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By Martin Mersereau
Dogs have been disappearing in Idaho. One dog, named Bean, was found shot dead and left near a canal. A hiker found another dog in a canyon, covered with a sheet and apparently beaten to death. Two other dogs, Gauge and Mac, went missing and were later found shot to death on a neighbor’s property. Two dogs were believed to have been abducted from a fenced backyard. A small dog who was let outside to relieve himself hasn’t been seen since. Rumors are swirling that dozens of other missing dogs may have been abducted, shot or used as “bait” in dogfighting rings.
If your animal companions are snoozing at your feet or curled up on your lap right now, good. But if they’re outside alone, don’t keep reading—go get them. As the Idaho residents whose dogs have disappeared or been killed have learned the hard way, leaving animals outdoors unattended—even for “just a minute” in a fenced yard—is irresponsible and an invitation to tragedy.
We all want to believe that our neighborhoods are safe, but in my work, I have seen that every community is full of dangers for dogs and cats. Most of the 400-plus cruelty cases that PETA receives weekly involve animals who were victimized while outside unsupervised. In Volusia County, Fla., for example, a cat who usually roamed the neighborhood at night was found one morning sliced in two. The front half of his body was in his owner’s backyard, and his intestines were in the front yard.
Friendly cats and dogs are also the favored victims of bunchers—people who cruise neighborhoods, picking up animals in order to sell them to laboratories for experiments—and dogfighters looking for free “bait” to train dogs to attack. In Buchanan, Ga., two dogs who were kept outdoors on chains were believed to have been abducted by a neighbor and used as dogfighting “bait.” One dog was returned paralyzed, and the other was found dead on a neighbor’s lawn.
It’s also not unusual for cruel neighbors with short fuses to take matters into their own hands. In Enola, Pa., a cat who was allowed to roam went missing. Five days later, the cat’s owner discovered him dead in her trashcan. A neighbor had previously warned her that he was sick of her cat using his yard as a litterbox.
In Frenchtown Charter Township, Mich., a man pleaded no contest to attempted animal killing or torture for leaving out meat spiked with sharp objects to stop a neighbor’s dog from coming onto his property. The dog, named Jinx, ate the meat and had to be euthanized because of his injuries. There is no excuse for harming animals—and animal abusers must be prosecuted—but people who leave their animal companions outdoors unattended share in the blame when their animals meet gruesome fates.
Cruel people aren’t the only dangers lurking outdoors. Every day, animals are injured or killed in traffic, poisoned and attacked by other animals. Chained dogs are especially vulnerable because they have no way to escape from aggressive roaming animals.
Just as responsible parents would never let their 2-year-old wander freely around the neighborhood, we shouldn’t leave our animals to take their chances outdoors, either. We can keep our animal companions safe by keeping them indoors and allowing them outdoors only on a harness and leash, under our constant watchful eye. That way, we’ll never have to wonder whether our animals are safe, and we won’t ever be haunted by the regret of having allowed something terrible to happen because we failed to protect them.
By Heather Moore
It was practically impossible to turn on the television in 2012 without hearing a whole lot of political bickering. And when the news wasn’t dominated by presidential campaign coverage, it was filled with devastating stories about mass shootings, natural disasters, deadly factory fires and other heartbreaking events. So it was easy to miss the positive things that happened in 2012. But if you look back on the year, you’ll see that a great deal of progress was made for those whose interests are often overlooked—animals—and that there are plenty of reasons to be hopeful about 2013.
Just a few months ago, for example, the Los Angeles City Council banned pet stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits obtained from commercial breeders. They can now offer animals only from shelters, a measure that will help countless homeless animals find loving homes. Los Angeles also passed a resolution encouraging residents to eat vegetarian meals at least one day a week, making it the largest city yet to endorse “Meatless Monday.”
It’s now easy to find animal-friendly vegan options in other cities and at popular venues, too. The Daytona International Speedway served veggie dogs at the 2012 Coke Zero NASCAR race, giving vegetarian fans a reason to cheer. Starbucks promised to use a plant-based colorant instead of insect extracts in its drinks, and many popular restaurants, including Taco Bell and Subway, added vegan options to their menus in 2012. Click to continue »
The Housing Report (for the City of Worcester) is not ready. Should be coming out around Oct. 18. – R. T.
Starving monkeys won’t help humans live longer
By Alka Chandna, Ph.D.
Since the late 1980s, experimenters at the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the University of Wisconsin–Madison have isolated monkeys in tiny barren cages and kept them chronically underfed—giving them a whopping 30 percent fewer calories than they needed—to see if this would make the animals live longer. Now, more than two decades later, the NIA experimenters report that 20-plus years of unrelieved deprivation had no effect on the monkeys’ life spans.
This hideous experiment may not have extended the animals’ lives, but it certainly made their pitifully caged lives more miserable.
While it is always unethical to confine and kill animals for experimentation, condemning smart, social animals to a lifetime of hunger and isolation, just to prove a point, is especially egregious. It’s time for these so-called “caloric-restriction”—read, “starvation”—experiments to end and for the government to stop paying for this cruelty.
Primates are extremely intelligent animals who form intricate relationships, experience the same wide range of emotions as we do and exhibit a capacity for suffering similar to that of humans. And like us, rhesus macaque monkeys—the species used in the starvation experiments—are highly social animals who need companionship in order to thrive.
In their natural homes, these gregarious animals live in multigenerational troops with up to 200 other monkeys. They spend their days traveling miles through lush forest terrain and grooming one another. In the caloric-restriction experiments, they are confined alone in metal cages so small that they can take only a step or two in any given direction. Most likely, they will die in these cages. The cheap plastic toys and scratched mirrors commonly given to monkeys in laboratories as “environmental enrichment” are poor substitutes for the companionship of another living being.
Rhesus monkeys also have impressive intellectual abilities. They can count, use tools, communicate complex information and express empathy, and they possess a sense of fairness—something that many experimenters seem to lack.
In one particularly horrible experiment, described in Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan’s book Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, macaques were fed only if they pulled a chain that electrically shocked another monkey, whose agony was in plain view through a one-way mirror. The majority of the monkeys preferred to go hungry rather than pulling the chain. One refused to eat for 14 days.
Sadly, these astonishing traits have not saved monkeys from being abused in laboratories.
When the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s experiments were first made public in 2009, PETA filed complaints with both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the university’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. Our concerns were dismissed, and the monkeys remain in their barren cages, waiting to die.
Even if the results of the starvation experiments had turned out differently, if the researchers had discovered that chronic deprivation prolongs life, so what? What difference would it make? When most of us eat too much rather than too little, is it realistic to expect that people will voluntarily go hungry—not for weeks or months but for years and decades—even if it means adding a few years to their lives?
Previous studies have shown us that being obese can shorten a person’s life span by as much as a decade and that the cholesterol, saturated fat and toxins in meat and fish increase the risk of early death. According to the American Cancer Society, one-third of all cancer deaths in the United States can be attributed to nutritional factors. And still we gorge ourselves on meat, dairy products, sugar, soda and heavily processed foods and wonder why we get sick.
We already know how to improve our health and prevent many of the ills often associated with aging. Locking up animals for decades in cruel and pointless experiments is not the answer.
from the editor: Here’s a message from our animal rights pals. To learn everything you need to know about circuses and their cruelty to exotic animals (lions, tigers, elephants, etc), please go to: http://www.peta.org/features/circuses-hurt-animals.aspx:
We are organizing a demonstration at Ringling Bros.’ opening-night performance in Worcester on Wednesday, October 3.
We are currently planning to hold a daytime demonstration on October 3 from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Massachusetts Animal Rights Coalition (MARC) and local animal rights activists are planning a daytime demonstration for Saturday, October 6.
We also need volunteers to leaflet at all of Ringling’s shows in Worcester (October 3 through October 8). Organizing a demonstration is easy, and I’ll help you every step of the way!
These are the dates and times of Ringling’s performances in Worcester (the dates and times of existing demonstrations are also noted):
Wednesday, October 3—There will be a PETA demonstration from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Wednesday, October 3, 7 p.m. (opening-night performance)—We need an organizer.
Thursday, October 4, 7 p.m.—We need an organizer.
Friday, October 5, 7 p.m.—We need an organizer.
Saturday, October 6—There will be a MARC demonstration from 1 to 3:15 p.m.
Saturday, October 6, 7 p.m.—We need an organizer.
Sunday, October 7, 3 p.m.—We need an organizer.
Monday, October 8, 3 p.m.—We need an organizer.
Your presence will make a world of difference to frightened baby elephants who are cruelly bound with ropes and wrestled into confusing and physically difficult positions in order to teach them circus “tricks.” As they scream, cry, and struggle, they are stretched out, slammed to the ground, struck with bullhooks, and shocked with electric prods.
Please let me know if you can help, and I’ll be happy to send you free leaflets and/or signs so that you can get the news out to your community about the circus’s abuse. And feel free to forward this message to your friends and family!
You can contact me at AdamM@peta.org or 323-210-2210 or on Facebook. I look forward to hearing from you.
Thanks so much!
By Jennifer O’Connor
Recently, a powerful lobby spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to defeat a bill that would have enhanced public safety, safeguarded the environment and curtailed cruelty to animals. Who is this giant wielding such influence? BP? The NRA? Halliburton? Nope, it’s none other than the U.S. Association of Reptile Keepers, which fought a bill that would have made some species of dangerous snakes illegal to import and sell. The group griped and hyped for three years until the list was gutted by more than half—four species have been banned rather than nine.
The ban will stop imports and interstate commerce in Burmese pythons (who, as a new study shows, are eating their way through Florida’s Everglades), yellow anacondas and northern and southern African pythons. Yet anyone can still go out and buy, breed, sell and trade in boa constrictors, reticulated pythons and three other species of anaconda.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar—whose job it is to protect our natural resources, not animal dealers—unabashedly defended the watered-down version of the bill, assuring Americans that the compromise wouldn’t “suffocate” commerce. Click to continue »
We usually don’t do this, but having had scores of cats, four dogs (including my present best bud, “Jett” the husky mix), three turtles, two newts, one guinea pig, two hamsters, two feral cat colonies (for 10 years!), and one very elegant grey and white mouse named ”GiGi,” we run these adorable photos.
Please boycott circuses, adopt homeless dogs and critters, go vegan or vegetarian (like I did – except for fish), and bug govt officials to change laws/enact better ones, re: animals! Learn more at PETA.org!
- R. T.
Massachusetts Ranks Fourth in Country, Ties with Illinois
WASHINGTON―The Humane Society of the United States, the nation’s largest animal protection organization, has released its third annual “Humane State Ranking,” a comprehensive report rating all 50 states and Washington D.C. on a wide range of animal protection laws, including animal cruelty codes, equine protection standards, wildlife issues, animals in research and farm animal policy.
Earning the highest scores are California (first place), New Jersey and Oregon (tied for second place), and Illinois and Massachusetts (tied for fourth).
“Massachusetts has a proud history of animal protection. The Commonwealth was the first state in America to pass animal cruelty legislation. Click to continue »
By Heather Moore
2011 was tough—when people weren’t bemoaning budget cuts, lining up outside job fairs or fretting over the stagnant housing market, they were listening to worrisome news about the war in Afghanistan, political shootings and natural disasters. But things weren’t all bad. There were signs of progress and reasons to be positive, especially when it comes to issues that impact animals. As we head into the new year, let’s reflect upon some of the things that made 2011 memorable for animals.
Eight of the nation’s largest financial institutions, including MetLife, Goldman Sachs, PNC Financial and U.S. Bank, stopped using glue traps after People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) explained that animals who get stuck in them often suffocate and die slowly. The Social Security Administration, Georgia Institute of Technology and Toronto District School Board—the fourth-largest school district in North America—also agreed to use more humane methods of rodent control.
While this is hardly revolutionary, it is indicative of a larger social movement to reform practices that harm animals. Many people are now less likely to accept activities that cause suffering—and it shows in our laws and business practices.
In 2011, West Hollywood became the first city in the U.S. to ban the sale of fur. City council members in Toronto and Irvine, Calif., banned the sale of cats and dogs in pet stores. Rodeos and circuses that feature exotic animals were also prohibited in Irvine, and Fulton County—the most populous municipality in Georgia—banned the use of bullhooks, sharp steel-tipped devices that are commonly used to beat, jab or yank on elephants.
The American Zoological Association (AZA) announced that bullhooks will be forbidden at all AZA-accredited zoos by 2014. The Toronto Zoo decided to close its elephant exhibit and send its remaining elephants to a facility that does not use bullhooks. And the U.S. Department of Agriculture slapped Feld Entertainment, the owner of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which routinely uses bullhooks to “discipline” captive elephants, with a $270,000 fine—the largest settlement of its kind in U.S. history—for repeated violations of the Animal Welfare Act.
Also in 2011, eight top advertising agencies pledged never again to feature great apes—who are often torn away from their mothers shortly after birth and beaten in order to force them to perform on cue—in their advertisements. Capital One pulled an ad featuring a chimpanzee and pledged not to use nonhuman primates in its advertisements again. The blockbuster film Rise of the Planet of the Apes featured CGI animation to create realistic-looking apes without exploiting and abusing animals.
U.S. Army officials announced that monkeys will no longer be used in a cruel chemical nerve-agent attack training course at Aberdeen Proving Ground. The University of Michigan, Primary Children’s Medical Center in Salt Lake City and Naval Medical Center San Diego began using sophisticated simulators instead of live cats for intubation training. And the world’s largest tea-maker, Unilever—maker of Lipton and PG tips—stopped experimenting on pigs and other animals just so that it could make health claims about its tea.
Aspen, Colo., became the first city in the U.S. to launch a comprehensive Meatless Monday campaign—local restaurants, schools, hospitals and businesses are now promoting plant-based meals on Mondays. The board of commissioners in Durham County, N.C., also signed a “Meatless Mondays” resolution, and several more celebrities, including Russell Brand, Eliza Dushku and Ozzy Osbourne, went vegan in 2011. The Rev. Al Sharpton also ditched meat from his diet.
Many of these developments were brought about, at least in part, by PETA, but everyone can bring about change simply by resolving to be kinder, greener and healthier in the coming year. By taking simple steps such as buying cruelty-free products, choosing meatless meals, wearing animal-friendly fashions and enjoying animal-free entertainment, we can all help make 2012 even better than 2011.
Heather Moore is a staff writer for the PETA Foundation.
Christmas Tree Lighting at Kelley Square!
December 2, Friday, 5:30 PM
Meet and have your photo taken with Santa, take a Wagon Ride, sing carols with District 4 City Councilor Barbara Haller and State Rep. John Fresolo, and enjoy yummy refreshments!
If you have a chance, please stop by the Boys and Girls Club of Worcester at 65 Tainter St. this Friday December 2, from 5 pm – 6:30 pm. The Brothers of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. will be co-sponsoring a KWANZAA CELEBRATION of FAMILY, COMMUNITY AND CULTURE!
There will be refreshments.
Some animal rights issues our elected officials should think about supporting
By Deb Young
Bringing Humane Education into our schools
There was the incident on Canterbury Street where it is believed children with pellet guns shot / killed 3 kittens and 1 adult cat.
What can come out of this tragedy?
Well, Private Citizens for Pets in Peril has started to get the word out on teaching children respect for animals.
It would be helpful if the Worcester Public Schools had a program regarding animal abuse and the impact it has on our society. Kids learn from the adults in their lives and unless someone sets a good example for the children and teaches them to have empathy, and that it is not acceptable to abuse animals, they will continue to think it is the normal way of life. Click to continue »