Who we are
ANIMALS 24-7 debuted in early 2014, produced by husband-&-wife team Merritt & Beth Clifton.
Beth Clifton, our social media editor, collage artist, photographer, and researcher, brings to ANIMALS 24-7 extensive hands-on experience with a wide range of wild, exotic, and domestic animal species, including as a former mounted police officer, animal control officer, veterinary technician, and school teacher.
See Why pit bulls will break your heart, The Rottweilers in my life, Life & death decision at Hidden Beach, Galveston mock lynching may hasten police horse era to an end and Recurring nightmare: my escape from a serial no-killer for examples of coverage informed by Beth’s own direct experience in animal rescue, animal care and control, and police work.
Beth is an active member of many social media newsgroups pertaining to animals and habitat.
Committing journalism since 1968, mostly on animal-related news beats, and an active charter member of the Society of Environmental Journalists for the first 30 years it existed (see ANIMALS 24-7 resigns from the Society of Environmental Journalists), ANIMALS 24-7 editor Merritt Clifton in 2010 received the 15th annual ProMED-mail Award for Excellence in Outbreak Reporting on the Internet for contributions to understanding the animal behavioral and cultural aspects of emerging zoonotic disease.
Having previously been news editor for the Animals’ Agenda magazine, 1988-1992, editor of the Animal People newspaper, 1992-2013, and editor of the annual Watchdog Report on Animal Charities, 1999-2013, Merritt was keynote speaker at the first No Kill Conference in 1995.
Merritt Clifton won the 2010 ProMED-mail Award for Excellence in Outbreak Reporting:
Since 1996, ProMED-mail has celebrated the anniversary of its founding (19 Aug 1994) by presenting the ProMED-mail Award for Excellence in Outbreak Reporting on the Internet. This year, we are pleased to announce our winner, Merritt Clifton, editor of Animals 24-7, co-produced with his wife Beth, and frequent contributor to the pages of ProMED-mail.
Merritt Clifton has provided much background information with regard to the incidence and control of rabies virus infection in Asia, information and comment which has not been available from published sources. His contribution has been invaluable in this respect. Over 100 of his submissions on a wide variety of topics, since 1996, have been posted.
Merritt has also provided tremendous insights into cultural background and even behavioral explanations in many animal situations that have proven correct as well as explanatory for the situation at hand. He has a varied career, having traveled many places in the world in various capacities, from researcher to animal handler (feral cats). He is an astute observer of both animal and human behavior and a valuable research partner.
Recently (26 July 2010), a report submitted by Merritt Clifton to ProMED was covered by the New York Times:
“Rabies deaths are on the rise in Viet Nam, according to the country’s National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, whose director blamed slack management by provincial health authorities and public ignorance of the threat.
But subscribers to ProMED, a disease-outbreak Web site, have pointed out another contributing factor: in the mountainous rural northern provinces where the problem is worst, many people are fond of eating dogs.
Many Vietnamese refuse to eat vaccinated dogs, said Merritt Clifton, editor of ANIMALS 24-7, because the only vaccines locally available are grown in sheep brains using an outdated method invented by Louis Pasteur. If improperly stored, those vaccines can give rabies to the dog, and in turn to the diner.”
Merritt has been a news reporter, editor, columnist, and foreign correspondent since 1968, specializing in animal and habitat-related coverage since 1978. He is a four-time winner of national awards for investigative reporting.
ANIMALS 24-7 director Jill Campbell, among our most enthusiastic readers from inception, with her husband Dave manages the Someday Farm Vegan Bed & Breakfast, Island Recycling, and Scotty’s Towing, all community institutions in Freeland, Washington.
Jill & Dave also look after a variety of sheep, goats, poultry, exotic birds, cats, & small dogs, mostly rescued from adverse situations.
Raised in Japan, Jill was a vet tech before meeting Dave.
ANIMALS 24-7 director Roger Witherspoon, currently editor/publisher of the investigative news web site Energy Matters, has for more than 50 years reported about state and national politics, foreign affairs, finance, defense, civil rights, constitutional law, health, the environment, and energy for a variety of both print and electronic media.
On a temporary hiatus from journalism, Roger developed the global Save The Tiger program for the Exxon Corporation. Roger authored the biography Martin Luther King, Jr. to the Mountaintop (Doubleday, 1985); is a longtime board member of the Society of Environmental Journalists; and cofounded both the New York Association of Black Journalists and Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists, which grew into the National Association of Black Journalists.
ANIMALS 24-7 director and occasional guest columnist Margaret Anne Cleek is a retired California State University at Sacramento professor of industrial psychology, a lifelong Malamute enthusiast, and also a board member for the Northern California Malamute Club.