LETTER 1 - Teach Your Children Well
Thanks so much for publishing my letter in your Autumn 2011 Act·ionLine.
As a follow-up, and to emphasize my point about the need to educate our children to respect life and living things, I'd like to present the following:
I live in the Chesapeake Bay region. This is a marvelous body of water. It is truly a national treasure.
A local weekly publication, Bay Weekly, recently published an article about two parents who decided to give their 12-year-old son a BB gun so he could do some target shooting. The son, without any permission, took the gun, walked out onto a neighbor's dock and shot and killed a female osprey who was sitting in a nearby nest incubating her eggs. The male tried to complete the incubation task but failed.
Fortunately, he was able to find a new mate and there is now hope for their future.
Residents in the area were correctly upset by the shooting and the boy was reprimanded by the authorities.
I can't help but believe that with proper education, this 12-year-old would never have considered this act. I also believe that more sensible parents would have seen to it that their son was properly trained before giving him a gun.
There is a feeling among some parents that a gun is some sort of a step in a boy’s life that he must experience on his path toward manhood. It goes back to the time when we lived in a frontier society and the gun provided both protection and food. Those days are long past.
LETTER 2 – Questions About Dogs and Cats in India
Regarding the article, The Puppy at Om Beach (Act · tionLine , Autumn 2011), it is good that the dogs are being sterilized and vaccinated, but what about being provided with food and water as well? Also, what about cats? Are there outdoor cats in India? They should also be sterilized and vaccinated, as well as have food and water.
Please let us know what is going on with the cats of India.
North Brunswick , NJ
LETTER 3 – Missed Chance to Take Action
I read the article The Puppy at Om Beach (Ac · tionLine, Autumn 2011) and was prepared for a happy ending with Marybeth Hollerman rescuing the black beach puppy and bringing him home as so many military men and women have done. But she didn’t. Why not? Or at least make sure she put him in good hands before leaving India. Instead she left wondering if he also had a slim chance for a good life.
I felt empty at the end of that sad story as I know many readers did. I want to read a story where actions speak louder than words.
I hope she did something to help.
East Windsor , NJ
Author’s note: Dear Linda Grasselli,
Thank you for your compassion in asking about the puppy at Om Beach. I did try, in several different ways, to rescue her. After the dog fight, I immediately talked with the staff at Swaswara (where I was staying). They assured me the puppy was owned by the beachside restaurant owner. However, I remained concerned she was not well-cared for, so I also went online and searched for animal rescue/adoption agencies in southern India. There are none working in that part of Karnataka, but I contacted several within a few hours drive, thinking I would bring the puppy to them. I got no response. And, though I walked the beach almost daily after that, I didn’t see the puppy again. It was only my roommate who saw her on that last morning. I also contacted the naturalist working at Swaswara, who himself had a pet dog (well-cared for) and asked him to search for the puppy and if he found her, to take her to an adoption agency and I would pay for all costs. He was, however, unable to find her. I did consider taking the puppy myself, if I could locate her again. (One of my sisters adopted a dog in the Phillipines, and another sister brought one home from Taiwan.) Through my online search, I found an English couple who had been trying for six months to adopt a puppy they’d found on one of Goa’s beaches; it’s evidently a long process. But then I also learned that the U.S. does not allow people to bring dogs home from India unless they are pure-bred. So, I was unable to either find the puppy again or to find some way to get her to a better home. All I have is the hopeful image of her in that little girl’s arms, and this quote on my desk from one of the adoption agencies I interviewed for my story: “To the world you may be just one person, but to one life you may be the world.”
From one friend of animals to another –
LETTER 4 – State of Ohio Shares Blame for Animal Slaughter
Shame on you Ohio Governor John Kasich for letting Governor Strickland's emergency order concerning exotic animals expire. The blood of all the beautiful and wonderful creatures that were killed unnecessarily is on your hands and on your soul, as well as the blood of the man who kept them locked up on his farm.Jeffrey C. Jump, Staff Representative
Council 4, AFSCME, AFL-CIO
New Britain , CT
LETTER 5 – Another Take on the “Goose Problem”
I work out of John F. Kennedy airport and was compelled recently to write a letter to the editor of a widely distributed airport newspaper, the Airport Press, whose front page article vilified Canadian Geese while exhilarating in their proposed send-off as food to Pennsylvania. The editor's response was somewhat positive, first because he published it (I chose to remain anonymous), and second because he praised its strong defense of our position: "Your front page article, I'd Rather Have a Goose on My PlateThan in My Airplane’s Engine, in the July issue of Airport Press represents the perverse mentality which afflicts the aviation industry (among many others) in its attempt to address the problem of bird interference. As an employee of JFK Airport whose job entails the everyday security at the airport, I am grateful to have this job and recognize the priority of airplane passenger safety. However, one must recognize also that birds are not debris; they are living, feeling beings who share this earth with us, not for us. Canadian Geese often bond in pairs for life, and fulfill both maternal and paternal obligations that we could take a lesson from. Most of the Canadian Geese in the metropolitan area are non-migratory and well-distanced from airplane traffic. For those that migrate, there are other means to prevent this problem, though more inconvenient for us. Remember, it is us who have infringed on their space; it is we who have created this ’problem.’ Birds fly. Humans walk. To kill them to satisfy our luxury of flying — as only they were born to — is an aberration of nature. The central question for us is not whether to choose between the life of a human and that of a bird--but whether to choose life. We owe it to them and nothing less.”
Sincerely, A Friend of Animals
New York , NY
LETTER 6 – Championing the Right of Geese to Exist
It gave me such great joy to read your article regarding New York City's geese (Autumn, 2011 ActionLine) and the defenders and champions of their right to exist.
I too fought a battle for the geese, swans, turtles and deer at a local pond. Neighbors mowed down trees and shrubs, planted grass, fertilized and proceeded to fence in the entire pond, blocking off all access for wildlife to water.
Goslings and cygnets need access to water every 20 minutes or they dehydrate. I found out a lot about geese and swans that summer as they became trapped in our backyard. I called in the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the conservation commission for help. It took the commission five years to enforce their order to have the neighbors remove their fences, and replant vegetation.
I won the battle, but lost the war. After five years, most of the wildlife moved to friendlier locations. We now have a dead pond; only a few geese are left, and now and again a heron.
The neighbors felt entitled, having no feelings of responsibility as caretakers of the wildlife or pond. The conservation commission, an all-volunteer board, also had strong anti-geese feelings. So it is a sad place for me these days.
I am glad to hear that this group was more successful.
Springfield , Massachusetts
LETTER 7 – What is Fur’s Appeal?
Robin Raven’s article on fur-wearing celebrities brings to the forefront a shocking reality. I, too, had been wondering where all the stalwart anti-fur campaigns and demonstrations --where even some celebrities joined in-- of the eighties went. Were all those efforts for nothing?
Fur dealers, fur designers, and fashion magazines don’t surprise me: they continue to prey on profit and greed. The sad realization is that new generations, seem to me, don’t benefit from lessons from the past. Worse, some old-timers like Madonna did not learn anything; they wore fur then and still do now.
Let’s give fur wearers the benefit of the doubt for a moment and assume they just look at the finished product, having no idea of the bloody slaughter, the suffering and deprivation in the fur farm, the agony of having a limb caught in a metal trap, or the shock of electrocution, let alone being beaten and skinned alive in a fur farm.
Or do fur wearers think that (non-human) animals don’t feel pain; or worse yet, they know it and don’t care? If the latter is true, then we human (animals) are a despicable race and David Attenborough was darn right when he said that if humans would disappear overnight, the world would be a much better place.
P.S. Having said that, I still would like to know how to reach Patti LaBelle to give her a piece of my mind about the “so soft” chinchilla fur she loves so much, costs unspeakable agony to the tiny creature, and takes 40 of them (!) to make the full-length coat she has been wearing out and about.
LETTER 8 - Movement Watch: On Dealing With Egg Companies
Your article about egg-laying chickens and modified cages, on pages 27-29 of the Autumn 2011 issue of Act · ionLine , beautifully shined a light on the situation, and my thinking changed by your reporting of events. I'd like to request extra copies of the issue for my yoga students to consider.
Once upon a time, I was not 100% decided on the topic of advancing "bigger cages" versus a complete paradigm shift. (I appreciate Movement Watch writer Lee Hall's trademark reminder about the earth being round and how to effect this shift in worldview.)
As one of my economics professors observed, I really grapple with ideas; I want to understand and hear all points of view - including in the animal-advocacy movement. I'd imagine this is a process others in your membership go through as well.
The critical thinking taught to many of us in academic settings needs to be applied in real-life situations such as the question of whether to make agreements with animal agribusiness; difficult decisions demand a critical evaluation of a given situation (including an understanding of human nature). Your thinking is rigorous and this kind of leadership is crucial to the movement.
Francesca MeredithNewtown Square, PA
LETTER 9 – Hunters Are Such Losers
For the first time in 24 years, the apple orchard where I buy discount apples for my wildlife, could not guarantee apples for “pick up in the next few hours.” The boxes are flying off the shelves,” the owner claimed. “Where are they flying?” I inquired. He said, “Deer hunting season just began and the hunters are buying the apples for bait.”
During the last three decades many pros and cons have been discussed about this highly emotional issue. Personally I have never looked at it from the following angle: when the orchard owner informed me that the hunters purchase apples for bait, I visualized these innocent animals coming out of the woods, walking towards the apples, only to be blown to smithereens. Their only crime? Hunger.
The macho hunters (dressed to the teeth in their hunting outfits) , look so confident, exuding power with their almighty guns and bullets, yet this ”power” can only be utilized by reducing themselves to TRICKERY.
Each day we reach a new low.
Action Volunteers for Animals
Chicago , IL