EVERYTHING VEGAN

October 1, 2014 1:00 pm
Zoos neither educate nor empower children, newly published research suggests
"A newly published paper in academic journal, Conservation Biology, now appears to have confirmed this view as it was found that, of over 2,800 children surveyed following visits to London Zoo, the majority demonstrated no positive learning outcomes at all. Indeed, many children were deemed to show not just a lack of learning, but a negative learning outcome.
The study considered learning outcomes for pupils who were part of either visits guided by a member of educational staff from the zoo or unguided visits. Only 38% of children were able to demonstrate positive learning outcomes, said the paper’s author. In comparison, the majority of children (62%) were deemed to show no change in learning or, worse, experienced negative learning during their trip to the zoo.
In addition, despite zoos claiming that they inspire children to become proactive conservationists, it was concluded that the zoo’s impact on children’s belief in their ability to actively do something about conservation was “weak”. The author went on to conclude that his findings suggested that pupils did not feel empowered to believe that they can take “effective ameliorative action” on matters relating to conservation after their zoo experience.
In contrast to the findings, London Zoo claims on its website that its site offered “the perfect education choice” and boasts “a diverse and highly skilled Education Team, provid[ing] unique learning sessions for all ages and abilities”.
Said CAPS Director, Liz Tyson:
“It is hardly surprising to learn that most children visiting zoos are neither empowered nor educated by the experience of seeing captive wild animals so far removed from their natural habitat. Zoos present an entirely false view of both the animals themselves, and of the real and very urgent issues facing many species in their natural homes.  This new research appears to confirm what we have said for many years. Zoos do not educate nor do they empower or inspire children to become conservationists”.
A 2010 government-commissioned report raised concerns that, despite zoos promoting education programmes, there was little evidence of educational impact by the industry.
Ms Tyson added:
“We know that zoos will not stop making their loaded and misleading claims surrounding educational benefit and so are calling upon schools and parents to consider the findings of this research and make up their own minds. There are many ways to learn about the natural world without holding animals captive for their lifetimes in order to do so. We would like to encourage schools and parents everywhere to look to more compassionate, inspiring and educative activities for their children”.”

Zoos neither educate nor empower children, newly published research suggests

"A newly published paper in academic journal, Conservation Biology, now appears to have confirmed this view as it was found that, of over 2,800 children surveyed following visits to London Zoo, the majority demonstrated no positive learning outcomes at all. Indeed, many children were deemed to show not just a lack of learning, but a negative learning outcome.

The study considered learning outcomes for pupils who were part of either visits guided by a member of educational staff from the zoo or unguided visits. Only 38% of children were able to demonstrate positive learning outcomes, said the paper’s author. In comparison, the majority of children (62%) were deemed to show no change in learning or, worse, experienced negative learning during their trip to the zoo.

In addition, despite zoos claiming that they inspire children to become proactive conservationists, it was concluded that the zoo’s impact on children’s belief in their ability to actively do something about conservation was “weak”. The author went on to conclude that his findings suggested that pupils did not feel empowered to believe that they can take “effective ameliorative action” on matters relating to conservation after their zoo experience.

In contrast to the findings, London Zoo claims on its website that its site offered “the perfect education choice” and boasts “a diverse and highly skilled Education Team, provid[ing] unique learning sessions for all ages and abilities”.

Said CAPS Director, Liz Tyson:

“It is hardly surprising to learn that most children visiting zoos are neither empowered nor educated by the experience of seeing captive wild animals so far removed from their natural habitat. Zoos present an entirely false view of both the animals themselves, and of the real and very urgent issues facing many species in their natural homes.  This new research appears to confirm what we have said for many years. Zoos do not educate nor do they empower or inspire children to become conservationists”.

A 2010 government-commissioned report raised concerns that, despite zoos promoting education programmes, there was little evidence of educational impact by the industry.

Ms Tyson added:

“We know that zoos will not stop making their loaded and misleading claims surrounding educational benefit and so are calling upon schools and parents to consider the findings of this research and make up their own minds. There are many ways to learn about the natural world without holding animals captive for their lifetimes in order to do so. We would like to encourage schools and parents everywhere to look to more compassionate, inspiring and educative activities for their children”.”

 
September 30, 2014 12:27 pm
Earth lost 50% of its wildlife in the past 40 years, says WWF
Species across land, rivers and seas decimated as humans kill for food in unsustainable numbers and destroy habitats 
“This damage is not inevitable but a consequence of the way we choose to live.
The fastest decline among the animal populations were found in freshwater ecosystems, where numbers have plummeted by 75% and the number of animals living on the land has fallen by 40% since 1970.

Marine animal populations have also fallen by 40% overall, with turtles suffering in particular.
The biggest declines in animal numbers have been seen in low-income, developing nations, while conservation efforts in rich nations have seen small improvements overall. But the big declines in wildlife in rich nations had already occurred long before the new report’s baseline year of 1970 – the last wolf in the UK was shot in 1680.
Also, by importing food and other goods produced via habitat destruction in developing nations, rich nations are “outsourcing” wildlife decline to those countries. For example, a third of all the products of deforestation such as timber, beef and soya were exported to the EU between 1990 and 2008.
 The scale of the destruction highlighted in this report should be a wake-up call for us all.”

Earth lost 50% of its wildlife in the past 40 years, says WWF

Species across land, rivers and seas decimated as humans kill for food in unsustainable numbers and destroy habitats

This damage is not inevitable but a consequence of the way we choose to live.

The fastest decline among the animal populations were found in freshwater ecosystems, where numbers have plummeted by 75% and the number of animals living on the land has fallen by 40% since 1970.

Marine animal populations have also fallen by 40% overall, with turtles suffering in particular.

The biggest declines in animal numbers have been seen in low-income, developing nations, while conservation efforts in rich nations have seen small improvements overall. But the big declines in wildlife in rich nations had already occurred long before the new report’s baseline year of 1970 – the last wolf in the UK was shot in 1680.

Also, by importing food and other goods produced via habitat destruction in developing nations, rich nations are “outsourcing” wildlife decline to those countries. For example, a third of all the products of deforestation such as timber, beef and soya were exported to the EU between 1990 and 2008.

The scale of the destruction highlighted in this report should be a wake-up call for us all.

 
September 21, 2014 10:49 am

(Source: facebook.com)

 
September 20, 2014 11:44 am
 File photo of Patrick the pitbull. Patrick was starved, then thrown down a trash chute of a Newark high-rise apartment. His story led to stricter penalties for animal abuse in New Jersey. ((Jennifer Brown/The Star-Ledger))

FBI adds animal cruelty as ‘crime against society’ in uniform crime report

"The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced this week that it will start reporting crimes of animal cruelty as a separate offense under its uniform reporting system, leading the way for more comprehensive statistics on animal abuse.
Previously, crimes against animals were recorded under a generic “all other offense” category in the Uniform Crime Report, widely considered the most comprehensive source of crime statistics in the United States. Starting next year, animal cruelty would be reported as a distinct category, along with major offenses like murder, assault and arson crimes.
Under the changes, animal cruelty would be considered a crime against society and a “Type A” offense with four categories: simple/gross neglect, intentional abuse and torture, organized abuse (such as dog and cock fighting) and animal sexual abuse.

According to the FBI, the official definition of animal cruelty will be:

Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly taking an action that mistreats or kills any animal without just cause, such as torturing, tormenting, mutilation, maiming, poisoning, or abandonment. Included are instances of duty to provide care, e.g., shelter, food, water, care if sick or injured; transporting or confining an animal in a manner likely to cause injury or death; causing an animal to fight with another; inflicting excessive or repeated unnecessary pain or suffering, e.g., uses objects to beat or injure an animal. This definition does not include proper maintenance of animals for show or sport; use of animals for food, lawful hunting, fishing or trapping.


Animal rights groups had been lobbying for the change for more than a decade, according to the Animal Welfare Institute. The FBI adopted the changes after that group and the National Sheriff’s Association proposed animal cruelty be listed as a separate offense in the National Incident Based Reporting System, from which the Uniform Crime Report is generated, according to Stephen G. Fischer, an FBI spokesman.

New Jersey’s animal welfare community welcomed the news.

Victor “Buddy” Amato, chief law enforcement officer for the Monmouth County SPCA, said his agency has been providing statistics to the FBI for years, which were put to use for internal analyses.
An animal is a very easy victim. An animal can’t pick up a phone and call 911.”

“(Now) they’re going to the next level, which is great,” Amato said. “People are taking animal cruelty more and more seriously. It’s a violent crime, and if it goes unchecked, it leads to bigger things.”

Amato said the changes are part of a larger trend toward increased awareness of animal cruelty issues.

Last year, Gov. Chris Christie signed “Patrick’s Law,” which upgraded animal cruelty from a misdemeanor to a fourth degree offense. The law’s namesake was an emaciated pit bull found abandoned in a trash chute whose plight drew national attention as an example of animal abuse. More recently, the Legislature took up the issue of banning piercing and tattooing pets.

The FBI will implement the changes in 2015 and begin accepting data in January of 2016, Fischer said.”
File photo of Patrick the pitbull. Patrick was starved, then thrown down a trash chute of a Newark high-rise apartment. His story led to stricter penalties for animal abuse in New Jersey. ((Jennifer Brown/The Star-Ledger))
"The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced this week that it will start reporting crimes of animal cruelty as a separate offense under its uniform reporting system, leading the way for more comprehensive statistics on animal abuse.

Previously, crimes against animals were recorded under a generic “all other offense” category in the Uniform Crime Report, widely considered the most comprehensive source of crime statistics in the United States. Starting next year, animal cruelty would be reported as a distinct category, along with major offenses like murder, assault and arson crimes.

Under the changes, animal cruelty would be considered a crime against society and a “Type A” offense with four categories: simple/gross neglect, intentional abuse and torture, organized abuse (such as dog and cock fighting) and animal sexual abuse.

According to the FBI, the official definition of animal cruelty will be:

Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly taking an action that mistreats or kills any animal without just cause, such as torturing, tormenting, mutilation, maiming, poisoning, or abandonment. Included are instances of duty to provide care, e.g., shelter, food, water, care if sick or injured; transporting or confining an animal in a manner likely to cause injury or death; causing an animal to fight with another; inflicting excessive or repeated unnecessary pain or suffering, e.g., uses objects to beat or injure an animal. This definition does not include proper maintenance of animals for show or sport; use of animals for food, lawful hunting, fishing or trapping.

Animal rights groups had been lobbying for the change for more than a decade, according to the Animal Welfare Institute. The FBI adopted the changes after that group and the National Sheriff’s Association proposed animal cruelty be listed as a separate offense in the National Incident Based Reporting System, from which the Uniform Crime Report is generated, according to Stephen G. Fischer, an FBI spokesman.

New Jersey’s animal welfare community welcomed the news.

Victor “Buddy” Amato, chief law enforcement officer for the Monmouth County SPCA, said his agency has been providing statistics to the FBI for years, which were put to use for internal analyses.

An animal is a very easy victim. An animal can’t pick up a phone and call 911.”

“(Now) they’re going to the next level, which is great,” Amato said. “People are taking animal cruelty more and more seriously. It’s a violent crime, and if it goes unchecked, it leads to bigger things.”

Amato said the changes are part of a larger trend toward increased awareness of animal cruelty issues.

Last year, Gov. Chris Christie signed “Patrick’s Law,” which upgraded animal cruelty from a misdemeanor to a fourth degree offense. The law’s namesake was an emaciated pit bull found abandoned in a trash chute whose plight drew national attention as an example of animal abuse. More recently, the Legislature took up the issue of banning piercing and tattooing pets.

The FBI will implement the changes in 2015 and begin accepting data in January of 2016, Fischer said.”

 
September 19, 2014 11:03 am
"The number of reasons to go vegan is endless, but here are five good ones to get you started. Yeah, veganism is pretty frickin’ great."

"The number of reasons to go vegan is endless, but here are five good ones to get you started. Yeah, veganism is pretty frickin’ great."

(Source: facebook.com)

 
September 15, 2014 7:55 pm
Dedicated Vet Performs Life-Saving Surgery On A Little Goldfish

"This is the story of a hearty little swimmer named George, whose life is  as priceless as any other.
Last week, George’s guardian brought her beloved fish to veterinarians at Lort Smith Animal Hospital in Melbourne, Australia in hopes that they might help save his life. The 10-year-old fish had developed a tumor on his head, and the tumor was making it increasingly difficult for him to swim or feed normally.
Dr. Tristan Rich, who assessed the fish’s condition, told the guardian that he could either put the fish to sleep, or attempt to remove the growth. Performing surgery, especially on fish, can be a risky and costly endeavor, but George’s owner agreed that it was worth it.
"It can be a few hundred dollars, and mostly it’s charged for the standard anesthetic, also depending on the time it takes. The actual procedure is quick and straightforward," Dr. Rich told the Sydney Morning Herald. “[But] it’s quite fiddly, as you can imagine with an 80-gram fish, and you’ve got to make sure you can control any blood loss. He can only lose about half a mil [milliliter].”
While removing the tumor itself takes no small amount of precision, putting the fish under anesthesia and keeping him breathing is a science all its own. Vet staff describe the procedure on their Facebook page:

Dr Tristan Rich, head of Lort Smith’s exotic and wildlife vet team, set up three buckets – one with a knock out dose of anaesthetic, one with a maintenance level of anaesthetic, and one with clean water as the recovery unit.Once George was asleep, Dr Tristan ran a tube from the maintenance bucket which was being oxygenated, into George’s mouth, so that the water with the maintenance dose of anaesthetic washed over his gills.Dr Tristan worked quickly to remove the large tumour, although the size of it meant that he had to use a gelatine sponge to control the bleeding during surgery. The size of the wound meant it was difficult to seal, so Dr Tristan put in four sutures then sealed the rest of the wound with tissue glue.

(Lort Smith Animal Hospital)
After the 45-minute surgery, George was returned to an oxygen-rich bucket to begin his recovery. Thanks to Dr. Rich’s skill and dedication to saving the life of even the most unlikely of patients, the shiny little fish is back on his fins. The vet says he’s performed such procedures less than a dozen times, but he’s clearly developed an expertise.
“The surgery went swimmingly and George has now returned home with his loving guardian,” says Dr. Rich.”         

Dedicated Vet Performs Life-Saving Surgery On A Little Goldfish

"This is the story of a hearty little swimmer named George, whose life is  as priceless as any other.

Last week, George’s guardian brought her beloved fish to veterinarians at Lort Smith Animal Hospital in Melbourne, Australia in hopes that they might help save his life. The 10-year-old fish had developed a tumor on his head, and the tumor was making it increasingly difficult for him to swim or feed normally.

Dr. Tristan Rich, who assessed the fish’s condition, told the guardian that he could either put the fish to sleep, or attempt to remove the growth. Performing surgery, especially on fish, can be a risky and costly endeavor, but George’s owner agreed that it was worth it.

"It can be a few hundred dollars, and mostly it’s charged for the standard anesthetic, also depending on the time it takes. The actual procedure is quick and straightforward," Dr. Rich told the Sydney Morning Herald. “[But] it’s quite fiddly, as you can imagine with an 80-gram fish, and you’ve got to make sure you can control any blood loss. He can only lose about half a mil [milliliter].”

While removing the tumor itself takes no small amount of precision, putting the fish under anesthesia and keeping him breathing is a science all its own. Vet staff describe the procedure on their Facebook page:

Dr Tristan Rich, head of Lort Smith’s exotic and wildlife vet team, set up three buckets – one with a knock out dose of anaesthetic, one with a maintenance level of anaesthetic, and one with clean water as the recovery unit.

Once George was asleep, Dr Tristan ran a tube from the maintenance bucket which was being oxygenated, into George’s mouth, so that the water with the maintenance dose of anaesthetic washed over his gills.

Dr Tristan worked quickly to remove the large tumour, although the size of it meant that he had to use a gelatine sponge to control the bleeding during surgery. The size of the wound meant it was difficult to seal, so Dr Tristan put in four sutures then sealed the rest of the wound with tissue glue.

image(Lort Smith Animal Hospital)

After the 45-minute surgery, George was returned to an oxygen-rich bucket to begin his recovery. Thanks to Dr. Rich’s skill and dedication to saving the life of even the most unlikely of patients, the shiny little fish is back on his fins. The vet says he’s performed such procedures less than a dozen times, but he’s clearly developed an expertise.

“The surgery went swimmingly and George has now returned home with his loving guardian,” says Dr. Rich.”         

 
11:34 am
Pasture Raised Eggs: the Humane, Sustainable Fiction

"In a recent article in Civil Eats by author Brie Mazurek, a farmer named Nigel Walker of Eatwell Farm in Dixon, California gets a chance to puff up his more humane vision for pasture raised eggs. His solution? For one thing, in response to his customers’ frequent concerns over the killing of male chicks at the hatcheries which supply nearly all egg farms, from factory farms to backyard hen keepers, Walker now breeds his own birds instead.

To this end, he is asking his supporters — consumers seeking truly humane, sustainable egg products — to fund this project. But we did a bit of detective work and found that, contrary to his sustainability and “ecosystem” rhetoric, Walker appears to be living in a sprawling McMansion as shown in the aerial photograph from Google Maps. More on the “ecological” and “sustainable” claims he makes about his farm later in this article.

In the following, I’ve addressed several points and claims made by both Mazurek and Walker.


Civil Eats: “…many conscientious eaters go out of their way to purchase pasture-raised eggs laid by happy chickens, …”

Red jungle fowl Photo: Goldy RS

Red jungle fowl Photo: Goldy RS

My response: Many conscientious eaters would do well to learn that a pasture is nothing like a natural habitat for chickens. Chickens originate from, and still inhabit, tropical rainforests where they have evolved “happily” for millions of years. Their brains, behaviors and natural instincts have been shaped by one of the most complex, diverse and dynamic ecosystems on the planet. A largely tree-less, open farm “pasture” is an artificial, foreign environment in which chickens feel vulnerable and exposed to predators. Pasture-raised chickens frequently exhibit heightened cortisol levels (a stress hormone) indicating a sense of being in danger. In fact, it is the pasture farmers themselves who are so often complaining about the number of chickens they’ve lost to predators. In contrast, chickens in their natural rainforest habitat create their own social order that collectively — and very successfully — thwarts predators, with the help of abundant trees. Some studies have shown that chickens successfully survive a predator attack 90% of the time in their natural environment.

Moreover, forcing animals to live in an environment that is foreign to them and that places them in harm’s way — and breaking up their natural social order so that we can exploit them for their eggs and flesh — is neither “conscientious” nor “natural.” Finally, to do so contradicts what most of us claim to already believe, that it is wrong to harm animals unnecessarily and when we could so easily avoid it.

Civil Eats: “ ‘We are on a mission to put the old breeds of poultry back to work,’ he [Walker] says. While such birds may produce fewer eggs and put on pounds more slowly than modern breeds, they tend to be more healthy, resilient, and productive in the long run.”

My response: The “old” breeds are still manipulated to reproduce an unnatural number of eggs. By contrast, wild chickens lay only a few clutches of eggs, or 10 to 15 eggs per year. Like all birds, they lay eggs only during breeding season and only for the purpose of reproducing. (1) Painful and often fatal reproductive disorders and diseases resulting from this history of invasive genetic manipulation for overproduction of eggs are still commonly reported in so-called heritage breeds as well.

pasture raised

“This poor hen had so much [rotten egg material] inside her it tore open the lining that carries the eggs, & the old eggs that never made it out had spilled into her body. These old eggs had turned into firm yellow masses & there was no way for any egg behind them to travel out…I had a huge amount of light yellow mass-like things that felt like boiled eggs or semi hard cheese in feel.” -Description of fatal egg peritonitis in a heritage breed backyard hen. Post-mortem photo: Old Batz Farm/labeled for reuse

Civil Eats: “As the flock grows, the birds must be carefully tracked. Each time a hen goes to lay an egg, a door closes behind her (in what is called a trap nest) so that the bird and her egg can be recorded by Eatwell staff. The best of the best will be selected for hatching.”

My response: There is essentially no difference in the intent and practice of breeding chickens for specific traits in Walker’s method described above, and the selective breeding methods used by industrial hatcheries that farmers like Walker already claim to oppose. Both rely on dominating and exploiting the female reproductive system, weeding out “inferior” animals in favor of those with “superior” traits, with the goal of increasing productivity and profit. The end goal is still one of more efficient exploitation. If we were to apply this same mentality and methodology to our treatment of certain groups of human beings, we would be looking at something like the Nazi scientists and ideologues who promoted a vision of an “optimal” Aryan race. If it’s immoral to dominate and manipulate human animals in such a manner, then how can it possibly be moral to control and modify non human animals in this way, particularly when the latter have no way of consenting? Arbitrary prejudice is the basis for both instances of breeding and manipulating sentient beings.

Civil Eats: “The males will be raised to maturity and processed for meat, providing additional income for the farm.”

My response: How does the farmer define “maturity?” What does that mean for a bird with a natural lifespan of 8 to 15 years? How many weeks is he allowed to live past the mere seven weeks of life of a typical “broiler” chicken on an industrial farm? A few more weeks, perhaps? If so, he is hardly “mature” at this point, but rather still in his infancy. Walker pretends he’s doing the male chicks a favor by letting them “mature” into slightly older infants before he needlessly butchers them for meat.

Civil Eats: “Chickens play an invaluable role in the farm’s ecosystem, having eliminated the need for compost and external fertilizers.”

My response: Since when is a farm a “natural ecosystem”? And why would you want to eliminate compost, nature’s own free fertilizer, and replace it with excrement from domesticated “invasive” species? I checked in with our seasoned sustainability expert, Will Anderson, to get more answers. He wrote: “At Eatwell Farm, chickens may be indispensable to the egg and chicken meat business, but not to an ecosystem. In the far more limited sense, chickens do cycle nutrients back to the soil, but those nutrients required the artificial addition of more energy and water intensive inputs in the form of 30 tons of organic wheat grown specifically to feed the chickens (see http://www.cuesa.org/seller/eatwell-farm). Eatwell’s agroecosystem does not increase biomass for the ecosystem, but removes much of it when sold as food and the chickens are taken to slaughter.”

pasture raised

Tolhurst Organic farm is a large-scale veganic growing operation that has been producing commercial-yield vegetables without any animal inputs for more than a decade.

Civil Eats: “The real core issue here is getting animals back on farms and out of these confinement operations,” says Walker. “Yes, we want their eggs, and the meat is great, too, but the reason we have our chickens is that they eat the pasture and fertilize the ground. All our organic vegetables are grown with fertility from cover crops and chickens.”

My response: Again I defer to Will Anderson: “Veganic agriculture provides the compost for crops minus the waste of wheat [used for chicken feed] and loss of chicken and dairy lives while using less energy, land, and water. Like others who celebrate animal agriculture, Nigel Walker seems not to ask what could be better. As a result, they overlook the fact that these practices are not sustainable given the extent of global ecosystem destruction, and, more obviously, are not needed as food.”

According to agricultural and plant pathology expert Dr. Steve Savage, “Manure is also a non-ideal fertilizer in many ways.” “The animals didn’t ‘make’ any of those nutrients [needed to fertilize crops]. For instance, the ~2% nitrogen in cow manure came from whatever they ate (grass, corn, soybeans…) …The cow is just passing a bit of that along.” Using manure as a fertilizer has the added disadvantage of creating more greenhouse gases and wasting more water and feed inputs to produce the same crop yields. (2)

As for the scale of such an operation, where does all the land needed to give animals a “natural” farm life come from?, asks author and program director of United Poultry Concerns, Hope Bohanec. “At any given time, there are 100 million head of cattle and 70 million pigs alive in the U.S. Currently, only about 9 percent of all livestock is pasture raised. How would we ever have the land to pasture raise them all? To give all farmed animals the space they need to have even a semblance of a natural life, we would have to destroy millions more acres of wild areas, forests, prairies, and wetlands to accommodate them. There is not enough land on the planet, or even two planets, to free-range all the billions of pigs, sheep, turkeys, ducks, and chickens. We would need closer to five planet Earths. It simply cannot be done. Free-ranging animals for food can never be more than a specialty market for a few elite buyers.” (3)

Civil Eats: “We’re trying to find a bird that can live outside, where it can express all of its chickenness…”

My response: Where can chickens actually express “all of their chickenness?” Well, we can turn to sanctuaries who have rescued these birds from the farming industry and who value them, not as units of production, but for their intrinsic value as autonomous individuals who have names and unique personalities. We can also turn to recent scientific research that confirms what many who have observed chickens closely for years have long known to be true. What we’ve learned about the avian brain and behavior in just the last 15 years contradicts hundreds of years of misinformed views about chickens and other birds. Much of what was previously thought to be the exclusive domain of human / primate communication, brain and cognitive function, and social behavior is now being discovered in chickens and other birds. (4)

chickens-in-tree

Rescued chickens roosting in a tree at Willowite Sanctuary. photo: Pete Crosbie

Farms, whether pasture-based or not, value animals only to the extent that they provide a resource to that farm. That will never change. Animals regarded as pieces of property are treated as property, regardless of whatever feel-good fictions are used to mask this reality. It is anthropocentric and prejudicial to claim that animals desire or deserve to be used and killed as our resources. Quite the opposite is true and easy to conclude from simple observation. Animals regularly and clearly demonstrate an interest in staying alive and living freely and, like us, in avoiding pain, suffering and death — all of which interests are denied them when they are exploited for their flesh, eggs and milk.

(1) 12 Egg Facts the Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know

(2) Dr. Steve Savage , No, Cows Don’t Make Fertilizer

(3) Hope Bohanec, The Humane Hoax

(4) Robert Grillo, Chicken Behavior: An Overview of Recent Science”

 
September 12, 2014 3:46 pm
An Assessment and Treatment Approach for Childhood Animal Abusers 
"Following the success of the AniCare program, we produced the AniCare Child Assessment and Treatment Approach for Childhood Animal Abuse. This program is used by mental health professionals working with children under age 17 in agencies, domestic violence organizations, hospitals, schools and private practice as well as other professionals who work with children and their families day care providers, social service workers, probation department and other law enforcement officials, teachers, clergy, animal control and humane society personnel, and veterinarians. AniCare Child is the first published treatment approach to focus exclusively on juvenile cruelty to animals. This newly revised 124-page practitioner’s handbook provides comprehensive strategies and practical suggestions for assessing and treating childhood animal abuse. AniCare Child can be used as the primary treatment focus or as an ancillary treatment. (Note that the ASI also has available The AniCare Model aimed at treating animal abusers over age 17.)Encompassing a number of theoretical perspectives - cognitive-behavioral, attachment theory, and psychodynamic - AniCare Child provides detailed and practical suggestions for assessment and treatment. It describes four basic steps in making as assessment and enumerates the factors to consider.The three therapeutic tasks of treatment - connection, expression, and corrective intervention - organize the approach to treatment. Clinical case examples, a variety of exercises, and other tools, such as use of projective material and puppet role play, are presented. AniCare Child also addresses assessing and treating children who witness animal abuse and includes a section on “Working with Parents.”The ASI offers certification in the AniCare and AniCare Child approach. We are also certifying counselors to help us in giving AniCare and AniCare workshops.The development of AniCare Child is based on documented clinical experience, an examination of effective and reliable treatments for children that are relevant to this topic, and consultation with and review by experts. AniCare Child is designed for two audiences: (1) child mental health professionals working in agencies, domestic violence organizations, hospitals, schools, and private practice; and (2) other professionals who work with children and their families:  daycare providers, social service workers, probation department and law enforcement officials, teachers, clergy, animal control and humane society personnel, and veterinarians. AniCare Child may be used independently by individuals experienced in working with children. Many people, however, feel better prepared if they receive training in the use of the AniCare Child approach.”

An Assessment and Treatment Approach for Childhood Animal Abusers

"Following the success of the AniCare program, we produced the AniCare Child Assessment and Treatment Approach for Childhood Animal Abuse. This program is used by mental health professionals working with children under age 17 in agencies, domestic violence organizations, hospitals, schools and private practice as well as other professionals who work with children and their families day care providers, social service workers, probation department and other law enforcement officials, teachers, clergy, animal control and humane society personnel, and veterinarians.

AniCare Child is the first published treatment approach to focus exclusively on juvenile cruelty to animals. This newly revised 124-page practitioner’s handbook provides comprehensive strategies and practical suggestions for assessing and treating childhood animal abuse. AniCare Child can be used as the primary treatment focus or as an ancillary treatment. (Note that the ASI also has available The AniCare Model aimed at treating animal abusers over age 17.)

Encompassing a number of theoretical perspectives - cognitive-behavioral, attachment theory, and psychodynamic - AniCare Child provides detailed and practical suggestions for assessment and treatment. It describes four basic steps in making as assessment and enumerates the factors to consider.

The three therapeutic tasks of treatment - connection, expression, and corrective intervention - organize the approach to treatment. Clinical case examples, a variety of exercises, and other tools, such as use of projective material and puppet role play, are presented. AniCare Child also addresses assessing and treating children who witness animal abuse and includes a section on “Working with Parents.”

The ASI offers certification in the AniCare and AniCare Child approach. We are also certifying counselors to help us in giving AniCare and AniCare workshops.

The development of AniCare Child is based on documented clinical experience, an examination of effective and reliable treatments for children that are relevant to this topic, and consultation with and review by experts.

AniCare Child is designed for two audiences: (1) child mental health professionals working in agencies, domestic violence organizations, hospitals, schools, and private practice; and (2) other professionals who work with children and their families:  daycare providers, social service workers, probation department and law enforcement officials, teachers, clergy, animal control and humane society personnel, and veterinarians.

AniCare Child may be used independently by individuals experienced in working with children. Many people, however, feel better prepared if they receive training in the use of the AniCare Child approach.”
 
September 9, 2014 6:46 pm
"

Advice to friends and followers: I would say that you should never feel like you have to apologize for your veganism and activism. We are in the right.

There is no reason to feel uncomfortable by other people’s reactions towards you. Those reactions are not about you.

I think it’s important to be respectful, but you must also be truthful, honest and strong in your convictions. This isn’t really about you, it’s about the 56 billion land animals, trillions of fishes, millions of animals in labs, millions of animals killed for fashion and millions exploited for entertainment.

Your voice, your behaviors, your actions are necessary for their well being. Do whatever you need to do to become more confident in using your voice and then use it.

"

Gary Smith, The Thinking Vegan
 
11:55 am
VEGANISM: A TRUTH WHOSE TIME HAS COME: A response to typical comments vegans hear from non-vegans.

1. Humans need animal products for survival. You will die earlier. There are things in meat, which your body needs and you cannot get from any other kind of food.

2. We’re cutting down all the rainforests to grow soybeans; we wouldn’t have enough land to grow soybeans if everyone went vegan because deforestation in the developing world to grow cheap soy for human and animal feed is a major issue in climate change.

3. “Oh but I love my meat” –or- “I can’t give up my meat/cheese”.

4. The Bible and God say that animals are here for humans to use. Humans have dominion over other animals.

5. Fish don’t feel pain and are not sentient. Do you eat fish?

6. I’m vegan at home or with other vegans, but it’s rude or impolite to inconvenience others or make a fuss when dining out with non-vegans.

7. It is clear that humans are predators just like many other animals. We are no different to other animals; lions eat zebras. I didn’t climb to the top of the food chain to eat plants!

8. I wouldn’t be vegan because of DHA, vegans can’t naturally get long-chain fatty acids.

9. You must be anemic.

10. People have been eating meat since millions of years ago, so it must be the right thing. 

11. What kind of religion or sect is this?

12. Hitler was a vegetarian…

13. There would be shortages of food.

14. If God didn’t want us to eat animals, why did He make them out of delicious meat?

15. You would eat meat if you were stranded on a desert island, wouldn’t you?  
What about indigenous people or Inuits? 

16. Why do you care more about animals than human beings? 

17. You vegans are so preachy!

18. Humans have canine teeth; teeth for ripping flesh apart.

19. If we don’t eat them, they’ll eat us.

20. They wouldn’t exist if we weren’t meant to eat them.

21. If eating a plant-based diet is our natural diet, why can’t you get all the nutrients without supplementing, as in Vitamin B12?

22. I buy organic so the animals are more humanely raised. They had a good life. Small farms are good for the environment. I support cage-free, humanely raised, but I don’t support cruelty to animals.

23. Some animals are meant to be food; there is a difference between pets and food animals.

24. It’s too difficult to do and too expensive.  I’m too old for that.

25. Farmers love their animals and treat them well, generally.

26. It’s not illegal to eat animals and their products.

27. I live a very active lifestyle and need lots of protein.

28. Poor people raise animals or fish (for free) and can’t afford to be vegan.

29. I travel too much; too inconvenient to be vegan.

30. If we didn’t eat them, what would happen to all the animals.

31. Animals are lesser creatures than humans and we control them.

32. It doesn’t bother me when I see animals being slaughtered, or I don’t look; I don’t want to know.

33. Milk, eggs and cheese do not kill the animal.

34. Eating animal products is mainstream – everyone does it. It’s traditional. 

35. Vegans are unhealthy.

36. C’mon, I’m kind and gentle and I love a good steak or fish.

37. But the animals wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for us!

38. But wouldn’t the economic consequences be disastrous for the farmers of animals?

39. Humans are at the top of the food chain!

40. I can’t go vegan, I don’t like to eat vegetables. I don’t want to eat tofu and grass, or I don’t like vegan food.

41. Animals have no soul, they don’t feel pain.

42. Our species evolved by eating meat - our brain size was not possible without it.

43. North American Indigenous people ate meat and they respected the animals.

44. It’s okay if it’s organic and grass-fed and humanely slaughtered.

45. Plants have feelings too.

46. Rights apply only to humans not to animals, humans are superior.

47. Vegans are just being self-righteous.

48. What we eat is a personal choice.

49. It’s my culture, it’s my religion to eat animals.

50. I only buy meat where I know the animal had a good life and was humanely killed.

51. Nothing is going to change, so there’s no point in going vegan.

52. It’s the end of the world; we should enjoy the food as much as we can.

53. If we didn’t eat meat the cows would die. No one would be farming them.

54. Vegans don’t care about animal suffering. They only care about their agenda. They want to see all small family farmers go out of business so all that’s left is factory farms and it will be easier to convince people to go vegan.

55. If we don’t drink milk the cows would die from not being milked. We’re helping them.

56. What do you eat?

57. You should be out helping people, not animals.

58. Small animals die when grains are harvested, so you don’t care about small animals?

59. Jesus ate fish. The Torah or the Bible says that animals were put here for human use.

60. “But I didn’t kill other animals, they were already dead.”
And finally…

61. “I don’t care about animals” or “I don’t have compassion for animals that are used for food, clothing, entertainment, experimentation”.

Find out what the answers are!

 
10:31 am
"

Living as a vegan IS NOT THE SAME as eating the diet vegans eat; an herbivorous diet, pure vegetarian diet, or a plant-powered diet, contrary to media inaccuracy.

When we stop eating flesh that putrefies in our gut, milk meant for another species, and too much fat and cholesterol, we naturally start to feel better.

However, VEGANISM IS NOT A DIET, it’s a way of life that encompasses more than food. It’s a stance of non-participation in animal exploitation, as far as practically possible. Its essence is about basic respect for other animals. Understand that, and the path becomes easy; with no feeling of deprivation, whatsoever.

"

Butterflies Katz
 
September 8, 2014 8:40 pm
The world is becoming less peaceful. 
Read the full index
"The decline in peace is mainly due to poor performance on indicators that measure the level of SAFETY and SECURITY in society.  The indicators on the Global Peace Index that deteriorated the most over the last seven years are: levels of terrorist activity, the homicide rate, the likelihood of violent demonstrations, levels of organised conflict, perceptions of criminality and both weapons imports and exports.
MEASURING STATES OF PEACE
Peace is notoriously difficult to define. Perhaps the simplest way of approaching it is in terms of HARMONY achieved by the ABSENCE of war, conflict or violence or fear of the aforementioned. Applied to nations, this would suggest that those not involved in violent conflicts with neighbouring states or suffering internal wars or violence have achieved a state of peace, which has been described as “negative peace”.Various studies have proposed that a culture of peace might be based on human rights, gender equality, democratic participation, a tolerant society, open communication and international security. However, these links between peace and its causes tend to be presumed, rather than systematically measured. 
For this reason, this report examines the relationships between the GPI and many reliable international measures of democracy, transparency, education and material wellbeing. By doing so, the research ultimately attempts to understand the relative importance of a range of potential determinants, or drivers, which may influence the creation and nurturance of peaceful societies, both internally and externally.”
Global Peace Index on Facebook

The world is becoming less peaceful.

Read the full index

"The decline in peace is mainly due to poor performance on indicators that measure the level of SAFETY and SECURITY in society.

The indicators on the Global Peace Index that deteriorated the most over the last seven years are: levels of terrorist activity, the homicide rate, the likelihood of violent demonstrations, levels of organised conflict, perceptions of criminality and both weapons imports and exports.

MEASURING STATES OF PEACE

Peace is notoriously difficult to define. Perhaps the simplest way of approaching it is in terms of HARMONY achieved by the ABSENCE of war, conflict or violence or fear of the aforementioned. Applied to nations, this would suggest that those not involved in violent conflicts with neighbouring states or suffering internal wars or violence have achieved a state of peace, which has been described as “negative peace”.

Various studies have proposed that a culture of peace might be based on human rights, gender equality, democratic participation, a tolerant society, open communication and international security. However, these links between peace and its causes tend to be presumed, rather than systematically measured.

For this reason, this report examines the relationships between the GPI and many reliable international measures of democracy, transparency, education and material wellbeing. By doing so, the research ultimately attempts to understand the relative importance of a range of potential determinants, or drivers, which may influence the creation and nurturance of peaceful societies, both internally and externally.”

Global Peace Index on Facebook

 
8:34 pm
How's This For Karma?: Uncontrolled Hunting Leads to New Deadly Diseases Including Ebola

"Ebola and many other serious diseases have appeared as a result of increased contact with wild animals.

Large scale hunting and anthropogenic transformation of natural habitats together with climate change is increasing animal-human disease transfer.”

 
2:10 pm
RSPCA: Hypocrisy is Our Mission, by Jo Frederiks

RSPCA: Hypocrisy is Our Mission, by Jo Frederiks

 
September 7, 2014 10:53 pm
"

A 2008 study estimated that 115 million animals are used in laboratory experiments each year, a figure clouded by the fact that only 21 percent of countries actually record data on animal testing.

Even the U.S. fails to collect data about birds and laboratory-bred mice and rats, which, despite making up over 90 percent of all laboratory animals, aren’t even defined and protected as “animals” under the country’s Animal Welfare Act.

"