The Viva Vine: vol #4, no #1: January / February 1995

The following is an open letter from Henry Spira, whose Animal Rights International bought the space for the March 15, 1994 "face branding" ad published in the New York Times, (reproduced here in "The VivaVine" on page 7).

Dear Friend:
We have every reason to believe that the rule to eliminate face branding of Mexican cattle will be signed and published in the Federal Register soon. After two waves of ads exposing face branding many outraged readers protested to the USDA; so many that the agriculture agency scrapped its planned expansion of the program, instead offering a proposal to end it altogether.

Many of you also voiced strong concern about the well-being of other farm animals. Now, in a precedent setting initiative, the USDA is committing itself to reexamining practices pertaining to the well-being of all farm animals. We at Animal Rights International plan to encourage the USDA to develop an institutional culture which will never again tolerate abuses like face branding.All the best,
--Henry Spira

The following quotes Henry Spira as published in the February, 1995 issue of Vegetarian Times in response to a featured debate about how the animal rights movement should direct and portray itself:

"[Reform] is basically about strategies; [abolition] is the ultimate goal. The two aren't mutually contradictory, however. If you push for all or nothing, what you get is nothing."

This is surely Mr. Spira's secret to his many successes on behalf of animals.

Similarily, this is why tireless champion of chickens and all fowl Karen Davis can work on behalf of a humane slaughter act for chickens and at the same time advocate for veganism and against factory farming. This is why Ms. Davis will work on any front to make any change for any improvement on behalf of the lives of our winged friends some people call food.

In the following "Dear Abby" letter published in November Ms. Davis illustrated to millions of people that roosters are glorious creatures completely worthy of our awe and respect:

"Dear Abby:
I agree with the Portland, Ore. farmer who asked, "Why all the commotion about how to stop a rooster from crowing?" May I add a few words to the farmer's knowledgeable comments:

Chickens are originally from the jungle. Their wild relatives have lived in tropical forests for tens of thousands of years. Perched in the trees and sensitive to infrared light, roosters see the morning light at least 45 minutes before we humans do. They also have very keen ears -- a distinct advantage when living amid dense foliage. It can be difficult to see a predator and keep track of one's flock.

Why do roosters crow? Through their crowing, every rooster knows where every other rooster is at all times. Each rooster can recognize the crow of at least 30 other roosters -- probably more. As the protector of the flock, roosters are always on the lookout for possible enemies that could threaten their well-being.

In his own fascinating world of chickendom, the rooster is a lover, a father, a brother, a food-finder, a guardian and a sentinel. He is nothing to abuse, scoff at or degrade.
--Karen Davis, PhD, President, United Poultry Concerns Inc."

Abby answered Karen that she would never be able to enjoy another chicken dinner again. This is not to say, perhaps, that she will never again be able to eat one.

[Become a member of United Poultry Concerns. Send $20 to UPC, P.O. Box 59367, Potomac, MD 20859. Call 301/948-2406.]

woman in veal crateUnidentified woman who volunteered to sit in our veal crate for 3 minutes (68K).

One of the accomplishments of The VivaVegie Society in 1994 was the building of a veal crate to spec and displaying it on various outings around New York City. Part of the display was to have a person sit in the crate for extra effect. Passers-by were beckoned to sign a petition calling for the end of the veal crate.

At the top of each petition page read the following: We, the undersigned, believe that the "veal crate" as it is used in the U.S. to raise so-called "milk fed" veal today is a barbaric assault upon hundreds of thousands of sentient creatures every year and reflects one of the lowest levels of human moral decay ever known. The U.S. must today immediately take steps to follow Great Britain in making the veal crate illegal. We demand that the USDA immediately usher in a phase-out policy of the veal crate, in earnest, and on a strict time-table.

The VivaVegie Society sent the signed petitions (24 pages), or copies of them, to then USDA head Michael Espy, President Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Senator Alfonse D'Amato (NY), Senator Patrick D. Moynahan (NY) and US Representative Jerrold Nadler (NY). Initially only President Clinton's office responded. That letter follows.

Dear Ms. Teisler:
Thank you so much for your letter. President Clinton greatly appreciates the trust and confidence you have shown in him by writing.

To ensure that your concerns are addressed, I am forwarding your letter to the Department of Agriculture for review and any appropriate action.
-- Sincerely, James A. Dorskind,
Special Assistant to the President, Director of Correspondence and Presidential Messages

Only after being prompted by the President's office was a letter from the USDA received. The response follows:

Dear Ms. Teisler and Other Concerned Citizens:
Thank you for your letter of September 5, 1994 to President Clinton enclosing a petition to Secretary Espy supporting the banning of crates used to raise veal caves.

We certainly understand your desire for these animals to be treated humanely. Under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), our Agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is responsible for ensuring that certain animals used in research or exhibition, sold as pets at the wholesale level, or transported in commerce are provided with care that meets or exceeds certain established standards. While we are aware that there is a growing public concern about certain methods of animal agriculture, the AWA, as passed by Congress, excludes from coverage animals used for food or fiber.
-- Sincerely, Lonnie J. King, Acting Administrator, United States Department of Agriculture

Dear Ms. Teisler:
Please send me a copy of your "101 Reasons Why I'm a Vegetarian." I'll appreciate it greatly. Thank you.
-- Sincerely, M. Kupinski, Vienna, Austria

Dear Sir/Madam:
Please send me a copy of "101 Reasons Why I'm a Vegetarian." I live and work in Okinawa, Japan and it is extremely difficult to find this type of literature. -- K. --Loukopoulos

Dear Vegetarian:
Please send me the pamphlet containing the "101 Reasons" to become a vegetarian. I read the article in Vegetarian Times and was interested. I always get asked, "Why are you a Vegetarian?" meanwhile I'm looked at as if I was from outer space. And I am getting tired of having to explain the reasons when I feel they are so apparent and everyone should already be aware of them. Thanks,
-- Missy, Myrtle Beach, SC

[Ed. Note: Thank you, Hubert Davis and Duane Cornella for your generous contributions to The VivaVegie Society, I believe that with these donations we have finally paid for the building of our veal crate. Again, thank you to everyone who helped to make the veal crate campaign a success for The VivaVegie Society.]

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