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FALL 2017 / VOL. 1 NO. 4

Alley Cat Allies Interview with founder

Nathan Runkle

Author of Mercy For Animals

Hurrican Harvey HSUS Rescue successes


Welcome Back To SPEAK



For the animals, Mary Holmes, Editor

PICM/SPEAK Disclaimer: All reader submissions and photos are voluntarily submitted without expectation of compensation. All opinions of the Authors in this Magazine are those of the writer or contributor and are not necessarily endorsed by the publisher. The publisher has not confirmed the accuracy of information contained in the articles. PICM/SPEAK reserves the right to edit, alter, modify the submitted article to the extent we deem necessary.




content 02 From the Editor’s Desk 04 Product Review 05 Animal Welfare News 06 Vet Talk 07 Meet Our Readers 08 Shelter News 10 Feature 14 Activists Speak 15 Andy Says 16 Plant Based Recipes 17 Book Review 18 Activists Speak 20 Feature Interview 23 Calendar


Welcome to our fourth issue - the cat issue. Meow!!! This month’s Activists Speak focuses on Nathan Runkle, founder of Mercy for Animals, based here in Los Angeles. He’s just published a book about his experiences as an activist and his work with MFA. The book will be reviewed in a future issue. Our feature this month is an article on Alley Cat Allies. We were able to interview founder Becky Robinson. She has the perfect solution for the challenge of community cats. A new contributor has joined us this issue, Armaiti May, DVM, also known as the Vegan Vet. This issue she talks candidly about why you should never declaw your cat. We’re looking forward to many more interesting and informative contributions from Dr. May. Our Animal Welfare section this month highlights the success of AB 485, signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. We also covered rescue efforts for the humans and non-humans affected by the recent hurricanes and wildfires. You can read all about the 2006 PETS Act, and the positive outcomes it has engendered in these crises. Lastly, I invite you to email me with article queries, suggestions for topics, and feedback of any kind. My email is


EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Mary Holmes CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Patricia Denys CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Michelle Sathe, Best Friends Norman Seat, DVM Armaiti May, DVM ART DIRCTOR Karlie Kawa COVER © Alley Cats SALES & ADVERTISING Deborah Myers 801.702.1171 debbiepetsinthecitymagazine@ ACCOUNTING Richard Beamer

A RESCUE PLEA: PICM/SPEAK is dedicated to and encourages rescuing companion animals of all types. There are thousands of animals in California and across our nation needing a forever home. If you are interested in rescuing a companion animal there are hundreds of rescue organizations in California. A good resource is, a database for companion animals of all types. A rescued animal can add a great deal to your family and provide you with undying gratitude. PICM/SPEAK for the Animals Magazine © 2017 is an independent, free monthly magazine published by PICM Publishing. For information regarding Speak for the Animals Magazine, visit





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Animal Welfare Updates AB 485 UPDATE This bill, authored and introduced by Assembly Member Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach), according to a press release on O’Donnell’s website, “requires all dogs, cats, and rabbits offered for retail sale in California pet stores to be obtained by an animal shelter or non-profit rescue organization.” Social Compassion in Legislation has released an update. On October 13, 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law. California is the first state in the country to enact a law like this; it will halt the trafficking of mill-bred animals into the state. The majority of pet stores in California had already shifted to the “humane model.” According to an SCIL survey in March 2017, only 10% of California pet stores were continuing to sell out-of-state, commercially bred animals. According to Healthy Spot founder and CEO Andrew Kim, a fervent proponent of AB485, “I am thrilled to hear that AB 485 is now California law and codifies the best business practice of a humane pet store. We know this humane model can be successful because this is how we have operated our stores since day one and are thriving without the need to sell a single animal.”

NEWS FROM AFIELD – FEMA AND THE 2006 PETS ACT Well, what a year 2017 has been so far! Record-breaking hurricanes in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico and multiple fires in Northern California’s Wine Country have taken a devastating toll on both humans and animals, domestic and other. Fortunately, these losses have been mitigated to a great extent because of the passage of the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act of 2006, known in short as the PETS Act. This Act effectively amended the Stafford Act of 1988, which established FEMA, to consider companion animals in disaster planning. Hurricane Katrina was not only costly in terms of dollars, but also in human and animal lives. Over 1,500 humans lost their lives because of Katrina; 600,000 animals either lost their lives or were left without shelter during Katrina. It was clear to rescuers that many people refused to evacuate when urged to do so, because they did not want to abandon their companion animals. At the time, there were no accomodations for animals at any human rescue shelters. Thus, many stayed behind and perished with their animals.

Indeed, according to the Washington Post, one 2006 poll found that 44% of the people who chose not to evacuate during Katrina did so because they did not want to abandon their pets. The late Tom Lantos, a California Democrat, sponsored the House version of the bill. The PETS Act was designed to assure this tragedy did not recur. It mandated that state and local emergency preparedness plans, from that point forward, addressed the need of individuals wth pets and service animals following a major disaster. The teeth in the law - neglecting to include household pets and service animals in disaster plans can disqualify jurisdictions from some FEMA funding. It also mandated federal funds be used to help create emergency pet shelter facilities. One of the Act’s provisions is focused on pet owners, and suggests stocking emergency supplies for “72 hours of relative independence” for both humans and their animals. The Washington Post, in an article dated August 31, 2017, recounted one story of a Hurricane Harvey rescue, and how the circumstances were drastically in contrast to what occured during Katrina. Lisa Eicher, of Conroe, Texas, was evacuated from her home amid rising floodwaters. She said to the would-be rescuer, a firefighter, “We have two kids with Down syndrome, a pig and a three-legged dog.” The rescuer’s response, “Sounds good. Let’s do this.” And they did. Another change to the benefit of our nation’s companion animals - both the ASPCA and the Humane Society greatly expanded their disaster response divisions after Katrina. According to HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle, “In a general sense, Katrina was the teaching moment in the United States for people to understand. . . that the lives of humans and animals in our communities are intertwined. You couldn’t look at individuals. You had to look at the family group when you approached disaster response.” Not only have we seen rescue shelters in the most current disasters accomodate both humans and their companion animals, but many animals were transported out of state to animal shelters which had made space for disaster refugees. To quote Chris Schilder of the Humane Society, “This time there was a plan for animals, and it made a difference.”

Amitis Ariano, Simone Reyes, Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell, Judie Mancuso, Henry Brzezinski, Katie Cleary, Assemblymember Matt Dababneh, Dr. Karen Halligan, Kenn Altine, Andrew Kim



Declawing is Cruel and Unnecessary How would you feel if you had to live your whole life walking barefoot with pebbles underneath your feet? Or worse yet, having parts of your toes amputated and then being forced to walk on your newly deformed feet? For cats who undergo declawing, that is their sad and painful reality. The majority of cats who are declawed have the procedure done for convenience purposes, to make the cat unable to scratch a cherished sofa or other prized piece of furniture that the client may own. What these clients don’t realize is that declawing is in reality not just removing the claw, but since the claw is attached to the bone of the last digit of a cat’s toes, it is comparable to an amputation of a person’s fingers at the last knuckle. It also involves cutting through tendons, nerves and skin. As such, it can be an incredibly painful procedure, with long-standing post-operative pain and complications that can sometimes last a lifetime. Cats who have been declawed can suffer a myriad of health issues for years after being declawed, including lameness and arthritis in the elbows, wrists and shoulders. This makes them much more vulnerable and unable to escape up a tree in the event they find their way outside and are chased by a dog or coyote.  Proponents of declawing cats will sometimes claim that if not for being declawed, some cats would lose their homes. The truth is that some declawed cats also end up urinating or defecating on carpeting or furniture because it’s too painful for them to dig in the litter box with their deformed paws. Clients who were intolerant of their sofa being scratched are even less likely to put up with a cat who is using their special sofa as a toilet. These are the cats who are given up, either abandoned altogether and left to fend for themselves, or turned into shelters. It is harder to rehome these wounded felines compared to their clawed counterparts who are not afflicted with the issues that come with declawing.  A small percentage of cat guardians who are immunocompromised, thin-skinned, or taking blood thinners, may seek out the declaw procedure for their cats because of concern that being scratched by their cat could cause their own health to deteriorate. Then there are those who have just had a baby and decide to declaw their cat because they don’t want their baby scratched. However, declawed cats are more likely to bite because their primary defenses – their claws – have been stolen from them. A bite from a cat is far more serious than a scratch. I’ve been scratched plenty of times by cats in the course of my work and while it isn’t pleasant, it isn’t nearly as dangerous as a bite. A veterinary technician I worked with years ago was bitten on the wrist by a cat and ended up needing to be hospitalized for a week and receive intravenous antibiotics! Declawed cats present an actual threat to public health which clawed cats do not.  The complications that can result from declawing are numerous, including pain and infection. There is also the potential for fragments of bone to be left behind, causing an uncomfortable feeling similar to walking on pebbles. There


is also a misconception that laser declaws are somehow less painful. However, it is actually worse than declawing with clippers because it can lead to painful complications from fourth degree burns. Instead of having the cat declawed, there are alternatives such as regular nail trimming and application of Soft Paws, which are humane and effective ways to manage cats’

claws. A cat can also be trained to use a scratching post, especially if enticed to do so by placing catnip on the scratching post. Although there are now 8 cities in California that have banned declawing, there are still 22 million cats declawed nationwide. The United States and Canada are the only countries in North America where declawing is still permitted, with most of the Europe and Asia not allowing this barbaric practice to continue. West Hollywood was the first city in North America to ban declawing of cats in 2003. After an unsuccessful attempt to overturn that ban by the CVMA (California Veterinary Medical Association) and subsequent lobbying by the CVMA to pass a state law preventing cities from passing bans on declawing was passed, activists had only six months before the law took effect to convince 7 other cities in California to pass bans on declawing in 2009. Those cities are Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, Burbank, Culver City, San Francisco and Berkeley, home of my alma mater. Please visit  to learn more and get involved in helping other states pass bans on declawing. Currently, there is declaw ban legislation being considered in New Jersey and New York. Armaiti May, DVM is a practicing small animal veterinarian and vegan advocate. She attended UC Berkeley, where she graduated with a B.S. in Bioresource Sciences in 2001. Dr. May is a 2005 graduate of the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

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Email your high-resolution photo & your companion animal’s name to patricia.speakmagazine@










FALL 2017 |





o ease integration into your home, take into consideration where your cat came from. Was she staying in a cage, in a room, or in a foster home? Were there other cats living with her or was she alone? Was the environment noisy or quiet? How often did she eat and where did she sleep? Changing all the factors in her environment all at once can be very stressful. To integrate your new cat into your home as smoothly as possible, you must be able to recognize the signs of stress while slowly changing her living situation. With this method, you are initially maintaining her previous routine, while changing to your routine over time. PREPARATION First, prepare to welcome your cat home by making sure you have these items on hand: • Food and water bowls • Cat toys • Food • Cat brush • Treats • Cat litter box and litter • Collar with ID tag • Scratching post or strips • Cat bed



YOUR CAT’S ENVIRONMENT Many cats are fearful when introduced to their new home; being moved from a small enclosure to an apartment or house is a big change. Your home also has different smells and noises than the shelter or home where your cat lived before. Initially, confine your new cat to one room. Your bedroom or the living room often works well for this. Make sure that you provide your new cat with food, water, and a litter box, and that you regularly spend time in this room with her, so that she is not alone. Provide her with multiple hiding places. A cardboard box with holes cut in both sides and a blanket placed in the bottom can be a great hiding place. Be certain to provide her with hiding places on the ground, as well as up high. When she is in her hiding place, do not disturb her. Place a scratching post or cat tree in her room. Place her scent on the cat tree by gently stroking her cheeks with a towel, and then rubbing the scratching post with the towel. This will transfer her scent onto the scratching post, thereby increasing the likelihood that she will use it. Let your cat adjust to the room, and to you. Do not force her to stay near you if you wish to pet her. Instead, coax her to you by playing with an interactive toy or staying near her food bowl while she is eating. Once she realizes that this stranger (you) provides all the same good things that her previous caretaker did, she will warm quickly to you and accept your attention. Once your cat is comfortably walking around and living in this room, expand her access to the entire house. For some cats, it may take several weeks before they are comfortable in their room and can be allowed access to the whole house. DIET Cats eat less when they are stressed, and sometimes stop eating altogether. It is extremely important to make sure that your cat is eating regularly once you have brought him home. If possible, buy the same type of food that he had been eating. If he is not eating, try mixing a little bit of a tastier food, such as canned cat food or baby food, into his meal. After two days, or once he is eating regularly, slowly change him over to the diet that you would like to feed him. Make sure you feed your cat high-quality food. On the first and second days, feed him 25 percent new diet and 75 percent old diet, mixed together. On the third and fourth days, give him 50 percent of each. On the fifth and sixth days, switch to 75 percent new diet and 25 percent old diet. On the seventh day, feed him 100 percent of the new diet. Changing your cat’s diet too rapidly can cause upset to his system (decreased appetite, vomiting, and/or diarrhea). If this happens, call your veterinarian. LITTER BOX Provide your cat with an uncovered, clean litter box. Covered litter boxes can trap odors inside the box, which is nice for you, but not for your cat. Cats are usually quite fastidious; they are sensitive to the smell of urine and feces, as well as deodorizers. Reducing the smell inside and around the litter box can be very important for them. Scoop out the litter box once daily, and empty it completely to clean it every two weeks. When you clean the litter box, use a mild soap, not strong-smelling detergents or ammonia. TOYS There is a variety of cat toys available. Cats like novelty, so buy several different types of toys and experiment. Play with the toys with your cat;

many cats need encouragement. If he is not interested in them for the first few days, give him time, and try different toys. Do not play with your cat with your hands. Using your hands as a toy teaches your cat that it is okay to bite or scratch you. Remember … The key to successful integration of your new cat into your home is being aware of the signs of stress and mitigating them. Change the environment slowly. Remember that although these recommendations work for most catts, they will not work for every cat. If your cat is showing signs of stress and is not improving, please contact your veterinarian or a behaviorist.

FALL 2017 |






Interview with Becky Robinson, Founder


et’s talk cats, who’ve lived around humans for, at best estimate, around 10,000 years. You think you know cats? This article is going to be full of surprises; you don’t know near as much about cats as you think. I spoke to Becky Robinson, founder of Alley Cat Allies in Bethesda, MD, a group which virtually single-handedly popularized TNR (Trap-Neuter-Release) as the most effective, most humane method to deal with feral cats, AKA community cats. TNR is science-based and lastly, best practice in terms of public policy. Ms. Robinson comes from a family of animal welfare activists involved in humane society efforts in KS. It is safe to say she was enmeshed in these efforts as a child. Trained and licensed in social work, Ms. Robinson moved to Washington, D.C. in 1990 to get involved in the animal rights movement in our nation’s capital. One night, as she was headed to dinner in the Adams Morgan section of D.C., she took a shortcut from her parking space to the restaurant, traversing an alley full of cats, some 56 cats – to be precise. She described them as “gorgeous, very healthy, beautiful, shiny fur. Black and white tuxedoes. They weren’t suffering. It was clear right away.” She could tell immediately they were well cared-for, but she knew she needed to take action. They all needed to be spayed or neutered, and vaccinated. And, finally, “they needed to come home.” This was the birth of Alley Cat Allies. Like many births, it was fraught with difficulties. As Robinson so aptly puts it, 27 years later there has been a “seismic shift” in thinking about ferals. But this was 1990. Everyone called the shelters, except Robinson. She knew better. The mindset of shelters in 1990 was to trap the cats and “euthanize” them – in other words, kill cats just to get them off the streets. As Robinson said, in 1990, the “conventional wisdom was that there should be no outside cats.” The shelters were rude; no veterinarians wanted to get involved. Finally, they had a stroke of luck. A friend called a spay-neuter clinic in inner-city DC. “And their director didn’t know anything about feral cats. And she couldn’t help us. But the veterinarian who was coming to her clinic twice a week overheard the conversation. That’s what started our program. The veterinarian had his own hospital. It was about a mile away. And we started bringing him feral cats on a very small scale.” Prior to finding that vet, they had taken cats to other veterinarians. As Robinson described it, “Everything that could go wrong went wrong. They did not know how to knock the cats out, how to anesthetize them before they took them out of the traps so cats were loose in their clinic and one cat shattered her hip and was severely injured because she was loose in the clinic in their hospital. The veterinarians required us to test them for FelV.” They were fast learners. The group was getting phone calls from people who had cats in their neighborhoods, as well as workers who had cats living behind their office buildings. They opened a Spay-Neuter Clinic. “We had to create a program. We had to put together the resources. We did that. I think it was 1992. We

FALL 2017 |



“We had to do two things. We had to empower the people because they had to stand up to what was happening in their community.

had a Sunday Spay Day at this same veterinarian’s hospital in the inner city of Washington, D.C., the neighborhood called Petworth. Within a few months, we had 75 to 100 cats every other Sunday. We were not open every week. We were open about every other week. We didn’t have a website. There was no email. Nobody had cell phones. People just showed up, about every other Sunday. Finally, one day I asked people, ‘How did you hear about it?’ And they said, ‘Oh, from your advertising.’” Only, there was no advertising. Robinson quoted from “Field of Dreams,” saying they soon realized the saying, “If you build it, they will come,” applied not only to baseball fields but to spay-neuter clinics as well. They provided two services – the spay-neuter of ferals, and more importantly, education for those individuals caring for the ferals so they could serve as advocates. Now Alley Cat Allies is a national advocacy organization. It no longer runs spay- neuter clinics, nor does it operate a shelter. Much of its focus now is on working with grassroots organizations and activists to help change city and county ordinances. “. . . most of the ordinances don’t necessarily specify that trap-neuter-return can’t be done, but they specify that every cat should be licensed or leashed, or there should be limit laws.” People can reach out to ACA through the National Cat Help Desk, and the hotline can respond via email, phone calls, Skype, and even on-ground visits if required. As Robinson explains, “We had to do two things. We had to empower the people because they had to stand up to what was happening in their community. Because even though they might be feeding cats, spaying and neutering them, there’s still a lot of work to be done if their shelter and their animal control are still carrying out these archaic,


Draconian laws. We feel that our job is to educate about trap-neuter-return, educate that there’s a science behind trap-neuter-return, and that removing cats just creates a vacuum. We want people to understand what this is so that they can advocate, which means in their own town.” Here are a few samples of the successes ACA has had over the years: the 2000 TNR contract with the Norfolk Naval Shipyard (the first of its kind), the Atlantic City Boardwalk Cats project which began in 2000 and is ongoing, and their more recent alliance in Hilo, HI with Animal Balance – Trapped in Paradise. All are TNR efforts, and all involve educational aspects as well. As Ms. Robinson succinctly summarizes the ACA philosophy, “We have three choices: we can trap and remove them, but that creates a vacuum and there’s always more; we can leave them alone which obviously is not desirable by most communities; or there’s the humane approach, which is to stop the reproduction of cats. And they can coexist with people. And when it comes to public policy, there are hundreds, there are more than 650 municipalities that have embraced trap-neuter-return because it is sound public policy.” The most formidable enemy of the great work being done by ACA and its allies comes in the form of a book published in 2016 by the venerable Princeton University Press, Cat Wars: The Devastating Consequences of a Cuddly Killer by Peter Marra and Chris Santella. The book’s premise is, in a nutshell, we need to kill feral cats because they are decimating the wild bird population. William Lynn, Barbara King, and Marc Bekoff, all animal rights activists, have all spoken out against this book. In summary, they say the book is based on bad science.

I contacted Marc Bekoff for his personal response. He referred me to his Psychology Today “Animal Emotions” blog from August 31, 2016. ( blog/animal-emotions/201608/cat-wars-calls-killing-freeranging-cats). The post is way too long to quote here; one thing that stood out in my mind was that he saw a great deal of irony in that it was okay to kill one group of sentient beings to preserve another group of sentient beings. In addition, he stated, “Along with numerous other people, I’ve been wondering when killing ‘in the name of conservation’ is going to stop.” From a purely scientific rationale he further remarks about Cat Wars: “On the one hand, I really didn’t want to write this essay and surely didn’t want to call attention to this unveiled diatribe against cats. On the other hand, I’m sure that with the title it has it will attract a good deal of attention. I hope people who choose to read Cat Wars will do so very carefully. It’s sickening and disheartening in far too many places, but that’s the price of admission. If you’re looking for a fair and balanced account of the situation of hand, this is not the book to read. Even if you don’t especially like cats, this book surely isn’t ‘the cat’s meow.’ Indeed, if taken seriously, this book will lead to the loss of the wide range of vocalizations  ( for which cats are well known as well of the lives of many other hapless and innocent individuals who are caught in the crossfire.  Returning to the authors’ stance on all free-ranging cats, please keep in mind that the authors advocate removing cats “by any means necessary” ostensibly “in the name of science.” This is a thoroughly  heartless conclusion that will undoubtedly lead to horrific pain, suffering, and death not only for cats, but also for other animals, because some people surely will appeal to science and

We feel that our job is to educate about trap-neuter-return, educate that there’s a science behind trap-neuter-return, and that removing cats just creates a vacuum.

say something like, ‘Scientists said it’s ok to do this.’ It is not.” This speaks volumes. Robinson says her proudest accomplishment to date is founding ACA, and all the wonderful things it has been able to accomplish in the last 27 years, especially regarding TNR. “There was a movement, and we believe we really helped spark that movement because every single reputable animal organization in the United States now defends and carries out, and advocates for trap-neuter-return. I only know a couple of groups that are not on board with trap-neuter-return.” Her future goal is recruiting and growing the movement. As she puts it, “How you raise children and your behavior makes a difference. We need a new generation of leaders.” Visit the Alley Cat Allies at to learn more about the organization, become a volunteer, or support its efforts. ACA currently has 650,000 supporters worldwide.

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We sat down with Runkle in the West Hollywood office of MFA, shortly before the release of his new book, Mercy for Animals. He shared anecdotes of his childhood, his lifelong compassion for animals, and what spurred him to form MFA. We discussed some of the recent successes of his organization and his exhortation to “leave animals off your plate.” Normally, we omit the circumstances of an interviewee’s birth when profiling an activist. But Runkle’s was unusual enough it bears mention. “I was born on a couch and delivered by a veterinarian, who was my father.” Runkle came from a rural Ohio farm community, a town of less than 2,000 inhabitants. He says that from an early age, he felt a strong affinity for all animals. “Growing up on a farm I always had a natural connection with animals and nature.” The first animal he formed a strong bond with came to him at the age of six, by way of his parents’ tenants. He later learned they bred animals for vivisection purposes. But when he met Caesar, it was proverbial love at first sight. Caesar was a Siamese rat, Runkle’s constant companion. He took every opportunity to introduce Caesar to any and all who came to visit his home. Naturally, Caesar was seldom greeted with open arms. “I couldn’t understand why people would have such prejudice to-

We asked how he managed to start an animal welfare organization at the tender age of fifteen. “I had no idea what I was doing when I started Mercy for Animals. We had no money, no resources, no institutional knowledge, no mailing list, and no support base. But I did have a passion in my heart to right an injustice. And a lot of energy. And a lot of perseverance. That was essentially the raw recipe for getting the organization going. It’s the raw recipe for most success – starting and figuring it out as you go.” In the past eighteen years, Mercy for Animals has grown to 150 employees in 6 countries, and approximately 7 million supporters in 15 countries. MFA has four program areas: undercover investigation, legal advocacy, corporate outreach, and education. In the beginning days, they tried to address multiple animal welfare issues. Like many of its ilk, they came to a crossroads where they realized they were spreading themselves too thin, resulting in less effectiveness. The choice to focus on farm animal issues was clear-cut. “If you look at the number of animals that are used, abused, and exploited in our society – farm animals are the 99%.” Runkle knows this choice can be a hard sell for many people. Dogs and cats make it easy to advocate for them; we have them in our homes and get to know them as individuals. Most people don’t

Nathan Runkle Founder, Mercy For Animals

wards this animal. I realized it’s because they were judging him on what he was, not who he was.” Runkle was immersed in a somewhat foreign culture, an animal lover surrounded by farmers, trappers, hunters, and fisherman. His first Eureka! moment happened when he was eleven. He saw a story on the local news about a fur protest at a local mall, and heard the term “animal rights activist” for the first time. He said he “had this excitement that there was a name for people who felt the way I did.” Some months later, an Earth Day event was scheduled to be at that same mall, and his mother agreed to take him. Runkle recounts, “There was an animal protection group there. I picked up the literature on factory farming and the fur industry. I read them on the car ride home. By the time we pulled up at our house I was a vegetarian.” The awakening of the activist continued. At thirteen he found out about an animal rights conference in Washington, DC. He again convinced his parents to take him. “It was really life-changing for me because it was the first time I met any vegans, the first time I attended any protests, the first time I met people who were living these values. It was really inspirational. Then I came back and was isolated again in this farm town.” Another two years passed. At the age of fifteen, Runkle (not yet old enough to drive) formed Mercy for Animals. The motivation was an incident that occurred at the local high school. In sum, it drew a clear distinction in his mind about “standard agricultural practices” and the enforcement of animal cruelty statutes. The two were miles apart.


get to know farm animals that way, which makes it difficult for them to make the compassionate connection. He spent some time talking to us about his new book. It covers his journey as an animal rights activist, the growth and development of MFA, and the future of food. Much of it is focused on profiling MFA’s undercover investigators – the work they do, the achievements they’ve had, and the emotional toll it takes on them. (Editor’s Note: This is a book well worth reading, but it is not for the faint of heart.) It also features some success stories – animals they have been able to rescue who are now living out their lives in peace. It also has a section on, as Runkle puts it, “what a humane economy looks like moving forward.” It discusses compassionate food choices, plant-based diets, and emerging food science. We asked Runkle what his proudest accomplishment was. His response, “Founding Mercy for Animals and being with the organization for eighteen years and seeing it grow. We have so many successes every day, every week, every year, that I’m just profoundly proud of.” He concludes by saying, “I’m proud to be in a movement that’s based on love and compassion, and be able to live those values every day and have them reflected in my work.” If you’d like to know more about Mercy for Animals and the work they do, please visit them at https://www.mercyforanimals. org/. You can purchase the book Mercy for Animals on the MFA website, or through Amazon or Barnes and Noble.


ANDY SAYS! HELPFUL TIPS FOR TNR SUPPORTING YOUR COMMUNITY FERAL CATS We have all seen cats in our communities who we worry about and want to help. Some may seem too feral to adopt. We can help!

Trap-Neuter-Return is a program in which community cats are humanely trapped (with box traps such as Havahart), brought to a veterinarian to be spayed or neutered, vaccinated, ear tipped (the universal sign that a cat has been neutered and vaccinated), and then returned to live out their lives in their outdoor home. TNR balances the needs and concerns of the human communities in which many feral cats live. It allows cat populations to

allows feral cats to live longer, healthier lives. Male cats will roam less and it reduces fighting over mates. It literally reduces aggression and increases affection. Havahart has a great Feral Cat Rescue Kit! This kit also comes with a cover to prevent more stress on an already frightened cat once trapped. BE SURE to place the trap in a safe, cool place in the summer and a warm place in the winter. CHECK TRAP HOURLY! Never leave a trap out in bad weather. Be aware that ants can be attracted to food left in the trap. Many shelters will loan or lease humane traps. For more on the great success of TNR Programs, please see Alley Cat Allies at


SNPLA (Spay Neuter Project LA) offers low cost spay/ neuter for community cats for $25.00. The cat must be humanely trapped and brought in in the trap. The cat will also receive an ear tip to show others he/she has been spayed or neutered already. SNPLA has 3 locations in the Los Angeles area. Please call for appointment 310 574-5555 stabilize and allows mating behaviors of cats to be brought into check through spaying and neutering. Studies show that TNR

FALL 2017 |


Jane Velez-Mitchell’s

Plant Based Recipes



INGREDIENTS 1 1/2 c butternut squash, cubed 1 1/2 c broccoli florets, 1 lb fusilli pasta (I used Trader Joe’s Vegetable Radiatore) 3/4 c organic soy or almond milk, unsweetened 1/2 c raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours unless you have a high-power blender, in which case soaking is not necessary  1/2 c nutritional yeast  2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice with zest 1 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce 2 tsp Kelly’s Croutons Smokey Chipotle Cheezy Parm 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (Trader Joe’s) 3/4 cup crackers or toasted bread

DIRECTIONS - Mac & Cheese Steam the butternut squash until it is fork tender, about 10 min Steam the broccoli until it turns bright green but still firm, about 3 min and set aside


• •

• •

Prepare pasta according to package directions and drain In a high-power blender add the steamed butternut squash, soy or almond milk, cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and Smokey Chipotle Cheezy Parm. Blend on low until all the ingredients are combined, slowly increasing the speed to high power (about 1 min). Taste the cheese sauce to make sure the cashews are fully blended and there is no grit. Blend another minute, if needed, to make sure the cheese sauce is completely smooth. Gently fold the cheese sauce over the pasta and fold in the broccoli florets.  Garnish with breadcrumbs or cracker mix and enjoy

GARNISH: Place toasted bread or vegan crackers of your choice into a clean blender and pulse until it turns into breadcrumbs. Use this to sprinkle over the Mac & Cheese. You can place the finished product into an oven set at 400 degrees F for 10 min or until the breadcrumbs become slightly toasted.  Watch it carefully so the breadcrumbs don’t burn. 


GROWL LIFE LESSONS, HARD TRUTHS, AND BOLD STRATEGIES FROM AN ANIMAL ADVOCATE Growl was published in 2014; altthough it’s not hot off the press it deserves our utmost attention. This is, in the simplest of terms, the autobiography of an animal rights activist. But, it is so much more. I think the author says it best in his Introduction, “Growl is the book I would have loved to have owned when I was a young man and discovered how widespread was the cruelty we inflict on other animals.” Stallwood has been in the animal rights movement for four decades. The book describes his evolution as an activist, and as a human being, both of which are fascinating stories. He tells his story with a great deal of humility, from his joining the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) at the age of eleven, through his time at culinary school. Then he discusses his conversion to vegetarianism, then veganism, and a surprise stint working one summer at a chicken slaughterhouse. The bulk of the tome recounts his varied jobs in the animal rights movement, starting with the position of campaign officer for the British organization Compassion in World Farming. He freely admits that he went in having no real background or training for the job at hand. Nevertheless, he “made a go” of it, and did quite well. His descriptions of how he seemed to always be in the right place at the right time for new job opportunities made me a bit jealous, I’ll admit. But he has earned every accolade that he has received over the years. His second job in the movement was with the prestigious British Union for the Abolishment of Vivisection (BUAV). After that, he moved to the States and worked for PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and served as editor of the renowned magazine Animals’ Agenda. Now, he spends much time serving as a consultant for animal advocacy groups, much of it pro bono. Freely interspersed among his work history, Stallwood describes the evolution of his thinking as an animal rights activist. He sums up his philosophy in the Introduction. “. . . our commitment to animal rights must be animated by four key values: 1. Compassion: our motivation for helping animals 2. Truth: our ethical relations with animals

3. 4.

Nonviolence: our value in the relations we have with animals Justice: our commitment to all animals”

Being an animal rights activist can be challenging. Stallwood would be the first to admit this. In fact, he’s given a name to the place he withdraws to when fighting the fight for animal rights becomes overwhelming. “Confronted with a world of unremitting violence toward other animals where others fail to see what you witness everywhere or don’t act on their own conscience, it’s easy for advocates to seek refuge in what I call the ‘Misanthropic Bunker’.” He takes it one step further, as he refers to himself as the “Grumpy Vegan”. Over the years, he has found ways to spend less time in the bunker, but one thinks he still loves being the “Grumpy Vegan”. The book recounts his experiences in some detail but, despite the work he does, is not filled with graphic details of horrors forced upon non-human animals. It’s full of warmth and humor, and readers will come away thinking they know Kim Stallwood, but would love the opportunity to get to know him better. Great read!

FALL 2017 |




Above: Artist Patricia Denys and Carol Adams at SPOM Show

Tony Lee Moral, who professionally goes by Tony Lee, is the director of many wildlife films, among them the recently released “The Cat that Changed America.” Lee is a true Renaissance man, with backgrounds as an Alfred Hitchcock expert, software developer, writer of fiction and non-fiction, and a documentarian. SPEAK interviewed him recently from his home in London, specifically about the making of “The Cat that Changed America.” It was clear from talking with him that his primary love, his vocation, is making wildlife documentaries. His educational background was in zoology; his first job out of university was researching for a David Attenborough series at the BBC. Quite an auspicious beginning, one might surmise. Lee loves telling stories. “I’m always looking for good stories to tell, no matter what the subject matter, but particularly having to do with the environment and conservation. It’s a big passion of mine.” Lee spoke of P-22, and why he decided to make P-22 the subject of a documentary. He was working in Los Angeles in the spring of 2016, when P-22 was all over the news because “he’d just broken into the zoo in LA and ate a koala, allegedly.” Lee called Miguel Ordeñana, of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, who became a featured scientist in the documentary. Ordeñana told


“THE CAT THAT CHANGED AMERICA” him the P-22 story. “What I didn’t know was that he crossed two major freeways to reach Griffith Park. And I just thought this was an amazing story of endurance and survival and stamina.” He not only fell in love with the story of P-22, but with “the characters” helping P-22. Principal among them, besides Ordeñana, are Joel and Kian Schulman of Poison Free Malibu, Beth PrattBergstrom, California Director of the National Wildlife Federation and the leader of the Save LA Cougars campaign to build the Liberty Canyon Wildlife Crossing, and Kim Lamorie, President of the Las Virgenes Homeowners Federation. Lee had very specific goals in making the film. He wanted to promote the concept of human/non-human coexistence in the urban environment, the necessity of wildlife corridors, and educate about the dangers of the use of rodenticides. The film “Blackfish” was his model, he hoped “. . .to inform and educate in the same kind of manner that ‘Blackfish’ did with the captive killer whales in SeaWorld.” His goal as a filmmaker is to reach as many people as possible, educate them, and hopefully change their behavior. In the case of this film, he is getting the response he hoped for, and then some. He stated, “I’m quite amazed the legs it has.” Not only is it being shown frequently but, “Both the London Times and the LA Times have reviewed the film, even before it was out in mass distribution which, for me, is a first. This little movie is gathering so much press coverage.”



His biggest difficulty was getting the footage of P-22. Most of it, fortunately, was in the public domain, and came from the Museum of Natural History of Los Angeles County and the National Park Service. The easy part was filming the interviewees. With much help from Alex Rapaport, his Marina Del Rey-based director of photography, he was able to film the interviews in a mere seven days. His motivation for making “The Cat that Changed America” was learning about the role of rodenticides in the life of the mountain lion. “It was quite odd for me because I’ve done a lot of wildlife programs. I had a physical reaction. I just felt sick internally that we’re poisoning the animals and poisoning the earth, and I just felt I’ve got to finish this documentary and I’ve got to do the best job I can to inform people that we can’t just keep poisoning our wildlife and our environment like this without facing the consequences. So that’s what motivates me to really do a good job on the documentary and get it out there.” Lee obviously shares the passion of those working for P-22 and his ilk. SPEAK asked Lee if he had any final comments he had to make. Indeed, he did. “I think it’s a very critical time for wildlife. We’re just facing a mass extinction and I just don’t think we can afford to be complacent or just take our wildlife for granted. Because the awareness of a filmmaker comes with a lot of responsibility and everyone seeks their kind of role in life, and I, having now been making films, different types of documentaries for twenty-five years, this is what fuels my passion. It’s really a critical time in the planet because, now any mountain lions, cheetahs, tigers, they’re all facing danger, and facing extinction, and we just cannot afford to ignore the warnings any more. And in this mass age of multimedia, I think my responsibility, and people like me who can make films, they’re storytellers. The onus is really on us to use whatever creativity we can to reach the public and get them to listen and care. And that is the real challenge.”

The onus is really on us to use whatever creativity we can to reach the public and get them to listen and care. And that is the real challenge.

Director of “The Cat that Changed America”

FALL 2017 |


POISON FREE MALIBU INTERVIEWEES: KIAN AND JOEL SCHULMAN, FOUNDERS, POISON FREE MALIBU BY MARY HOLMES Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Rodenticides (But Were Afraid to Ask). I realize this doesn’t sound like a very savory topic, and definitely not something you’d want to chat about at the dinner table. But, it’s something you should be aware of, as the use of rodenticides have far-reaching, deleterious effects on wildlife in general. Rodenticides don’t just kill rodents; they affect the health of upwards of 80-90% of Southern California predators, such as P-22, who we feature in another section of this issue. Kian and Joel Schulman, founders of Poison Free Malibu, are crusaders against the use of rodenticides. After talking to the two of them for less than an hour, they’ve fully converted SPEAK to their way of thinking. First of all, a little background on rodenticides. Rodenticides, commonly known as rat poison, have been in use for quite some time. Those we are specifically referring to are anticoagulant in nature. In other words, ingestion of the rodenticide causes animals to bleed internally and die. There are three first-generation rodenticides: warfarin (also used as an anti-clotting drug for coronary artery disease), chlorophacinone, and diphacinone. These three require rodents to consume the bait in multiple feedings to reach a lethal dose. These poisons are generally excreted from mammals within a week of ingestion. Second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (or SGAR’s) can deliver a lethal dose in one feeding. The most common of these are difenacoum, brodifacoum, bromadiolone and difethialone. Unlike first-generation baits, these compounds are not excreted readily, and remain in the internal organs of animals who have ingested them. According to the website Safe Rodent Control, these “are much more likely to poison predatory wildlife that eat live or dead poisoned prey and have a higher risk of severe poisoning for children, pets, and other non-target wildlife.” This is where Kian and Joel come into the story. Poison Free Malibu came into being in 2012 after Kian read a story about a mountain lion who was found dead in Point Mugu State Park. They called up the National Park Service, assuming the mountain lion was a victim of illegal hunting. The National Park Service did a necropsy, and, upon examining the mountain lion’s liver, drew the conclusion that he was killed by rat poison. To Kian, a retired nurse, this made little sense. How could eating a poisoned rodent kill a 150-pound mountain lion? She started doing further research, and discovered that UCLA, the National Park Service, and the Department of Fish and Wildlife all had studies on the rodenticide


poisoning of wildlife. To share just few statistics, 92% of bobcats, 83% of coyotes, and 95% of owls and raptors studied contained rat poison. This occurs when predators eat prey who are in turn eaten by larger predators, the amount of poison accumulates in the system. Compounding this issue is the fact that some 50,000 dogs and 10,000 children a year that are accidentally poisoned by rodenticides. As Kian puts it, “They make these poisons odiferous, out of sixteen different types of flavonoids, including chocolate, peanut butter, cheddar cheese. So, even if you had no rodents around your area, you’re calling in the rodents to your area and poisoning them. They leave the box. Everybody thinks they’re in the box dead. There’s nobody in the boxes dead.” What’s the ultimate solution? Banning the use of anticoagulant rodenticides. There is a bill in the California Assembly that would do that. But AB 1687 is currently stalled, due to opposition from the well funded, deep-pocketed pest control industry in this state. In the meantime, the Schulmans are doing what they can to make changes on a local basis. The first target was the City of Malibu, where they live. This involved going store to store, finding out who was selling rodenticides, educating them on the far-reaching effects of rodenticide use, and convincing them to pull these products from the shelves. Merchants in Malibu were all on board within six months. Then the City of Malibu itself passed a resolution; they do not use rodenticides within any City facilities, and they suggest residents do the same. Kian says, “So all we can do is these resolutions, and work on the state level to get the laws redesigned. It’s hard work; it’s real hard work. It’s a whole new game play. I’ve never done this before. You start dealing with politics and it’s like playing this fine game of chess. And I don’t even know the rules.” Since that first victory, Poison Free Malibu has had the same success in 10 other cities in the Southern California area. In addition, they work with HOA’s, schools, shopping centers, apartment complexes, any entity that wants to control rodents without the use of rodenticides. It’s really a simple process – trash control. Dumpsters need to be used, maintained properly, and must have closed lids. Further, openings to buildings should be sealed so rodents cannot get in. If you control the trash and access, rodents will go elsewhere. They will continue to do this work on a piecemeal basis. Obviously, any successes achieved so far are a step in the right direction. Poison Free Malibu collaborates with


many like-minded organizations on an ad hoc basis, now and in the future. But the passage of AB 1687 is critical. The biggest opponent, as stated previously, is the pest control industry. The State of California has a preemption doctrine regarding pesticides, which basically means that localities, cities, and counties cannot pass laws concerning pesticides; only the State can pass laws about them. So this has to be done statewide. Yes, Kian and Joel care about the wildlife, and our pets, and our children. Kian emphasizes, “. . .we are science-based. We try to stay away from the emotionalism even though there’s a huge emotional aspect to see these animals suffer and die by poison. I’ve seen one die, and it’s the most horrible sound that comes out of these poor animals as they’re suffering internally, and bleeding.” For more information about Poison Free Malibu, please visit them at https:// Adapted with permission from, Dr. Laurel Serieys

THE CAT WHO CHANGED AMERICA FILM CREW Miguel Ordeñana, Citizen Science Coordinator and Wildlife Biologist at the Natural History Museum of LA County Joel Schulman, Poison Free Malibu Beth Pratt-Bergstrom, California Director of the National Wildlife Federation Kian Schulman RN,MSN, Poison Free Malibu Tony Lee, Director

Joel Schulman Kian Schulman RN,MSN

FALL 2017 |



BELOW: This lucky dog is one of five swiftly moved from a nearby property to a second story balcony of a neighbor when flooding overcame the street and homes. The HSUS Animal Rescue Team (ART) responds to a rescue request to return for the pets following hurricane Harvey which devastated the Texas coastal region with record breaking flooding. The team rescues any animals they come across, possibly including swift water rescue. The HSUS team will provide temporary care for people’s pets at an emergency shelter until the animals are rehabilitated and hopefully reunited with their owner.

ABOVE: Members of the HSUS Animal Rescue Team (ART), make a successful rescue of a domesticated cat following the pet owners request that their pet be found after severe flooding from Hurricane Harvey swept in to their neighborhood. This pet will be returned to their owner.


The HSUS Animal Rescue Team (ART) plans their response following hurricane Harvey which devastated the Texas coastal region with record breaking flooding. The team rescues any animals they come across, possibly including swift water rescue. The HSUS team also delivers supplies to people with pets who were affected by the hurricane, aid temporary care for people’s pets at an emergency shelter until the animals are rehabilitated and hopefully reunited with their owner. This work also helps local animal shelters free up space for animals impacted by the storm, and coordinate their response options with HSUS Emergency Placement Partners. PHOTOS © ANTHONY RATHBUN/AP IMAGES FOR THE HSUS



Adoption Events

Sunday, December 10, 2017 11:00am to 2:30pm Sunday, December 17, 2017 11:00am to 2:30pm


Rover Kennels 2116 Main St Santa Monica, CA 90405

Adoption Events (NKLA Coalition Partner)

Sunday, November 5, 2017 12:00pm to 5:00pm Sunday, November 12, 2017 12:00pm to 5:00pm Sunday, November 19, 2017 12:00pm to 5:00pm

Sunday, November 26, 2017 12:00pm to 5:00pm PETCO 3901 Inglewood Ave Redondo Beach, CA 90278


ABOVE TOP: President and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, Wayne Pacelle assists with the crates after the arrival of approximately 94 dogs and 6 cats that arrived at the Manassas Regional Airport from shelters in Louisiana on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017, in Manassas, Va. The HSUS is working to transport animals out of the areas affected by Hurricane Harvey, to make room for more displaced animals. (Kevin Wolf/AP Images for The HSUS)

Saturday, November 4, 2017 1:00pm to 5:00pm Saturday, November 18, 2017 1:00pm to 5:00pm PETCO 508 N. Doheny West Hollywood, CA 90048

ABOVE: The Humane Society of the United States Texas State Director Katie Jarl, left, helps HSUS District Leader Shana Ellison load dogs onto a plane during The HSUS San Antonio Transport, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017, in San Antonio. Approximately one hundred dogs are being transported by Wings of Rescue to the east coast for adoption. (Darren Abate/AP Images for The Humane Society of the United States)

FALL 2017 |


Speak For The Animals Magazine  
Speak For The Animals Magazine  

Speak provides humane education and advocacy, promotes the health and welfare of, and encourages activism for, the benefit of all sentient b...