Category Archives: Animal Issues

Make Your Own Soil: Composting for All!

By Edith Morgan🌺🌺🌺🌺

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Compost is GREAT for your green things! ICT file photo.

It’s not a new idea, but there are some new wrinkles to it now.

🌺I grew up in small city apartments, so I did not know about composting. It was not until I moved to a small farming community in Michigan that I fairst leaned about the most primitive form of composting: we had bought an old farm house with a quarter acre of back yard, and following the example of neighbors, we dug a trench alongside the back yard and daily tossed all kitchen waste into it.

🥀As sections of th1e trench filled, we simply closed it, smoothed over the dirt, and left it alone. It all froze and was covered with snow, and in the spring, most amazing things grew there. From that early beginning I graduated to city composting, creating an area beside my house and out of sight; we fenced in the area and; began tossing grass cuttings, leaves and kitchen waste in there, creating a pile of debris that eventually deteriorated, forming some nice black soil at the bottom. But it was not very fast, and not very efficient.

I struggled along with this pile for several years, until I learned that there is a real science and chemistry to the creation of great garden soil. So now I am the proud owner of a modern, plastic composter, which came in a flat box and had to be assembled (thanks to my grandson, who screwed together with 52 screws, the entire composter one afternoon). It has two compartments and sits on a frame that allows the two-part drum to rotate easily, so that now I can create great compost on one side of the drum, use it within a few weeks, while preparing another batch on the other side. And I will not have to trot out to the side yard in midwinter to put out my kitchen wastes, because this composter can sit comfortably on my front porch, beside the front door.

And while in the past I had just randomly thrown in whatever happened to be at hand, now I know I have to balance the mixture so that I put in the proper mixture of greens (for nitrogen), and browns (for carbon), and keep the mixture just moist enough so it will feel like a sponge. And then, with just a flick of my finger, I can rotate the mixture reagularly – every few days as it warms up and decomposes.

And so we can all help mother earth to replenish while also turning some of our waste into good, rich soil to use in our gardens or potted plants.

Worcester Coalition Calls for City Manager Ed Augustus to Create Civilian Review Board with Subpoena Power

SO MANY IN OUR CITY WANT TO SEE REFORMS IN THE WORCESTER POLICE DEPARTMENT.

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There are some great Worcester cops out there, but the abusive ones must be held accountable! InCity Times/CECELIA file photo: Ron O’Clair

A letter to Worcester’s mayor, city council and city manager from groups calling for MORE RACIAL JUSTICE🇺🇸 IN WORCESTER!
– Rose T.

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Dear City Manager Augustus, Mayor Petty, and Worcester City Council,

CC: Rep. Mahoney, Rep. O’Day, Rep. Keefe, Rep. Donahue, Rep. LeBoeuf, Rep. Ferguson, Senator Chandler, Senator Moore, Rep McGovern, Senator Warren, and Senator Markey,

We are community groups in Worcester who recognize that there is distance between policing and communities of color and allies. We are writing to address that disconnect.

Two months ago, many of us in the Worcester Community queued up to applaud and support your Executive Order to address systemic racism in the city and the Worcester Police Department. As you clearly stated in your recommendations, “It is undeniable that structural and institutional racism permeate our entire society, at all levels of government, and in all institutions. To dismantle it, we must do more than give lip service, we must reimagine our ideals and take the necessary steps to achieve them. That means real reform that gives voice to those who have too often felt left out of the conversation.”

While we continue to support these limited reforms, we must resume our call for immediate change to policing in Worcester. As we work to address unanswered concerns about use of force, civil service, the militarization of policing, and the Worcester Police budget, we have come together united in our belief that a Civilian Review Board with full subpoena powers is an absolute necessity in any successful path forward.

Through the years, and over the past six months specifically, we have watched and suffered with the City’s inability to respond to complaints from diverse community groups, faith leaders, and even elected officials struggling to find resolution to incidents of systemic racism and police excessive force.

In July 2020 Officer Ryan Joyal was video recorded slapping and choking a Worcester resident suffering from a mental health breakdown. Despite significant public outcry, our community was never informed about the details of any investigation. Because of local reporting, not government transparency, the community was told that the victim of the police abuse “could not be found to be interviewed” even though he was apparently “known to police”. Limited disclosures also revealed that the “investigation” had exonerated Officer Joyal of excessive force because the Worcester Police Department instructs officers that striking someone in the head having a mental breakdown is a good “distraction technique.”

Because of reporting by local media on August 4, 2020, the community became aware of the lawsuit filed by Christopher Ayala-Melendez calling into question the truthfulness of stories and police reports filed by Officers Shawn Tivnan and Brett J. Kubiak in regards to the night of October 26, 2019 at the Beer Garden. While City leaders became informed of the significant discrepancies between video evidence and each Officers’ stories, again the community was left out, only to become aware of the fabricated stories due to litigation. Despite the evidence of having filed false reports for the purpose of incarcerating an innocent man, Officers Tivnan and Kubak have been allowed to stay on the Police force unpunished other than apparently being reassigned.

Over the past six months, people have repeatedly raised concerns about public statements made by Worcester Police Officials and Officers, employees of the residents of Worcester, for their attacks against leaders of Worcester’s Black and Latinx communities, degradation of Black leaders’ calls for the elimination of systemic racism, and denial that racism exists within the Worcester Police Department.

In February, after several weeks of community complaints, you announced that you would conduct an investigation of the blue flue sick-out involving what media reported as including 14 Worcester Police Officers apparently angered by a five day suspension being given to Officer Ryan Joyal and exposed by DefundWPD. The results of the investigation have never been made public.

At the December 20, 2020, [Worcester] Human Rights Commission meeting, Captain Kenneth J. Davenport reported to Commission members that the Bureau of Professional Standards Early Intervention Database is tracking a police officer who has had 26 complaints filed against him/her. When asked to disclose the Officer’s name and records, Captain Davenport refused.

In each of these recent incidents, either you and your administration chose to keep the full and true stories internal and out of the public eye. Although there were promises to investigate in response to public concern and criticism, there has never been genuine transparency explaining any of these five incidents.

We therefore do not believe that any real accountability has happened, and justice remains stymied.

Because of our experiences, not only from past years, but also from recent months, we renew our public call to you to immediately begin efforts to work with us on the creation of a Civilian Review Board with subpoena power in Worcester.

We are working together for a safer and more equitable city for all its peoples. We hope that the City, community and police can come together to support that, beginning with establishing a Civilian Review Board.

Sincerely,

Amplify Black Voices Rock of Salvation Church

Belmont AME Zion Church SURJ Worcester

Beth Israel Trinity Lutheran Church

Black Families Together Worcester Black Clergy Alliance

Christian Community Church Worcester Branch NAACP

DefundWPD Worcester Friends Meeting

LEON (Latino Empowerment Organizing Network) Worcester Interfaith

MAWOCC, Central Region Worcester Islamic Center

Queer the Scene YWCA Central Massachusetts

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You may be interested to see that West Hartford recently decided to create a Civilian Review Board:

https://we-ha.com/west-hartford-town-council-appoints-diverse-civilian-police-review-board/?fbclid=IwAR2iw62eeAp2xzg5sfsswalBV2PgL-JTjgQv01GFq0cYG8Mia0kcJ0TIzRc

Cherish the Momma Hen!

By Heather Moore

We’ve all heard the term “mother hen” used to describe someone with a strong maternal instinct. That’s because hens are doting parents who will even care for other baby animals as if they were their own. When not confined to filthy factory farms, hens lovingly tend to their eggs and “talk” to their unhatched chicks, who chirp back while they’re still in the shell!

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Solicitous mom!

But birds used for food never get to see their chicks, because they hatch in large metal incubators. The male birds are useless to hatcheries — because they don’t produce eggs and because they’re not bred to produce the excessive flesh desired by the meat industry — so they are either suffocated to death or ground up alive. You heard that right: Fluffy yellow chicks are suffocated or ground up while still alive — on a massive scale.

The female chicks are sent to egg farms, where they’re crammed into wire cages or confined to dark, crowded sheds and forced to live amid accumulated urine and feces. Part of the birds’ sensitive beaks are cut off with a hot blade — and no painkillers—because in their misery and frustration, the confined birds might peck at one another, causing injuries.

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Chickens suffer on factory farms!

When the hens begin to lay fewer eggs — usually when they’re around 2 years old — they’re sent to the slaughterhouse, where their throats are slit and they’re often scalded to death in the defeathering tank.

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Call your congressperson or senator – demand laws THAT CREATE HUMANE SPACES FOR FARM ANIMALS.

Birds endure all this suffering just because humans like to eat their eggs. But it’s so simple to make great-tasting brownies, cookies and cakes, as well as breakfast scrambles and “egg” salad, without actually using any eggs. If you’re planning to make — or order — a meal for your family this Mother’s Day, why not do it without contributing to cruelty to animals?

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Pumped up with hormones and antibiotics…

We can spare gentle mother cows a world of pain and heartbreak simply by saying no to dairy milk and instead enjoying creamy beverages, frozen desserts, gooey cheese pizza and hearty lasagna made with vegan milk.

­­­­Like hens, cows are subjugated and their reproductive systems are hijacked and controlled. On dairy farms, female cows are artificially inseminated and kept almost constantly pregnant so that they’ll produce a steady supply of milk for human consumption. Their babies are taken away from them shortly after they’re born. The male calves are commonly killed for veal, and the females are turned into quasi–milk machines like their mothers. They, too, end up at the slaughterhouse when their milk production wanes.

In An Anthropologist on Mars, Dr. Oliver Sacks wrote about a trip that he and well-known agriculture-industry adviser Dr. Temple Grandin took to a dairy farm. They saw one cow in particular who was bellowing and searching for her calf, who’d been taken away. Dr. Grandin noted, “That’s one sad, unhappy, upset cow. She wants her baby. … It’s like grieving, mourning — not much written about it. People don’t like to allow them thoughts or feelings.”

We should be a lot kinder than that.

From winning at the races to dog food!

By Kathy Guillermo

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Most race horses are raced down – sold from one owner to the next as they age/pass their peak racing days …they are raced in crumbier and crumbier tracks for less and less $$ as they grow less fast. All used up? Then the horses are sold to Canada, Mexico and overseas for dog food …

Did you watch the Kentucky Derby on TV? Viewers of the world’s most famous televised race heard trainers, owners and jockeys proclaim their love for the horses who might bring them a pot of money and a few days in the spotlight. But in December, PETA revealed that 2006 Kentucky Derby runner Private Vow was slaughtered in 2020 in South Korea for meat for human consumption. Some of his remaining body parts were processed into dog food or oil for cosmetics.

This echoed a scandal that many in horse racing promised would never happen again: the slaughter of 1986 Derby winner Ferdinand in Japan. It’s as true now as it was 35 years ago: Even Kentucky Derby entrants are not spared the fate of the thousands of U.S. horses exported every year to Canada, Mexico and overseas for slaughter. The truth is, horse racing is more “livestock” industry than sport.

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Horses are drugged up to mask their pain – and to allow them to race while their sprained and pulled muscles are not fully healed. Many horses die on the race track while they are over-raced by unscrupulous trainers and owners.

Private Vow’s Kentucky Derby trainer, Steve Asmussen, issued no statement of remorse, and as far as we can tell, neither he nor anyone involved in the horse’s life took action to prevent the slaughter of more Thoroughbreds.

Horse racing is scrambling to shore up an eroding fan base that increasingly views the sport, like bullfighting or the Iditarod, as cruel and anachronistic.

The industry’s marketing schemes to repair the public’s perception are failing because horse racing doesn’t clean up its most serious abuses and prevent suffering. Racing doesn’t just have an image problem — it has a reality problem.

The recent parade of scandalous viral images of a euthanized horse still wearing racing wraps on her legs, lying amid trash in a landfill, and of trainers and jockeys laughing while sitting on dead horses was appalling largely because it exposed a chillingly callous attitude toward the deaths of horses used for racing. It revealed what some insiders truly think of their horses – that they’re disposable – and it is in stark contrast to the disingenuous claims by trainers and owners on national television during every Kentucky Derby broadcast that they love their horses and that the horses are part of their family.

This was also what was most disturbing about PETA’s 2013 undercover investigation into trainer Steve Asmussen’s operation. While industry apologists tried to downplay Asmussen’s top assistant Scott Blasi’s foul language as just dirty words, it was precisely these obscenities that revealed the shocking disregard for horses by so many in racing. When one of his seriously injured horses, Valediction, was purchased after a race by an unsuspecting buyer, Blasi said he was so happy to unload the horse that “[he] could do a f-king cartwheel.” He called the horse a “rat,” adding that “if they ask you how he is, say he’s my favorite horse.”

Soon afterward, PETA rescued Valediction and retired him to a safe and loving home.

Many horses crossed the finish line at Churchill Downs this past Derby weekend. But there will be no winners. Every Thoroughbred is in danger of meeting Private Vow’s fate. Until the racing industry grapples with that and protects the horses it uses and abuses, it will continue to decline, and all the disingenuous claims of love will not save it.

🌸🌸Curb climate change and prevent global pandemics – EAT LESS MEAT!

By Heather Moore

We can help combat climate change — and prevent future pandemics — just by eating vegan foods. Some experts, including medical historian Dr. David Morens — who works at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases with Dr. Anthony Fauci — believe that climate change can accelerate and exacerbate pandemics.

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Factory farming – a bane to our air

Nearly a third of the emerging infectious diseases over the past 10 years followed a certain path, and the changing climate contributed to their rise. The climate may not have played a direct role in the coronavirus outbreak — which many scientists believe originated in a wet market that sold fish, poultry and exotic animals for human consumption — but our insistence on eating animal-based foods is contributing to climate change and intensifying the spread of animal-borne diseases.

Dr. Aaron Bernstein, the director of Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health C-CHANGE program, has said that in order to reduce our risk of infectious diseases, “we should do all we can to vastly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.”

But, are we doing all we can?

Far from it.

Many people still eat meat, cheese and other animal-based foods, which are a leading contributor to climate change. According to The New York Times, the U.S. is one of the world’s top greenhouse-gas emitters, with each person producing more than 15 tons of carbon dioxide, on average. That’s about three times as much as the British average and eight times as much as in India — two countries that have become increasingly vegan-friendly.

America needs to do better. The lead researcher on a University of Oxford study showing that the meat and dairy industries use 83% of farmland and generate 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse-gas emissions, has said that going vegan is “the single biggest way” to lower our impact on the Earth, much more so than flying less or driving an electric car.

So, let’s all give it a try.

A study by Uswitch, a comparison service in the U.K., shows that meat-eaters contribute nearly twice as much to climate change as vegans do, and a paper in Nature Sustainability indicates that shifting from animal-derived foods to plant foods could remove more than a decade of carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere.

A shift from animal-based to vegan foods has other benefits, too: Helen Harwatt, a fellow at Harvard Law School, believes that if we stop raising animals for food, we’ll not only restore native ecosystems and help halt climate change, we’ll also reduce the spread of diseases from wildlife to pigs, chickens, cows and other farmed animals and, ultimately, to humans.

So, if we want a livable climate, ecosystems that benefit both humans and animals, and fewer animal-borne diseases, we should all choose vegan. Doing so not only will help protect the environment and prevent more animal-borne diseases, it will also help stop animal suffering, as every vegan spares nearly 200 animals per year. Who’s with me?
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ANIMALS SUFFER ON FACTORY FARMS – THEY ARE CRATED IN TINY SPACES WHERE THEY CANNOT TURN AROUND OR WALK FREELY. THEY ARE ABUSED THEIR ENTIRE ALL-TOO-BRIEF LIVES.

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Remember: have compassion! Go vegetarian!

🌺A Bunny’s Story🌺

By Franny McKeever

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This past month’s CECELIA cover story!

In honor of bunnies, commonly exploited at Easter/Spring time, let me tell you about our bunny Stella. Stella is our “foster failure” bunny. We took her in temporarily, from our local animal shelter. The shelter is a tiny room filled with cats. A bunny was not a priority, which sums up the plight of rabbits in general.

Stella had been recently surrendered after peeing on her adoptive family’s living room couch. This is not uncommon for a three-month-old bunny, marking her
territory, wherever she happens to be.

As it came closer to the day of her spay, a necessary procedure for bunnies, we thought, how difficult could an adorable tiny fuzzball with helicopter ears be to bond with our pair of bonded bunnies, Greta and Linus, already living with us?

Impossibly so, turned out to be the answer. We learned quickly that Greta was downright angry at the new bunny Stella situation! Greta made it clear that no other bunny was meant to befriend Linus. She barely liked me, my husband and our children trying to pat her pal, Linus. This should have been a sign that tipped us off early on, but we continued to insert our human needs on their bunny feelings. We arranged carefully planned field trips to a small penned in area in the front hall of our house. I was the mediator. There were periods of hope and possibility, but it became clear we were at a standstill. We gave up and planned on housing Stella in our kitchen.

Stella has her own interesting personality. She was not happy about sharing HER space with my husband! Though she would sit with me and lick my fingers and enjoy the attention of our four kids, she would grunt at my husband. The thing is Stella is a pretty feisty rabbit and though not really skittish in a shy way, she flips out pretty easily. I believe she thinks the broom is alive! She chases the broom whenever we sweep up – tries to attack it. It’s downright cute – and a little weird. Sometimes we forget and start to sweep and seemingly out of nowhere our gray bunny will fly across the room and grunt at the evil broom.

So Stella has her own quirky personality that the average person would not
associate with a rabbit. In fact, all rabbits have distinct personalities, and anyone adopting a bunny needs to understand this and potentially meet the rabbit before introducing a bunny into their family.

It is also really important to teach children about the fact that a bunny is a prey animal, and we are all potential predators in their eyes. Rabbits want the safety of feet on the ground and usually don’t want to be picked up. I do pick up Stella on occasion to make sure that I can handle her in case I need to. I hold her feet firmly, and she seems to forget that she is off the ground until something startles her. One ear goes up and I see her thinking: “Hey! Wait a minute!” and she tries to jump down. I lower her down safely with conviction and support her so she won’t fall. Since bunnies have fragile bones, children need to socialize on the ground and never do the picking up. My children have grown up, also well educated about feeding a bunny, as rabbits are especially sensitive to the food they eat. Some rabbits are more affected than others.

We learned this with our first rabbit Greta: rabbits can have an intestinal shut down and stop eating, a state called GI Stasis. It can happen for a variety of reasons – sometimes related to their diet. This is essential information for anyone feeding a rabbit. We know that Stella is less sensitive, and we will allow her to meet us at the refrigerator for some lettuce or kale. Only certain leafy green vegetables are encouraged and that is only if you know your bunny is ok with them.

The most important part of the bunny diet is Hay. We use Orchard Grass Hay due to Timothy Hay allergies in our home. Hay helps their teeth from growing and provides the right amount of fiber.

As all animals depend on us to make decisions for them, bunnies can become a real issue at Easter time. On behalf of Stella and our past bunnies Greta and Linus and all the unwanted bunnies in small cages in animal shelters, I say: DO YOUR HOMEWORK ABOUT BUNNY ADOPTION AND CARE. Please think things through before committing to the 10-year lifetime of a pet rabbit. They are not meant for hutches in backyards – spay/neuter them, litter box train them – and they become part of your family, like a cat or dog would.

Bunnies are intelligent, fun and quite well worth your time and effort as pets. They are, however, animals and deserve our respect. They may be widespreadly used to abandonment and neglect and sometimes worse, but we can turn things around! We can learn to love them for who they are and make sure we understand their needs. We can teach our children to value rabbits as all animals should be valued and never treat them as an Easter holiday decorations … Rabbits are always going to look adorable but, as Stella has taught me and my family, there is more to these beautiful furry creatures than meets the eye!

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Rabbit Facts:

1. Rabbits need to live indoors

2. Rabbits are not a cheap low maintenance pet

3. Rabbits may make a better adult pet

4. Rabbits can live an average of 10 years

5. Rabbits need to be spayed and neutered

6. Rabbits need a careful diet of mostly hay

7. Rabbits need an exotic vet

8. Rabbits not properly bonded may fight and hurt each other

9. Rabbits are social animals

10. Small rabbits do not need less space

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The House Rabbit Network is an organization formed with two primary purposes: To rescue homeless rabbits
and find them good indoor homes and also to educate the public about rabbits and their care.

These activities may include: providing foster care for discarded domestic rabbits and arranging for adoption
to permanent indoor homes; assisting humane societies and shelters with rabbits; providing spay/neuter
surgery and veterinary care through arrangements with area practitioners; rehabilitating and socializing mis-
treated or neglected animals;permanently caring for animals who cannot be placed in adoptive homes due to serious health or behavioral problems; and educating the public on responsible pet ownership and humane practices.

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🌺🌺🌺For information about pet rabbits, volunteering or donating to The House Rabbit Network go to:

https://www.rabbitnetwork.org/ or call our hotline at 781-431-1211

We are happy to answer any questions.

We are always looking for volunteers and foster homes. We also accept donations …
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🐈Stop the spring “kitten curve” upswing: Please spay/neuter your cat!

By Lindsay Pollard-Post

Brace yourself — there’s another surge coming. But this one isn’t COVID-19. It’s kittens.

Tiny felines are undoubtedly more appealing than a spike protein-wielding virus, but the fallout from the annual surge of kitten births, known as “kitten season,” is devastating. And, just as with the coronavirus, there is no cure — only prevention. That’s why it’s vital for all of us to have our feline family members spayed or neutered now and to help everyone we know do the same.

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Rose’s Cece with pals in Rose’s old digs (owned by Chef Joey’s late dad). Cece was spayed three years ago, when she was pretty young. That is OK, say all veterinarians.

It’s not unusual for some shelters to take in hundreds of kittens a month during kitten season, which starts in early spring and lasts through the fall. With most shelters already at full capacity year-round, many are forced to make heart-wrenching decisions in order to accommodate the influx of kittens. Often this means that older cats who’ve been waiting for a while with no adoption prospects must be euthanized.

Other facilities dodge this responsibility by turning away animals when they run out of room. When shelters refuse to shelter animals in need, it leaves vulnerable kittens, cats and other animals in the hands of people who can’t or won’t take care of them or it leaves them on the streets — where they can starve, get hit by a car, succumb to extreme weather or face some other cruel fate.

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One victory – let’s promise to SPAY/NEUTER CATS to create another. … AND … ADOPT CATS AND KITTENS FROM YOUR LOCAL ANIMAL SHELTER!

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 75% of free-roaming kittens observed disappeared or died before they were 6 months old. Trauma was the most common cause of death.

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Feral cats and kittens lead horrific lives outdoors – often dying so young! Cars kill them, people hurt them … THEY CANNOT FEND FOR THEMSELVES, as some people mistakenly believe!

Imagine these scenarios playing out in thousands of communities across the country, and the scope of the emergency becomes alarmingly clear. But the good news is that we have the power to end the “twindemics” of animal overpopulation and homelessness — and all the suffering they cause. Spaying just one female cat can prevent the potential births of 370,000 kittens over the course of seven years; neutering one male cat can prevent him from fathering untold numbers of litters.

If you’re one of the many people who’ve added a cat to your family during the pandemic, you might be surprised to learn that your new companion can become a mother while she is still a kitten herself — as young as 4 months of age. Cats are nearly as efficient at reproducing as the novel coronavirus is at spreading: They can go into heat every two to three weeks and can even become pregnant again while they’re still nursing — enabling one cat to give birth to multiple litters during kitten season.

Just keeping cats indoors — while vital to protecting them from the many dangers that cats face if allowed to roam — isn’t actually an effective means of birth control. Raging hormones can turn an otherwise docile kitty into an escape artist who bolts out the door in search of a mate at the first opportunity. If you haven’t gotten around to making a spay/neuter appointment yet, please don’t delay any longer.

It’s up to us to stop this catastrophe. If your own feline family member is already “fixed,” pat yourself on the back — and then offer a helping hand to a neighbor or friend who needs to have a cat sterilized. Many communities have low-cost spay/neuter clinics or offer vouchers for free or reduced-cost sterilizations at veterinary clinics, which make it easy and affordable for everyone to do the right thing.

Together, we can stop the spread of animal homelessness and save lives, by flattening the “kitten curve.”

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Cece was a rescue! Please rescue or adopt!

💜Victory! Saks Fifth Avenue Sacks Fur!💜

By Michelle Feinberg

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Read Ingrid Newkirk’s book – and share it with friends.

Over a decade of determined campaigning by PETA and grassroots activists has paid off: Saks Fifth Avenue is saying so long to its notorious “fur salons”!

The department store will stop selling rabbit jackets, mink coats, fox puffer coats and fur of any kind by the end of fiscal year 2022.

Saks’ decision follows a sustained siege by grassroots activists that included protests and disruptions inside and outside Saks locations, e-mails from more than 100,000 PETA supporters, countless calls to Saks executives, pressure on the store’s social media accounts and online and in-person protests during PETA’s recent Canada Goose Week of Action. (Saks was a retailer for fur-trimmed and down-stuffed Canada Goose coats.)

As PETA President Ingrid Newkirk eloquently put it, “May Saks’ ‘fur salons’ rest in pieces, for they won’t be missed by today’s shoppers, who no longer find it acceptable to drape themselves in an abused animal’s stolen skin.”

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Saks protest

Animals who are trapped in their natural homes for fur — like the coyotes who are killed for the fur used to trim Canada Goose jackets — may suffer for days with broken legs and bleeding wounds. Some have even been known to try and chew off their own legs in attempts to return to their young. Those who don’t escape are beaten or shot by trappers. On fur farms, animals are beaten, bludgeoned, electrocuted, and even skinned alive.

Saks joins a long list of retailers making the socially conscious choice to ban fur, including Nordstrom, Macy’s, TJX, Prada, Gucci, Coach, Calvin Klein, Topshop, Burberry, Michael Kors, Versace, Furla, BCBG, Diane von Furstenberg, INTERMIX, Gap Inc., H&M, Zara, Banana Republic, Ralph Lauren, Giorgio Armani, Vivienne Westwood and The Kooples.

This victory brings us one step closer to making the fashion industry entirely fur-free.

Exotic “Pets”: Suffering for Sale!

By Jennifer O’Connor

Some years ago, I heard a loud, rather frantic knocking at my door. I rushed to open it and found my next-door neighbor standing on my doorstep with gloves on and a pillowcase in hand.

He had stopped by to warn me that his “pet” python was on the loose, having escaped the small, inadequate tank that he was kept in. As if this weren’t alarming enough, he admitted that he had been out of town for “a couple of weeks” and wasn’t exactly sure when Bruno the snake had finally gotten hungry enough to make a break for it.

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Snakes and iguanas are just as EXOTIC as lions and elephants!

Could I keep an eye out for him?

I slept with one eye open until Bruno was found — weeks later, emaciated and dead, having starved to death behind the dryers in the apartment building’s laundry room.

Bruno met a ghastly end, but as Florida lawmakers well know, some lost or discarded pets manage to thrive.

Florida officials tried every trick in the book to rid the state of pythons and other non-native species. Roundups didn’t work. Killing contests with cash prizes failed. A recent decision by the state’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to ban the possession and breeding of pythons, iguanas and 14 other nonnative species is long overdue but may have come far too late.

Florida’s war on reptiles can be directly attributed to lawmakers — at both the state and the federal level — who have long capitulated to the exotic animal industry by refusing to ban wild animals from being kept as pets. Just a few years ago, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service caved to the U.S. Association of Reptile Keepers, which was fighting a bill that would have made some species of dangerous snakes illegal to import and sell. The proposed list was gutted by more than half — four species were banned rather than nine. The group then sued to overturn even that modest measure.

When you make it as simple as pulling out a credit card to buy snakes, alligators, iguanas and other exotic species, the cruel cycle, fueled by the exotic pet industry, begins again. These animals are often bought on a whim and are quickly disposed of when their specialized needs become burdensome. The thrill of acquiring a novelty pet can wear off before the check even clears.

Animals who have become “inconvenient” are often tossed out like trash or relegated to life at the end of a chain or in a tiny cage; others are passed from one owner to the next. A few “lucky” ones may end up in an already overburdened animal shelter, where they will at least be given food.

Unbelievably, there is no federal law prohibiting the private ownership of wild or dangerous animals, and that includes tigers, bears, lions and other large species.

Breeders and dealers market exotics as if they were little more than stuffed toys. But exotic species have precise dietary and environmental needs and require specialized veterinary care that even zoos, with their vast resources, sometimes have difficulty fulfilling. Reptiles need technical spectrum lighting, big cats require a fortified diet to prevent their bones from weakening and tropical birds need high levels of humidity in order to thrive.

Lawmakers owe it to their constituents to prevent people from breeding, selling and keeping reptiles and other exotic species, not only to protect the animals themselves, like poor Bruno, but also to protect public health and our ecosystems.

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Safe at the Elephant Sanctuary, Nosey Makes Her First New Friends!

By Danny Prater

For decades, an African elephant named Nosey languished in chains as she was carted around the country and exploited for entertainment.

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The BRUTAL training of elephants for traveling shows and circuses. WORCESTER MAYOR JOE PETTY AND WOO CITY COUNCIL – BAN ALL TRAVELING EXOTIC ANIMAL ACTS FROM WORCESTER!

She was denied the crucial companionship of other elephants, which was surely devastating for her.

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Nosey is safe and happy now.❤

But thankfully, her life took a turn for the better after officials in Lawrence County, Alabama, as well as PETA and tens of thousands of compassionate people took action. Nosey was freed from her longtime abuser and sent to rest and recover at her new permanent home, The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee (TES). And now there’s more good news! TES has announced that Nosey has been introduced to two new Asian elephant friends, Sissy and Tarra.

In their native homes, elephants live surrounded by family and friends.

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Mother and baby elephant

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Elephants playing …

By this point in her life, Nosey would’ve been an auntie and possibly even a mother. But humans took that opportunity away from her. When she was just a calf, her family was gunned down. She was captured and sold to the circus. Because she was alone for most of her life, she never had a chance to learn social skills or important life lessons from other elephants.

Because Nosey — like many elephants used in traveling circus-style shows — has a history of exposure to tuberculosis, she is not able to reside with other African elephants at the sanctuary, who have no history of exposure.

Nosey Meets New Friends

During the early days following Nosey’s arrival at TES, she began rumbling to and socializing with her Asian elephant neighbors from a safe distance. But recently, Nosey met Tarra and then Sissy through a fence. This allowed the elephants to become comfortable with one another on their own terms, with the added security that a barrier provides. After slowly getting to know one another, the three elephants even met all together — with careful supervision by TES staff — inside a barn.

Elephant introductions at reputable, accredited sanctuaries like TES are careful and slow. This affords each elephant the freedom to learn how to be around others and the option to leave the area.

TES detailed some of Nosey and her new friend Tarra’s heartwarming first interactions:

“When finally introduced, Nosey and Tarra were both very relaxed, and spent several minutes smelling one another’s trunk, face, mouth, ears, eyes, and feet. Tarra showed particular interest in Nosey’s tusks and mouth, while Nosey was taking in everything she could about Tarra! They rumbled to each other softly. The two were allowed supervised access to each other for three hours and were seen on four occasions meeting up for minutes at a time expressing the same relaxed, exploratory behaviors.”

We can’t wait to see Nosey’s relationship with Tarra and Sissy bloom!