanatic in either Maine or Rhode Island (accounts differ) in 1816. Clergy from New England to the Carolinas had denounced Bailey's activities from the beginning, primarily as a distraction from churchgoing, but also on occasion as cruel exploitation of one of God's most magnificent beasts.
American SPCA founder Henry Bergh clashed with Bailey's partner and successor, P.T. Barnum, as early as December 1866, initially about Barnum's practice of feeding live prey to snakes, but soon Bergh was confronting Barnum about elephant use and misuse too. An 1884 confrontation described by The New York Times involved Barnum's use of a skin-whitening bleach designed for sale to African Americans to change a grey elephant into an alleged sacred white elephant.
A national hue and cry rose against elephant exhibition after Thomas Edison electrocuted an elephant named Topsy at Luna Park on Coney Island in 1903, and distributed film of the killing to theatres. Topsy had killed three handlers in three years.
The Sparks Circus elephant Mary was hanged from a railroad crane in Erwin, Tennessee in 1916, after killing one handler, amid rumors, later disproven, that she had killed 18 people including a child. Her death produced a further outcry, including from Jack London, who denounced elephant exhibition in specific and circuses in general in his last novel, Michael, Brother of Jerry (1917), published two months after London's suicide.
Many other elephant rampages produced sympathy for the elephants, including the car-smashing exploits of the A.G. Barnes circus elephant Tusko.
Editorialized the Portland Journal, after Tusko died in 1933 at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, "He was a vivid example of inhumanity. He was the product of the jungle. He belonged to the jungle. And there could be no place for him in civilization. To keep him as he was kept, by chains, hobbles, enclosures, and other implements of force and tyranny, was cruelty, brutality, inhumanity. He was untamed and untamable. He had a right to resist fetters and shacklesŠIn his own heaven, if elephants have a Valhalla, Tusko is back in the jungle, entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
Walt Disney exposed circus elephant abuse yet again in Dumbo (1941). But, though Dumbo remains among the most enduringly popular animated films ever, the elephant exhibition industry has for more than 200 years retained an economic and political advantage against all opponents.
Few elephants, however, have entered the U.S. since the U.S. ratified the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in 1973 and adopted the Endangered Species Act. In consequence, the U.S. elephant population is now superannuated and rapidly declining. About a dozen national animal advocacy organizations are actively campaigning to end elephant exhibition. The rate of attrition suggests they might succeed within 10 to 20 years.
There are currently about 290 elephants in U.S. zoos. The American Zoo Association reportedly hopes to boost the U.S. zoo population to 532 within the next five years, through births and acquisitions. As the U.S. zoo elephant birth rate is far below the death rate, most of the projected increase would appear to be through anticipated imports. Eleven African elephants imported from Swaziland in August 2003 were the first wild-caught elephants to reach the U.S. from abroad in 30 years. The San Diego Zoo received seven of the Swaziland elephants. The Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa received the other four.
Altogether, according to the USDA Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service, there are 488 elephants now in the U.S. The Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus has 54, the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee has 15, the Performing Animal Welfare Society has nine, fewer than half a dozen are at smaller sanctuaries, and about 120 are scattered among small circuses and other exhibitors.
Elephant exhibition in Canada moved closer to extinction with the November 30 death of Tara, 41, matriarch of the Toronto Zoo herd. The Toronto Zoo still has three elephants, ages 40, 40, and 30. Other Canadian zoos have 17 Asian elephants and 10 African elephants among them. There are no elephants in Canada who are not part of zoo collections.
African Lion Safari in Cambridge, Ontario, has 16 elephants, and has had 12 elephant births since 1991, the most of any North American zoo. The Calgary Zoo has the next largest Canadian herd, with just four. The Granby Zoo, with two elephants, and the Edmonton Valley Zoo, with just one, have fewer than the minimum of three that the American Zoo Association recommends for zoo herds.
European zoos and circuses have among them about 600 elephants. Britain has the most: about 75 elephants, distributed among 13 zoos. Slightly more than 100 elephants are believed to exist in captivity in other nations without wild populations.
European zoos and circuses have encountered intense opposition to attempts to import elephants from Asia and Africa in recent years. British activists who hoped that circus acts using elephants were history in the U.K. were disappointed in February 2009, however, when the Great British Circus bought three elephants from Germany. The only other living circus elephant in the U.K. had last performed a decade earlier.

What did CZA say?

"Provided that certain safeguards and animal welfare measures can be guaranteed, we welcome the decision of the CZA, and call upon governments in other countries to follow India"s example and end confinement of elephants in zoos and circuses," said the Born Free Foundation, PETA, and the Royal SPCA of Britain in a joint statement.
"Importantly, the CZA confirms that there is little or no benefit to the in situ conservation of wild elephants derived from keeping elephants in zoos and the like," the statement added. The statement was endorsed by 34 other animal advocacy organizations in 14 nations, and by nine prominent individual elephant advocates.
But what exactly the CZA said, in full, remained unclear. The actual text of the CZA order was not immediately disclosed, either by the CZA itself or by recipient zoos. The Animal Welfare Board of India was not sent a copy. ANIMAL PEOPLE requested a copy, but the CZA did not respond.
According to BBC News, whose November 12 summary of the content remained the most complete available several weeks later, the CZA order stated that zoos and circuses are "not the best places for the large animals" who "require a large area to move about freely."
Reported BBC News, "A spokesman for the authority said a binding directive had been issued by the authority for the animals to be sent to national parks and sanctuariesŠas soon as possible."
According to BBC News, the CZA directive said that circus and zoo elephants potentially have "great use" in eco-tourism and patrolling national parks and tiger reserves.
The directive applies to both Asian elephants and African elephants, who are kept at the Delhi and Mysore zoos. However, CZA jurisdiction does not extend to either temple elephants or working elephants, who are about 95% of the Indian captive population.
CZA evaluation and monitoring officer B.K. Gupta told Neha Lalchandani and Deeksha Chopra of the Times of India News Network that 26 Indian zoos and 16 circuses had among them 140 elephants, as of March 2009. "Of these, Mysore and Trivandrum have the largest number at nine and eight respectively," Gupta said.
"The decision [to banish elephants from zoos and circuses] was taken," Gupta added, "after evaluating conditions of elephants at various zoos and circuses. We found that circuses especially were not following the standards set under the Recognition of Zoo Rules, 1992."
Explained Punjab State Board for Wildlife member Sandeep K. Jain, "The CZA had laid down certain conditions for circuses like microchipping of elephants, possession of tranquilizing instruments and keeping treatment records, but these were not followed."
"The elephants currently living in zoos or circuses are to be moved to 'elephant camps' run by the government's forest department and located near protected areas and national parks," reported Associated Press writer Nirmala George. "There they would be able to roam and graze freely, but mahouts, or traditional elephant trainers, would still keep an eye on them," George said.
"There is merit in this decision," World Wildlife Fund India TRAFFIC trade monitoring program chief Samir Sinha told George. "It is best for elephants to be as close to their natural habitat as possible. Elephants needs a lot of space to exercise and move about, and they are deprived that space in zoos and circuses," Sinha said.
The Delhi Zoo reportedly is soon to transfer two Asian elephants and its African elephant--a presidential gift from Zimbabwe --to Jim Corbett National Park.
"There are close to 20 elephants in the Mysore Zoo and the Bannerghatta Biological Park. We will shift them as soon as we get orders from Delhi," said Karnataka additional principal chief conservator of forests B.K. Singh.
"The animals are used to a certain lifestyle in the zoos," Singh told Jayashree Nandi of the Times of India News Network. "I am not sure how quickly they will adapt to their new life in the open. They will have to be fed regularly because they are used to eating at regular hours," Singh anticipated.
"If we have to act according to the CZA decision, the zoo would no more have the regular visitors, especially children who come in large numbers" to watch elephants, predicted R.K. Sahu, superintendent of the Kamala Nehru Zoological Garden at Kankaria, near Ahmedabad. Sahu told Times of India News Network correspondents Pooja Bhatt and Krishna Vyas that there would no longer be elephants anywhere nearby, since elephants are not native to the region.
But not every zoo objected to the CZA order. "The Zoological Park at Vandalur on the outskirts of Chennai is set to shift the four elephants in its collection," reported P. Oppili of The Hindu, "and zoo officials seem not too unhappy about the move, for some of the elephants have in the past shown violent tendencies and their upkeep is expensive."
Praveen Bhargav of Wildlife First, however, told Oppili that relocating zoo elephants to national parks, sanctuaries and tiger reserves would become an example of solving one problem by creating another.
"Domesticated elephants invariably suffer from diseases which, despite screening, may get passed on to wild elephants and other endangered species," Bhargav warned.
Tuberculosis, which passes readily between humans and elephants, has killed about 100 elephants in Kerala state since 2005, reducing the state captive elephant population to 695, veterinarian K.C. Panicker told Ignatius Pereira of The Hindu.
Also of urgent concern is elephant herpesvirus, which has caused about 20% of the deaths of Asian elephants at U.S. zoos since 1983, according to the International Elephant Foundation, and has occurred at other zoos around the world.
However, elephant herpesvirus may already afflict wild Asian elephants, since a Cambodian elephant calf who died in 2006 was apparently already ill when confiscated from traffickers.
"First of all, elephants in zoos should undergo proper and detailed medical checkups and they have to be observed closely. Then there should be an acclimatisation programme for these zoo elephants before they are finally let into the parks and sanctuaries," recommended Kerala state forest department veterinary officer Arun Zachariah.
Beyond the health issues, Bhargav alleged that existing elephant camps at wildlife reserves are already causing forest degradation, and attract development that encroaches on protected habitat. Since logging within wildlife reserves is completely prohibited, Bhagav added, there is no longer much work for the elephants at elephant camps.
"Special facilities have to be created, perhaps outside the wildlife sanctuaries," said Indian Institute of Science ecology professor Raman Sukumar, of Bangalore.
Releasing elephants who are already habituated to humans into wild habitat might escalate conflicts which in the past five years have already brought the deaths of 301 people and 304 elephants in Orissa state alone, warned Satyasundar Barik of The Hindu. Seventy-three deaths of Orissan elephants since 2001 have been by electrocution, Barik added. Some have resulted from accidental collisions with wires, but in some cases wires have been hung to keep elephants from raiding crops or trampling huts.
Assam state forest minister Rockybul Hussain has recently asserted that his agency needs to "acquire wild elephants and domesticate them for government duties," according to the Times of India News Network, but the claim has been denounced by Project Elephant director A.N. Prasad, among others, as just an alleged pretext for pressuring the federal government to lift a ban on capturing crop-raiding elephants. Prasad is also the current Indian federal Inspector General of Forests. "The Wildlife Act permits the capture of wild elephants only if they threaten human life. No such permission has been given to Assam in recent times," Prasad said.
Now dozens of already trained elephants, many from Assam, may be available for the asking--but Hussain is not expected to ask for any.

 

Sanctuaries

The most likely fate of the 140 Indian zoo and circus elephants may be transfer to relatively spacious off-exhibit Animal Rescue Centres, featuring semi-natural habitat, but still in captivity, still under the jurisdiction of the CZA.
More than 280 lions, 40 tigers, and scores of aging ex-performing bears are already living out their lives at CZA-accredited Animal Rescue Centres near Agra, Bangalore, Bhopal, Chennai, Jaipur, Tirupati, and Visakhapatnam.
Some of the Animal Rescue Centres are operated by animal welfare charities. Wildlife SOS built the first of those, opened in February 2002, and now manages four. Several others are operated by major zoos, including the Indira Gandhi Zoo in Visakhapatnam, whose prototype Animal Rescue Centre opened in February 2001 as an intended captive breeding facility. The mission changed after the Supreme Court of India on May 1, 2001 moved to enforce provisions of the Wild Life Protection Act 1972 which prohibit the capture for exhibition of lions, tigers, bears, and monkeys.
Zoos with documentation of captive breeding were allowed to keep lions, tigers, bears, and monkeys, but circuses and other exhibitors were not.
Bears still often arrive at Animal Rescue Centres, confiscated from dancing bear exhibitors, often in relatively remote rural areas, but the numbers of lions and tigers are diminishing. Some of the facilities built to house them could be adapted to house elephants who are deemed unlikely to adjust adequately to less constrained situations.
Wildlife SOS also expects to be involved in housing ex-zoo and circus elephants. "We are currently collaborating with the Haryana Forest Department, with whom we signed an agreement in July 2008 for the establishment of an elephant rehabilitation and research center in the Ban Santoor Forest, adjacent to the Kalesar Wildlife Sanctuary," said Wildlife SOS cofounder Kartick Satyanarayan. "This center will provide a much needed sanctuary for abused, exploited, sick and handicapped elephants requiring retirement, convalescence and medical care."

Temple elephants

Other Indian animal welfare charities are looking ahead to a culturally more difficult struggle. "We must now focus our efforts on getting elephants out of temples and other 'religious' places," said Blue Cross of India chief executive Chinny Krishna.
The tradition of keeping temple elephants originated in ancient times as a means of retiring and honoring former working elephants, but long ago degenerated into something closer to a tradition of temples operating as quasi-roadside zoos. In recent years temples in southern India, especially Kerala, have often become dumping grounds for problematic ex-working elephants brought from the north--and illegally captured wild elephants.
There are hints that some Kerala authorities are becoming fed up with the influx and frequent mistreatment of elephants.
Responding to a petition from Compassion Unlimited Plus Action, the Kerala high court, for example, in November 2009 stayed a September 2009 order from a forestry official that returned an elephant bull to one Jacob Abraham, of Kottayam, Kerala. Abraham earlier donated the elephant to the Sree Ayyappa temple in Jalahalli, but the forest department--in response to earlier CUPA complaints--impounded the elephant due to neglect.
While the case was pending, four captive elephants died of abuse in Kerala, three in private custody and one at the Pullukulangara Dharmasastha Temple in Alappuzha on October 14. That elephant was reportedly beaten to death by a new mahout.
"Kerala chief conservator of forests K.P. Ouseph has written to his Bihar counterpart Basheer Ahmed Khan not to issue permits for transport of elephants" sold at the annual Sonepur livestock fair, reported Ignatius Pereira of The Hindu on November 6, 2009. "Ouseph informed Khan that Kerala has enough captive elephants and it does not intend relaxing the order in the immediate future," Pereira said.
Kerala has officially prohibited elephant imports since August 2007. Ouseph's action signified that the prohibition will now be enforced.
Use of elephants by private mahouts to beg on city streets is also common in India, particularly in the relatively affluent cities of Maharashtra state, including Mumbai. Maharashtra state banned elephants from urban areas in July 2007, but the ban is poorly enforced, Plant & Animal Welfare Society founder Sunish Subramanian Kunju charged in a public complaint to several state agencies with jurisdiction on November 23, 2009.
"These elephants are made to walk for long distances without adequate food and water on tar roads, they are made to walk long distances at night too, they cause traffic jams on already congested city roads, their stress level increases due to the noise from vehicular traffic and firecrackers [at weddings and festivals], they do not get proper medical treatment, and minor children are made to sit on the elephants and beg with these animals, which is an offence as per the Child Labour Law," Kunju alleged. "Often concerned citizens and animal lovers complain to the police and the wildlife department against the ill-treatment meted out to the elephants," Kunju continued, "but seldom has any action been taken against the offenders," suggesting that bribery of public officials may be involved.
"The elephants need to be rescued and sent to wildlife sanctuaries," Kunju concluded. This would be a tourist attraction," Kunju hoped, and could "even earn revenue for the state." Adequate sanctuaries for all the begging elephants in Inda may not exist yet. But if the CZA directive is enforced and followed up, it may become the impetus for creating such sanctuaries. --Merritt Clifton

--

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2009:

"God is not Dracula"--but sacrifice continues

KATHMANDU, MULTAN-- "God is not Dracula!" protested Animal Save Movement Pakistan president Khalid Mahmood Qurashi via posters, web postings, and press releases as the annual Eid ul Azha began in Saudi Arabia on November 27, 2009, and continued around the world for four days.
Qurashi reminds fellow Muslims every year that Islam requires charitable acts at the Eid, not blood sacrifice. This year Qurashi found himself reminding Hindus, too, as the Eid slaughters were compounded by the sacrificial massacre days earlier of more than a quarter of a million animals in Bariyarpur, a Nepalese village near the Bijar border.
The Eid celebrates the conclusion of the Haj pilrimage to Mecca, which observant Muslims are to make once in their lifetime, if able. Reports from Saudi Arabia indicate that about 685,000 sheep, goats, and other animals were killed for the Eid in 2009, continuing a slight downward trend evident for several decades. Globally, as many as 20 million animals were killed for Eid feasts--but, under pressure from governments throughout the Islamic world, more and more of the killing is done in slaughterhouses, and less by untrained heads of households at curbside.
"Work to rectify this situation in Turkey has yielded fruit in recent years, with the Directorate of Religious Affairs working in conjunction with regional municipal and agricultural authorities to reduce the unsanitary and unacceptable conditions," reported the Istanbul newspaper Zaman.
The Bariyarpur slaughter, however, may have been the biggest yet, and the promoters reportedly made no concessions to either animal welfare or sanitation.
"The history of this bloodthirsty event began when Bhagwan Chaudhary, a feudal landlord, was imprisoned about 260 years ago," wrote Anil Bhanot for The Guardian, of London. "He dreamed that all his problems would be solved if he made a blood sacrifice to Gadhimai," a Hindu goddess worshipped by the Bhojpuri people who inhabit the Nepal/Bijar border region.
Bhagwan Chaudhary and a local faith healer conducted the sacrifice upon his release from prison. The killing in 2009 began when Dukha Kachadiya, a descendant of the faith healer, "started the ritual with drops of his own blood from five parts of his body," wrote Bhanot. Mangal Chaudhary, a descendant of Bhagwan Chaudhary, then beheaded the first of about 16,000 buffalo. The buffalo massacre was followed by the killing of about 50,000 goats, and then other animals including sheep, poultry, and rats.
The Maoist-dominated Nepalese government spent 4.5 million rupees to build open-air slaughtering facilities, but most of the massacre reportedly occurred wherever massacre participants found themselves. The government motivation was money, reported Laxmi Sah and Pawan Yadav of the Kathmandu Post: "Contractors have paid 5.1 million rupees for the use of flesh, hide and bones of the animals," who were brought to the slaughter mostly at the expense of the participants, though the Nepalese government also purchases some animals for sacrifice as a political gesture.
"Earlier, the festival management committee used to earn nearly two million rupees selling hides, while the local dalits [poorest of the poor] ate the flesh," sacrifice committee vice chair Dhenukh Chaurasiya told Sah and Yadav.
"The dalit community has refused to consume the flesh of the slaughtered animals this year," Sah and Yadav noted.
"Five years ago Nepalese king Gyanendra attended the Gadhimai festival, throwing his weight behind the orgy of sacrifice," observed the Times of India News Network. "Today, with his crown abolished, the former king's kin leads a passionate campaign to prevent animal sacrifice."
"I stopped animal sacrifice at my parents' house when I was eight," explained Pramada Shah, president of Animal Welfare Network Nepal. "When I was married to Ashish Shah, Gyanendra's nephew, I realised animal sacrifice was deeply rooted in the family tradition. However, I put an end to it." Shah joined with spiritual leader Ram Bahadur Bomjan, called the Buddha Boy by devotees, and with activists around the world to organize opposition to the Gadhimai slaughter. "The government used the lame excuse that this is an ancient culture that should run its course," Shah said. "We intend to work in coordination with Indian groups to raise awareness among the visitors, of whom 60 to 80% are Indian. We also want to work with the local communities, with the hope that the next Gadhimai festival will be different."
"The organizers violated every code of animal welfare. The animals were not provided with any water and food in the days before the sacrifice," testified Roots & Shoots Nepal representative Manoj Gautam. "Many young animals had already died from stress, exhaustion and dehydration before the killing started. Their bodies were left among the live animals. The sacrifices were carried out randomly within a radius of three kilometers of the temple. Everyone could kill anything, with whatever knife or sword. Butchers holding swords hacked randomly at thousands of buffalo. No one was holding the buffalo--many tried to escape. Baby buffalo were bleating and searching for their mothers. Not a single animal survived. The Gadhimai festival committee, despite countless promises, failed to provide a space where animals could be left for jeevandhan," or ritual mercy.
"Baby buffalo came up to me wanting to be petted. They were scared and needed some comfort," said Animal Nepal program manager Krishna Singh.
"A baby buffalo came up to me and touched my tripod," recalled photographer Bibi Funyal. "I felt I would pass out if I continued filming. When I left, I had to step over thousands of bodies and heads and wade through animal blood."
"Now that I have observed the festival, I am convinced that these killings are among the worst cruelty in the world," said Dutch journalist Lucia de Vries.
"The Gadhimai killing brings to light what happens every day in slaughterhouses across the planet," responded Nepalese writer, film maker, and blogger Sushma Joshi. "The only difference is that we see the crudeness with which animals are killed. I, an aspiring vegetarian, almost support sacrifices for this reason--because it provides a mirror for the world to see exactly what goes on their plates."
Three infants died of exposure and one man died after drinking moonshine during the Gadhimai festival, the Indo-Asian News Service and Nepali daily Kantipur reported. All four victims were from Bijar.
"It is unfortunate that Hinduism, which is the earliest religion to forsake the killing of animals, is misused to sacrifice animals," wrote C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation director Nanditha Krishna. "The Rig Veda, the most ancient book of the Hindus, says 'One who partakes of human flesh, the flesh of a horse or another animal and deprives others of milk by slaughtering cows, O King, if such a fiend does not desist by other means, then you should not hesitate to cut off his head.' The Yajur Veda adds 'You must not use your God-given body for killing God's creatures.' The Atharva Veda says 'Those noble souls who practice meditation and other yogic ways, who are ever careful about other beings, who protect all animals, are those who are serious about spiritual practices.'
"Contemporary Hindu ritual is based on the Manusmruti. Manu lashed out against all forms of sacrifice and meat-eating," Krishna added.
Nanditha Krishna's husband, Blue Cross of India chief executive Chinny Krishna, invited Animals In Islam author Basheer Ahmad Masri to Chennai shortly before Al Masri's death in 1993, "to make a case among Muslims not to sacrifice goats for the Eid, and to give sweets instead of mutton to honor the occasion," wrote Sharon St. Joan of the Best Friends Network. The mission had little effect on Eid slaughters, but then-Chennai mayor Abul Hassan was persuaded, and later endorsed the prototype for the Indian national Animal Birth Control program, ending the killing of street dogs.

 

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Florida busts chase pens

FORT WALTON BEACH--The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission in mid-November 2009 concluded ten months of both undercover and aerial surveillance of unlicensed chase pens by charging 12 people with buying and possessing live foxes and coyotes without having permits, and issuing citations to 46 people who brought dogs to pursue the foxes and coyotes.
There are six legal chase pens left in Florida, where dogs may be released to harass and attack foxes and coyotes who cannot escape from the pens, though they may have hiding places. The foxes and coyotes must be vaccinated against rabies, and must come from rabies-free states.
The owner of a seventh formerly legal chase pen surrendered his permit to operate in August 2009, after he was found in illegal possession of coyotes. That facility had been extensively exposed by brother and sister Jeremy Maines and Christin Tank at <http://endthehunt.org>. Maines and Tank called chase pens a legal form of dogfighting.
"Over the past year, we have received numerous complaints regarding the enclosures," acknowledged Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission chair Rodney Barreto. "These investigations are something we will weigh when we make decisions about the future operation of these enclosures."

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