I have been mostly off line this week. It hurts to come back on line to share disturbing news about animal cruelty on the front page of the Friday, August 17, Los Angeles Times. There is an upside however: The front-page placement reflects a shifting attitude towards animals animals in our society.
The article by John M. Glionna is headed, "A beastly kind of cruelty" and sub-headed, "Drive-by shooters, often youths, are killing farm animals in a growing wave of violence. The culprits may face only vandalism charges."
"The buzzards led Nick Bursio to his prized calf. He found the body just over a rise in the field, with a bullet hole in its left shoulder, near the heart.
"Bursio had heard of animals killed by rustlers for their meat. But not until that May morning had he ever imagined anything so senseless as shooting cattle presumably just to watch them die."
"Authorities are searching for a drive-by shooter who guns down cows as they calmly munch grass in the rolling pastureland 50 miles north of San Francisco. Since February, five cows have been found dead in two counties, shot with small-caliber bullets designed to inflict prolonged pain and suffering.
"Nationwide, an increasing number of animal cruelty cases are being reported outside city limits: Horses, cows, goats and other farm animals are being killed, authorities say, often by angry, reckless youths, perhaps acting on dares."
We are given various descriptions, including this one: "Oakland police are investigating the May killing of 15 goats, each shot in the face as they huddled in a portable pen. Officers said residents had called in to report the sound of 'babies crying.'"
The article shares this important information: "Although 43 states have passed felony animal cruelty laws, they rarely apply to livestock -- thanks in part to a strong cattleman's lobby -- as long as ranchers follow 'accepted husbandry practices.'" The piece does not detail the horrors of some of those practices, but people familiar with them might wish to do so in letters to the editor.
There is a nice quote from Gene Baur of Farm Sanctuary (www.FarmSanctuary.org): "Animals raised commercially for food have little legal protection against cruelty. It speaks to a prejudice against certain animals, not based on a rational assessment of their ability to feel pain but on our intended use for them."
The article also reminds us: "Studies suggest that youths who engage in animal cruelty often commit violent criminal behavior as adults. Among those who preyed on animals before turning on people were mass killers Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy and Albert DeSalvo, the Boston Strangler."
Though disturbing, the article is worth reading, and certainly worthy of responses from animal advocates as it raises so many issues about the way humans treat nonhuman animals. You'll find it on line at:
The Los Angeles Times takes letters at firstname.lastname@example.org
Always include your full name, address, and daytime phone number when sending a letter to the editor. Remember that shorter letters are more likely to be published.
Yours and the animals',
(DawnWatch is an animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets. You can learn more about it, and sign up for alerts at http://www.DawnWatch.com. You may forward or reprint DawnWatch alerts if you do so unedited -- leave DawnWatch in the title and include this parenthesized tag line. If somebody forwards DawnWatch alerts to you, which you enjoy, please help the list grow by signing up. It is free.)
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Date: Fri Aug 17 19:52:11 2007
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An animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets.
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