A short essay by Richard Weiskopf
Compiled by Linda DeStefano
Translated into Spanish by Rob English

The crows flew over – pair mating, no doubt. Caw Caw! The sound pierce my ears. It was as if they carried a black shroud and were the messengers of death.

One on the very top of a tree surveys the surroundings and controls the entire area, even the human who works powerless underneath. Inside that black shroud he carries the memories of centuries. The Caw Caw warns the others when humans are approaching and where they are going. His searching eye follows their every move; then he glides effortlessly through the air, his fimbriated wings still and hardly moving. Sometimes they fly in groups, and you’d think it was a city of ants flying. Then there is a romance of two flying like planes in a dog fight, rough and tumble, one over the other, sometimes a piece of branch or string in their beak. They raise their young to grow into the black shroud like the parents.

Even in death – and I saw a dead one in the cemetery where I was walking – they retain their grace and majesty. Black, sleek, silken feathers, a satin gown surrounding them. The crow makes me feel like a part of the earth, not as if I own the earth.

Richard is a semi-retired physician living in Syracuse. He enjoys journal writing and writes essays, poems and letters to the newspaper. This short essay is used with his permission.


People for Animal Rights encourages appreciation of wild animals and the Earth and the attitude of being part of nature rather than separate from it. We work against exploitation of all animals and strive to protect the Earth, which sustains us all. If you want our general brochure 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 Our website is


by Linda DeStefano
Translated into Spanish by Rob English

There were about 95 people who came to Onondaga Free Library on May 9 to hear Ted Barnett (“Dr. Veggie”) talk about Plant-Based Nutrition and Evolving Medical Paradigms.

Dr. Barnett is a partner in a radiology practice and somehow finds the time to also be the C.E.O. of Rochester Lifestyle Medicine, which he founded in 2015. This practice helps people to be healthy through plant-based nutrition, physical activity, stress reduction and other lifestyle improvements.

Dr. Banett used imaginative images to help him tell the story of how difficult it is to change medical paradigms, in one case taking a century. The first example was the importance of surgeons washing their hands after doing a dissection and before seeing a patient. The person who introduced this concept demonstrated that it worked by reducing the number of patients dying from infection. Nonetheless, this simple habit was ignored for many years while more people died needlessly.

The second example was the common practice of radical mastectomies to treat breast cancer. In addition to removing the breast, the surgeon would remove the muscle and lymphs. This extreme surgery stopped only after it was shown that a simple mastectomy was just as likely to stop the cancer as a radical mastectomy one.

The third example showed that surgery was not needed to treat ulcers; after proof that ulcers were caused by a bacteria, antibiotics were the proper treatment.

The point is that change happens slowly but physicians like Dr. Barnett are leading the way to a non-invasive approach to illness and health rather than undue reliance on surgery and prescription mediation. This is why another of his nicknames is “The high-tech doctor with the low-tech solutions”.

He also spoke at Upstate Medical University to about 30 medical students and one physical therapy student.

This popular event was co-sponsored by People for Animal Rights and the Syracuse Vegans Meetup Group. If you want to explore a plant-based diet, these groups can help you by inviting you to socials where all vegan food is served (but you don’t have to be vegan or vegetarian to attend). They also invite the public to films and speakers on this and related topics.

The contact for the Syracuse Vegans group is Marybeth Fishman, or (315)729-7338. You can find the group on Facebook, Instagram, and on the website.

Contact for People for Animal Rights is or (315)488-PURR (7877) between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. or PAR, P.O. Box 15358, Syracuse, NY 13215-0358.

We can also provide you with contact information for national organizations which can offer lots of material and support, including free personal counseling if you are ready to try a plant-based diet. A plant-based diet means eating veggies, fruit, grains, legumes, beans, nuts, seeds and all the tasty food made from them while avoiding animal flesh and animal products (particularly dairy and eggs). YUM!

The Minimalist Vegan

The Minimalist Vegan: A Simple Manifesto on Why to Live with Less Stuff and More Compassion
by Michael and Masa Ofei, Dec. 2017, Minimalist Company Pty, Limited, 145 pages.
Book reviewed by Linda DeStefano
Translated by Rob English

This married couple from Canberra, Australia urges readers to cure themselves of the “More Virus”. This virus infects individuals and society into thinking that happiness comes from consuming more and more. Besides deadening the human spirit, this virus is killing the planet. Limited natural resources are wasted to produce items
which are unnecessary or quickly discarded. For example, plastic. Plastic is made from a diminishing natural resource (fossil fuels) and has formed a huge garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean. Animals who live in or near the sea are ingesting and dying from pieces of plastic. Michael and Masa suggest avoiding plastic items which tend to be used only once, such as, plastic bags or straws.

People work many hours so they can buy more when instead they could find happiness in spending more time with people they love and pursuing activities they find fulfilling and relaxing. Although the authors don’t speak about this, I’ll add that some people don’t have the choice but to work many hours in order to support themselves and their
families. This is an injustice and indicates the vast imbalance in wealth in the US.

The authors urge us to de-clutter rather than be slaves to our possessions, which can steal too much time and mental energy to organize and maintain. They advise also to spend less time on digital devices, which causes mental clutter, information overload, distraction and over stimulation.

Are we slaves to the latest fashions? Do we buy cheap, fashionable garments and use them for only a short time? Even if we give them away rather than trash them, natural resources and energy (probably derived from polluting sources) were used to produce them. (I’ll note that cheap clothes also involve poor labor conditions). Better to
enjoy high quality clothes that look good on us and can be kept for a long time. Over 13 million tons of textiles are trashed every year in the U.S. alone and only 15% of this is recovered for recycling.

The Ofeis find that veganism melds well with their minimalist philosophy as eating fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, seeds, nuts and the many tasty dishes made from them is gentler on the Earth than raising animals for food. And it makes them happy to avoid taking part in the suffering and death of animals raised for food.

You can try vegan food by coming to a vegan social of People for Animal Rights and/or Syracuse Vegans Meetup Group. You don’t have to be vegan to attend these events but all food at the events is vegan. Contact me at People for Animal Rights, P.O. Box 15358, Syracuse, NY 13215-0358, (315) 488-PURR (7877) between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m., I can also provide some hints for less wasteful living. You can contact Syracuse Vegans Meetup Group through Marybeth Fishman at or by calling her at (315)729-7338.

The Humane Gardener

art by Marjolein Bastin
Book Review by pam mcnew
Translated into Spanish by Rob English

If on grand or modest scale, one is able to apply this book’s principles to their life and the living of it, one will have the very formula of what is apt to bring true and lasting happiness (not only within you, but around you).

“We have the world to live in on the condition that we will take good care of it. And to take good care of it, we have to know it. And to know it and to be willing to take care of it, we have to love it.” Wendell Berry

There are many a book over a vast terrain of time that have encouraged us to save this earthly home by letting it be, by not harming it, by observing and respecting its very wholeness. One such book is THE HUMANE GARDENER by Nancy Lawson. I most highly recommend it.

“To cherish what remains of the Earth and to foster its renewal is our only legitimate hope of survival.”
Wendell Berry

“Nothing that is necessary for life is lacking” as someone most wisely said. We have to learn to trust those words, for they are true.

So for most people it would take letting go of the false and embracing the complex-for-a-reason real world about us to be a true Humane Gardener. And this would be a really good thing.

I cannot praise highly enough the support, inspiration and worthiness of the book THE HUMANE GARDENER by Nancy Lawson. It is a humble looking book that brings new hope to me for our personal opportunity to bring about a transformed world right in our own backyard… or in the spaces around us that we might make a change.

The lure of the glamorous porn-like market of seductive non-native plants needs to be brought to its knees and made to see where true beauty lives and blooms.

Mono-cropped lawns give no hope of shelter nor nourishment to the vital diversity of life on this earth. In order for us all to survive, such practices and habits really must be changed. We need to find a new model within us… a different sense of loveliness… so that we will always keep the butterflies, the bees, the bunnies and all in between vital and thriving.

Leaves that fall give shelter to beneficial insects during the autumn, winter and spring. The nutrients they bring the soil is the health of the trees and even our very own gardens. The birds and the fish, the four footed and the microorganisms all need to be viewed in appreciative ways and protected in all our actions.

No herbicides, no pesticides, no mulches, straight rows in a formal garden will win the hearts of those who are truly nurturing their backyard habitat. And if and when united, these areas turn into life sustaining havens for the sovereign beings we ought all be concerned about and cherish. Run to get this book. It will nourish you, too.

“We don’t experience natural environments enough to realize how restored they can make us feel, nor are we aware that studies also show they make us healthier, more creative, more empathetic and more apt to engage with the world and with each other. Nature, it turns out, is good for civilization.” Florence Williams

pam mcnew is a member of the board of People for Animal Rights, P.O. Box 15358, Syracuse, NY 13215-0358, (315)488-PURR (7877) between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m.,,

“Milk Hurts”

by Teresa Melnick
Translated into Spanish by Rob English

From California’s “Happy Cow” campaign, to the catchy “Got Milk?” celebrity ads, dairy product advertising is relentless in its efforts to convince consumers that its products are wholesome, nutritious, and support the iconic family farm. We are surrounded by images of contented cows, lazily munching grass in glorious green pastures. The truth is a far cry from this idyllic pastoral scene. Unfortunately, most consumers don’t know the ugly facts about the dairy industry’s treatment of cows as disposable milk producing machines. Animal activist Ashely Capp is doing something about that with the creation of a new website Milk Hurts, and her campaign, “Mothers Against Dairy.”

Capp, a writer and editor for the website A Well Fed World, explains her upcoming Milk Hurts website: “Essentially Milk Hurts is intended to become the ‘go to’ comprehensive anti-dairy resource and database with ‘Mothers Against Dairy’ as one of its campaigns and ongoing web features.” The site will be a place where people can go to find the most current, comprehensive, fact-based research on the dairy industry’s harmful effects on animals, human health, and the environment, she says.

Capp started the campaign, “Mothers Against Dairy,” when she learned of a new direction the dairy industry was taking in its advertising.

“Mothers Against Dairy was launched as a way to directly counter the aggressive surge in pro-dairy messaging from female dairy farmers (most of them mothers) that I have encountered in my dairy research over the last several years,” Capp says. “I believe this trend is no coincidence, rather, in a climate of increased criticism of dairy farming practices, it represents a strategic industry shift to put more female faces on dairy farming, and to deceptively reframe the industry as a maternal nurturing one.”

Maternal and nurturing are not adjectives Capp would use to describe the dairy industry. Calves are removed from their mothers soon after birth and fed artificially, while the mother’s milk is harvested for human consumption. This is emotionally and physically damaging for both the cow and the calf, who visibly grieve the separation. The mother is again impregnated and the whole cycle begins again.

Capp has collected compelling first- hand accounts from women who realized, after giving birth themselves, that they could no longer support an industry that callously exploits the motherhood of cows.

(The Milk Hurts website will launch later this year, but for now you can follow them on Instagram and Facebook, or go to A Well Fed World for a link to “Mothers Against Dairy”).

Teresa Melnick is a member of People for Animal Rights (PAR). You can contact PAR at P.O. Box 15358, Syracuse 13215-0358, (315)488-PURR (7877) between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m., You can also contact Linda DeStefano who is the President of People for Animal Rights or find more information at

Citizen Coyote

Reviewed by Linda DeStefano

“Citizen Coyote: Getting to Know Them – An Introduction” is an excellent 24 minute You Tube video available in English and Spanish. It provides a lot of information in a manner which is appropriate for elementary children right through to adults.

Janet Kessler took many photos of the coyotes she encountered in her walks in California as well as some videos, including the sounds of coyotes “singing.” Kessler clearly loves coyotes and wants to stop their persecution by people who unnecessarily fear them or find them a nuisance.

She uses a good teaching style geared to children by pointing out the similarities between people and coyotes, such as, both we and coyotes live in families and protect our children and our territory.

She says we now see coyotes in cities because people have destroyed much of their habitat. Also, sport hunters kill coyotes in rural areas but are not allowed to do so in the cities so coyotes feel safer in urban areas. And they can find plenty of natural food: fruit, rodents, birds, insects, etc.. They prefer this to our garbage so only a small per cent of their diet comes from garbage.

She advises that people are seldom approached aggressively by coyotes but it is always best to keep a safe distance away. If necessary, walk (do not run) away from the coyote. Keep dogs on a leach as the dog may chase the coyote – not good for either of them. Do not allow your cat or dog to wander and do not even leave them unsupervised in your yard as coyotes can scale a six foot fence.

Kessler encourages students to do coyote projects and send the information to her for possible posting on a webpage. She can be reached at

The video can be accessed at

Linda is President of People for Animal Rights, P.O. Box 15358, Syracuse 13215-0358,, (315)488-PURR (7877) between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. This article was translated in spanish by Rob English.

ISAR Expands Its Programs in Spanish

by Linda DeStefano

Translated into Spanish by Rob English

International Society for Animal Rights (ISAR), based in PA, has long advocated for the spaying/neutering of dogs and cats in order to reduce the number of animals who end up in the shelters or on the streets. Although shelters try to cope, some of them sometimes must euthanize animals in order to make room for others because people dump unwanted animals on them. The life of a dog or cat on the street is likely to be short and unhappy.

Now ISAR has expanded its message (billboards, etc) to include Spanish. It also has translated it’s model spay/neuter laws into Spanish. Learn more at:

ISAR, P.O. Box F, Clarks Summit, PA 18411 or call at (570)586-2200

I’m not aware of any Spanish-language outreach regarding animal sterilization in CNY but there ARE low-cost spay/neuter clinics.

SANS (Spay and Neuter Syracuse), To make an appointment or to volunteer, call 315-422-7970.
CNY SPCA, Syracuse call 315-454-4479
Humane CNY, Liverpool call 315-457-8762
SNAP (CNY Spay/Neuter Assistance Program), Cortland call (607)756-2561
Wanderer’s Rest Humane Association, Canastota call 315-697-2796
Stevens Swan Humane Society, Utica call 315-738-4357

For a free copy of a children’s booklet about a dog named Hope and her puppies, contact People for Animal Rights, P.O. Box 15358, Syracuse 13215-0358, (315) 488-PURR (7877) between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m.,