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How has ISAR spent the last twenty-five years?

i Feb 4th

After a quarter-century of battling against dog and cat overpopulation through such programs as . . . . . . . . . .

International Homeless Animals’ Day, now not only an important national event, but one observed worldwide underscoring the use of spay/neuter and other ISAR programs in an effort to address the scourge of dog and cat overpopulation.

Mandatory spay/neuter laws,[1] applicable to dogs and cats regardless of source in an effort to substantially reduce overpopulation.

Tax deduction laws, federal or state in return for spay/neutering dogs and cats in an effort to provide an incentive for reducing overpopulation.

Adoption sterilization laws, required for all shelter dogs and cats in an effort to substantially reduce overpopulation.

Departments of Animal Affairs laws, at municipal and state levels of government, in order to put all animal-related government functions in a single department, in an effort to substantially reduce overpopulation.

Mandatory dog and cat Identification laws, aimed at reducing abandonment of dogs and cats, in an effort to substantially reduce overpopulation.

Monthly blog, keeping ISAR’s many supporters abreast of national and international progress in an effort to substantially reduce overpopulation.

Billboards, placed in sensitive locations carrying the spay/neuter message to riders and pedestrians throughout the United States and abroad, in an effort to substantially reduce overpopulation.

Animals Today Radio, ISAR being the principal sponsor of this nationally-heard radio and streaming program, which carries the spay/neuter and other messages to listeners through the United States in an effort to reduce overpopulation.

Postage stamps, carrying the spay/neuter message not just in the United States (as the result of ISAR’s years-long efforts, but also to other countries and through the United Nations Organization, in an effort to reduce overpopulation.

Video library, an Internet resource providing links to, and descriptions of, scores of YouTube videos carrying the spay/neuter and other messages, in an effort to reduce overpopulation.

Retail sales of dogs and cats prohibition laws, in an effort to reduce overpopulation.

Abandonment of dogs and cats, by creating and strengthening existing laws prohibiting (except to qualified organizations) the abandonment of dogs and cats, in an effort to reduce the overpopulation of dogs and cats.[2]

. . . . . . . . . . ISAR has prepared a thirteen page booklet which includes information about how we began, who we are, what our mission has been, and how we have been working tirelessly to fulfill it.

The booklet — written by ISAR’s chairman, Professor Henry Mark Holzer, entitled ISAR’s Quarter-Century Battle Against Dog and Cat Overpopulation — is available free of charge on ISAR’s website.

 

_______________

[1] All of ISAR’s legislative studies and proposals are regularly disseminated to legislators and executive branch officeholders on municipal, state, and county levels.

[2] These thirteen major ISAR programs are those we consider most suitable for ISAR’s capabilities. In making that judgment, we have acknowledged that there are other programs that need attention, ones that other organizations are better equipped in assets, income, personnel, and location to address. Our choice of the “ISAR Thirteen” should not be understood as lessening the importance of other activities: advancing low cost spay/neuter, educating the public about animal rights and all the ways in which they are violated, prohibiting factory farming, illegalizing dog and cat mills, alleviating the plight of feral dogs and cats, and various other issues that can be found under the umbrella of dog and cat overpopulation.

DO NOT SANCTION THE EXISTENCE OF ZOOS (PART II)

i Feb 11th

HOW YOU CAN HELP ANIMALS!
 
DO NOT SANCTION THE EXISTENCE OF ZOOS (PART II)
 
In International Society for Animal Rights’ January 15, 2014 How You Can Help Animals blog — entitled “Do Not Sanction The Existence Of Zoos— we made the case that “zoos are an abomination, and should not be supported by individuals, taxpayers, organizations or anyone else.”
 
Among our stated reasons was that “zoos are an immoral enterprise because they exploit and abuse living creatures for the entertainment of the crowd.”

Even ISAR didn’t contemplate the “bread and circuses” savagery that just occurred at the Copenhagen zoo. The closing lines in our blog of January 15, 2014 were these: “It is in the name of
moral principle that zoos should be abolished, for the benefit of the captive ‘living trophies’. If one wants to help animals, this way is among the easiest: Boycott zoos, and tell everyone you know to do the same. And tell them why.
 
To which we now add: And tell them about the Copenhagen zoo, whose name will now forever live in infamy.
 
Why “savagery”? Why “bread and circuses”?
 
Here’s what the renowned Born Free Foundation has had to say:

 

Born Free Statement on Copenhagen Zoo
9 February 2014
  
In the wake of the unnecessary and much-publicised euthanasia of a healthy 18 month-old giraffe named Marius, the Born Free Foundation is calling for an immediate change in European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) policies regarding euthanasia of animals in zoos. Born Free believes that euthanasia should only be employed to prevent suffering of an individual animal and all other options have been exhausted.
 
Will Travers OBE, President of the Born Free Foundation [upon whose life the movie Born Free was based] said: “Born Free, and the majority of the right-thinking world, is appalled at the killing of Marius the giraffe. The slaughter of healthy animals by zoos must stop.”
 
The unnecessary slaughter of Marius by a captive bolt gun at Copenhagen Zoo, Denmark, has sent shockwaves across the world, and exposed the grim reality of zoos, says the Born Free Foundation. The Zoo apparently took the decision to kill Marius after determining that he was closely related to the other giraffes in European zoos and therefore of no value to their breeding programme. The killing of Marius occurred at the same time that Longleat Safari Park in Warminster, UK had decided to kill six of their lions – one on welfare grounds as a result of injuries from a fight in their enclosure; and five others due to suspected neurological problems from inbreeding.
 
Travers added: “Zoos claim that their breeding programmes are contributing to conservation – I say: show me the evidence. If keeping and breeding threatened species are priority for zoos, why then do they keep mostly common species?” Research by the Born Free Foundation has shown that the majority of species kept in zoos are not threatened with extinction in the wild.
 
Virginia McKenna OBE, Founder of the Born Free Foundation [and lead actress in the movie Born Free] said: “I am appalled by the decision to kill this poor, healthy young giraffe. This is an outrage that highlights the urgent need to look more closely at all zoos and the welfare of animals forced to survive in zoo enclosures. Now is the time for people throughout Europe to demand that no more captive wild animals suffer the same tragic fate.”
 
The Born Free Foundation is calling for an immediate review and amendment to EAZA euthanasia policies, to ensure healthy animals who can be relocated are not killed, and for increased transparency in zoos across Europe, with accurate recording and publication of the numbers of healthy animals that are destroyed in each licensed zoo in the region.
 
Furthermore, Born Free is calling for a meeting with the Government Minister responsible for zoos, at which they intend to ask him to implement an urgent review of breeding and euthanasia practices in zoos in the UK.
 
Actually, the savage act done at the Copenhagen zoo is even worse than Will Travers’ has said. There have been reports that Marius was euthanized outdoors in full view of a public, including children, apparently eager to watch. Zoo officials performed the autopsy in public, and then fed Marius’ remains to some of the zoo’s carnivores. For additional details see “The death of Marius the giraffe,” “Zoo Kills ‘Unwanted’ Giraffe Marius, Feeds Carcass to Lions.”
 
What was Marius’ crime?
 
The answer suggests an obscene irony.
 
“His genes are already well represented at the zoo,” said a spokesperson for the Copenhagen zoo.
 
In other words, Marius was a giraffe untermensch (according to Wikipedia, German for under man, sub-man, sub-human . . . .” Marius the giraffe was a sub-animal . . . unwanted . . . surplus. He was slaughtered because his genes were useless to the humans who imprisoned him.
 
This from Danish zookeepers whose country long ago courageously refused to allow human genes to determine who lived and who died. 

DO NOT SANCTION THE EXISTENCE OF ZOOS

i Jan 15th

HOW YOU CAN HELP ANIMALS!

DO NOT SANCTION THE EXISTENCE OF ZOOS 

 

For many years ISAR has argued that Zoological Societies are an abomination, and should not be supported by individuals, taxpayers, organizations, or anyone else. There is much to be said against the continued existence of zoos, and there are many articles and some books that make a convincing case for their closure. (Among the latter is Peter Batten’s Living Trophies.) Some, but by no means all, of those arguments are:

* Zoo animals are often acquired from dealers who, in turn, have obtained them by illegal and brutal means.

* They are transported to their destinations, often over great distances, in a primitive manner with little, if any, regard to what kind of treatment their species requires.

* They are subject to attacks by vandals, and even psychopaths.

* They are often held in sterile cells or cages, suffering the debilitating effects of solitary confinement.

* They receive inadequate nutrition eating unpalatable synthetic food and have inadequate medical care — and suffer illness and disease because of zoos’ financial constraints and zookeepers’ indifference.

* They are traded like baseball cards among zoos and other animal exhibitors, to satisfy perceived display needs.

* They are cross-bred, creating animals called “tigons” or “ligers,” that are, Frankenstein-like, neither tigers or lions.

* They are denied the life dictated by their genes and nature.

These are but a few of the many good reasons zoos should cease to exist, and each of them have been elaborated at great length elsewhere. (How that is to be done is the subject of another essay.)

But the most fundamental objection to zoos, understood and expressed by only a small segment of today’s animal rights movement, is that zoos are an immoral enterprise because they exploit and abuse living creatures for the entertainment of the crowd, and in so doing so cause and perpetuate immeasurable suffering.

Zoos are an outrageous affront to the nature and dignity of the animals imprisoned there. The humans who gawk at zoo inhabitants are co-conspirators in the crime perpetrated against the captive animals.

Why, then, do they exist?

Geordie Duckler has written incisively at 3 Animal Law 189 that:

Zoo animals are currently regarded as objects by the state and federal courts and are perceived as manifesting the legal attributes of amusement parks. The few tort [civil wrong] liability cases directly involving zoos tend to view them as markets rather than as preserves; the park animals are viewed as dangerous recreational machinery more akin to roller coasters or Ferris wheels than to living creatures. Courts typically treat zoo keepers and owners as mechanics and manual laborers responsible for the maintenance of these dangerous instrumentalities. Disputes concerning the possession, sale and care of exotic animals, as well as the administration of the habitats in which such animals are housed, have also been treated by the courts in terms of control of materials for public exhibit and entertainment.

Note the words that we have italicized, chosen carefully by Duckler to describe captive animals imprisoned in zoos: objects, machinery, instrumentalities, materials.

In other words, zoo animals, though living creatures, are considered to be nothing more than inanimate objects.

Consider the reality of that perspective. Primates, large cats, the magnificent elephants are no different from chairs, cars, yarn.

How, one should ask, is this possible conceptually? How can animals, that breathe, eat, drink, sleep, walk, climb, run, copulate, fear, nurture, reproduce, be considered mere inanimate objects?

Putting aside bloody biblical texts, Greco-Roman barbarity, and the influential anti-animal views of Thomas Aquinas, the father of current prevailing attitudes about animals was renowned Christian philosopher-mathematician Rene Descartes. He held that animals were automatons — literally! Decartes asserted that lacking a Christian “soul,” they possessed no consciousness. Lacking a consciousness, he concluded, they experienced neither pleasure nor pain.

Decartes’s belief was a convenient one because it allowed him to rationalize the dissection of unanesthetized living creatures — all in the name of advancing the knowledge of anatomy.

If “advancing knowledge” as an excuse sounds familiar, let’s look at some of the major excuses for the existence of zoos today.

Zoos supposedly “teach people about animals” — as the captive creatures pace interminably in cages, often in solitary confinement, or inhabit the same indoor/outdoor enclosure for life while humans at best throw them Cracker Jacks and at worst firecrackers.

Zoos allegedly provide scientists an opportunity to study the prisoners — while they no longer act as their genes and instinct drive them, neither seeking food nor roaming through natural habitats.

Zoos presumably support breeding programs, especially of endangered species, both as an end in itself and to use the animals as barter with other zoos.

Even if these and other “practical” rationalizations for the existence of zoos were defensible, and they are not, none of them should be allowed to trump the fact that zoos are an immoral enterprise because they exploit and abuse living creatures for the entertainment of the crowd, and in doing so cause and perpetuate immeasurable suffering.

It is in the name of moral principle that zoos should be abolished, for the benefit of the captive “living trophies.”

If one wants to help animals, this way is among the easiest: Boycott zoos, and tell everyone you know to do the same.

And tell them why.

Campaign to End Simulated Abuse of Animals in Entertainment and Product Sales

i Dec 12th

HOW YOU CAN HELP ANIMALS!

Campaign to End Simulated Abuse of Animals in Entertainment and Product Sales

 

Through the efforts of animal rights and animal welfare organizations, some of the physical abuse of, and other cruelty to, live animals in movies and on television has been ameliorated. Trip wires for horses, for example, have largely been eliminated, at least in domestic productions.

However, instead of live animals being abused and cruelly treated, thanks to advances in animation and other technology a related phenomenon has surfaced: “fake” animals are being abused and cruelly treated in the name of “entertainment” and to sell products.

An alien “dog” confesses after being roughed up (Men In Black). Another “dog” is thrown out a window (There’s Something About Mary). Post-copulation, a man falls atop a “cat” (EdTV). Another “cat” is swung on its tail (Idle Hands). An over-the-hill football player punches out a “horse” (Blazing Saddles). A TV ad for an on-line shopping site shows real looking (but plastic) gerbils being shot out of a cannon. For years, cartoons — the Saturday morning TV pacifier for countless children — have visited various forms of mayhem on hapless human-created animals of every description.

Why does this happen in movies and television? Why do the producers of “entertainment” and the purveyors of products use animals at all, let alone in this manner? Why do they believe that even simulated animal abuse and cruelty sells tickets and tacos?

One reason is that a staple of “comedy” has always been the “laugh-at-someone-else’s-expense.” The distinguished man’s toupee lifted from above by a fishing pole, the formally dressed society matron hit in the face with a pie, the stern cop slipping on a banana peel. This kind of slapstick “humor” necessarily has always contained element of sadism. However, it was — and remains — less acceptable to be sadistic toward humans than toward animals, who, even in simulated form, are apparently fair game for virtually any simulated depiction of abuse and cruelty.

Another reason is technological. Today, the advance in robotics and computer imaging allows the simulation of virtually anything, from the depiction of earth’s creation to the lives of amoebas. From the slaughter of endangered Siberian tigers, to the torture of butterflies.

The combination of these factors — “humorous sadism” and technological facility, in the service of crass commercialism — has today resulted in abuses and cruelties described above and countless more, some much worse.

Apart from the generally desensitizing consequences of these depictions — not only for children, but for adults as well — it is well known that there is a correlation between mistreatment of animals and mistreatment of humans, often reaching the level of murder.

Accordingly, the simulated abuse of and cruelty to animals in motion pictures and on television is at least irresponsible and at worst contributes to a culture of violence and negatively impacts on humans and animals alike.

In an effort to put an end to the simulated abuse of, and other cruelty to, animals in motion pictures and television, ISAR has launching a nation-wide petition campaign aimed at demanding that movie producers, television companies, and advertisers and their agencies, desist from simulating harm to animals in order to sell “entertainment” and other products.

Petition

WHEREAS, contemporary motion pictures and television shows are replete with the use of live and simulated animals, and

WHEREAS, such use for commercial purposes is because of the inherent appeal animals have to children and adults alike, and

WHEREAS, although through the efforts of animal rights and animal welfare organizations the abuse of and cruelty to animals used in entertainment and sale of products has been somewhat ameliorated, increasingly abuse and cruelty to animals is simulated, and

WHEREAS, through the use of modern technology such simulations appears to be real, and

WHEREAS, as a result of that apparent reality an explicit and implicit message is sent that abusing and being cruel to animals is acceptable, even humorous, conduct, and

WHEREAS, such a message is at least irresponsible and at worst contributes to a culture of abuse and cruelty to humans and animals alike, and

WHEREAS, it is the responsibility of motion picture producers, television companies, advertisers and their agencies, not to foster abuse of and cruelty to animals,

NOW, THEREFORE we the undersigned, hereby demand that those movie producers, television companies, and advertisers and their agencies to whom this petition will be delivered, immediately cease the simulated abuse of and cruelty to animals in the entertainment and products they sell for public consumption.

CAMPAIGN FOR A U.N. SPAY/NEUTER POSTAGE STAMP

i Dec 2nd

 HOW YOU CAN HELP ANIMALS!

CAMPAIGN FOR A U.N. SPAY/NEUTER

POSTAGE STAMP

After years of campaigning for the United States Postal Service to issue a spay/neuter postage stamp, ISAR’s efforts, with the help of others, were rewarded by the issuance in September 2002 of two such stamps, one depicting a puppy and the other a kitten. The humane educational value of these stamps cannot be underestimated, since the stamps’ printing was in the range of some 80 to 100 million each.

For the past 13 years ISAR has been trying to convince the United Nations Postal Administration to issue a comparable stamp.

Supporters of ISAR know that we have long stressed the correlation between the overpopulation of dogs and cats, and the cruelties visited upon them, and the adverse impact on the public health, safety, welfare and environment. While overpopulation’s unfortunate and damaging consequences are everywhere to be seen and experienced in the United States, the fate of unwanted dogs and cats elsewhere in the world — not only in the so-called undeveloped and under-developed countries — is nothing short of horrendous, as those of us who care about the wellbeing of those animals know.For any organization, ISAR included, to engage in overpopulation and spay/neuter public education in those countries, enormous human and financial resources would be required. As a practical matter, with so much to be done in the United States, little overpopulation-spay/neuter public education can be done abroad. But there is something that can be done to send the spay/neuter message around the world, at no cost to American animal rights organizations: issuance by the United Nations of a spay/neuter stamp.

Stamps issued by the United Nations Postal Administration serve the purpose of raising the consciousness of those who view them. A United Nations commemorative stamp carrying the “Spay/Neuter” message would provide a way to educate the public on dog and cat overpopulation worldwide. With spay/neuter stamps issued from United Nations offices in New York City and abroad, the educational value of the spay/neuter stamp would extend worldwide and serve to educate countless people on the importance of spaying and neutering.

Annually, six innovative U.N. commemorative stamps are produced and put on sale for a period of twelve months. Stamps from the United Nations are recognized as postage when applied on mail from United Nations offices. The perils of dog and cat overpopulation need to be addressed because it is a worldwide concern. With a United Nations stamp depicting the importance of the spay/neuter message, we would be one step closer to raising the world’s conscience about the battle against dog and cat overpopulation.

Petition

WHEREAS, the problem of dog and cat overpopulation is widespread throughout the world, and

WHEREAS, unwanted dogs and cats, through no fault of their own, have an adverse impact on the public health, safety, welfare and environment, and

WHEREAS, unwanted dogs and cats experience suffering and untimely, and often cruel, deaths, and

WHEREAS, one method of reducing these problems is through spay/neuter programs, and

WHEREAS, for such programs to be created and implemented, the world-wide public’s awareness of the spay/neuter message must be heightened, and

WHEREAS, one method of heightening that awareness is through the production of United Nations postage stamps carrying the spay/neuter message,

NOW, THEREFORE, we the undersigned, hereby petition the United Nations Postal Administration for the creation and distribution of a postage stamp (or stamps) carrying the spay/neuter message.

 

 

Outdoor Life, or Outdoor Death?

i Jan 28th

Outdoor Life is a magazine whose self-description is “The Source for Hunting and Fishing Adventure.” The “adventure” of which the magazine speaks includes the glorification of killing defenseless animals in the name of “sport” (Outdoor Life’s word).

Ever since ISAR was founded about a half-century ago we have been uncompromisingly against hunting and for the humane treatment of dogs and cats. That’s why a January 28, 2011 Outdoor Life article by one J.R. Absher caught our eye.

Entitled “Utah to declare open season on cats,” it begins with the snide comment that “Some cat lovers and animal rights extremists in Utah have their proverbial panties in a wad over a bill currently being considered by state lawmakers that would allow residents to kill feral animals, including free-roaming felines.”

Apparently, the bill’s sponsor and supporters are upset that feral cats are killing “game birds” before the “sportsmen” can kill them—thereby taking all the fun out of the “adventure” of adults and children slaughtering defenseless animals such as “pheasants, native quail, grouse, turkeys, waterfowl . . . .”

The problem of feral cats in the United States (and Utah) is a complicated one, implicating considerations of humaneness, environment, public health, and more. Whatever the solution, it should not include armed humans blasting away at those unfortunate felines who didn’t ask to be born, whose existence is already harsh enough, and whose killers are not adventurous “sportsmen.”

Eyesore or ISAR

i Jan 13th

As ISAR’s supporters know, every week we communicate our message and current activities to thousands of people throughout the world via our e-newsletter, postal newsletter, website, blog, Twitter, and online communities such as Facebook and Myspace.

Our most current program is the production of Internet “movies” that will implement our job description: “Law, Legislation and Education Benefitting Companion Animals.”

Our first “movie,” using characters and voices already familiar to millions of Internet users around the world—entitled “Eyesore or ISAR”—introduces to our organization those people who don’t know us (in less than three minutes!).

Please take that little time to access “Eyesore or ISAR.”

If you like it as much as we do, please forward it to as many people as you can, asking them to do the same.

Here’s how:

Please click on this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sdExkzrYBg.

You’ll be directed to the Youtube page that hosts our movie, “Eyesore or ISAR.”

Once you are on the video page, the share button will enable you to email “Eyesore or ISAR” and post it on your Facebook, Myspace and other online community pages.

You can also copy the URL link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sdExkzrYBg) and paste it in a tweet on Twitter.

If you have a website or blog and would like to embed the video on your homepage, ISAR encourages you to do so by copying and pasting the embed link found on our video page.

Together we can accomplish great feats to help companion animals and one very simple way to do that is by keeping ISAR visible to the public eye.

The Case Against Zoos

i Jul 7th

There are many arguments against the existence of zoos, and there are many articles and some books that make a convincing case for their closure. (Among the latter is Peter Batten’s Living Trophies.) Some, but by no means all, of those arguments are:

· Zoo animals are often acquired from dealers who, in turn, have obtained them by brutal means.

· They are transported to their destinations, often over great distances, in a primitive manner with little, if any, regard to what kind of treatment their species requires.

· They are subject to attacks by vandals, and even psychopaths.

· They are often held in sterile cells or cages, suffering the debilitating effects of solitary confinement.

· They receive inadequate nutrition, eating unpalatable synthetic food, and inadequate medical care, suffering illness and disease, because of zoos’ financial constraints and zookeepers’ indifference.

· They are traded like baseball cards among zoos and other animal exhibitors, to satisfy perceived display needs.

· They are cross-bred, creating animals called “tigons” or “ligers,” that are, Frankenstein-like, neither tigers or lions.

· They are denied the life dictated by their genes and nature.

These are but a few of the reasons zoos should cease to exist, and each of them have been elaborated at great length elsewhere.

But the most fundamental objection to zoos, understood and expressed by only a small segment of today’s animal rights movement, is that zoos are an immoral enterprise because they exploit and abuse living creatures for the entertainment of the crowd, and in so doing so cause and perpetuate immeasurable suffering.

Zoos are an outrageous affront to the nature and dignity of the animals imprisoned there. The humans who gawk at zoo inhabitants are co-conspirators in the crime perpetrated against the captive animals.

Why, then, do they exist?

Geordie Duckler has written incisively at 3 Animal Law 189 (1997) that:

Zoo animals are currently regarded as objects by the state and federal courts and are perceived as manifesting the legal attributes of amusement parks. The few tort [civil wrong] liability cases directly involving zoos tend to view them as markets rather than as preserves; the park animals are viewed as dangerous recreational machinery more akin to roller coasters or Ferris wheels than to living creatures. Courts typically treat zoo keepers and owners as mechanics and manual laborers responsible for the maintenance of these dangerous instrumentalities. Disputes concerning the possession, sale and care of exotic animals, as well as the administration of the habitats in which such animals are housed, have also been treated by the courts in terms of control of materials for public exhibit and entertainment.

Note the words that I have italicized, chosen carefully by Duckler to describe captive animals imprisoned in zoos: objects, machinery, instrumentalities, materials.

In other words, zoo animals, though living creatures, are nothing more than inanimate objects.

Consider that. Primates, large cats, the magnificent elephants are no different from chairs, cars, xrays, yarn.

How, one may ask, is this possible conceptually? How can animals, that breathe, eat, drink, sleep, walk, climb, run, copulate, fear, nurture, reproduce, be considered mere inanimate objects?

Putting aside bloody biblical texts, Greco-Roman barbarity, and the influential anti-animal views of Thomas Aquinas, the father of current prevailing attitudes about animals was renowned Christian philosopher-mathematician Rene Descartes. He held that animals were automa­tons—literally. Decartes asserted that lacking a Christian “soul,” they pos­sessed no consciousness. Lacking a consciousness, he concluded, they experienced neither pleasure nor pain.

Decartes’s belief was a con­venient one because it allowed him to rationalize the dissection of unanes­thetized living creatures—all in the name of advancing the knowledge of anatomy.

If “advancing knowledge” as a rationale sounds familiar, let’s look at some of the major excuses, but certainly not legitimate justifications, for the existence of zoos today.

They supposedly “teach people about animals”—as the captive creatures pace interminably in cages, often in solitary confinement, or inhabit the same indoor/outdoor enclosure for life while humans throw them Cracker Jacks.

They allegedly “provide scientists an opportunity to study them”—while they no longer act as their genes and instinct drive them, neither seeking food nor roaming through natural habitats.

They presumably support “breeding programs,” especially of endangered species, both as an end in itself and to use the animals as barter with other zoos.

Even if these and other “practical” rationalizations for the existence of zoos were defensible, and they are not, none of them should be allowed to trump the fact that zoos are an immoral enterprise because they exploit and abuse living creatures for the entertainment of the crowd, and in so doing so cause and perpetuate immeasurable suffering.

Zoos are an outrageous affront to the nature and dignity of the animals imprisoned there. The humans who gawk at zoo inhabitants are co-conspirators in the crime perpetrated against the captive animals.

It is in the name of moral principle that zoos should be abolished, for the benefit of the captive “living trophies” and in the name of humane principle.

ISAR’s “Harming Companion Animals” Monograph To Be Used In Law School “Animal Law And Rights” Course

i May 22nd

Previous blogs (see May 8, 2008) have called readers’s attention to the ISAR-produced monograph entitled “Harming Companion Animals: Liability and Damages.”

Since its publication, the monograph has received considerable attention and has been used as a resource by animal custodians throughout the United States.

Recently, a lawyer who this summer will be teaching “Animal Law and Rights” at a New England law school asked for a copy of the monograph for use in his course. ISAR responded by offering him copies for all 25 of the students registered for the course, and he gladly accepted.

ISAR has additional copies in its inventory, and until we run out we’ll make the same offer to any lawyer teaching an animal law course elsewhere.

Celebrities and Animal Abuse

i Mar 7th

With the ink barely dry on Michael Vick’s conviction for cruelty to the pit bulls he abused and killed, there comes a new story of how another celebrity with malice aforethought murdered a helpless animal.

Golfer John Henry “Tripp” Isenhour, III, was engaged in videotaping a TV show called “Shoot Like a Pro” at his home course, Grand Cypress Golf Club, in Florida.

Apparently a red-shouldered hawk, protected as a migratory species, was making sounds that Isenhour thought was interfering with the videotaping.

So after several unsuccessful attempts to hit the hawk by driving golf balls at him, Isenhour finally struck the bird. The defenseless hawk fell to the ground bleeding from both nostrils, and died.

Adding to his gratuitous cruelty, Isenhour now lies that he was only trying to scare the bird–despite eyewitness testimony that after a few missed shots Isenhour said “I’ll get him now.” (We’ll see whether he is stupid enough to lie to the prosecutors and court.)

To the credit of the local authorities, Isenhour has been charged in Orlando with cruelty to animals and killing a migratory bird. Each is a misdemeanor carrying a maximum penalty of 14 months in jail and $1,500 in fines.

There are at least five points that need to be made.

First, like Vick, Isenhour should be punished. It would be scandalous for him to walk away unscathed from his gratuitous, mindless act of cruelty. He should do some jail time, because a small fine would be of no consequence to him. If the prosecutor and judge don’t have the stomach for that, then a short house arrest and a couple hundred hours of community service at an avian sanctuary would be acceptable.

Second, Isenhour’s club should ask itself if it wants to be the golf home of a coward who so disvalued the life of a beautiful creature which posed no threat to him.

Third, there is no room in this affair for mealy-mouth statements like the one attributed by the Associated Press to Dale Bartlett, deputy manager for animal cruelty issues of the Humane Society of the United States, who is reported as saying that “Because of the high profile of this case, the PGA needs to take steps to address its interest and to make it clear that they don’t condone animal cruelty.” The PGA must do much more than that, beginning with ascertaining whether their regulations provide some way to discipline Isenhour if he is convicted–by trial or plea–of committing a crime.

Fourth, golf enthusiasts should shun Tripp Isenhour, his public appearances, and any products he shills for.

Fifth, the general public should let Isenhour know, perhaps by mail to his club, that it is fed up with celebrities whose general “I’m above the law”mindset allows them to destroy animals on a whim. Please send letters to:

Grand Cypress Golf Club
One North Jacaranda
Orlando, FL 32826