Oink, ba-a-a and cock-a-doodle-doo

Animal Haven of Asheville is not just another place you can go to adopt a dog or cat. While there are some domestic pets available for adoption, the group’s specialty is taking in abused and unwanted farm animals. After rehabilitating them and giving them the needed veterinary care, Animal Haven tries to find these animals new homes. “Right now,” says Director of Operations Barbara Bellows, “We have goats, roosters and pigs, as well as cats and kittens.”

And if adopting a farm animal isn’t feasible, Bellows notes, you can always sponsor one. Besides contributing much-needed financial support, sponsors may visit their charges at Animal Haven’s 10-acre farm (they also get a photograph and a special certificate). Volunteers are also needed to help with various programs, such as educating schoolchildren on the humane treatment of farm animals, or working with Meals on Wheels to get food to animals belonging to homebound owners.

To help raise funds to cover operating costs, Animal Haven has recently opened a thrift store at 63 Brooks St. (where Sweeten Creek Road and Fairview Road intersect). It’s open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Bellows hopes eventually to add Sunday hours as well.

All donations to the shop are tax-deductible; they may be dropped off during the hours listed above. People can post pictures of pets needing homes at a special table inside the shop, which also features spay-and-neuter information.

To learn more, call Animal Haven of Asheville at 299-1635.

“Come together right now…”

Early last January, when Kristin Carswell tried to organize a rally to take place later that month at Vance monument commemorating the Roe v. Wade decision, she discovered that people wanting to use this small downtown park for outdoor activities had to give the city at least 45 days’ notice. And when Carswell decided to switch the rally to City/County Plaza, she faced the same hurdle.

Next January, however, things will be different. According to a recent news release from Western North Carolina Citizens For An End to Institutional Bigotry (WNCCEIB). In cooperation with Carswell (representing the Women’s Clinic Escort Group) and the WNC chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, WNCCEIB has worked with the city over the last 18 months to clarify its notice policy and make it consistent with city ordinances.

WNCCEIB Coordinator Monroe Gilmour explains: “The city already has a good picketing-and-parade ordinance, which we assumed covered public places like Vance Monument and City/County Plaza. That ordinance encourages notification but requires no permit for sidewalk assembly. The problem arose because Vance Monument and other city parks operate under the Park and Recreation Department, whose guidelines for special events on all property under their authority did require the 45-day notice.”

According to ACLU member Frank Goldsmith, “We were able to persuade the city attorney’s office that, while the 45-day notice might be appropriate for some events at Parks and Recreation facilities, for planning purposes, applying it to every event at every facility under Parks and Recreation is probably an unconstitutional restriction on assembly.”

The new wording in the Parks and Recreation Department’s Outdoor Special Events Guidelines booklet states:

“A Note On Free Speech: The City of Asheville encourages the free expression of ideas, and no permit is required for most free speech activities. However, permits are required for parades on City streets, and certain rules apply to picketing. Individuals or groups intending to engage in these activities are encouraged to check the Asheville City Code (Secs. 16-115, 116) or consult City officials for applicable requirements. Even where no permit is needed for a particular activity, advance notification of City officials is strongly encouraged in order to avoid conflicts with other events. If you have any questions about a particular event or activity, whether a permit is required, or what type of permit is required, please ask us.”

Carswell, meanwhile, had this to say about the policy change: “This is a great way to celebrate the Fourth of July season, and we thank City Attorney Bob Oast and Irby Brinson, director of Parks and Rec, for their cooperation in making this important change in the policy.”

To notify the city about a free-speech activity or to obtain a permit, contact Don Fairbanks at the Asheville Parks and Recreation Department (259-5800). To learn more about WNCCEIB, call Monroe Gilmour (669-6677).

Keeping watch

Who will police the police? That spicy question is the subject of a public forum scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 17, in Pack Library’s Lord Auditorium, starting at 6:30 p.m. Activists and concerned citizens will meet to discuss the problems of police brutality and corruption and what the community can do about them.

Sachie Godwin of the Town Hall Project, the citizens’ group that initiated the forum, explains: “There’s been a lot in the news the last few years about police brutality, and in our area, too, there have been many incidents of questionable police conduct. There are people [in our community] who feel like they’re not being protected by the police, who fear the police. They don’t have the opportunity to voice concerns about how they’re treated by police, because their only recourse is to go to the police themselves — there’s no impartial regulating force. We wanted to create an opportunity for people to come discuss this issue and perhaps start a citizens’ review board.”

“We’re not saying that police always act inappropriately,” stresses Godwin. “[Having a citizens’ review board] would be to their benefit too. Police-watch groups in other communities have actually improved relations between police and the public. We’re not taking an aggressive stance against the police but providing a place where people can speak freely about concerns they have.”

Godwin adds that although Asheville Police Chief Will Annarino was not formally invited to the forum, the Town Hall Project did inform him about it and has offered to answer any questions he might have.

The featured speakers at the forum will be: Efia Nwangaza of the Greenville, S.C.-based October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, who’ll speak on “The National Epidemic of Police Brutality”; Mickey Mahaffey, a local social-justice activist whose topic will be “The Asheville Police Department and Your Civil Liberties”; and a representative of Copwatch (based in Greensboro, N.C.), who’ll discuss how to monitor police misconduct. After the speakers have finished, audience members will be invited to share their ideas.

The forum is presented by the Town Hall Project and co-sponsored by: Anti-Racist Action, the Asheville Global Report, Copwatch and the October 22nd Coalition.

The Town Hall Project, Godwin explains, “is a group of people who want to present issues in the spirit of the traditional town-hall meeting, where people can come and have their voices heard … an open forum where people can exchange ideas.” Eventually, Godwin says, they hope to have their own space to hold regular meetings.

For more information about the forum, or to get involved, call 271-1032.

What’s in your milk?

Amid the increasing controversy surrounding genetically engineered foods, one prominent issue has been concerns about the impact of recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) on human health. Injected into dairy cows to increase their productivity, the substance ends up in our milk and other dairy products. A peaceful protest against the use of rBGH, coordinated by Carolina Partners for Pure Foods, is planned for Friday, Aug. 18, 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., outside the Federal Building on Patton Avenue in downtown Asheville. All concerned citizens are encouraged to attend.

Although the synthetic hormone was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1993, many scientists have expressed strong concerns about a possible link between cancer and the consumption of milk from cows injected with rBGH. This and other human-health concerns have blocked its approval in many countries — including Canada, New Zealand and every member nation of the European Union.

Monsanto, which developed and sells the product, has always insisted that rBGH poses no human-health risk whatsoever. The FDA, whose veterinary-medicine branch approved the animal drug, agrees.

Some consumers are also concerned about high levels of antibiotics in milk,which they say are linked to the use of this hormone. According to some sources, cows receiving rBGH are 25 percent more likely to develop mastitis, leading farmers to inject them with powerful antibiotics that then end up in the milk. This, in turn, can produce harmful allergic reactions in people drinking the milk; it also contributes to the appearance of strains of bacteria resistant to antibiotics. No labeling laws require milk producers to tell consumers when their milk or other dairy products come from cows treated with the controversial hormone. In fact, Monsanto has fought efforts by dairies that do not use the product to include this information on their labels.

Special guests at the protest will be Jane Akre and Steve Wilson, a husband-and-wife team of reporters who say they were fired from the Tampa, Fla., FOX news affiliate for refusing to slant their investigative report on rBGH, under pressure from Monsanto. The two consequently filed a lawsuit against the station.

“We are parents ourselves,” explained Akre in a recent Carolina Partners for Pure Food news release. “It is not right for the station to withhold this important health information. Every parent and every consumer has the right to know what they’re pouring on their children’s morning cereal.”

“We set out to tell Florida consumers the truth [that] a giant chemical company and a powerful dairy lobby clearly [don’t] want them to know,” added Wilson. “That used to be something investigative reporters won awards for. As we’ve learned the hard way, it’s something you can be fired for these days, whenever a news organization places more value on its bottom line than on delivering the news to its viewers honestly.”

You can also hear Akre and Wilson speak at an informal meeting in the Earth Fare Community Room on Tuesday, Aug. 15, starting at 6:45 p.m. Protesters are encouraged to bring poster-making materials for use during the meeting.

For more information about rBGH, click on To learn more about Akre and Wilson’s lawsuit, go to To contact Carolina Partners for Pure Food, call Debi Athos at 254-8053.

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