JULY 2005



On Monday, July 4, the BBC Radio 4 program "Start the Week" covered what it called "The Excluded - those not listened to enough."

One of the guests was Peter Singer, Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, who is well known in the animal protection world as the author of the groundbreaking book "Animal Liberation." Twenty years ago Singer published, "In Defense of Animals," a collection of work from various thinkers and activists. An updated version, "In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave" has just been released in the UK and is due out in the US in October. In the BBC interview Singer talks about changes that have taken place in the last twenty years, such as progress in efforts to combat factory farming in Europe. And we learn how badly the US is lagging behind.

You can listen to the show on line at the "Start the Week" web page:

You will see a button where you can listen to the most recent program. Or you can go straight to the audio for the program at:

The part focusing on Peter Singer and animal issues runs from 16:13 to 16:25.

Please thank the show for including the animals. BBC radio takes comments at:

You should include "Start the Week" in the subject line.

You can learn about the updated edition of "In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave," (for which I contributed the chapter "Moving the Media") see the book cover, look inside the book for the list of chapters and contributors, and pre-order it on Amazon at:

Those in the UK can order it now on Amazon UK at:  (hardback)

Or  (paperback)






The July 11 edition of Time Magazine (on stands now) has a positive article headed "Honor Among Beasts. Think altruism, empathy and a sense of fair play are traits only humans possess? Think again." (Page 54.)

It opens with a description of the "play bow" dogs do before engaging in mock fights. The magazine spread includes lots of fun photos of dogs in various play-fight postures. Marc Bekoff, an ethologist at the University of Colorado, tells us that dogs playing are also "exchanging an incredible amount of information."

The article lets us know how much things have changed for the better:

"Only a decade or so ago, scientists were arguing vigorously over whether animals had emotions: just because a dog looks sad or a chimp appears to be embarrassed doesn't mean it really is, the skeptics said. That argument is pretty much over. The idea of animal emotion is now accepted as part of mainstream biology."

Given the place rats generally have in society, largely considered vermin worthy of only of extermination and not even included in laws that protect laboratory animals, the following line was welcome:

"And thanks to Bekoff and other researchers, ethologists are also starting to accept the once radical idea that some animals--primarily the social ones such as dogs, chimps, hyenas, monkeys, dolphins, birds and even rats--possess not just raw emotions but also subtler and more sophisticated mental states, including envy, empathy, altruism and a sense of fairness."

Later in the article a researcher notes that social animals such as "dogs and rats" clearly have a sense of justice.

The article discusses various studies showing that animals who share work will also share the food reward, even when not forced to.

One researcher suggests that animals may have rules of conduct but that "doesn't mean they're ethical creatures."

Following that line, the article ends with:

"But while animals may not possess true ethics or morality, Bekoff, De Waal and a growing number of their colleagues think fairness and cooperation may be the forerunners of those qualities, just as the apelike brain of our distant ancestor Lucy was the forerunner of our own, much more sophisticated minds. After all, Lucy was no Einstein—but without her, the leap from the tiny brains of primitive mammals to the subtle intelligence of an Einstein could never have occurred."

I wonder about the assumption that all humans are "ethical creatures."

The article is lengthy and a fun read. You will find it on line at:,9171,1079521,00.html

It gives us a great opportunity for letters about the way human society treats members of other species. Time Magazine takes letters at:

Always include your full name, address, and daytime phone number when sending a letter to the editor. Shorter letters are more likely to be published.





Those who have been involved in animal protection for a while are familiar with the work of Matthew Scully. He was a senior speechwriter for George W. Bush and is the author of "Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy." He is a driving force behind the transformation of animal protection into a bi-partisan issue. His article about factory farming: "Fear Factories: The Case for Compassionate Conservatism – for Animals" was the cover story for the May 23 edition of Pat Buchanan's magazine, "The American Conservative. Thanks to him, the magazine cover featured a close-up photo of a sow living trapped in a gestation crate, and the headline, "Torture on the Farm." You will find that article archived on the DawnWatch website at:

The July 18 issue of Newsweek has an article by George F. Will headed, "What We Owe What We Eat. Why, Matthew Scully asks, is cruelty to a puppy appalling and cruelty to livestock by the billions a matter of social indifference?" (P 66)

I will share a few wonderful lines from the article:

"The disturbing facts about industrial farming by the $125 billion-a-year livestock industry—the pain-inflicting confinements and mutilations—have economic reasons. Ameliorating them would impose production costs that consumers would pay. But to glimpse what consumers would be paying to stop, visit Or read Scully on the miseries inflicted on billions of creatures 'for our convenience and pleasure':

"'... 400- to 500-pound mammals trapped without relief inside iron crates seven feet long and 22 inches wide. They chew maniacally on bars and chains, as foraging animals will do when denied straw... The pigs know the feel only of concrete and metal. They lie covered in their own urine and excrement, with broken legs from trying to escape or just to turn...'"

I will also comment on the following lines from the article for fear that Scully's stance may be misrepresented or misunderstood. Will writes:

"He does not want to take away your BLT; he does not propose to end livestock farming. He does propose a Humane Farming Act to apply to corporate farmers the elementary standards of animal husbandry and veterinary ethics: 'We cannot just take from these creatures, we must give them something in return. We owe them a merciful death, and we owe them a merciful life.'"

True, Scully isn't trying to "take away" people's right to eat meat. He doesn't see force as the way to bring world-wide vegetarianism. But that doesn't mean he isn't gently encouraging people to stop eating meat, and leading by his own example. He was vegetarian when he wrote Dominion, and now, having learned more about the egg and dairy industries, he is vegan.

I am not sending out the whole article, or even a lengthy summary, because Newsweek tracks the number of hits each article gets, so it is far better that each of us visit the website to read it. Newsweek notes the "most read" story. If this one is the most read of the week, we can expect more stories on animal protection in Newsweek.

Also, at the bottom of the page, there is a spot where you can "Rate this story" by clicking on one of five stars. As I send this out it has been rated by 75 people, and is rated at "4." I hope to see it rated by thousands, at "5." The Newsweek site has a spot where you can "view top rated stories." It would be wonderful if this story was included there. But even if the antis join in, and the rating is low, Newsweek will know that the story was widely read, got loads of attention, and is controversial -- that will encourage more animal coverage.

So please, go to the story on line, so that Newsweek knows you have read it, and please rate it highly. Then share it with your friends either by forwarding this alert or by emailing it to them from the link (just below the rating stars) where it says "Email this." That email will send your friends a link, rather than the full story.

Finally, you can email the author from a link at the top of the web-page. Loads of positive feedback will encourage more animal protection stories from him. And you can keep the issue alive in next week's edition of Newsweek, on the widely read letters page, by sending a supportive letter to the editor at: . Always include your full name, address, and telephone number when sending a letter to the editor.

Here is the link to the story:





The front page of the Tuesday, July 12, Chicago Tribune reports on the investigation of recent animal deaths at Lincoln Park Zoo. The article is headed, "Shrub poisoned zoo monkeys; But report clears Lincoln Park staff."

It opens:

"A two-month outside investigation of animal deaths at Lincoln Park Zoo found the zoo generally acted appropriately but revealed troubling, previously unpublicized circumstances in the May deaths of three langur monkeys and Wankie the elephant.

"The report by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association said the monkeys apparently were poisoned by leaves from a yew shrub--known to be toxic to primates--growing just outside the exhibit. Zoo director Kevin Bell said it was 'a serious oversight' that keepers did not conduct a veterinary review of all plants in the area.

"Investigators also found flaws in the transport of Wankie, 36, who was euthanized May 1 within hours of arriving by truck at the Salt Lake City zoo from Lincoln Park. Though the truck traveled through subfreezing weather on parts of the trip, there was no heat in the transport crate and the driver ignored a veterinarian's request to install a protective tarp.

"In no instance, however, did investigators find that actions by zoo staff members contributed to the animal deaths, zoo chairman Jay Proops said at a news conference Monday."

Later in the article we read more about Wankie's death:

"The most troubling death to the investigators seemed to be that of Wankie, the elephant that died after transport to the Utah zoo.

"All three of the zoo's elephants arrived in 2003 from San Diego Wild Animal Park. When Wankie and another elephant, Tatima, died they were in the end stages of a disease that had not been seen before in elephants, a lung infection caused by Mycobacterium szulgai.

"After the deaths of Peaches and Tatima, officials at both San Diego and Lincoln Park, as well as AZA elephant authorities, decided Wankie, who appeared to be in general good health, should join the elephant herd at Hogle Zoo in Utah.

"The San Diego park provided the same animal transportation specialist that brought Wankie from California to Chicago.

"The report noted that three days before the move Wankie had a bout of colic (upset stomach) and questioned if it was wise to transport her so soon after. Lincoln Park officials also were unaware until the trip was under way that the heater supplied for Wankie's crate was 'not compatible' with the crate, and that 'no heat could be provided,' the report said.

"And the report made clear that there was a breakdown in the lines of authority on the trip.

"As the truck traveled west, temperatures dropped into the 30s and then into the 20s in Wyoming. Kathryn Gamble, Lincoln Park's chief veterinarian, was traveling with the elephant and asked at several points that a tarpaulin be put over the crate for extra protection from the weather, but the animal transport specialist who was driving objected.

"The tarp was finally put in place in Rawlings, Wyo., with less than five hours of travel time left.

"Wankie visibly weakened during the trip, kneeling and finally lying down in the crate. At Sidney, Neb., the truck pulled off at a county fairgrounds where the Denver Zoo had arranged to send a hoist capable of lifting her out of the crate.

"Bell said it proved impossible to remove Wankie at that point because the fairgrounds had no suitable holding area for her and doing so would violate federal regulations.

"Eight hours after she arrived at Hogle Zoo, Wankie's condition was so bad that she was euthanized. The post-mortem examination found the mycobacterial infection had destroyed 30 percent of her lungs. 'Debilitation related to chronic disease coupled with ... stress of shipping may have been sufficient to cause collapse,' said the post-mortem.

"The investigators said it was unclear if the cold truck may have contributed. 'The audit team is unable to ascertain how much of a factor the air temperature was in this case,' it said.

"Based on the investigation, the AZA is recommending several changes in elephant transport procedures, including mandating written agreements establishing lines of responsibility when two or more institutions are involved. It also recommended that transport crates be provided with monitors to log temperatures."

A heartbreaking story. The article avoids giving the background on Wankie's case -- that PETA begged the Lincoln Zoo director not to take the three elephants from San Diego, saying that Chicago's winters would prove fatal, and that Wankie was finally rushed out of Chicago, despite her recent illness, a week before city council members were set to vote on a well-supported resolution calling for Wankie to go to a sanctuary instead of another zoo.

You can read the whole article on line at:,1,6967239.story?coll=chi-news-hed

It provides a good opportunity for letters to the editor against keeping wild animals captive for human entertainment. A good resource on the issue is

The Chicago Tribune takes letters at:




A Saint Louis Missouri station, KSDK, aired a piece on corporate hog farms on the Tuesday, July 12, 10pm news. For those who missed it and those of us not in Missouri, it is available to watch on line at:

I will paste, below, the written web story. But the video piece concentrates more on the cruelty aspects, including footage of sow gestation crates (individual cages so small that the pigs can hardly move), horrible overcrowding in communal enclosures, and dying pigs. Watch the story on line if you can. Most importantly, please thank the station.

KSDK takes comments at:

If you are in Missouri and part of KSDK's potential audience, include your address in your email to make that clear. But since the story is posted on line, appreciative comments from elsewhere are definitely useful. Please write.

For those who cannot watch on line, here is the web text version, which to some extent tells the same story:

Corporate Hog Farms

created: 7/12/2005 10:08:22 PM

By Mike Owens

Investigative Reporter

(KSDK) - Tens of thousands of corporate hogs are being bred and fed in Missouri, with thousands more expected, as one of the nation's biggest hog producers plans an expansion.

But detractors say the booming hog business has a downside: it hurts the environment and the family farm.

Until the mid-1980s, hogs were raised by small farmers. Then corporations stepped in and started vertically integrating the pig industry.

The first big pig farmers were grain companies. They would grow the grain to feed to the pigs and would peddle the final product. The experts say that's pretty much how it is today, with Cargill Pork and Premium Standard Farms weighing in as the two biggest operators in Missouri.

However, Missouri has a law which prevents corporate farming in all but three counties. Those three counties, all near the Iowa border, are home to tens of thousands of hogs. Iowa is home to the meat packing plants where the hogs are slaughtered.

But the hog companies are able to get around the law against corporate ownership of farm land, by hiring farmers to raise their hogs. In fact, on those so-called contract farms, there are prominent signs: the swine on these premises are owned by Cargill Pork.

The farmers are reduced to caring for the hogs, breeding them, feeding them and cleaning up after them. One critic of the system says contract farmers have been reduced to being hog house janitors.

Rhonda Perry of Columbia runs the Missouri Rural Crisis Center. Perry says the big hog farms are hurting Missouri's family farmers by locking them out of the pig markets.

Perry says the only people benefiting from the big hog operations are the companies themselves and retailers. She says being hurt are farmers, end consumers and the environment.

Perry says to help farmers, her group has set up Patchwork Family Farms, which sells its own brand of farm raised pork. She says its pork tastes better than that which is raised in a covered, enclosed hog barn.

While Perry fights on that front, there's the environmental issue. Terry Spence is a farmer in northeast Missouri, near Clarence. One of his nearest neighbors is a Premium Standard Farms hog farm. He's been fighting with the company for years over spills from the farm.

Spence says at least two spills happen a month from the liquid waste generated at the farm. However, state officials with the Department of Natural Resources, say the spills are contained on the property in holding basins, and the sludge never makes it into the waterways.

The liquid waste is a mix of urine and feces from the hogs. The waste is kept in huge lagoons until they are full. Then, the waste is spread on nearby farm fields as fertilizer. However, critics say that's too much waste for too little land, and the runoff can cause problems in nearby creeks and streams.

Spence says he reviews every report issued by the state about his neighbors, and plans to fight any efforts by the companies to expand.

During the production of this story, we wanted to tour several of the big hog operations, but we were denied access. The companies declined, citing health concerns for their pigs. A spokesman for Cargill Pork declined an interview, saying a television story is not the best way for the company to tell its story.

To get pictures of the inside of hog farms, we turned to the Humane Farming Association, a group which tries to change farming practices to make it better for the animals.

The chief investigator for the association is Bob Baker, who lives in St. Louis. He shared with us video tapes that his organization shows to supporters. The video, according to Baker, was shot in Nebraska and South Dakota.

The images show hogs falling into cracks and holes in the floors of their hog barns. It shows animals with tumors. It shows baby pigs which have fallen into waste pits, drowning in waste.

Baker says the images from the other states reflect what is happening in Missouri today, including the practice of "thumping." In that practice, sickly pigs are picked up by their rear legs, and their heads "thumped" onto the concrete floors of the holding barns. Baker, of the Humane Farming Association, says the practice is improper, and should be repudiated by the pork producers.

The Missouri Pork Association is an affiliation of pork producers in the state. The spokesman for the group took three days to return our telephone calls. When he did, he advised us that it would be unlikely he could help us in our story.





On Thursday, July 14, the NPR show "Day to Day" looked at the impact of corporate pig farming on family farmers. The segment told us that just seven years ago small farms made up a third of the pork industry and now they account for just one percent. It is a strong piece, about 4 minutes long, which you can listen to on line at: 

Unfortunately it doe not address the impact of factory farming on the pigs. Those who are not familiar with the cruelty issues should check out,  particularly the photo gallery.

Please thank Day to Day for covering the issue, so that the producers learn that these issues are of interest to their audience, but please take a line or two in your email to mention the suffering of the animals.

NPR takes feedback at: 

Click on "NPR program" then select "Day to Day" from the pulldown menu.

I send thanks to Meredith MacCracken for making sure we knew about the piece.





There is a fabulous article on the front page of the Friday, July 15, Wall Street Journal, which smashes the myth that the "sport" of cockfighting is just a matter of letting the birds do what they naturally want to. The article is also in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The opening lines mention a rooster's "drug-habit," referring to the birds being injected with testosterone and methamphetamines to make them fight:

"Felipe, an orange-feathered rooster from Pennsylvania, faced near-certain death when police busted his cockfighting match on a rural compound in 2001. Instead, he checked into the Eastern Shore Chicken Sanctuary. After three weeks of psychological treatment, the 1 1/2-foot-tall fowl kicked his drug habit and stopped picking fights. Today, he lives peacefully with 200 other feathered residents at the center, often cozying up to a flock of Florida hens.

We read what happens to other birds:

"Felipe was lucky. Most of the millions of roosters bred for cockfighting in the U.S. face a gruesome end. If they're not slaughtered during combat, they are often euthanized after police break up illegal tournaments. Cockfights are legal only in Louisiana and New Mexico, but illegal combats and betting are common throughout the country, where there are an estimated 100,000 gamecock breeders. The fights, which take place in an enclosed area, end when one of the duelers dies or one of the handlers concedes victory. They can last more than 30 minutes and can generate tens of thousands of dollars in winnings."

And we learn how they are made to fight:

"To prepare the birds, breeders trim their combs, wattles and earlobes to reduce weight. They inject the roosters with testosterone and methamphetamines and snip their spurs -- nails on the back of rooster legs -- replacing them with 3-inch steel blades. The roosters fly up into the air and dig the blades into rivals' flesh."

According to the article "Fight survivors are generally considered too violent to be saved" but we read that Pattrice Jones, from the Eastern Shore Chicken Sanctuary, says that even the most difficult birds take just a matter of weeks to pacify. She says, "After they're rehabbed, they end up being the sweetest roosters here."

The article tells us about her techniques and about the sanctuary she co-founded. To learn more about the sanctuary go to:

The full front page article, by Amir Efrati, headed "When Bad Chickens Come Home to Roost the Results Can be Good" is on line at:

The Journal says that link will be good till Friday July 22. But the same article in also on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette website at:  headed, "Drugged gamecocks rehab at chicken sanctuary."

The article coincides nicely with one just posted to  headed, "Study: Chickens Think About Future." It lets us know that the minds of chickens are far more complex than most people assume.

This front page story opens the door for appreciative letters to the editor that address any aspect of how we treat members of other species -- those we use for human entertainment and those we use for food. The Wall Street Journal takes letters at:


Those from Pittsburgh should write to the Post-Gazette. That paper takes letters at:

Always include your full name, address, and daytime phone number when sending a letter to the editor. Shorter letters are more likely to be published.





The July 16 US edition of The Economist has an article on greyhound racing. I will paste it below:


Gone to the dogs;

Greyhound racing. An ancient sport in trouble

A working-class sport in need of more money, more punters and a makeover

Entertainment, in Cross Lanes, West Virginia, is scarce on a Saturday night, so the Tri-State Racetrack & Gaming Centre pulls in a decent crowd. The car park is packed. The punters scrutinise their programmes, television screens and the greyhounds parading the turf. When the gates are lifted and the hounds bolt, the spectators holler. At the end, fewer seem quite so optimistic—but most will be back.

Greyhound racing is holding up well in poor states like West Virginia. But tracks in posher areas are hurting. The American Greyhound Track Operators Association lists 46 greyhound courses; five years ago there were 50. Two tracks have closed this year: Multnomah in Oregon and Plainfield in Connecticut. Others are losing money, according to Eric Wilson, the association's president.

Booming Arizona always used to be one of the industry's brighter spots. But on a Thursday night at the Phoenix Greyhound Park, only 200 people show up. Attendances are 29% below the level five years ago, says the park's marketing manager, Bac Tran. Over the same period, Phoenix's population has grown by nearly a tenth.

One nagging problem for the industry is fears about animal cruelty. The Humane Society of the United States has voiced concern about racing injuries. Stephanie Shain, the society's outreach director, claims that, at the end of their four-year career, most dogs are killed. The industry disputes this. The director of the Arizona chapter of Adopt A Greyhound, Kari Morrison Young, says the dogs live very good lives in their racing kennels and then retire to homes. "Human athletes should have it so good," she says.

The main problem, moan the dogmen, is other forms of gambling. Internet betting is hurting a bit, but punters are being wooed away by casinos and lotteries. Payouts for greyhound racing seem low. A $5 bet on Tailwaggin Tiff, a relatively unfancied dog at Cross Lanes, paid out just $15 when he won. And unlike the glitzy casinos, greyhound tracks offer a sad world of sticky escalators, grubby walls and horrible food. Discarded programmes and half-eaten nachos litter the smoky halls of Cross Lanes. An old man shuffles past, his unbelted, sagging trousers revealing a derrière which is distinctly less pert than those on display on a Vegas chorus line.

The industry is thinking about sprucing up its act. Several tracks are seeking regulatory approval to offer patrons other gambling options, such as video lottery terminals and card rooms. And some of the punters are doing rather well.

A spectacled Cleophus Johnson attends the Phoenix track nightly. A self-described "pro-better" Mr Johnson is armed with a mobile phone, pager and binoculars. Greyhound racing has been his only income for five years, he says, and this year he's up $40,000. Asked about the downturn in the sport he follows, the resourceful Mr Johnson looks unfazed. "Less people, more for me."

(End of Economist article)


Kari Morrison's comments on the lives of greyhounds are outrageous. You can learn more about the industry at:

On that site, for example, you'll read about thousands of ex-racing greyhounds found buried in Alabama, having been shot in the head and disposed of for ten bucks each by race-track veteran Robert Rhodes.

In December 2004, HBO Real Sports did a terrific segment on the issue, which showed a truckload of racing greyhounds arrive at a veterinary clinic alive, being thrown away, dead, a few minutes later -- perhaps not quite how human athletes would like to "have it". I transcribed much of that segment -- you can read it at:

Please correct Morrison's misinformation and help keep the issue alive in The Economist by sending a letter to the editor. The Economist takes letters at  and advises "Don't forget to include your postal address and a daytime telephone number."




I am a little late getting out an article from the Sunday, July 17, Washington Post but I wanted to make sure people got a chance to respond. The piece is headed, "The Animal Zealotry That Destroyed Our Lab" It is by Mark Blumberg, a behavioral neuroscientist at the University of Iowa whose lab was trashed by the Animal Liberation Front late last year. (Pg B 03)

The article includes some misleading comments from Blumberg about the "exhaustive array of local, state and federal rules" to which researchers must conform. Blumberg uses rodents, who are exempt from the (generally unenforced) federal laws pertaining to laboratory animal care.

The piece, however, includes delightful comments from Senator Frank Lautenberg, a Democrat from New Jersey, who apparently would prefer the FBI were devoting itself to finding "terrorists" who are killing people, rather than those trashing computers and freeing animals.

The full article is on line at:

No matter what one thinks of this type of action -- and there are good arguments for and against -- the piece opens the door for letters against vivisection. Please don't pass up the opportunity to write on behalf of the animals.

The Washington Post takes letters at  and advises, "Letters must be exclusive to The Washington Post, and must include the writer's home address and home and business telephone numbers."





The August 2005 edition of Money Magazine includes an unfortunate article about the new designer breeds of dogs, which are really just mutts -- mostly poodle mixes. It includes lines such as, "Plus, there's an element of fashion to the new mixes -- having the first Labradoodle on your block is a little like owning the first Prius." And it tells people, "For any dog, but especially a mix, ask for a one- or two-year money-back guarantee."

It warns against pet store dogs, which might come from puppy mills, but only because they can have health problems. There is no mention of the cruelty issue. (Check out  to learn more.) And the article does not mention the four million companion animals killed every year in this the US for lack of homes.

It is available on line at . The Labradoodle breeders will no doubt love this article and thank Money Magazine, so I urge those who care about the horrendous companion animal overpopulation crisis to also write polite letters to the editor. You might write about the overpopulation crisis, about spay-neuter, and perhaps about the joys of good old-fashioned mutts. Money Magazine takes letters at  and advises, "Correspondence should include the writer's full name, address, and home telephone, and may be edited for purposes of clarity or space."





After the wonderful expose on cockfighting on the front page of the Wall Street Journal a week ago (click here for more on that) how disappointing to see another front page story about a cruel sport, this time written as a fluff piece. The Thursday, July 21, Wall Street Journal included a front page story on "Mutton Bustin," which is rodeo for little kids. It is headed, "At 6, Koby Blunt Is Retiring at the Top In Mutton Bustin.'" Perhaps the most disturbing segment is that in which we learn that the higher the animal's distress, the higher the score:

"The rider must stay on the animal for six seconds, at which point the judges award half the points for the style of the rider and half for the aggressive qualities of the sheep. Some sheep refuse to leave the starting chute. Some go for a leisurely stroll in the arena. But some leave the chute in a fury, trying to get rid of the weight on their backs. 'If the sheep runs out and starts bunny-hopping, you'll have a nice score,' says Koby."

Here we have the precursor of the adult "games" at which undercover activists have videoed the use of electric prods to make the bulls buck as they leave the chute. Visit SHARK's website to learn more about rodeo, including mutton bustin and the danger it poses to children.

I will paste the journal article below. It is unlikely that the Journal is intentionally promoting animal cruelty, so polite but educational letters to the editor will probably be the most effective and most likely to be published. The Wall Street Journal takes letters at: Always include your full name, address, and daytime phone number when sending a letter to the editor. Shorter letters are more likely to be published.

I send thanks to Vegan Outreach's Joe Espinosa for making sure we saw the article.

Yours and the animals',

Karen Dawn

Here is the piece:

At 6, Koby Blunt

Is Retiring at the Top

In Mutton Bustin'

The 'Goodest Sheep Rider,'

Fearless in Competition,

Isn't Keen About Clowns



July 21, 2005; Page A1

WINCHESTER, Idaho -- Koby Blunt gently lowered himself into the rodeo chute, climbing down the white fencing until he straddled his opponent: 250 pounds of bleating ovine.

He wedged his right hand under the riding rope wrapped around the sheep's chest, squeezed his legs tight around its shaggy flanks and positioned his boots, spurs at the ready. He lifted his left arm into the air and instructed his assistants: "I'm ready, boys, let him out."

When that gate flew open at the Winchester Open Rodeo earlier this month, it was a bittersweet moment in Koby Blunt's career. The rodeo was one of the last times Koby will compete in mutton bustin', the event he has dominated in Washington state and the Idaho panhandle. He can't compete after this season because he hit retirement age on July 6: 6 years old.


"I'm the goodest sheep rider in the whole world," Koby says. Then he catches himself and adds: "Except Jesus."

Wannabe rodeo stars start small. They ride sheep. Like bull riders, mutton busters are scored on a scale of 100 points. The rider must stay on the animal for six seconds, at which point the judges award half the points for the style of the rider and half for the aggressive qualities of the sheep. Some sheep refuse to leave the starting chute. Some go for a leisurely stroll in the arena. But some leave the chute in a fury, trying to get rid of the weight on their backs. "If the sheep runs out and starts bunny-hopping, you'll have a nice score," says Koby.

In most rodeos, mutton busters can't compete after they turn 6 or weigh 50 pounds, whichever comes first. When they get too big, they have to move on, usually to calf riding, which leads to steer riding, which leads to junior bull riding, and finally ends with senior bull riding -- eight seconds of chaos on the back of an angry 2,000-pound mass of muscle, horn and hoof. Tony Mendes, No. 6 in the Professional Bull Riders Inc. standings, started his career on sheepback at age 3. His career winnings now total more than $600,000.

Koby Blunt has started along that path. His parents are raising their four boys -- ranging from 22-month-old Dawson to 10-year-old Caleb -- to ride in rodeos the same way other parents encourage their kids to play soccer or join the Scouts. Nine-year-old DePaul is a champion barrel racer and pole bender, both events that require nerve and agility on horseback.

The Blunt boys live with their parents in an old trailer on their grandparents' 4.5-acre compound on the outskirts of Clarkston, Wash. Inside is a glass-and-wood case containing the dozens of oval, silver belt-buckles they've won at rodeos and a collection of trophies with tiny golden sheep on top. Koby, who started busting mutton at 4, won the Washington state championship last year -- one of 21 rodeo championships he has won. When he ends his mutton bustin' this season, he'll move on to calf riding and roping.

Outside the trailer, the Blunts keep horses -- miniature and full-size -- calves, steers, a turkey, a chicken, a big goat and a humped, 660-pound Brahma bull with stubby horns.

The boys rarely play their videogames, spending their days instead riding and roping in corrals and a practice ring. Their father, Paul, a 37-year-old guard at a juvenile jail, and mother, Kopper, a 31-year-old juvenile-probation officer, believe the boys learn responsibility by feeding and watering the animals each morning. And they learn to pick themselves up when they fall.

It's a rustic life that leaves a few bruises. In one favorite game, the boys bean each other with fresh-picked walnuts. "The rule is you can't cry if someone hits you," explains DePaul.

Koby Blunt rides a sheep in the Winchester Open Rodeo, one of his last mutton rides before he must retire from the sport at age 6.

Koby was on the Brahma bull a couple weeks ago when he ran into a cord that was accidentally stretched across the entrance to the starting chute. He was knocked to the ground and left with a pink scar across his throat. "I got clotheslined," he explains, flashing his baby-teeth grin.

On summer weekends, it's all about rodeos. Paul and Kopper load the horses into a trailer and drive the boys as far as four hours away for competitions, where Koby's signature event is mutton bustin'.

"That kid has no fear," says Jason Ewing, a 31-year-old calf roper who gave up on bull riding after he was gored in the throat and stamped on in the groin and back.

The one phobia Koby has had to overcome is a fear of rodeo clowns. For much of his early career, he ran away when the clowns came to help him off the sheep. These days, he insists, the clowns don't bother him much, at least not as much as department-store Santas and Easter Bunnies.

The clowns don't take it personally. "Every time we go near him, he shies away," says Colt Hager, a 19-year-old with painted white cheeks and a red nose. But "as soon as [the makeup] comes off, we're best buddies."

The old hands say Koby's stellar record as a sheep rider bodes well for a career riding bigger stock. His success is due in large part to his terrific balance, and to the strong legs he has developed riding miniature horses bareback. The combination makes him hard to dislodge once he's on top of a sheep and allows him to ride with one hand in the air, just like the pro bull riders whose autographs adorn his favorite cowboy hat. Nearly all the other young mutton busters grab as much wool as they can with both hands and hold on for dear life until the six-second horn blows. Some even lie down on the sheep's back and wrap their arms around its neck. Riding one-handed earns Koby style points the other mutton busters can never achieve.

When Koby arrived in Winchester (population 308) July 3 for its annual rodeo, he stood out, too, because he and his brother were the only black cowboys competing. Paul Blunt, who is black, moved to the area from Texas to accept a baseball scholarship at Lewis-Clark State College, where he met Kopper, who is white.

But mostly Koby attracted attention because of his reputation as a top-notch cowboy in the "Little People" division. "You riding sheep?" one teenage cowboy asked when he spotted Koby.

"Yeah," Koby replied.

"You gonna spur the hair off it?"

"Yeah," Koby replied.

The first contestants had ridden a day earlier, and the top rider scored a 72. Koby, wearing jeans and a crisp white buttoned shirt embroidered with blue and red stars, was confident as he inspected the five mop-colored sheep curled up in a holding pen, chewing methodically. "I want the black-faced one," Koby said. "His name is Rocket. He's fast like a son of a gun."

Koby lugged his gear bag to the chute area, where an older cowboy helped him hang his rope -- which he'd later cinch around the sheep's chest during the ride -- on a high rail. For the next three hours, Koby laboriously rubbed rosin into the rope to make it less likely to slip around the sheep's body.

The first mutton buster of the day tumbled off less than 10 feet into his ride. One hit the dirt before leaving the chute. A boy named Cody stayed on for the full six seconds, but clutched the sheep with both hands. One rider lost his nerve and had to be lifted back out of the chute by a grownup.

When Koby's turn came, his father and grandfather climbed into the chute, steadying the unhappy sheep as they tightened Koby's rope. When Koby gave the word, a burly rodeo hand pulled the gate open.

The sheep bolted out, swerving slightly as it crossed the arena. Koby gripped tight with his gloved right hand, but held his left arm out stiff, like a football halfback. His chaps, decorated with blue crucifixes and leather fringe, flapped wildly as he dug his silver spurs deep into the sheep's woolly flanks. Koby's head wobbled with every step.

"Look at that hand in the air! Is he going to be famous or what?" the announcer bellowed over the PA system as the horn signaled the end of the required six seconds. "There's a cowboy for you -- oh, man."

But Koby didn't hear the horn and kept riding. At the far side of the arena, the sheep suddenly dodged to the left, jerking Koby to his right. He slid around the sheep's side, scraping his straw cowboy hat against the fence and eventually slipping underneath the animal's belly as it spun in a tight circle. Even so, Koby kept his left arm outstretched until the sheep finally stepped on his protective vest and the rodeo clowns yanked him to safety.

"What are they going to score it?" the announcer exulted. "Eighty points? Whoa!" It was the highest score any cowboy got all weekend, even the bull riders, and earned Koby two $20 bills and another silver belt-buckle.

Koby swaggered to the side of the arena, glancing back nervously at the clowns.

Write to Michael M. Phillips at






There is a delightful article in the Friday, July 22, Seattle Post-Intelligencer that should be read by every vegan who has had to face questions about whether she/he gets enough protein, and whether the diet is really healthy. Headed, "Seattle man amazes everyone in 135-mile marathon--including himself" it is about Scott Jurek, a vegan athlete who just won the Badwater Ultramarathon and who has won the Western States 100 mile race seven times in a row.

We read that at the end of the Badwater race, "He hardly looks as if he's just run 135 miles, through 115-degree desert heat, from the lowest point in the United States to the slopes of one of its highest points, Mount Whitney. You wouldn't know that this was his first time racing the Badwater Ultramarathon, or that he shattered the course record by more than half an hour, or that he was a full two hours ahead of his closest competitor."


"On July 12, in 24 hours, 36 minutes and eight seconds, the Seattle man won the Badwater, one of ultrarunning's toughest events. Before the California race, Jurek had never run more than 90 minutes on pavement. Nor had he trained for the intense desert heat, except for arriving a week early to the Death Valley start area. And, he'd just come off of winning another world-class ultramarathon two weeks earlier -- barely any recovery time between two colossally demanding endurance feats. Jurek, who won his seventh Western States 100-miler in a row in June, says he conquered the Badwater by respecting the heat and biding his time."

More on the Badwater race:

"Some say the Badwater is the most extreme running race in the world. Just 81 runners attempted it this year, and only 67 finished the course, which started 282 feet below sea level in Death Valley and finished 8,360 feet up Mount Whitney. Many competitors take almost as long as the 60-hour cutoff, and some will sleep or rest for hours at a time."

And then the great news about Jurek's compassionate diet:

"For food, Jurek, a vegan, ate energy bars and gels, potatoes and rice balls, chased by soy protein drinks and electrolyte capsules. He consumed 60-120 calories every 20-30 minutes, mostly on the run."

You can read the whole article on line:

I hope you will forward it far and wide, and also use it as a jump-off point for letters to the editor about some of the joys of vegan diets. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer takes letters at  and advises, "To have your letter considered for publication, it must include your name, address, daytime telephone number and signature. All letters should be no longer than 200 words and are subject to editing. Because of the volume of letters received, not all letters can be published. Letters that cannot be verified also will not be published."





The cover of the Sunday, July 24, New York Times Magazine has a drawing of a chimp sitting on a beach (in classic Florida style "retirement") and the caption, "What Does an Aging Chimp Do When His Working Days Are Done? A journey into the realm -- and the issue -- of primate retirement sanctuaries."

The story inside (pg 28) by Charles Siebert, is headed "Planet of the Retired Apes" and sub-headed, "Chimpanzees have been our research subjects, zoo attractions and TV stars. Can we repay them by easing them into their sunset years? Travels among primate retirees."

The opening pages have a photo of the "Save the Chimps" sanctuary in Florida, where "Ultimately, 260 chimpanzees, virtually all of them bred in captivity and used for research, will be set free on one of a dozen three islands on the sanctuary grounds." The photo of chimps wandering free across a bridge on a lush island is in stark contrast to a sickening photo of the chimpanzee pens at the Coulston Foundation, a former biomedical research facility that was acquired in 2002 by the Save the Chimps foundation.

The article opens with a discussion of Chimp Haven, "the first federally financed, taxpayer-supported retirement home for chimpanzees."

We read, "Chimp Haven is a happy consequence of the Chimpanzee Health Improvement, Maintenance and Protection (or Chimp) Act, passed in the final days of the Clinton administration. The bill allotted up to $30 million, pending matching funds from private donations, for the construction of the facility, which, with future expansions, could house as many as 900 chimps and serve as a template for the nationwide 'system of sanctuaries' mandated by Congress to accommodate the country's growing number of surplus chimpanzees."

Later in the article, after a discussion of the mass breeding of chimps during the AIDS epidemic, we learn about the surplus of chimps, once it was realized that chimps are not a useful test subjects for HIV research. We read: "With the urging of a consortium of animal-welfare organizations known as the National Chimpanzee Research Retirement Task Force, and with support from numerous laboratories and various zoological organizations, the Chimp Act passed unanimously."

Unfortunately the lengthy and detailed article declines to note that the support of the laboratories came only with an amendment that lost it the support of some primate protection groups. The Chimp Act includes language that allows laboratories to take chimps back into research from a government funded "sanctuary" if scientists decide they are needed. So rather than offering true sanctuary, there is a danger that in some instances the retirement homes could prove to be a taxpayer funded holding ground between experiments. Those activists, such as Jane Goodall, who supported even the final version of the Chimp Act, felt that it was best to do everything possible to get the chimps out of the laboratory setting as quickly as possible; then once they are out, they feel we can fight from an incomparably stronger position if there is an attempt to put any of them back in.

We learn about the chimps who will be heading to sanctuary:

"There are an estimated 2,500 captive chimps in the United States, a number that's difficult to pinpoint because of the many private breeders still turning out baby chimps, mostly for private ownership or use in entertainment. Of the 1,500 or so laboratory chimps, nearly half are no longer being used for experimentation. Lab chimps today are largely confined to behavioral studies and hepatitis and malaria research, and an even greater number may soon be rendered unnecessary for research by advances in DNA analysis and computer modeling. As for the remaining refugees of entertainment and private ownership, their ranks continue to swell even though chimps are unmanageable much past the age of 6 and despite the fact that advances in computer animation may soon obviate altogether the need for actual animal performers.

Chimps are spilling forth now from all quadrants of our keeping -- research labs, traveling zoos, movie and TV studios, backyard pens -- and an international network of sanctuaries, in Canada, Europe, Africa and South America, along with the United States, has sprung up to accommodate them. Indeed, one newly expanded, privately financed sanctuary called Save the Chimps will soon accommodate more than 250 former lab chimps, the largest collection of retired primates in history."

The article offers an upsetting glimpse into life in the laboratory, and a couple of tender descriptions of interactions between chimps on the new sanctuaries, and between the chimps and humans who are helping to free them, that moved me to tears. It is well worth reading and can be found on line at:

The cover story opens the door for letters on any aspect of our treatment of members of other species. The Sunday New York Times Magazine letters section is widely read. Please write. The Magazine takes letters at  and advises, "All letters should include the writer's name, address, and daytime telephone number...Letters may be edited for length and clarity." 





The Editorial section of the Sunday, July 24, New York Times (Section 4, Page 11) includes an article by Verlyn Klinkenborg headed, "The Story Behind a New York Billboard and the Interests It Serves." It discusses the "PETA kills Animals" billboard in Times Square and exposes the motives of the group behind it, which calls itself "Consumer Freedom."

Klinkenborg writes:

"We live in an age of organizations with anodyne names that conceal their real agenda, and the Center for Consumer Freedom is one of them. We're all consumers, and what could be better than freedom? But C.C.F. was founded by a Washington lobbyist named Richard Berman and is financed, according to at least one watchdog group, by many of the same meat, fast-food, restaurant and beverage companies that have hired him as a lobbyist. Seed money came from Philip Morris."

He tells us that "the language of the Center for Consumer Freedom is as Orwellian as it is possible to get. Its basic linguistic strategy could have been taken directly from George Orwell's 'Politics and the English Language,' still the most important single essay on how to lie without seeming to" and that "The blurring of the distinction between corporate interests and the individual and collective rights of humans is one of the central tropes of our time and the source of much purposeful confusion, of the kind that the Center for Consumer Freedom exploits."

Klinkenborg charges Consumer Freedom with hypocrisy. Then in his last line he tackles the issue milked by the billboard, PETA's euthanization of animals. He writes, "Is it hypocritical for PETA to euthanize dogs and cats, as C.C.F. claims it does? Only if you believe that the ethical treatment of animals never includes euthanasia." There are certainly some animal advocates who feel it doesn't, but Consumer Freedom is not amongst those working towards a no-kill society, so the billboard involves more hypocrisy than any of PETA's stances or actions, and Klinkenborg does a good job of pointing that out.

You can read the whole piece on line at:

It presents a great opportunity for letters to the editor encouraging adoption and spay-neuter. The New York Times takes letters at:

Always include your full name, address, and daytime phone number when sending a letter to the editor. Shorter letters are more likely to be published.





There is a story on the front page of the Sunday, July 24, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel headed, "The protesters next door.

Activists plan to exhibit opposition near UW's monkey research labs."

It opens:

"Aside from the faint smell of monkeys, the large building with an 'Authorized Personnel Only' sign on the outskirts of University of Wisconsin-Madison betrays few signs of life.

"A passerby would have little reason to suspect that inside its brick walls, hundreds of researchers in white lab coats, facemasks and goggles are busy experimenting on more than 1,500 primates. Or that some of the experiments involve injecting the animals with the monkey equivalent of human immunodeficiency virus, better known as HIV. And that others require syringe needles to be pushed through the animals' skulls.

"But what happens inside the National Primate Research Center and a university lab next door that also uses monkeys may soon become much more public.

"In June, a former middle school teacher turned primate defender signed a contract to purchase a cluster of buildings between the labs. He and other animal rights activists plan to create an exhibition hall on the site that will showcase what they say is the torturous reality of primate research. As a sign of what's to come, they have posted on the front of the biggest building a photo of a brown monkey with metal rods protruding from its head and a pained look on its face.

"Needless to say, the researchers are not happy."

We learn that the center "helped improve the technology used to assist women to become pregnant through in vitro fertilization" and that now "the lab is using monkeys to test the theory that a low-calorie diet will slow aging" and also does experiments looking for treatments for terminal human diseases such as Parkinson's and AIDS.

We read about Rick Bogle:

"Bogle, a bearded man who wears blue jeans and Converse All Stars, converted to the cause of monkeys at an environmental conference in Eugene, Ore., in the 1990s. He heard a veterinarian give a speech about a researcher at the Oregon National Primate Research Center who was studying the neurological effects of depriving baby monkeys of a particular nutrient.

"Bogle, 52, was upset to hear that holes were drilled in the monkeys' heads to remove brain samples and that the research was repeated multiple times on different groups of monkeys.

"He scanned the Internet to learn more about the federally funded primate research centers. Most disturbing to him were descriptions of monkeys whose backs were fitted with monitors and those whose skulls were punctured in order to insert metal wires with electrical tips in their brains. At the most basic level, he objected to placing the animals in captivity.

"'I realized that there were hundreds of researchers doing similar things,' Bogle said. 'It became clear that there were a lot of animals suffering.'"

We learn that while protesting outside the primate research center and the Harlow Primate Lab, Bogle noticed a warehouse and asked the owner if he would sell. With the help of a $700,000 anonymous loan, Bogle signed a contract with the owner: "The warehouse and several smaller buildings surrounding it are his if he can raise the money to gut the warehouse and operate it as an exhibition hall.

He has nine months. By Bogle's estimates, the cost will be $100,000. As of last week, he had raised $35,000 through the donations from activists who had heard about the exhibition hall by word of mouth. Bogle expects to get the rest through a nationwide direct mail campaign he just launched."

We read that UW-Madison officials are trying to get the owner to sell the warehouse to the university, but the article ends with this great from the owner: "I like the idea of a peaceful protest building that will show their side of the story. I think that's American. I think that's fair."

You can read the whole article on line at:

It opens the door for letters against vivisection. The Journal Sentinel takes letters at:

And you can learn more about the museum project, and even donate on line, at:

Rick Bogle is a passionate, intelligent and wonderfully articulate activist. I encourage other activists to learn about his work.

I thank Cassandra and Kim from Alliance For Animals, Milwaukee, for making sure we knew about this article.





The Christian Science Monitor, a widely distributed and highly respected national newspaper, continues its recent run of thoughtful articles on animal issues with a piece about the controversy surrounding the arrest of two PETA employees who euthanized then discarded the bodies of companion animals. The July 25 piece is headed, "Case of cruelty, or compassion?" (Pg 11.)

It explores the issue, perhaps best summed up with a quote from Annette Rauch at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University:

"One side is arguing for the ethical, philosophical concept that an animal deserves not to be euthanized just because at that particular moment it is unwanted. But every shelter has limited space, so when they adopt no-kill, they fill up. That leads us to the next question: What happens to the animals that get turned away?"

The article ends on an uplifting note, as Richard Avanzino from Maddie's Fund reminds us that no-kill policies can be made to work, for example in San Francisco: "The city now euthanizes about 2,000 dogs and cats annually, compared with 65,000 four years ago, he says."

You can read the whole article on line at:

It presents a great opportunity for appreciative letters to the Christian Science Monitor discussing the importance of spay-neuter and the joys of adoption. The Christian Science Monitor takes letters at:





The Thursday, July 28 edition of the national paper USA Today includes a story headed, "Anti-fishing folks are hooked on a feeling; PETA puts critical billboard near Bassmaster event." (Sports, Pg 3C.)

It opens:

"PITTSBURGH -- The Citgo Bassmaster Classic, sometimes known as the Super Bowl of fishing tournaments, will be held this weekend on the three rivers.

"A billboard that just went up south of here on Route51 isn't part of the promotional effort. It's a digitally altered depiction of a dog being yanked by a hook in its mouth.

"'If you wouldn't do this to a dog, why do it to a fish?' asks the billboard, funded by the Fish Empathy Project. That is a campaign launched last fall by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), stepping up earlier anti-fishing efforts."

The article say that whether fish feel pain "is a point of debate." We read that Karin Robertson, who manages PETA's Fish Empathy Project "cites research in the United Kingdom that reported in 2003 that trout had nervous system receptors in their heads and responded to damaging stimuli in ways that showed 'pain,' not just reflex.

PETA has asked papers to remove cancel their fishing columns. There is a delightful suggestion from Robertson that a fishing column, if not cancelled, should "at least be included in a more appropriate section like the crime report or the obituaries."

The article also includes quotes from those who love to fish and even describe it as a spiritual experience. Some engage in "catch and release" fishing -- obviously not for food, just for sport. We read that PETA, of course, is not in favor as "fish still get hooked and can be mortally injured." Indeed many fish do not survive the trauma.

You can read the whole article on line at:

You can read more about the fish pain studies and PETA's Fish Empathy Project at

And you can send a letter to the editor against harming animals for human entertainment (catch and release) and on the joys of a vegetarian diet. USA Today takes letters at: