From the Vineyard Gazette editions of July, 1980:

Spring Farm Fond Rose is not your average milk cow. In dairy circles there is as much difference between her and the basic black and white Holstein milker as there is between the Chappaquiddick Ferry and the Cunard Line. She is simply a superior animal. She should be. The five-year-old, pregnant Holstein was auctioned last week at the Syracuse, New York, state fairgrounds for $250,000, a world record for her breed.

The winning bid came from a representative of Seaside Dairy, the Katama farm now being organized by Stephen W. Potter of Chappaquiddick. Add to the world record the fact that Rose was owned by former Beatle John Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, and the cow becomes a celebrity in her own right.

Cow business is big business, as Rose’s price tag attests. But show business is part of it and Rose is a star. She has the straight back, good color, superior mammary system, leg structure and a body capacity that make her a great animal. These are the same characteristics that lead to superior milk production and a superior herd. A cow like this when it is mated with a proven sire will produce offspring theoretically as good or better than either of the two parents.

Mr. Reagan has taken one of the rashest positions open to the bad judgment of an ill-advised politician. He has come out for McDonald’s against the Island of Martha’s Vineyard. “One can’t escape the idea that opposition to a Big Mac on Martha’s Vineyard springs from a touch of snobbery,” said Mr. Reagan. Of Big Mac he goes on to say: “They do not pretend to be gourmet cafes with exotic menus. But let me point out that they also provide employment for thousands of young people who have no particular skill or trade.”

No doubt they do, but the Vineyard is more closely interested in employment for its own young people who acquire skills and trades, as in the Island’s own restaurants. Did Mr. Reagan ever try a clam chowder cooked by Big Mac? Has he ever been to a clambake at Squibnocket or Chappaquiddick? Does he recollect that the basic principles of good cookery is to meet and, if possible, delight individual tastes?

By a slight indirection but no twist of meaning, Mr. Reagan espouses the 20th century values which have homogenized American culture. Mass man, mass culture, exactly what most people come to the Vineyard or who continue to live on the Vineyard, to avoid, enjoying instead the greatest human freedom of all, freedom of choice.

It is our information that Mr. Reagan has not been on our Island since the 1930s when he came as a character on what was then referred to as the “silver screen.” He was not here in person, and if he shows up, say, at the Artcliff Diner, the Black Dog, Big Belly’s Deli, or the Boathouse Bar, we hope he will not be served. Let his mouth water but include him out.

Humorist-humanist Cleveland Amory gave an excellent talk at the Methodist Church in Edgartown this past week. The audience laughed through the beginning, the part where he spoke of his early life around Boston and the “Proper Bostonians,” before getting down to the business of animals. Mr. Amory is the founder of The Fund for Animals, which is an institution now famous for the sinking of the pirate whale ship Sierra and the painting of the baby harp seals.

He told stories of racing the Canadian Police, and Mounties through pack ice with the Canadian Coast Guard jeering and hoping they would sink. He told how their ship, the Sea Shepard, finally found a miraculous path through the ice and to the seals, and how men went out on the ice in the 40-degree-below night to spray-paint the baby harp seals so their pelts would be worthless, and how when the dawn came the sky was instantly filled with “enemy” helicopters. He told how one of his men swam through icy Pacific waters at night to cut a net and help each individual porpoise from the net (they each lingered to help each other), so that they would not be brutally and cruelly slaughtered the next morning. He told how this same man then languished in a Japanese prison for three months.

There was also the recounting of that wonderful and famous ramming and sinking of the Sierra, the worst of the pirate whale ships which work outside the law to kill endangered whales and sell them to the highest bidder. These pirate ships fish in waters declared whale sanctuaries, and they kill them with no regard to quotas allowed each nation. The sinking of the Sierra cost the Fund for Animals their own Sea Shepard since Mr. Armory feared she would be given to the owners of the Sierra as reprisal, so he had her sunk.

All this for the sake of animals rightly known as man’s best friend, and here comes Cleveland Amory, extraordinary friend, activist defender and interpreter of the worth and needs of all kinds of animals. He meets more of them than most of us and he says “I never met an animal I didn’t like — I wish I could say that about most people.”

Compiled by Alison Mead