Good News for Furry Animals

by Linda DeStefano
Translated by Rob English

According to the Sept./Oct. 2019 issue of ALL ANIMALS, there is good news in the ongoing battle to free animals from being killed for their fur. More and more designers are rejecting animal fur and using other materials. These materials are becoming easier for the designers to work with and, in some cases, more environmentally friendly – some being made from recycled plastic. Currently, research is being done on making “fur” from plants.

Other advantages are that they are less expensive and easier to maintain than animal fur, and they are warm, and stylish.

Best of all, these products save animals from the excruciating pain of being caught in a steel jaw, leg hold trap before being bludgeoned to death. The animal may be struggling for days before the trapper checks his traps. Perhaps suffering even more are the foxes and other animals who are kept in tiny, filthy cages with no veterinary care until they endure anal electrocution to obtain their fur.

On the legislative front, West Hollywood, Berkeley, San Francisco and Los Angeles have all banned the production and sale of animal fur, and the New York City Council has considered a ban.

As an individual, you can help by avoiding any animal fur – even fur trim. Garments are supposed to be labeled as animal fur or faux fur but this isn’t always reliable. You can examine the material the “fur” comes out of to make sure it is woven fabric and not skin.

If you want to read the entire article, go to

If you want to grapple with the issue of our responsibility to animals, come to a free People for Animal Rights talk, short film and discussion on “Moral Responsibility Toward Animals as Reflected in the Major Religions of the World” at 7 p.m. on Mon. Oct. 21 at Onondaga Free Library, 4840 W. Seneca Turnpike, Syracuse (Onondaga Hill).

Linda is President of People for Animal Rights (PAR). For more information about PAR and a sample of our newsletter, contact us at PAR, P.O. Box 15358, Syracuse, NY 13215-0358, or call us at (315)488-PURR (7877) between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. or email us at

Farm Sanctuary Hoe Down

by Linda Lebedovych
Provided by Linda DeStefano
Translated into Spanish by Rob English

I had the privilege of attending my third annual “Hoe Down” at the Farm Sanctuary at Watkins Glen, N.Y. – a meeting of like- minded animal lovers, vegetarians and vegans from all over the country. The co-founder of this sanctuary is Gene Bauer, an iconic figure who was selling vegan hot dogs out of a VW Van at Grateful Dead concerts before “vegan” became a common word.

The event includes music and dancing.

It also includes presentations from authors, under-cover slaughter house workers, medical doctors, environmental experts and other movers and shakers changing the world views on “meat eating”. Three authors presented to us; Nil Zacharias (author of Eat for the Planet), Carol Adams (author of The Sexual Politics of Meat, Living Among Meat Eaters and Protest Kitchen) and Katie Gillespie (The Cow with Ear Tag #1389 Aad other Stories). I’d love to talk about some of these lectures at PAR’s next vegan social. Needless to say, I left with some new books.

The session opened with speaker Dominick Thompson, a gentleman of color who spent 3 years in prison for drug selling. He grew up in a poorer community which he called a food desert. In other words, his community only had fast food and convenience stores within its 2 miles radius so there was almost no access to vegetables and fruits since he didn’t own a car. When he was in prison, he began to empathize with caged animals who were put in cages having done nothing wrong. He began trading his meat portions in prison for the vegetable portion out of respect for these helpless animals. This didn’t slow him down from becoming a “ripped” athlete. Upon release he helped his community with food choices and founded a clothing company called crazies and weirdos. His T-shirts have the logo: “Eat What Elephants Eat”. He provides nutrition counseling to less affluent communities and to anyone interested in the vegan lifestyle. He’s also listed by VEG NEWS as one of the seven vegan men of color to follow on Instagram.

One of the youngest activists is Genesis Butler, a 13-year-old girl of color who spoke to us about her epiphany while eating chicken nuggets and how she came to reject the typical American diet at age 10. She’s learning how to protest events and becoming one of the youngest public advocates in the media. She is influencing school children and adults alike.

These are just some of the highlights, and the priceless experience includes meeting so many other like- minded folks and the lovely vegan meals which were beyond delicious and “animal time” touring and interacting with the hundreds of saved farm animals.

Social justice for all is always on the forefront for which this group is committed.

The next event is the Celebration for the Turkeys on Saturday, November 16 with the feeding of the turkey ceremony, and the lovely vegan Thanksgiving Dinner along with a silent auction and more presentations. See for details and more events.

In the Syracuse area, there are many opportunities to try vegan food and socialize with others, such as through People for Animal Rights or Syracuse Vegan Meetup or VeganCNY.

Linda Lebedovych is a member of People for Animal Rights (PAR). PAR can be reached at or (315)488-PURR (8 a.m. – 10 p.m.) or P.O. Box 15358, Syracuse, NY 13215-0358.
Reach Syracuse Vegan Meetup at
Reach VeganCNY at

Some victories

Some victories for animals and the environment in NYS legislature
by Linda DeStefano
Translated into Spanish by Rob English.

After years in which the NYS Senate typically failed to pass legislature to protect the environment, a change in the political makeup of the body resulted in several wins for environmental protection this legislative session. Perhaps the biggest win was passage of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. This establishes strong targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and prioritizes renewable energy. It also intends to provide green jobs, especially in disadvantaged communities (which have often suffered the greatest impact from climate change and from polluting businesses in their communities). This was the culmination of years of lobbying by NY Renews, a coalition of environmental and social justice organizations. It was a cliff hanger as to whether the NYS Assembly, the NYS Senate and Gov. Andrew Cuomo could negotiate a settlement for a final bill before the end of the legislative session. I was one of hundreds of people who traveled to Albany to fill the State Capitol with passionate people who demanded action (See attached photo of Stephanie Hitztaler and myself).

On the animal front, the League of Humane Voters of NY played a major role in passing the Anti-Declaw bill out of both the Senate and Assembly. As of this writing, Gov. Cuomo signed into law the ban on declawing of cats, it will prevent untold suffering of felines across the state by prohibiting declawing. This is the first time this legislation has made it to the Governor’s office! In prior years, it was held up in committee. New York is the first state to prohibit declawing.

Another bill which awaits Gov. Cuomo’s signature would require hospitals and nursing homes to provide vegan options for people upon request.

Code Red / Code Blue passed the Senate but did not move in the Assembly. This legislation would protect domestic animals from extreme weather conditions whenever there is a national weather alert. It would require the owner or guardian to remove their animal from these conditions.

The bill to prohibit wildlife killing contests was reported out of the Environmental Conservation Committee favorably. It’s now in the Codes Committee and will be picked up there in January when the legislature convenes. This was the first time in the history of this bill that it made its way out of the most vulnerable committee.

For information about additional bills and to be added to a list to stay informed, contact:

Jeffery Termini
Legislative Director
League of Humane Voters® of New York
(716) 380-7667
League of Humane Voters® of NY
New Paltz, New York 12561, USA

Linda is President of People for Animal Rights. One of our activities is to keep our members informed about state and national bills regarding animals and the environment, and we were happy to share the alerts from the League of Humane Voters with our PAR e list. We also have public events (speakers, films, cooking demos), vegan socials and a physical newsletter. For a brochure about PAR and a sample of our newsletter, contact PAR, P.O. Box 15358, Syracuse 13215-0358, (315)488-PURR (7877) between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. or

Mama’s last Hug

MAMA’S LAST HUG: Animal Emotions and What They tell us about ourselves by Frans de Waal, 2019.

Reviewed by Linda DeStefano

Translated into Spanish by Rob English

Many anecdotes, a sense of humor, an uncluttered writing style, and a passion for his subject make de Waal’s book very readable and enjoyable. And I smiled that he dedicated the book to his wife: “Catherine, who lights my fire.”

His respect and love for animals is obvious. Trained as a biologist, he has done non-invasive research on chimpanzees and bonobos for many years. Much of that has been at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center near Atlanta, Georgia. The chimps at Yerkes have a large outdoor area where they can climb, run and socialize. Much of the research is observation of their behavior but sometimes it involves engaging a champ in a task. The researchers must make these tasks interesting and rewarding because the chimps can choose whether or not to participate.

This is in stark contrast to the type of research which has been done by other researchers on chimps, such as infecting them with diseases. Extreme isolation was also used. I still recall in horror at an experiment in which each chimp was isolated alone in a tiny barren container with no stimulation. They literally went insane. The famous primatologist, Jane Goodall, once visited this chamber of horrors and tried to explain to the researchers that chimps in the wild are very active and very social. I find it incomprehensible that they wouldn’t have been able to figure that out for themselves but perhaps money from their grant allowed them to harden their hearts.

Sometimes researchers and chimps become friends. This was the case of Mama, who was a matriarch in her group, and Jan van Hooff. She had known Jan for 40 years; Jan visited her when she was very old and near death. She embraced him and gave him a huge chimp smile.

According to de Waal, animals share all our emotions – both the ones we regard as positive and the ones we regard as negative. He is indignant that researchers for many years refused to accept this reality but the field has now opened up to this recognition. An example of similar behavior is that chimps are sometimes violent and cruel – even killing each other. For more positive emotions, look at the bonobos.  Their mantra could be “Make love, not war” as they seldom fight, never kill each other, and use frequent sex as a means of pleasure and social cohesion.

Chimps also have a peaceful side. The top male in a troop might be a tyrant but – more often – is a peacemaker. “In fact, the smallest male may become alpha if he has the right supporters. Most alpha males protect the underdog, keep the peace, and reassure those who are distressed.” (p. 175)

Besides primates, de Waal reports on studies which demonstrate emotions in other animals. For example, rats enjoy being tickled and will come back for more if the researcher stops. It makes me sad to think that so many rats and mice suffer during invasive research and that not enough researchers have turned to modern, better methods of research that don’t use animals.

And animals can have empathy for each other. One study used bonobos. A bonobo would be given a pile of fruit. A bonobo in an adjoining cage had none, but the “wealthy” bonobo opened the door between the cages in order to share the fruit. Another study put one rat in a small glass container while another rat observed that the trapped rat was distressed. “Not only did the free rat learn how to open a little door to liberate the other, but she was remarkably eager to do so. Never trained on it, she did so spontaneously. Then Bartal challenged her motivation by giving her a choice between two containers, one with chocolate chips – a favorite food that they could easily smell – and another with a trapped companion. The free rat often rescued her companion first, suggesting that reducing her stress counted for more than delicious food.” (pp. 117-118)

The author learns from observing his own companion animals too – cats and fish. Regarding fish, he bemoans the low esteem in which they are generally held. He notes that they feel pain, exhibit depression, curiosity, sociability and playfulness.

de Waal is pleased that the U.S., Japan and the Netherlands no longer do research on chimps. He is active with Chimp Haven, which provides a beautiful home for chimps who were formerly used in research. He worries about the other animals still suffering in labs and the animals suffering on factory farms. Factory farms contain hundreds or thousands of animals (such as cows, pigs, chickens) in very crowded, unnatural conditions. He thinks transparency can make a change for the better. If labs and factory farms were open to the public there might be an outcry for better treatment. One of his suggestions is a label on meat that the consumer could scan and see on her smartphone the condition of this animal before being killed.

This book review barely scratches the surface of the intriguing knowledge de Waal reports on various species both in the wild and in captivity.

Linda is President of People for Animal Rights. For a sample of the organization’s newsletter, contact PAR, P.O. Box 15358, Syracuse, NY 13215-0358 or or (315)488-PURR (7877) between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m.

Birds of a Feather by Lorin Lindner

Provided by Linda A. DeStefano

Book Review by Collette Charbonneau

Translated into Spanish by Rob English

This is a true story – a sort of autobiography of how two parrot sanctuaries in California came to fruition. It is a recollection of life events by the author, Lorin Lindner, an animal lover and vegan. She recounts how she transitioned from running her own psychology practice to creating a rehabilitation program for veterans (and parrots). It all started when she took in a parrot while still in college. She was determined to navigate through the complexity of how to properly care for such a bird. She realized many people do not know how to do so and she had to do something to help.

She weaves her miraculous story into the sad, but true, story of why she had to build a parrot sanctuary in the first place. She presents honest, horrifying, and hopeful words to the plight of the parrot, a bird that is taken from his/her home in the Amazon as a baby and transported to the U.S. and sold to the highest bidder – overcrowded and uneducated/untrained pet stores or breeders who sell to unassuming people who just want a “pet”. As Lindner explains several times throughout her book, parrots need companionship, attention, proper food, clean cages, and room to fly around and spread their wings. While this can be easy for people to provide early on in their relationship with the parrots, it becomes harder as their lives get busier and the parrots continue to need a high level of attention and support. Most people do not realize, myself included, that parrots can live up to eighty years in captivity! It is hard for parrots to move around from home to home because they “imprint” or develop a deep connection to another bird, animal, or even a human. When they are separated by life circumstances, the parrot can have a difficult time recovering and moving on from that incident. Lindner wanted to help parrots.

Early in her career, after being approached by a homeless veteran needing someone to talk to, she realized other veterans needed help too. She began working with veterans at a nearby VA hospital and brought her two rescue parrots to work with her. The veterans often found it easier to communicate with a parrot than a person. She opened a parrot sanctuary for parrots in the community who could not stay with their human companions. Some of the veterans accompanied her each week to help clean cages, prepare their food, and socialize with them. Lindner then founded a rehabilitation program for veterans at the much closer VA hospital, that also happened to be a place for parrots.

Serenity Park, which opened in 2005, is described more like a garden sanctuary next to a hospital complex. The parrots, many of whom are severely traumatized, warm up to the veterans over time. They establish trust and help one another cope with the trauma they have experienced by learning that not all encounters with other humans are bad.

Lindner ends the book with hope for the veterans and parrots for whom she dedicated her life’s work. This book is a gentle reminder that people and our non-human companions both have feelings and past experiences that need to be recognized and addressed, in order for lifelong, meaningful relationships to exist. Just like us, they can find new meaning in life with the proper attention and care. Lindner reminds us that if we treat every living being right, we can all achieve true happiness and be successful in life.

Collette is a member of People for Animal Rights. You can contact People for Animal Rights at P.O. Box 15358, Syracuse 13215-0358,, (315)488-PURR (7877) between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m.  Visit us at

Plant-Based Diet

Oxford University Study Again Shows Vast Environmental Advantage of Plant-Based Diet
by Linda DeStefano
Translated into Spansish by Rob English est-way-to-reduce-your-impact-on-earth

Published in the journal SCIENCE and described in the May 31, 2018 magazine THE GUARDIAN, an extensive study by Oxford University in the U.K. concludes: “Avoiding meat and dairy products is the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact on the planet…” And without meat and dairy, “global farmland could be reduced by more than 75% – an area equal to the U.S., China, the E.U. and Australia combined – and still feed the world. Loss of wild areas to agriculture is the leading cause of current mass extinction of wildlife.”

Joseph Poore, the lead researcher, says: “Avoiding consumption of animal products delivers far better benefits than trying to purchase sustainable meat and dairy.” And THE GUARDIAN adds: “The scientists found that even the very lowest impact meat and dairy products still cause much more environmental harm than the least sustainable vegetable and cereal growing.”

If you want to move toward a vegan diet, check out recipes and other resources at You can also get free information and mentoring from various organizations, such as Vegan Outreach. Contact

And you can get a free copy of the brochure “Give a Wolf (and the World) a Break Today: Go Veggie!”
from the Biodiversity/Vegetarian Outreach Committee of the Atlantic Chapter of the Sierra Club by contacting the chair of the committee, Linda DeStefano at or (315)488-2140 (8 a.m. – 10 p.m.) or 5031 Onondaga Rd., Syracuse 13215-1403.

Horse Racing

by Linda DeStefano
Translated into Spanish by Rob English

As a child, I was taken once to a race track. I loved the beautiful horses. Only as an adult did I learn about the cruelty and death caused by racing horses.

Patrick Battuello’s website provides a wealth of information. For example, he lists racing horse deaths by state. In 2018 there were 98 horses killed racing and training in NYS. And this number is lower than the reality because the Gaming Commission typically only discloses deaths occurring on-site (or occasionally at equine hospitals) and those within 72 hours of injury. And nothing from the many private facilities across the state. He lists all the victims by name, date and type of injury. Here are just a few:

Old Dubai, January 19, Belmont T “fell at the 7/8 pole, suffered fracture to front leg – euthanized on track”

Desert Affair, May 6, Belmont R “suffered a fatal musculoskeletal injury and was euthanized on the track”

The Berber, May 14, Finger Lakes T “catastrophic injury to shoulder – euthanized”

Battuello lists the wrongs of the horse racing industry:

The Pounding of Unformed Bodies: The typical horse does not reach full musculoskeletal maturity till around six; the typical racehorse begins “training” at 18 months and is raced at two – or the rough equivalent of a kindergartner.

The Extreme Confinement: Most active racehorses are kept isolated in small stalls 23 hours a day, making a mockery of the industry claim that their horses are born to run, love to run. No affection, no stimulation – just an existence.

The Commodification: Most racehorses are bought and sold several times over during the course of their “careers” – traded and treated like common Amazon products.

The Drugging and Doping: Racehorses are injected with various drugs – some legal, some not – with a singular goal: to keep them running, even thru pain and injury.

The Whipping: What happens openly at the track would qualify as animal cruelty if done to our pets. What’s more, in what other sport do lashes provide the motivation?

The Killing: Horseracing Wrongs estimates that upward of 2,000 horses die while racing or training on American racetracks annually.

The Slaughtering: Although the industry downplays the extent of the problem, the prevailing wisdom is that most “retired” American racehorses are bled-out and butchered in foreign abattoirs. One final profit on their heads.

Linda is President of People for Animal Rights (PAR). For a free sample of our newsletter, contact PAR, P.O. Box 15358, Syracuse 13215-0358, (315)488-PURR (8 a.m. – 10 p.m.), You can visit our website at