Category Archives: Animal Issues

Animals!! More garbage in the Canal District!

Took these pics two hours ago. This is what folks see when they drive off the Route 290 off ramp to head into the Canal District.

Pathetic.

Maybe the City of Worcester needs to consider FREE garbage pickup for all. Residents and biz. Most cities do this! And look much prettier!

– Rose T.
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MFS parked in AI! From Massachusetts Farm to School


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Happy New Year! With colder weather, it can be hard to think about the local bounty from Massachusetts farms.

But this is a great time to highlight fantastic storage crops like butternut squash and sweet potatoes and think beyond produce to items that are available year-round like dairy and seafood.

… This month we’re highlighting many great learning opportunities to take advantage of this winter to prepare for farm to school success when spring arrives!

Sea to School Case Studies Released

Mass. Farm to School worked with Farm to Institution New England (FINE) to create a six-part series to look at how institutions are incorporating locally caught seafood into their meals. These case studies highlight three higher education institutions,two K-12 schools, and one hospital and provide lessons to those looking to develop a local seafood program. … In Massachusetts, see how Harvard University, Gloucester High School, and Boston Medical Center have incorporated a variety of delicious, local seafood into their menus and are supporting New England fishermen and fishing communities.

Harvest of the Month: Summer Program and Evaluation 

Harvest of the Month sign-up for summer food service sponsors is now open! … Sign-up for the school year and year-round programs will be available soon!

Get up to $12,500/School to Launch a Breakfast in the Classroom Program

Eos Foundation is offering single-year grant awards of up to $12,500 per school for those interested in rolling out Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC) in school year 2016-2017.

Districts have the opportunity to apply for larger multi-year grants to implement BIC in multiple schools.

Submit your intent to apply by February 4, 2016.

High Rates of Breakfast Participation at Your School? Your School Could Win $500!

Eos Foundation is offering $500 awards to schools in Massachusetts that reach and maintain for at least two months 80% or higher participation in the school breakfast program in the 2015-2016 school year. Applications are due February 23, 2016, by 5 pm. School Principals, in partnership with their district Food Service Director, are invited to apply. …

For more information, please call Eos at 508-430-8130508-430-8130.

CLICK HERE for more info and to visit the MASS FARM TO SCHOOL website.

You already know to adopt animals, not buy them — now take the next step

By Dan Paden
 
By now, most kind people know that the best thing we can do to help eliminate the cruel pet trade is to adopt animals from shelters, never buy them from pet stores or breeders. But once you bring your new animal companion home from the shelter, choosing where to buy supplies like dog food and cat litter is another important consideration. If you shop at big-box stores that sell live animals, you’re still indirectly supporting a greed-driven industry that views animals as disposable objects, not living, feeling beings.
 
A new PETA eyewitness exposé documented that thousands of small animals were confined to crowded bins or cages in filthy, windowless warehouses at a massive animal mill in Pennsylvania. This facility supplies animals to hundreds of pet stores across the eastern U.S., including several big-box chains.
 
Rabbits were stacked in cages with wire floors, giving their sensitive paws little, if any, relief. The cage that one lone rabbit was kept in contained a pile of feces measuring approximately 25 square inches.
 
PETA’s eyewitness saw hamsters constantly running in circles, which is often a sign of severe stress or illness. Gerbils, kept in bins in which each animal had just 6 square inches of floor space, scratched frantically at the walls. A dollar bill is 6 inches long, so that gives you an idea of how cramped these enclosures were.
 
All the buildings reeked of urine and feces. The floor of one building was also spattered with the blood of helpless animals who had apparently been torn apart by the cats who were allowed to roam freely throughout the facility. One hamster was attacked by a cat and then just left to writhe in pain and finally die on the floor.
 
Animals were also commonly given no choice but to drink from filthy, contaminated water bowls—when they had any water at all. During nearly three months at the facility, our eyewitness found hundreds of small animals dead, often in bins in which no water had been available.
 
PETA’s observer never saw any animals receive veterinary care at the facility, despite repeatedly alerting the manager to the plight of obviously sick and injured individuals. Instead, workers piled animals—from rats and gerbils to guinea pigs and even a rabbit—en masse into a feces-smeared cooler and crudely gassed them with carbon dioxide. Their screams as they were gassed to death could be heard across the room.
 
Live rats and mice were also stuffed into plastic zipper bags and put in a freezer, where they died in agony. Some rats frantically tried to claw their way out as they slowly and painfully froze to death, and several mice were still breathing after nearly 15 minutes. These animals were sold as feed for carnivorous reptiles.
 
Over a period of less than three months, this facility shipped more than 20,000 guinea pigs, hamsters and gerbils to pet stores. Mother mice were seen trying to hide their babies as workers took their newborns away to ship them to customers. Animals slated for shipping were packed into boxes the day before and left there without water overnight before being hauled away for a grueling, multi-state journey.
 
Based on PETA’s evidence, a team of U.S. Department of Agriculture officials descended on this animal mill, and the company is now under federal investigation.
 
That’s good news, but please remember that this case is hardly an anomaly: Numerous exposés of other animal dealers have revealed similar conditions. Animals will continue to languish and die in the cruel pet trade until consumers stop patronizing stores that stock live animals.

Is your dog in danger of being “flipped”?

By Lindsay Pollard-Post

Do you know where your dog is right now? If the answer is “outside” and not under your watchful eye, don’t keep reading—go get your dog. A disturbing crime called “dog flipping” is on the rise, and unattended animals are the prime targets.

“Flippers” prowl neighborhoods looking for animals they can obtain for free and then sell on sites like Craigslist. Friendly, roaming dogs and cats are flippers’ favorite victims. Some animals have even been abducted right out of their guardians’ yards.

Last December, a Texas family’s 11-year-old dog, Sushi, went missing after apparently escaping through a hole in their backyard fence. Weeks later, her family spotted an ad on Craigslist featuring a dog who looked exactly like her. But after they inquired about the dog, the ad was removed.

Another Craigslist ad appeared advertising a dog who resembled Sushi. This time, Sushi’s guardian arranged a meeting with the seller to buy the dog at a store parking lot. The dog’s fur was a different color—it had apparently been dyed—but a scan of her microchip revealed that it was indeed Sushi, who had disappeared seven months earlier. Sushi was lucky—many victims of dog flipping never see their families again.

Being torn away from the people they love and sold to strangers is just one of many perils that animals face when they are left outdoors alone. Bunchers—people who abduct animals to sell to laboratories for experiments—also cruise neighborhoods, as do dogfighters looking for animals to use as “bait.”

Unsupervised dogs and cats also make easy targets for abusers. Most of the 400-plus reports of cruelty cases that PETA receives weekly involve animals who were victimized while outside unsupervised.

Last year in Colorado, a home security camera showed a man entering a backyard and spraying three small dogs with what investigators believe was pepper spray. The man returned hours later and violently swung at one of the dogs with a golf club, chased her into the house and emerged carrying a garbage bag. The dog was never seen again.

In Washington, a dog named Butterfinger died after a neighbor allegedly shot him with a pellet gun, piercing his liver and stomach and causing hemorrhaging. According to Butterfinger’s guardians, the neighbor was upset because the dog kept going onto his property.

Poison, traffic, disease, extreme weather and many other hazards claim the lives of animals who are left outdoors every year. One homeowner in Florida called PETA because her cat, who lived outdoors, died after her home was fumigated for insects.. The cat had apparently gotten trapped under the tent that was draped over the house during the fumigation and was killed by the insecticide.

It’s crucial to protect our animal companions from the many dangers lurking outside by keeping them indoors with the rest of the family and letting them out only on a leash and harness or in a fenced area under close supervision.

Spaying or neutering our animals (which we should do anyway, given the millions of cats and dogs who must be euthanized every year for lack of a good home) can make them less attractive to flippers, who often hope to breed them. Having them microchipped and fitted with collars and identification tags can also help bring them back to us if they ever go missing.

Dogs and cats are as vulnerable as toddlers in the great outdoors. No parents in their right mind would turn their 2-year-old child loose to wander the streets alone. Letting our animal companions do so is just as risky.

No fairy-tale ending for Ringling elephants

By Jennifer O’Connor
 
In the face of growing public condemnation, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has finally conceded: It’s eliminating elephant acts this May instead of next year, bringing the lame and ailing animals some measure of relief from their days on end chained in stifling, reeking boxcars. But don’t pop the champagne corks just yet.
 
Despite Ringling’s spin on what comes next, the circus’s Florida breeding compound — where the elephants will be sent — has its own fundamental flaws. At the grandiosely named Center for Elephant Conservation (CEC), elephants are still chained on a daily basis, forced to breed (although no elephant born there will ever set foot in the wild), deprived of opportunities to interact and socialize normally, and continue to live in fear of being whacked with a bullhook or shocked with an electric prod.
 
According to the sworn testimony of the general manager of the CEC, some elephants at the facility are routinely chained on concrete floors for up to 23 hours a day.

They are typically chained by two legs—one hind leg and one foreleg—which prevents them from taking more than a step or two in any direction.

These keenly social animals, who need contact and interaction with other elephants, have little opportunity to engage in the activities that give their lives meaning. The general manager also testified that pregnant elephants at the CEC are chained by two or three legs for at least two weeks prior to their due dates.
 
During a court-ordered inspection of the CEC, an elephant-care specialist observed that elephants spent so much time chained that they had worn grooves into the concrete floor. 
 
Chaining on hard surfaces makes elephants prone to arthritis, infection and psychological stress and can ultimately lead to premature death.

Chained elephants often sway back and forth like manic metronomes and repeatedly shift their weight from one foot to another in a desperate attempt to cope.
 
In another chilling revelation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that the CEC is awash in tuberculosis (TB), calling it “[t]he facility with the highest incidence of TB in their elephants,” and as a result, the CEC has been the subject of a series of government-mandated quarantines.

TB is highly transmissible from elephants to humans, even without direct contact. Just last month, two Ringling workers were barred from performing in Indianapolis after testing positive for possible TB. Seven employees at the Oregon Zoo contracted TB from three elephants in their care in 2013, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
 
The CEC’s goal is to try to ensure a steady supply of captive elephants for circuses and now, more recently, zoos.

CEC veterinarian Dr. Dennis Schmitt admitted under oath that the CEC has no intention of introducing elephants into the wild. And Ringling recklessly breeds elephants years before they are mature. Wild Asian elephants don’t normally have their first calves until they are 18 to 20 years old. But Shirley, for example, gave birth to her first calf at the CEC when she was just 8 years old, followed by two more at ages 11 and 17. At least four baby elephants born at the CEC have died.
 
Elephants who have endured years of suffering while earning Ringling millions of dollars deserve better—including rehabilitation for both their physical and their psychological troubles.

This will not happen at the CEC.

It could happen at the two accredited elephant sanctuaries in the U.S., the Performing Animal Welfare Society in California and The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. That’s where these elephants belong.