MOTHER's Newsworthies: Loretta Swit, Joseph P. Kennedy II and John McClaughry

Learn what public figures are doing to improve the environment. Including Loretta Swit, Joseph P. Kennedy II and John McClaughry.

| March/April 1982

  • Animal Cruelty
    Actress Loretta Swit is an outspoken animal activist.  

  • Animal Cruelty

Notable celebrities care about the environment — and they are using their voices to make a difference. In this edition of "MOTHER's Newsworthies," learn what Loretta Swit, Joseph P. Kennedy and John McClaughry are doing to make the world a better place.

Brief: Loretta Swit

Just like Hot Lips Houlihan — the strong-willed character she plays on the television series M*A*S*H — Loretta Swit speaks her mind with conviction. One of the causes she's most passionate about is animal abuse. As an active spokesperson for Friends of Animals (a nonprofit animal protection organization based in New York), Swit frequently attends fur fashion shows in order to protest the cruelty of snaring animals in painful leg-hold traps to obtain their pelts for high-fashion garments.

The core of the problem, she explains, is that many more fur-bearers die than are actually needed, because carcasses with non-salable fur are simply "trashed." For example, Swit notes, it takes an average of 42 pelts to make one 40-inch fox coat, but some 126 other animals will die in steel traps (and later be discarded) "to produce one fox coat for one woman's vanity!"

The humane-minded actress also deplores other evidence of what she terms the low value commonly placed on mammal and marine life. Rodeos, Loretta maintains, brutalize normally tractable animals in order to put on a "good show" and — of course — thousands of seals are clubbed to death each year in the Bering Sea as part of a routine "harvest." The television star is further concerned about the treatment of domestic pets: Many people rob cats of their natural defenses by having them declawed, while others neglect to have their animals neutered (which would help reduce the population of homeless dogs and cats). Finally, Swit criticizes the management of zoos (which she calls "overpopulated jails that turn animals into neurotic pacers.")

Brief: Joseph P. Kennedy II

In 1979, Joseph P. Kennedy II — eldest son of the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy — formed a nonprofit oil company called Citizens Energy Corporation (CEC) to help needy people combat the increasing costs of energy. The firm's stated plan of action involves purchasing crude oil from producing nations, contracting to have it processed, selling off the gasoline and other by-products at market prices, and using the profits to bring cut-rate heating fuel to low-income families.

At present, CEC buys petroleum from the Republic of Venezuela, has it processed in a Caribbean refinery, and sells the resulting fuel oil to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In its first two winters of operation, the company provided the state with more than 13 million gallons (at nearly 40 percent off the market price) and assisted more than 75,000 people who were trapped between the onset of harsh weather and a sharp rise in heating costs.

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