Talk Back: Week in Review

By on April 29, 2009 with 0 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

Today I wanted to let readers speak, sharing some of your responses to last week's blogs. Each of my posts produced an array of comments and here's just a bit of your feedback.

On our efforts in California and across the country, following Proposition 2's passage:

Last year, I was a little disappointed to see that Prop 2 wasn't, in my opinion, strict enough, but I'm glad to see that it was just the beginning of more legislative measures to protect animals and that California is leading the long overdue animal welfare movement. Thanks to all who make this possible. —Kelly

In response to news that the Supreme Court will review a controversial court decision regarding the federal Depiction of Animal Cruelty law, which banned the commercial sale of videos depicting extreme and illegal acts of animal cruelty:

This is an issue that I saw mentioned in a small newspaper article and was appalled. We need to spread this far and wide. What is the use of having cruelty laws if these people can be "protected”? Unbelievable. I hope the Supreme Court puts an end to this quickly. Even after Michael Vick, we are still dealing with this stuff. And Amazon still has videos and books on their website. —John Gilligan

"Preventing animal cruelty is not a compelling state interest"? Even if that isn't the most abhorrent thing to believe in and of itself for many reasons, how many times do we have to hear it from psychiatrists/psychologists/therapists that animal cruelty, especially in younger people, is often a precursor to violence towards people? It's telling of our society and its values. Shame on us; shame on any government that would honestly believe that and allow such behavior to go unpunished. —Kathleen Shecter

I am compelled to write to try to say how much it means to me that you and your colleagues are taking on the big issues, i.e. the upcoming Supreme Court case mentioned above and the dispersion of the Leona Helmsley estate which was reported today. While most of us are able to make a difference one-on-one with animals in our communities, a public figure with the sophistication and passion to fight the big fights is essential. It is far too easy to become discouraged trying to make society more sensitive to the plight of animals but knowing you all are not giving up gives me strength. —Lynn Kristich

There was understandable anger about the paltry sum allocated for dog welfare by the trustees of Leona Helmsley’s foundation:

I can't imagine how the trustees justified ignoring her intentions to such a degree. It's shameful. Disregarding a person's last will and testament—unbelievable. —Susan

I see this as a direct violation of a person's basic rights that a judge can decide where someone’s money goes after they die, subverting their explicit wishes. This is flat-out wrong. Who is a judge or anyone to say that animal welfare is less important than medical research? This is not even the point or for anyone to decide when her wishes were made abundantly clear. I pray that this decision is appealed. Her rights were directly violated by a system that is in place to protect them. This is scary. Something is terribly wrong. I hope and pray that more of her money goes to worthy organizations like the HSUS. Please pursue it for the sake of the animals and the people who want to help them. Leona made her intentions perfectly clear. It is a tragedy for the animals and deeply disturbing because it is a direct violation of her rights and her wishes. —Christine Brown

Boy do I hope it works out. You better believe I'm in the process of setting up my will so that 100 percent of my money will go to animal causes. If I have to line up four witnesses and have a default plan in writing, too, I will. I think it's absolutely abominable that anyone would dissolve the wishes of another. —Deedee D.

I feel that our court system has done an injustice to Mrs. Helmsley by allowing this change of intent to take place. It is sad to find out that the final wishes of Helen Brach, Geraldine Dodge and Doris Duke have also been betrayed by the managers of their trusts. How can the people who were left to carry out the wishes of these ladies sleep at night, knowing that they are using the money as they want to use it instead of how the owner of the money wanted it used? Hopefully this will put other wealthy individuals on notice to take the time to set up rigid operating rules for their foundations before they pass on to ensure that their final wishes are carried out. —Gwen

In response to my criticism of CCF and a comment made by a spokesman for the group:

Thanks Wayne for alerting all who read your blog of the truth behind the CCF. It seems like any time anything positive is reported for animals in the news, there are absurd, untrue and frankly ridiculous statements made by members of the CCF to try to counteract the work we all do. I wasn't sure everyone realized who these people really are—now they will. —Carol E. McCormick

Thank you for continuing to make plain what CCF is all about. This despicable group works tirelessly to impugn the reputation of animal welfare groups, and to pit them against one another. —Peter Hood

Groups like this make me more determined to fight against animal cruelty! They need to be exposed and given media attention, along with the horrendous acts they condone. I believe it would help unify those of us who care about the treatment of all innocent creatures if all news programs had a segment dedicated to this problem. We have to educate the general public of these cruel practices and how our eating and shopping habits help them flourish. —Barbara

Seems as if every day I learn about another hate-filled and cruelty-promoting group somewhere. Sometimes I have to stop my thoughts from just reeling out of control from taking in so much pain and agony being inflicted on creatures that have the misfortune to share the Earth with us—the only animal that tortures and that uses other animals. How do we replace such self-absorbed abuse of power with compassion? How do we defeat it? I thank you so much for staying angry but controlled and focused, and for going forward, one starfish at a time. Thank you, thank you, thank you for what you do! —Jeri

And finally, about our many efforts to help horses, which I detailed on Friday:

My heart is truly breaking. I literally have tears streaming down my face after reading this blog and the ones attached to it. We as Americans need to step up and start protecting these beautiful, magnificent horses. HSUS, HSUS's emergency services and all of you that have helped these animals and other horses in need in any way, thank you from the bottom of my heart. All of you are truly angels and may God bless all of you and the horses too! —Karen Wagner


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