Sunday, August 24, 2008

Raid on Lickety Split Ranch

London Free Press

Wildlife authorities and police raided an infamous London roadside zoo yesterday, carting away unknown numbers of animals.

Members of the London Humane Society, Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources and police swooped down on the Lickety-Split Ranch and Zoo to search for and rescue native species such as deer or foxes under Ontario's Fish and Conservation Act.

Officials had no power to seize exotic animals under the provincial law, however, and at least one zebra and a donkey were left behind.

The ministry wouldn't disclose what types of animals or the number carted away in a trailer to a safer place.

"We had reason to believe there were some animals that fall under the description of wildlife that were in captivity illegally," said Russell Brandon of the ministry's Aylmer office. "It is our belief there is no licence."

Lickety-Split owner Shirley McElroy had a zoo licence from 1996 to 2006, but failed to renew it in 2007, prompting yesterday's ministry action.

Officials had to tranquilize one deer to remove it from the property.

The zoo has a spotty history.

Earlier this year, McElroy was fined $4,000 for having two lynx captive with no licence.

Lickety-Split grabbed international headlines in 2006 when pictures surfaced of Tyson, a kangaroo cramped in a small cage. Tyson has since disappeared from the property, without explanation.

Lickety-Split has been closed for more than a year.

The zoo owner was nowhere in sight yesterday and could not be reached for comment.

The grass was overgrown on the property, and rusted machinery, strewn wires, truck parts, empty trailers and tires littered the site.

"It's the worst case of animal husbandry I've ever seen," said activist Vicki Van Linden of Friends of Captive Animals. "We need to pass Bill 50 to give greater protection for all animals in Ontario."

The bill, proposed Ontario animal welfare legislation, introduced in April, would allow officers to search a property without a warrant if they have reason to believe an animal is in distress.

Yesterday's raid on Lickety-Split was done with a warrant.

Londoner Florine Morrison remembered taking her daughter to the zoo more than 15 years ago and seeing a black jaguar in a tiny pen with no shade, cowering in the corner to stay cool.

"They squirted him with a hose to make him get up for the visitors. I thought that was so cruel," said Morrison, a member of the London Animal Alliance.

"It's important for the city to make the McElroys follow the same rules as the rest of London."

Because the zoo no longer has a licence, it should be subject to a city bylaw that prevents people from keeping wild animals, Morrison said.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

What If Noah’s Descendant Was Commanded to Build an Ark in America Today?

Just for fun let’s say God came to Noah’s descendant, in which we will call him James, in the year 2008. James is living some where in the United States of America.

God clearly says to James, “This world has yet again become wicked and very evil. It is overpopulated and I see the end of every person before My eyes. James, as your forefather Noah built an Ark and saved two of every creature I want you to build an Ark and save 2 of every creature and if there is any Faithful men and women save them if they will come.”

God gave James the blue prints of exactly how the Ark was to be made and made certain James understood that he only had 6 months in which to build the Ark and get two of every creature onto the Ark. At the end of 6 months God will once again allow the heavens open up for 40 days and 40 nights until every mountain top is covered and every living creature including man was completely destroyed.

Finally, the last day of the 6 month period was up. God came to James and looked down and saw James sitting in his back yard lawn chair crying. However, God did not see the Ark He had commanded James to build.

God is now very upset and He roared down to James, “James, I am about to open the Heavens and pour out the rain upon the entire earth and flood it! Where is the Ark that I commanded you to build?”

Still weeping James cried out, “Lord I beg you to forgive me I was unable to do as you commanded. You see Lord things have changed here on Earth since Noah had to build an Ark.”

He went on to explain what had happened, hoping God would understand.

“First my Lord, I had to get a building permit. Also, I’ve been arguing with the inspector about installing and even the need for a sprinkler system for the Ark. Then my Lord the neighbors claimed I had violated the neighborhood zoning laws by building an Ark in my yard and exceeding the height limitations allowed in this area. Then we had to go to the Development Appeal Board for a decision.

With a few breathes he goes on, “Next the Department of Transportation demanded a huge bond be posted for all future costs for moving power lines and any other overhead obstructions, in order to clear a passageway for the Ark’s move to the sea. Now matter how hard I tried to get them to understand that the sea would be coming to the Ark they refused to hear me or believe me.”

By this time God is listening very intently at every word James is saying to Him to put. So James continues.

“I ran into more problems with the wood for the Ark. There is now a ban on cutting local timber because they want to save the spotted owls. I tried very hard to convince them that this WOULD save the owls but that was a no go!”

Exasperated James went on, “I started loading the animals two by two just as you told me to do and the animal rights group sued me. It seems they believe I am confining wild animals against their will. They also argued that the accommodations were too restrictive, and that is was of course cruel and inhumane for me to put so many animals in such a confined space.

Lord that is when the EPA rules I couldn’t build the Ark until they had conducted an environmental impact study on YOUR proposed world wide flood. In fact Lord, I am still trying to resolve the complaint with the Human Rights Commission on how many minorities I am suppose to hire for my building crew. However, then the Immigration and Naturalization people started checking the green-card status of almost all the people who actually do want to work.”

James was no longer crying by this time. In fact, the Lord could clearly hear disgust and even anger in his voice now. James went on to say,

“Oddly, the Trades Unions tells me I cannot use my own sons. They insist I have to hire only Union workers with, Get this Lord, “Ark building experience.” Where am I going to find Union workers with that kind of experience for crying out loud.

Then to make matters even worse, the IRS seized ALL my assets. They claimed I must be trying to leave the country illegally with endangered species.

So, please my Lord, forgive me for not completing the task you have set before me. I must tell you that it would literally take at the very least 10 years for me to get through all the red tape and government issues as well as all the other issues that keep popping up, until I could finish the Ark.”

Suddenly, the skies started to clear, the sun shined brightly through the clouds, and a double rainbow stretched across the sky.

James looked up into the beautiful sky and asked the Lord,

“Does this mean you are not going to destroy the Earth and all the sin filled evil people on it again?”

“NO!” said the Lord God in Heaven.

“I can clearly see the government has beat me to it.”

Monday, June 30, 2008

Black Wednesday For U.S. Dog Owners

Are they doomed?

If you love dogs please read this and pass it on.

This is worrying stuff. How long before the domestic dog becomes extinct in the U.S.?

How long before our grandchildren are asking, "Grandpa, What's a dog?"

Animal Rights Wins In Dallas, California, Pennsylvania


American Sporting Dog Alliance

Wednesday was a black day for dog owners all across America, as
animal rights extremists posted legislative victories in Dallas,
California and Pennsylvania.

Dog owner advocacy groups fought hard in all three contests and had
clear majority support, but animal rights groups such as People for
the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the Humane Society of the United
States cashed in political chips with elected officials.

PETA and HSUS have been infiltrating local and state advisory boards
for many years, backed by a war chest exceeding $150 million,
hundreds of paid employees and thousands of volunteers.

Apathy remains th greatest problem faced by dog ownership advocacy

Wednesday's votes also highlighted what is rapidly becoming a
partisan division on animal rights legislation. In general, almost
all Republicans voted against the legislation, and almost all
Democrats voted for the bills. The Democratic Party appears to be
lining up behind the animal rights agenda in support of its
presumptive presidential candidate, Barrack Obama. Obama has
expressed strong support for animal rights.

Here is a summary of the four issues decided this week:

In Dallas, City Council voted 10-3 to pass an animal control
ordinance requiring mandatory pet sterilization, expensive permits to
own intact dogs and cats, mandatory microchipping and pet ownership
limits. The ordinance also bans tethering of dogs and imposes strict
requirements for keeping dogs outdoors. Home inspections also are

In California, the Senate Local Government Committee voted 3-2 to
approve AB1634, which now will be sent to the Senate Appropriations
Committee. If this committee approves, it will be sent to the
legislature for a vote. This bill allows any person to act as a
vigilante and report any dog owner for an unsubstantiated violation
of any animal law. If any animal control officer agrees, the accused
person will have a choice between paying a fine or sterilizing the
animal. People who are accused of anything have no right to defend
themselves or to appeal. An accusation is automatic guilt.

In Pennsylvania, the House Rules Committee voted Tuesday to approve
HB2532, which is a de facto ban on tail docking, dewclaw removal and
ear cropping. In the absence of proof that the procedure was
performed by a veterinarian, the mere possession of a dog that has
had one of those three procedures subjects an owner to a criminal
citation for animal cruelty. This bill would destroy many rescue
operations, dog shows, competitive events and field trials in
Pennsylvania and result in the deaths of thousands of dogs. This bill
now goes to the full House for a vote, and then to the Senate.

Also in Pennsylvania, the House Agriculture Committee approved
amendments to the state dog and kennel law that fall short of changes
that were promised to dog owner advocacy groups. The actual text of
this legislation was not available at this writing, and a follow-up
report will be issued when the revised legislation is available. This
bill now goes to the full House for a vote, and then to the Senate.

Please see below for more detailed descriptions of all four issues.

Dog ownership advocates clearly outnumbered animal rights
sympathizers in public hearings on all four pieces of legislation, as
well as in written comments, emails and phone calls received by
elected officials. However, many of those officials chose to ignore
our voices, and that is doubly true of the Democrats. We are not
saying this to be partisan, as many of our officers and members are
loyal Democrats. We simply are stating a fact. Democrats voted
against animal owners this week by a shocking margin, and we urge dog
owners who are registered with this party to work to reverse this

Advocates of dog owners' rights also were hurt by the apathy of many
people who support us, but who did little or nothing to voice that
support to elected officials. At the Senate hearing in California,
for example, only about 10 people showed up. In Dallas, about 200 dog
ownership advocates attended the hearing, but that is a tiny
percentage of the estimated 300,000 pet owners in the city.
Attendance at the two Pennsylvania hearings was described as moderate.

Apathy by the large but silent majority of dog owners is a major
component of the animal rights strategy. While we outnumber them 100-
to-one, most of us don't get involved. In contrast, animal rights
groups rely on an almost religious fanaticism by their supporters to
gain a high percentage of participation.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance urges every dog owner in America
to join one or more of the several fine organizations that are
fighting for your rights. Each of these organizations has its own
niche, but all are excellent and deserve your support.

We welcome your membership and hope you will participate fully in our
programs. Please visit us online at

Please stand up and be counted now!

We also ask all dog owners who belong to field trial clubs,
sportsmen's organizations, show specialty clubs, breed clubs and
event clubs to urge those organizations to take an active political
role to defeat animal rights legislation.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance also is urging dog owners to
boycott all dog events in the City of Dallas for their own safety.
Under the terms of the ordinance, even a visitor to the city is
subject to citations, fines and dog confiscations. It is known that
PETA plans a protest at a July dog show in Dallas, and we expect them
to report show dog owners for alleged violations of the ordinance.
Because the Dallas animal commission is dominated by PETA members, we
expect that there will be a move to raid this dog show. All
professional handlers would be in violation of the possession limit
of six dogs, and none of the dogs are expected to have a required
Dallas breeding or intact permit.

If the Pennsylvania and California legislation becomes law, it will
not be safe for anyone to attend a field trial, dog show or
performance event in those states, or even to visit, pass through or
take a hunting trip there.

We urge all clubs to cancel or move planned events in Dallas now, and
also in Pennsylvania and California if their legislation is signed
into law. We believe that clubs have an ethical obligation to protect
the safety of participants and their dogs.

Continued apathy and non-involvement will doom dog ownership in
America, as well as hunting, field trials and other dog events. We
can't do it without you.

Here are the highlights of the four pieces of legislation that were
voted on this week.


We support the first part of AB1634, which calls for fines for dogs
that are allowed to roam and mandates sterilization after the third

However, the second part of the legislation violates basic
constitutional rights and human decency.

Here are the provisions of the second part of the legislation
(Italics are direct quotes, and words that are not italicized are our

· "The owner of a nonspayed or unneutered dog that is the
subject of a complaint may be cited and pay a civil penalty as
provided in this section. This civil penalty shall be in addition to
any fine, fee, or penalty imposed under any other provision of law or
local ordinance." In the first sentence, the committee
substituted "may" for "shall," which appears to leave the issuance of
a citation up to the discretion of an animal control officer.
However, the basis for this decision is not defined.

· "The owner of the dog shall pay the civil penalty to the
local animal control agency within 30 business days of the citation.
The local animal control agency shall waive the civil penalty if,
within 14 business days of the citation, the owner of the dog
presents written proof from a licensed veterinarian that the dog was
spayed or neutered." There is no provision for a dog owner to defend
him/herself in court or at a hearing, and no appeal is allowed. If
you are accused, you are guilty. Period. This is a violation of
constitutional guarantees of due process and equal protection under
the law.

· " 'Complaint' means an oral or written complaint to a local
animal control agency that alleges that the dog or the owner of the
dog has violated this division, any other provision of state law that
relates to dogs, or a local animal control ordinance. `Complaint'
also means the observation by an employee or officer of a local
animal control agency of behavior by a dog or the owner of a dog that
violates this division, any other provision of state law that relates
to dogs, or a local animal control ordinance." An example of what
this means is that a hunting or field trial dog that is in excellent
health and conditioned for performance could result in a complaint of
animal cruelty if anyone believes the dog looks thin.

· " `Local animal control agency' means any city or county
animal control agency or other entity responsible for enforcing
animal-related laws or local animal control ordinances." This
includes Humane Societies and other animal welfare organizations
empowered to enforce animal cruelty or other dog laws. Many members
of these groups support a radical animal rights agenda.

The Senate Local Government Committee approved this legislation by a
party-line 3-2 vote Wednesday, with Democrats in the majority. It now
goes to the Senate Committee on Appropriations, and then to the
Senate floor for a final vote.

Please contact members of the Appropriations Committee immediately to
voice opposition to the second half of this bill, and also individual

This link gives contact information for committee members:
ILE.HTM. The committee meets on Monday.

This link gives contact information for all senators: While Sen.
Michael Machado voted for this bill on Wednesday, he expressed many
concerns and might be convinced to change his vote.


Here is a summary of the dog ordinance passed Wednesday by the Dallas
City Council by a 10-3 vote. The ordinance:

· Creates a permit for a dog or cat used for breeding or
competition. The cost of the permit is $70 annually for each animal,
plus the regular license fee of $30. There is no grace period or
exclusion provided for new residents or people who are visiting
Dallas, including participants in dog shows or other events. Visitors
can be cited, and we expect that they will be cited.

· Requires all other dogs or cats to be spayed or neutered.

· Limits a single household to a total of six cats and/or
dogs. People owning more than a half-acre of land would be allowed
eight. People who currently own a greater number of animals could
apply to the city to be allowed to keep their animals without
penalty, but they would not be allowed to buy a dog or breed a litter
of puppies until their number of dogs drops below the limit. The
ordinance applies to anyone who "harbors" more than six dogs, which
includes many visitors and participants in dog shows and other
events. Almost all professional handlers would be in this category,
as well as many owner/handlers.

· Subjects anyone who harbors a group of dogs that exceeds the
limits to unannounced inspections. This would include participants in
dog shows or other events.

· Mandates microchipping of all dogs and cats, including those
of visitors.

· Prohibits tethering of unsupervised dogs to trees or poles
except "for a period no longer than necessary for the owner to
complete a temporary task."

Forces owners to provide at least 150 square feet of space and a
building or designed doghouse for a dog confined outdoors.
And provides for confiscation of allegedly dangerous dogs, and other

Please contact us at asda@csonlinenet if you would like to
participate in legal action or boycotts related to the Dallas


Dog owners in Pennsylvania were beset by two pieces of bad
legislation this week.

HB 2525 regulates a million dog owners and owners of 2,700 licensed
kennels in the state. It passed the House Agriculture Committee by a
17-12 vote Wednesday. All but one Republican (Rep. K. Boback) voted
against the bill, and all Democrats (the majority party) voted in
favor of it.

It appears that the final bill reflects some of the promises made to
dog ownership advocacy groups during the past several months of
negotiations, but that the Democrats have reneged on other promises.

Some dog owners groups have withdrawn their opposition to this
legislation, but the American Sporting Dog Alliance continues to
oppose it in its present form. While we support changes that affect
commercial breeders, these represent only a small part of HB 2525.
The rest of the bill has serious impacts on all dog and kennel
owners. The text of several amendments has not been published thus
far We will issue a full report on this legislation in the next
couple of days.

The other legislation is HB 2532, which provides what amounts to be a
de facto partial or complete ban on tail docking, ear cropping and
dewclaw removal by anyone except a licensed veterinarian. Although
most other dog owners' organizations have not taken a clear public
stance on this bill, the American Sporting Dog Alliance categorically
opposes it.

HB 2532 passed the House Judiciary Committee by a 28-1 vote Tuesday,
with only Republican Rep. T. Creighton voting "no."

The bill allows owners to dock the tails of puppies until they pass
three days of age, and to remove dewclaws during the first five days.
However, the burden of proof is placed on a dog's owner to prove that
this work was done legally before the age limits, or by a
veterinarian. It would be difficult for most dog owners to prove
this, and a large majority would not be able to prove it. The simple
possession of a dog with a docked tail or a lack of dewclaws would be
considered evidence of an animal cruelty violation, if the owner
cannot prove his/her innocence.

The bill continues a total ban against ear cropping, except by a
veterinarian, and anyone who is found in possession of a dog with
cropped ears is automatically guilty of criminal animal cruelty in
the absence of proof.

For all of these procedures, HB 2532 struck out a provision that
would have exempted dogs if their owners filed an affidavit with a
county treasurer that the work was done before the bill is passed.

That means a large majority of owners of many of the most popular
breeds will have no way of proving that they have complied with the
law. These procedures were done legally in the past on many dogs, or
legally by breeders in other states. In many cases, a dog owner has
no idea who performed these procedures. Thus, they would be guilty of
criminal animal cruelty for noncompliance.

This legislation will destroy rescue work for many breeds if it is
signed into law. Most dogs that are assisted by rescue groups, animal
shelters and private individuals either come from unknown sources, or
do not come with medical records. There will be no choice except to
euthanize these dogs, since it will be impossible to establish their

This legislation also will have a severe impact on people who live in
other states. On one level, Pennsylvanians will no longer be able to
buy puppies from dozens of breeds from nonresident breeders who
perform these procedures legally in their home states.

On another level, Pennsylvania professional trainers and handlers
will not be able to accept many dogs from out-of-state customers,
because proof will not be available.

But a larger impact will be on thousands of people who own dogs and
come to Pennsylvania for a vacation, to hunt, or to compete in field
trials, dog shows and other events. Anyone who brings a dog with a
docked tail, missing dewclaws or cropped ears into Pennsylvania is
subject to arrest for criminal animal cruelty charges.

This will affect many very popular breeds of dogs, such as almost all
Continental breeds of pointing dogs, flushing dogs, terriers and many
working dogs, such as rottweilers and doberman pinchers.

The bill now moves to the full House for a vote. Please contact your
own legislator and as many others as possible to express opposition
to this legislation. Contact information can be found at:

Here is a link to the text of the legislation:
txtType=HTM&sessYr=2007&sessInd=0&billBody=H&billT yp=B&billNbr=2532&pn

The American Sporting Dog Alliance represents owners, hobby breeders
and professionals who work with breeds of dogs that are used for
hunting. We are a grassroots movement working to protect the rights
of dog owners, and to assure that the traditional relationships
between dogs and humans maintains its rightful place in American
society and life. Please visit us on the web at Our email is Complete directions to join by mail or online are
found at the bottom left of each page.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance also needs your help so that we
can continue to work to protect the rights of dog owners. Your
membership, participation and support are truly essential to the
success of our mission. We are funded solely by the donations of our
members, and maintain strict independence.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Why we eat the pig and revere the dog

One question that animal rights/vegan/vegetarian activists love to ask is why do I eat the pig, the cow and the sheep, whilst I wouldn't dream of eating a cat, dog or horse. There is, they claim, no cognitive difference.

Here are a few reasons we eat livestock and not pets

Domestic pets

1. Small, easy to keep and feed.
2. Companionable, actively seek out human company.
3. Useful for pest control, protection, transport, hunting, message carrying, disabled person's assistance.
4. Can be trained to be clean in the house
5. Can be kept in a small space such as an apartment.
6. Relatively high level of intelligence.
7. Difficult to manage in large groups. Have to be caged. Considered cruel in some cultures.


1. Large and cumbersome, not cheap or easy to keep.
2. Need large quantities of grass or hay
3. Produce enormous quantities of excrement
4. Seek out their own kind for companionship, have an instinctive fear of humans.
5. Cannot be trained to be clean in the house, will damage or destroy furniture and groceries.
6. Need a large amount of space, far more than the average homeowner has.
7. Mostly prohibited by law in urban areas.
8. Dangerous. Their sheer size, bulk and general lack of consideration makes these animals extremely unsuitable as domestic pets.
9. Convert products that cannot be digested by humans, such as grass and leaves into highly digestible, protein rich milk and meat.
10. Have a large waterproof coat that can be utilised by humans as protective clothing, furniture covering, book covers etc.
11. Produce a large number of byproducts that are used in almost every industry,
12. Relatively low level of intelligence.
13. Easy to manage in large groups.

Traditional uses of livestock species

Cattle - milk, meat, leather
Sheep - wool, meat, tallow (candles)
Pig - meat, fat (for baking, candles, lubrication, wood polish, soap) leather, clearing brush (natural routing behaviour) truffle hunting
Goat - meat, milk, fibre, leather
Poultry - meat, eggs, feathers, down, insect control, weed control

Monday, June 2, 2008

My view on the zoo

Camel ride at London zoo around 1930

Someone said to me recently that, "Zoos exist primarily for the benefit of animals and the protection of genetic diversity etc. and not for the entertainment of people who visit them."

That may be the opinion of some people, but I disagree, and here's why.

I disagree that zoo's exist primarily for the benefit of animals.

I know a few zoos in the USA are free for visitors, this is the way I would like all zoos to be. Available to all as an educational resource and a place of recreation.

But take away the gate receipts and most of the zoos in the world would have to close and the animals euthanized. Even the government funded zoos rely heavily on visitors for money.

Zoos/menageries/animal collections, whatever you like to call them, existed a long time before anyone thought of conservation/preservation of endangered species/genetic diversity etc. Something which was pioneered by Gerald Durrel in the 1950's.

While it is good that zoos have gone this route, let's not forget that zoos play an enormous role in society and have done for thousands of years. In the days before television zoos were a primary source of entertainment. To others, zoos are a source of education. To see the sheer size and power of a large cat or bear is an experience that cannot be replicated by the Discovery channel.

Only by people seeing animals up close can they ever develop any respect for them, respect leads to interest, interest leads to understanding, understanding leads ultimately, to protection. If zoos were closed to the public, where would the next generation of zookeepers, zoologists and naturalist's come from? By watching insects on the windowledge?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Animals fare better in zoos

This is what I've been saying for years. Hooray for the voice of reason

By Andrew Stern

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Scientists are learning more about how zoo animals feel and how a toy or a little training can sometimes help cut the endless pacing and other repetitive behaviours that are often assumed to be signs of distress.

Some big cats want a high perch from which to view visitors, polar bears want to scratch for hidden caches of food, and male barn swallows could use a tail extension to appeal to potential mates, according to experts from zoos and universities meeting on Friday at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo.

Visitors who see a cheetah pacing or a polar bear swimming in circles might assume they are stressed by confinement. But they may simply be expending excess energy or soothing themselves, experts said interviews at the symposium.

"We humans swim laps, and people take comfort in walking in circles. As long is it not injuring the animals, and not causing them pain, it may not be a sign of poor welfare," said Nadja Wielebnowski of the Chicago Zoological Society.

Wielebnowski measures stress hormones in zoo animals and her work is helping guide efforts to reduce stress when animals are moved, come in close contact with humans or are exposed to noise.

"Some species do absolutely great in zoos -- they get great food, they get it every day, they have great veterinary care. For some species, the zoo trumps the wild," said David Shepherdson of the Oregon Zoo in Portland.

But some species, like elephants, large cats, and bears, often do not fare as well.

In a study of polar bears in U.S. zoos, Shepherdson found 50 of 54 bears displayed behavioural symptoms of stress, but they showed no elevated levels of corticosteroids, which are hormones that indicate stress, he said.

Shepherdson found about half the animals reduced their repetitive behaviour when give some training or playthings that helped them mimic behaviour in the wild.

For example, polar bears given a plastic barrel tended to crush it just as they would a seal den in the Arctic.


Experts are also discussing whether certain species, like certain types of leopard, do not belong in zoos at all because they prefer to remain out of sight.

"Essentially, we need to go against the knee-jerk human reaction, which is the view that (zoo animals) need companionship, they need a large enclosure, and that they are only interested in the world visually," said Vicki Melfi of Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust, which runs the Paignton Zoo in Britain.

She said animals more sensitive to smell should be accommodated, for instance, by not disinfecting their enclosures frequently so as not to wipe out scent markings. Other animals sensitive to sounds might be offered a dark, quiet corner to retreat to.

Wielebnowski suggested zoos might consider exercise equipment for animals to burn off energy.

Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, said measuring hormone levels may not tell the story as well as observing listless or repetitive behaviour.

"You don't want a shell of an animal on display," he said. "Zoos are here to stay and they should make efforts to enrich animals' lives and they should ask a number of other questions about the suitability of certain species in captivity."


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Animal Adoptions Now available at GuZoo

You can now adopt an animal at GuZoo Animal Farm for just $50 a year.

That's less than a dollar a week.

When you adopt an animal at GuZoo
You will receive:

  • Certificate - personalised with your name

  • Photograph

  • Information sheet about your animal

  • Updates throughout the year

  • Christmas card

  • Annual review of all the things that
    Have happened at GuZoo. Throughout the year

  • Warm feeling knowing you've done something
    Kind for the animals at GuZoo Animal Farm !

Animals available for adoption are:

Tuffy        Canadian Lynx
Casper Siberian Lynx
Zuki Timber Wolf
Moses Serval
Tyson Baboon
Jacob Camel
Tim Lemur
Jackson Tiger
Jerry Cougar
Wallace Lion
BJ Bear

For more information on adopting one of these animals send an email to
with your name, phone number, and which animal you
are interested in, or phone Irene at 403 443 7463

for more information on GuZoo Animal Farm click here

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Animal Rights. Where did it come from, where is it now, where is it going?

Part 2

Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA)

For about 140 years the RSPCA animal welfare advocates had made good headway in getting legislation passed to prevent the abuse of animals, but there was still a long way to go.

Those who supported animal welfare were largely the middle and upper classes, people who had a vested interest in treating animals well, farmers, hunters, fishermen, kennel and stable owners and, of course, the ever increasing number of pet owners.

In the middle years of the twentieth century there were stirrings towards a new doctrine, the philosophy that animals should not be used for the benefit of humans but that they are entities in their own right and deserve equal consideration with humans.

The Hunt Saboteurs (HSA)

The AR movement as we know it today is a far cry from the small band of friends, who, in 1963, led by John Prestidge, actively disrupted fox hunting in Devon, England.

The Hunt Saboteurs Association, as they called themselves, always acted within the law, they were an irritant to the huntsmen, and little else.

As others in the area heard about their activities, Hunt Saboteur groups began to spring up all over Southern England.

Band of Mercy

By 1971 there was a national network of dedicated activists disrupting hunt meets all over the country. Two of these activists were a law student called Ronnie Lee, and his friend Cliff Goodman, from Luton, Hertfordshire. They thought they could do a better job if they could prevent the hunt from happening in the first place, as the HSA only operated within the law, and their new tactics would involve law breaking, they formed a breakaway group, the Band of Mercy, in 1972.

All went well and the BOM spread their wings to include action against vivisectionists, as well as hunters. However, in 1975, their luck ran out and Ronnie and Cliff were convicted of arson and sent to jail.

Animal Liberation Front (ALF)

On their release, Cliff decided to give up the campaign, but Ronnie was more determined than ever. He got in touch with the other members of the BoM and told them he wanted to form a group that would fight for the liberation of all animals. They called the new group the Animal Liberation Front, ALF and the animal rights movement was born.

Where animal welfarists were mostly drawn from the middle and upper classes and those who had animals in their daily lives, the new AR movement drew its followers mostly from the working class and from urbanites who had little if any contact with animals except in the form of domestic pets. Of course, there were exceptions on both sides.

ALF's objective, in its own terms, is to end animal abuse. They do this by 'liberating' animals from exploitative situations, such as in fur farms, and laboratories where they are used for experiments, and by causing financial damage to 'animal exploiters.'

According to the group's current website, ALF's mission is to "effectively allocate resources (time and money) to end the "property status of nonhuman animals." The objective behind the mission is to "abolish institutionalized animal exploitation because it assumes that animals are property."

According to the ALF, "Because ALF actions may be against the law, activitsts work anonymously, either in small groups or individually, and do not have any centralized organization or coordination." Individuals or small groups take the initiative to act in the name of the ALF then report their act to one of its national press offices. The organization has no leaders, nor can it truly be considered a network, since its various members / participants do not know each other, or even of each other. It calls itself a model of 'leaderless resistance.'

There is a certain amount of ambiguity about the role of violence for the group. ALF pledges its commitment to not harming either 'human or non-human animals,' but its members have taken actions which can justifiably be considered as threatening violence against people.

Concern for animal welfare has a history stretching back to the late 18th century. Historically, animal protectionists, as they were once known, focused on ensuring that animals were treated well, but from within a humanist framework that envisions humans as responsible for (or as biblical language would have it, with "dominion over") the earth's other creatures. Beginning in the 1980s, there was a noticeable shift in this philosophy, toward an understanding that animals have autonomous "rights." According to some, this movement was essentially an extension of the civil rights movement.

Indeed, one of the participants in a 1984 break-in at the University of Pennsylvania to retrieve animals used in scientific experiments, said at the time that, "We may seem like radicals to you. But we are like the abolitionists, who were regarded as radicals too. And we hope that 100 years from now people will look back on the way animals are treated now with the same horror as we do when we look back on the slave trade" (quoted in William Robbins' "Animal Rights: A Growing Movement in the U.S.," New York Times, June 15, 1984).

Animal rights activists have been becoming increasingly militant since the mid-1980s, and increasingly willing to threaten people, such s animal researchers and their families as well as corporate employees. The FBI named the ALF a domestic terrorist threat in 1991, and the Department of Homeland Security followed suit in January, 2005.

Peta and the future of animal rights coming in part 3

Thursday, May 8, 2008

'Have you seen this monkey?' asks Vancouver zoo

Last Updated: Wednesday, May 7, 2008 | 6:12 PM ET

Mia, a female spider monkey, is still missing, and presumed stolen. Mia, a female spider monkey, is still missing, and presumed stolen. (Courtesy of the Greater Vancouver Zoo)

Staff at the Greater Vancouver Zoo are devastated after someone killed one of the facility's spider monkeys and apparently stole the other one overnight Tuesday.

The culprit or culprits cut through the fence of the spider monkey exhibit Tuesday night, killing the male, Jocko, and apparently removing the female, zoo spokeswoman Jody Henderson told CBC News on Wednesday morning.

"We can't find our female anywhere, and so we are assuming at this stage that she is gone with them," said Henderson.

"We are absolutely devastated. They are our family. We are all extremely attached. It's shocking anyone would do this," said Henderson.

Jocko, a male spider monkey, was found dead by staff at the zoo Wednesday morning. Jocko, a male spider monkey, was found dead by staff at the zoo Wednesday morning. (Courtesy of the Greater Vancouver Zoo)

The two monkeys were both 17, and had lived at the zoo for 15 years, said Henderson.

The zoo appealed to the public for help on Wednesday and said it would be difficult for anyone without specialized training to keep the monkey as a pet.

Henderson said it was possible the monkey could have been stolen for sale on the black market, or it could have escaped on its own through the hole in the fence.

The missing monkey is described as about 50 centimetres tall. It is dark brown in colour, with a golden stomach and chest. It has steel blue eyes.

Anyone spotting the monkey is warned not to approach it because it may be traumatized, and is asked to call the zoo immediately.

"We need to find our female and find out who are these cruel individuals who would do such an awful thing," said Henderson.

RCMP said they have no indication yet why the monkey might have been stolen.


Sunday, May 4, 2008

Pet hippo becomes a weighty problem

By Nigel Blundell
Last Updated: 1:01pm BST 19/06/2007

  • In pictures Jessica the pet hippo
  • When a newborn baby hippo was washed up by a flood onto the lawn of his riverside home, the game ranger who found the dying animal lovingly nursed her back to health.

    Top: Jessica with Tonie Joubert, who raised her and Bottom: relaxing with one of the other pets
    Top: Jessica with Tonie Joubert, who raised her and Bottom: relaxing with one of the other pets

    The weakened female survived, put on weight, and grew . . . and g-r-e-w . . . and GREW!

    Now the hippo that thinks it's a family pet has become a giant-sized problem.

    For what started out as a cute, tubby 35lbs baby is now a boisterous seven-year-old - equivalent to a human 'teenager' -.weighing nearly three-quarters of a ton.

    And like many modern teenagers, Jessica, as she has been named, finds family life too comfortable and just won't leave home.

    Attempts to reintroduce her to the wild have all failed. And, being free to roam, the danger now is that she will be attacked and killed by other hippos - or shot by local farmers protecting their animals and crops.

    As our pictures show, the reason Jessica prefers family life to that of a wallowing big hippopotamus are clear...

    She eats, sleeps, swims and plays with retired game warden Tonie Joubert and wife Shirley at their home in South Africa.

    She wanders round the house, drinks coffee on the verandah, hangs out with the pet dogs and enjoys Shirley's soothing massages that help her relax at the end of a happy hippo day.

    The hippo greets Tonie, in particular, with special grunts and flicking ears whenever she sees him and follows him like a dog wherever he goes.

    There is no strict daily routine, but certain crucial things must not be missed - such as the 10 litres of sweet warm coffee, which Tonie bottle-feeds her with every day, or the dog pellets which she expects as treats.

    Most nights, Jessica totters off back to the river for a mudbath. But on other occasions she'll wander into the house, wet and dripping slime and plonk herself on the couple's bed.

    It is becoming a problem because - unlike the famous hippo in the Silentnight bed adverts - she has broken the Jouberts' bed three times.

    Even larger trouble looms because, being a big girl now, giant male hippos are beginning to turn up on the river's edge fronting Jessica's human home.

    She became friendly with one of them, a 10-year-old bull nicknamed Charlie. But when he was shot by a neighbouring farmer, it also killed off hopes of finding Jessica a mate and sending her back into the wild.

    "Jessica is so trusting," says Shirley. "Our constant fear now is that the same fate as Charlie's may befall our precious Jess, the gentlest creature on Earth."

    Says Tonie: "Some people have told me I was wrong to save Jessica. They say you have to be cruel to be kind and that I should have left nature to go its own way.

    "But that would have guaranteed she ended up in a crocodile's stomach.

    "And look at the joy and companionship we would have missed out on."

  • The story of the extraordinary friendship between human and hippo is told in 'Jessica the Hippo', to be shown on the Animal Planet channel on Thursday, June 28 at 9pm.
  • Saturday, May 3, 2008

    Two common misconceptions about AR groups

    Zoocheck will do it for you.

    The people at WSPA, Zoocheck, V4A. Peta and other animal rights groups are all trained professionals. So they must know what they're talking about.

    If only!!!!

    Few, if any, of these people are trained in zoology, or have lived and worked with animals for extended periods. They are mostly urbanites with too much money and even more free time who have nothing better to do than harass law abiding animal owners.

    Far from caring for animals they spend their time lobbying politicians, demonstrating against animal "cruelty" and generally trying to persuade the public that they are important knowledgeable people who should be listened to. Even if these people own a pet of their own, I doubt they get to spend much time with it.

    Although large organisations like peta do employ some qualified staff, these people are motivated more by money and drive for power than by the ethics of their profession.
    For more information on this subject read

    Even if they're not professionals, the people at Zoocheck, WSPA, V4A and peta care about animals and have the their best interests at heart.

    These people don't give two hoots about animals.

    They care about money (mostly getting other people's into their pockets as quickly as possible), self promotion, power, control, and intimidating others into compliance with their bizzare ideology.
    They mostly attach themselves to one idea, (zoos are cruel, for example), from which they cannot be shaken in spite of mountains of opposing evidence.

    These organisations have no desire to help zoos improve their facilities or help individual animals. It is not in their mandate to give financial donations or to volunteer their time. They do not even give helpful advice or encouragement. It's difficult to advise when you don't know anything. All these people know how to do is criticise. Their sole aim is to harass zoo owners to the point where they give up and go out of business. No matter how much zoos strive to meet their demands they will never succeed because these self proclaimed experts will continue to set the bar higher and higher. Not until every zoo in the world is closed will they be happy. Then when all the zoos are gone (heaven forbid that it will ever happen) they'll start on the animal sanctuaries.

    I wouldn't trust these people to walk my dog, let alone run a zoo.

    Thursday, May 1, 2008

    The baby monkey that thinks its mum's a teddy bear

    Last updated at 12:11pm on 1st May 2008

    This little monkey is missing her mummy so to make sure she's not losing out zoo keepers have given her a teddy bear to cuddle.

    Conchita is a three-week-old white-naped mangabey monkey who is being hand-reared at London Zoo.

    The tiny primate keeps hold of her teddy bear companion while her mother recovers from a caesarean.

    Mangabey monkey

    Conchita is being looked after at London Zoo with the help of a teddy bear

    Mangabey monkey

    The playful mangabey monkey is being had-reared while her mother revcovers from a caesarean

    But it's not all down to the teddy, as this mini-monkey is also being looked after by keeper, Andrea Payne.

    The species, which are native to West Africa, are on the critically endangered list following loss of habitat.

    Mangabey monkey

    Conchita is being looked after at London Zoo with the help of a teddy bear

    The white-naped mangabey is restricted to a small region between the Nzo-Sassandra river system in Côte d'Ivoire and the Volta River in Ghana.

    The species are typically slender with long limbs monkeys found in African tropical forests.

    They can grow up to 90 cm long and females can weigh up to about 6kg.

    Mangabey monkey

    Cheeky Conchita the monkey nibbles on keeper Andrea Payne's nose

    Wednesday, April 30, 2008

    Food for thought

    This is something we all need to think about!!

    The Two Wolves

    One evening an old Sioux told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
    He said, 'My son,
    the battle is between two 'wolves' inside us all..

    One is Evil.
    It is anger, envy, jealousy
    , sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

    The other is Good.
    It is joy, peace
    , love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.

    The grandson thought
    about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather:
    'Which wolf wins?'

    The old
    Sioux simply replied, 'The one you feed.'

    Which one are you feeding?

    Sunday, April 27, 2008

    Habitat loss and climate change hit dragonflies

    By Paul Eccleston
    Last Updated: 12:01am BST 21/04/2008

    Britain's dragonflies are on the move from a twin threat posed by habitat loss and climate change.

    The survival of some species is in doubt mainly because they have been ousted from their traditional haunts by human activity.

    Southern hawker (left) and Common darter (right)

    The British Dragonfly Society (BDS) says 36 per cent of the 39 dragonfly species are in decline.

    And three species - Dainty damselfly, Norfolk damselfly and Orange spotted emerald - have disappeared altogether in the past 50 years.

    Increasing loss of their wetlands home and the arrival of competing species from Europe and even north America is leading dragonflies to move further northwards to find new breeding grounds.

    Dragonflies are sun-lovers and normally the more southerly species, which are not equipped to deal with lower temperatures further north, would stay put. But warmer temperatures are encouraging them to chance their luck further afield.

    But this is in turn is putting pressure on resident and mainly endangered species found in Scotland who are being squeezed and left with nowhere else to go.

    BDS Conservation Officer Katharine Parkes said: "Dragonflies have been around for 300m years and have survived the extinction of the dinosaurs and several ice ages...but can they survive the increasing pressures imposed by mankind?

    "Understanding where and how quickly our dragonflies are moving will help us to plan for the future, with particular regard to the way in which conservation is carried out - it will be very important to make sure we are providing our wildlife with the best opportunities to react to changes. They are temperature-sensitive, making them useful for climate change impact studies."

    The BDS is looking for volunteers to help record dragonfly activity in their own area and says it will provide full training and instruction.

    The data collected will be used to make conservation decisions and to monitor endangered species and to help them recover. Records of breeding activity are of particular importance for identifying key sites.

    Migrant hawker (left) and Common blue damselfly (right)
    Migrant hawker (left) and Common blue damselfly (right)

    The BDS says a new national atlas is urgently required because the range and number of species is changing rapidly. When the last dragonfly atlas was published in 1996, the Small red-eyed damselfly had never been seen in the UK but now has breeding colonies from Devon to Norfolk and is continuing to spread.

    As well as the threat posed by alien invaders new fish species introduced into ponds and lakes are also taking their toll either by eating the dragonfly larvae or by muddying waters as they forage for food which disrupts larvae development.

    Dragonfly facts

  • Dragonflies do not sting or bite humans!
  • They eat vast quantities of mosquitoes and midges.
  • They are useful indicators of both aquatic and terrestrial habitats due to their life cycle.
  • They are visual hunters and can see in colour as well as ultraviolet light and polarised light, which enables them to see reflections of light on water. They spend at least a year as a larva under water, then feeding/roosting/mating above ground as adults for up to two months.
  • They are voracious predators. Adults feed on flying insects, especially small flies, midges and mosquitoes. Some of the larger species, such as the Emperor, will take butterflies and damselflies.
  • They can fly at over 25 mph.
  • They have been around for over 300 million years.
  • Saturday, April 26, 2008

    London Zoo celebrates its 180th birthday

    London Zoo celebrates its 180th birthday

    By Richard Gray, Science Correspondent
    Last Updated: 1:01pm BST 26/04/2008

    It is now one of the world's leading conservation organisations, helping to protect endangered wildlife with breeding programmes, carrying out vital research and educating the public. But when London Zoo opened its doors 180 years ago, experts were more interested in turning its exotic creatures into beasts of burden and farmyard animals.

    London Zoo celebrates its 180th birthday
    In pictures: 180 years of London Zoo

    Photographs, reports and keepers logs, which have been buried in the Zoological Society of London's archive, provide a glimpse of daily life at the world's first scientific zoo when it opened on 27 April 1828. In one report, experts revealed their plans to domesticate some of the animal species at the zoo, including using zebras to pull carts, exploiting reptiles for medicine and turning antelope and exotic birds into farm animals for food.

    The zoo even began running trials in 1831 with zebra-drawn passenger carts to give rides to members of the public around the grounds.

    "At that time they wanted to make animals less wild and domesticate them," said John Edwards, vice president of the Zoological Society of London and an expert on the history of London Zoo.

    "In the early 19th century they would dress up the chimpanzees in human clothes and the public could ride on the animals and play with even the more dangerous animals like bears. That would never happen today.

    "The focus now has shifted to such a degree that we are now trying to make sure animals remain wild. They are being bred for reintroduction into the wild rather than being taken out of the wild."

    The documents from the zoo's early days have been revealed as part of celebrations marking the 180th anniversary since it opened. Compared to the modern veterinary care and facilities now available, the documents show the challenges that the keepers faced.

    Sick animals were regularly treated with a dose of cod liver oil in the absence of any real medicines and they were cared for by the same doctor who also treated the staff rather than a trained vet. Daily logs filled in by the zoo's first superintendent, Edward Johnson, reveal the day to day trials and tribulations that faced the staff as they prepared to open the zoo for the first time.

    On Monday 25 February 1828, he notes that an otter died as a result of a "diseased tail". Two weeks later, a lynx suffered a convulsive fit and also died.

    Despite the deaths, the records also reveal great excitement about an emu at the zoo, which was a prolific egg layer. But this excitement was tempered when a female seal disappeared two weeks before the zoo opened. It was only recaptured two days before the public arrived.

    In 1905 two polar bears Sam and Barbara escaped from their enclosure after biting the padlock off a gate but were frightened back inside after a startled keeper dropped a plank of wood when he found them wandering the park. The daily logbook also reveal that one of the few accidents involving humans at the zoo saw an inebriated keeper Edward Girling die after being bitten by a cobra in 1852.

    A Marabou stork was also found at one point to have swallowed a domestic cat used in the zoo to control vermin, but it was "induced to disgorge it".

    Mr Edwards said: "In those days there were no tranquillizer darts, so they faced some real difficulties in controlling the animals. It must have been quite terrifying as there were no methods of subduing the animals except by guile or brute force.

    "The zoo's first hippopotamus escaped in 1860 and it had quite a savage temper. The superintendent sent out one of the keepers to get it to chase him and the keeper ran back into the enclosure so the hippo followed him."

    The zoo's first animal was a Griffin vulture called Dr Brooks, named after the anatomy school teacher who donated him. He had used the bird to devour the cadavers at the school, but when he retired he could no longer feed it.

    After the first year the zoo had 627 animals from 194 different species, with many donated by famous patrons including King William IV.

    In the first three years after the zoo opened, visitors were only allowed inside if they were personally invited by one of the fellows of the Zoological Society and paid a shilling entrance. Visits on Sundays were strictly banned, but despite the restrictive rules, which were relaxed in 1831, the zoo saw more than 112,226 visitors in its first year.

    It now boasts more than 1.1 million visitors a year and 16,800 animals, made up of 711 species.


    An Open Letter to Oprah Winfrey

    April 15, 2008
    Ms. Oprah Winfrey
    The Oprah Winfrey Show
    110 N. Carpenter Street
    Chicago, IL 60607

    Dear Ms. Winfrey:

    Would I be correct in assuming that you're planning a special report on the status of blacks in America, basing your show on information provided by the KKK and inviting the Imperial Wizard to appear with you?

    No? Gee, I'm surprised, because such a show would be just like the one on April 4th about 'puppy mills,' based on information from HSUS, with CEO Wayne Pacelle as your main guest.

    The problem with both of these show ideas is that the information is so deeply wrong and so fundamentally biased as to be basically hate speech. Having ignorant hate speech about breeders of dogs distributed by one of America's genuine icons to millions of people who trust her implicitly is ... well, 'sickening' isn't too strong a word.

    Most importantly this sort of thing is bad for the dogs.

    I am sorry this is so long. But even a summary of the incorrect information in a one hour show that was almost entirely off base, has to be long.

    First, 'overpopulation' of dogs (too many whelped for the number of available homes, causing healthy puppies to be euthanized) is now a strictly local problem, chiefly in rural areas and almost entirely in the south. For every ten dogs put down in animal shelters in the 1970's only about one is so today, and the total is continuing to fall as a result of more pet dogs being spayed or neutered and increasing efforts to get good dogs adopted.

    The U.S. now imports around 300,000 dogs per year from other countries (U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimate) and the number grows annually. Some animal shelters are importing from the streets of other nations in order to have adoptable animals available. If we truly have 'pet overpopulation,' why would this be?

    While we all celebrate the steadily falling number of unwanted litters, there's also a decline in planned breeding. Small-scale home breeding is being steadily reduced due to increasing costs, unfavorable zoning, pet limits, expensive and punitive licensing of home breeders, and (in some areas) harassment of breeders by activists.

    Since there are fewer accidental and homebred litters, demand is increasing for commercially bred dogs. Describing all for-profit breeding as 'puppy mills' adds fuel to efforts to ban commercial breeding as a full-time business. Such a law has just been passed in Virginia, is being considered in Vermont, and is likely to be proposed in several other states soon. Banning commercial breeding because of violations by a few makes exactly as much sense as banning automobiles to stop drunk driving or outlawing marriage because of spousal abuse.

    Commercial breeders who sell to pet shops are federally regulated and inspected. The AKC inspects breeders who use its registry. All breeders, like all other dog owners, are required by law to provide good care. Anyone who sees mistreatment should report it to animal control.

    If 'oops' litters and home breeding continue to decline, and legal commercial breeding of dogs is ended, where will they come from? The answer is illegal commercial breeding and even greater numbers of imports. Should that happen, animal mistreatment and 'puppy lemon' issues will be far worse than what we see today.

    The pressure on all forms of pet dog breeding is far and away the most important problem of pets. It reduces quality, increases prices, makes more difficult the proper matching of puppy to family, and interferes with the post-purchase support of the puppy's new owners that is normal for good breeders. All of these mean more dogs winding up in shelters.

    These issues were not even mentioned on your show, indeed, I'd be surprised if any of your guests would acknowledge them. They were committed and articulate, but they gave a seriously misleading picture of the status and future of our country's dogs.

    Turning to the advice given to your viewers, shelter adoptions are commendable and often do work out well. However by far the most important way to help shelter animals is to see that they aren't given up in the first place, by helping families that want to get a dog make good decisions. Although many reasons are given for turning in a dog at the shelter, the translation is often "We shouldn't have gotten this dog." There is no appropriate 'one size fits all' advice on where to get a dog, let alone which dog to get.

    The various breeds and mixes are not generic dogs in various kinds of fur suits; they have very different characteristics. Families who want a dog must think about size, activity level, how it will be confined, temperament, amount of mess, ease of training, need for discipline, age that would work best, and grooming requirements, as these often spell the difference between success and failure. No new dog requires less than an hour per day for care and attention; puppies and problem dogs may need several times as much. Does the family have enough time?

    Mixed breeds can be wonderful, but an important reason for getting a purebred dog is predictability in physical attributes and temperament. Contrary to what was stated on the program, shelter dogs are rarely purebreds in a meaningful sense. The 1/3 fraction stated reflects appearance-based guesses by (often, hopes of) shelter workers who are seldom experienced with purebred dogs. At most shelters offering purebreds, only a handful of breeds are common and these are rarely the ones most suitable as family pets. The popular small breeds and mixes are uncommon to rare.

    In addition, shelter dogs are the most likely to have behavioral and/or health issues. While most problems can be solved, the average shelter dog will need more skill and time than the average dog of the same age from a quality breeder. Shelter dogs are thus best suited to the family with more than average flexibility and some prior dog experience. Encouraging all families to adopt from shelters is setting many dogs and owners up for failure.

    Rescue organizations that take dogs from shelters and other sources, foster them for a month or more with someone experienced with the breed, evaluate health and behavioral issues and begin any needed corrective action, are often excellent sources. They offer the best of all worlds, both helping a dog in need and minimizing risks. Reliable rescue groups can often be located via the AKC parent club for the breed.

    Hobby and other home breeders generally supply puppies with the least chance of unpleasant surprises. Hobbyists give varying amounts of support, ranging from about the same as a pet shop, to "You'll be a member of our extended family, we have e-mail lists for our owners, and there's an annual reunion." However, since most have only an occasional litter, they're often very choosy about buyers. Not all breeds are available in a convenient time period, and again, the popular toy and small breeds are often in shortage.

    Commercial breeders and pet shops try to keep popular breeds in stock; many can order almost any desired breed within a few days. Buyers should pay close attention to the registry used. AKC registration generally is the most reliable indicator of true purebred status but there are other sound registries, particularly among the rare breeds. When buying from a pet shop, post-sale help is generally quite limited.

    Many excellent breeders advertise on the Internet and their web sites are a good place to begin research. But it is important for anyone unfamiliar with a breed to meet owners and spend time with the dogs. Committing to buy a dog sight unseen is risky at best.

    Puppy buyers should carefully read the guarantee offered. Many states have 'puppy lemon' laws requiring sellers to make specific guarantees. All new puppies and dogs should be taken to a veterinarian for a 'new pet' exam and consultation after the family has had a couple of days to begin getting acquainted.

    I believe the Oprah Winfrey show can play a valuable role in reaching the public with information that will help dogs and their families be happier together while further reducing euthanasia of shelter dogs. The show of April 4th presented the views of well-known activist organizations; I hope that in the future you'll revisit these subjects with qualified experts as guests.

    Some possible guests would be: Patti Stand of the National Animal Interest Alliance, Nathan Winograd of the 'No Kill Solutions'
    organization, David Frei the lead announcer for the Westminster Dog Show and spokesman for the Westminster Kennel Club, Karen Strange of the Missouri Federation of Dog Breeders, and Gary Patronek DVM, probably the leading U.S. expert on dog and cat population matters.


    Walt Hutchens

    (Address, etc.)


    Monday, April 21, 2008

    The AR movement

    Where did it come from? Where is it now and where is it going?

    Part 1: AR Timeline

    4000BC Noah selects two of each species and saves them from the flood by building an Ark

    1800 First anti-cruelty bill introduced in Britain to stop bullbaiting.

    1822 Second anti-cruelty bill passed to prevent cruelty to large domestic animals introduced by Colonel Richard Martin.

    1824 Colonel Richard Martin organised the SPCA, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to help enforce the law.

    1840 Queen Victoria commanded the addition of the prefix "Royal" to the Society.

    1860 First Animal Welfare Act passed in the USA

    1866 Henry Bergh organised an SPCA in New York.

    1871 a Parisian, Louis Bonard, died and left $150,000 to the New York SPCA.

    1873 SPCAs and Humane Societies spring up across the states following a lecture tour by Henry Bergh.

    1877 The AHA, American Humane Association, founded with divisions for both animals and children.

    1883 First anti-vivisection Society formed.

    1890s Anti vivisection movement grows in strength on both sides of the Atlantic

    1890s Audobon Society founded to focus on the protection of wildlife.

    1920s Use of draft animals declines as Ford floods the market with cheap cars.

    1940s and 50s Use of animals in agriculture declines with the widespread use of the tractor. Keeping of domestic pets increases considerably.

    1954 AHA splits and the HSUS, Humane Society of the United States is formed.

    1955 SAPL, Society for Animal Protective Legislation formed.

    1958 First federal Humane Slaughter Act passed.

    1959 Precurser to the International Society for Animal Rights formed

    1960s Humane societies flourish with the ever expanding base of pet lovers.. Many run shelters and some offer access to animal healthcare.

    1966 Laboratory Animal Welfare Act passed.

    1967 Fund for Animals set up by Clevland Amory

    1968 Animal Protection Institute formed by Belton Muras, a former member of HSUS.

    1969 Endangered Species Act passed.

    1970 the Horse Protection Act passed.

    1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act passed.

    1972 Band of Mercy formed in Britain, later to morph into the ALF, Animal Liberation Front.

    1973 International Primate Protection League formed by Shirley McGreal.

    1975 Peter Singer writes Animal Liberation and coins the term "speciesism"

    1976 Led by Henry Spira, 400 groups join together and demonstrate against animal experimentation at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

    1977 The tests stop and the laboratories are dismantled.

    1980 Peter Singer and Jim Mason publish Animal Factories.

    1980 Ingrid Newkirk and Alexs Pachero found Peta

    1981 Animal Legal Defense Fund organized by Joyce Tischler

    1983 Tom Regan writes The Case for Animal Rights

    1987 Tom Regan writesThe Struggle for Animal Rights

    1987 Revlon agreed to stop animal testing and contributed millions of dollars to alternate research.

    1995 New fur law was passed. Any country who exports fur to Europe must either ban leg hold traps or adopt international humane trapping standards.

    1999 SHAC, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty started in the UK.

    2003 Ban on animal testing in the EU cosmetic industry after a 13-year campaign led by the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments.

    2005 British guinea pig breeding facility closes down after 6 year campaign by AR culminating in the exhumation of Gladys Hammond, Christopher Hall's mother-in-law, from a nearby churchyard. The body has never been found

    2007 Ban on horse slaughter for human consumption in the USA

    To be continued.....