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Posts tagged: animal welfare

Nov 30 2015

Virginia Handley Papers now available at the Special Collections Research Center

The Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) at NCSU Libraries is pleased to announce that the finding aid for the Virginia Handley Papers is now available and the collection is open for research.

Virginia Handley (1946-2014) was a prominent animal advocate and animal rights activist in California, and was credited as one of the best animal activists in the state. In 1970, she and her mother Grace helped co-found Animal Switchboard, an information hotline on animal-related problems located in San Francisco. Beginning in the 1970s, Handley lobbied for animal protection laws in California and is credited for many of the state’s present laws. She also coordinated the Fund for Animals based in San Francisco. When the Fund merged with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) in 2005, she continued as California lobbyist for HSUS. In 1980, Handley founded PawPAC, California’s Political Action Committee for Animals for which she served on its board until her death.

The Virginia Handley Papers consist of a wide range of documents and publications, as well as a few audio-visual materials and artifacts, pertaining to animal advocacy, animal rights organizations and animal welfare issues. The collection includes materials relating to animal protection legislation, especially in California; numerous animal rights organizations; and activist issues relevant to specific animal groups. Many of the items pertain to issues in California, where Handley lobbied for animal rights in Sacramento beginning in the 1970s. The original order of the collection was maintained whenever possible, and as a result, the collection has been divided into the following series: Animals; Organizations; Issues; Proceedings and Publications; Audio-Visual Materials; Artifacts/Memorabilia; and Poetry/Literature on Animals.  The SCRC is greatly appreciative to Virginia Handley’s family member who donated the collection in addition to the volunteers in California who packed up her records and shipped them to North Carolina. Thank you!!!

The collection was inventoried by a number of Special Collections Research Center staff members, including a cadre of student workers: Radwa Samy, Drew Dowdy, Lauren Vanderveen, Bennett Chapman, Jessica Serrao, Jaimie Brieger, and others all helped staff members put together the preliminary inventory to the Virginia Handley Papers. The collection is now open and available to all researchers.

May 15 2015

Special Collections exhibit at Vet Med features items documenting the diversity of pathology work in the twentieth century

An exhibit case featuring materials from the Special Collections Research Center welcomes visitors this summer at the William Rand Kenan, Jr. Library of Veterinary Medicine.  The exhibit showcases the diversity of pathology work in the twentieth century, from research to practice to service. Items from three different collections are featured. This item, shown below, is from the Milton M. Leonard Papers; it lists a veterinarian’s fee schedule (relating to dog hospitalization) from approximately 1950. Several other items in the exhibit, not pictured here, show the fee schedules of veterinary services (including pathology procedures) in the 1950s.

Dr. Milton Leonard opened a veterinary practice in Asheville, North Carolina, in 1914, and was awarded the Distinguished Veterinarian Award by the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association (NCVMA) in 1978. The collection also includes Dr. Leonard’s research files, research papers, and various other items he collected during his career, such as medical brochures and catalogs.

The Edward J. Noga Papers are also featured in the exhibit. Dr. Noga was Professor of Aquatic Medicine in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Professor of Zoology. Dr. Noga’s main research interests were infectious diseases in fish and shellfish, with a focus on immune mechanisms and how these are affected by environmental stressors and toxins. Pathological explorations, especially necropsies of fish, were integral to Dr. Noga’s work. Included in the exhibit is an example of a clinical pathology datasheet from the red-sore project Dr. Noga conducted in the 1980s.

Finally, one item from the Animal Rights and Animal Welfare Pamphlets is featured; this collection was written about in a press release also published in our blog.

For more information about items in Special Collections relating to Veterinary Medicine and Zoological Health, please go to: and

Nov 10 2014

Art as a Form of Activism

Contributed by Lori E. Harris

Born in Bath, England, during the outbreak of World War II, sculptor John Perry received no formal art training while growing up. While stricken with a rare bone disease as a child, he became bedridden for over 18 months and used this time to perfect his sculpting skills. His journey into using his art as a form of activism began in 1974 when he was vacationing in Hawaii. While riding on a catamaran in the beautiful Hawaiian waters, a whale swam alongside of the boat. Perry remembers the beautiful shape and color of the enormous mammal and how that moment became transformative for him as it made him realize how little the public was aware of the plight of the whale.

Betsy Beaver protesting steel jaw traps

Perry wanted to develop a way that he could use his art form to publicize and help raise awareness about animal rights activism. He came up with the idea of creating oversized inflatable animals (whales, beavers, elephants and kangaroos) that were either endangered or were being killed for their fur, meat or ivory. One of his more famous creations was a 20-foot inflatable beaver by the name of Betsy Beaver. Betsy was covered in faux-fur with two prominent front incisors and the requisite broad flat beaver tail shaped like a canoe paddle. Betsy was used to call attention to the Animal Welfare Institute’s (AWI) work to outlaw the use of steel jaw traps. These devices were used to catch animals such as beavers and foxes. However, oftentimes these traps ended up trapping companion pets such as hunting dogs, cats, birds as well as deer and other wild creatures. AWI developed and distributed press kits and monographs to highlight how steel traps were the cause of unnecessary pain for animals. Their information kits also offered less cruel alternatives to the steel trap method.

Betsy Beaver protesting steel jaw traps

Betsy Beaver traveled throughout the United States and Europe. One activist recounts an encounter where Betsy was in Minneapolis helping to promote pending legislation to ban the leghold trap when a park police officer instructed the activist to deflate Betsy. Instead, he took Betsy on a stroll and Betsy was arrested and packed into the paddy wagon! Luckily a supervisor advised the police to release Betsy and she was allowed to float free. Betsy also visited Europe in support of the European Union Regulation against steel jaw leghold traps. John Perry tells the story of how Betsy, while riding on the back of a Fiat that was driving down the Champs d’Elysees, they were stopped by gendarmes near the Arc de Triomphe. He notes that they were taken to jail, searched, and had to sign papers stating that they were not in Paris to overthrow the government!

Johanna the Kangaroo

John Perry has also created other artistic pieces such as his jigsaw elephant puzzle. The puzzle is made out of foam core and was a silhouette of an African elephant that measured 10 x 12 feet and required a large floor space in order to assemble. (The puzzle is currently part of the Animal Welfare Institute records in the Special Collections Research Center.) Perry also created other inflatable animals such as Johanna, a 16-foot kangaroo and an inflatable whale by the name of Flo who measured 25 feet. As the photos illustrate, these inflatable animals were a favorite of both children and adults. Their extraordinary size and appearance was a great catalyst to begin a conversation about the indiscriminate killing of animals for their meat, fur and tusks and also helped to highlight the Animal Welfare Institute’s work to outlaw the use of steel jaw traps throughout the United States and Europe.

For more photos of Betsy Beaver and more information about animal rights activism, please consult the Animal Welfare Institute Records in the Special Collections Research Center.


A Brief History of the Animal Rights Coalition from 1978 to 1990 from a speech given in 1992by Vonnie Thomasberg, ARC co-founder and past president. Retrieved 05/10/14 from:

John Perry Studio. Retrieved 05/10/14 from:

Outside Live Bravely. For the Record, By Todd Balf and Paul Kvinta, January 1997. Retrieved 05/10/14 from:

Animal Welfare Institution. Retrieved05/10/14 from:

Tier-Zeitung, Einzelpreis DM 1,50, Abonnement DM 6,-Nr. 3, 3. Vierteljahr, 5. Jahrgang 1984 TZ., D-7500 Karishue 1, Postfach 5366

Sep 30 2014

Animal Rights and Animal Welfare Collections Update

The Special Collections Research Center has completed a two-year project to make available unique and valuable collections documenting the animal rights and animal welfare movements. The Animal Rights Network (ARN) records, the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) records, and the Ron Scott Animal Rights Videotape collection offer new documentation that will facilitate the study of the animal rights and animal welfare movements in the second half of the 20th century. A grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources supported arrangement, rehousing, and description of these collections.

Poster opposing hunting and killing of gorillas and chimpanzees (in French).

The Animal Rights Network Records contain correspondence, office files, reports, publications and audiovisual resources documenting the activities of the Animal Rights Network (ARN) in advocating for the ethical and humane treatment of animals. Issues addressed by the organization include live animal experimentation, exploitation of animals for sport and entertainment, intensive breeding and slaughter of domestic animals for food, and irresponsible pet ownership. The Animal Rights Network published a bimonthly magazine, The Animals’ Agenda, which contained original content and also served to assist smaller animal rights organizations network with members of the animal rights community. The ARN also maintained a library and archives component. The organization encouraged its members to collect and maintain their own collections documenting the animal rights and animal welfare movements, and many members donated their collections to the ARN. The bulk of the material dates from the 1950s to 1990s.

Report advocating better housing for laboratory animals.

The records of the Animal Welfare Institute include administrative files of both the AWI and the Society for Animal Protective Legislation (SAPL), subject files on animals the organization works to protect, files on legislation that SAPL has been involved with, files on the work of other animal rights groups, subject files on regional activities, photographs, publications, books, and audiovisual materials. Materials of the organization range in date from its founding in the early 1950s to the early 2000s; other materials in the collection date back to the 1930s.

Live Animal Trade and Transport Magazine cover, March 1996

The Ron Scott Animal Rights Videotape Collection contains Scott’s videotape footage of animal rights events and cruelty to animals. Scott shot a portion of the footage at several Culture and Animal Foundation festivals in Raleigh, N.C. Interview footage from animal rights cable television shows is also included.

For more detailed descriptions of these and related collections, please consult the collection guides here and search for “animal rights” or “animal welfare.”

May 12 2014

Civets and Tarsiers and Tapirs (oh my!)

This post is contributed by Ashley Williams, Project Archivist, Animal Rights and Animal Welfare Collections.

Included in the Animal Welfare Institute Records is a collection of photographs by Ernest P. Walker. When I first encountered the photographs I was amazed by the sheer variety of animals photographed. There are pictures of lions, tigers, and bears (oh my!), but also several animals I had never heard of or did not know what they looked like: civets, lemmings, tapirs, and tarsiers (also known as bush babies), to name a few. I was intrigued to learn about these animals and curious as to the images I would come across. The collection did not disappoint.


Given the number and quality of the photographs, I realized this collection was likely not created by an average animal-loving person. My thoughts turned to “who in the world is Ernest P. Walker and why did he take all of these pictures?” I was quickly able to learn more about him: he worked as a warden and inspector for the United States Bureau of Fisheries in Alaska in the 1910s upon graduating from college. After a three year stint as a game warden in Arizona and California, Walker returned to Alaska in 1921 with the United States Biological Survey as a fur and game warden and executive officer for the Alaska Game Commission. In 1927, Walker moved to Washington, DC and assumed the role of assistant director of the National Zoological Park in 1930, where he remained until 1956.


Walker was more concerned with mammals as living animals rather than their individual biological components. Over the years, he observed their feeding habits, care of young, and other behavioral characteristics and began taking photographic portraits of many species. To observe certain small mammals more closely than his duties at the zoo would allow, he brought them into his home as pets.  Most of the photographs date from his term as assistant director.


Upon retiring from the National Zoo, Walker, along with his qualified assistants, compiled data, prepared photographs, and arranged a manuscript into what would become the three-volume Mammals of the World. Two of his other works are Walker’s Bats of the World and Walker’s Primates of the World, all of which are available at the NCSU Libraries. Information about the animals’ breeding, habitats, food, and physical description, along with a photograph or illustration, is included for all but four animals. Additionally, Walker wrote two books for the Animal Welfare Institute: First Aid and Care of Small Mammals and Studying Small Mammals.

South American Tapir

To learn more about Ernest Walker’s photographs, or about the Animal Welfare Institute Records, be sure to check out the collection guide.

Apr 07 2014

Wearing Your Cause on Your Sleeve: Artifacts in the Animal Welfare Institute Records

This post is contributed by Darby Reiners, Project Archivist, Animal Rights and Animal Welfare Collections.

While archivists spend a great deal of time cataloging and rehousing collections that consist primarily of paper documents, occasionally we have the opportunity to handle three dimensional objects. For instance, while working on the Animal Welfare Institute Records, we discovered an entire carton filled with t-shirts, sweatshirts, and a mask related to different Animal Rights causes. Three dimensional objects like these shirts can provide a different perspective on researching organizations such as the Animal Welfare Institute. The shirts show another way that animal rights groups have tried to disseminate information about causes such as “Save the Whales, Boycott Japanese and Russian Goods” or “Save the Elephants, Keep them all on Appendix I.” These articles of clothing also provide insights into the communities in which this information was being distributed and strategies employed by those working for these causes. For example, one of the shirts for the “Save the Whales” cause is a children’s shirt while the “Save the Elephants” shirt states the organization’s agenda in English, French, and Spanish. These shirts show the Animal Welfare Institute’s attempts to spread their information across age groups and linguistic barriers. Just think of what else can be learned from delving into the Animal Welfare Institute’s records and these interesting artifacts, as well as our other collections on animal rights and animal welfare!

Feb 03 2014

New Year, New Processing Space

This post is contributed by Ashley Williams, Project Archivist, Animal Rights and Animal Welfare Collections.

Our processing area at Satellite has had a makeover!  If you’re like most people at NCSU, you’re probably asking yourself –“what’s a Satellite?” and “what kind of processing?”

Satellite, or the NCSU Libraries’ Satellite Shelving Facility, is the building where some of the Special Collections Research Center’s materials are stored, and is also where many of these materials are arranged and described, or processed. Processing archival collections involves sorting and organizing them, moving papers into acid-free folders and boxes for long-term preservation, and creating written guides that will be published on the web to enable researchers to find and use the materials.

When our project to process collections relating to animal rights and animal welfare began in August 2012, a processing work space was created in the back of the building, where supplies and some large drawings were being stored. As is often the case with grant-funded projects, we were adapting a space that was not designed for us. Setting up an office partition to differentiate our processing area from the storage space and bookshelves to store the collection as we worked on it gave us space in which to work, but we were in a different part of the building from other staff and around the corner from our computers.

previous processing space

processing in previous space

In 2013, we were able to move our processing space to the front of Satellite and move the map cases located there to the back. The move happened on December 18, and the first week in January, I got to see it for myself. As a processing archivist, I was thrilled.

So what does this new processing space mean? Processors working in the space appreciate its spaciousness and the natural lighting, but most importantly, the improved space means more processing can take place. Four people are now able to work comfortably at the tables, each with plenty of space to spread out their work.  For example, there are three project archivists who are working on related collections.  Because we are now physically close to one another it becomes easier to ask a question or take a quick look at a document or file folder without having to go to a separate area in the building or take a project archivist away from her work. The space now has an organic feel where people are not sectioned off in individual bubbles, but rather work in a collaborative environment. Everyone has space, but that space is not rigid. Some days, your materials may take up more space, and other days less.

new processing space

The new space also means we are located only a rolling-chair-push away from the computer.  Now we can work on finding aids more easily, or, as has been the case with animal rights, look up a definition to a word associated with the collection that is being processed. Archival supplies and collection materials are easily accessible, but more importantly, the new processing space allows us easy access to other staff members who we can bounce ideas off of or consult with on an issue as it arises. Natural lighting, more space, and a collaborative work environment make the new processing area at Satellite a welcoming space for staff and visitors alike.

Dec 30 2013

The Animal Rights Network Records: A New Resource Documenting the Animal Rights Movement

This post is contributed by Darby Reiners, Project Archivist, Animal Welfare and Animal Rights Collections.

After a lot of hard work over the past year, the Animal Rights Network Records are now available for research! Processing the collection was challenging at times, and the nagging feeling that the unprocessed boxes were multiplying while we weren’t looking was present all too often. The results are well worth it, though: this sizable collection documenting the animal rights movement is now accessible to the public. The Animal Rights Network Records contain correspondence, office files, reports, clippings, publications, mailings, and audiovisual resources documenting the activities of the Animal Rights Network (ARN) and other groups advocating for the ethical and humane treatment of animals.

One of the largest series in the collection is the Animal Rights Network files, which include extensive information on how the organization prepared their bi-monthly magazine, Animals’ Agenda. The magazine contained original content and also served to help smaller animal rights organizations network with members of the animal rights community. ARN also maintained a library and archives and encouraged its members to collect and maintain their own collections documenting the animal rights and animal welfare movements; many members donated their collections to ARN. Other series include those of individuals from different organizations as well as files from larger organizations; these individuals and organizations include Ruth Gehlert, head of the Humane Crusade organization in Arizona; Susan Wiedman, founder of the Charlottesville Voices for Animals in Virginia; and the Farm Animal Reform Movement. It was interesting to see the similarities and differences between these groups and individuals. Some of the groups were focused on only one subject within the larger animal rights movement, like the Farm Animal Reform Movement, while others collected materials that covered many subjects not directly connected to animal rights such as vegetarianism, environmentalism, and educational materials. It was also fascinating to see the different ideas that each group or individual had about animal rights issues like hunting, pet overpopulation, and animal testing.

We concluded our processing work with the oversize materials. This part of the processing was the most interesting part of our work because the majority of materials were posters, prints, and drawings that people had created for the animal rights movement. One of these pieces can be viewed below:

National Equine and Smaller Animals Defence League poster

Overall, we are pleased about the arrangement of the collection and the guide to its contents. It was a lot of work, but the journey to the finish line was full of exciting discoveries.

Nov 19 2013

The animal rights movement, documented by Ron Scott

This post is contributed by Lori Harris, Project Archivist, Animal Welfare and Animal Rights Collections.

What comes to mind when you combine the Mistress of the Dark (Elvira), a Hollywood media personality (Regis Philbin) and a renowned visual artist (Andy Warhol)? The short answer might not be animal rights activism. However, a more in-depth answer can be located within the Ron Scott Animal Rights Videotape Collection. Ron Scott was a retired Air Force pilot who also served in the New York State Air National Guard. During the 1980s and 1990s, Scott videotaped hundreds of hours of footage at conferences, demonstrations and protests related to animal rights. He also traveled extensively throughout both the United States and Europe videotaping and raising awareness regarding issues of cruelty toward animals and animal sanctuaries. Primarily consisting of moving images in a variety of formats such as VHS, Video 8, U-matics and open-reel tapes, the Ron Scott Animal Rights Videotape Collection provides both research and educational materials that highlight advocacy for the rights of a variety of animal species. Whether advocating for improved treatment of circus animals, or protesting against vivisection, the trajectory of this movement is highlighted through the support of known advocates such as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, Regis Philbin and Andy Warhol. Organizations represented in the collection include the Argus Archives, the Animal Rights Network, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The collection is a rich resource of historical information captured through photographic and video imagery.

Photos by Vito Torelli

Jul 29 2013

Animal Rights and Welfare Publications

A recently organized collection whose collection guide has been put online is the Animal Rights and Welfare Publications, with over 150 containers of magazines, newsletters, and other types of publications donated to the NCSU Special Collections from the Animal Rights Network (ARN).

What is interesting about this collection is not only its size but its wide variety of topics and sources. The ARN subscribed to serials published by both sides of their battle for animal rights and welfare, and this collection reflects their monitoring of new developments and learning about opposing viewpoints.

The materials include magazines, journals, newsletters, newspapers, pamphlets, testimonials from federal hearings, books, annual reports, article clippings, leaflets, catalogs, comic books, and audio-visual media. They came from organizations such as animal rights groups, animal shelters, wildlife sanctuaries, laboratory animal providers, animal liberation groups, hunting enthusiasts, political activists, fur trappers, pet dealers, animal breeders, vegetarians, laboratories that experimented on animals, educators, society groups for the protection of animals, and pet lovers. This range of topics helped the ARN know the most about many aspects of how animals were being treated, even gaining information from groups they opposed.

For more information on this collection or to view the materials, please contact the Special Collections Research Center.