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Woman acquitted for giving water to pigs on their way to slaughter

Anita Krajnc will not be fined or face jail time for her “act of compassion” toward animals. […]

How far would you go for your pet?

New survey reveals the extreme sacrifices people would make for their pets, like … 63% would choose their pet over their significant other! […]

Housesitting: Travel the world, stay at someone else’s home for free

Thanks to the internet, housesitters can now travel the world, living in different places for a few days or a few months for free, in exchange for taking care of an absent homeowner’s property, pets or errands. […]

The Most important Pet and Planetary Advice You’ll Read This Year

My Top three ways to save your pets and save the world. At my clinic I see a different person nearly every 20 minutes. I am often impressed by my clients who come in caring about the well-being of their animals and are worrying about the well being of our planet. I know many of us feel overwhelmed by all the doom and gloom stories we see in the media. My clients know I am often in contact with activists and have been involved in many organizations focused on improving the condition of our planet, so they ask me if they, as one person, can even make a difference. Most don’t even know where to start. As an advocate for my clients and their pet and human families, I offer this advice: Make a difference where you live. Make a difference with the people and animals that are already in your life. Find the thing you can do and do it well. As a veterinarian, I recommend to my clients the top 3 things that are essential for your pet’s health. As an earth advocate, I have my top 3 things that are essential for global health. I’ve always believed that the earth is my patient too. Top 3 things that make a difference for your pet’s health: 1)The most important health decision for a pet is what you choose to put in the food bowl. A species appropriate diet means dogs and cats eat diets that are made for carnivores – mostly meat and fat and light on the carbs. Commercially available preprepared frozen raw foods make the most sense biologically. I’ve watched animals eat themselves healthy with raw foods in the last 20 years of my practice. They are good for the body, for weight control, immunity, strength, create healthy teeth and gums and regulate healthy GI function. Kibble foods make the least sense biologically and in terms of health in my experience. They have too many carbs, too many additives, too much filler and are typically high heat processed which makes two potent carcinogens in every bite. Canned foods can be useful as an option, but we still have to worry about ingredients and also the lining of many of the large cans is BPA – a carcinogen. 2) Judicious use of vaccines makes sense. Don’t overvaccinate and don’t do all your vaccines in one appointment. Wait a few weeks between vaccine injections. Vaccination are serious immune stimulating injections and can potentially have some serious side effects. We should follow the science about vaccines, not the scare tactics and mis-information that we get from the companies that make and sell the vaccines. Ask your vet about doing titer testing for some vaccines to prove that immunity is still present and that you don’t need to vaccinate. The titer tests are often accepted by boarding, day-care and grooming facilities for at least 3 years. They are worth it. Wherever possible ask how long vaccines really last, and ask for the vaccines that last longer. Typically the longer lasting vaccines are not stronger or a larger dose, they are simply the same product that is now proven to last longer than previously thought. Rabies is the only vaccine that is required by law. Ask about the real need for any other vaccinations before giving them. If you are near a holistic veterinarian, ask for a post-vaccine detox – this can include homeopathic supplements. Support proper laws and information that follow the science about vaccination. 3) Don’t use pesticides and chemicals on or in your pet. They are not healthy additions for your pet’s well-being, for the world or for your family. Just because we can use them doesn’t mean we should. There WILL be exposure to your pet, and there WILL be exposure to your family, and they add more pesticides and chemicals to our world. There are organic essential oil sprays and squeeze-on products that contain essential oils that are very effective in repelling fleas and ticks. Top 3 things that make a difference for your planet’s health: 1) Don’t support animal abuse anywhere. This includes asking about where the food animals that are feeding your pet are from. How are the food animals treated? Do they have access to sunlight, exercise, fresh foods, clean, healthy environs? Are they free from the overuse of antibiotics, growth hormones and chemicals? Are they raised in an organic and healthy manner? How we treat our food animals affects our pets, our world and says something about our own humanity. If we love animals, we should love the animals that feed our pets. We need to demand better care and better management of our food animals. This will have a good effect on the management of our planet too. 2) Don’t use pesticides, herbicides and fungicides on your lawn or in your house. Not only are they are implicated in many serious health concerns for pets as well as humans, even when properly applied, but using them hurts our planet as well. When we kill broad swaths of species with chemicals, we are negatively impacting the precious balance and health of our natural world. Is it worth it in favor of a well-sprayed monoculture of green lawn and a weedless garden? Pulling weeds can be another way to exercise… There are other ways. 3) Go Organic, non-GMO and local in every way you can. Choose vegetables, fruits and meats that are not full of chemicals, consider growing your own garden, even if you are in an urban setting, it’s possible. Buy from smaller stores that source locally. It’s not only shown to provide healthier foods, but it will help our planet too. And while you’re at it, conserve and filter your water too. When I hear from clients, “I’m so overwhelmed every day, I just want to give up and go back to bed!” I can give them my top 3 for pets and my top 3 for the planet, but I also have my new book, to give them: One Hundred and One Reasons to Get Out of Bed. An inspiring and tangible answer in book form — flip through colorful photos and read the engaging success stories of 101 single individuals who found their “one thing” to improve their world and made it happen. These amazing people who are doing surprising and often quietly heroic deeds all answered three simple questions for this book, that think we should all answer: 1)What gets you out of bed and why, 2)What you are doing about it, and 3)What everyone can do about it. With proceeds from the book going back to the charities suggested by the contributors, we hope it encourages our readers take part and to take a moment to find the thing that gets them out of bed and take small planet steps to become big planet heroes themselves. http://www.101reasonstogetoutofbed.com — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website. […]

Healthy Child Healthy Pet: Common Pet Treatments Can Harm Young Children

By Nancy Chuda, co-founder of Healthy Child Healthy World, and Megan Boyle, Editorial Director, Healthy Child Healthy World Reproduced with the permission of the Environmental Working Group www.healthychild.org. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is considering a ban on a harmful chemical that kills fleas and ticks on household pets. The chemical in question, tetrachlorvinphos, or TCVP, is the active ingredient in Hartz brand flea and tick products, including Hartz’ Longlife 90 Day Collar, and in some livestock treatments. In preparation for taking regulatory action, a decision prompted by a petition filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council in 2009, the EPA released a draft human health risk assessment and other documents last month. You can find them here. In our view, EPA’s assessment is commendable – but long overdue. Scientists, regulators and manufacturers have known for years that insecticidal treatments are dangerous to pets and humans alike. The chemicals block nerve signals in pets and humans just as they do in pests, potentially harming everyone in the process. These chemicals have been known to kill pets, particularly cats. Children are also vulnerable, because their neurological systems are still developing and because they’re most likely to ingest pet pesticides by accident. It’s not uncommon for a child to touch a pet, then put her hands in her mouth, consuming traces of pesticide. A landmark NRDC study published in 2009 found that some pest treatments leave residues on animal fur that are up to 1,000 times the EPA’s acceptable levels. These treatments put children at risk of cancer and neurological damage. Click here to learn more about how household pesticides can harm children’s health. Between 2000 and 2006, the EPA banned six other types of organophosphates, but TCVP, a member of that highly problematic chemical family, has remained on the market. Carbamates, another family of harmful insecticidal chemicals, are still used in common flea and tick treatments. The EPA moves slowly. Even if the agency decides to ban TCVP, more months or years may pass before products containing the chemical disappear from store shelves. In the meantime, here’s what you can do today to keep your pets and family safe: Throw away products that contain dangerous chemicals Read the ingredient labels of flea and tick treatments you’ve bought and throw out those that contain TCVP, carbaryl and propoxur. Not sure what chemicals are in your product? Check the NRDC’s Green Paws Product Guide. Take preventive action Get rid of pests without resorting to chemicals. Brush, comb and bathe your pets frequently. Avoid tall brush and other areas where fleas and ticks live. Vacuum your home often to catch pests and eggs, and throw away vacuum bags immediately. Follow safety instructions If you want to apply a topical treatment to pet fur, products with S-methoprene or pyriproxyfen are safer. Choose the proper concentration for your pet’s weight, and apply dog treatments only to dogs, cat treatments only to cats. Read directions and warnings, wear gloves and wash your hands after applying. Children and pregnant women should not apply treatments. Here are more tips for how to avoid pesticides while pregnant. Keep kids away from treated pets Separate kids from pets for 24 hours after applying a flea or tick treatment. Steer your pets away from places where your children play and sleep, including couches, play area carpets and bedspreads. Monitor your pets and family Contact your local poison control center (800-222-1222) and National Pesticide Information Center (800-858-7378) if you believe your pet or a family member has been harmed by a flea or tick treatment. — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website. […]

The Lessons in Katrina’s Legacy

Ten years ago, the nation and the world were horrified by the catastrophic loss of life and property in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The human toll was devastating. But so was the toll on thousands of companion animals throughout the Gulf coast. An estimated 250,000 dogs and cats were displaced or died as a result of the storm. Animal rescue groups rushed to the scene and committed themselves to the daunting challenge of saving as many lives as they could. The ASPCA worked closely with the Louisiana SPCA and the Humane Society of South Mississippi, sending dedicated staff to work on the ground for two years and contributing $13 million in grants for rescue, reunification and sheltering efforts. In collaboration with our partners, we helped reunite more than a thousand pets with their owners, and helped transport over 7,500 homeless and displaced animals to the Lamar-Dixon Exposition Center in Gonzales, Louisiana, which had been dedicated to their care. Despite weeks of round-the-clock work from responders and volunteers, flaws in the process kept us from being even more effective. It became obvious that new organizational approaches and legal fixes were necessary to get ahead of the next major calamity. Less than a year after the storm, two groups were formed with formal support and participation from the ASPCA: the National Animal Rescue and Sheltering Coalition (NARSC) and the National Alliance of State Animal and Agricultural Emergency Programs (NASAAEP). These coalitions are dedicated to enhancing communications between animal welfare organizations, state agencies, and volunteers during emergencies. They also conduct in-depth trainings around the country on topics including flood and fire rescue, pet first aid, proper animal handling, decontamination, and animal sheltering and assessment. On the federal legislative side, two Acts passed by Congress – the Pet Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act and the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act – added pets to existing federal guidelines for disaster planning, and designated FEMA as the lead agency for pets in federally declared disasters. These laws not only save lives, but elevate the issue of animal safety to its rightful place among other natural disaster priorities. Another measure only recently proposed, the Animal Emergency Planning Act, would require businesses that house pets – including pet breeders, research facilities, zoos, animal carriers and animal handlers – to develop detailed contingency plans for animal care in cases of emergency. These businesses profit or benefit from animals; it only make sense that they take full responsibility for the animals’ safety. Important legislative work is also happening at the state level. If you live in California, I urge you to join us and the American Red Cross in supporting AB 317, which will facilitate the establishment of vital emergency shelters in the event of a state emergency. We’re collaborating with the Red Cross to also find ways of co-locating animal and human shelters to help keep families and their pets together during severe crises. AB 317 faces a critical final vote in the Senate next week before heading to Governor Brown’s desk for his consideration. Setting up animal shelters quickly is crucial. During Katrina, many of the existing Louisiana shelters were flooded, making emergency facilities the only available shelters across four parishes. In New York, lawmakers recently passed a bill that will enable veterinarians to cross state lines to respond to pets in disasters and other crises. Because these unexpected events can often overwhelm local agencies, it’s vital to facilitate the quick arrival of out-of-state veterinarians who specialize in shelter medicine, forensic sciences, and emergency response protocol. This bill is currently awaiting Governor Cuomo’s signature. Of course, the biggest responsibility for keeping pets safe and alive during disasters belongs to their owners. When owners don’t take necessary precautions, it puts both them and their animals in danger. According to a Fritz Institute poll, 44 percent of New Orleans residents delayed or chose not to evacuate the city during Hurricane Katrina because they refused to leave their pets behind. A similar nationwide poll by Lake Research Partners on behalf of the ASPCA found 42 percent of Americans would also not evacuate without their pets. Simple, inexpensive preparations can keep owners from having to choose between their pets’ lives and their own. Some of the most important tips: • Micro-chip your pets and make sure they wear collars and ID tags with up-to-date contact information. • Keep current photos of your pets on hand. • Establish quick exit routes in your home, and know the locations of local animal shelters, pet-friendly hotels and friends who can watch your pets for you. • Put alert stickers on your windows to let rescuers know pets currently live there. (Please remove them if no animals are inside) • Put together an emergency kit, including pet carriers, canned food, bowls, bottled water, first aid items, garbage bags, and blankets. • The ASPCA also has a new shareable infographic and free mobile app dedicated to helping owners prepare for disaster and find lost pets. With natural disasters always threatening to wreak havoc on our lives, we must continue to learn from them and actively prepare for their effects. This is the best way to protect ourselves as well as those whose lives depend on us. Matthew Bershadker is President and CEO of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website. […]

In the Wake of Katrina

Hurricane Katrina is forever seared in my memory, and it forever changed the perceptions and stature of the humane movement in this country – for the better. It was a moment of extraordinary turmoil and overwhelming tragedy, but it also brought the issue of animal rescue and the human-animal bond into the mainstream like never before. While many people felt the response to the humane tragedy was bungled, so many were amazed at the outpouring of organizational and individual energy and skill assembled to help the animal victims. And just days into the crisis, the American public realized that the human and animal tragedies were bound together, and they were rooting for all to survive and get back on their feet. At The HSUS, as so many people were rushing out of the crisis zone, we were rushing in – to come to the aid of animals and the people who care about them. In the ensuing decade, moreover, we’ve stayed the course. We’ve helped a devastated region to enhance its animal welfare infrastructure. We’ve kick-started a number of initiatives that have produced lasting benefits for animals. We’ve advanced public policies on pets and disasters, and we’ve built up a strong emergency response and rescue unit that has answered the call in hundreds of crisis situations for animals. When Katrina made landfall in the Gulf Coast in late August 10 years ago, she whipsawed a great American city and left hundreds of other communities in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama reeling. The human tragedy was immediately obvious, with nearly 2,000 dead and hundreds of thousands displaced. Increasingly, too, the animal tragedy, at first unnoticed, came into focus, and a terrible, urgent life-or-death reality set in. In New Orleans and the surrounding areas, many pet owners heeded evacuation orders, leaving heaps of food and big bowls of water behind in their homes. They assumed and were assured that they would be able to return home in a couple of days. Others attempted to take their animals with them, only to be forced – sometimes at gunpoint — to abandon them in the streets before boarding evacuation buses. Farm animals were abandoned as well, left out in the fields. Then the levees failed, the streets flooded, the power went out, and the National Guard walled off what became a giant disaster zone, one in which tens of thousands of pets were trapped. It became a race against time, as we and others undertook the largest animal rescue operation ever. Who can forget the images of animals clinging to rooftops and partially submerged vehicles, or swimming frantically toward rescue teams in boats? Local, state, and federal agencies didn’t know how to respond to the animal emergency they had helped to create, and the whole world saw the result of this collective failure to address the plight of animals in disaster. Pet owners living in less affluent, underserved communities were particularly vulnerable. It was a blind spot that condemned thousands of innocent creatures to death and misfortune, and impeded the broader relief effort–and it’s one of the reasons our Pets for Life program now focuses on supporting pet owners in communities that are still often forgotten. As so many people were rushing out of the crisis zone, we at The HSUS were rushing in – to come to the aid of animals and the people who care about them. In the ensuing decade, we’ve stayed the course. Photo by Carol Guzy In the immediate aftermath of the storm, we knew it was our most urgent task to help animals trapped in homes and at risk for starvation or dehydration. But at the time, we also vowed to prepare the region and the nation for future crises and to not forget about animals, to remake the legal framework on disaster preparedness and on core animal cruelty and neglect issues, and to rebuild the humane infrastructure in the Gulf Coast for the long haul, and we’ve made good on these promises. We talked about all of these issues at our Animal Care Expo in New Orleans this past March – where more than 2,300 people showed up – and we heard uplifting stories from survivors, remarkable news about the progress made, and information on the extraordinary collaboration between traditional and non-traditional partners. Among so many things, we’ve: Provided more than $8 million in recovery and reconstruction grants to 45 local organizations Committed $5.8 million to pet health and overpopulation initiatives through direct service and awareness campaigns Committed more than $2 million to shelter medicine programs at the veterinary schools of Mississippi State University and Louisiana State University Generated more than a quarter of a billion in free advertising to promote local shelters in Louisiana and Mississippi, with Maddie’s Fund and the Ad Council, as part of our broader Shelter Pet Project campaign which has placed more than $240 million in pet adoption PSA’s nationwide Participated in 32 animal rescue and disaster response deployments in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi Pursued a broad public policy agenda in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi via full-time state directors working on animal fighting, puppy mills, animal cruelty, carbon monoxide gas chambers, roadside sales of dogs and cats, and other issues Partnered with the Jefferson SPCA to establish a Pets for Life program that brings affordable veterinary services to underserved communities Contributed $750,000 to Pen Pals, Inc. to operate the first prison-based animal shelter, at the Dixon Correctional Institute in Jackson, Louisiana. In the years since, we’ve helped to secure 20 state laws and the federal Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act to include animals in disaster plans. These laws have transformed the manner in which agencies think about and respond to disasters, and they are significant markers of social and political concern for animals, too. In the years since Katrina, The HSUS has helped to secure 20 state laws and the federal Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act to include animals in disaster plans. Above, a cat rescued during Hurricane Isaac in 2012. Photo by Chuck Cook/For The HSUS At The HSUS, the Katrina experience led us to revise our approach to emergency response. We upgraded our field response teams so that they could respond not only to disasters, but to human-caused crises such as puppy mills, animal fighting operations, and hoarding cases. During the last 10 years, our teams have deployed countless times, saving tens of thousands of animals, often coming to their rescue in areas where local animal organizations needed additional help to address their plight. Hurricane Katrina was an unmitigated catastrophe and a heartbreak at all levels. From the vantage of 10 years, however, it’s clear that it changed The HSUS, it changed our movement, and it changed our world. We can still do more for animals and the people who care about them when disaster strikes, and we will. Pledge to take your pets with you » This post first appeared on Wayne Pacelle’s blog, A Humane Nation — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website. […]