To Actor John C. Reilly, for walking off the set of director Lars von Trier’s film “Manderlay” to protest the killing of a donkey for the shoot. He was replaced by a Slovenian actor. The film’s executive producer, Peter Aalbaek Jensen, retorted that the killing was entirely humane, and told the Ritzau news bureau: “We could probably kill six children for a film without anyone raising a fuss.”
To date, we have received no reports of children being murdered during the filming of Manderlay.
Soon after, Reilly traveled to Southern Oregon, speaking out against the logging of old growth forests. He publicly condemned a proposed timber sale which would make 800 acres available for logging. Reilly told the Associated Press, “I’m here to use some of the positive energy I’ve gotten from people from my career, the outpouring of support and love people have given me for my acting, to try to shed some light in a positive way.”
To Jennifer Smith, a Miami high school student, for saving the life of Miss Piggy, a pig she had raised through the Future Farmers of America youth-auction program. Jennifer endured the harassment of fellow students as she worked against a system designed to teach children to view animals as objects rather than individuals. After an attack by vandals left Miss Piggy with an infected wound, Jennifer nursed her friend back to health and arranged for her to be taken to a sanctuary in Tennessee. Jennifer told the
South Florida Sun Sentinel, “I can’t look at bacon anymore.”
To Patrick McDonnell, creator of the comic strip “Mutts,” for a feature which focused attention on Canada’s seal hunt. In the full-color Sunday, May 16 edition of the popular strip, one cat asked, “Hey Shtinky, What’cha doin’?” The other cat replied, “I’m trying to stop thinking how helpless baby seals are still being brutally clubbed for their fur.”
To Peter Burwash, the former tennis professional and Davis cup champion, who now rallies people to embrace a pure vegetarian diet. Peter recently told the Kalao O Hawaii, the newspaper of the University of Hawaii, that “an athlete should have no meat, fish, poultry or eggs.” Burwash, winner of 19 singles and doubles titles during his professional tennis tour, once told ESPN, “becoming a vegetarian was the greatest moment in my life.”
To the Fox Network, for offering a fur coat as a prize on the blatantly sexist and offensive “reality” program, “The Swan.” The premise, using plastic surgery on women who compete in a “beauty” contest, was bad enough. Adding a fur coat to the prize list provided further indication that Fox television executives need to join the 21st Century.
Peter Cherin, President, CEO, and Director,
Fox Entertainment Group, Inc.
1211 Ave. of the Americas
New York, NY 10036
Telephone: (212) 852-7111
Fax: (212) 852-7145
To Hertz Rental Car, for teaming up with the National Rifle Association. By mentioning a promotional offer featured on the main page of the NRA Web site, NRA members get special discounted rates. Customers who don’t belong to the nation’s largest prohunting organization are charged more to rent a vehicle.
Craig R. Koch, Chief Executive Officer
Hertz Worldwide Headquarters
225 Brae Boulevard
Park Ridge, NJ 07656
To Steve Irwin, host of the exploitive “Crocodile Hunter” series on Animal Planet, for his harassment of marine mammals in the Antarctic. The Australian Antarctic Division bans certain forms of close contact with nonhuman animals. Parliamentary Secretary to the Environment Minister, Sharman Stone, says the Environment Department and the Australian Antarctic Division are investigating a number of claims from people who have seen Irwin’s television promotion in the United States. “It’s suggested that he may have been jumping in and getting very close and personal with some whales,” Stone said. Related reports claim Irwin slid down hills with penguins. There is no telling how far Irwin will go for a stunt. In January, he was filmed feeding a crocodile with one arm while holding his baby, Bob, in the other.
P.O. Box 665
Florence, KY 41022
To send an E-mail to Animal Planet, visit the Discovery Web site for viewer feedback, at: extweb.discovery.com/viewerrelations.
To the deliberately nameless owners of Tyson, the Skateboarding Bulldog, recently profiled in USA Today, for announcing that they are interested in breeding him. Friends of Animals wrote to the owners and asked them to reconsider this position. Tyson is a dog in Huntington, Calif., who is seen on Web site photographs and videos riding a skateboard down a city street. A section of the Web site contains feedback from visitors, many of whom comment they would like their own skateboarding bulldog.
Some people prefer organically grown food because they want to avoid pesticides. Some believe the most natural ways of growing are the most ecologically responsible. Other people want to be assured that the farm workers who harvested the crops did not have to face dangerous toxins. And there are those vegetarians who want foods that were not grown with chemicals that kill or cause other animals to suffer. For many people, reasons to choose organics include a combination of all of these reasons. Presently, however, much of the food available to U.S. consumers is grown in a production system that directly or indirectly exploits animals — even if it is organic.Organic farmers, like all farmers, must restore minerals and organic matter to the soil in order to continue to grow crops. Instead of using chemical fertilizers, most organic farmers use products such as animal blood, animal manure, and fish and bone meal to replenish the minerals lost from the soil as a result of their farming activities. Many organic farmers use the animals themselves in what is called a crop and livestock rotation system. Any use of animals or animal derivatives, of course, results in animal exploitation and needless killing.Veganics to the rescueVeganic (sometimes called “vegan-organic”) farming rejects the notion we have to exploit or kill other animals in order to grow food. Veganic farmers avoid artificial chemical products, genetically modified organisms, animal manures or slaughterhouse by-products. Those who argue that nonhuman animals are an essential part of organic crop production have been proven wrong by individual farmers, commercial farmers, and even government-sponsored farms that do not use animals or animal derivatives.The Elm Farm Research Centre in England successfully completed an 11-year trial study of a vegan organic farm. During the study, crop yields were maintained without the use of animal manures, and there were no significant problems with disease or competing insects. The study was based on three different rotations for cereals and roots. During the phase in which animals would normally be used, farmers instead covered the soil with leguminous, nitrogen-replenishing green manures.This Elm Farm study changed the way farmers perceive the conversion to organic farming. Whereas they once assumed that conversion to organic farming would mean obtaining live animals to maintain the soil’s fertility in the absence of chemical fertilizers, the farmers now know that making the switch to organic farming does not have to mean getting involved with owning and maintaining a population of animals. Consequently, this study may help to convince increasing numbers of conventional farmers to switch to vegan organic farming — a good result for the environment and certainly for nonhuman animals.The Elm Farm Research Centre study proves it is simply not necessary to pass materials through an animal in order to enrich the soil. From a biological perspective, this passing-through merely results in a net loss of energy, and ultimately, an inefficient and unsustainable process of food production. “There is nothing mysterious or magical about manure,” says Ron Khosla, owner of the Huguenot Street Farm, a veganic farm in New Paltz, New York. “Manure is nothing more than the grass or grains that are growing on the farm, cycled through a cow’s digestive system.”[fn]If you use the Internet, you can find more information about Ron Khosla and the Huguenot Street Farm at www.flyingbeet.com.[/fn]How they do itOf course, veganic farmers, like all farmers, watch for competing organisms and diseases. Veganic farmers, however, have phased out the use of chemicals or other animals to protect their crops, opting instead to reinforce the health of the soil cultivate a natural resistance. The maxim of vegan-organic growing is to feed the soil, and the soil will feed the plants.To maintain soil fertility, vegan-organic farmers may use mulches made from plant-based materials. They also rotate their crops. In contrast, conventional agriculture is based on monoculture — that is, growing of single crop varieties across wide areas of farmland. Over time, the single-crop method tends to foster disease and reduce output. It also tends to diminish the value of the land for a diverse population of animals. Through mixed planting, veganic farmers encourage the biodiversity that ensures a natural balance of predators, insects, and helpful organisms. And ensuring plenty of habitat for wintering animals and plant life can be helpful for keeping the balance healthy through years of growing seasons at the same it respects the interests of other animals with whom we share the land.Veganic gardeners and farmers might use compost material made from vegetable peelings, grass cuttings, old hay, spent hops, comfrey, garden waste, ramial (shredded branches and leaves), or even seaweed. They supplement their compost material with green manures. Green manures are plants that are grown and then cut down, and then either worked in the soil or left on the soil to eventually disintegrate, for a variety of purposes. Clovers, alfalfa and vetches add nitrogen to the soil. Red clover and lupins have deep roots that recover nutrients from lower down in the soil. Cereal green manures such as buckwheat, oats, barely, and rye are good for growing later in autumn to protect the soil during winter.If you are a veganic gardener, or interested in establishing a vegan-organic farm, there is a model to help guide you. The Vegan Organic Trust has developed the first “Stockfree-Organic Standards.”[fn]Contact the Vegan Organic Trust, 161 Hamilton Rd, Manchester, M13 0PQ, England. If you use the Internet, you can find them at www.veganorganic.net and members with e-mail accounts may write to them via firstname.lastname@example.org.[/fn] Commercial growers who apply these standards will be able to obtain certification as vegan-organic growers, demonstrating that their produce is grown organically and without the use any materials of animal origin. This gold standard of veganics requires growers to adhere to a number of commitments: for example, that no animals for food production or commercial gain are to be kept on the registered farm; and that no animal manures or fish derivatives are used; and that the farmers grow no animal fodder or bedding. Farmers must not permit hunting or trapping on their land. Nor may they keep ducks on the farm to eat slugs and snails.Conclusion: Everything old is new againThere’s nothing new about embracing biodiversity and using decomposing plant matter to grow plants. It’s the very basis of natural growth. The best example is the forest, whose fertility comes from the accumulation of plants on the surface, without anyone working the soil and without artificial additions of animal manure.Early farmers acknowledged this. There was a time when nearly all farming was done without animal manure or animal derivatives. As Ron Khosla points out, “the Romans and the Chinese used ‘green manures.’” In practical terms, explains Khosla, farmers did not keep animals in high concentrations; nor did they have our substantial ability with fossil-fuels to transport manure from place to place. “Farmers in New York’s Hudson Valley in the 1800’s knew and wrote of the problems with depending on animal manures for vegetable nutrient needs,” says Khosla. To avoid these problems they learned how to farm using green manures and crop rotations.Conversely, if modern farmers would learn to avoid using animals or animal derivatives to grow crops, we could also eliminate the needless use of fossil-fuels consumed during the transport of manure from place to place. Finally, without animals, it is not necessary to maintain vast areas of pasture, so we could return this land to its natural state: forests. Not only would we stop using animals for our purposes — they’d also get precious habitat back.The food we eat is a constant connection with the natural world. Where we have the privilege of choice, our support for specific farming methods will, over time, have a lot to do with whether other animals — human and nonhuman — will have the space, the food, and the environmental health and diversity they need to survive. Supporting organic farming, therefore, has always had a special appeal for the conscientious consumer. Supporting a movement for veganics takes that conscientiousness a vital step further.Ron Khosla, veganic pioneer, hopes vegetarians will support the idea by starting shopping co-ops. “As a percentage of income,” says Khosla, “food is cheaper for Americans than it has ever been.” Nine out of ten consumers will buy the cheaper carrots, not the veganically grown carrots. This pushes farmers to the edge in terms of their profit margin. If they try to switch to veganic farming, and it doesn’t work — whether technically or in terms of sales — they may lose their farms. Consumers need to be willing to share the risk and the responsibility to make veganics work.
“Speciesism,” explains Dunayer, entails “a failure, in attitude or practice, to accord any nonhuman being equal consideration and respect.” The book title adopts the term coined in 1970 by psychologist Richard Ryder, who saw the animal rights movement as a logical extension of the moral movement which, in the later half of the 20th century, addressed injustice and inequality in human society and was increasingly concerned with the environment. “After the attacks upon racism and sexism,” explained Ryder, “it seemed only logical to attack speciesism.”Having examined the evidence and concluded that there is no scientific basis for viewing animalkind as a hierarchy with humans at the top, Dunayer’s book calls for full ethical consideration to the interests of any conscious animal. Dunayer argues that all should be accorded basic legal rights, including rights to life and liberty.Dunayer adroitly dispels previous assertions that individuals have to be mammals or have spinal columns as humans do, or that they have to prove that they can recognize themselves in mirrors, in order to win freedom. It is enough, for Dunayer, that an individual is able to think or feel.Of course, powerful calls for rights grounded in the simple ability to feel pleasure and pain, regardless of the individual’s human-like physical or intellectual characteristics, have already been made, and Dunayer gives due credit to that work. Yet some of the same authors who advocate nonhuman rights have stopped short of giving the same weight to the basic interests of nonhuman animals that they give to humans. Some have focused on allowances for picking “us” over “them” in emergencies. In one of the more memorable conflicts, normally presented as the lifeboat question, the philosopher presents the reader with a hypothetical lifeboat from which either a human or another animal must be tossed in order for the boat to stay afloat.There is, in my view, value in continuing to tussle over this issue as Dunayer does. This is because the “emergency” scenario will, in the future, come up in the course of everyday life. Consider this: Corporations, according to our modern law, are legal persons. They are born, die, and have emergencies as well — often. When a conflict arises between the survival of a corporation and the survival of a sentient individual, should a corporation, which is essentially a collection of humans who get together in search of profits, automatically have the right to bolster its own viability at the expense of a feeling, breathing individual’s life?Without a continual stream of profit, a corporation might fail in its duty to shareholders, and be unable to sustain itself over time. A business may well claim its survival is at stake in a given transaction, for property owners’ interests are deemed, and will continue to be deemed, immense stakes. After all, wars are fought over them. If a company’s a person, money is personal survival and that trumps the very life of any animal who isn’t a legal person. An oil company’s profit will frequently prevail over entire communities of wolves, seals, birds, and others. With corporations now considered legal persons, every nonhuman animal is endangered.Advocates for animal rights will, at some point in the very near future, need to grapple directly with the new realities of corporate personhood as well as conflicts related to our rising population. Regarding the latter, as land is taken up for a burgeoning human community, nonhumans tend to be moved, killed, or otherwise controlled.Joan Dunayer’s proposal would fashion a legal obstacle to this pattern, as freed nonhumans would be seen as owners of their eggs, milk, honey, pearls, nests, and hives. And they would have a claim to the natural habitats in which they live, so that emancipation from property status could be effectively enjoyed.Serious consideration of Dunayer’s argument entails seeing the value of natural space and thinking in terms of leaving some earth for other animals to freely enjoy. For without space for all sentient beings to live and be free, animal rights theory is, so to speak, merely academic.Speciesism by Joan Dunayer ISBN 0-9706475-6-5 Published October 2004 by Ryce Publishing (Derwood, Maryland, U.S., 2004) and available through Amazon.com Paperback; 214 pages. $18.95This review and commentary is based on an advance uncorrected proof of the book.
The Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota includes some of the poorest counties in the United States. The Reservation has many traditional tribal members and a 70% unemployment rate. Economic and social marginalization has resulted in tragic circumstances for both people and animals. Similar to other reservations, the stray dog and cat problem at Rosebud exceeded levels found in any non-reservation community. Animals suffered from mange, starvation, freezing temperatures and cannibalism, and recently as three years ago, the tribal council hired people from off-reservation to shoot dogs without collars. The shootings seriously distressed tribal members, including those charged with hiring the shooters. In desperation, some people tied rags around the dogs’ necks to save them, an effort that did not address starvation, illness or reproduction. Intensifying the crisis, there were three to five serious dog bites every week, mostly of children, which resulted in two to four dissections per month to check for rabies.In 2002, the director of the Tribal Health Administration, Anita Whipple, initiated contact with a number of animal organizations to aggressively develop a comprehensive, humane solution to these issues. Anita developed both short term and long term goals for the new program. For the short term, she arranged a series of high volume spay (and pet care) clinics and asked Friends of Animals and Arkansans for Animals, among others, for assistance. In fact, if not for emergency help from FoA, the first high volume clinic for this year would not have been possible.Anita had asked Arkansans for Animals to help arrange the first clinic to be held in April to halt this year’s “baby season.” Arrangements had gone beautifully, with three terrific vets had agreed to participate in the clinic. Two are from Arkansas, Drs. JoAnna McManus and Barbara Page, who work in our mobile clinic with technician Dian Ladner. The third, Dr. Brent Pitts of Oklahoma, brought his own clinic and technician and offered to do an extra clinic in an out-lying community. Vaccines had been donated by Jeff Morrison, a representative of the vaccine company, and there would be a mange dip tank for all dogs.Everything looked perfect until the week before the clinic. A grant from the Two Mauds Foundation had paid for the surgical supplies for the clinic that could not be supplied by the Indian Health Service, but the hoped-for funds from another foundation needed to move the surgical personnel to the Rosebud Reservation, were denied. No one involved could stand the thought of yet another promise to the Indians being broken. The Bureau of Indian Affairs had recently seized the new animal shelter that Anita had worked so hard to create in an abandoned jail on the reservation, a year’s work obliterated. The U.S. Army had taken promised equipment for the proposed animal clinic and sent it to Iraq.Priscilla Feral said FoA would help once again, as it had offered in every animal emergency in Arkansas and many other places.The clinic was a huge success. Many females were pregnant or in heat, 375 animals were sterilized and hundreds of births avoided. Animals had porcupine quills removed, infections treated, fleas, ticks and mange killed, and arthritis, diabetes and neurological problems treated. More than 1,000 dogs were vaccinated, as were cats. he Tribal Health Administration was also able to stop a distemper outbreak before it killed all the dogs and much of the wildlife in and around one community.Anita Whipple and her team in the Tribal Health Administration personally contacted each community, and even went door-to-door on the reservation to explain the reasons for the new programs. She published articles on basic pet care in the tribal paper and in the schools, created a temporary animal shelter, hired an animal control officer, and established a permanent animal clinic for visiting veterinarians. Nearly 2,000 animals have been sterilized and 4,000 were vaccinated in the last two years. Dog bites and rabies exams have dropped precipitously. The whole program has been developed by Indians for Indians and has created great changes, new attitudes, new expectations and new hope on the reservation. It has been a privilege to watch and be a part of such an effort.
Some of our readers have mentioned the difficulty of activism, with regard to seals and other animals, north of the border. In this report, lawyer Terry Berger explains why things are particularly rough for the Canadian advocate, and considers how activists might rally for change.Charities have traditionally provided services that governments consider worthwhile — services that the governments themselves decline to provide. So governments try to extend charities a courtesy by exempting them from various taxes. But governments also traditionally protect property interests. What happens when charitable ideas and property interests collide?In Canada, if a group has a negative view of a business profiting from the use of nonhuman animals, it stands to lose its charitable tax status. The Canada Revenue Authority (the “CRA” — akin to the United States’ Internal Revenue Service) has what is commonly called the 10% Rule. Simply put, the rule restricts charities to using no more than 10% of its resources on “political activities.” As one media advocacy group declares, “This limitation on a charity’s voice is more restrictive than practices in virtually any other developed democracy. Vibrant, informed, and genuinely open debate, and greater civic engagement on issues of public importance, will lead to innovation, better public policy decisions, more efficient use of public resources, and a healthier, stronger democracy in Canada.”[fn]Institute for Media, Policy and Civil Society, “Charities: Enhancing Democracy in Canada,” Vancouver, British Columbia (2003).[/fn]The 10% rule, as applied, has adversely affected organizations whose goals relate to nonhuman advocacy work. The overbreadth of the CRA’s rule lends itself to capricious government enforcement. It’s time to change this ill-conceived rule.The significance of tax deductionIn Canada, not all contributions to non-profit organizations receive the same tax benefits. Only contributions to registered charities are tax-deductible.[fn]See Canada Revenue Authority Publication P113, “Gifts and Income Tax,” published electronically at http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pub/tg/p113/p113-e.html#P113_5728 (visited 21 Jun. 2004; updated 4 Dec. 2003).[/fn] The registered charity designation is critical for many contributors. Charitable status allows an organization to collect donations and issue tax-deductible receipts to donors. Many large foundations are restricted by their own charters to giving money only to charitable organizations, not simply those that are non-profit.The English traditionCanada’s laws regulating charities are rooted in a 400-year-old edict known as the Statute of Elizabeth. This Statute identified what purposes, for its time, were to be considered charitable. The law permitted special treatment to those who offered relief to society’s marginalized citizens or who supplied services the government deemed beneficial, such asthe relief of aged, impotent, and poor people; the maintenance of sick and maimed soldiers and mariners, schools of learning, free schools and scholars of universities; the repair of bridges, havens, causeways, churches, sea banks and highways; the education and preferment of orphans; the relief, stock or maintenance of houses of correction; marriages of poor maids; supportations, aid and help of young tradesmen, handicraftsmen and persons decayed; the relief or redemption of prisoners or captives and the aid or ease of any poor inhabitants…”[fn]See the preamble of The Charitable Uses Act of 1601, often referred to as the Statute of Elizabeth.[/fn]In 1917, the English House of Lords, traditional bunch that it was, held that an organization created for the purpose of changing the law could not be a charity.[fn]Bowman vs. Secular Society (1917) AC 406. Note to lawyers: Case citations have been streamlined for purposes of this article. Full citations available to lawyers from the author via TerryBerger@FriendsofAnimals.org.[/fn] From this holding, Canada derived its current law prohibiting charities from having a political purpose.[fn]Other cases have attempted to elucidate the meaning of “political purpose.” In one such case, the court broadly defined prohibited political purposes as either furthering the interests of a particular political party, or promoting the change of laws, whether domestic or in foreign countries, or promoting the change of government policy or of particular government decisions. See McGovern vs. Attorney General, (1981) 3 All ER 493.[/fn]Clarified or confounded?In 1985, Canada’s Federal Court of Appeal attempted to clarify these limitations and held that some political activities were permissible so long as they are “incidental” to the charity’s main function.[fn]Scarborough Community Legal Services vs. Her Majesty the Queen (1985) 2 FC 555.[/fn] This is the origin of the 10% rule.The following year, Canada’s federal Income Tax Act was amended in an apparent attempt to clarify that holding. The law now states that charitable organizations can engage in political activities if they are “ancillary and incidental to its charitable activities” and they don’t (even indirectly) support or oppose any political party or candidate for public office. The CRA regulations adopted the 10% figure as being the cap of what is considered “ancillary and incidental” and that amount has since been accepted by courts as well.[fn]Vancouver Society of Immigrant and Visible Minority Women vs. M.N.R., (1999).[/fn] This still leaves us with the threshold question: what activities do the CRA consider political?The courts have, with a broad stroke, established that activities which are designed essentially to sway public opinion on a controversial social issue are not charitable, but political. These types of activities include publications, conferences, media advertisements designed to attract interest in a political position, public meetings or lawful demonstrations organized to publicize and gain support for a point of view on matters of public policy, and requests by a group to its members or the public to write to the media and government expressing support for specific views.[fn]Alliance for Life v. M.N.R. (C.A.1999) 3 F.C. 504.[/fn] It is easy to see why registered charity groups might tremble. These “limitations” cover virtually all activities in which any charity may engage. Whose charitable status will the CRA revoke next?And then, to muddy (or pollute) the waters even more, the CRA issued Summary Policy A04 that states, in part, that “some forms of advocacy can be charitable — for example, to advocate in order to change people’s behaviors — while others are unlikely to be charitable: for example, to advocate to change people’s opinions. This leaves the CRA the authority to determine which is which. How does an organization advocate changing people’s behaviors without first changing their thoughts that prompted those behaviors? Canada’s policy seems to accept the premise that if people act without thinking, it is acceptable; but if they think before acting, it is likely not acceptable.As you see, the restricted activities are so broadly defined that it is impossible for a charity to be sure it has reasonably complied. And this doesn’t even take into account the impossibility of determining whether those “political activities” comprise less than 10% of the charity’s resources. The CRA has no written policy to guide its employees or guide charities in calculating that ten percent figure. Is it 10% of hours worked by employees? Is it 10% of money spent? 10% as calculated over what length of time? Charities are left without the benefit of knowing how CRA calculates this nebulous figure.And recall too that the 10% figure only relates to “controversial social issues.” So now we have the CRA determining which social issues are “controversial” and which are not. Charities are in a Catch-22 situation: if they succeed in educating the public about an issue, thus initiating informed open public discussion, will the CRA then consider the heretofore non-controversial issue to then be controversial?A chilling effectSo why haven’t pro-animal charities voiced displeasure with 10% rule? Nancy Zylstra of the Charity Action Team in Ottawa explains that “it’s difficult to attract vocal support because of a fear of intimidation or legal action from hunting clubs.” Charities hesitate to back up the Team’s work, “because they don’t want to attract attention to themselves for fear of becoming a target for possible government delisting.”[fn]Barbara Yaffe, “Team Kicks Up a Stink about Charitable Status,” Vancouver Sun (9 Mar. 2004). Perhaps needless to say, the Charity Action Team is not a registered charity. Indeed, pro-hunt figures have accused the Charity Action Team of being jealous of the tax breaks received by pro-hunt groups; one speaker declared, in such a statement before Canadian legislators, that “Albert Schweitzer and many other conservationists have said for years that removing excess animals from burgeoning wildlife populations is an essential component of successful wildlife management.” See statement of B. Bennett, “Charitable Status of Hunting and Angling Organizations,” Official Report of Debates of the Legislative Assembly, Afternoon Sitting (Hansard; 2 Mar. 2004, Volume 21, Number 4) published electronically at http://www.legis.gov.bc.ca/hansard/37th5th/h40302p.htm (visited 22 Jun. 2004).[/fn] The government has also removed the charitable status from pro-choice groups, amongst other progressive groups, contending their work reflects political activity by only advocating one side of an issue.[fn]Joyce Arthur of the Pro-Choice Action Network states: For the last two years, I’ve been trying to get Canada Revenue Agency to audit anti- abortion groups. Over 170 anti-abortion groups in Canada have charitable tax status. Out of these, 70 are political groups and 100 are ‘counseling’ agencies that try to scare women out of having abortions by providing false and distorted information about abortion. In contrast, only one pro-choice group in Canada has charitable tax status, as well as Planned Parenthood. The 12-year-old crime victim-rights group CAVEAT, based in British Columbia, also seen its charitable status revoked. ”Where there exists a mix of charitable and non-charitable purposes and activities, the courts have determined that an organization should not be recognized as a charity,” Canada Revenue Agency wrote to CAVEAT in November 2002. “It’s completely bogus,” said CAVEAT chair Ben Doyle. “Suddenly, we’re too political.”[/fn]Not long ago, the CRA pulled the charitable status of the anti-logging group Friends of Clayoquot Sound in British Columbia after over 20 years of rainforest advocacy. An organization called Charity Watch — reported to be run virtually single-handedly by Toronto agitator George Barkhouse, who is, in turn, supported by the gun lobby — filed a complaint with the CRA against the Friends of Clayoquot Sound, demanding an audit.[fn]Mitch Potter, “Charity ’Watchdog’ Tied to Gun Lobby; Uses Tax Law to Attack Environmental, Animal Rights Groups,” The Toronto Star (4 Dec. 2001) (describing an investigative report by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). Other charities undergoing audits in the wake of Barkhouse’s complaints include the Toronto Wildlife Centre, the Sierra Club of Canada Foundation, the Federation of Ontario Naturalists, the World Society for the Protection of Animals, the David Suzuki Foundation, Ecotrust Canada, the victims’ rights group CAVEAT, the Conservation Council of New Brunswick and the anti-globalization charity Alternatives For Political Propaganda.[/fn] The Friends had cleared audits before, but this time was different. “We were a bit naïve,” says Valerie Langer, one of the organizers of the Friends of Clayoquot Sound. “We thought they were auditing us to check our books, in fact we got audited to check our activities. It’s pretty hard not to be political in these times. You’re allowed to give a person a crutch but if you advocate for a safer work place then that’s considered advocacy and not within the Charities Act.” Barkhouse next targeted the Schad Foundation, a charity that helped end spring bear hunts ended in Ontario and B.C. “By the time I get finished with the Schad Foundation, they’ll be wishing that they never got involved in the first place,” Barkhouse wrote on an Internet site called “Hunt Action.”Meanwhile, the government has granted charitable status to hunting groups and groups that espouse anti-environmental agendas. According to the Charity Action Team, “many of these groups have adopted names that make them sound like pro-environmental groups… [T]hese anti-environmental groups cloak themselves in government-sanctioned subterfuge.” A Charity Action Team report to the revenue agency named 12 pro-hunting organizations and fishing lodges that have been granted charitable status yet do not appear to comply with the standards detailed in their applications.[fn]Charity Action Team (CAT), “Conservation or Contradiction: Should Hunting and Fishing Clubs have Charitable Status?” A Report prepared for Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (March 2003).[/fn] According to Anita Krajnc, one of the report’s principal investigators, after a full year of receiving continuous “No comments” from the CRA, the Charity Action Team went public with the report, generating substantial news coverage throughout Canada. Still, according to Krajnc, the CRA refuses to comment on any action it has taken against any organization named in the report.Silencing the Fur-Bearer DefendersOne of the oldest non-profit organizations in Canada to be the victim of CRA’s status-yanking is the Fur-Bearer Defenders, a Vancouver-based organization working against the trapping of mammals. The group had its charitable status stripped in 1999 after nearly fifty years of working against the fur industry. The CRA claimed its political activities — working against the fur industry to ban trapping — were not permitted.“It is most unfair,” said George Clements, co-founder and director of Fur-Bearer Defenders. “We’ve lost a lot of members; up to one-third,” Clements said from Vancouver in a telephone interview. “We’ve lost thousands and thousands of dollars because we lost our charitable status. We’ve lost money not just from charitable foundations but also lost a large amount of small contributions. People don’t want to contribute to an organization that’s not charitable.” Clements explained that CRA alleged that “we were registered ’incorrectly’ in 1953 as our group does not provide ’both sides of the issue’. We were told five years before they yanked our status that we risked losing it if we continued speaking out against the nation’s fur industry. It’s all about money.” Indeed, the fur industry accounts for $800 million of the Canadian economy and provides employment for over 85,000 people.[fn]Figures from the Consulate General of Canada.[/fn] The Fur-Bearer Defenders, on the other hand, as a charity, brought in no tax dollars and employed relatively few individuals — relying mostly on volunteers.The 10% Rule: a dubious legalityThe 10% rule runs contrary to Section 2(b) of Canada’s Charter (similar to the U.S. Constitution upon which all other laws in the country must comport) which gives every Canadian certain fundamental freedoms including the “freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication.” Further, the 10% rule benefits big-business and stifles the voices of the public interests.[fn]In the words of one media advocacy group: Private interests dominate public policy debate and decision-making through direct lobbying of government and advertisement campaigns. The corporate, commercial, and professional sectors are well-equipped to play an effective role in the public policy development process. In addition, Canada’s tax system encourages these activities by allowing businesses to deduct expenditures of this kind for income tax purposes. Not only do private sector organizations have the financial means to retain experts to help them prepare and present well-researched and forceful public arguments, they are, in effect, subsidized by other taxpayers to do so. Institute for Media, Policy and Civil Society, “Charities: Enhancing Democracy in Canada,” Vancouver, British Columbia (2003).[/fn] It is important that governments and its citizens receive information and ideas from a variety of perspectives and sources, not just from those who can afford to buy the attention of others.What’s a group to do?If the 10% Rule is silencing groups or placing such an undue burden on them that they cannot fulfill their charitable mission, arguably a logical action is to give up the charitable status and take on the issues with lesser resources and challenge the Rule’s legality. Surely, accepting the status quo is hindering progress. Using the Rule as an excuse for failing to zealously and vigorously advocate for the protection of nonhuman animals and their habitat will result in mundane and unenthusiastic campaigns lacking the necessary public support. Only with public support will the government stop acquiescing to big money.What can the activist do?Friends of Animals will continue to keep members up-to-date on our interventions in the Canadian seal hunt from our southern side of the border. Watch this space for more. Meanwhile, if you think Canadian law needs to be changed to allow charitable organizations to speak out, don’t wait — the seals and other animals can’t.Write, email or fax:The Right Honorable Pamela WallinConsulate General of Canada1251 Avenue of the AmericasNew York, NY 10020-1175(212) 596-1628 (tel)(212) 596-1790 (fax)email@example.comPrime Minister’s OfficeRight Honorable Paul Martin80 Wellington St.Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A2 CANADA(613) 941-6900 (fax)firstname.lastname@example.orgContact the Canada Revenue Agency and demand immediate audits of the questionable “charities” covered on Charity Action Team’s (CAT) report “Conservation or Contradiction: Should Hunting and Fishing Clubs Have Charity Status?”Canada Revenue AgencyCharities DirectorateOttawa ON K1A 0L51-800-267-2384 (English) or 1-888-892-5667 (bilingual)(613) 954-2586 (Fax – Director General’s office)Here are some examples of questionable registered charities, which are frequently engaged in exploiting nonhuman animals rather than displaying charitable motives:Alberta Fish and Game AssociationBritish Columbia Wildlife FederationCanadian Wildlife FederationDucks Unlimited CanadaFederation of Anglers and Hunters Ontario (OFAH)Manitoba Wildlife FederationNew Brunswick Wildlife Federation, Inc.Newfoundland and Labrador Wildlife FederationNova Scotia Wildlife FederationOntario Wildlife FoundationPrince Edward Island Wildlife FederationSaskatchewan Wildlife FederationWe urge individuals living in Canada to call and ask your MPs what they are doing to change this law. (Copies of electronic replies are appreciated. Contact TerryBerger@FriendsofAnimals.org)