Soldier, fundraiser, & campaigner: three animal advocates whose work & approaches could scarcely have differed more
Rory Young, 49, founder of the anti-poaching organization Chengeta Wildlife, was killed on April 26, 2021, along with Spanish journalist David Beriáin, 44, and photographer Roberto Fraile, 47, in an ambush in Burkina Faso attributed to the jihadist militia Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM).
Though focused on trying to end French influence in Mali, JNIM is also active in Burkina Faso and Niger. All three are landlocked majority Islamic nations in northwestern Africa.
Like many other African militias, JNIM is believed to fund itself in part through poaching and wildlife trafficking.
Young, Beriáin, Fraile, a Burkina Faso national who reportedly remains missing, and four Burkina Faso nationals who were wounded were among about 40 participants in an anti-poaching patrol by Burkina Faso troops in Arly National Park.
Grandson of associate of Cecil Rhodes
JNIM claimed credit for the ambush in a recorded message stating, “We killed three white people. We also got two vehicles with guns, and 12 motorcycles.”
“Rory James Andrew Young,” according to an extensive obituary published by the Irish Times, was born in 1972 in Lusaka, Zambia. His parents were Anthony Michael James Young and Lynette Margaret Young (formerly Hodges). Young “hailed originally from Killyconnigan in County Monaghan,” while his wife was ancestrally from County Cork.
Anthony Michael James Young was among the younger sons of Andrew Young, an engineer. While “working on projects in Australia and southern Africa,” the Irish Times said, Young “became associated with the colonial adventurer Cecil Rhodes (1853-1902), building roads and towns in South Zambezia, which became Southern Rhodesia, later simply Rhodesia, the forerunner of today’s post-colonial Zimbabwe.”
From Zambia to the French Foreign Legion
Rory Young, “the youngest of five siblings,” spent “his early years on a 6,000-acre farm in Chisamba in central Zambia,” recounted the Irish Times, “before, at the age of five, following his parents’ divorce, his mother moved the family to Zimbabwe,” then amid a three-way civil war among the colonial government headed by Ian Smith and two factions representing the majority black population.
One of those factions, headed by Robert Mugabe (1924-2019), eventually won, and ruled Zimbabwe until 2017.
Dividing his youth between the Zimbabwean capital city of Harare and a Catholic secondary school near Carcasonne in southwest France, Rory Young after leaving school “enlisted in the 2nd Foreign Paratrooper Regiment of the French Foreign Legion,” the Irish Times continued.
“However, he stayed for just a year,” before returning to Zimbabwe to work as a wildlife guide at Matusadona National Park and “as a reserve police officer and with several parks and wildlife organizations,” the Irish Times mentioned.
Struck by lightning
“Along the way, at the Pamuzinda Safari Lodge run by his sister, he met his future wife, Marjet,” mother of his two children and now his widow, “whose parents were Dutch diplomats. They settled initially in the Netherlands where Young learned golf course management.”
Rory, Marjet, and their children Astrid and Aidan Young returned to Africa in 2010 to help restore and manage the Livingstone Royal Golf & Country Club at Victoria Falls, founded in 1908.
That ended, according to the Irish Times, after Rory Young was was struck by lightning in 2012.
He then founded Chengeta Wildlife, based in the Netherlands.
World Wildlife Fund
“Through our partnership with the World Wildlife Fund, Chengeta Wildlife has a permanent presence in the Central African Republic, Dzanga Sangha Protected Area. We are also providing in-situ support in Cameroon and Republic of Congo. In Mali, we partner with Mali Elephant Project and have an emerging partnership with Conservation Justice in Burkina Faso,” says the Chengeta Wildlife web site.
Rory Young and Yakov Alekseyev in 2014 co-authored A Field Manual for Anti-Poaching Activities.
Dying with Young, David Beriain was from Pamplona in northern Spain, best known for the annual “Running of the bulls” during the Festival of San Fermin. Roberto Fraile was from the Basque region, farther north. Beriain, a veteran war correspondent, had “worked for a now-defunct Spanish branch of CNN,” the Irish Times said, while Fraile “used to work for Spain’s CyLTV,” and “according to Spanish media reports, he was wounded in Syria at the end of 2012 while covering the Free Syrian Army.”
“A very fine southern gentleman”
Glenn Wood Summerlin, 87, died on April 10, 2021, remembered to ANIMALS 24-7 by longtime humane executive Warren Cox as “a very fine southern gentleman who provided fund raising for many humane organizations.”
Born in Dallas, Georgia, 38 miles north of Atlanta, Summerlin spent his entire life in the greater Atlanta metropolitan area, attending Peeples Street Elementary School, Brown High School, Sylvan Hills High School, Georgia Tech, and Georgia State University.
Even during a brief U.S. Army stint, followed by 10 years as an Army reservist, Summerlin was not far from Atlanta, at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and Fort Jackson, South Carolina.
Helped to develop direct mail fundraising
Entering the direct mail marketing industry in 1956 as production manager for Fred Worrill Advertising, Summerlin in 1965 moved to Grizzard Advertising, Inc., where he spent the next 33 years, eventually becoming vice chair of the board. He retired in 1999.
At Grizzard Advertising, Summerlin enjoyed a career trajectory paralleling the rise of the direct mail fundraising industry itself, from a minor branch of direct mail marketing to the economic mainstay of the entire U.S. nonprofit sector.
Hired by the LeGette Letter Service in Atlanta in 1928, then a four-person company serving local businesses, Claude T. Grizzard Jr. (1905-2006) bought the company in 1933, during the depths of the Great Depression. Renaming it Grizzard Advertising, Grizzard refocused from commercial direct mail advertising into fundraising for charities in 1944, then partnered with Beatrice Haas to spin off Grizzard & Haas, a consulting firm serving nonprofits, in 1956.
Claude T. Grizzard continued to head Grizzard & Haas until he sold the company circa 1990.
Under Grizzard’s son Claude H. Grizzard, meanwhile, Grizzard Advertising “grew to more than 600 employees with nine offices across the country and annual sales of nearly $125 million,” according to Atlanta Journal-Constitution obituarist Derrick Henry.
Summerlin at Grizzard Advertising developed the firm into arguably the national leader in direct mail representation of local humane societies, though not without considerable competition and occasional controversy.
Trouble in Illinois
In July 1992, for instance, Dennis Orsey, then assistant Illinois Attorney General , charged Grizzard Advertising with violating state charitable trust laws for failing to register with the state as a professional fundraiser.
Alton Telegraph staff writer Susan Dragich reported that Alton Area Animal Aid Association executive director Ken Nixon “had agreed in July 1991 to pay Grizzard the first $72,000 [raised] in a direct mail campaign. Five A’s, which hoped to raise $10,000 in the drive, received no money.”
Grizzard Advertising collected $26,000.
Asked to comment when the lawsuit was filed, Summerlin told Dragich, “I wouldn’t comment to you if you asked me if the sun was shining outside in Atlanta.”
Summerlin later contended in response to the case that “We are a printer and a mailer. We do not serve as a professional fundraiser.”
Settled & registered
Grizzard Advertising in October 1992 settled the lawsuit by paying the Alton Area Animal Aid Association $15,000 and registering as a professional fundraiser.
“Nixon, who was also named in the suit because he did not seek approval from the Five A’s board before entering into the agreement, is forbidden to solicit money for a charity in Illinois,” Dragich added.
Nixon, who previously headed the Danville Humane Society in South Carolina, meanwhile had returned to South Carolina. Nixon headed the Spartanburg Humane Society from 1992 until his retirement in 2001, and then from May 2004 to July 2006 served as interim director of the Vermilion County Department of Animal Regulation, filling in for his grandson Shane Boyer, who had been recalled to active duty in the U.S. Army Reserves.
Atlanta Humane Society
The first and perhaps largest Grizzard account within the humane community was with the Atlanta Humane Society. Summerlin also served on the Atlanta Humane Society board of directors from 1971 until 2008, including multiple terms as board treasurer and two terms as board chair.
During Summerlin’s board tenure the Atlanta Humane Society in 1974 took over managing the Fulton County Animal Control shelter, as well as its own facilities, and then in 2003 returned the animal control shelter management contract to the county, after the county council refused a requested $500,000 increase in the annual shelter management contract, from the previous payment of $2,005,000.
Explained Summerlin, “For more than several years, the county has been furnished information that the Fulton County facilities are aging badly, breaking down and in desperate need of replacement. Fulton County has been notified that there would come a time when the Atlanta Humane Society could no longer accept substandard facilities.
“Could no longer subsidize a government function”
“Atlanta Humane has also notified the county,” Summerlin said, “that reimbursements for animal control expense would have to be sufficient to cover expenditures, as the Society could no longer subsidize a government function. Several years ago the Society wrote off a loss of more than a quarter million dollars in uncollected reimbursements,” and in 2000-2001, Summerlin said, reimbursements of “more than $65,000” had not been paid.
Summerlin’s tenure at the Atlanta Humane Society overlapped the 30-year tenure of Bill Garrett as executive director and president, 1977-2007, at both ends, though Garrett later returned for a brief stint as interim president.
During Garrett’s tenure, animal control killing in Atlanta and Fulton County dropped from more than 30,000 dogs and cats per year to about 11,000, even as the human population of the city and county more than doubled.
SAWA & Emory University IACUC
Since then, Atlanta and Fulton County has dropped to circa 2,500 per year, but Fulton County chair John Eaves partially attributed the January 2017 fatal pit bull mauling of six-year-old Logan Bratz and disfigurement of his classmate Syari Sanders to inadequate animal control funding. The two children were attacked while walking to a school bus stop with their mothers.
Summerlin was also long active in the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators, which in 2000 created an award named in his honor for outstanding achievements in animal welfare.
In addition, Summerlin served for a time in the mid-1980s on the Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee at Emory University in Atlanta.
Helen Marston, 52, chief executive officer of Humane Research Australia for fifteen years, 2005-2020, died on February 4, 2021, after a nine-year battle with breast cancer.
Recalled Animals Australia in an online memorial, “Helen began her advocacy journey at Animals Australia in 1997, and was an integral part of our team for eight years. She had a life-long drive to improve the lives of animals, focused particularly on those in animal experiments.”
At Humane Research Australia, a memorial statement added, Marston “established the Humane Charities List, served on government committees, won the coveted Lush Cosmetics Public Awareness Award, and wrote and published a children’s book, Leo Escapes from the Lab.”
Marston may be most remembered, however, for her April 2012 response to learning she had cancer.
“Frightened, confused, hurting”
“Lying on a cold table in an unfamiliar place and undergoing a core biopsy was probably one of the most traumatic events of my life,” Marston blogged.
“I was frightened, confused, hurting and, yes, I cried – but not just for myself. As I lay there, experiencing a needle digging around inside me and having small pieces of flesh cut from my body, I thought about the animals in laboratories who are subjected to similar experiences. Of course, I had been given some analgesic, the process was explained to me, and ultimately it was for my own benefit. Not so the case for lab animals.
“At the age of 44, having lived a healthy vegan lifestyle, and not inheriting any history of breast cancer in my family, I never suspected that I would be a victim of this insidious disease,” Marston acknowledged.
“Then again, I’m not invincible and so there’s no reason why I should be exempt.
“Would I need to compromise my core values?”
“Considering the passion I have for my work,” Marston admitted, “one of the main dilemmas I now faced was my ingrained opposition to animal experiments. Did my treatment – if I was to accept it – now mean that I would need to compromise my core values? Would it be hypocritical to expose my body to drugs that I knew involved animal testing at some stage before they came onto the market? Or in fact would I be of better use to refuse such a treatment?
“At Humane Research Australia,” Marston observed, “we have found that when we discuss this subject with researchers, or with parents of children born with genetic defects or terminal cancer, every ethical argument is cast aside. Animal experiments are then considered a ‘necessary evil’.
“For this reason, Humane Research Australia has always based its opposition to animal experiments on scientific grounds. We maintain that medical progress is best made when research is species-specific and not led astray by data extrapolated from a different species.
“Easy to cast logic aside”
Yet, Marston admitted, “when someone is personally affected by serious illness, it can be easy to cast such logic aside and hang on to any hope of survival – even (in some cases) at the expense of animals.”
Marston, following diagnosis and surgery, investigated possible further courses of treatment.
She learned that “each of the drugs that I was to be given were discovered more than forty years ago – almost before I was born. This didn’t make sense.
“Haven’t we all seen countless news headlines over the past few decades heralding cures of cancer (all based on animal trials)? Where was that miracle cure now that I needed it? And what have all the millions of animal lives lost and billions of dollars pumped into cancer research in the interim achieved?
“After many days and nights considering my choices,” Marston wrote, “I eventually elected to proceed with the conventional course of treatment.
“More opposed to animal research than I ever thought possible”
“Now that I am personally affected by cancer I can confirm that my position on animal experimentation has indeed changed,” Marston added, “I am more opposed to animal research than I ever thought possible.
“But does that mean that we just use humans as the new ‘guinea pigs’? Ultimately we are anyway, given that results of animal testing are inconclusive.
“And no,” Marston finished, “I’m certainly not pinning my hopes on a miracle cure discovered from animal experiments because I know that will never happen.”
The Liberty Foundation delivered the memorial that Marston probably might have most appreciated, rehoming in her name 31 guinea pigs obtained “from a research establishment” in Sydney “to a sanctuary where they will be cared for and adopted out to loving homes in the community.”