Thank you to Linda Ditmars for sending us this
wonderful article from the Star Ledger in NJ. The creation
of an animal protection task force should become a trend across
the country. This one should be a model for other states.
ACTIVISTS DOMINATE PANEL AIMED AT PREVENTING
Tuesday, February 11, 2003
BY BRIAN T. MURRAY, Star-Ledger Staff
A new breed of reformers in the animal-rights
movement dominates the 30-member Animal Welfare Task Force created
by Gov. James E. McGreevey.
The task force was formed by Executive Order
in July to "prevent cruelty to New Jersey’s animals and
address the burgeoning population of homeless animals." In
putting together the panel, the administration also tapped proponents
of a controversial practice by which stray cats are trapped,
neutered and then released back into communities.
The group has been given a year to recommend
reforms in the state’s system of animal control, shelters and
prosecution of animal-cruelty laws.
"There are reformers on this task force
because the governor is looking for real reform. He’s not looking
to tinker around the edges," said Micah Rasmussen, a spokesman
for McGreevey. "When it comes to the welfare of animals,
these are the type of people you want."
That includes Sharon McGreevey, the governor’s
sister, who has been "a committed animal-rights activist
for many years," Rasmussen said.
The task force, whose members were announced
on Friday, is dominated by animal-rights activists. Among them
are Nina Austenberg of the Humane Society of the United States,
Terry Fritzges of the New Jersey Animal Rights Alliance and Linda
Ditmars of the Committee to Abolish Sports Hunting. [Linda
has represented C.A.S.H. in NJ in connection with bear hunting.]
Also named were Lisa B. Weisberg of the New
York-based American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to
Animals, who has campaigned to improve the lives of carriage
horses in Central Park, and Sherry Ramsey, a former assistant
Monmouth County prosecutor who has taken on animal abuse cases.
Like task force member Lara F. Heimann of Princeton
Junction, Ramsey has called for reforming what activists call "factory
farms" — intense livestock-producing operations in New Jersey.
"It really does look like a group of reformers — people
with a more empathetic view of animals," said Gwyn Sondike
of Short Hills, a task force member and animal-rights activist.
…McGreevey also named to the task force several current and
former administration officials who have been sympathetic to
the animal-rights cause. They include Dante DiPirro, a legal
policy adviser to the Department of Environmental Protection;
deputy Attorney General Cheryl Maccaroni; McGreevey’s former
chief counsel Paul Levinsohn; governor’s counsel Judith Lieberman;
Faye E. Sorhage of the state Department of Health and Senior
Services; and senior deputy Attorney General B. Stephan Finkel.