Sunday, January 27, 2008

PsycotheraPETS at Ateneo

Ok,'s something for you to do on February's a whole day affair beginning at 9am and ends at 5pm....have your pets blessed and listen to two speakers on animal care and PAWS' Doctor Dog campaign...oh, there's also a dog contest...text your attendance and entry to 0917-8197092 before Tuesday...wishing you a load of fun! ( Click on the poster to enlarge it )

Wildlife Extra on the WWF and the Endangered Bird Hunting in the Philippines

Wildlife Extra pitches for endangered Philippine wildlife:

World Wildlife Fund and the Killing of Philippine Birds

Here is a link to World Wildlife Fund's ( WWF ) article on the killing of protected and endangered Philippine birds:

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Killing of Philippine Birds Gets More Attention

Here's a link to Carla Gomez's article entitled, " Hunters Still Breaking Chain of Life for Fun. "

The article includes a confession from one of the hunters whose picture appeared in the online petition against the wanton and indiscriminate killing of Philippine wildlife. Just read on...

This is not just about conservation. It's about biodiversity, natural heritage, legacy and ecological balance” Senator Zubiri

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Chlorine and Dolphins, A Deadly Encounter

In the first place, what is Chlorine? It is part of the halogen group of elements that is known to be salt-forming. Its symbol is CL, atomic number 17, and its atomic weight is 35.45. You will not find Chlorine in a free state ( by itself ) in nature but always compounded with other elements like Sodium. It is extracted by electrolysis. Chlorine is described as a greenish-yellow gas, and it can be compounded with nearly all the other elements. We are warned that Chlorine is a respiratory irritant, irritating the mucus membranes and its liquid form burns the skin. Its good use includes, ironically, making safe drinking water. But, it is also used in many household products like paper, textiles, medicines, antiseptics, and plastics. However, Chlorine is most commonly used for sanitation, bleaching and disinfectants. In history, Chlorine was used as poison gas during World War One. So, what we have here is a pretty nifty agent of nature, protean in function and chameleon-like in form.

Chlorinated water is harmful to dolphins. Some have asserted that this is only postulated, and it lacks the necessary scientific testing to make it an empirical truth. Well, don't take my word for it since my background is in literature and history but I'd like you to consider the work of Jason Dombrosky, caretaker of the dolphins at the West Edmonton Mall - Dolphin Lagoon, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Yes, Dombrosky works at a waterpark, and that puts him on the other side of the conflict between animal welfare advocates like us and profit-driven businesses. However, Dombrosky was conscientious enough to seek a better world, through study and experimentation, for his dolphins particularly when it came to their watery habitat, short of setting them free. It is ironic that from the work of an insider we can prove beyond doubt how harmful and cruel the lives of captive dolphins are. By the way, all five dolphins at the West Edmonton Mall died and they have stopped forcing dolphins to perform.

You can read Dombrosky's full work here:

For those of you who would rather not wade through the technicalities, I am extracting pertinent material from the above for easy digestion. This first quote tell us about the problem with Chlorine:
" The use of chlorine on Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins also presents problems that extent beyond carcinogenic by-products. Exposure to chlorine and chlorinated by-products is quite simply unnatural for marine mammals. The deviance from a naturalistic environment begins with the pH variation from the ocean to the artificial enclosure. Most marine mammal facilities maintain a pH between 7.6 and 7.8, while the ocean pH is much greater at 8.3. Work done by Herman and Tavolga (1980) found that the chlorination of water interferes with aspects of dolphin communication (qtd in Toom 1987). Dolphins have shown to secrete signal substances, or pheromones, that play a role in social and sexual behavior (Toom 1987). Undoubtedly chlorine would act on the substances resulting in their destruction. Dolphins, as many other marine mammals are versatile and adapt to chlorinated water systems, but there appears to be sufficient evidence that long-term exposure would lead to negative health effects. "
UV irradiation brings good changes:

" The improvements seen in the Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins through the implementation period up until the present has been nothing short of extraordinary. Over time, the dolphin's skin had gradually become bleached out by the use of sodium hypochlorite. Continual sloughing and large white skin blotches had become the norm. Eye problems continually plagued the dolphins, often making it impossible to see their trainers due to a thin protective coating covering the cornea. Within the first week of UV implementation, the eye problems disappeared, and their skin began to darken. Even at the writing of this paper, the skin continues to improve. Skin sloughing has slowed dramatically, and the incidence of rubbing behaviors has decreased. "
Removal of Chlorine improves respiratory problems :

" Both dolphins have had documented respiratory irritations in the past, most notably the male. He would cycle through bouts of respiratory inflammation every 2 to 4 weeks, occasionally needing antibiotic treatment. Since the removal of chlorine, he has not had a respiratory flare-up. The female was continually plagued by bronchial inflammation. This irritation would lead to the formation of a raw patch behind her blowhole. The condition was documented through examining slides produced by respiratory samples. Since the removal of chlorine, respiratory samples have shown vast improvement."
Dolphins drink less with Chlorine:

While it is postulated that Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins attain 69% of their hydration demands through the drinking and/or absorption of seawater (Dierauf and Gulland, 2001), the dolphins prior to the removal of chlorine were never seen drinking the water. Furthermore, during times when they went of off feed, they dehydrated to a critical point within 24 hours. Since the removal of residual chlorination, the dolphins are often seen taking in mouthfuls of water, and using the water in a variety of ways."
Dolphins are stressed with Chlorine:

" The removal of residual disinfection in the form of chlorine has removed the element of environmental unrest in the dolphins’ water system. The consistency attained with the use of UV has allowed changes to be made in the water quality from a proactive state rather than reactive. Issues of chlorine demand, and the resultant cloudiness of the water that comes with it no longer exist. Consistency is a key with environmental quality, and it is no longer jeopardized due to the removal of chemical alteration to the water system. As animal caretakers it is important to provide the dolphins with the least amount of environmental stress possible, with the advent of UV water treatment, the water system takes on a whole new naturalistic appeal. "
Do not patronize or cooperate with dolphin shows at all.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Dog-eating Men indicted in Hawaii

Two men from Hawaii were indicted for stealing and butchering an 8-month old German Shepherd belonging to Frank and Debbie Manuma, pictured below with their dog. Recent changes in animal cruelty laws have made this crime a felony punishable by five years imprisonment plus a $10,000 fine. And as far as I am concerned, I will hope and pray that these guys get the maximum. The charges are second-degree theft and first-degree cruelty to animals. Circuit Judge Steven Alm issued $20,000 bench warrants for both defendants namely Saturnino Palting, 48, pictured on the right, and Nelson Domingo, 53, left, both of Kalihi, Hawaii. For those unfamiliar with bench warrants, they are issued by a judge for an individual deemed to be in contempt of court as a result of that person's failure to appear at the appointed time and date for a mandated court appearance.

When I first saw the headline, red flags immediately went up in my mind. Could it be that the dog meat trade, or that most vile practice of slaughtering dogs for Pulutan ( finger food for drinking binges ) had somehow crossed the Pacific Ocean and reared its ugly head in Hawaii? Much to my disappoinment, as I read on, I learned that the men were originally from the Philippines.

Palting and Domingo worked , before they were fired as a result of their actions, at the Moanalua Golf Club. Frank Manuma, the dog's owner, arrived at the club on Dec. 16 to play a round of golf. He asked the management's permission to keep the dog, Caddy, at the equipment shack while he played. By the time Frank Manuma finished his game, Caddy was gone. Witnesses told the manager that they saw both maintenance workers, Palting and Domingo, load the dog into their vehicle at the end of their shifts. When questioned, Palting and Domingo initially said the the dog ran away.

When the police got involved, both men confessed to butchering and eating the dog. Another man, who is also a golf course employee and who had the day off, told police that Palting and Domingo brought the dog to his house where they killed and butchered it.

Both Saturnino Palting and Nelson Domingo have no prior records. As of yesterday, they have not turned themselves in. The police consider them flight risks. Close family ties could lead some people to assist them in an escape effort, if they are so inclined. For that, let's put our trust in a sense of fairness and propriety that is instilled in most Filipinos.

I am perplexed at how the third man was not indicted as well. It would be impossible for him not to know about the killing and the butchering of a dog in his property. He allowed it and, most likely, participated in it too.

Here is a good example at how the dog meat trade, or the practice of eating dogs among some Filipino macho men, goes beyond the killing of innocent and trusting dogs. This practice also butchers our image as a race and as a nation. Individuals like these dog-eaters smear our reputation to no end. Do Filipinos eat dogs? Most of the world will ask this question in a state of incredulity. Because of people like Palting and Domingo, we'll have to admit that some do, but most of us don't.

Reading the various reports on the web can lead people to think that Caddy was slaughtered for food. They give the wrong impression. In truth, as I have previously mentioned, dogs are slaughtered to become finger food for a drinking session among the men folk. Almost always, slaughtered dogs do not address a need for food, but a need to be macho among drinking buddies. As if slaughtering a dog and serving it to their buddies means that they've gone an extra mile to please them. That's one angle that the police might not have considered. The killing wasn't for life-giving food, but for fun. All I am saying is not to portray these men as people in search of sustenance. They should have just bought a bag of nachos to go along with their get-together. What a shame.

I will be sending a tip to the Philippine National Police at their feedback page about the possible arrival of these two at the international airport, in case they have hightailed it out of Hawaii and headed for home.

FYI, the Kalihi Police Department can be contacted at 1865 Kamehameha IV Road, Honolulu, Hawaii 96819 Tel. 808-842-7737. And the Honolulu PD at

UPDATE : According to the Honolulu Advertiser, the two men were arrested at their homes last Tuesday night. They are now in police custody.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Dog for Adoption: Van Damme

Van Damme is three years old, and he's very friendly with humans but aggressive with other dogs. He's been at the shelter since October, 2006. Van Damme loves to chase cats, but he does not hurt them.

To learn more about Van Damme and how to adopt him, go to Me.Find.Home HERE . Photo by Sherwin Castillo.

Philippine Serpent Eagle Rescued

Here's an article sent to an e-group for bird and animal lovers:

22 January 2008

An injured huge bird believed to be a Philippine Eagle was rescued last week in a forest in far-flung Barangay Laylaya of this municipality. The bird, which is now undergoing treatment, is under the custody of the town’s Agriculturist Dr. Dam-ay Guinayen, a veterinarian. The bird reportedly suffered a gunshot wound on its right wing damaging a bone. Mayor Wellington Pooten reported the rescued bird during the Provincial Peace and Order Council meeting as he also requested for assistance from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Staff from the Community Environment and Natural Resource Office (CENRO), Sabangan identified the bird as a Serpent Eagle similar to a bird caught sometime in year 2000 at Lake Danum in Sagada. Regional Technical Director Reynaldo Yawan reportedly advised the CENRO staff, Conception Wangdali, PAENRO Board Secretariat, Dr. Doris Cobaldez of the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian and some Besao officials to let the bird remain under the care of Dr. Guinayen until its wounds are healed and able to flap its wings and then released to the place where it was rescued.

According to reports, there is no functional endangered species rescue center in the region. Even the Parks and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) of the (DENR) in Baguio City is reportedly not capable of providing care and management of such kind of bird saying a Serpent Eagle died three days after it was brought to their custody.

Vice Mayor David Ballang, however, said that in the case they are not capable in managing the care and maintenance of the bird, they will turn-over the same to the DENR. The group expressed the need to construct a big cage to enable the bird to stretch it wings and move freely while in captivity.

Initially, Governor Maximo Dalog instructed Wangdali and Cobaldez to bring the suspected Philippine Eagle to the PAWB of the DENR in Baguio City for proper care and management. Dalog said the bird must be protected as this is an endangered specie and a tourist attraction thriving in very few forests in Philippines . (PIA-MP)

Here is Romy Ocon's wonderful page on the Philippine Serpent Eagle:

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Bantay Dagat and the Three Members of the Philippine Shooting Team

In my previous post, I touched upon the scandalous and inappropriate use of a Bantay Dagat boat by members of the Philippine Shooting Team namely Tet Lara, Jade De Guzman and Mike De Guzman. In that post, the team members were shown in a group photo, similar to this one, disembarking with their fresh kill. Although I was pretty sure that " Bantay Dagat " was emblazoned on the side of the boat, one could still argue that I was mistaken. After all, only a few letters were visible with the hunters' legs obscuring the rest. But, we now have a better picture that leaves no doubt in our minds. Call it Divine Intervention. Here it is, manna from heaven. Let there be no doubt that God is a nature lover. All the world's plants and animals are his creation too. And those who protect them are his soldiers on Earth. Let's take a look at this photograph.

In this photograph, we again see the humiliating acts to which our natural treasures were subjected to. Take note of the pile of dead wildlife lying at the bow of the boat. It must be approximately 1.5 feet high, or 46 cm., and some might have been unloaded already. Here you can clearly see the name on the side of the boat. You can also discern the seal of the regional branch of Bantay Dagat very near the bow. It says, " Camarines Norte. " Well, that kinda narrows it done, doesn't it? They were not in Argentina as their now defunct website suggested. They were actually hunting protected wildlife in Bicol where, the last time I checked, Republic Act 9147 and the Philippine Animal Welfare Act were in effect. It has also become clear that they were in wrongful possession of a boat intended for the protection of fisheries, using it instead for their personal pleasure and their environmentally destructive pastime.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) of the Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA) is the lead agency for Bantay Dagat. I believe with all my heart that BFAR as a whole, was unwilling, then and now, to be a participant in such hunting parties. As I said in my previous post, they are the good guys. However, it is obvious that someone further down the line at BFAR, perhaps at the grassroots level, lost sight of the bureau's noble cause and cooperated. Thus, the bureau's good name was compromised. Does the bureau have anything to say about these hunters using their boat to violate the R.A. 9147 and the Animal Welfare Act? Or, are they going to stay mum, play safe and accept a sullied reputation to protect the obviously guilty? It's a serious misappropriation of government funding. It would be very reassuring to those who care about Philippine wildlife if the bureau made sure that such faux pas does not happen again.

For those of you who want to help save Philippine wildlife and its environment, please sign this online petition and spread the word via website linking or simple emailing. Thank you.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Three Members of the Philippine Shooting Team and the Killing of Protected Philippine Wildlife

When a member of the animal or plant kingdom goes extinct, there will be no second chances. Evolution will simply not repeat itself. There are reportedly eighty bird species that are unique to the Philippines and many of them have already made it to the endangered list. And we, to a great extent, have indiscrimate hunting to thank for it. In spite of two national laws protecting Philippine animals, the carnage continues unabated. The killings could occur as arbitrarily as guys getting together for macho time, or as a result of a well-planned hunting trip involving speed boats, bird callers, and camouflaged outfits. Either way, the outcome is the same. Philippine wildlife, our natural treasures, inches closer to a state of irreparable vacancy.

Not too long ago, we learned about the Bacolod Air Rifle Club (BARC) whose unbridled killing of Philippine birds and ducks became the subject of an online petition calling for immediate government intervention. My post on that most disturbing crime appears HERE. Since early December 2007, the BARC has taken down their website in an attempt to cut their losses and cover their tracks. In a desperate bid to avoid culpability, they put out a statement claiming that they never actually existed. The Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR), after it was notified of the killings, surged ahead to take the lead in the investigation. Bird and animal lovers like myself are expecting a just and proper resolution to that crisis.

But bad news can get worse, and alibis become dream-like.

Take the case of the three members of the Philippine shooting team who are now accused of violating the Philippine Animal Welfare Act and Section 27 of the Republic Act 9147. It became very evident that photographs, ones they took themselves, point to the fact that they were involved in hunting protected wildlife. Talk about shooting one's self in the foot! The photographs show Tet Lara, Jade De Guzman and Mike De Guzman enjoying a joyride paid for, in blood and misery, by the very Philippine wildlife that those laws meant to protect. The victims lie dead, hung like fruit, or bundled together like dirty laundry. By the trio's own doing, the photographs made it to the web in albums posted at the site of They rested on their laurels, content, happy, and proud. Surely, no one would make a stink.

But, the people cried out...

It seems that the trio considered themselves too clever that in the end they outwitted themselves. The photographs now form circumstantial evidence of their wrong-doing, like a banner that reads GUILTY. In their defense, the trio banked on our credulity, or should I say inferred stupidity, by assuring us that they had only come upon the dead animals, and had no hand in their killing. This was an incredible Hail Mary pass that they hoped the Filipino people would catch without more than a grunt or a whimper. But Filipino fools, it seems, are as scarce as Philippine ducks. I wish we had somethng more than a fairy tale to consider in their defense, but that is the best they can offer-- bad fiction mixed in with a hallucinogenic expectation that Filipinos will accept their story hands down. No one bought it, and no one is going to be their fool. So, let's move on to the photographs and see what we can glean from them.

Perhaps, there is nothing more crass and inhumane than desecrating the remains of a dying animal. Here is Tet Lara, with open-mouth joy and wagging tongue, willfully taunting a duck whose eye was still open. You can see a black dot right below the eyebrow, not possible if the eye was closed. I assure you that this duck was still alive when this photograph was taken. I know this to be true because I spend a lot of time observing ducks and geese, feeding and photographing them, and I have come to a good understanding of their ways. Here are my latest EXAMPLES . I have witnessed cruelty before, usually stemming from anger or neglect, but to mock and ridicule an animal in its death throes takes inhumanity to its zenith. This young lady, evidently, made sure that her triumphant moment over a helpless and wounded duck was captured for posterity.

I would like to believe that the other members of the Philippine Shooting Team, like the general public, would reject such barbaric acts and to openly condemn and distance themselves from such behaviour. It is not good for Philippine sports to have one, or several, of its members practicing animal cruelty. It is unfair to both past and future generations of Filipino athletes to be tagged with animal cruelty even by association only.

The pride and joy derived from this inhumane act is beyond my understanding. I think we need to reach into the deepest and darkest recesses of the human psyche to find the answer. This moment represents the very height of insensitivity and boorishness. I hate to imagine the suffering this animal, and others like it, went through before death actually brought relief. Tet Lara's egregious disregard for animal welfare should not go unpunished. The Animal Welfare Act states, " SECTION 6: It shall be unlawful for any person to torture any animal, or to neglect to provide adequate care, sustenance or shelter, or maltreat any animal or to subject any dog or horse to dogfights or horsefights, kill or cause or produce to be tortured or deprived of adequate care sustenance or shelter, or maltreat or use the same in research or experiments not expressly authorized by the Committee on Animal Welfare. " Sure as sunrise, no assistance was rendered here. Authorities should take a hard look at this case, and take proper action. And those besmirched by the callous actions of a few should speak out.

As previously mentioned, the three members of the Philippine shooting team, namely Tet Lara, Jade De Guzman and Mike De Guzman, proprietors of the telemarketing company Business Beanstalk, published a statement that attempted to exonerate them from all wrong-doing. Clearly, a mea culpa isn't forthcoming. Their story wherein they come out as unwilling and passive participants in a deadly shootout, is at best fantastic. Their serendipitous discovery does not explain why they were photographed in full hunting gear, replete with cartridge pouches, bird callers, camo gear, and firearm. We are expected to believe that their natural reaction to finding a cache of dead animals was to have themselves photographed in proprietary poses, holding them high like medals, and sporting gleeful faces accompanied by mocking shouts at the wasted wildlife. And how is it that some people can accidentally find themselves sharing a small boat with a large number of dead animals? Kinda bizarre behaviour and suspicious circumstances for people who claim to have nothing to do with their demise, don't you think?

These photographs, and others not included in this post, are full of mockery and disrespect for animals that even the most hardcore, hunting enthusiasts will find them disagreeable. The hunter's code of ethics include respecting the prey, avoiding wasteful killing, and shooting only those that you can consume. The guys at my local hunting/camping store, to whom I intend to show the photographs, will surely turn red with disgust. I might be in philosophical disagreement with them when it comes to hunting ( we are friendly nevertheless), but I think that they will share my sense of outrage for the killing of vulnerable/endangered species and the ridiculing of the near-dead. I don't want to employ ad hominems or to be blatantly rude, but I must stress that this is what happens when you place big-bore guns in the hands of small-minded people. State and national laws are violated, quotas exceeded, and animals in their death throes mocked and desecrated.

Let's look carefully at the group photo. The photo is particularly interesting. It shows Jade and Mike De Guzman ( proprietors of the telemarketing company Business Beanstalk ) with a man who could be Ed Mijares ( someone correct me if I am mistaken). Notice that the faces of the three helpers have been blocked out. This is how the photo was when it appeared in an album misleadingly titled " Argentina, " posted at the website of the I have seen this photo before the faces were blocked out, and I can assure you that no Argentine looks like them. The club has since taken down the photo albums, reminiscent of Bacolod Air Rifle Club's attempt at CYA. However, careless thinking gave the hunters away. Notice the writing on the boat. It says, " Bantay Dagat. " Bantay Dagat is a volunteer force of Filipinos concerned about illegal fishing along coastal areas. You can roughly translate the name to Sea Patrol. Bantay Dagat are the good guys because they care about the environment particularly the fisheries. I'd be darn surprised to find Bantay Dagat in Argentina. I don't think they operate that far. At their website, Bantay Dagat deplores the lack of patrol boats to cover vast fishing areas. Their larger vessels are nothing but enlarged outrigger canoes ( not a putdown on them). In other words, they need all the help they can get. Why is it then that one of their patrol boats appear in a hunting party's photograph? Shouldn't this boat be in service protecting the fisheries rather than used as a hunting plaform? This is scandalous and highly inappropriate. The plot thickens, and somebody ought to stop Bantay Dagat boats from being an accessory to a crime.

Here are Jade De Guzman and Mike De Guzman, proud finders of dead ducks, if we were to go along with their claim. I count 6/7 ducks per bundle and that makes 14 between the two. You can imagine how many more of this most precious, if not endangered, species we've lost when you consider that these fourteen ducks could have grown exponentially in numbers, if they were allowed to live. And there must be more lying dead on the boat's floor. The hidden cost, in lost generations, must be astronomical. It's far from being a laughing matter. Some say that denial is part of guilt, that rumor is premature fact. There is, however, a saying more apt for this situation. I've heard it used in court rooms while I was on jury duty, in heated staff meetings, or in many other contentious situations in life. Logic dictates that if it quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, swims like a duck, and flys like a duck, then it MUST be a duck. These photographs tell us, and there are more you haven't seen, that the blood of all these wasted animals is on the hands of this unfortunate trio. They must be held accountable for the violations of the Animal Welfare Act and the Republic Act 9147. The defense and preservation of Philippine natural resources should include the prosecution of those who trash and trample upon it.

I am calling on the DENR to do the job they are suppose to do. Warnings are ineffective. Prosecute the violators and preserve Philippine natural resources for future generations.

Please send a mesage to the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR) and tell them to investigate and prosecute this matter. You can send a message here:


Here is a TV news report about the killings, in case you have not seen it:

Here is GMA News :

Here is the statement from Tet Lara, Jade and Mike DeGuzman:
Date: Sat, 12 Jan 2008 01:56:53 -0800 (PST) > From: tet lara >>Subject: Shooting statement> To: kapusomojessicasoho @gmanetwork. com>>>

The pictures in question were taken from a defunct spoof website from last year. It was not meant to be viewed seriously as it clearly stated "there was an expedition with Kumander Robot in Abu Sayyaf Territory", which is obviously fake. These photos are being circulated, not by us, but by some unknown group or groups wanting to blame the decline of bird population on someone. We never stated that we shot the birds - the birds were already dead upon our arrival. Its true that dead birds and people posing with shotguns were in the same picture, and does not look good. Admittedly, this was a poor judgment call. However, to say that the Philippine Team shot down near-endangered birds by merely looking at these photos, is jumping to conclusions. Again, we want to apologize to those offended by the bad-taste photos and the portrayal of the > misconcepcion that its OK to shoot philippine ducks. It is NOT OK. We wish to promote our CLAY SHOOTING sport as an alternative to shooting birds, since it is clearly illegal in the Philippines.

Click on Articles to Enlarge

Here is Juan Mercado's Article:

Here is the DENR's warning:

Atienza warns the hunters:

A Crow and a Cat, an Odd Friendship

Unlikely friends, but they are...I wouldn't say that, from them, we could learn to be more tolerant and helpful inspite of the differences. I think that there are many examples of humans helping other humans who don't look and think like them. But it is certainly like
striking gold when you see a cat and a crow maintain a friendly and lasting relationship, and capture it on film. Here it is:

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Petco Comes Through for the Animals

Some people know how to raise money, and Petco Foundation is unquestionably one of them. Petco Foundation raised $2.5 Million through their 2007 Tree of Hope program. Not only is that remarkable, but stunning if you consider that the amount was raised in a mere 36 days by the company's vendors, customers, and associates. Wow! Here's Petco Foundation's press release:

" The year begins on a high note for thousands of animal shelters nationwide that will receive donations from the 2007 Tree of Hope fundraiser, hosted by PETCO and the PETCO Foundation. The 36-day campaign generated more than $2.5 million from donations given by the company’s customers, vendors and associates.

“Tree of Hope has not only helped sustain the lives of animals in need of care and compassion, but also helped nourish the spirit of hope that defines the PETCO Foundation. We are so thankful to everyone who contributed and hope that they all know that they helped to make this world a kinder, safer, and happier place to be for the wonderful animals so near to our hearts,” said PETCO Foundation Vice President Paul Jolly.

Each PETCO store selected local animal welfare groups, and collected donations on their behalf, so the money raised stays in the local community and region. Additionally, customers were able to donate online at and PETCO’s pet insurance partner, PetCare Pet Insurance Programs – offerespecial Adoption Gift Booklets with up to $150 in savings for adopting pet parents and Think Adoption First resource centers located in PETCO stores.
PETCO encourages customers to consider adoption before the purchase of any companion animal – even if it’s one of the birds, reptiles or small animals currently offered at PETCO and owned by Pethealth Inc. – contributed $5 for each PetCare pet insurance policy activated during the fundraiser.

Through donations, animal welfare groups are able to invest in making surrendered animals more adoptable. In addition to hosting several fundraisers throughout the year, PETCO’s commitment to animal welfare is highlighted through adoption events held in PETCO stores, special Adoption Gift Booklets with up to $150 in savings for adopting pet parents and Think Adoption First resource centers located in PETCO stores.

PETCO encourages customers to consider adoption before the purchase of any companion animal – even if it’s one of the birds, reptiles or small animals currently offered at PETCO. " (PR Web)

Of Ducks and Geese...

It wasn't too cold today, 42F, and so I decided to take my dog for a walk at the county park. I was happy to see that the geese and ducks were plentiful, for I thought that they've left the frigid north for the warmer weather of the south. There is a small zoo in the park that I never visit. Instead, I spend my time by the water and appreciate the geese and the ducks. How free and beautiful they are!

The geese swim back and forth the pond like a flotilla of ships.

Some stop at a shallow part and groom themselves.

It's a busy waterway, indeed.

Grand Central Station

Beautiful colors, just paddling along...

With beauty like this, how can hunters shoot them?

This is the way to shoot them, with a camera.

I think this one is really enjoying the day...

Nature is to be appreciated, not destroyed.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Dog for Adoption: Phoebe

This cutie is two years old whose former owners abandoned her for lack of living space. Phoebe is very friendly and playful but retiring at times. She's good with kids, other dogs and cats. Phoebe presently resides in a shelter in the Philippines.

To learn more about Phoebe and how to adopt her, go to Me.Find.Home HERE . Photo by Sherwin Castillo.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Denny's Drops Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus

It took a while, but Denny's finally saw the light. Denny's is no longer in partnership with the Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus, the Saddest Show on Earth. Denny's joins General Mills, Burger King, Liz Claiborne, MasterCard, Ford Motor Company, and Sears, Roebuck and Co. in rejecting animal cruelty as practiced by the circus. This is a great victory for the animals. Animal circuses are remnants from a time of great insensitivity and cruelty. I urge everyone to avoid all animal circuses.

Dog Humor

Monday, January 07, 2008

Child Bitten at Ark of Avilon

Zoos are nothing but trouble. Zoo animals usually pay the price for human oversight, as we have learned as recently as the Christmas day tiger attack at the San Francisco zoo. There, the enclosing wall was built too short and taunts from the patrons are now suspected as the reason why the tiger leaped into action, killing one and injuring two. Tatiana, the tiger, was shot to death. Since 1990, 220 such incidents in 40 states (USA) involving big cats have occurred. Four children and fifteen adults have lost their lives and fifty other people have lost limbs or suffered other injuries after being mauled (PETA). Zoos are not as safe as they seem, and I reject the very notion that it is wholesome family entertainment. Quite strongly, I believe that zoos practice animal cruelty by dint of animal imprisonment, be it in a small cage, an aviary, or within the confines of a large ( but never large enough ) enclosure. So, an email relating a snake bite on a child ( actually, a 17-yr old girl ) at a zoo called Ark of Avilon ( Pasig, The Philippines) naturally pricked my interest. The story tells us that even at a small petting area, you could find yourself lost in a jungle of poor planning and finger-pointing.

Jerry Liao began with " My Family and I visited the new Arc of Avilon (AoA)Zoo located at Frontera Verde near Tiendesitas in Pasig last January 5, 2008. The highlight of the said zoo is they allow people especially kids to touch their animals like orangutan, parrots, eagles,rabbits, tortoise and snakes. And when you allow your kids to touch these animals, you trust that the animals are harmless and are trained not to hurt its visitors. "

Then, the clouds gather, " Unfortunately, my 2nd daughter was bitten by an Albino King Snake. Her finger was bloodied so I quickly ask where the clinic was located. I saw a sign that read Hospital/Quarantine , I quickly open the door but found nothing inside but some cages and two people talking. I ask if there's a doctor there and they said none. Then the king snake handler came over and directed us to follow him. I thought we would be brought to a clinic. To my dismay, we were brought to a dirty pantry full of flies. And the handler administered Betadine to my daughter's finger, which was stored in a soy sauce gallon container. A park with no clinic,no doctor and no medicine."

Father and daughter are on their own, " I took my daughter to the hospital, and upon reaching the hospital the first question was what kind of snake bit my daughter. I told them its an Albino King Snake. They were not sure whether the king snake is a venomous or a non-venomous snake. They said they had to consult an expert about this. After awhile, Thank God that the king snake was a non-venomous one. But the doctors wanted to be sure so they gave my daughter an anti-tetanus drug and ask her to take anti-biotics for seven days."

Rejection and passing the buck, " After reaching home, I texted both Jake and Tina Gaw (owners of AoA) that the doctor asked us to observe my daughter's condition. I also told them that I am going to write about this horrible experience. Tina texted back and said: "Jerry, if thats how bad you felt, I respect your personal feelings concerning the incident. I wish she (my daughter) could have been more careful in handling the snake or other pets as well especially this one is exotic. Even tame ones, rabbit, tortoise, mouse, pig bite when they felt hurt or frighten when not properly handled. And its really sad when you felt it became a horrible issue."

Jerry clears the air and sorts out the mess, " Now it's my daughter's fault to be bitten by the snake? AoA never bothered to offer their help and now they blame my daughter for the incident. That was a very insensitive remark by Tina. I don't think the snake was hurt or frighten, they were tired and irritated because they were being used to entertain people. Exotic you say? Why allow them to be touched by people? Yes, I agree that animals bite when they felt hurt or frightened, but let me remind the management of AoA that most of your audience are children, I even saw some as young as two years old. They will just touch and play with the animals without knowing whether they're hurting them or not. It is AoA's responsibility to make sure that none of their animals be hurt or frigthened so that biting won't happen.And since accidents happen, how come Arc of Avilon don't even have a clinic to at least administer some first-aid solution. What if the eagles decided to peck the visitors, or use their big claws to attack the visitors. Donkey or horse suddenly kicking. And snakes biting. There should be a doctor, a clinic and first-aid kit to address this kind of unfortunate incidents. "

Jerry's got some good advice for us and the management, " Arc of Avilon should not allow people to touch a snake that bites plus they should have expert handlers to assist its visitors. All the Arc of Avilon management can say is that the snake is a non-venomous one. No other help was offered, and then they will blame the visitors for mishandling the animals. Am I overacting? I don't think so. What are the chances that you will get bitten by a snake in the metropolis? Worst in a theme park like Arc of Avilon.As a parent, will you take it sitting down? Will you just take their word for it that it's non-venomous? Remember, its a snake-bite. Let this be a warning to all my readers who are planning to visit Arc of Avilon at Tiendesitas or any other zoo for that matter. Let my story be a lesson to all. You can ask your kids to look but as much as possible DO NOT TOUCH. Better yet, DO NOT VISIT the Arc of Avilon totally, until they improve their facilities. Never again will we go to the Arc of Avilon.Thank you and more power. God Bless us all! "

Well, can you blame the man? And how about those who we haven't heard from because they don't have the eloquence and wherewithal to express their dissatisfaction? Are there other cases like Jerry's? At the very least, management owes its paying public a good level of support especially in terms of scientific expertise ( who are the zoologists in charge of the animals), immediate and proper medical attention if needed ( is there a medical professional in the house / not even a first aid kit), and the truth about animal behaviour ( that they can bite, kick, spit, peck, claw, chew or grab in spite of the assurances of the handlers).

And what about the animals themselves? They can't write emails and complain about their living conditions. All over the world, zoo managers speak for the animals, and what a frightening thought that is. We are expected to assume that all is well with them in spite of captivity.

If Filipino society was particularly litigious, there would be a lawsuit brewing here. However, Jerry's story calls for improvement, not war. As for me, I'd implore management to altogether quit this business, a business euphemistically called a zoo or an ark, but after all it comes down to animal imprisonment. History has proven that it is only a matter of time before some people will get seriously hurt. Then, scapegoats will be in serious demand.

When zoos fail to protect the public, it will ultimately be the animals' fault. Surely, it is quite convenient to blame those who can't articulate a defense. As we have seen before, killing the animals would be the acceptable solution although they reacted in the way that God meant them to. In this case, I must stress, for now, that there is no indication that the snake in question is facing such a prospect.

In fairness, since we have not fully and directly heard from the management of Ark of Avilon, I'd like to invite them to respond. I'll give them the last word on this.


If the snake was, indeed, a King Snake, then here is some information about it:

King Snakes are not venomous, but, like pythons, they bite. King Snakes are good snakes to have in the field because they kill rodents, and they can also strangulate venomous snakes like copperheads and rattlesnakes. Believe it or not, King Snakes are not affected by the venom of those deadly snakes. King Snakes feed on other snakes, small mammals, lizards, birds, turtle eggs, and frogs. They are considered constrictors. They are generally found from southeastern Canada to Ecuador, and they are terrestial although found near water as well. In captivity, they can survive for as long as 30 years or more. They lay eggs in clutches of 5–24. ( This is not a photo of the King Snake at Ark of Avilon ).

Sunday, January 06, 2008

William Baber, Tennessee Vet Gone Bad.

Euthanasia is suppose to be merciful. When William Baber had his way, it was far from it. Baber used the very cruel " heart stick " method minus the sedation. This means that the animals could spend as long as 30 agonizing minutes before death actually occurred. Undercover video showed that William Baber even stepped on the animals to immobilize them for the injection. Do I sound like I am describing an executioner and not a veterinarian? Very sad, isn't it? The video showed dogs’ tails visibly wagging and cats are flailing before they’re given the lethal injection. "It’s just a horrible, horrible way for an animal to die,” said former euthanasia technician June McMahon. reported that " still conscious, the cats were described by inmates as 'going wild' after being placed in a container, with as many as 10-15 of them being dumped on top of each other in a 'cruel manner,' authorities allege.These animals were allegedly placed into an incinerator without ever verifying that they were dead before being incinerated. " It was also reported that the killings were performed within view and earshot of other animals.

The proper way to euthanize a dog/cat is to give the lethal injection intravenously. William Baber does it his own way which is a direct injection to the heart without sedation while a jail trustee holds up the animal. What happens then? According to an unnamed source, He hits them with the needle. They flip. They flop. They’re just basically going nuts. They’re yelping.” This method violates state and national guidelines. The state's Non-livestock Animal Humane Death Act states that “intracardial injection by hypodermic needle [should] only if performed on heavily sedated, anesthetized, or comatose animals.” Why does Baber use this method? Well, supposedly, it takes less time to do intracardial injections than intravenous ones. Baber reportedly killed approximately 3,000 dogs and cats last year, netting him $9 per animal. That's around $25,000 earnings from this cruel procedure alone. I'd hate to think that his motive could be something else than financial profit.

William Baber, a licensed vet with his own practice, was first suspended then reinstated. Then, he was again suspended and fined last December by the Tennessee Board of Veterinary Medicine. For me, that's still a slap on the wrist considering the number of animals who suffered unnecessarily in Baber's hands. Baber's excuse was that he was unaware that the law had changed ( disallowing intracardial injections unless specified ) many years ago. This lame excuse suggests that it was not his responsibility to keep up with changes in veterinary law, and that the board should have informed him of all the changes.

William Baber's problems don't stop there. He has now been arrested and charged with 12 counts of misdemeanor. “Although the veterinarian board had already taken their action relating to Dr. Baber’s license, that doesn’t relieve us of our obligation and our duty to follow through with the law,” Sumner County District Attorney Thomas Dean said. “Where a law’s been broken, we are required to follow through with an appropriate prosecution and that’s what we’re doing.”

On January 16, Baber will face the following charges in court:
-Two counts of Unlawful Intracardial Injection of Dogs
-Two counts of Unverified Deaths of Dogs
-Two counts of Unverified Deaths of Cats
-Two counts of Cruelty to Animals - Dogs
-Two counts of Cruelty to Animals - Cats
-Two counts of Falsifying Government Records

He faces a possibility of up to 11 months 29 days in jail for each charge or as little as just probation. This man should never be allowed to practice veterinary medicine at any level. More often than not, the obviously guilty finds a friend in those who are suppose to punish them thoroughly. The board copped out on making the right decision. It's up to law enforcement now to mete out a proper penalty.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Adoptable Philippine Dog : Celine

Periodically, I will feature a dog, or cat, who is in need of his/her forever home. These homeless, but loving animals are living in the shelter of the Philippine Animal Welfare Society. Featuring them here is my way of helping them out, both PAWS and the animals. For starters, this is Celine. She was once a stray, and not as pretty as she is now. She's good with both dogs and cats. To learn more about Celine and how to adopt her, go to Me.Find.Home HERE . Photo by Sherwin Castillo.

UPDATE: Celine has been ADOPTED !!!

Foie Gras Production at Elevages Perigord, Palmex Inc., and Aux champs D'Elise

The video you are about to see was filmed at the production sites of the three largest producers of foie gras in Quebec. If you want to know the truth about what goes on behind closed doors, view the video. This is not for the faint-hearted. You have been warned. In any case, what you can do is to quit foie gras or not begin it at all. You help perpetuate the cruelty if you do foie gras.

Target Drops Foie Gras

Unlike who stubbornly offers products produced through inhumane methods, including items promoting and glorifying animal fighting, Target has shown a lot of class and admirable social consciousness by immediately dropping foie gras from its online offerings. This means that Target rejects the horrendous treatment of ducks and geese and the hellish conditions in which foie gras is produced. I am still amazed at how some people find this diseased and enlarged liver as a delicacy. Utterly barbaric! The impetus came from PETA who contacted Target about the product and its cruel origins. Most people are unaware of the hideous cruelty in producing foie gras, and the public need to be informed. Recently, a foie gras producer like Elevages Perigord, from Quebec, was exposed by an undercover investigation conducted by Farm Sanctuary, much to the chagrin of the company. Unspeakable cruelty was, still is, practiced upon the helpless feathered animals. You can see what I mean by clicking HERE . Warning: these photos and videos contains disturbing scenes of animal cruelty.

So, it is very refreshing and satisfying to see a retail giant like Target side against animal cruelty, eschewing profit for the sake of decency. They have the best prices around too.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

PETA Demonstration Alert. Weizmann Institute, NYC. January 8, 2008.

Click on the text to enlarge it...

Get the Heck outta My Bed!

I picked this up from Deanna of " For the Love of the Dog. " A link to her site is on my sidebar. Make sure you click on the additional videos at the bottom after viewing this one. These videos will make your sides hurt.

Rep. Tom Lantos, Friend of the Animals, to Retire

A great American and friend of the animals, Rep. Tom Lantos, 79, announced yesteday that he is retiring. A routine medical check-up revealed a cancer of the esophagus. Rep. Lantos is a holocaust survivor and an immigrant from Hungary. He is quoted, " It is only in the United States that a penniless survivor of the Holocaust and a fighter in the anti-Nazi underground could have received an education, raised a family, and had the privilege of serving the last three decades of his life as a member of Congress... I will never be able to express fully my profoundly felt gratitude to this great country." Rep. Lantos is the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He is serving his thirteenth term in Congress, representing the 12th congressional district of California. His congressional website describes him as " a leader in the Congress in dealing with animal welfare issues. He is the founder and co-chair of "Congressional Friends of Animals," an organization of members of Congress that provides a forum for cooperation on matters of humane treatment of animals." For more information about Rep. Lantos' outstanding support for animal welfare, go here:

Earlier in his life, Lantos was a professor of economics (1950-1980), an international affairs analyst, and also an economic consultant to businesses. His educational background is heavy in Economics. Tom attended the University of Washington in Seattle for his B.A. and M.A. in Economics. In 1950, Rep. Lantos began his graduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He also received his Ph.D. in Economics from UC Berkeley. In the fall of 1950 he started teaching economics at San Francisco State University.

Watch Rep. Tom Lantos grill a witness for foreign aid to Iraq:

Watch more of Tom Lantos at work:

Rep. Tom Lantos on the futility of American involvement in Iraq:

Sir, thank you for your service. God Bless You always.

UPDATE: Rep. Tom Lantos passed away on Feb. 11, 2008.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008 and Animal Cruelty

They seem like an odd couple, don't they? Well, I wish they truly were but they actually have a close relationship. Believe it or not, sells literature that encourages, even adores, animal fighting. Humane Society of the United States has been trying for a year and a half to persuade to drop these products to no avail. Finally, in February 2007, the HSUS sued for selling items that promoted dogfighting and cockfighting which the HSUS deemed illegal. The sale is a violation of the Animal Welfare Act. In rebuttal, argued that the First Amendment protected their right to sell such products, but the HSUS disagreed. The First Amendment does not protect illegal activity.

What are these products anyway? Well, take a look at TheDog Pit. This book was originally published in 1888, resurrected by Read Country Books , and now marketed by We are now at a point in our civilization where we do our utmost to eradicate animal cruelty because it is barbaric and uncivilized, and here is offering a manual on how to breed and raise pit bulls for the fighting ring.'s product description read, " Contents Include How to Select, Breed, Train and Manage Fighting Dogs. " They are asking $25 for it.

Here is another one, Off the Chain . Some reviewers opined that this documentary does not promote dogfighting at all. It's an insider look into the world of dog fighters and dogfigthing, illuminating an illegal world for those who want to know. Of course, the documentary traces the development(?) of the APBT from a family pet into a pit fighter. I guess that's a stab at credibility, to offer some kind of educational value. How noble! I don't buy this argument at all. I believe that if educational value was the point, then why include video that vividly portrays the blood and gore of dogfighting? This kind of display could, not only satisfy but encourage, the blood thirst in some people. Of course, without it, the documentary might not have the same commercial appeal. The blood and gore, like sex, sells and I don't think that people should make money out of the pain and suffering of animals. does not stop there. There is literature about cockfighting as well. Here is The GameCock Magazine . This material is part of the HSUS's lawsuit against

The HSUS declared that is, " ... the only online retailer of subscriptions to animal fighting magazines in the United States. " These magazines promote illegal activity.
Again, the HSUS stated, " If there is any doubt that The Feathered Warrior and The Gamecock exist to promote and further illegal animal fighting, one need only glance through their pages to find hundreds of advertisements for cockfighting knives, cockfighting pits and the so-called "gamest cocks alive."

Altogether, has soared into the heights of insensitivity by peddling animal cruelty, and partaking in illegal activity. However, I believe that any erring entity is capable of redemption, including There is always time to do the right thing. It is quite unfortunate that legal action had to be taken to lead down the right road, and this lawsuit is still unresolved to my knowledge at this time. I will issue an update when I get current news about the case.

Click HERE for a full account of the clash between the HSUS and

Watch this too:

In the meantime, please refrain from purchasing products from I have stopped shopping there for obvious reasons. I urge you to join me in boycotting the company. For those who put more weight on the practical side of life, be assured that does not have the best prices at all. Shop around on the web, and you will find better prices that those of