Spring 2015

    Issue: Spring 2015

    Table of Contents

    • Outshouting, Outnumbering Wolf Haters

      I have always loved all animals, but certain ones hold a special place in my heart:  all cats great and small, elephants and wolves.

      To me, wolves are the voice of wilderness.  The relentless, escalating war on wolves in this country leaves me furious, frustrated and heartsick.  Thank heaven for wolf champions Friends of Animals and wolf biologist Jay Mallonee, who fight tirelessly for these wrongly maligned, persecuted creatures.  I support your efforts.

      I found this passage from L. David Mech’s 1970 book, The Wolf:

      “These people cannot be changed.  If the wolf is to survive, the wolf-haters must be outnumbered.  They must be out-shouted, out-financed and out-voted.  Their narrow and biased attitude must be outweighed by an attitude based on an understanding of natural process.  Finally, their hate must be outdone by a love for the whole of nature, for the unspoiled wilderness, and for the wolf as a beautiful, interesting, and integral part of both.”

      But what more can the rest of us do besides write letters to state officials that go ignored?  Shouldn’t we be waging a major nationwide tourist boycott of wolf-killing states Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Alaska?

       

      Rose Picardi

      Via e-mail

       

       

      No Travel Rocks, Too

      In the light of the great work that Friends of Animals does, I am somewhat reluctant to write this letter, but I think it’s important enough to go ahead with it.  In your editorial, in which you speak of migrations and animal refuges, you mention visiting the Alaska Bald Eagle Festival.  I want to point out how so many people visiting distant places contributes to the release of enormous amounts of carbon dioxide, thus contributing to the climate change that is at least a partial cause of the loss of animal life.  If we are to save life on the planet, we must end our fossil fuel burning for unnecessary uses, such as long-distance vacations, going to sports events, visiting family, etc.

      I realize how interesting and important this trip is to you. I recently came back from a trip to Arizona from Pennsylvania, and I feel guilty as hell about it.  It was just for pleasure, totally unnecessary, and our carbon footprint was very large.  So, to summarize, you might consider promoting non-travel as a way to benefit our animal friends who so desperately need help.  Thanks for reading, and for your great work.

       

      Len Frenkel

      Bethlehem, PENN

       

       

      Unearthing the Rainbow Bridge

      After reading about the poem, The Rainbow Bridge, author unknown, I can’t get it out of my mind.  I, too, would love to read it. I hope you print it in your magazine.  It is mentioned in Winter Action Line on page 32.  I never heard of this poem before.

       

      Phyllis Gentry

      Ormond Beach, FLA

       

      RAINBOW BRIDGE

      Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

      When an animal dies – one that has been especially close to someone here – that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.  There are meadows and hills for our special friends so they can run and play together.  There is plenty of food and water, sunshine and cozy beds, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

      All the animals who have been ill and old are restored to health and vigor, those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.  The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special, someone who had to be left behind.

      They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance.  His bright eyes are intent; his eager body quivers.  Suddenly, he breaks from the group, flying over the green grass – his legs carrying him faster and faster.

      You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in a joyous reunion, never to be parted again.  The happy kisses rain on your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more onto the trusting eyes of your pet – so long gone but never absent from your heart.

      Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together.

       

       

      Stand up for Buffalo

      Thank-you for all your hard work.  I am thankful for people like you who fight for animals.  I enjoy reading Action Line cover to cover.

      The reason I am writing is to thank you for the article about Wild Buffalo and the Buffalo Field Campaign.  These majestic animals are being slaughtered so Americans can eat cheap beef.  I have volunteered with BFC and it is a life changing experience.  I saw state Department of Livestock agents shoot paintballs at buffalo to drive them off public land.  I also saw DOL agents drive buffalo into barbed wire fences.  The total disrespect for wildlife in this country is what made me volunteer with BFC.  I encourage anyone reading this to take a few weeks and go volunteer with BFC.  They are friendly, dedicated and hardworking folks.  Stand up for buffalo before it’s too late.

      To volunteer with BFC:

      www.BuffaloFieldCampaign.org

      1-406-646-0070

      PO Box 957

      West Yellowstone, MT 59758

       

      Rob Borden

      Wellington, ME

       

       
    • Jeers

      Ziploc

      Jeers to Ziploc, ad agency Energy BBDO and RSA Films’ director, Rob Cohen, for their “Little Beasts” online advertising campaign, which forces animals to “act.” The online commercials are supposed to appeal to parents by highlighting some of the most chaotic scenarios known to parenthood: potty training, putting a toddler to sleep, dining out with twins, etc. Improv actors play the roles of the parents; however the role of the kids is played by animals, including a lemur and two capuchins. 

      Ziploc was hoping this commiserative video series would resonate with parents by sending the message: while Ziploc can’t stop the crazy, it can help contain the chaos. Instead, the brand is saying to the public it is insensitive to animals and doesn’t mind exploiting them to sell products. 

      Primates are not meant to be actors or pets. Often these young animals are pulled prematurely from their mothers, and then trainers withhold affection and reassurance from them to get them to “act” the way they want them to. Please tell Ziploc to stop using animals to sell its products. Call 800.494.4855; write to CEO Fisk Johnson, SC Johnson, 1525 Howe Street, Racine WI, 53403 or send an email right here.

      Weddings that feature exotic animals

      Set the date, send the invitations, hire a photographer, rent a….lion?  Jeers for the cruel “trend” of including exotic animals in wedding celebrations. 

      CBS News reported in December that exotic animals are becoming must-haves at weddings and goes on to explain that increasingly wild corners of the animal kingdom are being tapped for the ever-increasing demand for super special weddings, proposals and pictures. The article includes mention of zoos and ranches that offer “wedding specials” to entice brides and grooms to seriously consider forcing wild animals to be included as props on their wedding day. 

      According to CBS, for $349, Cincinnati's Newport aquarium will “loan” you a room full of penguins in which you can propose to your beloved. Or at the Lion Habitat Ranch, couples can  ride in a Jeep near Bentley the lion for their big moment.  – See more at: http://friendsofanimals.org/news/2014/december/cheers-and-jeers-0#sthash.8Ah3NlTt.dpuf

      Animals are not meant to be actors or props at parties and celebrations. A word of advice to those planning their weddings: instead of wasting money creating a self-indulgent spectacle, put something aside for your new home and your future. 

       

      Cheers

      California's Fish and Game Commission

      Cheers to members of the California's Fish and Game Commission who voted 4 to 1 on Dec. 3 to ban coyote hunting derbies—contests where hunters vie to kill the most coyotes, or the biggest, for prizes. 

      Project Coyote, an animal rights group based in San Francisco, had petitioned the California Fish and Game Commission. Media reports explained that Project Coyote, which is adamant that coyotes are vital to the ecosystem and food chain, sprang into action to ban coyote killing contests this year when it learned that a “killing contest” also threatened Journey, the one wolf left in Modoc County. Journey normally travels through Modoc and surrounding counties. 

      Although the California Fish and Game Commission had voted to protect wolves under their Endangered Species Act back in June, allowing a wildlife-killing contest to take place, although targeted on killing coyotes, foxes, bobcats and other animals, still endangered Journey's life. 

      Friends of Animals hopes California will inspire other states to pass similar legislation. 

       

      NJ Senator Cory Booker

      Cheers to Democratic New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, for making the transition to a vegan diet. Booker turned to a veggie-based diet almost 20 years ago and explained his decision on a recent Web forum, writing, “I was a competitive athlete back then and wanted to see what could take my body to the next level, also I was reading everything I could about food, where it came from, what impact it had both on me and my world. So in 1992, I decided to experiment, to try it for three to six months. And WOW! When I did my athletic performance took off, I felt so much better and it comported with other values and ideas I was exploring at the time, so I decided that this is what is best for me. It was a very personal decision.”

      When Booker took office as a New Jersey Senator n 2013, he also became the one of the very few openly vegetarian lawmakers (come out, come out, wherever you are, closeted green-eaters!) serving in the Senate today, and now he’s the only openly vegan senator. He has also placed environmental issues at the forefront of his political agenda and has spoken out against the negative impact animal farming has on the future of our planet.

       

       

       
    • Looking for a compassion filled getaway? We found these locations that cater to people who love animals…from their menus and amenities to their people-powered recreation. 

      BY MEG McINTIRE AND NICOLE RIVARD 

      Harry and Jen Appel are committed to living as compassionate a lifestyle as possible—Jen decided to go vegan more than 15 years ago after learning the horrors of the fur industry, and Harry after visiting the White Pig Bed & Breakfast and Animal Sanctuary and realizing the misery of animal farming. “We visited the pigs and one rolled over for him to get a belly rub…Harry instantly went vegan,” recalls Jen. 

      In addition to their love for animals, they have always been fond of travel, but found the world was lacking compassionate places to travel too. So they created their own vegan getaway for people whose suitcases are filled with empathy, concern and kindness towards animals and the environment no matter where they go. Their bed and breakfast, Deer Run in Big Pine Key, Fla., is showcased below, along with the Stanford Inn by the Sea.  Other cruelty free getaways to consider when you are planning your next trip will be featured in the summer issue of Action Line. 


      Deer Run Bed and Breakfast

      1997 Long Beach Dr.

      Big Pine Key, Fla.

      www.deerrunfloridabb.com

      Jen Appel 305.872.2015

      Years in business:  11 

      How many meals do you serve a day and can you give examples of some of the items on the menu that guests rave about?

      Deer Run serves a full organic vegan breakfast every day. Guests really love the food here because we do our best to do items that seem traditional, things that people are used to having, like pancakes, waffles, frittatas and so forth, however we make them with organic vegan ingredients, and we do our best along the way to make them healthier. For example, I'll serve waffles here, but they are made with organic ground oats, not all purpose flour, so the sugar is virtually eliminated, and the fiber goes way up. None of the flavor is sacrificed, and our foods are nutrient dense. Even simple smoothies aren't really simple, as I always like to add in ground chia, or flax, or something to amp up the fiber, and help with sugar spikes. Probably our most popular breakfast is our flax pancakes, it really is our flagship breakfast.

      Do you grow any of the ingredients on the grounds?

      We grow organic bananas, organic baby kale, organic star fruit, organic mangos, organic avocados, and a few other things. Being on the ocean, the windy and salty conditions make growing most non-tropical fruits very difficult. We do, however, also source locally grown and organic food from others on the island who have inland gardens. My vegan Key lime pies are made only with local grown organic Key limes. I buy them from locals in season, freeze the zest and juice, and you wouldn't believe the difference it makes from the bottled stuff!

      Are there any eco-friendly components of your business? Such as….Cruelty-free toiletries, LEED certification, recycled furnishings? Etc. 

      We are a certified Green Lodge by the State of Florida, the first one in the Keys outside of Key West (been certified for about 8 years now). Also we are a platinum level certified lodge by TripAdvisor, this is the highest certification one can achieve from them and is very difficult to acquire. We're audited annually for that achievement. It is our understanding that less than 10 properties worldwide have this level of certification. The only reason we're not LEED certified is because as an existing structure, we're not eligible unless we deconstruct our entire property and rebuild so inspectors could inspect the phases of construction they need to in order for a place to acquire a LEED certification. Despite this, our green efforts are truly vast: water conservation in place in all rooms and front/back of the house; water flush vacuum composting toilets that use a ½ pint of water per flush, chemical free cleaning products, organic linens in all rooms and back of the house; vintage furnishings and repurposed furnishings; tablecloths and napkins made from recycled water bottles; vegan toiletries purchased in bulk (we have dispensers in the rooms instead of personal sized individually wrapped pieces). In addition there are three composters on site and we compost all yard waste and food waste. Windows are tinted for energy savings, all HVAC in guest rooms is ductless. Several rooms have been professionally decorated by a designer who sourced 100 percent recycled fibers for our custom made drapes and furniture coverings. All appliances are Energy Star rated. We have an electric car charging station for our guests on site. Our beach cleaning tractor (approved by DEP) is a highly specialized vehicle appropriate for turtle nesting beaches (which we are) and runs on biodiesel.

       

      What area attractions are nearby to make this the ultimate destination for environmentalism and veganism? For example, wildlife refuges or national parks nearby, etc. Do you offer any classes/workshops on site?

       

      Big Pine and the Lower Keys shine for our environment. The main attractions down here are ocean-oriented — snorkeling the reef (the ONLY living reef in the continental US is three miles offshore!), diving, kayaking, photo tours, Key Deer Refuge guided walking tours, and more. 2We have several endangered species living on our Keys, and the endangered Key deer are visitors on a daily basis. We also include passes to the state parks for our guests, and Bahia Honda State Park is only 10 minutes away from us, a gorgeous park and beach. Also, Pigeon Key is about 30 minutes from us, which is a historical site, and also the Dry Tortugas are a must visit for anyone coming to the Keys.  Daily tours depart from Key West — more than half our guests make a point to get to the Dry Tortugas. 

      A visit here is not complete without touring the Turtle Hospital in Marathon, which is about 25 minutes from us. Turtle Hospital is an authentic (not a zoo, not a marine mammal park) rescue and rehab hospital for endangered and threatened sea turtles. Harry actually serves, president of Save-A-Turtle of the Florida Keys, and I am a board member. SAT is a non-profit that helps sea turtles survive in the Keys. We are volunteer beach walkers for SAT during endangered sea turtle nesting season in the Keys. We work very closely with local environmental regulatory agencies to report any violations of illegal shoreline hardening, and things of that nature, which happens pretty often in their slice of paradise.


      White Pig Bed and Breakfast and Animal Sanctuary 

      5120 Irish Road

      Schuyler, VA 22969

      www.thewhitepig.com

      Dina Brigish 434-831-1416 

      Dogs allowed only in the Briar Creek Cabin

       

      Can you discuss what prompted you to create a vegan getaway? How many years have you been in business? 

      The White Pig opened in 2000. I started my vegan journey almost two decades ago. I have been a vegetarian since my early teens and became an animal activist after co-founding Syracuse University for Animal Rights while attending Syracuse. 

      After college I pursued photography for a short time. Then I worked in the fashion industry in New York for several years. During that time I received my first pot-bellied pig as a gift from my mother and named him“ Norman.” Norman would later become the namesake and inspiration for The White Pig Bed and Breakfast. Shortly after Norman arrived, I became a vegan.

      In 1997, I left a successful career in fashion to pursue my dream of incorporating a vegan lifestyle, rescuing animals and a career all in one. After much deliberation, I decided to open a vegan farm bed and breakfast. But first I needed to hone my cooking skills.

      I attended The Natural Gourmet Cookery School in Manhattan and then interned at Millennium Restaurant in San Francisco. After returning to New York, I continued my search up and down the east coast for the perfect farm to open my inn. It took roughly three years but in 2000, my vision of a rural farm, with a historic home, in a quiet and beautiful location, but close to an “open minded city” was found at Briar Creek Farm just outside the City of Charlottesville. 

      The White Pig is a tribute to Norman (and all the other pigs that I rescued after him) and a vegan lifestyle. I also look to introduce non-vegans to delicious vegan cuisine and maybe shed a new light on the wonderful, sensitive and intelligent creature we call the pig.

      Currently I have 18 animals at the sanctuary. Most of the rescues are abused and abandoned pot- bellied pigs, dogs, cats and horses. One of my favorites is my horse Teddy. He was a slaughter bound racehorse who was injured at the track. Because the recovery time was costly and his ability to continue to win after the injury was uncertain, he was destined for slaughter. With the help of RACE and TRF, Teddy found a forever home here at The White Pig. 

       

      How many meals do you serve a day and can you give examples of some of the items on the menu that guests rave about? Do you grow any of the ingredients on the grounds?

      I serve breakfast daily and lunch and dinner with prior notice. My vegetable frittatas are very popular and my blueberry pancakes have been described by many as the best they ever had. I grow seasonal vegetables as well as hay for the animals.

       

      Are there any eco-friendly components of your business? Such as….Cruelty-free toiletries, LEED certification, recycled furnishings? Etc.

      In keeping with a vegan lifestyle all the toiletries and cleaning products are vegan. We are certified GREEN from the state of Virginia. I am also in the process of adding new rooms, which will use all ecofriendly material as well as be run by solar. 

       

      What area attractions are nearby to make this the ultimate destination for environmentalism and veganism. For example, wildlife refuges or national parks nearby, etc. Do you offer any classes/workshops on site?

      We are located 23 miles south of Charlottesville, the home of The University of Virginia. Monticello (home of Thomas Jefferson), Montpelier (home of James Madison) and Ashland Highlands (home of Pres. Monroe) are all within a 30 minute drive. We are 30 minutes from the Blue Ridge Parkway, Skyline Drive, & The Jefferson National Park. We are 30 minutes from Wintergreen Ski Resort. We are 30 minutes from Crabtree Fall — the longest waterfall east of the Mississippi. White Pig is also 15 minutes from the James River, which offers canoeing and tubing. This area of Virginia is also home to numerous wineries, breweries and distilleries. I occasionally offer cooking classes and healthy retreats. 


      The Stanford Inn by the Sea

      Coast Hwy. & Comptche Ukiah Rd.

      Post Office Box 487

      Mendocino, CA 95460

      www.stanfordinn.com

      Jeff Stanford 800.331.8884

      Pet friendly

      Can you discuss what prompted you to create a vegan getaway? How many years have you been in business? 

      We have been in this business for nearly 40 years; the inn has been ova-lacto vegetarian virtually the entire time; wholly vegan for going on three years. When I learned that dairies are cruel I became vegan — that was 10 years ago. The restaurant was vegetarian and we turned dinner to vegan in 2007 — once we had staff that could handle it. I was overly sensitive to our regular guests who did not want breakfast to turn vegan and tolerated that dissonance for an additional four years. But we began 2012 as an entirely vegan resort. 

       

      How many meals do you serve a day and can you give examples of some of the items on the menu that guests rave about? Do you grow any of the ingredients on the grounds?

      We serve breakfast and dinner as well as a complimentary dessert with coffee and tea in the afternoon to overnight guests. Most popular breakfasts are the Citrus Polenta…the greens are often from the farm; Ravens Portobello, based on eggs benedict; Buckwheat waffles and Savory Crepe (like an omelet). Our most popular dinners are the Sea Palm Strudel – which has received recognition in Japan, on the Food Channel; ravioli (crossover dish); and Barbequed Portobello.

       

      Are there any eco-friendly components of your business? Such as….Cruelty-free toiletries, LEED certification, recycled furnishings? Etc.

      We converted all 10 acres to sustainable and organic gardening and landscaping in 1985. We provide approximately 25 percent of the organic produce, herbs, and fruit used at our Ravens’ Restaurant and Mornings at the Stanford Inn by the Sea – substantially reducing its carbon “footprint.”

      It is one of three U.S. sites for the international training program called the Green Belt project, which is administered by Ecology Action. We train interns from around the world in sustainable mini-farming and the vegan lifestyle. In 2013, the UN declared that mini-farming was the only way to deal with uncertain climate and that mini-farming must be built on a non-animal model.

      The toiletries are organic—not tested on animal—and we use VASKA cleaning products. We built to sustainable standards, many of which are similar to LEEDS, however that didn't exist at the time of our last major building. We recover, re-finish furnishings. For example, we are using upholstered furniture originally made for us in 1981. We use organic towels, micro-fiber sheeting, which after investigating the procedures and longevity of the products, is more sustainable than organic sheets. 

      The Inn also helps protect Big River from environmental degradation; maintains Mendocino Land Trust access to the bluffs overlooking Mendocino Bay; does not use herbicides or pesticides; composts all food and organic wastes, which are then recycled in the gardens, virtually eliminating the use of outside fertilizers.

      As of spring 2013, Stanford Inn guests may charge their EV’s for no cost, while others would pay a $3 service charge. 

       

      What area attractions are nearby to make this the ultimate destination for environmentalism and veganism? For example, wildlife refuges or national parks nearby, etc. 

      We are surrounded by state parks, the ocean, and Big River which is a protected estuary. We have also have rescued animals on site, people powered recreation–canoeing, kayaking, mountain biking. We offer nutrition and cooking classes, programs on “thoughtful” meditation, and a variety of other programs from acupunct

    • BY NICOLE RIVARD

      It’s early January, and wildlife ecologist Craig Downer is filled with melancholy as he looks out the window of his Minden, Nevada home at the majestic Pine Nut Mountain Range. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has decided to remove 200 wild horses from the Pine Nut Herd Management Area and roundup at least 332 more, before it then releases approximately 132 back onto the range after 66 mares receive the 22-month Porcine Zone Pellucida immunocontraceptive vaccine, also known as PZP —a contraceptive that will keep the mares from foaling for two or more years.  

      “It’s pretty heartbreaking to see that happening, because I grew up here,” said Downer, author of the Wild Horse Conspiracy, during a phone interview. “It’s a tremendous range, very large. But they just want to restrict the wild horses there just to the northern part. That is the first group of wild horses I really got to know as a teenager. 

      Downer’s frustration with the cattle culture of the BLM, which caters to ranchers, is shared by Friends of Animals, Protect Mustangs and the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs, who remain steadfast that PZP is an unnecessary evil—just like roundups—because wild horse populations are too small already to ensure survival for future generations.

      The Equid Specialist Group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Species Survival Commission recommends minimum populations of 2,500 individuals for the conservation of genetic diversity. Currently, no single herd management area on public lands has a minimal viable population for the long term.

      The debate over whether controlling wild horses’ reproductive lives is acceptable has become so heated that it has caused a significant break among wild horse advocates.

      “It's time to hold everyone accountable who is pushing risky PZP drugs—made from slaughterhouse pig ovaries,” said Anne Novak, president of Protect Mustangs. “PZP is a ‘restricted-use pesticide’ that has labeled wild horses as ‘pests’ thanks to the Humane Society of the United States, the registrant of the drug. Why did horse advocates join up with BLM? The public will hold all these PZP pushers responsible for the destruction of America's wild horses on public land.” 

      Part of the problem is that BLM tries to paint this rosy picture and portray themselves as saviors to the public rather than the backyard breeders with a wild horse extinction plan.

      “The widespread use of PZP is really very contrary to the true core intent of the Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971, which was to restore wild horses as naturally, integrated, harmonious components of the public land ecosystem who are not overly tampered with,” Downer said. “This is a very invasive thing they are doing to these animals.

      “Wild horses are just trying to fill their niche. But the BLM is telling them their niche isn’t what it should be because they have to give 90 percent of the forage to the ranchers, even though the law says in the horses’ legal areas the land will ‘be principally devoted to wild horse and burros welfare and benefit.’ The BLM ignores that and continues business as usual.”

      It didn’t surprise Friends of Animals that a lot of the research touting the advantages of PZP has been conducted by those with a vested interest in it— the Humane Society of the United States, which has to approve the use of PZP on wild horse herds—and Jay Kirkpatrick, HSUS consultant for contraception and director of the Science and Conservation Center in Billings, Montana, which produces the active ingredient in PZP.

      In a recent issue of All Animals, HSUS prides itself on helping to implement a humane alternative to roundups with PZP. It describes how it is using a $1.7 million grant from the Annenberg Foundation to try out the longer lasting PZP-22 at Cedar Mountains and Sand Wash Basin. The trials have been underway since 2008 and results are expected this year.

      Downer said PZP pushers are counting on intellectual laziness, hoping that the public will just go along and not inquire. Not if Friends of Animals and its supporters have anything to say about it. 

      FoA will continue uncovering research that reveals adverse effects of PZP— that it sterilizes wild horses after multiple uses and results in risky foal birth out of season and significant behavioral changes that can affect the overall health of the herd.

      For instance, a 2009 Princeton University study of the horses on Shackleford Banks in North Carolina, who starting receiving PZP in 2000, showed that prolonged infertility has significant consequences on social behavior.

      “We found that females who were receiving contraception were much more likely to change groups,” said Cassandra Nunez, one of the researchers. “The way PZP works is mares are still cycling and trying to mate with the male. They don’t know they are contracepted and so they think there is something wrong with the male and say, ‘I am going to see what the neighbor can do for me.’”

      Normally bands are really very stable, says Nunez, and mares will stay with males much if not all of their lives. That stability is really important for the health of the group members. Foal mortality increases when there are a bunch of different changes, and parasite load of animals in the group can go up because they are getting more stressed.  

      The National Park Service (NPS) and the Foundation for Shackleford Horses reached out to Nunez in 2005 after they had received anecdotal reports that the mares seemed “unsettled.” 

      In a later study in 2010, Nunez found that recipients of PZP also extend the receptive breeding period into what is normally the non-breeding season, resulting in foal birth out of season. 

      “If mares get pregnant in the winter time, they are going to give birth in the winter time and that’s not a good time because your resources are really low,” Nunez said. “Normally the winter is spent eating as much as they can, and everyone is more relaxed. Males tend to let females roam farther, which is good because food is patchier. So all of this is changing because of extended cycling.”

      Some foals born late had to be removed from Shackleford Banks because they weren’t doing well, said Nunez, adding that in 2009, in response to some of her data, NPS decided to stop its contraception program. “I think they realized that it was leading down a path they didn’t want to go,” she said, adding that reproductive rates are still quite low at Shackleford Banks.

      “It’s taking a while for the contracepted mares to respond physiologically,” Nunez said. “We showed NPS that even when you stop treating a mare, she doesn’t give birth right away. Years later she is still not producing. So that flexibility that you think you have with PZP…it’s not really that flexible.” 

      Karen Sussman learned a similar lesson and now speaks out against PZP. As head of the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros, she has adopted four herds threatened with extermination by the BLM. She oversees approximately 500 horses on an 800-acre ranch inside the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota and has logged 15 years of studying herd behaviors.

      When the Catnip Mountain herd came to the ranch, it experienced a 31 percent population growth the first year followed by 36 percent the second year, which Sussman says is a result of dysfunctional behaviors caused by years of BLM roundups. Her other herds, untouched by the BLM for 50 years, have much lower population growth. 

      “Sometimes younger stallions end up in charge after a roundup, and they breed anything, one-, two- and three year-old fillies, which doesn’t happen in a healthy herd,” Sussman said. “Even the National Academy of Science says population increase is a natural response to being threatened and endangered.” 

      Sussman used PZP in 2007 because the ranch did not have the room to sustain the growth rate of the Catnip Herd, but stopped when she realized that PZP causes infertility after five years. 

      “We stopped PZP in 2012 because we are a conservation program protecting rare and endangered herds. If they can’t breed, then they are not in conservation. None of the mares that had five years of PZP has had a foal yet.”  

      She wants the public to know PZP will never replace roundups because in most cases the BLM will have to gather more than 90 percent of a herd to contracept mares, destroying the harem structure in the same way a regular roundup would. 

      Knowing what they know, it’s maddening to anti-PZP wild horse advocates that the BLM is investing $2.8 million into researching contraception methods, money Downer says would be better spent on implementing reserve design, a holistic way to manage wild horses. Reserve design would let wild horses reoccupy their full legal herd areas as outlined in the WHBA, which were stolen from them by ranchers, and involves utilizing natural and/or artificial barriers, natural predators, as well as community-involving buffer zones. Once available habitat is filled, the horse/burro, as a climax species, limit their own population as density-dependent controls are triggered.

      “We just have to persist in this even though there are no guarantees,” Downer said. “It’s like the war between good and evil. We are not defeated as long as we still know right from wrong and still have the will to fight what’s wrong.”

       
    • Joshua Katcher blends vegan values with fashion, creating the look of the future.

      BY DUSTIN GARRETT RHODES

      Joshua Katcher is, in no particular order, a sculptor, blogger, fashion designer, vegan, animal- and human- rights activist and part-time professor at Parsons The New School of Design. Katcher is currently teaching two classes—Fashion and Culture and Fashion and the Narrative—that blend his diverse interests in social justice for human and non-human animals.


      How did you become interested in animals and animal rights, and when did you become vegan?

      I was always interested in animals. I think most human beings have always shared an inherent fascination with animals. After all, we evolved for millions of years of, with and surrounded by other Earthlings. When I first realized I had the choice to avoid intentionally supporting the confinement, torture and killing of other animals, it simply made sense to me. In high school in the 1990s, when we learned that the rainforests were being cleared to raise cattle and feed for cattle at an alarming rate, it was the first time I truly felt like the grown-ups who were running the world were making terrible decisions that needed to be challenged and stopped.  I’ve been an ethical vegan for about 16 years.

       

      You founded The Discerning Brute, a lifestyle blog aimed at men concerned about animals and the environment—and it’s still going strong. What gave you the (brilliant) idea; who’s your audience?

      When I started the website in 2008, TheDiscerningBrute.com was filling a void that I perceived as problematic. No one was really addressing men, especially mainstream men, concerning aspiration around a lifestyle that I spun as heroic towards animals and the environment. My target audience is men who might read GQ, guys who are influencers, taste-makers and have an aspirational outlook on life. My actual readership is very diverse. 

      We still live in a patriarchal culture where masculinity is very much defined by overcoming that which is perceived as feminine: nurturement, empathy, compassion. So in this sense, simply providing documentation of cruelty might backfire for mainstream men.  It is also no surprise then that the vegan lifestyle is overwhelmingly perceived in America as a women’s lifestyle consisting of the crazy-cat-lady archetype, new-age spirituality, brown rice and salad. Again, even since 2008 things have changed drastically regarding the perception of veganism for men, but there are myths that transcend truth, and we have to understand why these myths are necessary to maintain a very entrenched and rewarded male identity.

      Now TheDiscerningBrute.com features athletes, chefs, personalities and tips on clothing and grooming, highlighting superior products, materials and creative approaches that both appeal to and redefine masculinity while avoiding falling into the oppositional male-female binary trap. 

       

      What ignited your interest in fashion? 

      For the majority of my life, fashion did not seem to be something worth considering beyond fun and frivolity. It wasn’t’t until I started writing TheDiscerningBrute.com that I realized how stealthily powerful fashion is. Fashion is brushed off by most people as something that is simply about personal decoration. For a long time it was not taken seriously in academia or the world of activism. Many people do not even see themselves as participating in fashion discourse or the fashion system, yet at the same time fashion is the premiere way we construct our identities, define class status, wealth, power and sexuality. It is how we define who we are and how we want to be perceived and what culture or subculture we belong to. It is a global industrial complex that affects billions of animals, billions of people and ecosystems everywhere. Aspects of the fashion industry are some of the top causes of the worst global environmental and ethical problems from sheep livestock to leather tanneries to sweatshops. 

      I became fascinated with the psychology, history and sociology of fashion, and began specifically researching the ways in which animals are used and represented in fashion production and fashion culture. Ultimately I launched my menswear line to work with cutting-edge sustainable and vegan materials and begin to develop an aspirational dialect around them.

       

      You now design vegan, eco-conscious clothing for men under the Brave Gentleman label. Are your customers vegan? People concerned with our planet? Neither/both?

      I have customers who simply like good design and I have customers who seek BGM out because it’s vegan. The goal for me is to first and foremost create good design that anyone who likes menswear will enjoy. My materials are superior to animal-derived materials and my designs appeal to many men regardless of their values or principles. I believe this elevates the perception of veganism among non-vegans, which is very important.

       

      You’re also an adjunct faculty member at Parsons. What’s it like teaching fashion as a vegan person concerned with animal rights and consumer culture? On the surface, it seems like what you teach is at odds with the interests of fashion students?

      I’ve been not only able to, but encouraged by the administration at Parsons, to incorporate my research and expertise in the fields of sustainability and ethics as they apply to fashion. It’s true that some of what I have to say disrupts the trajectories of many students (I get to tell them about the hidden narratives of fur farms and sweatshops and tanneries and wool-shearing operations and present-day slave labor in cotton fields). Believe it or not, these are things that many students are deeply concerned with, but feel completely unable to change. Many professionals fail to present compelling research or information to help students and young professionals navigate these paradoxes. What I do know is that the only viable future for the fashion industry is a slowed-down, sustainable and ethical model that draws on the most exciting innovations from synthetic biology, nanotechnology, organic plant-based materials, recycled hi-performance synthetics, and bio-based hi-tech synthetics. In this sense, I am providing students with the biggest opportunity of all in the fashion world – to be truly visionary and innovative in more than just aesthetics.

       

      What’s been the most gratifying experience of teaching?

      I love seeing how young people tackle global problems. They approach the issues with such fresh perspectives. I think that knowing these creative innovators are going to tackle some of these problems is very gratifying.

       

      You were, to my knowledge, one of the first on the scene in terms of melding vegan values with an interest in fashion. What’s changed since you began? What hurdles continue to stand in the way?

      Thank you! Regarding specifically menswear and mens lifestyle, you’re right. I don’t think anyone else was specifically tackling this. My friend Chloe Jo Davis (GirlieGirlArmy.com) has a long-standing and celebrated Website that has dealt with vegan fashion for a long time, and she is one of the main reasons I was able to launch TheDiscerningBrute.com. Since 2008 a lot has changed and I hope I’ve been part of creating that change. However, the fashion system is very well-funded and we’ve got a long way to go in challenging, holding accountable the wool, leather and fur industries. But innovation is on the rise and I am very optimistic. 

       

      Your Web presence and subsequent fashion line, in my opinion, has helped change the image of the vegan animal rights activist. Many think we are deprived of delicious food and fabulous shoes. Was that your intention? 

      Absolutely. We must always create desire and aspiration. We fool ourselves into thinking that honesty, earnestness and transparency will somehow overcome the grace and simplicity of coveted aesthetic qualities. Being morally correct rarely overcomes the perceived correctness of beauty. And there’s a lot at stake when everything labeled as “vegan” is held accountable to representing an entire cultural movement, so we ought to be both daring and indulgent in curating how veganism is perceived.

       

      What are some of the environmental and/or animal issues you feel most passionate about?

      I am very passionate about the wool issue because its so often overlooked. So many sustainable and ethical designers use it thinking it is good for the environment, and this is such a huge disconnect. Not only is the wool industry exceptionally cruel, as shown in both undercover investigations and industry reports on shearing and live-export operations, in the largest wool-producing countries like Australia and New Zealand, the ecological impacts of sheep are staggering resulting in the regions top GHG emitter, top source of erosion and desertification. Wool in no way is sustainable at scale. 

       

      What’s next for you? Do you have any secret projects in the works? Seems like politics would be the logical next step (wink, wink)?

      I am working on my book, Fashion & Animals. Ha! I have far too many tattoos to be a politician in this conservative country!

       

       
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