Tag Archives: animals

February ramblings!💐🌸🌻🎂

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Go, Dorrie, go!

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Dorrie does NOT wear fur – she just models it! 🐯🐶🐵🐸

By Dorrie Maynard

First, I would like to talk about my vehicle. I call it the bat mobile. Others sometimes refer to it as the Giving Van. It is beginning to be known around Worcester as the vehicle that hands out pet food on some days and necessitates to the less fortunate on other days.

It is a vehicle that is hard not to miss – a 2007 Black Toyota FJ Cruiser. I was the first person in Worcester to own one. I happened to be driving by
HarrToyota and they had one on
display. I went in with a few
friends. We had all decided that I
wasn’t buying, just looking. After I took it for a test drive, I asked: “Where do I sign?” I filled out the paperwork and waited for my “special order” to come in. It was the first new car I had ever purchased! I was so excited and, because it was so unique looking, every time I drove it, people would look and point! I vowed to keep it clean always!

Well, to those who know me, you know that never happened! My “truck” is always filled with things that are either coming or going. Almost every family member of mine has cleaned and/orsorted that vehicle out at least once. My nieces have done it several times. To people who don’t know me: if you ever happen to walk by my truck, you will think that someone is living in there
or living out of there! There are bags of bread, pet food, blankets, hats/gloves, “blessing bags,” chargers, and just general “stuff.”

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Dorrie’s cutie pies!

People call me all the time and tell me that they have things they need to get rid and ask if I could come and
get them, as they know I will always find homes for whatever they are getting rid of. I drive regularly to Shrewsbury and have driven to Auburn a few times in
the past month. I love sorting things and making gift packages of items that are going to various locations. I
bring things to Abby’s House for women, the Mustard Seed soup kitchen, …

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At a fund-raiser outside the glorious Mustard Seed for Dorrie’s CENTRAL MASS KIBBLE CONNECTION!!!

… WARL, a private, in-home cat rescue, a dog shelter in Connecticut. I also give to people that I know personally who are in need.

I am very fortunate that people who know me, know that I have this ability to “spread the love” or “share the wealth.” I hate to see things end up in the
trash or at the side of the road when I probably know someone who can use whatever is being re-homed.

I am considering starting a small non-profit that would enable me to pick up items from people and give them tax donation slips for their goods. At home I have a very large basement – I could start to warehouse items. I would run a free service to those in need and free pick up or drop off to people who want to just pass along their good, useable items.

Items would include but not
be limited to: household items, small furniture, linens, pots/pans, clothing, small appliances, etc. Of course, stipulations would have to be made: all items would need to be in clean, workable condition, as I would not
want to have to end up having to hire a dumpster to remove items that I could not pass on. … Just something
that I am thinking about as the 2017 begins.

Some other thoughts that are dancing in my head: all the pets that were adopted over the holidays that hopefully won’t end up back where they came
from or worse!

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Dorrie adopted these beauties …

… and has given Rose’s little Cece so many cute toys! Thanks, Auntie D!

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pics: R.T.

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Like Craigslist “free” to a good home. I
am confident that most animal rescues and shelters do their best to make sure these “failures” are few and far between, but I am sure there are some that cats and dogs that slip through
the cracks.

Several years ago,I had been looking for another dog after my first dog passed away, so I put it out there to all my friends that I was on the hunt. I was looking for an older, small female to be a companion to my other dog. A friend emailed me about a craigslist ad, “free to a good home.” The dog seemed perfect other than they described her as “protective.” I remember calling the
woman and begging her to keep the dog until I could get there to meet her. She mentioned that she had had several other calls that said they would just “take the dog.” I wanted to bring my current dog for a meet and greet to see if they would be comptable.

It was a Friday night drive to Dorchester in the middle ofrush hour. It took me 2.5 hours to get there. I got
lost several times and was ready to give up when the very kind woman offered to start walking to meet me. She described what she was wearing and I described
my “bat mobile” to her. We eventually met up and she directed me to her
house. When we arrived, I walked in and Princess attacked me, nipped my pants and practically lunged at my dog. I thought: This isn’t good, but I was patient and kept trying to get Princess to come near me. She was so attached to her owner and her kids, but they were moving and could not take her as their new lease did not allow dogs. I ended up saying, “What the heck, I’ll take
her and make it work!” I did give the woman $100 as she looked
like she could use it to help with moving expenses.

I brought Princess into my house and she has lived up to her name ever since!

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Princess is still “protective” and does not like strangers, especially men, but once guests are in my home and she knows the are “safe,” she does come around. I have no idea what her past was like, I know that I am her third and final owner, that she had been
“bred” and had had several litters. I guess that is why she gets along so well with my 3 year old dog that was
another rehoming find. They play like puppies even though Princess is 11 years old! They sleep together, play together, and eat together. I have found my pack!

Last and final rant. The streets of Worcester then and now. Many people know that I owned and operated a very “iconic” store on Highland Street. It was once known as the famous Shakie Jakes. I was there and loved
every minute of my owning my own business for 10 years, directly across the street from the Sole Proprietor.

It was a perfect spot for my business. I had always dreamed of running a resale shop but always found a million reasons why I couldn’t or shouldn’t. However,
when the opportunity came my way of following in the foot steps of such a landmark store, I had no more reasons
why I couldn’t.

However, owning and operating a small business is not all it is cracked up to be. Times change, my life
changed, other responsibilities became more important and, eventually, I decided to close shop. I will never regret following my dream of owning a resale store!

Unfortunately, the neighborhood changed, and the clientele started to become less and less desirable. Living in the
area, I found the same to be true as well. The small local businesses of Highland Street have all turned into a barber shop, a packaging/mail business, a nail and eye brow salon and a money exchange business. I am not saying they aren’t good for the neighborhood, but they are certainly not the Highland Street businesses that most remember, supported and loved to visit.

And with all that said, I will end my rants for early 2017 and look forward to sharing more stories and interests with you in the future!🌸🌻🌷

If anyone would like
to reach me for comment or questions, please feel free to email me at djmbytheelm@aol.com. All best to all!

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Jett 💙 the dog treats Dorrie gives him (and Lilac)! Dorrie passes out free dog and cat food to pet owners in need at the Mustard Seed, in Piedmont, every month.

One thing my donkeys won’t be doing this Christmas

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Cece + Lilac = best buds! pics:R.T.

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Cece washing Lilac

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Cece and Rose. … Miss Cece!!!!!!

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By Amy Skylark Elizabeth

I just watched the recent video “allegedly” (as the news reports put it) showing a man who was beating the living hell out of a camel in a live Nativity scene, and I’m bristling with anger. “Those poor camels have been smacked, kicked, choked by being pulled to the ground every time they try and stand up. My kids and I are absolutely heartbroken seeing them treat the camels this way. We didn’t even get the worst part recorded,” wrote the person who posted the now-viral video.

The display in question — which takes place annually at a medical center in Kentucky — has been canceled this year in light of this disturbing incident, but the facility claims that it has been renting animals from the same company for more than 20 years.

It’s chilling to watch YouTube videos of the center’s Nativity scenes in prior years and see the sheep, camels and donkeys used as props. As someone who has two donkeys who were rescued from abusive situations, I can only hope that all these animals weren’t also “allegedly” smacked, kicked and choked.

One thing that isn’t “alleged” is that animals used in Nativity displays are magnets for abuse. In 2014, a little donkey was crushed to death after a large man climbed into his pen and sat on his back to pose for pictures. He slowly died from injuries, which were likened to being “burst inside.” Other incidents include the barbaric beating of a donkey by three men in Virginia and the arrest of a West Virginia man who was caught sexually molesting a sheep used in a Nativity scene.

Some animals, frightened and confused, have broken away from displays. Anyone who has ever been around donkeys knows that they view dogs as predators. Even after two years, my miniature donkey Sam still becomes fearful and agitated when he sees my seven-pound Chihuahua. So it came as no surprise when I read about an incident involving a Nativity display in Richmond, Virginia, in which dogs attacked and mauled two sheep, causing a terrified donkey to bolt into the street, where he was struck by a car. All three animals had to be euthanized. A camel named Ernie was also hit and killed by a car when he escaped from a Maryland churchyard.

Even if they aren’t hurt or killed, animals used in seasonal displays often live in a perpetual state of discomfort and stress. Like all donkeys, my Luna is naturally cautious and doesn’t like sudden movements or loud noises. Yet donkeys and other animals are carted from one event to the next and subjected to a constant barrage of unfamiliar noises, camera flashes and activity while strangers try to touch them. Donkeys also have a hard time seeing things directly in front of their noses, so the sudden thrust of a hand at their muzzle or between their ears can easily frighten them, causing them to bite or kick

There are also other dangers lurking in the manger. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that such displays put the public’s health at risk— and children are the most vulnerable to diseases including anthrax, salmonella, rabies, E. coli and ringworm. Infections are spread through direct contact with animals or even by simply touching the area surrounding an exhibit.

It doesn’t take a wise man or woman to see how quickly a season steeped in magic can turn tragic when live Nativity scenes are involved. I would never consider subjecting Sam or Luna to such a cruel spectacle.

And after watching this haunting video of Christmas present, I hope kind people will join me in refusing to patronize live-animal Nativity displays so that they can be relegated to Christmas past—where they belong.

Early voters! All voters! – Please VOTE YES on QUESTION 3

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Rosalie asks you to Vote YES on Q 3 – for the animals!

Question 3 – Humane Conditions for Farm Animals

Question 3 “would prohibit any confinement of pigs, calves, and hens that prevents them from lying down, standing up, fully extending their limbs, or turning around freely.”

PLEASE VOTE YES ON QUESTION 3!

By Rosalie Tirella

Don’t believe the fear-mongers!!! A YES vote on Question 3 helps the Mass. economy! Especially our local Worcester County farmers, all of whom farm with wisdom and compassion! A YES vote means an economic boost for our local farmer guys and gals! A YES vote means you are supporting our LOCAL biz folks – mostly small biz folks. Many of whom are third/fourth generation farmers…

Egg, pork and veal suppliers from other states who “factory farm” – an innocuos-sounding phrase that only hints at the cruelty/neglect that is never-ending when raising farm animals in gargantuan, miles-long warehouses, “animal-factories” where pigs, chickens and calves are treated like widgets/assembly line parts and not like animals – will have to make improvements. Animals that need sunlight; space in which to turn around, walk around, stand up, fully extend their limbs; caregivers who don’t kick, stomp, punch or fling them will at least be given “the right” to turn around in their crates and cages, lie down, turn their heads, stand up. So basic!!! This is all Q 3 asks for!

Factory farms that truck their “product” “produced” by animals living in factory farm animal-hells will be prohibited from selling their “product” in Massachusetts. Their pork, eggs, veal will not be accepted here until their farm animals are housed more humanely. Just like the way McDonald’s and Wal-Mart treat their egg suppliers: If you house your chickens in animal hell, these multi-billion dollar global corporations tell the factory farms, then we don’t buy your eggs – do business with you!

OUTSTANDING! VISIONARY!

The ABUSE of farm animals in America on factory farms MUST STOP! LIKE ALL AMAZING animal/human (the two are intertwined!) RIGHTS crusades, A NEW AND BETTER WORLD FOR FARM ANIMALS needs to start somewhere. Why not in beautiful Massachusetts, once home to the abolitionists and suffragettes and now home to climate-change visionaries and women’s rights crusaders? Suppliers will get the message and, for love of the holy BUCK$$$, they WILL MAKE the necessary improvements. They will make THEIR HUGE FACILITIES MORE HUMANE so they can once again sell their “product” in Massachusetts. Like Woody sang: It’s all about the do(ugh) re me!

If all 50 of our great states had a Question 3 on their ballots election day what a wonderful America it would be! And if it was voted in, millions of farm animals would be able to literally breathe more freely, cry out in pain and fear a little less often, physically ache not as intensely … stand, turn around, move their heads in their cages/crates, fully extend their limbs! This is all we ask! To alleviate some of their suffering! 

Slavery in the U.S. was once called “good business” by millions of “good” people in this country!

Child labor was once labelled “good business,” too!

Circuses with performing elephants were “business” as usual all over the world.

But times change. People evolve – our hearts grow bigger. We see the light.

SEE THE LIGHT this election season! EARLY VOTERS and NOV. 8 VOTERS – please Vote YES  on Question 3!

Thank you!

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The yes on Question 3, Citizens for Farm Animal Protection (www.citizensforfarmanimals.com) state on the Secretary of State’s ballot information mailer:

• “A YES vote prevents cruel treatment of animals in Massachusetts by ending the practice of cramming farm animals into cages so small they can’t turn around or stretch their limbs, and will remove inhumane and unsafe products from the Massachusetts marketplace.”

• “Endorsed by the MSPCA, Animal Rescue League of Boston, The Humane Society of the United States, and 400 Massachusetts veterinarians because no animal should be immobilized in a cramped cage.”

“Endorsed by the Center for Food Safety and Consumer Federation of America because cage confinement increases food safety risks, and a YES vote protects Massachusetts consumers.”

“Endorsed by Massachusetts family farmers and the United Farm Workers because proper treatment of animals is better for farmers. From McDonald’s to Walmart, retailers are switching to
cage-free eggs—the right thing to do at the right cost.”

VOTE YES ON 3!!!!

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From PETA.ORG:

Factory Farming: Misery for Animals

On today’s factory farms, animals are crammed by the thousands into filthy, windowless sheds and stuffed into wire cages, metal crates, and other torturous devices. These animals will never raise their families, root around in the soil, build nests, or do anything that is natural and important to them. Most won’t even feel the warmth of the sun on their backs or breathe fresh air until the day they’re loaded onto trucks headed for slaughterhouses.

The factory farming industry strives to maximize output while minimizing costs—always at the animals’ expense. The giant corporations that run most factory farms have found that they can make more money by squeezing as many animals as possible into tiny spaces, even though many of the animals die from disease or infection.

Animals on factory farms endure constant fear and torment:

They’re often given so little space that they can’t even turn around or lie down comfortably. Egg-laying hens are kept in small cages, chickens and pigs are kept in jam-packed sheds, and cows are kept on crowded, filthy feedlots.

Antibiotics are used to make animals grow faster and to keep them alive in the unsanitary conditions. Research shows that factory farms’ widespread use of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria that threaten human health.

Most factory-farmed animals have been genetically manipulated to grow larger or to produce more milk or eggs than they naturally would. Some chickens grow so unnaturally large that their legs cannot support their outsized bodies, and they suffer from starvation or dehydration when they can’t walk to reach food and water.

When they’ve grown large enough to slaughter or their bodies have been worn out from producing milk or eggs, animals raised for food are crowded onto trucks and transported for miles through all weather extremes, typically without food or water. At the slaughterhouse, those who survived the transport will have their throats slit, often while they’re still conscious. Many remain conscious when they’re plunged into the scalding-hot water of the defeathering or hair-removal tanks or while their bodies are being skinned or hacked apart.

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VOTE YES ON QUESTION 3!

Worcester riddles …

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Why is there so much refuse strewn all over lower Endicott Street today when just last week my neck of the woods looked positively pristine??! A few weeks ago I saw a guy in front of the slobbiest E Street house actually sweeping his square of sidewalk! How did we go from perfect to this???

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Why didn’t the kids who were practicing softball lift up a bit of this heavy rope netting after they finished working out? I saw four lovely doves flying and flying, trapped in the batting “cage” today. A true cage this afternoon! The sun beat down on the birds – showed them no mercy. The doves fluttered from one corner of the cage to another, desperately looking for an out. They may have been doing this for hours! And it was 80+ F today!

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Rose to the rescue!

I took off my cheapie Mardi Gras Dollar Store necklace and used it as a rope to tie up a corner of the netting. I didn’t make a big hole…but lickety split! the beauties flew out in three seconds! Except for this little one. The “babe” seemed young, inexperienced…looked tired and stressed. I called to it to fly through the hole. But he sat there, perched above it, at its mouth. This made me sad: FRAGILE FRAGILE nature! The littlest one, the weakest “link,” the youngest dove… I hope my beauty fluttered away and joined his friends!

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Today I also came upon some unique finds at Unique Finds Antiques and Vintage gift shop, 1329 Main St., Worcester … What are they?

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Paulie Collyer?! Ha! Ha! Ha! HA! HA! HA! HA!!

– text/pics: Rosalie T.

What if Jesus had been a chicken?

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What if Jesus is Lilac?!

By Michelle Kretzer
 
It’s the most important day in the Christian calendar. Easter Sunday is the day when we celebrate the fact that Jesus conquered death and darkness so that His followers could have eternal life, and it is the foundation of our faith. We go to church to hear the Easter story every year, and we shake our heads in disgust as our pastors describe the extreme barbarism with which religious and government leaders tortured and killed Him. But what if similar abuse were being meted out to this very day — every day — to others who are just as innocent?
 
The similarities between the story of Jesus’ crucifixion and the ways in which animals are raised and killed to be eaten are uncanny and undeniable.
 
Jesus was killed because people refused to believe that He could truly be the son of God sent to save the world from sin. Animals are killed by the billions every year because people refuse to believe that they could be thinking, feeling, intelligent, emotional beings whom God created and blessed and whom He loves very much.
 
The soldiers who were responsible for guarding Jesus after He was arrested mocked and beat Him. Numerous PETA investigations have exposed farmworkers who mocked and beat the animals for whom they were responsible. PETA’s eyewitness investigation of a New York state dairy farm found that workers routinely jabbed and struck cows in the face, udder or hindquarters with a pole or a cane. A manager electro-shocked at least one cow in the face repeatedly and called a downed cow a “dumb bitch.” At a pig factory farm in Iowa, PETA’s eyewitnesses documented that workers beat pigs with metal gate rods and a herding board, jabbed clothespins into their eyes and defended their own violence by saying things like, “You gotta beat on the bitch. Make her cry.” Similar abuse has been revealed at farms across the country.
 
Jesus’ broken body was nailed to a cross, and He was left hanging there to die. In slaughterhouses, animals are routinely strung up by their legs, their throats are cut—often while they’re fully conscious—and they are left hanging there to die.
 
The soldiers stripped Jesus of His clothes and cast lots for them. Animals are skinned and cut into pieces, often while still conscious, and their body parts are sold for profit. One worker at a cow slaughterhouse told The Washington Post, “They die piece by piece.”
 
The major difference between the Easter story and the fate of animals who are killed for food is that while Jesus didn’t want to suffer and die, He nevertheless offered Himself up as an innocent sacrifice in order to save God’s children from death. Animals value their own lives, too, but they have not offered themselves up and don’t want to die just to give humans a fleeting taste of their flesh.
 
At the Last Supper, Jesus commanded the apostles — and all of us — to “love one another.” The name of the day on which we remember the Last Supper, Maundy Thursday, even comes from the word “mandate.” But there is nothing loving about the ways in which animals are abused and killed for our plates. Each animal is God’s perfect creation, an individual with the ability to feel pain, joy, fear and love. And thus, each human has a choice to make three times on Easter Sunday and every day when sitting down to eat: Shall I contribute to suffering, or shall I extend mercy?
 
Michelle Kretzer writes on Christian issues for the PETA Foundation.

This holiday season keep in mind: There’s no such thing as humanely raised meat

By Dan Paden

Just how humane is “humanely raised” meat?
 
If you’ve been to a natural foods store or upscale restaurant lately, you’ve likely seen signs proclaiming that at least some of the meat came from “humanely raised” animals.

But what exactly does that mean? As a new PETA investigation has found, “humane meat” labels are often worth less than the recycled paper they’re printed on.
 
This summer, a PETA eyewitness worked at a Pennsylvania farm that claims to produce “humanely raised pork” and is a supplier to Whole Foods.

The farm is certified as a “Step 2” pig farm by the Global Animal Partnership (GAP), a group spearheaded by Whole Foods with the goal of “improving animal welfare,” and is ranked higher and considered more animal-friendly than the majority of GAP-certified pig farms.
 
If you’re envisioning bucolic scenes with lush pastures, in which animals roam freely and breathe fresh air, think again.
 
Far from being free-roaming, the pigs on this farm spent almost all their time crammed into crowded sheds on concrete flooring. They never even touched the farm’s lush green grass, and the only time they were ever outside was when they were trucked from one shed to another, put on a scale to be weighed or sent to slaughter. Some pigs were kept in virtual darkness deep inside a barn.
 
Pigs had straw in the sheds, as required by GAP standards, but little other “enrichment.” Even though GAP requires that pigs’ “thermal comfort” be maintained at all times, on hot days, hundreds of pigs had access to a single water sprinkler.
 
On one day when the heat index exceeded 90°F, more than 20 pigs were tightly packed into a metal trailer more than 24 hours before they were hauled to slaughter—just because the manager didn’t want to wait another day to pull straw out of a pen. They had no choice but to stand or sit on top of each other for much of that time. On another day, several pigs were left on a trailer with no protection from heavy rain and approximately 60 mph winds.
 
Whole Foods’ standards require that sick or injured pigs be promptly euthanized if necessary, but PETA’s eyewitness saw obviously sick and injured pigs’ condition worsen for days or even weeks.

If a veterinarian did provide these animals with care, the observer never saw it, despite more than two months of working full-time at the farm. One pig ran an intermittent fever for about a month before finally being shot in the head and killed.

Another pig whose apparent neurological ailments caused her to go lame was left for eight days until she, too, was shot. Other pigs with grotesque rectal prolapses—as large as an orange and dripping with blood—were allowed to suffer in that condition without adequate care for up to 24 days.
 
The eyewitness documented the actions of a manager on the farm who grabbed and lifted pigs weighing over 70 pounds by their sensitive ears in order to vaccinate them. The manager also hit pigs being loaded for slaughter with a hard plastic board. Agitated, frustrated pigs bit each other’s tails, sometimes causing bloody wounds.
 
It’s understandable that consumers want to avoid supporting cruelty to animals when they shop, but it’s time for us to admit that “humane meat” is an oxymoron. Sparing animals some marginal cruelty in factory-farm practices is not the same thing as being “humane,” and it never will be. Even on farms that follow “humane”-certification standards to the letter, animals may still be castrated, branded and dehorned without painkillers; starve and become dehydrated because of lameness; be held in intensive confinement in unnatural conditions; and end up being scalded to death.
 
The only “humane meat” is vegan meat, which you can find in any well-stocked supermarket — including Whole Foods.

Shoddy work compounds the failure of experiments on animals

By Dr. Alka Chandna
 
Experiments on animals have long been criticized for their cruelty as well as for their failure to produce results that apply to humans.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports that nine out of 10 drugs that test safe and effective in animals are found to be either unsafe or ineffective in humans.

Drugs that effectively treat artificially induced cancers in mice and strokes in monkeys, for example, don’t work in humans. Part of the reason for this failure is that all animals are different – genetically, anatomically, metabolically and so on – and results obtained from tests on other animals simply can’t be reliably applied to us.
 
Now, compounding these fundamental problems, several new comprehensive studies show that experiments on animals are typically designed, conducted and reported in such a sloppy and biased way that they exaggerate results, downplay negative findings and can’t even be reproduced.  
 
A recent survey conducted by an international team of scientists analyzed thousands of published animal studies of pharmaceutical drugs and found that the overwhelming majority of these studies were poorly designed and did not even take elementary steps to prevent skewed results. Experimenters failed to assign animals to treatment groups in a randomized fashion in order to ensure, for instance, that the healthiest animals weren’t all being assigned to the group receiving the treatment being tested.

They also failed to ensure blinded assessment of the results, which is necessary in order to prevent the experimenters’ expectations of the outcome from influencing their judgment of the actual outcome, and they failed to ensure that the numbers of animals used would produce meaningful results. These measures are fundamental to valid research, but when it comes to studies using animals, experimenters seem not to know the basics or care about them—or both.
 
In another recent study, scientists at McGill University analyzed hundreds of animal experiments carried out with a particular kidney cancer drug and found that data suggesting the drug had little to no effect in combating cancer were not published. Consequently, published studies overestimated the effectiveness of the drug by up to 45 percent.

The lead author of this study commented, “Preclinical [animal] research is plagued by poor design and reporting practices, exposing patients to harmful and inactive agents, wasting time in the lab and driving up the price of drugs.”
 
These latest surveys follow a succession of similar reports of flawed experimental design and conduct and publication bias. Add to this the fact that dozens of studies have demonstrated that seemingly insignificant differences in the ways in which animals are housed and treated in laboratories—including lighting, caging, noise, smells and diet—can further confound results in ways that experimenters don’t recognize and often can’t control.
 
A 2014 article in The BMJ coauthored by a Yale School of Medicine physician-scientist examined these and other problems and concluded, “If animal researchers continue to fail to conduct rigorous studies and synthesise and report them accurately, and if research conducted on animals continues to be unable to reasonably predict what can be expected in humans, the public’s continuing endorsement and funding of preclinical animal research seems misplaced.”
 
Yet the National Institutes of Health continues to dedicate nearly half of its $30 billion annual budget of tax dollars to projects that involve inherently flawed and methodologically questionable experiments on animals, including tearing infant monkeys away from their mothers at birth in order to cause depression, injecting hamsters with steroids and forcing them to fight, addicting rats to cocaine and forcing dogs to run on treadmills until they have heart attacks.
 
Far from producing good science, these experiments cost millions of animals their lives, waste limited resources, misinform the scientific community and give false hope to the public. By switching to cutting-edge and superior human-based research tools such as organs-on-chips, we can safeguard funding, advance human health and save animals.

Why Pope Francis’ visit brings one Catholic animal rights advocate hope

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Lilac on the road, with Rosalie and Jett, 9/28. Pope Francis urges humans everywhere to respect the sacred in all fauna and flora …

By Christina Matthies
 
By the time you read this, millions of Catholics (and indeed, people of all faiths) will have seen Pope Francis during his historic first-ever visit to the United States. The Jewish High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur will have just passed. And the city of brotherly love will be preparing for an infusion of loving kindness when His Holiness the Dalai Lama visits in October.
 
Three very different traditions and yet at their core, the message is the same: To honor the holiness inherent in ourselves, we should strive always to choose empathy over self-interest, compassion over cruelty and being of service over being served. And as we learn more about the other animals who share the Earth with us—that they, too, communicate with one another and build complex relationships, mourn their dead, and can suffer from pain, fear and grief—we must not overlook our treatment of them as we try, again and again, to live up to these ideals.
 
As a Catholic, I hold tightly to my faith in God and know that He has watched over me and my family in our toughest moments, and as an animal rights advocate, I know He watches over all of us. So I was heartened when Pope Francis declared in his encyclical on caring for the environment, “Every act of cruelty towards any creature is ‘contrary to human dignity.'” I hope kind people will be inspired by his message and realize that we can care about and help both humans and other species at the same time. We don’t have to choose one over the other.  
 
Although I express my faith through Catholicism, it is far from unique in asking us to extend our empathy to all beings. All the world’s great religions teach love and compassion for animals and even require those who are sincere in their faith to act with compassion in their dealings with animals.
 
The Buddhist text the Dhammapada teaches, “All beings tremble before violence. All fear death. All love life. See yourself in others.. Then whom can you hurt?” According to the Prophet Muhammad, “A good deed done to an animal is as meritorious as a good deed done to a human being, while an act of cruelty to an animal is as bad as an act of cruelty to a human being.” The Jewish Tanakh (what Christians call the Old Testament) reminds us that “a human being has no superiority over an animal” (Ecclesiastes 3:19).
 
So why do we continue to tear animals away from their families and homes and confine them to small cages or tanks for our archaic notions of entertainment? Why do we burn and blind them in cruel experiments even though astonishing non-animal research methods such as organs-on-chips supersede animal use? Why do we abuse and kill them for food and skins when vegan options are plentiful? 
 
For animals, these are not merely rhetorical questions. Our answers have very real consequences for the orcas, elephants, pigs, chickens, rabbits, foxes, mice and so many others whom we exploit for our own ends. Mother pigs are smarter than our canine companions and love their precious babies as dearly as I love my two children. Rats giggle when they are tickled and will risk their own lives to save other rats. Crocodiles surf ocean waves for fun. Intelligent, complex orcas have their own language and customs that they pass on to their young. Fish live in complex social groups, develop cultural traditions, cooperate with one another and can even use tools. Their lives are as dear to them as ours are to us. The choices we make—about what to eat, what to wear, what to do for entertainment—matter.
 
If we say that we believe in love and compassion, that we believe the most fundamental teachings of the world’s great religions, then we must practice what we preach by avoiding choices that hurt animals. The message of kindness applies to all.

At Worcester State University! For all us animals …

Merchants of Doubt Poster

350MA – Central MA is co-hosting another Environmental Night at Worcester State University!

Tuesday, September 29

7 p.m.

Worcester State University

FREE public screening of Merchants of Doubt

Film Synopsis:

Inspired by the acclaimed book by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, MERCHANTS OF DOUBT takes audiences on a satirically comedic, yet illuminating ride into the heart of conjuring American spin.

Filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the curtain on a secretive group of highly charismatic, silver-tongued pundits-for-hire who present themselves in the media as scientific authorities – yet have the contrary aim of spreading maximum confusion about well-studied public threats ranging from toxic chemicals to pharmaceuticals to climate change.

Hope to see you there!!!

Animals pay a high price

By Nina Kahn

The school year is winding down, which means the summer fair circuit is getting under way. For animals used in agricultural displays and 4-H programs, there’s a long, hot summer ahead—and it’s unlikely to have a pleasant ending. The animals in these programs are typically destined for one of two fates: to be sold at auction for slaughter or to be used as breeders.

There’s little doubt that most young people who join the Future Farmers of America (FFA) or 4-H programs do so because they’re interested in animals. But the goals of these programs demand that children develop a harmful disconnect from those very animals.

Instead of being taught that pigs are smart enough to learn how to unlock gates and that mother pigs sing to their young while nursing, children are told to fatten them up to become “bacon.” Rather than explaining that calves who are taken from their mothers shake and bawl inconsolably because they are frantic and traumatized, kids are told to turn them into good breeders. We force children participating in 4-H programs to close their eyes to the fact that they are betraying an animal they’ve befriended—a fellow being whose trust they’ve courted. They’re told to “celebrate” as their friend is auctioned off to the highest bidder. In short, they’re forced to harden a piece of their hearts.

Sooner or later, most, if not all, of the animals used in these programs will meet a grim fate in a slaughterhouse. Pigs, cows and chickens are sensitive, thinking animals who feel pain and value their lives. They’re horrified at the sights and smells of the slaughterhouse and don’t want to die. But the children learn to remain detached and unaffected by this—and it seems clear that FFA and 4-H play a part in that.

From a young age, we’re all systematically desensitized to who, not what, we eat. We call cows’ flesh “beef” and “steak.” When we refer to wings and ribs, we gloss over the fact that those are the actual body parts of chickens and pigs who didn’t want to die. It’s easier to tell children they’re eating “nuggets” rather than ground-up birds.

But as a civilized society that values fairness and compassion, we must take our blinders off and actually stop to think about the animals themselves. Dr. Marc Bekoff, a former professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, puts it this way: “I feel it’s essential for people to learn more about how animals sense their worlds from the point of view of the animals and not merely from humans’ points of view.”

Teaching kids to respect animals for the interesting, sentient beings they are, instead of focusing on how they can be of use to humans, is the kindest lesson of all.