Category Archives: Animal Issues

Are vegetarians more compassionate than meat-eaters?

By Paula Moore

According to a new study by an international team of researchers, your thoughts about marriage equality and racial justice could be linked to your affinity for steaks and sausages. In other words, if the idea of killing another living being for dinner doesn’t leave a bad taste in your mouth, then you’re probably not too bothered by other social injustices, either.

The study, “Rationalizing Meat Consumption. The 4 Ns,” published in the journal Appetite, found that people who justify eating animals by claiming that it is “natural,” “normal,” “necessary” or “nice”—even though it is none of these things—are more tolerant of social inequality in general.

Historically, these same “Ns” have been trotted out to justify everything from slavery to homophobia. For instance, as the study notes, “In defense of male-only voting practices in the U.S. opponents of women’s suffrage often appealed to the necessity of denying women the vote … to the natural superiority of male intelligence, and to the historical normalness of male-only voting as ‘designed by our forefathers.’ … Today, most people find such arguments in support of male-only voting ludicrous at best.”

This confirms what PETA has long maintained: The mindset that condones the oppression of other humans—whether Jews, women, gays or people of color—is the same mindset that permits the exploitation of animals. Prejudices of any stripe arise when we start to believe that “I” am important and “you” are not, that my interests somehow trump those of other living beings.

It’s not surprising that meat-eaters find it necessary to defend their behavior, which is increasingly coming under public scrutiny. In this day and age, anyone who’s been paying attention knows that raising and killing animals for food is destroying the planet, jeopardizing our health and causing tremendous suffering to billions of sentient beings. In today’s meat and dairy industries, animals know little else but pain, fear, injury and disease. Piglets have their tails and testicles cut off without being given painkillers, chickens and turkeys have their throats cut while they’re still conscious and calves are taken away from their mothers within hours of birth.

And the United Nations reports that a global shift toward a vegan diet is necessary if we want to combat the worst effects of climate change.

It’s simpler to make excuses—”I grew up eating meat; it’s normal,” or “A plate of spare ribs is so nice after a hard day”—than it is to change behavior. It’s easy to shake our heads in disbelief at what others before us have done but not so easy to examine honestly the biases and prejudices that we hold today.

But there’s hope. As more consumers begin to question the status quo and reject the inherent violence of eating animals, the world will become a kinder place for all of us.

A previous study found that vegans and vegetarians have more empathy than meat-eaters do—for both animals and their fellow humans. Researchers in Europe placed volunteers in an MRI machine and showed them a series of random pictures during scanning. The scans revealed that when observing animal or human suffering, the “empathy-related” areas of the brain are more active among vegetarians and vegans. The researchers also found that there are certain brain areas that only vegans and vegetarians seem to activate when witnessing suffering.

Compassion begets compassion. Change can happen when we begin to recognize that all oppression, prejudice and cruelty are wrong—and that all are connected. We can start with dinner.

Proper care of rabbits



Rescued rabbits!

By Franny McKeever

As a volunteer with the House Rabbit Network, a rabbit rescue organization based in Woburn, Massachusetts, that rescues and adopts out well over a hundred bunnies each year, I have seen the post-easter/spring flood of abandoned bunnies, dumped in various locations after the novelty of a cute bunny wears off and the reality of the care involved sets in.

This flood continues year round.

The luckier ones get rescued and survive.

Domestic bunnies do not belong outside any more than a pet Yorkshire Terrier does. They are not suited or accustomed to extreme temperatures. They are easy prey for a variety of animals. How is a white bunny with black spots going to blend in and hide outdoors? So while some people unthinkingly assume they are giving a bunny it’s freedom others will simply leave the bunny in a box somewhere or worse.

Some bunnies will be left off at shelters to possibly await euthanasia if not adopted soon enough because space is limited.

The problem is that a bunny is treated as a novelty pet, sometimes described as a starter pet.

The truth is a bunny is  high-maintenance pet.  A house rabbit is a pet that requires research and understanding. This is assuming that the person does know that a rabbit is an indoor pet that does not thrive in an outdoor hutch, cowering in the corner near the garage.

A bunny must have time to roam in a bunny proofed area of a home, as a cat or dog would, surrounded by those who love him.

So this is the destiny that awaits a huge population of bunnies, irresponsibly bred by breeders and sold to the public or pet stores, perpetuating this cycle of unwanted rabbits at Easter time and throughout the year. Pet stores advertise young bunnies for easter, often not quite weaned. Even the most experienced vet would have a hard time identifying the gender of these young bunnies and yet they are sold off sometimes in pairs causing yet more unwanted bunnies.  Reckless, but well meaning adults buy these bunnies for their children, who understand even less about interacting and caring for a bunny.

As a prey animal, a rabbit needs to have space to trust that they are safe and should not be bombarded by the high activity of a child. They have fragile bones that can easily break if dropped by a child, who doesn’t know that rabbits don’t really want to be held in the first place, but rather feel safer when their feet are on the ground. Parental supervision is critical with small children.

More knowledge is required in regard to feeding. Rabbits are prone to digestive issues and they can easily develop GI symptoms, which can worsen quickly if not tended to correctly. Therefore dietary understanding is extremely important. Bunnies must have fresh hay at all times and also be correctly fed the right fresh vegetables.  Most treats found in pet stores are not actually good for your rabbit.

Pet store owners and breeders may also neglect to tell you that rabbits must be spayed and neutered at 3-5 months of age to prevent certain cancers as well as make them happy and well behaved house pets.

Otherwise litterbox habits will generally go out the window as bunnies start marking your house up with territorial droppings. There can be personality changes as well. This is very often the time when uneducated bunny owners decide to abandon their bunnies.

Adopters know that you save the cost of this very expensive operation when adopting from a shelter and at the same time give a former Easter bunny or unwanted bunny a home.

So before you consider surprising some family member with a rabbit, take into consideration an entirely bigger picture. Be sure you are totally committed to caring for one of these wonderful and entertaining animals for the next 10-12 years. Take the time to research bunny care and decide if this is really the right pet for you.

A bunny should never be an impulse buy. It is a very affectionate, social but also high-maintenance pet that deserves to be treated respectfully and not as a commodity.

Six reasons why big cats don’t belong in circuses!

We’ve poured our hearts into the elephants-don’t-belong-in-circuses crusade. Progress!

NOW IT’S TIME TO SAVE THE BIG CATS WHO SUFFER in Ringling and other traveling shows. LIONS, TIGERS, PANTHERS, COUGARS … all of these MAGNIFICENT AND MAJESTIC wild cats have captivated humankind’s imagination for millennia. Because they are so big, so beautiful, so exotic. All the more reason to let them BE FREE IN THE WILD, WHERE THEY BELONG.     – Rosalie Tirella


Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus made headlines when it announced that it was phasing out its cruel and dangerous elephant acts by 2018. However, many circuses, including Ringling, continue to exploit and abuse big cats, and, for those animals, there is no end in sight yet.

Here are six reasons why big cats do NOT belong in circuses:

1. In circuses, big cats are often forced to live intiny, cramped cages.

Caged Tigers in Caravan

Circuses routinely cart animals from town to town in barren cages that deprive lions and tigers of opportunities to fulfill their basic needs to exercise, roam, socialize, forage, and play. Many big cats are forced to eat, drink, sleep, defecate, and urinate in the same place. The only relief that many are given from this nearly perpetual confinement is during their brief performances, when they are subjected to whippings and roaring crowds. As a result of captivity, many big cats are overweight, while others suffer psychologically. The stressful, unnatural environment can cause some to pace back and forth or even mutilate themselves.

2. Their maternal bond is broken.

Tiger in Cage

In the wild, young tigers grow up with their mothers, but animals used in circuses are often separated long before they would naturally part, causing emotional distress for both mothers and cubs.

3. Their basic social and physiological needs are denied.

Tigers are naturally semi-nocturnal and love the water. In circuses, they’re carted around and forced to perform in the daytime and denied access to any kind of watering hole.

Adult tigers are solitary animals, but circuses ignore this fact and make them live in unnatural and often incompatible groups, sometimes resulting in fights and injuries.

CLICK HERE to read more!

Today! Kitten shower at WARL!!

At the Worcester Animal Rescue League

139 Holden St.

Noon – 2 p.m.

I visted WARL yesterday, took a few photos. If you go to the kitten shower this afternoon, you’ll meet this cutie …


… and, of course, these lovelies. (Sigh …. what people do to animals.)  Please give these beauties LOVING forever homes! – Rosalie Tirella 




Kitten Shower 2015!

TODAY!  Sunday! APRIL 19

12 PM – 2 PM

Similar to a baby shower, WARL’s kitten shower is a great opportunity to help the shelter prepare for the upcoming kitten season.

During the event you can learn about:

becoming a foster parent

try your luck at the raffle

meet the purr-fect felines waiting to be adopted

… and maybe even meet some kittens currently in foster care!

Bring a gift to the shower and enter to win a door prize!

Admission: Please donate a kitten related item.

Currently we are in need of:

Kitchen Scales (that measure ounces)

Kitten Milk Replacement (KMR)

Cat toys, particularly the fake mice type

Meat-flavored baby food

Dish soap

“he” Laundry detergent


Paper towels

Cat nip

Some pics from our FB circus page gal, Deb Young …

Deb has been posting such important information on wild animals in circuses and animals in general on our FB circus page, on this website. … More and more people are “liking” the page (click on text by baby elephant being “trained” to get to it). Hopefully, we’re all learning and changing the way we engage with our planet’s beautiful and always mysterious fauna.

Here’s Deb and her adorable chihuahua, Juno! I really like the second photo: You can see the love Juno has for Deb … her eyes are closed in contentment … it looks as if she’s smiling!    – R.T.




This Sunday! April 19! Kitten shower at the Worcester Animal Rescue League!


April says: Cherish the babies! Purrrrrr …

Worcester Animal Rescue League

139 Holden St., Worcester

Kitten Shower 2015!

This Sunday! APRIL 19

12 PM – 2 PM

Similar to a baby shower, WARL’s kitten shower is a great opportunity to help the shelter prepare for the upcoming kitten season.

During the event you can learn about:

becoming a foster parent

try your luck at the raffle

meet the purr-fect felines waiting to be adopted

… and maybe even meet some kittens currently in foster care!

Bring a gift to the shower and enter to win a door prize!

Admission: Please donate a kitten related item.

Currently we are in need of:

Kitchen Scales (that measure ounces)

Kitten Milk Replacement (KMR)

Cat toys, particularly the fake mice type

Meat-flavored baby food

Dish soap

“he” Laundry detergent


Paper towels

Cat nip

Animal experiments are morally ‘unthinkable’

By Justin Goodman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cherish the bunnies!!!! LOVE = Jesus

Franny just sent us these bunny pics!

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

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




All gone!!!!

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


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


This Easter let’s give rabbits a break!



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

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

Go, Franny, go!!!!       – R. T.


By Kendall Bryant

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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