Archive for the ‘Animals’ Category

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Pet rehab helps transform four-legged survivors


2012
05.06

LOS ANGELES — Snarf was underweight with a heart murmur and a possible ulcer when he was rescued from a Kentucky puppy mill. He had hookworm, fleas and ticks, infections in his eyes and ears, red skin and patchy hair.

The 10-year-old Japanese chin wasnt house trained and didnt know how to play with people. He hardly seemed like anyones idea of a pet.

But thanks to several months of rehab, he is.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals set up a rehab center for Snarf and the other 117 dogs rescued in October from a Kentucky puppy mill.

The ASPCA is the only national animal welfare organization with a behavior team dedicated solely to rehabilitating cruelty and disaster victims. Last year, the anti-cruelty behavior team coordinated rehab for more than 1,200 cats and dogs.

Many pets who end up in rehab are victims of abusive owners who have been arrested for dogfighting, hoarding or puppy mill violations. Other animals survive natural disasters.

Snarf had been crated, isolated and used for breeding all his life before he spent six months in rehab.

His medical conditions were treated and he was taught how to socialize and play with humans and animals, how to walk on a leash and to urinate outside of his crate.

Hoarded or mill dogs have been trapped in small spaces and denied human contact so they lack social skills and are often afraid of sights, sounds and experiences, said Pamela

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Does giving antibiotics to animals hurt humans?


2012
05.01

WASHINGTON The bacon you had for breakfast is at the center of a 35-year debate over antibiotics.

Thats because the same life-saving drugs that are prescribed to treat everything from ear infections to tuberculosis in humans also are used to fatten the animals that supply the chicken, beef and pork we eat every day.

Farmers say they have to feed the drugs to animals to keep them healthy and meet Americas growing appetite for cheap meat. But public health advocates argue that the practice breeds antibiotic-resistant germs in animals that can cause deadly diseases in humans.

The US government moved to ban the use of some of the drugs in animals in the 1970s, but the rule was never enforced. Then last week, the Food and Drug Administration outlined plans to phase out the use of antibiotics in farm animals for nonmedical purposes over three years.

The US, the biggest global consumer of meat by far, follows Europe and other developed nations in restricting the use of penicillin and other antibiotics in animals. The issue has moved to the front burner as documentaries such as Meet Your Meat and Food Inc. have led Americans to focus more on what goes into their food. Sales of antibiotic-free meat, for instance, are up 25 percent to $175 million in the past three years.

Consumers are beginning to understand the cost of eating cheap meat, said Stephen McDonnell, CEO of Applegate Farms, which markets antibiotic-free meats and cheeses. As people really understand what it takes to create a healthy animal they will probably eat less meat, but they are going to eat better meat.

THE HISTORY

Antibiotics have been hailed as one of the greatest medical discoveries of the 20th century since their first use in humans in the 1940s. Theyve enabled doctors to cure deadly bacterial diseases like tuberculosis, typhoid fever and meningitis.

The FDA approved the use of antibiotics in livestock in the 1950s after studies showed that animals that got the drugs in their feed put on more weight in less time than animals on a traditional diet. For example, pigs that got an antibiotic were shown to need 10 to 15 percent less feed to reach the same weight as pigs on regular diets.

Since feed can account for as much as 70 percent of total animal production costs, the discovery was a windfall for farmers. It meant they could produce more meat for less money, resulting in fatter profits.

But by the 1970s, researchers began warning regulators that routine use of antibiotics was contributing to a surge in drug-resistant germs, or superbugs, that render antibiotics powerless against deadly infections. Professor Stuart Levy of Tufts University conducted the first study in 1976 showing highly-resistant e. coli E. coli bacteria could pass from chickens to farm workers who worked with the animals in just a few weeks.

The study contributed to the FDAs decision to ban nonmedical use of penicillin and tetracycline in farm animals a year later. But farmers and drugmakers pushed back, and the FDA rule was never enforced.

Why did no one act on it? Because there was a strong lobby, said Levy, who is co-founder and president of the Alliance for Prudent Use of Antibiotics, a nonprofit advocacy group that favors restrictions on the drugs. They said, Well, show us the deaths. Show us the real problem. Otherwise, this isnt so terrible.

But its difficult to link the overuse of antibiotics to deaths. Its tough to find the source of bacteria-resistant germs, which can spread from animals to humans through a number of ways, including undercooked meat and drinking water contaminated by animal waste. And bacteria mutate when passing between species, meaning that the same strain of drug-resistant bacteria in chicken can take on a different form once it enters the human body.

THE DEBATE

While the issue mostly was tabled in the US, it was gaining momentum elsewhere in the world.

In 1999, the European Union backed a ban on penicillin and other human antibiotics for growth in farm animals. Within four years, the use of antibiotics on animals fell 36 percent in Denmark, 45 percent in Norway and 69 percent in Sweden.

Levy, the Tufts University professor, and his colleagues had hoped that the EUs ban would bolster the case for restricting the use of antibiotics in the US But instead, the data has been used to argue both sides of the issue.

US farmers have seized on reports that cases of diarrhea among young pigs increased in the first year after the EU ban, suggesting that animal health had declined. But public health advocates say that the outbreaks among pigs decreased once farmers improved the sanitary conditions by cleaning feedlots more frequently and giving animals more space.

US groups like the National Chicken Council warn that restricting use of antibiotics will result in sicker animals, increasing costs for farmers and the price of meat and poultry for consumers. Some industry groups have projected costs for farmers would rise by $1 billion over 10 years, though those estimates have not been backed by outside groups.

Liz Wagstrom, chief veterinarian of the National Pork Producers Council, said the modern farming system is designed to keep animals healthy and produce large quantities of meat.

The bottom line is that if these products go away, it may result in sicker pigs, more expensive food, and we dont think it will improve public health, Wagstrom said.

Meat prices in Europe have not risen dramatically since the EUs ban. Danish authorities estimate the total costs for pig farmers increased by just 1 percent, or about $1.35 for every pig slaughtered far below food industry estimates.

US health experts suggest the increase here would be modest, too. The Institute of Medicine, a non-partisan nonpartisan group of medical experts who advise the federal government on public health issues, estimates the average US consumer would spend between $5 and $10 more per year on meat if antibiotics were restricted.

THE RESULT

Farmers continue to argue that antibiotics are necessary to have a steady supply of low-cost, disease-free meat for Americans, who eat about three-quarters of a pound per day roughly twice the global average. They acknowledge that antibiotic-free animals can be raised by small, organic farms but say large-scale meat production requires antibiotics to keep animals healthy.

Were pretty darn committed to our cattle, and our goal is to not have them get sick, said Mike Apley, a cattle farmer and professor of veterinary medicine at Kansas State University.

Farmers like Apley also point to a handful of studies that conclude the risk to humans is extremely low. One 2004 estimate conducted by scientists consulting for the meat industry, for instance, placed the likelihood that antibiotic would not work in a human due to animal use at 1 in 82 million.

And, they argue, its the overuse of antibiotics in humans not animals thats causing a rise in drug-resistant bacteria. Indeed, for decades, doctors have prescribed antibiotics for common ailments like the flu and sinus infections that are not caused by bacteria. Studies show doctors often feel pressured to prescribe the drugs.

The problem is not an animal or human issue per se, said Dr. Tom Chiller, associate director for epidemiologic science at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its about using the antibiotics as judiciously as we possibly can in situations where they are needed.

Some Americans are becoming more aware of the issue. Liza Greenfield, 33, said she will only buy organic, antibiotic-free meat at farmers markets because she doesnt think animals should be given antibiotics for growth.

A cow is supposed to eat grass, said Greenfield, an administrator at the New York University. I want to know it was out on the pasture eating grass.

As Americans show more interest, so are companies. Some of the largest restaurant and grocery chains including Kroger and Safeway now offer antibiotic-free meat. And last month, executives from companies such as Chipotle Mexican Grill and Bon Appetit food services that offer antibiotic-free meat and poultry gathered in Washington to lobby for restrictions on the use of antibiotics in animals.

The FDA last week said it would ask drugmakers to voluntarily stop marketing antibiotics for non-medical uses on their labels with a goal of completely stopping the practice in a few years. Animal drugs can only be legally prescribed for uses listed on the label, so the change is expected to have a major impact on how farmers use them.

Some public safety advocates complained that the FDA, which worked with drugmakers on the proposal, should have mandated the change. But the FDA said a formal ban would have required individual hearings for each drug, which could have taken decades.

We think the science is very solid in showing that largely indiscriminate use of antibiotics contributes to resistance, said FDA Deputy Commissioner MichaeI Taylor. I dont think theres really any question about it.

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Found Animals Foundation to Offer Low-Cost Microchips at Downey Street Faire


2012
04.30

Found Animals provides low-cost microchips at Downey Street Faire. All microchipped pets will be registered in the free Found Animals Microchip Registry

Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) April 24, 2012

Found Animals Foundation will offer $5 microchipping for dogs, including free, lifetime registration, at the Downey Street Fair on Saturday, April 28th.

Pets will be microchipped with Found Animals brand microchips. These microchips are the 134.2kHz frequency which can be read by all universal scanners. They will also be registered in the Found Animals Microchip Registry, a free, nonprofit service dedicated to reuniting lost pets with their families. This online universal registry provides a one-stop destination for pet owners, rescue groups, shelters, clinics, and veterinarians. It is free to register, free to update and accessible online 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Found Animals Microchip Registry offers advanced features like an automatic alert system. When a lost pet is found by a shelter, that shelter is able to use the pet’s microchip number to start an automated alert that immediately notifies the pet owner where they can find their pet. These automatic alerts will call, text, and email the pet owner and any emergency contacts.

“It is our mission to help all pet owners microchip and register their pets,” said Erin Nelson, Microchip Division Director at Found Animals. “We want to ensure that all lost pets have a better chance of finding their way home.”

The Downey Street Faire will be held on Brookshire Avenue from Firestone Avenue to north of Civic Center Drive in Downey, Calif., on Saturday, April 28, 2012. Microchips will be available from 9am-5pm on a first come, first serve basis. Supplies are limited.

For more information about Found Animals and The Found Animals Microchip Registry, contact Courtney Flynn at (310) 574-5791.

About Found Animals

Found Animals Foundation is a privately-funded nonprofit organization dedicated to animal welfare issues. Led by business and medical professionals, the Foundation works directly within the animal welfare community to reduce the use of euthanasia in shelters by supporting programs including: pet adoption, spay amp; neuter services, pet identification, and sterilization research.

For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/prwebFoundAnimals/PetMicrochipRegistry/prweb9434553.htm

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As we become more human, let’s treat animals better


2012
01.27

Updated: January 22, 2012 2:29AM

Several new books point to the fact that wars are becoming scarcer and we as people are becoming less violent as a result.

Joshua Goldstein, professor emeritus of international relations at American University, author of Winning the War on War, told a radio interviewer last month that there is measurably less violence this decade than in the past 100 years. World War II, which started 70 years ago, created levels of violence that were 100 times higher than the wars of today, including Iraq and Afghanistan.

When wars do conflagrate, there is more exposure to the bloody entrails of war, via the Internet and social media, which increases pressure for the violence to cease.

I have always thought that as people become more humane toward other people, they will become more aware of the socially ingrained tolerance we sport when it comes to cruelty to animals. Today’s young people are more aware of the brutality of factory farming and more are vegetarians.

And the more we learn about how animals think and the sophistication of their thinking, the more difficult it becomes to treat them as if they were unthinking, unfeeling machines.

Jonathan Balcombe, a scientist at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, echoes one of my long-held beliefs. The more we learn about animal intelligence, the more we see that it is we who have failed to understand animals and not the other way around.

“Chickens practice deception, pigeons can categorize images in photographs as quickly as we can, a gorilla plays a joke on a human teacher, and a tiny fish leaps from one tide pool to another using a mental map formed during high tide,” he says on the Discovery Channel website.

A new study by a University of Chicago researcher found that “rats are empathetic and will altruistically lend a helping paw to a cage mate who is stuck in a trap,” according to an NPR report. Not only will rats frantically work to free the trapped cage mate; they will do so even when there’s a tempting pile of chocolate chips nearby.

It is not surprising that the National Institutes of Health have revised the guidelines on cage sizes for mice and rats used in animal testing. It is no longer acceptable to crowd a female mouse and her litter into fewer than 51 square inches of space, or a female rat and her litter into fewer than 124 square inches of space. As tiny as those increased spaces are, scientists still worry the cost of compliance is too high and they stand to lose federal funding altogether if they don’t comply.

My hope is that as we become more human toward people and animals alike we will end the practice of animal testing for human medical advancements. The fact is our chemistry is quite different from that of animals. So animal experimentation is a highly unreliable precursor of how humans will react to new drugs, procedures.

The more we recognize the cruelty of violence toward people, the more we will also recognize the cruelty we now visit on animals.

Bonnie Erbe is a TV host and columnist.

Scripps Howard News Service

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New low-cost spay/neuter clinic opens to serve Fox Valley-area animals


2012
01.25

Only eight months old, Reno found himself lost and alone. Even worse he was injured: Something was wrong with his eyes, one of his back legs had been fractured, the other back leg needed surgery.

Worse yet, baby Reno had pellets shattered inside his body: He had been shot several times.

However, Reno, a male orange tabby kitten, survived it all. Aurora Animal Control (AAC) and Fox Valley Animal Welfare League (FVAWL) helped the homeless kitten find a rescue group, medical care and ultimately a “forever home.”

A non-profit organization, FVAWL has partnered with AAC for the past 65 years to help lost, forgotten and injured animals find love and care.

“We were the liaison between AAC and the rescue groups,” said FVAWL President Ellen Wullbrandt, adding that with FVAWL’s help during the past five years, 2,500 animals have escaped euthanasia. “That’s really what it’s been: saving animals from euthanasia.”

Branching out to serve a larger target audience

Today, in addition to its long-time life-saving operations, FVAWL is branching out on its own and taking animal welfare to the next level–becoming proactiveby opening the Fox Valley’s first state-of-the-art low-cost spay-neuter clinic.

“We need to grow and provide programs and services marketed toward the animals never [even] getting to the shelter,” said Richard Glessner, director of operations for the new spay/neuter clinic. “It was a no-brainer that the spay/neuter clinic was the way to go because spaying/neutering is the only real answer to limiting the pet population.

“That’s been proven time and time again; it’s the only thing that works,” he said. “We wanted to take the resources and the medical knowledge we have to the public and the community as a whole rather than limit it to [just] AAC.”

Glessner, who has previously set up two profitable clinics–one in the Quad Cities and one in Rock Island County, Illinois–emphasized the need for a spay/neuter clinic in the Fox Valley area, from Elgin to Joliet and all communities in between.

“It’s inconceivable to me if you are in animal welfare as a whole, and you really care about animal welfare, why you would not incorporate a spay/neuter program,” said Glessner, adding that his first program involved converting a trailer into a mobile surgical center outside the animal shelter.

“If you really want to do this and make a difference, you can make it happen,” the former Quad Cities native said. “You have to really think creatively.”

Glessner: helping animals for more than a quarter century

In addition to setting up spay/neuter clinics, Glessner, a 26-year animal welfare industry veteran, has served as a director for shelters and animal control facilities; he has spoken at national animal welfare conferences.

And he has spoken to first-year Iowa State veterinary students about how to set up a spay/neuter clinic and why they should consider a career in shelter medicine, rather than private practice.

“If you really want to help animals, you bite the bullet, and you do it,” he said. “You do what you need to do to change animal welfare and make it right.

“That’s always been my philosophy. I’m not afraid of change; I embrace it.”

Initiating change in the Fox Valley

As a result, change has come to the Fox Valley: 11 John Street in North Aurora, just east of Illinois Route 31 and only about two miles from Interstate 88.

“We looked at several different properties, and the minute we walked into this building, we knew it was the perfect place,” Glessner said. “It is the right size, the right space [and] the owners are animal lovers.”

The clinic director says he has already lined up four veterinarians, including one specializing in exotic animals, such as rabbits, birds, iguanas and ferrets. “They are affected just like cats and dogs,” he said. “[These exotic animals] are showing up in the shelters [too].”

Glessner says his goal by the Feb. 28 ribbon cutting is threefold: to perform surgery three days each week; to host at least one or more Wellness Clinic each month; and to reserve two days for the care of exotic animals each month.

“And then it will grow from there,” he said. “My ultimate goal would be to serve seven days a week, around the clock, never stop. Surgeries every day.”

Glessner, who grew up with German Shepherds and cats, says the clinic will feature three different price structures for three different groups: licensed rescue groups, low-income families and the general public.

“Generally, 80 percent of pet owners don’t use regular veterinary care,” he said. “We are really targeting that group of people who aren’t going to private practice.

“We’ll do whatever is in the best interest of the animal–that’s our first and foremost philosophy.”

NEXT: FVAWL’s Pet Food Pantry to help owners keep pets during difficult economic times.

Fox Valley Animal Welfare League’s NEW Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic
You’re Invited!

o Saturday, Jan. 21First Wellness Clinic–open to the community; offers basic exams
amp; basic preventative care, including $10 vaccines

o Sunday, Jan. 29–Open House for the general public: 1-3 pm, refreshments served

o Wednesday, Feb. 15–Open House for government officials, community leaders amp;
media: 5-7 pm, refreshments served

o Tuesday, Feb. 28–National Spay Day; ribbon-cutting ceremony; clinic officially
opens for business

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Foxconn chairman compares his workforce to ‘animals’


2012
01.24

Foxconn chairman compares his workforce to animals

By Hana Stewart-Smith | January 20, 2012, 3:43am PST

Summary: In an ill-worded statement, the chairman of Foxconns parent company compared his workforce to animals and sought management advice from the director of Taipei Zoo.

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145 Animals Found In A U-Haul Are Being Cared For In The Memphis Area


2012
01.23

(Collierville, TN/01/20/12) It was the traffic stop in Fayette County this week that led to the discovery of a U-Haul packed with more than 100 pooches and a cat living in whats been described as horrible conditions.

John Robinson is shelter manager with Collierville Animal Services.

Robinson said, Ive seen a lot of hoarding cases of animals crowded into a small space, but probably never anything like this where theyre crowded and stacked.


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