Autumn 2015

    Issue: Autumn 2015

    Table of Contents

    • Bureau of Land Management is Archaic, Useless

      Nicole Rivard’s timely article about Samson the mustang and his rescuer, Mitchell Bornstein, only reinforced my total disdain for this most archaic and useless branch of an equally inept cabinet department. It took me back to the story the Denver Post broke two years ago about Tom Davis, described as a livestock hauler and proponent of horse slaughter who purchased 1,700 from BLM through its Wild Horse Adoption Program and then couldn’t account for either the whereabouts or very existence of the creatures. Hey anyone can lose 1,700 horses right?   And besides, he said he loved horses so we have his word on that. He just didn’t say whether he liked them better dead or alive. Outside of the lackies and hacks at BLM and the Interior Department it would take the most credulous fool in the world not to believe that every one of those horses died in Mexican slaughterhouses after having their necks stabbed with a knife or skulls crushed with a hammer. But that’s only part of this macabre story.

      The Post indicated that Davis lived and/or operated in the San Luis Valley in southwestern Colorado near Alamosa. Among his friends and neighbors there were the Salazars; Ken, the Interior Secretary, and his brother John, representing the 3rd Congressional District in the House. I recall that Ken downplayed their relationship while saying Davis was a good man who liked horses. In some perverse verbal translation that’s probably true.

      Well it’s been two years now and still nothing from BLM or Interior other than some spokesman/buffoon chastising those of us who suspect the worst for pre-judging Davis’ guilt based solely on the large number of animals involved. While we try to ferret out some meaning from that vacuous statement we’re told that Salazar’s friend, Davis—brain cramp and all, has been referred to the Inspector General of the Interior Department, which Salazar recently headed, for disposition. Certainly no conflict of interest there.  And seeing that the so-called investigation has already taken two years without any findings or charges, I am reminded again of an old Chicago saying describing the political theatre there—“One hand washes the other.”

      Can we expect some resolution of this matter soon? Don’t hold your breath. Authority doesn’t like to cede power or truth to anyone seeking to shine a bright light on its systemic failures.  And we certainly didn’t need any Tea Party diatribes or the racist rants of a semi-literate freeloading Nevada rancher to see the BLM for what it is—a noxious bureaucratic stew that accomplishes nothing of any significant good. But I’ll look forward to reading Last Chance Mustang and commend Bornstein for his compassion and activism.

      Harry C. Koenig

      Pueblo, Colo. 

       

      Unconquered

      Kudos to Jay Mallonee (Unconquered, Summer 2015, Action Line) for his valiant rescue of Highway, the wonderful Karelian bear dog, and giving him a chance to have a life of love and caring however short it may be.

      All of our non-human animal friends have perfect souls and they will live forever when they go home after this earthly life ends.  Of this I am absolutely certain.

      No human can be as good as a non-human animal until, one-by-one, we evolve to a level of understanding much higher than materiality can ever provide.  Humanity desperately needs to attend a great truth-telling session, void of all lies.

      Could you please print in Action Line the complete poem Invictus from which the headers were taken?

      Keep up the great work.

      John Kurtz

      Lansdale, PA

       

      Editor’s Note:  Here is the poem Invictus.

       

      Invictus

      By William Ernest Henley

       

      Out of the night that covers me,

      Black as the Pit from pole to pole,

      I thank whatever gods may be

      For my unconquerable soul.

       

      In the fell clutch of circumstance

      I have not winced nor cried aloud.

      Under the bludgeonings of chance

      My head is bloody, but unbowed.

       

      Beyond this place of wrath and tears

      Looms but the Horror of the shade,

      And yet the menace of the years

      Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

       

      It matters not how strait the gate,

      How charged with punishments the scroll,

      I am the master of my fate:

      I am the captain of my soul.

       

    • Click the cover below to view a PDF version of the Fall magazine.

    • By Meg McIntire and Nicole Rivard

      We have a cheer for the expansion of a state law that makes it legal for citizens to break the window of a car to free a trapped animal. Unfortunately, there are dozens of pets who die every year due to neglectful owners leaving them trapped in a car. The state of Tennessee took action to help prevent these tragedies. Fifth District Rep. David Hawk, from Greeneville, helped expand the Good Samaritan law, which allows someone to rescue a child from a vehicle for safety reasons. Now the law also prevents a person from being sued if they break into a car to save a cat or dog.

      Cheers to the Bombay high court in the city of Mumbai, India, which recently ruled that horse-drawn carriages, also known as “Victorias,” are illegal and must be off the streets in a year. The court order resulted from a petition filed by animal rights groups that said the horses were malnourished and denied adequate care and rest. The court also ordered that all of the stables where the horses are kept must be closed down and directed authorities to come up with a scheme to rehabilitate those involved in the trade.


      Jeers to the people who participated in a horrible event called “Giggin’ for Grads,” which was held on June 19 by The Dekalb County Farmers and Ranchers in Tennessee. Participants were allowed to go out at night and stab frogs with a sharp long weapon or pitchfork, which is a type of hunting called “gigging.” The people who finished with the heaviest bags won scholarship money. Friends of Animals, Nashville Animal Advocacy and other organizations created a petition to cancel this horrible event, which reached nearly 6,500 signatures. The only good news is that there was a much lower turnout than last year, according to the Nashville Animal Advocacy, who protested the event.

       

      Jeers to New Jersey’s Fish and Game Council, which recently agreed to allow raccoon trappers to use cruel leg hold traps that FoA helped outlaw in 1984. The Department of Fish and Wildlife claims these traps “do not result in the death of the captured animal, or in the potential for significant injury such as is possible will steel- jawed leg hold traps.“ Hunters say these traps are more “humane” than previous versions, but these traps are just as cruel as those FoA helped ban in NJ more than 30 years ago.

       

    • It’s the middle of August in Los Angeles, Calif. and Danny Trejo is standing in the hot sun, completely covered by a full-body, shaggy polyester dog suit, with a gigantic smile on his face despite the heat. That’s the kind of dedication every actor had on the set of our upcoming Spay, Neuter, Adopt video that was released earlier this month and is now available on our YouTube page.

      Jaleel White and Cynthia  Kirchner also participated in the filming of this public service announcement and helped to bring this important message to life in a way that’s never been done before. Using a documentary-style approach, Breensmith Advertising and Tacklebox Film were able to give viewers an understanding of the importance and immediacy of the situation many homeless animals find themselves in on a daily basis, but incorporated humanizing and humorous moments to give the ad a unique feel.

      The ad aims to educate viewers about the huge role spay and neuter procedures play in significantly lowering the amount of unwanted dogs and cats who are roaming the streets or housed in shelters around the country. Since Friends of Animals’ beginnings, we have assumed a leadership role in advocating low-cost spaying and altering as the most effective means of preventing the births of dogs and cats, and their subsequent abandonment, suffering and mass killing. For more than five decades, we have operated the only nationwide breeding control program in the United States facilitating more than 2.5 million spay/neuter procedures.

      This newest ad campaign will continue to raise awareness and engage people about these issues and highlight the lifesaving solutions of Spay, Neuter, Adopt. Check out the video below!

       

    • In defining Alaska, polar bears outweigh oil 

      By Nick Jans

      I stood on the ice-rimmed edge of the Beaufort Sea, several miles from the Inupiaq Eskimo village of Kaktovik, in Alaska’s remote northeast corner. More than a dozen polar bears glowed in the slanted autumn sun. To the east stretched the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (known as ANWR); in the distance, peaks of the Brooks Range shimmered like sails on a blue-white sea of land.

      As a longtime former resident of Arctic Alaska, I joined millions of Americans in celebrating President Obama’s proposal earlier this year to extend wilderness status to 12 million acres of the Arctic Refuge, including 1.5 million acres of its coastal plain. If approved by Congress, such protection would bar roads and other human development from the area; and if it does not pass, the president’s executive power would hold sway—at least until a future administration changes course. Given the current Congress’s curled lip toward Mr. Obama and conservation in general, it’s a slim hope, but I’ll take it.

      For more than three decades, ANWR’s sweep of Arctic seacoast, wet tundra and rolling uplands, ultra-remote even by Alaska standards, have been the focus of bitter wrangles between pro-development forces and conservationists. The drill-it crowd touts the coastal plain as America’s best remaining onshore prospect for a world-class oil strike, and has labeled it an otherwise useless wasteland. Environmentalists maintain it’s a vital element of one of our great landscapes, a northern Serengeti worthy of enshrinement alongside Yosemite and the Grand Canyon. Both sides may be guilty of straying into hyperbole, but the war over the Arctic Refuge has always been as much about symbol as substance.

      To fully understand the historical context of the battle over ANWR’s existence, one needs to understand that the refuge is scorned by many Alaskans as a crowning insult in a massive, federal land grab dating to the 1970s, a gestapo-like seizure of state assets barring the way to life, liberty and the pursuit of fat paychecks. That sentiment is fanned by an oil-driven economy, now in production decline as the vast fields west of ANWR run dry and prices dwindle and most proven or suspected remaining reserves lie on federally restricted territory.

      No surprise that virtually all of Alaska’s elected leaders over the past three decades have opposed ANWR’s protection, often with militant, over-the-top rhetoric. In a recent rant, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski called President Obama’s proposal a declaration of war on Alaska; Congressman Don Young labeled it “an attack on our people and our way of life.”

      The truth is, beyond geologists’ extrapolations, there’s no proof that a Prudhoe-Bay-class oil pool, similar to northern Alaska’s other great finds, exists under ANWR’s coastal plain. Intensive exploration would be necessary to determine its scope, and such an undertaking has been banned in ANWR for decades under a series of temporary protections, dating back to President Jimmy Carter’s stop-gap invocation of the Antiquities Act in 1978, cemented into law by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980.

      Likewise, it’s easy to imagine a casual observer, looking down over ANWR’s sprawling coastal plain might see only a featureless, frozen desert. But in summer, it provides vital habitat for the Porcupine caribou herd, Alaska’s second-largest at roughly 180,000 strong, and nesting grounds for uncounted throngs of migratory birds. The ground teems with lemmings, ground squirrels and ptarmigan, and predators from Arctic fox to grizzlies. And in winter’s cold silence, the coastal plain serves as Alaska’s single most important onshore habitat for female polar bears, who dig maternal dens where they give birth to their cubs.

      Considering that caribou and polar bears, iconic creatures of the north, both notoriously intolerant of human development, are in decline—polar bears at such a pace that mainstream scientists have predicted they may vanish from Alaska within the next half century—the National Arctic Wildlife Refuge seems, indeed, a fitting name for one last, wild place that lies at the far northern edge of this great country. Without polar bears, what’s next? What best defines Alaska, not only to us, but the world: one last wild, protected space, or another guzzle of oil?

      Sorry, Congressman Young. I’ll take polar bears any day.

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