Fund for Animals

views updated

Fund for Animals

Founded in 1967 by author and humorist Cleveland Amory , the Fund is one of the most activist of the national animal protection groups. Formed "to speak for those who can't," it has led sometimes militant campaigns against sport hunting , trapping , and wearing furs, as well as the killing of whales , seals , bears, and other creatures. Amory, in particular, has campaigned tirelessly against these activities on television and radio, and in lectures, articles, and books.

In the early 1970s, the Fund worked effectively to rally public opinion in favor of passage of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which was signed into law in October 1972. This act provides strong protection to whales, seals and sea lions , dolphins , sea otters, polar bears, and other ocean mammals. In 1978, the Fund bought a British trawler and renamed it Sea Shepherd. Under the direction of its captain, Paul Watson, they used the ship to interfere with the baby seal kill on the ice floes off Canada. Activists sprayed some 1,000 baby harp seals with a harmless dye that destroyed the commercial value of their white coats as fur, and the ensuing publicity helped generate worldwide to the seal kill and a ban on imports into Europe. In 1979, Sea Shepherd hunted down and rammed Sierra, an outlaw whaling vessel that was illegally killing protected and endangered species of whales. After Sea Shepherd was seized by Portuguese authorities, Watson and his crew scuttled the ship to prevent it from being given to the owners of Sierra for use as a whaler.

Also in 1979, the Fund used helicopters to airlift from the Grand Canyon almost 600 wild burros that were scheduled to be shot by the National Park Service . The airlift was so successful, and generated so much favorable publicity, that it led to similar rescues of feral animals on public lands that the government wanted removed to prevent damage to vegetation. Burros were also airlifted by the Fund from Death Valley National Monument, as were some 3,000 wild goats on San Clemente Island, off the coast of California, scheduled to be shot by the United States Navy.

Many of the wild horses, burros, goats, and other animals rescued by the Fund end up, at least temporarily before adoption, at Black Beauty Ranch, a 1430-acre (578-ha) sanctuary near Arlington, Texas. The ranch has provided a home for abused race and show horses, a non-performing elephant, and Nim, the famous signing chimpanzee who was saved from a medical laboratory.

Legal action initiated by the Fund has resulted in the addition of almost 200 species to the U.S. Department of the Interior's list of threatened and endangered species, including the grizzly bear , the Mexican wolf, the Asian elephant, and several species of kangaroos. The Fund is also active on the grassroots level, working on measures to restrict hunting and trapping . A recent example is the passage of an initiative in Colorado in November 1992 banning the use of dogs and bait to hunt bears, and halting the spring bear hunt, when mothers are still nursing their cubs.

[Lewis G. Regenstein ]



The Fund for Animals, 200 West 57th Street, New York, NY USA 10019 (212) 246-2096, Fax: (212) 246-2633, Email: [email protected], <>

About this article

Fund for Animals

Updated About content Print Article