Just ahead of us we could see the thrashing of a mother gray whale and her calf, hopelessly entangled in a commercial gill net. We knew they were doomed unless someone intervened, and fast! We began with the mother, by cutting and tugging at the net. After numerous attempts, she broke free. The baby, however, still encumbered by the weight of the net, was in trouble. The anxious mother disappeared under our boat, and when the 40-foot whale surfaced, she lifted her baby out of the water, allowing him to grab a quick breath of air. This gave us the opportunity to begin cutting the young whale out of the net. Soon he was free, and both mother and calf swam off to live another day.
Whale Rescue Team has come along way since the mid-1980s, when we began our efforts to free entangled whales. No one else, we were amazed, was coming to their aid, a failure that annually sentenced dozens of whales to die a slow agonizing death. The situation for dolphins, seals and sea lions in our county wasn't much better.
For decades, marine wildlife response in Los Angeles County was in the hands of local animal control and, believe it or not, parking enforcement divisions. Calls for assistance received low priority and often went unanswered. I formed Whale Rescue Team to replace this with an efficient and compassionate system. It hasn't been easy. We have had to deal with resistance, even threats of prosecution, from those who wanted to retain the status quo. Because of our success in the field, however, WRT has prevailed. We now serve as the primary response team for nearly 80 miles of Los Angeles County coastline.
Spring of 2002 brought a crisis to California sea lions, as well as dolphins and pelicans. Pregnant sea lions were beaching, suffering seizures, disorientation and paralysis from domoic acid poisoning. During the crisis, WRT volunteers rescued over 100 animals, including 68 pregnant sea lions, four dolphins and dozens of pelicans. Over the past six years, WRT has saved over 1,000 marine mammals and hundreds of sea birds. In 2003, we¹ve already rescued over 50 sea lions, four elephant seals and dozens of birds.
WRT depends primarily on a small-dedicated membership for support. There is no money in our budget for self-promotion, so most of our membership comes from bystanders who observe us in action. This poses a problem, for while we are involved daily in rescues, no one is fundraising. We believe that if more people knew of our work, we would receive the support we so desperately need to continue our efforts.
We are proud of our success, not only with helping thousands of animals, but in raising the local standard of care for marine wildlife to match any in the nation. There are many challenges ahead, as marine wildlife is continually threatened by pollution, net entanglement, and other human and natural problems. With help from the public, WRT will meet those challenges head on, giving every injured or orphaned marine animal the best chance for survival.
Whale Rescue Team
415 Topanga Canyon Blvd.
Topanga, Calif. 90290
…to FoA supporter Tom Scholz and the rock band BOSTON, for delivering a strong animal rights message in their new release, “Corporate America.” The liner notes read, “Help us protect life on earth. Conserve fuel, avoid material waste, learn about vegetarian living, avoid animal products, shoot with cameras, not guns, vote for environmental candidates, report child and animal abuse, don’t buy fur.”
www.bandboston.com – for buying the CD and information on BOSTON’s summer tour.
…to Out Magazine, for the article “Rescue Me,” which appeared in the April 2003 edition of the national publication oriented to the gay and lesbian community. The article profiled gay and lesbian animal rescue workers and wildlife rehabilitators such as Wally Swett, founder and director of Primarily Primates in San Antonio. Readers were educated about a number of animal rights issues such as the foals used by the Premarin industry and the need to spay and neuter dogs and cats.
…to the Portland Press Herald, for their uncompromising Feb. 24, 2003, editorial calling for an end to the use of elephants in traveling shows. The editors came out firmly in favor of a ban, stating, “We support a bill now before state lawmakers that would ban the use of elephants in traveling exhibitions in Maine. An Act to Prevent Cruelty to Elephants would prohibit elephants from performing tricks, fighting or participating in a performance to amuse or entertain an audience.”
…to the Boulder, Colorado-based White Wave, makers of Silk Soymilk and other soy-based vegan products, for making a commitment to replace electrical power used in all of the company’s operation with wind energy. The switch sets an example for other companies to follow, and will prevent 16,000 tons of greenhouse gasses from being released into the atmosphere.
The company will purchase a minimum of 55,000 megawatt-hours worth of credits from the Bonneville Environmental Foundation over the next three years, a commitment which replaces the electrical power used in all of their operations.
…to California State Assemblyperson Joe Nation, (D-Marin), for introducing legislation to require vegetarian menu options in all of the state's school cafeterias. The legislation passed on April 21 by a 65 to 11 vote. Nation told the San Francisco Chronicle: “It legitimizes the idea of vegetarian lunches and sends a message that the Legislature acknowledges that schools can probably do a better job feeding our kids.” A Cheer also goes out to the state legislature of Hawaii, which overwhelmingly passed a similar measure last year.
…to Nana, the matriarch of a herd of elephants in South Africa who used her trunk to unlatch and open a gate to free a group of captive antelope. The antelope had been captured by a private game company. According to witnesses, the herd watched the antelope leave the camp before they walked off into the night.
…to Nike, for their glorification of dogfighting in a recent commercial. The nationally televised spot, titled “The Battle,” begins with fast moving clips of basketball and ends with a Pit bull and a Rottweiler lunging and snarling through a chain-link fence. Columnist Chris Rose wrote in the New Orleans Times Picayne, “How about we just cultivate every available taboo and parade them on TV to sell products to children? How about we have no sense of restraint in the brandishing of images? How about we just have no clue about how disgusting dog fighting is and how demeaning it is to connect it to legitimate consumer goods and to show that it's all just a part of American urban street culture — like it's rap or double-dutching.” We couldn’t agree more. Rose told FoA, “The Nike column I wrote generated more mail than I've ever seen in 20 years on the job.”
Philip H. Knight,
Chief Executive Officer Nike, Inc.,
1 Bowerman Dr.,
Beaverton, OR 97005-6453
…to Alaska’s Senator Ted Stevens, who has demonstrated through public tantrums that he is a sore loser when it comes to oil exploration and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Stevens has threatened to use his position as Chairperson of the Senate Appropriations Committee to punish legislators who opposed his effort to open the Arctic Refuge to drilling, stating in the L.A. Times, “People who vote against [drilling] today,” he declared, “are voting against me and I will not forget it.” On March 20, shortly after the 52 – 48 vote defeating his drilling scheme, Sen. Stevens told the Anchorage Daily News, “I’m mad enough to eat nails right now.”
…to actor Kate Winslett, for promoting Ringling Brothers circus through her highly-publicized visits to the Madison Square Gardens show in late March. Winslett and her family visited backstage with animal trainer Mark Oliver Gebel in preparation for her role in an upcoming film on 1920s tiger trainer Mabel Stark. Most circus animals have been brutalized and perform because their food, water, rest (or all three) have been withheld. FoA sent Winslett an information packet and a copy of our animal-free circus directory.
c/o Hylda Queally
William Morris Agency
151 El Camino Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
To actor Paul Newman, for entering into a partnership with McDonalds to feature Newman’s Own Salad Dressing in their restaurants. FoA’s Jessica Rae Patton wrote to Newman, “By partnering with a monolithic culprit of animal abuse and slaughter, you not only discredit your brand’s image but also lend credibility to a restaurant whose bill of fare is synonymous with our national health crises of obesity, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and heart disease. And speaking of corpses, all the ““Premium Salads”” in the world cannot disguise the main ingredient of McDonald’s menu: Dead animals.”
246 Post Road East
Westport, CT 06880
Socialized wolves regard humans as part of their social order and treat them more or less like another wolf. They don’t fear humans, which make these wolves more dangerous than wild wolves who run away from humans rather than confront them. A wolf social circle is not so different from a human social circle; there are friendly moments and there are arguments. The human among socialized wolves will be subjected to both. Paying attention to the wolves’ behavior and respecting them is the secret to a trusting, friendly relationship.
Wolves greeting each other lick faces and “shake hands” by wrapping their jaws around each other’s muzzles; humans entering the wolf compound at Wolf Park can expect a similar greeting. Intent on making facial contact, the wolf rears up on its hind legs, forepaws reaching for the human. With arms folded across and held away from one’s chest, the forepaws come to rest there rather than on one’s chest. The wolf is close enough to dispense kisses but can’t grab one’s face. Slowly lowering one’s arms gets the wolf back on all fours.
Under strict supervision, two or three wolves are released into the 17-acre bison enclosure. We watched Chinook, Altair and Aurora entering the field and playing it cool sniffing grass and scent markings, seemingly paying no attention to the dozen or so bison which included four calves. The small calves stayed close to their mothers, but when a calf moves away from its mother, Chinook went after it quickly. The mother went after Chinook who retreated just as quickly. Eventually both species drifted off ignoring each other. Healthy bison have little to fear from wolves.
Some highlights during the week-long seminar: Watching Ursa and Chinook frolicking in a huge, fenced in field and spooking a herd of cows grazing in the distance; Chinook leaping in the air when, while sniffing grass, he met an egg-laying snapping turtle, who nipped his nose; sitting in the grass next to an exuberant Ursa who, while rolling on her back, playfully grabbed my elbow. For the few seconds she held on, I felt the power of her teeth through three layers of clothing. The pressure from those teeth remained for several minutes after she let go. It was awesome. Socrates, six weeks old and already asserting rank over his siblings by securing the one plastic seat in the puppy compound.
A wolf with golden eyes full of depth and intelligence watched me intently through a chain-link fence when I arrived at Wolf Park. According to a Native American legend, someone tried to turn all animals into humans, but succeeded only in making the wolf’s eyes human. When I think of Chinook and his incredible eyes, I’m apt to believe that legend.
Every year, countless numbers of companion animals are abandoned by their family members. Most of these innocent victims are not adopted, but killed. One of the leading reasons people abandon animals is the limited rental housing options available to people with animals. Although “behavior problem” are usually cited by shelters as the principal reason for surrender, relocation places second, and in some studies has been the top reason. One has only to scan rental housing ads in the classified sections of any newspaper to see the ubiquitous “no pet” listings.
In a study conducted by the National Council on Pet Study and Policy and published in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science (JAAWS), researchers went into 12 selected animal shelters in the United States to find out why animals are surrendered. The results of the study show that 7% of dogs are surrendered because the caretaker is moving, and 6% are surrendered because of a “no-pet” policy. For cats, 8% are surrendered because people are moving, and 6% because of a “no-pet” policy.
Enter Pamela Frank and Joshua Frank, founders of FIREPAW (www.firepaw.org), a non-profit organization committed to reducing and eliminating the abuse, neglect, abandonment, overpopulation and killing of animals. Both have a passion for animals; Joshua has a Ph.D in economics and Pamela has a Ph.D in social and behavioral sciences and extensive experience as a consultant in program developmental evaluation, survey design and statistical analysis.
FIREPAW has recently received a grant to perform a national research study examining the economics of animals in housing markets, and methods for minimizing the risks of allowing companion animals, while maximizing the additional market potential from including renters with animals.
One key hypothesis is that the current shortage of animal-friendly rentals is based on a misperception by rental property owners that renting to tenants with animals is too costly and problem-ridden to justify. The ultimate goal of the research is to statistically demonstrate that for the majority of landlords, offering animal-friendly rentals is not only economically viable, but can actually increase their bottom-line profits.
FIREPAW’s efforts are guided by the belief that substantial and long-term improvements in the treatment of animals can best be achieved by a two-pronged process: research to uncover people’s motivations for maltreating animals, and determining the best methods for changing these attitudes. Educational programs can then be designed to change the public’s consciousness about animals.
In an effort to address the shortage of animal-friendly rental housing, thereby reducing the numbers of abandoned animals, FIREPAW has designed the Companion Animal Renters Program, which includes a national study of landlords and animal-friendly rentals, and a unique, applied program to encourage and assist rental property owners in offering animal-friendly housing. The assistance aims to meet the unique needs of all types of rental properties, from single-unit buildings to large complexes. In conjunction with the assistance for lessors, FIREPAW has also developed an information and resource packet for tenants: “How to Find, Keep and Enjoy A Pet-Friendly Rental.” The booklet offers tenants with animals tips and resources to maximize their attractiveness as rental applicants and to assist in the process of securing—and maintaining—happy and fulfilling housing arrangements for themselves, their neighbors, the property management, and the animals. The information packet includes a resource section tailored to specific regions.
Findings from pilot study interviews indicate that tenants with animals mean good business for rental property owners. “To begin with, “ Pamela says, “offering animal-friendly renters doubles a tenant pool, and yes, we’d like to get everyone into the pool.”
One of FIREPAW’s goals with the national study and the assistance program is to get the word out to many more rental property owners about the economic advantages and overall attractiveness of renting to tenants with animals.
The applied project, called the Companion Animal Renters Program (CARP), helps rental property owners identify responsible people with animals; to screen and detect potential “problem” tenants with animals; to gain methods for reducing problems and enhancing tenant loyalty through connecting property owners with a variety of relevant public services; to learn the best methods for holding residents accountable for their animal’s actions; and to develop and establish strong, effective animal policies and animal agreements.
“Rental property owners” says Pamela, “like many business people, are constantly looking for ways to create an edge and enhance their profit-margins. Increasing revenues while reducing costs—and headaches—is key to survival. FIREPAW’s program is designed to show landlords that adopting animal- friendly polices is one sure-fire way of increasing revenues. FIREPAW assists landlords by offering a well-rounded program tailored to their specific needs.”
Pamela and Joshua Frank are working hard to correct misconceptions about animals and those who care for them.
“People should never have to choose between companion animals and a roof over the their heads,” they say. “No more woof-or-roof policies.”
The best thing about making cookies is that you can eat the dough. And with the Nut Butter Cookie recipe from The Garden of Vegan, the lively new tribute to eating an abundant animal-free diet by Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer, you’ll want to.
Barnard and Kramer's first book, How It All Vegan!: Irresistible Recipes for an Animal-Free Diet, quickly became a favorite among students and young urbanites attracted to its retro look, sense of humor, plethora of vegan lifestyle factoids, and simple, nourishing meals that were easy to make on the fly. Now we know some of you discerning vegans out there bought an early addition of the duo’s first cookbook and were baffled by the bee products. Here’s good news for you: The Garden of Vegan does not call for any bee products; Barnard and Kramer have evolved just as many of their readers have. And the The Garden of Vegan one-ups its predecessors still further: slightly more elaborate recipes on one end of the cooking continuum; a “Microwave Meal” section on the other. Sporting the duo’s familiar tongue-in-cheek 50s aesthetic, The Garden of Vegan also offers practical directions for preparing non-edibles such as bath salts, household cleaning supplies, eye pillows, and pet toys.
As for the recipes, a reliable testament to The Garden of Vegan was the full dinner we invited guests to enjoy.
The Sensational Sun-dried Tomato and Chickpea Soup is an entrée: a hearty, nearly spicy brick-colored purée. Some soups conjure up a particular time of year, but this is a true four-season soup. With its smoky undercurrent of sesame oil and cayenne pepper, it is substantial enough to stand up to colder weather, but the sun-dried tomatoes and swirl of fresh parsley hint at warmer days to come.
Tantalizing Tofu and Spinach Salad pairs these two items with chopped green onions and a cast of Asian flavors — miso, rice vinegar, fresh ginger, chili sauce, and gomashio, a traditional Japanese condiment made from toasted sesame seeds and sea salt. The Garden of Vegan’s version calls for kelp powder as well. A little maple syrup challenges the vinegar’s punch perfectly.
Barnard and Kramer are big fans of Bragg Liquid Amino, the soy sauce alternative from the Bragg family company. Its only ingredients are soybeans and water; yet it isn’t fermented or as salty as soy sauce or tamari. Readers who have used it for years on popcorn, vegetables, or as a marinade for tempeh and tofu will find it a new revelation in The Garden of Vegan’s olive and caper tapenade recipe. The meal is complete when this spread is tossed with pasta, or gracing fresh baguettes.
And then, dessert. In addition to actually cooking a sample of the Nut Butter dough — the results did not disappoint — we could not resist The Most Amazing Chocolate Pudding. As you can tell by now, Barnard and Kramer don’t mince adjectives. But they don’t need to: the dishes really are that good. And that is by homemade, childhood standards. Our guests ate enthusiastically all evening, took seconds on soup, and marveled at the flavorful tofu, sautéed in sesame oil until crisp. But the pudding was a triumph. Traditional, milk-based versions would curdle in comparison.
Barnard and Kramer go well beyond recipes to beckon readers into their enthusiastic, well-fed world. Their latest cookbook is will add verve to your range-top repertoire.