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In the News: Miscellaneous Topics

ADAPTT has also defended butterflies, squirrels, companion animals and many other creatures

Mitchell's Satyr (Neonympha mitchellii) photographed in Van Buren County, Michigan • Photo by Nate and Erin Fuller • Source: Wikimedia Commons • https://commons.wikimedia.org

Stop the Killing of Endangered Species

By Gary Yourofsky

The following editorial appeared in The Oakland Press (Michigan) on February 22, 1997.

A fragile colony of endangered butterflies has received a temporary stay of execution because of funding problems with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).

Initially, a 1.5-mile section of US-31 was scheduled to run through Blue Creek Fen in Benton Harbor—home to the Mitchell's satyr butterfly—around late 1997 or early 1998. But according to Al Westover, regional analyst of MDOT, the $144 million freeway expansion of US-31 has been delayed until at least 2006.

The Mitchell's satyr butterfly was given full protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1992 because only 264 satyrs are known to exist in the US at 12 different sites in Michigan and Indiana. Blue Creek Fen in Benton Harbor is the second largest US colony with 52. Worldwide, no more than 2,000 are known to exist.

After the highway construction reaches Blue Creek Fen, the U.S. population of Mitchell's satyr will drop below 200. Then the satyr will soon join the immutable death list of many other animals that man has extirpated.

Yet the Mitchell's satyr isn't the only endangered species imperiled. And it's possible that court decisions in favor of animals like the spotted owl and snail darter might be as rarely seen as the endangered animals themselves.

Presently, the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, a group of congressman who support big business, development and hunting of endangered species, is trying to eviscerate the ESA. The caucus has reckless disregard for animals and the environment and is being spurred on by Senators Don Young, R-Alaska, and Frank Murkowski, R-Alaska, co-chair of the committee.

In a 1995 Animals magazine interview, Young said, "environmentalists are nothing more than a self-centered, waffle-stomping, Harvard-graduating intellectual bunch of idiots."

Meanwhile, Murkowski is leading the effort to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil drilling even though the oil sought there would only supply the US for 200 days.

The Arctic refuge is one of the last untouched ecosystems in the world and void of man's pollution at the moment.

Over the last 100 years, it is impossible to conceive the irreparable damage people have inflicted on the earth. Animals have been extirpated, plants effaced and the environment battered because of human proliferation and carelessness. People have yet to develop and comprehend the basic foundations of equity and reason. And, until that day arrives, a number of living beings will be killed off in the name of the almighty dollar.

Animal Rights Advocates Object to Gay Rodeo

By Gary Yourofsky

The following letter-to-the-editor appeared in Between the Lines in June 1997.

One of the most disturbing facts about rodeos is that a group of gay people—who are a discriminated minority—have started their own rodeo. And now that group of gay people have teamed up with the ones who discriminate against them in order to discriminate against animals; a completely thoughtless act on the part of those individuals. For the record, the animal rights community is the only across-the-board anti-discriminatory movement in existence. We fight injustice and inequity whenever it rears its ignominious head. We support the rights of every oppressed group and that includes gays! So why can't the gay community return the respect by condemning and boycotting The Gay Rodeo and destroying one form of animal exploitation. Let's work together to end the maltreatment of all beings.

(No Title)

By Gary Yourofsky

The following letter-to-the-editor appeared in The Detroit News on June 13, 1997.

I was irate that The Detroit News quoted a blasphemous comment from an angler in the May 29 article "Anti fishing crusaders find anglers aren't biting." Fisherman Leon Meaux said, "Jesus was a fisherman." But Jesus was not a fisherman. In Matthew 4:19 and Mark 1:17, Jesus said to Peter and Andrew, "Come and follow me. And I will make you fishers of men." He didn't say that He would make them fishermen. And at no point in the Bible did He ever say He had plans of engaging in any occupation that killed any living being. Jesus was a rabbi, a teacher, an orator, a healer, a miracle worker and a savior. And these jobs encompassed one goal: Giving His life for all of creation. And that includes animals.

Geese Roundup Ruffling Feathers

The following paragraph was part of an Oakland Press (Michigan) article on June 26, 1997 about the killing of Canada Geese.

Gary Yourofsky, an animal rights advocate arrested recently for allegedly freeing caged animals from a Canadian mink farm, is also disturbed. "Since when does defecation carry a death sentence?" asked Yourofsky. "They claim geese are a nuisance to people, but the DNR has proven once again it is nothing but a nuisance to animals."

Animal rights protesters try to derail Wienermobile tour

Activists say a contest to sing Oscar Meyer's jingle lures kids into promoting cruelty to pigs

The headline above, and photograph with caption below, appeared in The Detroit News on July 4, 1997. (Photo not available)

PHOTO: Yourofsky talking to a man with his young daughter

CAPTION: Gary Yourofsky, a member of ADAPTT, passes out literature to John Saab and his daughter, Gabrielle, at the Oscar Meyer Wiener's promotional tour Thursday at Super Kmart in Sterling Heights.

Pig Roast Protest

Members of HARE & ADAPTT Educate

By Jeannee Kirkaldy

The following article appeared in The Oakland Post (Oakland U.'s school paper) on September 10, 1997.

Party goers weren't the only people who showed up at Sigma Pi's annual pig roast. Members from both ADAPTT and HARE were present to protest. Gary Yourofsky, president of ADAPTT and OU student, organized the protest.

Yourofsky said, "Cooking a once-enslaved tortured pig, who was either hit over the head with an ax handle or had her throat cut with a 16-inch blade, is immoral and unjustifiable. I find it very strange that people can sit around and have a party in front of a dead pig."

Eleven people were in participation in the protest. Yourofsky felt overall the experience was positive and said people were interested. Dean of students David Herman said part of being a college student in a university environment is learning about different points of view and felt that by the protesters being there, the pig roast was also turned into an educational experience.

From 7-9:30 p.m. the protesters handed out literature concerning vegetarianism and factory farming. An estimated 300 pieces of literature were handed out to people who were coming and going, said Yourofsky.

Yourofsky said he wants to reach people and felt confident that he did get through to a couple of students. The signs that were carried had a visual image of pigs hanging upside down which is called "hoisting and shackling" and a phrase across the top that read "animals are not ours to eat."

Yourofsky explained "hoisting and shackling" as an assembly line technique used in slaughterhouses mostly to kill cows and pigs by hanging them upside down by one leg and then cutting their throats.

"There's nothing more evil on this earth than a slaughterhouse as far as I'm concerned," said Yourofsky. The industry itself has a lot of money to lose, said Yourofsky. "All we (animal rights activists) want is peace for the animals," said Yourofsky. "We gain nothing."

Although food for vegetarians was available at the pig roast, "having veggie food available at a pig roast is like having Jesse Jackson speaking at a KKK rally. It's incongruous. It's obscene. And it doesn't bring that brutally murdered pig back to life," Yourofsky said.

Sigma Pi president Aaron Malgeri said, "Overall, the protesters didn't disrupt the event and I was appreciative that they were so peaceful in expressing their viewpoints." Malgeri added that Sigma Pi is planning to host a pig roast every year. It's a great opportunity for the university, not only for Sigma Pi, but also for the students because it shows there is life on campus.

The bottom line, Yourofsky said, is that it's not OK the way we treat animals."

Activist: Enforce Pet Laws

By James McClear

The following article appeared in The Detroit News on December 28, 1998.

Gary Yourofsky is on another crusade for lesser creatures, and is targeting Pontiac in an effort to protect animals during the winter. Yourofsky said he wants the city to revamp or better enforce its animal-control ordinance. He has volunteered to do the job that he claims animal-control officers are not doing, and he wants new legislation that would prohibit the chaining of dogs.

He said many dogs are chained outside in deadly winter temperatures, which occurred during last week's near zero cold snap with below-zero wind chills.

Pontiac officials were not immediately available to comment on Yourofsky's charges, but a meeting between him and Steve Manning, director of community development, is planned for Thursday, he said. Some of Yourofsky's complaints are echoed by the Michigan Humane Society.

With recent wind chills plummeting below zero, pets left outside can be in as much peril as humans, warned Michelle Mitchell, the society's community relations director. She advises that pets should be brought inside or provided with out-of-door shelters that will adequately protect them. The society further warned motorists to be wary of stray cats who might seek warmth by climbing into a vehicle's engine compartment. Knock on the hood or toot the horm before starting, Mitchell said.

In a spot check of Pontiac last week, Yourofsky, president of ADAPTT, accused the city of "absolute negligence" in enforcing its animal code.

"I saw dogs in absolutely deplorable conditions, without food, shelter and mostly without love," Yourofsky said. "The best way I can describe it was dozens of homes with living house ornaments...dogs on chains."

Yourofsky of Royal Oak is best known for the extreme means he has used in defending the rights of animals. He heads a 575-member organization that delights in disrupting sales at toney furriers. In April 1997 he went international in his protests by releasing minks from a Canadian breeder.

His Canadian trial will start in March. Yourofsky said he expects to be jailed for mischief and breaking and entering. He said he will refuse to cooperate with the crown attorney "or any corrupt system that allows animal atrocities."

Activists Press for Pet Protection

By Karen Talaski

The following article appeared in The Oakland Press on December 31, 1998.

Responding to reports of extensive animal cruelty in the city, Pontiac officials are considering an ordinance to prohibit residents from chaining or caging animals. Animal Welfare groups are pressing Pontiac to improve its animal controls, especailly now that temperatures are dropping and pets face death when left outdoors.

"It's everywhere in Pontiac," said Marie Skladd, president of Michigan Animal Adoption Network. "I would say 85 to 90 percent of the pets in this city are being kept without food, water or shelter. Why can't the city of Pontiac be a leader in the state and try to clean this up?"

Skladd based her estimates on the weekly visits she makes to Pontiac neighborhoods. Her organization has patrolled Pontiac for nearly eight years, delivering free food, houses, straw for warmth and other supplies when they see animals in distress.

The problems range from pets being kept outdoors "like inexpensive burglar alarms" to a pit bull found Tuesday frozen to the ground, Skladd said. The dog had to be put to sleep.

For help, Skladd called on animal rights activist Gary Yourofsky. The 28-year-old Royal Oak resident is president of ADAPTT. Yourofsky is best known for a March 1997 raid on a Canadian breeder where he and four others released hundreds of minks. He faces criminal charges.

After viewing Pontiac's situation, Yourofsky said he stormed into Mayor Walter Moore's office to demand a change. "I'm not asking the city of Pontiac to become vegetarian. I'm asking them to care for their dogs," he said.

Since that initial meeting two weeks ago, Yourofsky has talked with the city's Community Development Director Steve Manning several times. On Monday Yourofsky submitted a draft "animal confinement" ordinance for the city's consideration.

Manning said the ordinace had merit, but it must be reviewed by the mayor and the city's legal department before any action is taken. He said he will work with Yourofsky on the details.

The ordinance would prohibit the restraint of any animal, whether on a chain or in a cage, in an inhumane or neglectful manner. Violators would have to forfeit their animals and face a misdemeanor charge punishable by up to one year in jail or a $2,000 fine.

If adopted, the city would have 120 days to work with animal rights groups to ensure residents are informed. Yourofsky said he plans to meet with Manning again next week to review the ordinance.

Keep Pets Warm, Safe During Winter Months

By Maria Burak

The following article appeared in The Roseville-Eastpointe Eastsider (Michigan) on January 13, 1999.

When the snow falls and the temperature drops, not only do human beings suffer from the harsh coldness of winter weather, but dogs, cats and others also are affected.

Animals often suffer from frostbite and even freeze to death because they are not properly cared for in the winter months. Because of this, several metro-area animal rescue groups have been educating pet owners and the general public with the necessary steps needed to keep animals safe and alive this time of year.

"The focus is on the animals being left out in the cold," said Gary Yourofsky, president of the nonprofit animal rights group ADAPTT. "It's cruel, inhumane and dangerous."

When an outdoor or indoor dog stays outside in the cold for longer than half an hour, it could suffer from frostbite or even freeze to death, Yourofsky said. "A dog cannot be kept outside in this horrible weather. I don't know why people would have a dog and then leave him out on a chain. He can freeze to death just like a human would. People have to take their dogs inside."

"We know people assume that because they have fur they'll be fine," said Marie Skladd, president of the Michigan Animal Adoption Network. "In the evening dogs need to be brought in, even those who live outdoors."

Yourofsky advises people to "definitely get involved" if they witness a neighbor leaving their dog out in the cold for long periods of time. The Michigan Humane Society, Michigan Anti Cruelty Society or your city's animal control division should be notified.

Along with dogs, stray cats also are victims of cold weather because they seek warmth and comfort in dangerous places. Stray cats climb underneath cars to find warmth and shelter in engine blocks. The cats can suffer from burns and even die if the car drives off while the cat is still in it. "Before you start your car, honk the horn or pound on the hood," Yourofsky said. "The cat will run away if he hears noise."

Stray cats also hide out in garages and crevices to stay warm and find food, Skladd said. She encourages people to call an animal shelter or rescue group if they find a stray cat that appears to be in "bad shape."

The salt used to clear driveways and walkways creates another problem for animals. "The salt is toxic, so make sure your pet's paws are clean and clean them off right away," Skladd said.

Through their respective organizations, Yourofsky and Skladd hope their efforts to save animals will make a positive impact on all pet owners.

"It's so important just to let folks know that accidents can be prevented," Skladd said. "If you've got pets, you must care for them."

Condemned Chow is Safe, Activist Says

With Ato in Hiding, Legal Actions to Keep the Dog Alive Run On

By Maryanne George

The following article appeared in The Detroit Free Press on July 24, 2000.

Ato, the dog on death row who disappeared from a humane society shelter last week, is safe, an animal rights activist said Sunday. Gary Yourofsky, founder of ADAPTT, said Ato is living in a home, but declined to say whether the dog has left the state. "Ato is safe and he is alive," said Yourofsky of Royal Oak, who says ADAPTT has 1,850 members. "Justice has finally been served. We don't put humans to death for biting. Ato was simply protecting his home and property."

Last year 15th District Court Judge Julie Creal Goodridge ordered Ato destroyed as a vicious dog after biting a paperboy in August 1998 and three other people. Ato had been living at shelters for nearly two years while his fate has been in court. Hiroshi and Seiko Ikuma of Ann Arbor have denied any role in springing their dog. But Friday, Seiko signed a waiver allowing a veterinarian to put the 90-pound chow chow to death, Ann Arbor assistant attorney Robert West said Sunday.

Seiko is scheduled for a contempt of court hearing in 15th District Court in Ann Arbor today. She failed to appear at a hearing Tuesday to explain why she had not yet had the dog destroyed," West said. "If she knows the dog is safe, she may not worry about signing the waiver," West said. "I am not willing to accept her denials that she has no knowledge of where the dog is."

Yourofsky said he had no role in Ato's escape, but wished he had. Yourofsky has been jailed 11 times for his animal rights activism, including the release of 1,500 minks from a Canadian farm in 1997.

On Friday the Michigan Court of Appeals declined to hear an emergency appeal of the 7-year-old dog's death sentence, West said. The Ikumas have been unsuccessful in their legal attempts to save their dog. Neither the Ikumas nor their attorney, Raymond Mullins, could be reached for comment Sunday. Mullins has told West that he will ask the Supreme Court to hear the appeal. The high court will likely rule on the Ikumas request within a month, West said. But he said the court likely will decline to hear the appeal, because it usually only reviews cases that are of interest to large numbers of people. All the legal maneuvering may be moot as long as Ato (pronounced Otto) cannot be found.

Washtenaw County Sheriff's Lt. Brian Miller said Sunday that the investigation continues into Ato's disappearance from the Huron Valley Humane Society in Superior Township July 16 or 17.

Ato was confined after biting 13-year-old Alex Newton, a delivery boy for the Ann Arbor News who entered the house to drop off a paper in August 1998. A six-person jury acquitted Seiko in December 1998 of owning a dangerous dog. But the city pursued civil charges under dangerous-dog laws.

Dog is Now Safe in a Home, After Disappearing From a Shelter

By The Associated Press

The following article appeared in The Ann Arbor News on July 24, 2000.

A dog that disappeared from a shelter after being ordered destroyed is now living in a home, an animal rights activist said. Ato disappeared last week. The dog was to have been euthanized after biting a paperboy in August 1998. He had been in a Washtenaw County humane society shelter for nearly two years while his fate was decided.

"Ato is safe, and he is alive," said Gary Yourofsky, founder of ADAPTT. "Justice has finally been served. We don't put humans to death for biting. Ato was simply protecting his home and property."

He wouldn't say where the dog was placed. He also said he had no role in Ato's escape. Owners Hiroshi and Seiko Ikuma of Ann Arbor have also denied any role in setting their dog free.

Last year 15th District Court Judge Julie Creal Goodridge ordered Ato destroyed after hearing testimony that Ato had bitten two other people, besides the paperboy, 13-year-old Alex Newton. Newton took 13 stitches to close his wounds.

On Friday the Michigan Court of Appeals declined to hear an emergency appeal of the 7-year-old dog's death sentence, Ann Arbor assistant city attorney Robert West told the Detroit Free Press. Seiko then signed a waiver allowing a veterinarian to put the 90-pound chow chow to death, West said.

The Ikumas have been unsuccessful in their legal attempts to save their dog. The Ikumas attorney, Raymomd Mullins, has told West that he will ask the Supreme Court to hear the appeal.

A six-person jury acquitted Seiko in December 1998 of owning a dangerous dog. But the city pursued civil charges under dangerous-dog laws.

Washtenaw County Sheriff's Lt. Brian Miller said Sunday that the investigation continues into Ato's disappearance from the Huron Valley Humane Society in Superior Township.

Animal Defender Acquitted

Activist Claims Victory for Warren Residents' Constitutional Rights

By Norb Franz

The following excerpts appeared in The Macomb Daily (Michigan) on February 3, 2001.

An animal rights activist arrested by Warren police at a City Council meeting was acquitted Friday of disturbing the peace.

After deliberating for 1 hour and 45 minutes, a 37th District Court jury of six women concluded that Gary Howard Yourofsky did not disrupt a raucous council session highlighted by the debate over the deer herd on property owned by General Motors.

"Maybe police will stop bullying people exercising their First Amendment right," Yourofsky, 30, said as supporters offered hugs and handshakes following the verdict.

Yourofsky, the head of ADAPTT, stood from his seat as council members on Nov. 14 offered their opinions on the relocation of the deer on vacant land across from the GM Technical Center.

Defense attorney Matt Savich said General Motors had provided Warren police with a photo of his client. Savich alleged that officers singled out his client as dozens of people urged city officials to protect the deer from development of the pristine but valuable vacant property along Mound Road, between 12 and 13 Mile. "Yourofsky was clearly targeted. They were looking for him," Savich said.

During the two-day trial, Savich had spirited exchanges with Macomb County Assistant Prosecutor Tonya Clawson and Visiting Judge Sherman Faunce. At one point, after Faunce ruled against him on an issue, Savich remarked: Judge, who do you work for, GM?"

The trial was attended by nearly a dozen city activists—several of whom frequently criticize some council members. During testimony, a few were told to quiet down by a court officer who said: "Ladies, don't comment; this isn't a city council meeting."

Yourofsky's arrest in Warren wasn't his first brush with police. An admitted radical, the Oakland County resident said he has been arrested 12 times, all stemming from his defense of animals. Eight of the incidents involved acts of civil disobedience, and he pleaded guilty each time, he said. Had he been convicted, Yourofsky could have been sentenced up to 90 days in jail.

Councilman James Fouts, who along with councilman Mike Wiecek were defense witnesses, said the Yourofsky case put free speech on trial. "I've had a number of people tell me they are afraid to come to council meetings, that if they boo or yell they're going to be arrested," Fouts said.

Man Found Not Guilty of Disrupting Council Meeting

By Brian Louwers

The following excerpts appeared in The Warren Weekly (Michigan) on February 14, 2001.

An animal rights activist arrested during a Warren City Council meeting last November will not go to jail or pay a fine. The charge of disturbing the peace against Royal Oak resident Gary Yourofsky was dismissed February 2, after a jury found him not guilty of breaking the law in council chambers at the Nov. 14 meeting of the Warren City Council.

Yourofsky, the leader of an animal rights group opposing the relocation of deer from property owned by General Motors Corp., was arrested after he stood up during a portion of the meeting set aside for council member comments. After he was asked to take his seat, he exchanged a few words with police before he put his hands behind his back. He was arrested and escorted out of the chambers by Warren police.

Yourofsky has said he was not breaking the law when he stood in protest and asked to be recognized. Though arrested eight times in his crusade against perceived injustice toward animals, he was pleased with the jury's decision in this case. "The case was a victory for the citizens of Warren who have been hassled and harassed by police officers," Yourofsky said. "All the City Council is trying to do is silence the people who speak out when they have an opposing view."

Warren City Council member James Fouts, a staunch opponent of time limits for members of the council or the audience wishing to speak at meetings, testified on behalf of the defense, as did council member Mike Wiecek.

"I felt the First Amendment to the Constitution was on trial," Fouts said. "They denied a citizen the right to speak. That amounts to a police state in the city of Warren."

Animal Rights Group Calls on Christians

Meatless Fridays Campaign Motivates Push for Vegan Life

By Kim Kozlowski

The following excerpts appeared in The Detroit News & Free Press on March 4, 2001.

Gary Yourofsky, an animal rights activist in Royal Oak, thinks meat-eaters who call themselves Christians are "animal murderers."

"As far as I'm concerned, Christian carnivores are committing the ultimate sin by enslaving, torturing and murdering animals for food, clothing and entertainment," said Yourofsky, founder of ADAPTT. "It is completely irrational to say God would mandate the animal slavery and cruelty that is taking place today."

But the practice of not eating meat, especially on Fridays, is a practice for Catholics that is rooted in biblical history—not animal activism. Before the reforms of Vatican II in 1966, Catholics were obligated to avoid meat every Friday throughout the year because Jesus died on Friday, according to Fr. John H. West, a theologian at the Detroit archdiocese. Now it's voluntary practice, but one that is still highly encouraged during the holy season of Lent.

Accusations Raise Hackles at PETA

Animal Rights Group Criticized for Links to Terrorism

By Bill Burke

The following excerpts appeared in The Virginian-Pilot on June 22, 2002.

PETA doesn't let political correctness get in the way of a good campaign, be it a menacing Ronald McDonald wielding a bloody butcher knife or "Got Beer?" billboards mocking the milk industry.

In recent months, PETA has come under attack for...hiring a national lecturer who served two months in prison for breaking into a Canadian mink farm and freeing 1,500 animals and reportedly saying he condones arson at "places of animal torture" and would "unequivocally support" the death of a researcher at a targeted lab.

Earlier this month a story appeared on a website operated by Center for Consumer Freedom under the headline "PETA's New Pro-Violence Promoter." The story was about Gary Yourofsky, an animal rights activist hired May 20 by PETA as a lecturer. His title, PETA spokeswoman Lisa Lange said, is "humane education presenter."

PETA's critics point out that Yourofsky has been arrested more than a dozen times and in 1999 spent two months in an Ontario jail for a 1997 mink release at a farm there. Yourofsky and his fellow animal liberators also destroyed breeding records, according to news reports.

In a June 2001 interview with The Toledo Blade, Yourofsky is quoted as having written to supporters, "Do not be afraid to condone arsons at places of animal torture." If an "animal abuser" were killed in a firebombing at a research lab, "I would unequivocally support that, too," he told the newspaper. The article said Yourofsky wears a tattoo on his arm of himself wearing a hood and displaying the symbols of the Animal Liberation Front. He probably won't be around to see the animal rights movement achieve all of its goals, he said, because "I really think I will be assassinated."

Of Yourofsky's background, PETA's general counsel Jeffrey Kerr said: "What he did or said before coming to PETA is irrelevant. The important thing is what work he does for us."

Eastpointe Squirrel Feeder Back in Court

By Mike Wowk

The following excerpts appeared in The Detroit News on June 26, 2002.

Shopkeeper Luminitza Marinas says feeding squirrels was one of her few pleasures when she wasn't running her business seven days a week or caring for her 90-year-old mother.

Marinas, who has been fighting Eastpointe officials for more than four years over squirrel feeding, is back in court today.

"Prosecutors all over the country are always telling us they don't have time to prosecute animal rights cases," said Gary Yourofsky. "But all of a sudden, they have time for a squirrel-feeding case? It makes no sense."

Marinas, 62, is a Romanian immigrant who runs Lumination, a new age shop on Nine Mile Road with wind chimes and scented candles. "I don't know why they're going after me," she said. "I just carried two little bags of nuts to the park twice a week. Everybody feeds squirrels. I am being harassed."

Zoo Director Defends Decision

By Christy Strawser

The following excerpts appeared in The Daily Tribune (Michigan) on July 4, 2004.

The fuzzy gloves really come off when officials from the American Zoological Association and Detroit Zoo face off on the zoo's decision to find a new home for its longtime elephant residents Wanda and Winky.

"We don't know of any zoo in a temperate climate that has Asian elephants and is large, has lots of elephants and manages them in a kind of protected situation," said Ron Kagan (Detroit Zoo Director), who has looked at the 2,700-acre natural habitat Elephant Sanctuary of Tennessee as a possible home for Wanda and Winky.

AZA members say elephants are necessary in zoos because the awe of their presence can spur the public to raise funds to fend off endangerment. Some say fewer people will visit the zoo if elephants are gone, which could set off financial losses. Kagan counters by saying the AZA is "dangerously out of touch" with the public if members think people will stay away to protest missing elephants.

Local animal rights activist Gary Yourofsky, founder of ADAPTT, said Kagan deserves credit. The activist's best case scenario, though, is a zoo supporter's worst nightmare. Yourofsky hopes disbanding the elephant exhibits is the first step toward replacing zoos with a virtual experience where live animal videos are broadcast through closed circuit television. "It's not necessary to have a place at 10 Mile and Woodward where people can gawk at animals. People in tune with animal feelings realize it's not a nice situation for animals, it's only a nice sitaution for humans. Nothing justifies putting them in captivity."

ACLU Claims FBI Planned to Spy at IU

By The AP

The following article was written by The Associated Press on December 21, 2005.

The American Civil Liberties Union claims government documents it obtained show that the FBI planned to have terrorism investigators spy on a 2003 animal rights event at Indiana University.

The alleged plan to infiltrate a campus speech by an environmental activist was contained in hundreds of pages of heavily censored documents ACLU lawyers obtained from the FBI under the Freedom of Information Act. An FBI spokeswoman denied the agency took any such action.

One of the documents, which the ACLU posted on its Web site Tuesday, is from the Indianapolis FBI office and referred to plans to conduct surveillance and collect "general intelligence" during an April 2003 speech by animal rights advocate Gary Yourofsky at the Indiana Memorial Union.

"It's hard to see how surveillance of animal rights groups makes us safer from terrorism, but it's easy to see how it threatens our constitutional rights to free speech and privacy," said Fran Quigley, executive director of the Indiana Civil Liberties Union, an ACLU affiliate.

Wendy Osborne, a spokeswoman for the FBI's Indianapolis office, said the surveillance did not take place. "I can tell you we did not conduct surveillance in Bloomington at that meeting or any meeting like that," she told The Herald Times.

"The FBI has to operate under the attorney general's guidelines," she said. "We don't just go around and watch organizations and go to meetings to see who's showing up. We're not allowed to do that, nor do we do that."

Yourofsky was sentenced to six months in jail in Ontario, Canada, for his part in releasing more than 1,500 minks from a mink farm. The activist, who has been affiliated with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and Animals Deserve Absolute Protection Today and Tomorrow, has lectured at several college campuses.

In May, Fresno State University's president warned authorities no police surveillance would be permitted on campus unless it was required by law and approved by administrators, following student complaints that undercover officers attended a lecture by Yourofsky in November 2004.

. . . and lastly . . .

The Summation

By Gary Yourofsky

The following poem appeared in the 10th anniversary newsletter of the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida in June 1999.

The videos I've seen
Heinous and malicious
Images of carnage
Evil and wicked
Abattoirs of horror
Slashed throats and severed bodies
Dismembered heads and hooves
Mass killings so ungodly
The fur electrocutions
Anal and genital
Gassings and neck-breakings
The scenes are unfathomable
Baby seals being clubbed
For their skins we shall beat them
Foxes in steel traps
A leg chewed off for freedom
Is it elegant and glamorous
A death sentence for their beauty
Or repugnant and loathsome
That's injustice and iniquity
A cow ovariectomy
Without anesthetic
A pig being scorched
Burn research is pathetic
Toxicity tests in a rabbit's eyes
A circus elephant is beaten
In chains he cries
A mouse convulsing from a lethal injection
A live cat embalmed and used for dissection
Our compassion, unfocused
In a skewed direction
Medical research need not vivisection
A baboon dazed in a head injury lab
Researchers remorseless
Three of them laugh
It's the humans, the humans
Most horrifying of all
Blinded by their actions
Deafened to the calls
The reprehensible acts
Which I will never forget
The sinful atrocities on God's pets
It's not inconvenient
To care is magnanimous
To save a life is honorable
To issue death is blasphemous
I cannot and will not stand by without choice
I'll decipher their cries and be their voice

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