Category Archives: Animal Issues

Animal experiments are morally ‘unthinkable’

By Justin Goodman

Last month, Nobel laureate J.M. Coetzee and more than 150 other leading thinkers endorsed a comprehensive report on animal experimentation by the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics that concludes that the practice is “unthinkable” and that “[i]n terms of harm, pain, suffering, and death, this constitutes one of the major moral issues of our time.”

This report should be required reading for the entire scientific community. With a growing majority of the public now opposed to experimentation on animals, mounting evidence that the results from animal experiments rarely help humans, the existence of superior new technologies such as human-organs-on-chips and, perhaps most importantly, our undeniable awareness of other animals’ striking intelligence and emotional capacity, experimenters must stop viewing animals as mere tools for humans’ use and embrace non-animal research methods.

Even though we now know that animals from mice to monkeys experience not just pain but also fear, distress, loneliness, love and joy—in other words, the same wide range of emotions that humans do—more than 100 million animals continue to be locked alone inside barren laboratory cages, burned in painful tests, force-fed toxic chemicals, subjected to crippling surgeries, infected with viruses, traumatized in psychological experiments and deprived of nearly everything that makes life worth living..

For example, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) continues to breed baby monkeys to suffer from mental illness, tear them away from their distraught mothers at birth, lock them inside tiny cages all alone and subject them to cruel experiments in which they’re tormented with fake snakes, blasted with loud noises and terrified by masked humans.

Extremely social and intelligent beings, the traumatized monkeys—like human victims of torture—suffer from severe anxiety, depression, hair loss and other physical and mental illnesses and engage in self-destructive behavior such as biting themselves and pulling out their own hair. Not surprisingly, Dr. Jane Goodall and countless other experts in primate behavior and human psychology have joined PETA in calling for this to end.

The Department of Defense (DOD) still stabs, shoots and blows up thousands of pigs in archaic medical training exercises, even though its own studies show that modern simulators teach lifesaving battlefield medical skills better than mutilating animals does. The DOD banned the use of dogs for these violent training drills more than 30 years ago yet continues to maim pigs even though they suffer just as much and are just as smart, friendly and playful. Cambridge University’s Dr. Donald Broom has stated that “[pigs] have the cognitive ability to be quite sophisticated. Even more so than dogs and certainly [more so than human] three-year-olds.”

And countless rats and mice are still being burned and poisoned in unreliable and archaic chemical and personal-product tests, even though modern non-animal testing methods are more accurate, fast and economical. A big part of the problem is that the interests of these diminutive beings are unfairly written off because of their size, but—like humans—they wince when they’re hurt, giggle when they’re tickled, care deeply for their young and don’t hesitate to rescue their friends, and even strangers, when they’re in distress.

According to the Oxford Centre report, “The deliberate and routine abuse of innocent, sentient animals involving harm, pain, suffering, stressful confinement, manipulation, trade, and death should be unthinkable. Yet animal experimentation is just that: the ‘normalisation of the unthinkable.'” Indeed, treating other thinking, feeling animals like disposable laboratory equipment is unscientific, ignorant and inexcusable.

We can all help science move away from morally “unthinkable” experimentation on animals by refusing to buy cosmetics and household products that were tested on animals, boycotting health charities that fund experiments on animals and  urging our lawmakers to redirect the billions of dollars they devote to cruel and ineffective animal studies each year to ethical, cutting-edge non-animal research.

Cherish the bunnies!!!! LOVE = Jesus

Franny just sent us these bunny pics!

Stella, Greta and Linus celebrating Easter with a fantastic breakfast! Timothy hay for dessert!

These guys are spayed/neutered, litter-box trained, indoor, (daytime) free-roamin’ , beautifully socialized family pets who are owned by a loving family that has done its rabbit homework! They’re rescued rabbits (try saying that fast 5 times!) who needed to be adopted and who are now sooooo happy in their forever home!  … Did you know: When rabbits are ecstatic they jump for joy?! Hop high into the air, as if they were clicking their heels! Rabbit lovers call this leap to the heavens a binky!!!  – R. T.

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All gone!!!!

Franny also sent me this page, from today’s BOSTON GLOBE MAGAZINE!  A big binky thank you to The Boston Globe!

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HAPPY EASTER! Whether or not you believe he rose from the grave is a god/God (I don’t) IT IS STILL JESUS’ DAY – A GUY SO RADICAL, COOL, LOVING, BRAVE THAT A WHOLE WORLD RELIGION SPRANG UP around him. Still going strong because of Jesus and his LAST-SHALL-BE-FIRST teachings and his love for all – especially the reprehensible. No wonder he was crucified.

But TODAY the WORLD says JESUS AND HIS LIFE LIVE!!!!!!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9N6mp11PBcY&feature=youtube_gdata_player

This Easter let’s give rabbits a break!

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Rosalie’s gal pal Franny loves bunnies – volunteers at a rabbit rescue league – the HOUSE RABBIT NETWORK! Franny says people buy bunnies during Easter then don’t care for them properly … or dump the poor little guys in animal shelters or, foolishly!, the woods. Franny, her four kids and husband have opened their beautiful home to rabbits! They’ve found the time in their busy lives to foster-parent several abused/abandoned rabbits, and they’ve adopted three. Here are two of their bunnies: cutie pies Stella (grey bunny) and Greta!!!!!

To learn more about Franny’s rabbit rescue group, the HOUSE RABBIT NETWORK, CLICK HERE!

Go, Franny, go!!!!       – R. T.

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By Kendall Bryant

Easter is almost upon us, or as we in the sheltering world say, “Brace yourselves—it’s rabbit season.” I’ve rescued rabbits for 10 years, and I volunteer in the small-animal room at my local shelter. And every spring, it seems as though, for many cast-off Peter Cottontails, the bunny trail leads straight to our door.

While most of us consider cute, scampering rabbits to be one of the quintessential signs of spring, it can be a tough time for many of them. The ways in which we inadvertently cause them to suffer—for everything from fur to floor cleaner—would make any bunny hopping mad.

Let’s start with the Easter Bunny. Every year, breeders and bunny mills churn out irresistible baby rabbits for parents to put in their children’s Easter baskets. And every year, for several weeks after Easter, shelter workers take in a deluge of these same rabbits—after they have chewed through electrical wires, books, baseboards, doorjambs and all the Easter lilies.

What breeders and pet stores often fail to mention as they’re ringing up those fluffy little bundles of Easter joy is that rabbits, like all animals, have some particular needs. They chew incessantly (their teeth never stop growing), and they have special dietary needs (think less lettuce, more hay). They require constant mental stimulation and space to run around in, and they get depressed when confined to a cage. They can live for up to 12 years.

So, when Bugs turns out to be more work than parents bargained for, he usually finds himself tossed out like a stale Peep. He might be dropped off at an animal shelter, relegated to a cage outside or simply turned loose in the wild, where he won’t stand a chance against starvation, harsh weather and predators.

But buying bunnies on a whim and then abandoning them once reality sets in is just one way that we cause them to suffer.

Many of the fur accessories, trim and jackets that you see in stores are made from rabbit fur because it’s often cheaper than other animals’ skins. Rabbits on fur farms spend their entire lives confined to tiny, filthy metal cages and often have their necks broken while they’re still conscious and able to feel pain. On angora farms, rabbits scream and writhe in pain as workers tear the fur out of their skin. I couldn’t wear a coat made of rabbits any more than I could wear one made of golden retrievers.

Rabbits’ mild manner and the ease with which they breed also make them a favorite victim of experimenters, who use them to test chemical products, burning their skin with noxious chemicals and dripping substances into their eyes, even though superior non-animal testing methods are readily available.

And it should go without saying, but anyone who cares at all about rabbits shouldn’t eat them. The House Rabbit Society and other rabbit advocates have been fervently protesting outside stores that sell rabbit meat.

We humans have long had a hard time thinking straight about other animals—we keep some as “pets” while serving up others on our plates—and our treatment of rabbits shows just how schizophrenic our relationship with other species can be.

So this Easter, let’s give rabbits a break by vowing not to wear them, eat them or buy cosmetics or household products that were tested on them. (You can check to see if a company is cruelty-free by using PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies searchable database.) And if you’re really ready to give a rabbit a lifetime of care, hop on down to your local humane society or rabbit rescue group to adopt one—preferably right after Easter.

March 31- César Chávez Day

From PETA.ORG:

By Jessika Lauren

Kindness and compassion towards all living beings is a mark of a civilized society. … Racism, economic deprival, dog fighting and cock fighting, bullfighting and rodeos are all cut from the same defective fabric: violence. Only when we have become nonviolent towards all life will we have learned to live well ourselves.” — César Chávez

César Chávez Day (March 31) marks the annual celebration of the civil rights leader’s birth and his tireless efforts in leading the historic nonviolent movement for farmworkers’ rights, while motivating campesinos and supporters alike to commit themselves to social, economic, and civil rights activism. Chávez’s legacy continues to educate, inspire, and empower people from all walks of life.

Inspired by the principles of nonviolence practiced by Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Chávez succeeded through peaceful tactics such as boycotts, pickets, strikes, and fasting. In early 1968, in an effort to rededicate the farmworker movement to nonviolence, Chávez embarked on his famous 25-day fast, subsequently becoming a strict vegetarian and remaining one for the rest of his life.

Although it’s less widely known, Chávez was passionate about animal rights and vegetarianism. Marc Grossman, Chávez’s longtime press secretary, speechwriter, and personal aide, told PETA Latino, “César was a devoted proselytizer; I think he took almost as much personal satisfaction from converting people to vegetarianism as trade unionism.”

On César Chávez Day, many people pay tribute to his legacy with a day of service to the community. There are countless opportunities to be of service in your community as well as to be a voice for animals. You can help bring about a more just and compassionate world by volunteering at an animal shelter, starting a community garden, or educating people by sharing leaflets and other materials on animal and human rights issues.

I became a vegetarian after realizing that animals feel afraid, cold, hungry and unhappy like we do. I feel very deeply about vegetarianism and the animal kingdom. It was my dog Boycott who led me to question the right of humans to eat other sentient beings.”
— César Chávez

Most importantly, consider choosing a vegan diet, which honors Chávez’s commitment to nonviolence to all beings. If you’re already vegan, cook a plant-based meal for coworkers, friends, or family and discuss with them the benefits of going vegan. And pause to think about where your food comes from and to appreciate the fruits of the labor of farmworkers, who make possible the abundance of fresh produce that nourishes us.

Chávez’s nonviolent approach to activism is as relevant today as it was during his lifetime. We can pay tribute to him on this day and every day by working to protect the rights of all beings, including animals. Whenever we speak up against the oppression of animals who are suffering on factory farms, in laboratories, at the end of a chain, or in a circus or rodeo, we honor his commitment to social justice, welfare, and compassion.

The underlying principle behind Chávez’s motto—”¡Sí, se puede!” (“Yes, we can!”)—in response to injustice is never to give up. If we truly want to honor his inspirational life, we need to carry on his values by continuing to educate the public about the unjust ways in which animals are exploited, while remaining active in the struggle to protect their rights. Together, we can make a difference for all animals.

Peeps! It’s Easter! … and an April update …

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April – March 29, 2015.

But first, an update ….

Meow, meow, insulin, meow! WOW!

By Rosalie Tirella

Rosalie’s April will be celebrating Easter – happy and cute – with Rose this spring! April, almost 14 years old, very much a senior kitty, was diagnosed with diabetes a month ago, and her future seemed uncertain. But Rose couldn’t let April go … she so loves April’s blatant adorableness! Her huge oven mitt double paws, the way she begs for a smidgen of butter at the breakfast table … the way she comes when she’s called and knows NO – two commands Jett, Rose’s husky mix, has yet to master. Plus, April was Rose’s late mom’s cat, and you all know how deeply Rose loved her late mom. Why, the late Mrs. Tirella is practically Rose’s muse!

Thank God for the always ugly and depressing Wal-Mart! Rose pushed for a good insulin deal with the veterinarian and gets April’s insulin cheapo at the Wal-Mart pharmacy. Plus a box-load of syringes! The squeamish Rose has donned her Florence Nightingale cap and learned how to give the subcutaneous shot to April, who’s oblivious to the prick of the needle if she’s busy eating a plate full of that horrible, messy canned cat food that she needs to eat now and that Rose always avoided because dry cat food is so muss-free and canned cat food is so icky …. Now Rose needs to buy Friskies canned mariners plate, salmon surprise, poultry platter, ocean surprise and all the other cans of doctored up cow puss pockets/ waste. For years!

It was funny. The day Rose was to give April her first insulin shot, she rang up InCity Times writer and Worcester City Councilor at Large candidate Ron O’Clair and asked him to come over for moral support.  She had never given anyone a needle! She was afraid she’d accidentally kill her cat!

Well, the always true blue pal Ron came down from Main South, with a new boarder from the rooming house he manages: a huge guy from Boston, built like a small tank. ROCKY.

“Hi! This is Rocky!” shouted Ron to Rose as he and Rocky barged into Rose’s home, all solicitous good cheer. It was only 11 p.m.

“Rocky?” Rose said.

“Rocky!” Ron said. “He used to be a body guard!  Whitey Bulger killed his brother! Then his other brother killed himself over the fact!”

Ron said this as if you would say: HAPPY SPRING! LET’S HAVE SOME LEMONADE!

Rose looked at the huge, quiet Rocky. She made note of his big, misshapen head, the large skull ring on his fat finger, his pug Irish sad face … and her heart broke.

“Rocky knows all about diabetes! ” Ron bellowed.

Rose looked upset…

Rocky reassured her. He said, sweetly, to Rose: “My grandmother was a diabetic. I used to give her her shots. … Here, let me …”

Rose had had a long day. She didn’t even think she could draw the insulin out of the little bottle. Her hand was shaking so as she held the syringe!

“Ok,” she said to Rocky, not knowing where to turn but turning to him. “Let me draw the insulin first.”

Rose gently rocked the little bottle of insulin, cold from being refrigerated, so as to not create air bubbles in the medicine. Just like the vet said. Then she put the needle in the little bottle, put it all upside down, and pulled the syringe’s little plunger down to the third little black line/calibration on the syringe. There!  Two units of insulin! Just what the doctor ordered!

She gave the needle to the hulking Rocky who, ever so gingerly, while Ron held April on the dining room table, lifted April’s skin between her shoulder blades and quick as lightening put the needle in her skin and depressed the plunger, giving April her maiden insulin shot!

Done!

Rose put April down in front of a big dish of canned cat food.

While April was eating, Rocky went over to her and gently massaged the spot he had pricked with the needle. “Massage it in … ” he said, giving April a nice little rub down with his massive, tattoo-covered fingers.

Rose smiled at Rocky’s gentleness. She looked at Rocky and thought: he’s had a hard run, his whole life, this street guy. In recovery now. His granny’s best boy! Rose wondered if Rocky could read. He seemed like a huge, big kid. Someone who might follow someone bad, if shown a little kindness. She wondered if maybe Rocky had boxed, like so many in the Winterhill gang or in its periphery, and had not liked it one bit. Who had he had to punch to protect his guy? It was his job, after all.

“THANK YOU, ROCKY!” Rose said, shaking herself out of her thoughts and smiling.  “Thank you!” And she gave Rocky a BIG HUG! She held on for awhile! And she gave Ronny a hug, too!

Then the big guys left her big inner city apartment and noisily made their way down the stairs into the cold night.

The next day Rose bought a chocolate Easter bunny, a colorful ceramic breakfast bowl, spoons and some instant oatmeal and put it all in a colorful gift bag for Rocky. An Easter thank-you gift for her new friend!

Rose will be giving April  her insulin shot 2 x a day – for the rest of April’s life. She thinks it is GREAT that April got her first shot under such extraordinarily special circumstances.

Happy Easter, April!

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EASTER YUM YUMS!

We can’t wait to hit our friend/family Easter feast (with plenty of vegan options, of course) this Sunday!

Need some ideas for your Easter spread? Here are some bread and dessert recipes from The New York Times – the greatest newspaper on the planet!

To see more recipes … CLICK HERE! – R. T.