Making Burros Fly


About the book

About the author

Media coverage


"Cleveland Amory is the founding father of the animal protection movement."
-- Michael Markarian, President, The Fund For Animals; Executive VP, The Humane Society of the United States

"He was unafraid and he led the way in a new tactical approach to activism… and recognized that a sweeping change required a mass social movement.  He was a mentor to me and to so many others who shared a passion for animal protection and found a leader in him."
-- Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO, The Humane Society of the United States

Cleveland Amory, Animal Rescue Pioneer

Highlights from the new book "Making Burros Fly"

1957: Cleveland Amory begins working with The HSUS.

1963: He goes on The Today Show to expose and stop the "Bunny Bop," a NC tradition where locals bludgeon rabbits to a bloody pulp using sticks and stones.

1967: He creates The Fund For Animals, the first animal organization to specifically and aggressively address animal cruelty and to use field agents. Today, The Fund is part of The HSUS.

1974: His book Man Kind? Our Incredible War on Wildlife triggers a TV special with Dan Rather called The Guns of Autumn about the dark side of hunting culture. The New York Times praised Amory for being a rare writer who can "illuminate deep moral indignation with hilarious anecdotes and sardonic wit."

1979:  He buys a 30 foot trawler and sails to the Gulf of St. Lawrence to confront the clubbers of baby seals. He spray-paints baby harp seals with red dye, ruining pelts and halting their killers. His campaign helps to achieve a cut back in the number of infant harp seals killed annually.

1979: He orchestrates a cowboy roundup of 577 wooly burros in the Grand Canyon and sets them dangling from a 50-foot cable from a helicopter, airlifting them from government sharpshooters. Today, biologists report that Amory's rescue changed how government manages wildlife -- with public input and humane considerations.  This also opened the door for veterinarians to use helicopters to transport injured wildlife.

1980: He opens Black Beauty Ranch, a sanctuary for free-roaming wildlife in TX that became famous for saving Nim Chimpsky, the chimp who used sign language and was set to become a specimen for testing a hepatitis vaccine, until Amory intervened. Because of Amory, animals now continue to find peace instead of abuse: wild mustangs saved from slaughter, a lemur raised in a bird cage, a mountain lion with a botched zoo de-claw job, a one-horned antelope, a camel raised for a nativity scene, a baby elephant whose mother was shot by a poacher.

1989He hears of activist Heidi Prescott's work against sport hunting and asks her to join The Fund For Animals. One of her campaigns was the 10 year battle to stop the largest annual live pigeon shoot in PA, the Hegins shoot, a campaign dear to Amory's heart. The event, where shooters pay to blast hand-raised pigeons and kids were sent in to torture survivors, was exposed and a court ruled the shoot inhumane - a significant moment for the animal welfare movement, as judges validated Amory's belief that animal cruelty is unacceptable. This also exposed the dangers of adults supporting kids in violent acts, and educated the public about cruelty against animals being a red flag for future violence against humans.
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