The eight letters below, by Harold Sims, Wayne Pacelle, Didi Culp, Dina Zulfikar, Marc Bekoff, Kristen Diederich, Mahair Sibay, and Sherry DeBoer, were written in response to various content of the November/December 2013 edition of the newspaper ANIMAL PEOPLE, which was the last edition. ANIMALS 24-7 believes the concerns of the authors are worth airing. Except for Sims, the letter-writers are responding to articles researched and written by ANIMALS 24-7 editor Merritt Clifton, and in Culp’s case also by ANIMALS 24-7 contributing editor Alexandra Semyonova.
Has the shelter system failed?
I am very upset and unhappy with an advertisement published on page 6, lower right corner, of the November/December 2013 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE. By stating that “Millions of cats are killed every year. The shelter system has failed,” this ad insults all who give their time, effort, and love in administering humane care to cats. What kind of a group could utter these words and paint all shelters with the same brush?
I operate a private no-kill shelter for cats only. In the past 17 years of operation I have rescued and found homes for almost 4,000 cats. How can anyone say my shelter has failed? Where I live, many people don’t like cats. If we sterilize them all and let them run free, all hell would break loose. The bird lovers would blame the cats and allow developers and loggers to cut all the trees.
I understand this ad was from Alley Cat Allies. I was a friend of Alley Cat Allies and in the past gave money to them to support their mission. Animal lovers need to work together, not at odds. Alley Cat Allies saves some cats in safe locations. But even then some people object to cats in colonies. I save abandoned and stray cats and find the safe homes where they live as pets.
––Dr. Harold W. Sims, founder and president
Catman2 Inc., P.O. Box 2344, Cullowhee, NC 28723
Phone: 828-293-0892; <[email protected]>
HSI fought for WTO seal product import ban
While many organizations contributed to the incredible win you reported about in “Public moral concerns warrant EU seal product import ban, rules WTO,” http://www.animals24-7.org/2013/11/19/public-moral-c…-ban-rules-wto/, on page one of the November/December 2013 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE, it is important to fairly acknowledge the efforts of those who worked most intensively to make it happen. Humane Society International truly played a central role in helping to defend the EU ban on seal product trade at the WTO. We supplied considerable evidence and legal opinion to the EU that was featured heavily in all of its submissions to the WTO, both written and oral, and we drafted an amicus brief that was not only accepted by the panel but was featured in its decision. Moreover, extensive HSI video evidence of commercial sealing was shown to the WTO panel, and HSI representatives attended the panel hearings. We are continuing to work closely with the European Union to ensure that Canada does not win its appeal.
––Wayne Pacelle, president & CEO
The Humane Society of the U.S.
Review of Desperate Dogs, Determined Measures
Our current system of sheltering, adopting out, sheltering again, and adopting out again led inevitably to trainers like Desperate Dogs: Determined Measures author Robert Cabral, http://www.animals24-7.org/2014/03/07/review-despera…-robert-cabral/. Your review is an indictment of Cabral’s methods, but also of the current sheltering environment that produced this kind of thinking. Thank you to reviewers Alexandra Semyonova and Merritt Clifton for recognizing what Cabral’s book reflects about the state of our humane movement.
More about review of Desperate Dogs, Determined Measures
I value your book review of Desperate Dogs: Determined Measures by Robert Cabral, http://www.animals24-7.org/2014/03/07/review-despera…-robert-cabral/. More importantly, I value your unbiased reporting which hardly exists in journalism in general let alone in the polarized, emotionally charged world of animal care. Thank you. I don’t miss an edition.
Full disclosure: I have been portrayed negatively in your publication in the past, but it matters not if I can count on your full coverage of issues pertinent to my work. As an educator, I am often challenged to find facts on any animal welfare or animal rights issue. I start with ANIMAL PEOPLE where I am sure to get what I need.
––Didi Culp, humane educator
Frederick County Animal Shelter
Culp, as reported in the January/February 2012 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE, was for more than a year associated with the Humane Society for Shelter Pets, a project of the public relations firm Richard Berman & Co., Inc., whose clients include representatives of several animal use industries. The Humane Society for Shelter Pets filed for dissolution on September 30, 2013. Earlier, Culp was for three years an employee of the Humane Society of the U.S.
Thank you so much for documenting all efforts in “New draft Egyptian constitution guarantees ‘protection of animal welfare,’” http://www.animals24-7.org/2013/11/19/new-draft-egyp…animal-welfare/, in the November/December 2013 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE. I also thank Animal People for assisting and supporting––as always––animal welfare movement in the world. Including animal welfare in the Egyptian constitution is making history. The animals may not benefit from this during our generation or the generation to follow, but perhaps in the future.
Confused the universities
The review of my book Why Dogs Hump & Bees Get Depressed in the November/December 2013 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE mentioned that “Bekoff and humane livestock handling expert Grandin are longtime Colorado State University faculty colleagues.” I taught at the University of Colorado in Boulder; Temple has been at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.
Professor Emeritus of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado
Mercy for Animals responds to Tyson
We applaud Tyson for cutting ties with West Coast Farms in Okfuskee County, Oklahoma, as reported in “Undercover videos push Tyson into requiring farm animal welfare audits,” http://www.animals24-7.org/2013/11/19/undercover-vid…welfare-audits/, in the November/December 2013 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE. But this happened as a result of our investigation, not because of their own attention to this issue. Their continued refusal to implement a corporate policy to phase out the use of gestation crates––arguably the most inhumane confinement method in modern agriculture––within their farms speaks to their interest (or lack thereof) regarding animal welfare.
Tyson is claiming that they have removed the remaining animals, whom they own, from the West Coast Farms facility in Okfuskee County. While we can not confirm what has happened to these animals, we strongly suspect that they were simply moved to another facility with similar practices. Until Tyson implements a corporate policy to phase out gestation crates, they will be used by their suppliers because they are cheaper than humane housing. We certainly hope that corporations such as Tyson are making positive changes on behalf of animals, but are mindful of the financial interest they have in perpetuating this illusion without actually making meaningful change.
Development & Administrative Assistant
Mercy For Animals
8033 Sunset Blvd., Suite 864
Los Angeles, CA 90046
Need for organization promoting animal rights in the Muslim world
As a Muslim who is very interested in animal rights, I was very sad and disturbed to read the November/December 2013 ANIMAL PEOPLE article “Videotaped Eid al Adha slaughter cruelty in Gaza shocks Australia,” http://www.animals24-7.org/2013/11/19/videotaped-eid…ocks-australia/. There is no justification whatever for the violence described. Our prophet urged kindness and compassion toward animals, giving specific commands to make slaughter as quick and painless as possible. I understand the people of Gaza are experiencing oppression and severe poverty, but this should cause them to feel more sympathy for fellow oppressed beings, not less. They should not take out their anger and frustration on these poor helpless animals.
I feel there is a need for an international organization promoting animal rights in the Muslim world. Too many of us are not showing compassion and kindness toward animals as commanded by our prophet.
Oxen Hill, Maryland
Thank you for your excellent November/December 2013 coverage of horse issues––“Examining the odds for an end to horse slaughter,” http://www.animals24-7.org/2013/12/17/572/ , and “Time for a new national wild horse policy, covering all wild horses,” http://wp.me/p4pKmM-9m. I deeply appreciate your keeping horses in the spotlight. That said, here are two further points. First, horses are taxed as luxury automobiles, not as farm animals. Second, horses are not used in dog food. Pet food companies tried that a while back, and people refused to buy it.
Online searching quickly turned up at least three brands of horsemeat-based dog food still available in the U.S. by special order. Ken-L-Ration, the first major canned dog food brand in the U.S., introduced in 1922, was originally made entirely from horse meat. Cereal ingredients and a beef variant were later added to Ken-L-Ration, but it remained mostly a horsemeat product until purchased by the Quaker Oats empire in 1942. Horsemeat continued to be the staple food for hunting dogs and racing greyhounds for decades afterward. There is a common belief that the 2007 suspension of horse slaughter for human consumption in the U.S. ended the inclusion of horsemeat in U.S.-made dog food, but this is incorrect: there has never been any prohibition of the use of horsemeat as animal food. The remains of horses killed by gunshot or captive bolt are still commonly disposed of by rendering. Rendered into “tankage,” along with the remains of other dead animals, horsemeat may still be used in some of the cheaper brands of supermarket dog food.
Using more than 50,000 horses per year at peak, Ken-L-Ration encountered a horse shortage as motor vehicles rapidly replaced the use horses for work and transportation. When the supply of wild horses also ran thin, Ken-L-Ration founder Phillip Chappel turned to breeding Percheron, Belgian, and Shire horses specifically for slaughter. This incensed a sometime Montana cowboy named Frank Litts, who tried four times in fall 1925 to burn and dynamite the Ken-L-Ration cannery in Rockford, Illinois. Sentenced to the Illinois Asylum for Insane Criminals, Litts escaped within a week. He remained at large until November 1927, when he was caught in yet another attempt to attack the Ken-L-Ration plant. Returned to the asylum, Litts was shot through the left lung in a 1931 escape attempt. He died of pulmonary tuberculosis in March 1938, at age 54.
For further details, see “The People vs. Frank Litts,” by Basha O’Reilly, in the September/October 2009 edition of The Horse Connection.