Autumn 2010

    Issue: Autumn 2010

    Table of Contents

    • LETTER 1 –

      A Word About Those “No-Kill” Shelters

       Your letters on promoting “no-kill” shelters deserve comment. “No-kill” shelters are also referred to as selective/closed shelters that often use a waiting list, while true humane societies are always open to all incoming animals. Humane societies do not impose a time limit and as long as the animal remains in good health and temperament, it is available until it is adopted.

      A good example of the limited value of “no-kill” shelters is by comparison of shelters. The current annual report from the selective admission, “no-kill” San Diego Humane Society shows that they have a $10 million budget and adopted out 2,332 animals. Our local open admission Twin Cities Animal Humane Society had the same budget but adopted out 19,064 animals.

      It is obvious that an open admission humane society helps more animals than the closed admission, “no-kill” shelters and yet the “no-kill” supporters love to bad-mouth and insult open admission humane societies who necessarily have a higher euthanasia rate. Obviously restricted, selective “no-kill” shelters that only admit specific animals can have a perfect adoption rate. These reasons are why I financially support many humane societies but reject “no-kill” shelters.

      Jon Belisle
      Maplewood, MN

      LETTER 2 –

      RE: Spring, Act-ionLine, Letters, It’s a Dirty Business

       I am heavily involved in cat rescue on Long Island, NY. One morning my neighbor stumbled upon a baby raccoon (eyes closed approximately 1 week old) lying under a tree at the edge of the street. Ignoring him would have meant that he would have died that day from either the cold or a car.

      I desperately attempted to return the baby to its mother by placing him in a box, under the same tree, night after night for a week. She never showed up.

      Moral of the story; he’s now approximately 12 weeks old, weaned and ready to be rehabilitated and released. The problem is that no licensed New York State rehabilitator will take him because to do so means they are breaking the law.

      They all tell me the same thing; animal control needs to be called and they will take him….to be euthanized.

      So I am considering keeping him on my property and allowing him to live his life in my area. Next problem: he needs distemper and rabies shots and no vet is willing to administer them to him.

      Via e-mail

      LETTER 3 –

      Pillow Talk

      Thanks to your Summer ActionLine, I just e-mailed Ross Perot and suggested he place a caption under his own head, alongside the rare rhino, labeled ” Moron.”

      I also wrote to Salazar and Abbey but without the nastiness hoping they would not kill the mustangs for the ranchers.

      Michael Banks
      Via e-mail

    • Recently, I watched five deer quietly come up from the woods to my back yard to graze on some twigs. I stood and watched and wondered why they are so vilified and why there is such a huge controversy about them. The park beyond my yard is their home, and homes surrounding the park have taken over part of their homeland.

      Can’t we be more tolerant and helpful? Can’t we welcome them and learn to live with them?

      Enter Philadelphia Advocates for the Deer (PAD), a cooperative venture backed by residents surrounding Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park, one of the largest urban parks in the United States. Local residents, together with their supporters throughout greater Philadelphia, formed PAD this past spring (2010) to cultivate respect for deer and other animals living in Philadelphia’s park system. PAD is committed to the long-term ecological health of Fairmount Park while respecting the park’s indigenous animals.

      Several PAD members have been involved since 1998 with other organizations seeking to stop the killing of the Philadelphia park system’s deer – a controversial solution to the alleged problems created by the deer in the park’s Wissahickon Valley and other areas within Fairmount Park. The solutions we have presented to the Fairmount Park Commission Board – now part of the Parks and Recreation Department – often have been suppressed or misrepresented.

      Friends of the Wissahickon (FoW), a Philadelphia-based organization, began a scientific study in 1994 to count the deer in the parks, responding to complaints from their members that the deer were ruining private prized gardens surrounding Fairmount Park as well as over-grazing the park itself. FoW’s statistics indicated a growing deer population, and for the past several years the park officials have contracted with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to invade our peaceful park system in order to slaughter the deer. Although concerned residents were initially told that the ‘culling’ would only be a one-time event, the slaughter has continued annually for twelve years.

      Deer continue to be blamed for disturbing the park biosphere, when the people who use the park — mountain bikers, hikers, and other trail users – have a far more serious impact.

      Hoping to become an advocate for the deer, I recently applied for a seat on the new Parks and Recreation Board – but was not chosen for the Board. I then attempted to contact the Parks and Recreation Department’s Commissioner, Michael DeBerardinis, to suggest a meeting when I and other concerned residents could discuss our concerns, only to be sent a letter stating that the park’s current control methods provide the best opportunity for successfully managing the herd.

      Some encouraging news arrived in late 2009. Citing, in part, a lawsuit brought by Friends of Animals and their allies in a group based in West Chester, Pennsylvania named CARE, the federal government decided not to go ahead as planned this past winter with sharpshooters working for the Department of Agriculture to kill the deer in Valley Forge National Historical Park, which is only a few miles northwest of Philadelphia. The Pennsylvania chapter of Friends of Animals welcomed and supported the formation of PAD.

      Much to Learn

      PAD is also fortunate to have an excellent historian of deer advocacy in Philadelphia as one of our founding members. We know that the deer were once seen much more positively — as special and unique — whereas now they are vilified.

      Lately, when the yearly slaughter of the deer occurs, neighbors turn a blind eye and I see it as an indication of the need to educate. We are responsible for what happens in our communities, and the killing of the deer year after year is an important ethical issue that cannot be ignored.

      PAD, then, was formed to protect the deer. Our core goal is to raise our neighbors’ consciousness about the deer and increase their support for park policies that allow the deer to live freely in Fairmount Park. While we need to increase our membership over the next year, our short-term objectives are clear:

      • To connect those who live near or care about Fairmount Park, to educate them about appropriate park policies regard the deer, and, particularly, to end the killing.
      • To provide regular opportunities for community meetings where discussions of alternative gardening approaches, Lyme disease, deer-related traffic accidents, and other concerns can be openly talked about. To find opportunities to share information about the history of the deer in Fairmount Park.
      • To organize and conduct monthly outreach in Philadelphia to raise awareness of the issue and distribute literature.
      • To meet with local political figures, including Mayor Michael A. Nutter and Michael DiBerardinis, Commissioner of the Parks and Recreation Department, as well as members of Philadelphia City Council and State Senators.

      The deer are gentle, quiet and peaceful animals and we have much to learn from them. PAD will be instrumental in this endeavor.

      Mary Ann Baron can be reached at:

    • John Hyde's beautiful tribute to Romeo, a lone, dark-haired wolf in southeast Alaska who socialized with domesticated dogs, shines through the lens of a gifted photographer whose insightful observations create a unique and endearing story. A chronicle of a wolf in the midst of two worlds, Romeo fills us with the writer's love for one being in a way that inspires respect for all wolves and their rightful place in nature. This book will delight a broad audience; and that's good for all free-living animals, and good for the human spirit.

      The howl of the wolf has often been described as the “call of the wild”…if Romeo can teach us anything let it be that we should answer that call by becoming more tolerant, giving all wild animal species a chance to belong, clean and productive habitat to live within, and respect as members of our community of life. (page 130)





      Copies can be purchased through the publisher at $21.25:
      Bunker Hill Publishing
      285 River Road
      Piermont, NH 03779
      And signed copies can be purchased through:
      John Hyde
      Wild Things Photography
      PO Box 34517
      Juneau, Alaska 99803

      Over the past 5 years The Alaska Dept Fish and Game has been trying to reduce the wolf population by In the Yukon/Tanana Region to a total of about 100 wolves. The population over these years has ranged from an estimated 300 to a high of over 400, making the targeted control number (wolves to be killed) between 200-300 wolves per winter.



      The young male-who, given all the commotion, had retreated into the forest-was now alone in a world he was just beginning to explore. The companionship and security of his family was now gone. He was on his own. (page 10)




      A wolf that came to be known as Romeo…
      One could ask how a wolf-according to legend an “indiscriminate killer, one to be feared at all times”-earned a name that implied courtship and love? The answer is simple: that was the only behavior he exhibited. All he ever wanted from others was acceptance and companionship, and he was willing to risk everything to obtain it. (page 10)

      Light snow was beginning to make its way down through the dense forest, falling from a gray winter sky. (page 1)






    • Cheers

      Cheers to Catalonia, the region of Spain that includes Barcelona, for banning bullfighting. This is the second region of Spain to enact such a ban (following the Canary Islands). The ban does not go into effect until January 2012, which is unfortunate for bulls in the short term. Worldwide recognition and praise for this ban will ensure it goes through and other regions follow. Avoid touring cities that continue to promote these spectacles of torture.

      Cheers to the National Marine Fisheries Service for agreeing with FoA's Marine Animal Rescue (MAR) of Los Angeles and authorizing the creation of a much-needed marine mammal care center in LA County. We look forward to star-studded support for the construction of this eco-friendly building in Los Angeles. Stay tuned for exciting news as this project advances; and you can always learn more online at

      Cheers to the Austin Animal Advisory Commission who voted unanimously to recommend a proposal that bans the retail sale of pets. The commission sees this as a serious step to shuttle potential pet buyers to shelters instead as Austin aims to create a no-kill shelter system. The City Council must vote on this proposal once it’s presented to them. Please encourage them to support this landmark measure, and encourage politicians in your own city to support such legislation.

      To learn more about the issue, visit:

      Please contact Austin’s Mayor Lee Leffingwell at 512-974-2250
      The council members are:
      Chris Riley
      Council Member Place 1
      Phone: 512-974-2260
      Mike Martinez, Mayor Pro Tem
      Phone: 512-974-2264
      Randi Shade, Council Member Place 3
      Phone: 512-974-2255
      Laura Morrison, Council Member Place 4
      Phone: 512-974-2258
      Bill Spelman, Council Member Place 5
      Phone: 512-974-2256
      Sheryl Cole, Council Member Place 6
      Phone: 512-974-2266
      Mailing Address
      Austin City Council
      P. O. Box 1088
      Austin , Texas 78767

      Cheers to Greg Lawson (president of Vegetarian Society of El Paso) and Dr. Elizabeth Walsh, who host a twice-monthly radio show an El Paso National Public Radio station KTEP called Animal Concerns of Texas. The show features a wide range of speakers and topics, and is dedicated to discussing the ways our society exploits animals and “how drastically this abuse affects human interests concerning health, the environment, and our level of connectedness to life.” If you live in El Paso, Texas, you can listen live; the shows are also archived, and you can listen online at:

      Cheers to BioCouture — the Fashion Research Project. An innovative and exciting new research project, BioCouture “aims to address ecological and sustainability issues around fashion. The BioCouture research project is harnessing nature to propose a radical future fashion vision. We are investigating the use of bacterial-cellulose, grown in a laboratory, to produce clothing. Our ultimate goal is to literally grow a dress in a vat of liquid…” This project is worth watching because the process would not involve or harm animals and the technology would preserve land and habitat for animals, and prevent the need for intensive farming measures. You can learn more about the project by visiting them on the web:


      Jeers to actor Brooke Shields, who traveled all the way to Denmark in March 2010 to design her own fur coat. Shields designed her coat out of short-haired black mink, and called the experience a “little girl’s dream.” Please remind Shields that her ‘dream’ was someone else’s nightmare; a mink coat can cost 65 mink their lives! Remind Shields that coats can be made from a variety of luxurious, warm, earth and animal-friendly materials.
      Brooke Shields
      c/o PMK/HBH Public Relations
      700 San Vicente Avenue Suite G-910
      West Hollywood , CA 90069
      Phone: 310-289-6200




      Jeers, also, to the entire cast of Real Housewives of New Jersey, for wearing fur in the show’s new promotional poster. The popular reality show features the exploits of fabulously wealthy people leading fabulously banal lives — but no one should die in the process. If the fur industry folds, many animals who could live unmolested and free will be able to do so. Never give up on this issue.

      Bravo Viewer Relations
      3000 W. Alameda Ave., Suite 250
      Burbank, CA 91523

      Jeers to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, for waging war on Canada geese who occupy parks in New York City for the second year in a row. Geese are being rounded up and gassed within a seven-mile range of NYC airports; they are being killed in the name of flight safety. Other cities have addressed this issue through habitat modification; killing enough birds to eradicate all risk is not possible and is not a sane approach. Please contact Mayor Bloomberg’s office and demand the immediate end to goose slaughter.

      If this is occurring in your area, please contact Friends of Animals and request a copy of our Canada Goose Habitat Modification Manual, which provides thorough information about how humans can cohabitate peacefully with geese.

      Please don’t put off contacting Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg at City Hall, New York, NY  10007
      PHONE 311 (or 212-NEW-YORK outside NYC)

      FAX 212-312-0700

    • A story of three advocacy groups — Friends of Animals, the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages and Equine Advocates — that teamed up to save a city horse from a Pennsylvania kill auction

      In collaboration with the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages, we’ve been working several years to ban New York’s horse-drawn carriage industry. So we’re pleased to report that our efforts, joined by the commitment of Equine Advocates, have saved a former carriage horse we found for sale at the New Holland, Pennsylvania horse auction.

      As Elizabeth Forel, president of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages, stated, “Current law does not protect any of the horses from going to the kill auctions.” 

      And for many animals, this “kill auction” is the final betrayal — the one that leads to the slaughterhouse. Horses are sold there weekly, and some go directly off to Canada or Mexico, where tens of thousands are slaughtered every year.

      But someone cared about Bobby. Forel received an anonymous message telling us a horse with the four-digit hoof engraving — the mark on all city carriage horses — was headed for slaughter.

      “Little did I know,” said Elizabeth, “of the journey that would begin when I turned on my computer that Friday, the 25 th of June. We always suspected that the industry sends horses to slaughter since so many — seventy to ninety — disappear from the Department of Health registry each year.”

      This horse, like them, could no longer make it through another day confined to the shafts of a carriage, pulling tourists through Manhattan’s chaos. The horse’s owners, Maria Sulla and Sebastian Spina, worked out of the West Side Livery stable at West 37 th Street in Manhattan. In a July New York Times blog article about the rescue, they explained that they’d bought a younger horse.

      “I didn’t want to put it in service anymore,” Mr. Spina said, speaking of their discarded horse. “It was too old.”

      The trip back north

      Friends of Animals and the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages funded Bobby’s rescue and trip from Pennsylvania to a veterinary hospital in upstate New York.

      The bay gelding was estimated at 14 years old, having pulled a carriage in New York City day after day for at least five years. According to records from the Department of Health, Bobby was taken out of the tourist circuit on June 20 th, 2010, a few days before the auction. The veterinarian’s report revealed a stress injury to the right front leg, stomach worms, and neglected teeth. Bobby also had several scars on the face and neck, from the constant rubbing and chafing of leather and metal.

      After being treated for the injuries, Bobby was off to Chatham, New York. There, l ocal schoolchildren greeted Bobby with posters and smiles. Susan Wagner, president of the Equine Advocates Horse Sanctuary, recalls the moment of Bobby’s arrival:

      The minute Bobby came off the trailer, I could sense a difference from when he first arrived at the hospital a day and half earlier. Gone was the pained, tense look that he had. Instead, I saw an alert and interested horse, extremely curious about his new surroundings. Bobby was led into a grassy paddock and turned loose. One of the first things he did was roll in the grass, something that all horses need to do, but this New York City carriage horse probably hadn't done for years. After about an hour in the paddock, as I approached him to give him a carrot, he stopped, lowered his head and positioned himself in a way as to allow me to place carriage horse equipment on him. I just said, “Never again, Bobby.”

      Bobby has changed, over the recent days, from a worried, battered animal to a free spirit. Over time, Susan says, there will be no evidence of the hoof number, 2873, which actually helped to save his life — for it will grow out. The only reminder of his former life will be the scars on his face and neck.

      On the 11 th of July, I visited Bobby at his 140-acre home, a sanctuary where 80 rescued horses live, finally, at their own pace and according to their own decisions. Bobby was frisky, curious and affectionate, and delighted with the carrots I brought.

      Many more are not so lucky. So we campaign to end the root of the problem, by demanding a ban to the horse-drawn carriage companies in New York City and beyond.

      What You Can Do

      In addition to showing your support for Equine Advocates and all hard-working sanctuaries, you can support our campaigns to ban horse-drawn carriages in New York City; Philadelphia; Haddonfield, New Jersey; and Victoria, BC, Canada. If you live in a town with horse-drawn vehicles, contact your mayor and council representatives and urge the passage of legislation to end the custom. Non-residents can pledge not to visit until that’s done.

      Please sign the NYC petition online at: Also, you can write a letter to Mayor Bloomberg to urge acceptance of council member Melissa Mark-Viverito’s Intro 86, the bill that would replace horse-drawn carriages with electric-powered antique cars, and would amend the current loophole in the law allowing horses to end up at slaughter auctions, so that all former carriage horses can be placed in an appropriate sanctuary.

      Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
      City Hall, New York, NY  10007    
      Phone: 311
      Outside NYC: 212-NEW-YORK
      Facsimile: 212-312-0700

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