The In-Box

The In-Box: Letters to the Times

Sadly, we must share with your wonderful animal-friendly newspaper mention of the profoundly devastating and untimely loss of Virginia Handley, who for 40 years headed the S.F. branch of the humane organization (now defunct, after [the passing of] Cleveland Amory, its founder) The Fund for Animals, located at Fort Mason Center for about 30 years.

She simultaneously extensively lobbied the Sacramento legislature passing bills favorable to animals and defeating those that were not. In the City of St. Francis, she exemplified humility and compassion at their highest high. Virginia was always your hope against all hope; she was a believer and had files and files of literature she assembled almost singlehandedly through all those years, on circuses, rodeos, roadside zoos, live animal markets, trade in endangered species, research labs, factory farms, hunting, fishing — the list is endless.

Animals are as innocent as a newborn child, a senior citizen, an indigent person. Therefore, as moral agents, we have an extra responsibility to be their stewards, embracing all within the moral arena.

While she may not have had the celebrity of JFK, or Marilyn, or Elvis, or Nat King Cole, or Dr. Martin Luther King, to me, and to all of us who loved her with all our heart and soul, losing her is just like losing any of them. How sad the people who really make a difference in this world always are taken from us too, too soon. And the loss for the poor animals is incalculable.

We can offer her the greatest tribute by making the world more humane by starting with ourselves and by contacting Eric Mills (who worked side-by-side with Virginia all those years) at: Action for Animals, P.O. Box 20184, Oakland, CA 94620 e-mail:

Patricia Briggs
San Francisco

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