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Showing posts from November, 2007

Bullhooks and Elephants

What is a bullhook ? It has been said many times before, be careful what you ask for! Well, in this case, we are just ascertaining what it is, and it is pictured on the right. Circus workers, particularly animal handlers, use this tool to " guide " elephants. That's what they say. So, why the hook and the pointed tip? Obviously, for an elephant to follow the commands of a mere human, a level of coercion must be applied. Have you ever seen a human and an elephant engaged in a great persuasive debate? Who has? What better way to make an elephant faithfully follow an order than through the medium of pain, the circus people so believe. That's where the bullhook comes into play. You have to ask the question, why not use a stick with blunt ends? Well, it doesn't work. Here's where circuses, like the Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus , should level with the public. They shouldn't argue that the bullhooks do not hurt the elephants. They should come out cle

Denny's Goes For the Circus

UPDATE: January 9, 2008 Denny's has finally agreed to drop their partnerhsip with Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus. In fairness and appreciation, I have deleted my critical post of 11/29/07 about their partnership. This is victory for animal welfare and a step in the right direction for the business world. Thank you, Denny's. Wishing you prosperous times ahead.

A note on Tear Stains

During my daily meandering through online forums, I picked up an interesting question from a perplexed dog owner. This one relates to a natural phenomenon called tear stains . The concerned dog owner asked what causes a tear stain and if it was true that changing dog food brands causes it. First of all, anyone involved in dog ownership, or in the appreciation of this wonderful branch of the animal kingdom, is not new to the sight of a tearful dog. Sure, but they are not tears of sorrow but an overflow of this liquid whose function is to clean the eyeballs. There are ducts that allow this liquid to drain into the nasal area where it is eliminated. When these ducts are clogged or closed, for whatever reason, the liquid overflows unto the cheek area and causes the stain that we are so familiar with. Many small dogs, like Chihuahuas, have protruding eyeballs. Tear staining is very common among them as well as in any toy class. In this case, the protrusion of the eyeballs stretches the duct

Harlan UK , Animal Hell in the United Kingdom

There is a company in the United Kingdom called Harlan UK , and it is a horrific place for animals. The company breeds animals for research, and profit is of paramount importance to them. Nothing else. This is big time puppy milling. Who is Harlan UK? " Harlan, founded in 1931, is a major international company with locations throughout the world, including the USA, Spain, Germany, Italy, France, Israel, The Netherlands, Mexico and the UK. It is a breeder and supplier of animals, animal diets and bedding for the research industry. Harlan UK Ltd. is the British arm of the parent company, Harlan Sprague Dawley Inc. The UK company has an annual turnover of £6.6 million . According to the company's sales brochure it supplies more stocks and strains of laboratory animals to research than any other commercial producer in the world. Nine species (beagles, marmosets, rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, mice, gerbils, cats and hamsters) and over 225 stocks and strains of laboratory animals (in

Kenya, Huruma, and the Animals...

First of all, here is my son, Buzz, who took time off from his cushy job in Wall Street to volunteer at an orphanage in Kenya last month. The orphanage is called Huruma, and it is located outside Nairobi in the Ngong Hills. Children from babies to 17 yrs of age are sheltered in Huruma, and a wonderful lady named Mama Zipporah is the head mistress there. Here is Buzz on an outing with some of the children of Huruma. Okay, here's a giraffe in the wild. All animals photographed here are living in the wild. That's a far cry from the caged or confined animals we see in the zoos that live in man-made environment. More giraffes form a group... A couple of zebras. Nope, those are not prison stripes. These guys are free to roam. More stripes here than the American flag... Better keep a safe distance from this rhino. They can charge you with great speed and power. Impressive and powerful. These rhinos are unfazed by vehicular traffic.They have the right of way by dint of their s

Some News on Animal Welfare Legislation

My copy of the " ASPCA Action " arrived today in my mailbox, and I am going to share some of the reported news with those who do not receive this magazine/newsletter/report. Before I go on, I strongly urge you to join the ASPCA and become a monthly donor like I am. This is a very good organization and it is well worth supporting. They are involved in many areas of animal rights and at different levels, from grassroots to the federal level. Go to In their section for Advocacy 2007, I saw that the ASPCA is still working on the Downed Animal and Food Safety Act . This is at the federal level. This act will require the immediate humane euthanasia of any critically ill and injured cows, pigs, sheep, goats, mules, and horses too sick to stand and walk on their own. Right now, animals in this state of health are dragged or pushed to slaughter and then their meat is allowed to enter the food chain. Can you believe that we even have to tell people, make laws, no

Puppy Mills: How to Beat Them

You've heard about the horrors of puppy mills before, no clean food or water, feces everywhere, no vet check-ups, disease and sickness, cramp cages, animals suffer for profit etc. But, what can we do at this end of that problem? The ASPCA has given us some pointers in that direction: 1) First of all, do not buy dogs from pet stores . " That puppy who charmed you through the pet shop window has most likely come from a large-scale, substandard commercial breeding facility, commonly known as a puppy mill. " 2) Your first option is to Adopt . " Not only will you be saving a life, but you will ensure that your money is not going to support a puppy mill. There are many dogs waiting for homes in shelters all across the country―and an estimated one in four is a purebred! Your second option is breed rescue. If your heart is set on a specific breed you haven’t been able to find in a shelter, you can do an Internet search for a breed-specific rescue organization. " 3) Only

Willie Nelson Speaks Out Against DogFighting

American country music superstar, Willie Nelson, has thrown his weight behind the passing of more anti-dogfighting laws in Georgia. Nelson will be appearing in a television ad in December. A Utah-based animal rights group called, Best Friends Animal Society, produced the piece. Nelson was quoted as saying, "Dogfighting is against the law in Georgia, but the laws are so weak, the beautiful state of Georgia has become a haven for dogfighters from around the country." At the present time, there is a bill moving through Georgia legislation that would make it a felony for anyone to sell, trade or transport dogs for the purpose of dogfighting. The author of the bill is State Sen. Chip Rogers. The bill has passed the state Senate and will go before a House committee in January 08. Willie Nelson, a man with a good level of social consciousness...God bless you. Thank you, Willie!

UPDATE: Antipolo Dogs Rehabilitated

Previously, I posted about Three Thai Nationals who are wanted by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Division of the Philippine Police for setting up and officiating a dog-fighting ring in the town of Antipolo, Rizal. Two dogs were seized that night in March 2007 and fourteen people were charged under the provisions of the Philippine Animal Welfare Act of 1998 . The dogs looked pretty beat up from the photos shown in the link above, but the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) took over their care and rehabilitation from that night on. Here they are in photographs taken by a PAWS volunteer, Liza Umayam , and you will be pleased with their progress (Nov.,07) They were renamed Buddy and Midnight (before and after): Here are Buddy and Midnight at the Vet: Here's Midnight below, still scarred but much happier and safer. This photo should make Midnight the poster child against dog-fighting: Midnight has facial scars too... Midnight's left side. This dog has had a ve

Iowa State Vet, Paul Armbrecht, Supports Hanging Pigs

Is there really a humane way of slaughtering farm animals? NO. I consider that a contradiction by itself. And, are they slaughtered with needless agony and pain with no consideration that they are, like us, sentient animals? More times than not. Consider the case against Dr. Paul Armbrecht , a paid expert for the defense of Wiles Hog Farm in Creston , Ohio, accused of animal cruelty. His testimony at the trial of the owners and employees of the pig farm appeared to have violated the Iowa Veterinary Practice Act, which prohibits "knowingly making misleading, deceptive, untrue, or fraudulent representation in the practice of the profession." The Humane Farming Association ( HFA ), the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals , the Animal Welfare Institute , the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights , and The Humane Society of the United States , together with PETA have sent a letter to the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association , urging them to invest

Pitbull Saves Family from Cobra, Killed in Action

Take a good look. Doesn't he seem like the vicious pitbull we have been warned about? Temperamental and treacherous? He'll attack family members, even children. Well, actually, he was far from it. I said that in the past tense because Chief is no longer with us on this Earth. Two human beings are alive today because Chief gave his life for them. How many people do you know who are willing to make that last full measure of devotion? He saved an 87-year-old Liberata la Victoria and her granddaughter Maria Victoria Fronteras from a cobra that slithered through an opening in the family’s kitchen. The confrontation left two dead, but let two others live out their lives. This was in Cagayan de Oro City (Philippines) in February, 2007. Chief's story is one that hardcore anti- pitbull people would have trouble understanding and accepting. But, here it is whether they like it or not. Those who are plain ignorant about the breed might free themselves from this prison by giving

Thai Nationals, Fugitives from the Law

Have you seen this man? He goes by the name Timothy Amel Dharmajiva , 37, a Thai national. Timothy fled the Philippines, presumably back to Thailand, while a suspect in a dog-fighting ring in Antipolo , Rizal Province, the Philippines. He was arrested with 14 other individuals at fight night at the Kaysakat Cockpit Arena in Sitio Kaysakat , Barangay Inarawan at about 8:30 p.m. in May, 2007. His other accomplices (pictured behind him) are Kittiya Phungmung Boonyang , female, 23, and Phanuwat Jinda Nunthawat , 43. They also fled the country. The alleged mastermind of the dog fight, Danny Tan Sy , 51, is a resident of Barangay San Jose, Antipolo City. He will stand trial along with the locals arrested that night. Any information about these fugitives should be forwarded to Philippine Animal Welfare Society or at who can, in turn, contact the Criminal Investigation and Detection Division led by Senior Insp . Ernesto V. Padilla. Do your civic duty . Here'

MORE : Animal Massacre in Puerto Rico

For Mr. Julio Diaz and the local Mayor of Barceloneta, this Christmas will not be as merry and the new year not as prosperous as before. Not with a $22.5 M lawsuit against them. The ghosts of thousands of dogs and cats have come back to haunt them. They are accused of cruelty to animals, a sort of animal genocide in my opinion. Animal lovers around the world are red in the face that even a completely innocent company in Maryland with the same name as Animal Control Solutions has gotten heat from them. Central to this case is the gestapo-like arrests of pets and strays supposedly bound for the shelters, but were thrown en masse off a bridge instead. They were forcibly taken from their owners under the threat of eviction. Mr. Julio Diaz claimed that he didn't know that such things were happening while the Mayor claimed that he ordered the round up of animals but not the killing. Looks like a he-said, she-said situation is developing here. Essentially,these individuals are claiming th

Animal Massacre in Puerto Rico

If you live in the United States, you probably have seen ads on television inviting us to vacation in Puerto Rico, a tropical island with warm weather. It sure is tempting when it's Winter up here on the East, but there is a dark side to paradise where dogs and cats are brutally slaughtered en masse by a company hired by the government to bring strays to shelters. Actually, there are two companies, Animal Control Solutions ( not the company based in Maryland, USA with the same name ) and Pet Delivery , both founded by a certain Julio Diaz , that are accused of these mass killings. Writers Yaisha Vargas and Andrew Selsky, together with Associated Press writers reported on the matter: Pet Massacres Carried Out in Puerto Rico By YAISHA VARGAS and ANDREW O. SELSKY TRUJILLO ALTO, Puerto Rico (AP) — Back roads, gorges and garbage dumps on this tropical island are littered with the decaying carcasses of dogs and cats. An Associated Press investigation reveals why: possibly thousands of

A Tiger gets Rescued

Actually, it's a dog named Tiger who had the misfortune of getting run over by a tricycle at a very young age. This accident ripped and almost severed the upper portion of his snout, and Tiger went without medical help for two weeks. Word of his plight got to the Philippine Animal Welfare Society who provided assistance and ongoing care for Tiger. Tiger's story is both sad and happy. It tells us about the ignorance and neglect by some people in contrast to the outstanding generosity and compassion of others particularly Vets in Practice Animal Clinic, individuals like Dr Nielsen Donato and Marian Barola , and a certain Tita Josie who owns Bodhi vegetarian restaurant . We need her real name to give her full credit. God blessed this world with people like them. Rather than paraphrase Tiger's special story, I am directing you to the source : Babybranny

Fidelma and Me

Here's daughter and dad taking a walk on the grounds of the Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park, New York. It wasn't a warm day, and so we had our jackets on. Fidelma is only 8 pounds which makes her two pounds overweight. Don't underestimate her abilities because she's just a tiny Chihuahua. The longest walk we took went eight miles, along a woody and rocky trail. She loved every step of it. I adopted Fidelma in September, 2004 and she is approximately nine years old now. Nobody knows for sure how old my sweetie is. One thing is sure, she had a difficult life before I adopted her. She was sick with an upper respiratory infection, lost most of her teeth, only patches of hair on her body, and angry at most people who approached her. I think Fidelma was a chained dog and neglected in the backyard. Her neck had a ring of callous skin from a tightly-fitted collar. I suspect that someone saved her from this bad situation and turned her in at the Philadelphia Animal Control