LETTER 1 – Quite An Accomplishment
What a treat it was to read the Autumn 2010 issue of ActionLine. This issue is really the best ever. Each article, from front to back, is a tribute to the writers and to your editorship.
The well-researched article by Matt, Coyotes and Us, left me wanting to learn even more about these fascinating and unobtrusive creatures. The open war on coyotes will come to an end only when humans respect their rights and recognize their vital role in the natural world.
Lee's essay demanding that animals be granted the right to live on their own terms will surely persuade everyone who reads it to purchase Lee's book. I believe On Their Own Terms is the best book ever written on the meaning of animal rights: More than alleviating suffering; it's about protecting the viability of all animals and the habitats that sustain them. I am one of those who hadn't a clue, and learned about this from Lee.
Dustin's piece, The Skinny on FAT, answered a lot of my questions about this controversial issue. Easy reading and very informative.
Edita's story about the rescue of the gentle horse from the carriage industry was so moving, happy and sad at the same time. When Edita said, "Never again, Bobby," as the horse lowered his head to position himself for the equipment to be placed on him, I broke down in tears. It will never happen in our lifetimes, but one day, surely, the words "never again" will apply to all of the animals who are so terribly exploited.
I'm just mentioning some of the articles that appeared in the Autumn issue, but all of them deserve the highest praise. I am impressed by all of it.
LETTER 2 – APPLAUSE FOR ROMEO
John Hyde's book ROMEO: THE STORY OF AN ALASKAN WOLF should be made mandatory reading for every high school freshman everywhere in the world, so as to prepare future generations to the task of saving this planet from ourselves.
This book moves the human heart as any classic tragedy of Sophocles or Shakespeare. Beauty, sadness, and animal spirit ring throughout every page as it highlights not only the tragedy of one extraordinary wolf, but of the entire species faced now with human encroachment and pathological slaughter. Romeo’s message to humankind is clear and simple; one need not be versed in animal rights theory: at the core of every "animal problem" is in actuality a "human problem"- -we are the problem. Until we "control" ourselves, and "understand" ourselves, we will continue to devolve into the degenerates of the natural order.
Thank you ActionLine.
New York, NY
LETTER 3 - Concern for Carriage Horses
While I applaud Ritz-Carlton Central Park for cancelling its “horse carriage package” deal, and boycott of horse-drawn carriages, I have some grave concerns.
When these horses lose their “jobs,” some sincere and prompt attention must be given to placing these horses in sanctuaries where they will be given the rest and comfort they deserve for their lives of service.
I am afraid they will end up in auctions where they will be bought by meat dealers and transported across countries in horrendous conditions. These animals will be slaughtered for consumption by Europeans who think of horsemeat as a delicacy. These trustful animals deserve a better end to their lives than this.
Thanks for your concern for horses in need of protection.
Rose Marie Siemeck
Oak Lawn, IL
LETTER 4 – No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
Last June I stopped at a business near a main highway. I was there for a while and one of the dogs that lived there, a yellow Labrador, and I became friends.
The dog would walk into the highway and I was concerned about him getting hit by a car or truck. Therefore, I offered to give the owner $100 towards the purchase of a Pet Safe System (a transmitter collar) that cost $279.
He sounded interested and said he would look into it. I called him on three different occasions and he replied that he wanted one that would allow his dog “more running space than the 90 feet from the transmitter.”
In early September I stopped by and inquired about the Labrador. He told me the dog had been run over by a car and died.
Maybe I should have offered him $100 for the dog although I already have four of my own and really couldn’t afford another one.
LETTER 5 – Shelter-Killing Is Not Euthanasia
A letter-writer in your Autumn 2010 issue disparages no-kill shelters and the no-kill movement in general, and reflects a misconception held by many people (although, fortunately, fewer and fewer all the time) that the term “no-kill” equates with limited admission.
This is simply not true. Of course, any shelter that is limited admission can easily be no-kill, but that is not what no-kill is. For a shelter to be no-kill in the meaningful sense of the word, that shelter will be open admission and still not kill for space. This involves a set of protocols and procedures that have been demonstrated to work in a growing number of communities.
The writer cites the Twin Cities Animal Humane Society as having placed for adoption 19,064 animals, yet the organization’s 2009 Annual Report gives the number 18,887. The number of animals adopted by itself is not an indicator of how well the organization is doing. We need to compare this with the intake number to find out what percentage of animals is being saved and how many are being killed. The same annual report shows the intake number at 33,164. This indicates they have a save rate of only about 57%. In other words, based on these numbers, they may have killed more than 10,000 healthy or treatable animals that year. This is neither necessary nor acceptable.
The word “euthanasia” doesn’t define shelter-killing. It only pertains to those who are irremediably suffering. Killing for space is not euthanasia.
LETTER 6 - Stop the Supply of Victimized Animals at its Source
Thank you Priscilla Feral for all you’ve done. Planet Earth will have peace because of people like you.
I was struck by a sentence on page 3 of the Summer 2010 ActionLine:
These ruminant animals – through no fault of their own,
for they don’t breed themselves….
I believe that if it was against the law to artificially inseminate animals, hunting, fishing and trapping would end. The woods are “stocked” with pheasants, deer, wolves and other animals so there can be hunting seasons.
Cattle, pigs and chickens are also bred so they can be slaughtered. Then there are the supply houses that provide live animals for the labs. Do bees (honey) and silkworms (silk) count?
A law making it illegal to artificially inseminate animals would be a huge step in bringing peace to the world.
Ormond by the Sea, FL
LETTER 7 - Sounds of Nature
The article about coyotes in the Autumn issue of ActionLine reminded me, as if I needed reminding, of the only time I've come across one.
During my first visit to the US in the summer of 1987, I was staying with a lovely couple in Palo Alto, California. We spent a night in the Pinnacles National Monument. Now I'd always hated the very thought of camping and still hate being woken up in the middle of the night, but when it's by the noise of a coyote howling when one is lying alone in a tiny tent in total darkness and otherwise total silence, miles from so-called civilization - well it was simply amazing.
These wonderful animals – although all animals are wonderful - have done nothing to deserve persecution.
By the way, it is pure coincidence that I'm writing this on World Vegan Day, 66 years after the founding of The Vegan Society by Donald Watson, his wife Dorothy and a few others who realized that it would be a good idea to have a separate society for vegetarians who eschewed all animal products.
Unfortunately I never met Donald but did attend his funeral in November 2006 and was honored to be asked by the Chair of Trustees of The Vegan Society to read a eulogy at the Society's AGM that year. It was an especially emotional moment because my mother had died only a few weeks previously.
Local Contact for The Vegan Society, the Vegetarian Society and Viva!
LETTER 8 - Coyotes, Us and Rare Occurrences
In autumn 2010 ActionLine Matthew McLaughlin reported, in his article, "Coyotes and Us," that there has been only one human fatality from a coyote in the U.S. Do I not remember correctly that a young folk singer was killed by a pair of coyotes about two years ago? Now maybe she was from Vancouver, so technically he could be correct.
However, I believe Canadian coyotes should be included in reporting coyote statistics as the U.S. and Canada have neighboring ecosystems.
I don't argue that we can't live side by side with coyotes. I just ask for accuracy, and the death in Canada was unusual.
Editor's Note : New information arrived from FoA member Michael Bell in California who closely followed the case there in which a coyote was blamed for killing a child. Michael says there was no corroborative proof that a coyote attacked the child, nor medical records about the child's death.
Matt McLaughlin replied that Jennifer is correct about the death of singer-songwriter Taylor Mitchell in October 2009, while she was hiking alone in a Canadian Park. Coyote attacks on humans are rare and a coyote expert in Ontario told journalists that in his view, coyote-wolf hybrids were likely the culprits -- not coyotes.
LETTER 9 – Hunting Isn’t a Sport
What motivates “sportsmen” and “sportswomen” to carry their rifles, shotguns, and bow and arrows into the fields and forests? According to them, they are seeking fresh air and exercise, and communing with nature. They want to experience the thrill of getting close to wild animals. They relish the opportunity to spend quality time in the company of their fellow sporting enthusiasts and killing animals.
Evidence from the state of New Jersey suggests that the motivating factors are at best secondary, if not outright phony excuses for the true appeal to the “sporting’ community. Years ago, the state’s suspension of its annual bear hunting season which was met by furious hunters. Why were they so angry? They were not denied of the fresh air and exercise they claim they seek.
The only thing the suspension stopped them from doing was killing bears.
It seems that the real reason for their love of the hunt is in fact some sick, perverse pleasure they get from killing animals. This is particularly true of semi-evolved, blood-lusting, sub-humans like Ted Nugent, Sarah Palin and members of organizations like the Safari Club who travel hundreds, if not thousands, of miles to satisfy their lust for the kill.
The Nature Conservancy Is a Hunting Group
I moved to Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas a few years ago and the place seemed nice. Last year the area was filled with beautiful deer. This year they killed so many that I couldn't even see one at night. I complained to The Nature Conservancy about it because I am a Life Member, and the response was a disgusting advertisement for the hunting industry. If I still had any money left I sure would switch to your organization. You seem to be interceding for the animals the way other so called "Preservation" groups should.