Wednesday, July 28, 2010

UPDATE: "Crush" Videos

Recently, the Supreme Court ruled that the 1999 Crush Act was vaguely written and infringed on first amendment rights, so it was overturned. “Crush” videos portray high-heeled feet stomping small animals to death. However, after much persistence from the animal-loving community, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a new bill (416-3) H.R. 5566, the Prevention of Interstate Commerce in Animal Crush Videos Act of 2010. The bill enforces a ban on the sale and circulation of animals shown crushed, drowned, stabbed or burned.

This comes as a victory for animals throughout the US, but now it is imperative that the Senate passes a similar bill to ensure these torture videos are ban for good. Please contact your Senators and urge them to introduce a Crush Videos Act of 2010. Urge them to cosponsor and support such a bill so that it will become law and save thousands of animals’ lives!

To contact your Senators, please follow this link.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Meet Scooter

This story comes from Animal News Blog written by Dr. Brooke Lechlitne a small animal veterinarian. The story all too common: a stray kitten found injured is taken to a vet for treatment by a good Samaritan and now the kitty needs your help! 
Apparently, Scooter, was playing with some fishing line but before too long he found himself tangled and in trouble. Luckily, someone found him just in the nick of time, but his injuries were severe enough to require amputation of his right hind leg. He is still healing and learning to walk again but his doctors say he will be just fine with the right care and lots of love.
To any of us who have shared our lives with a handicapped animal, we know just how much these animals do not let their disability stop them. If anything, it pushes them to be stronger. And to those who have never had such an experience, may this story inspire you to reach out and help where you can. Stories like Scooter's always touch me deeply, for I rescued a three-legged Pomeranian a few years ago. She went from a tiny scared puppy on death row to a happy energetic girl who doesn't let anything stop her! I use her story to educate others on caring for ALL Earth's creatures and for doing the responsible thing...being selfless and answering to the call in times of need.
 
Again, ACR receives requests everyday to assist kitties just like Scooter, and although we would love to help every single one, we just do not have the resources. So the least we can do is share their stories and trust that kind people will step up and help those in need. Every little bit helps! To learn more about Scooter and how you can help, please visit animalnewsblog.com.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

PETA's View on Feral Cats

Recently, I read a Letter to the Editor on the Statesman.com (a newspaper in the central Texas area) from Teresa Chagrin, a representative of PETA. In her letter, she encourages Leander, TX, to NOT support TNR of feral cats. Chagrin says cats left outdoors suffer from injuries and lead terrible lives. She includes that cats kill countless birds and wildlife “just in play.” She closed by saying that the only humane way to control feral cat populations is to spay/neuter and keep them indoors. 
 
PETA does NOT support releasing feral cats. They support spay/neuter programs but do not agree that once sterilized and vaccinated, they should be released back outside to their home (where they will continued to be cared for). Instead, according to PETA’s “Helping Animals” section, “When the cats have recuperated, they can be released into the house, but it may take months (or years) of patience and kindness before the animals begin to trust you. Do not allow feral cats outside, even after they have lived in your home for a long while. They are easily frightened and may bolt and become lost.”

OR PETA suggests another option for feral cats – euthanasia. “Because of the huge number of feral cats and the severe shortage of good homes, the difficulty of socialization, and the dangers lurking where most feral cats live, it may be necessary—and the most compassionate choice—to euthanize feral cats. You can ask your veterinarian to do this or, if your local animal shelter uses an injection of sodium pentobarbital, take the cats there. Please do not allow the prospect of euthanasia to deter you from trapping feral cats. If you leave them where they are, they will almost certainly die a painful death. A painless injection is far kinder than any fate that feral cats will meet if they are left to survive on their own.”

(Photo: Troy Snow, Freelance Photographer Kanab, Utah)

Obviously, PETA does not have much experience managing feral cats. The last thing you want to do is to release a feral cat in your house or inside any building for that matter!! This can be very dangerous, to you and the cat. Releasing a feral cat in an unfamiliar, enclosed area will cause the cat to become disoriented and lash out. Caged feral cats will destroy furniture, carpets, walls… They can get inside walls and become trapped in attics and basements. They will do anything to escape…just as any wild animal will do when forced to live in an environment unnatural to them.

And I’m not sure how PETA can defend any other wild animal, saying it deserves the right to live its life without human interference, yet they argue feral cats are “ill-equipped to survive on their own” and the nicest thing we can do for them is to kill them? Feral cats have been surviving for 10,000 years and if we are experiencing a feral cat population crisis – I don’t think they are living any more “terrible” lives than any other animal. Foxes, rabbits, birds, hell even humans…all face the same obstacles in life: starvation, exposure to the elements, disease, cruelty/fighting, getting hit by a car. So I’m not sure why PETA thinks cats are any different and should be “rescued” by being put out of their misery?

Now, don’t get me wrong…PETA does do a lot of great things for animals all over the world. But their stance on feral cats is not one of them. Cat rescuers DO WANT to see the end of feral cat colonies. The difference is we use non-lethal methods to control the colonies, while others want colonies to be eradicated. I personally feel that culling and hunting practices should not be utilized as part of any wildlife management. I know both sides of the argument but I still feel that humans try to play too much of a part of managing how the natural world should look. I believe we should "conserve" habitat and life, but I also do not believe that we should be killing one species in order to save another, even if the species we are protecting is in danger of extinction. (They are most likely threatened to begin with because of human activity.)

The planet has been evolving way longer than we have been here and she doesn't need any instructions from us on how to do her job. The natural world evolves...things die and new things are born. And it seems anytime humans get involved, things end up worse than if we didn't get involved. Humans have become too far detached from the natural world to make "educated" decisions on how it should be managed. We have become outside observers instead of inside participants. We sit "outside" of nature and create our studies and see the world through human eyes instead of being one with the natural environment and listening to what it has to teach us. It's like politics, humans speak for the planet as they see fit, instead of speaking for the planet as the planet wants to be heard. I know us humans are "trying" but when it comes to saving the natural world, we really have things ass backwards.

Sorry PETA, but I'm not taking your advice and releasing a feral cat in my house. That's just crazy!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Black Isle Red Kites Killed by Rat Poison

Secondary poisoning claims eight rare young birds from three separate broods

According to an article on WildlifeExtra.com, a Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) officer involved in monitoring the reintroduced population of red kites (raptors) on the Black Isle (off the coast of Scotland) believes that adult birds have been feeding their growing chicks with carcasses of pest animals that have been poisoned on local farmland, with catastrophic consequences.

Brian Etheridge, RSPB Red Kite Officer for North Scotland, has been monitoring the situation over the past 15 years. This summer, he visited three separate nests on the Black Isle and discovered eight chicks in total either dead or dying following ingestion of rodent carcasses contaminated with rat poison. "These young birds were displaying classic symptoms of rodenticide poisoning, a particularly painful way for any animal to die," commented Mr. Etheridge. “Many rodenticides contain anticoagulants, which gather in the liver of an animal causing heavy internal bleeding. Young red kite chicks undergo a particularly fast growing phase and require a rapid circulatory system in order to grow healthily. Anything that interferes with the blood supply of a young kite is of serious concern and sadly, in every instance, these rodenticides have proven fatal to them. These eight chicks were all quite big, and very close to leaving the nest, but the real number of chicks affected may be more than this. Chicks which die from rodenticides when very small may be removed from the nest by the adults and the cause of nest failure will be never be known. This incident is devastating for the Black Isle red kite population as these eight chicks represent nearly ten per cent of the total red kite chicks produced there this year."

The article goes on to mention that in order to prevent such accidents from occurring, the RSPB produced a leaflet on proper rodent control. "People can prevent the unnecessary deaths of an already rare and vulnerable species as well as injury and death of other wildlife including their own pets by seeking appropriate ways to control rodent infestation," says Mr. Etheridge. "…This leaflet contains impartial advice and best practice guidelines, such as searching for and correct disposal of dead and dying rats. It also recommends that farmers who regularly see kites foraging around their fields and farm buildings should be particularly cautious when using rodenticides, particularly in the summer months. I would really encourage everyone to have a read of it to get all the appropriate information on the subject prior to choosing rodenticides as a control option."

Etheridge continues, "There is no doubt in my mind that these latest poisoning cases are just tragic accidents but by making informed choices about pest control, we will be able to reduce rat numbers effectively as well as preventing unnecessary damage to our local wildlife.”

ACR’s Proposal for Proper Rodent Control

These farmers should be working with local cat rescue groups to implement a trap-neuter-relocation program. Farmers can give feral cats a second chance at life, by offering them food, shelter, and an outdoor home, while they naturally control the rodent population around the farm. Any prey not completely eaten by the cats can SAFELY be eaten by raptors. And NO POISON is required – nature knows best.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Cats and Other Critters on Canvas

Michele Halvorson Feriancek is a magnificent animal artist who specializes in oil portraits of pets. Her studio, Summerbell Studio, is located in Central Minnesota (St. Cloud area). The studio name honors the two animal friends that currently share her home along with her husband and daughter. Summer is their sweetie-pie, Pitbull mix who was adopted from a rescue; and Bella is their diva kitty, a red tabby who was chosen from a litter of barn kittens. 

Michele says she “know[s] all too well how much our pets can mean to us, and the impact which they have on our lives. They become part of your family, travel with you to Grandma's house, and are included in your family photos and Christmas cards. I also know what it is like to lose our beloved friends, and how much that hurts. This is the very essence of why I do what I do, to honor these precious souls, both past and present, in a work of art.”  

 

As her way of giving back, a portion of every commissioned work of art goes toward helping animals in need! Just send Michele some high quality, detailed photographs of the pet(s) you wish her to paint, choose the size and style of the work, and let her know that you wish a donation to go to Alley Cat Rescue (in Mt. Rainier, MD). Or if you live in the St. Cloud, Minnesota area, you can arrange a photo shoot of your special pet(s) from which a portrait will be created. Don’t live in MN? No problem. Paintings can be shipped.

 

For more information about commissioning a portrait of your beloved pet and contacting Michele, please visit her website. And be sure to check out her facebook page: SummerBell Studio.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

CNN Looks at Animal Rights

Monday night CNN aired a full hour special called Jane’s Fight for Animal Rights. Jane Velez-Mitchell, CNN spokeswoman, takes a stand on some of the most emotionally charged ISSUES of the day. And this time she takes on animal rights issues. 

It featured representatives from PETA, the Humane Society of the United States, Sea Shepherd, In Defense of Animals, Farm Sanctuary, and Mercy for Animals. It also included cameo appearances from celebrity spokespeople for animal rights, Bob Barker, Pierce Brosnan, and Jorja Fox of CSI.

Some of the topics of discussion were: the disaster in the Gulf and its impact on animals, a national movement to give factory farm animals basic protections against cruelty, a look at the government's round up of wild horses, and an update on an effort to fight a monkey breeding farm in Puerto Rico.

While it makes sense to us cat lovers, with most of us loving ALL animals, this program and others like it are a necessary part of protecting animals by exposing the abuse that animals suffer everyday all around the world. We need more shows like this to educate the public on what goes on behind closed doors and to encourage individuals to take a stand for animal rights and improving animal welfare. However, there are those who wish such programs were never aired in attempts to keep animal conditions as they are…cruel and inhumane. 

One such group is AmmoLand.com; which calls itself “the webs leading Shooting Sports News Service for the Ammunition, Firearms, Shooting, Hunting and Conservation communities.” Their homepage has an article discussing Jane’s animal rights program, saying CNN is “providing radicals a platform” and that “CNN needs to understand that pandering to sensationalism not only hurts the people who actually care for animals, it hurts the animals themselves.” These statements coming from a group that uses the word “conservation” in the same sentence with “ammunition,” “firearms,” “shooting,” and “hunting.” Who exactly is “legitimiz[ing] extremist views?” 

AmmoLand.com urges its supporters to write to CNN and complain about its “out-of-the-mainstream views by radical animal rights groups that represent a twisted point of view.” They say that CNN “fail[s] at real journalism and [its] in ability to present real facts.” ACR couldn’t disagree more, and we encourage our supporters to write to CNN and thank them for providing such a though-provoking show.

You can send your comments to CNN by clicking here.