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.


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.


Contact Us

Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting / C.A.S.H.
P.O. Box 562
New Paltz, NY 12561