CAMPAIGN & PROJECTS
Homeless Pets, Overbreeding And Related Legal Issues
A decade ago, it seemed that we were on the verge of solving the problem of unwanted adoptable dogs and cats in the US, and with it the euthanasia of healthy animals. Alas, despite good progress due to the massive efforts of many animal organizations and individual pet lovers, thet goal still is frustratingly elusive. However, AIA remains committed to the cause of saving lives with our focus on pet adoptions, low cost and no cost spay and neuter programs, opposing the purposeful breeding of dogs and cats and the organizations which promote the industry (e.g. the AKC, private breeders and puppy mills), and fighting laws and ordinances which discriminate against certain dog breeds.
Animals Today September 27, 2022. Ethical and practical considerations of breeding dogs. This AP level animal quiz has teachers crying.
Lori begins with a detailed exploration into the ethics of dog breeding. The purebred dog industry not only creates innumerable animals with genetic defects, causing dogs to have a lifetime of medical problems and diseases, but also interferes with the adoption of healthy dogs confined in shelters by enticing people to buy from breeders instead of adopting.
Because of selective breeding (and even inbreeding) many purebred dogs develop conditions such as cancer, hip dysplasia, heart problems, epilepsy, and early onset cataracts.Lori contends three parties are responsible for the regrettable popularity of purebreds: the American Kennel Club (AKC), the breeders and the dog buyers.
The AKC sets the standards and promotes purebred dogs as superior and preferable to mixed breed dogs despite breed specific genetic defects. Breeders and puppy mills provide an endless supply of dogs, taking little responsibility for the health problems in dogs they create, and caring not about pet overpopulation. Buyers should know better but permit the industry to mold their beliefs.
The solution is to adopt and not to buy, and to avoid supporting breeders and the AKC.
Finally, do you remember Santa’s Little Helper, Speedy Gonzales, and Huckleberry Hound? Do you know what a formicarian is? Or, define fimbriae? Take Lori’s dastardly quiz and prove your mettle.
Animals Today November 18, 2023. Hot news! The miraculous microchip. The Mexican rescue, Isla Animals is building a new home and you can help! Helping community cats in the cold weather.
Peter begins with hot news items including a mass bird killing at Chicago’s McCormick Place, Gavin Newsom signs a fur sale ban in California, a 17’ 2” Burmese python was captured and killed in the Everglades, hero dog in Lebanon saves dumped newborn human, and we say farewell to friend of animals Bob Barker.
Lori then talks about the amazing technology of microchips, and their immense value.
Peter then welcomes a special guest Alison Sawyer, Founder of the rescue Isla Animals, in Mexico. Isla Animals is an established dog and cat rescue, providing free or reduced cost veterinary services, vaccines and medicines, offering free and low cost spay/ neuter clinics, rescuing and rehoming stray animals and offering animals for adoption. Based on Isla Mujeres for more than 20 years, they have been forced to relocate. Isla Animals is building a new home in nearby Cancun, and construction is underway! Peter speaks with its founder, Alison Sawyer about the joys and challenges of doing animal rescue in Mexico. Make sure to check out their GoFundMe page to see update on construction ways you can help get it completed. It is very exciting because with this larger, custom built clinic, they will be able to provide even more services! Isla Animals relies on all of us to do their vital work and, and rest assured that donations go a long way under its direction. Also, all of the proceeds of Alison’s book, The Dog Lady of Mexico go to the non-profit.
We conclude with a fact-filled discussion with Molly Armus, former staff attorney at Alley Cat Allies, who offers useful tips on making harsh winters a bit easier on community cats.
Progress on the new clinic – Isla Animals
McCormick Place is lethal to migrating birds
Animals Today July 31, 2023. Negative consequences of dog breed stereotypes. Dogs rescued from the Yulin meat festival flown to their new lives. Names of groups of animals.
Lori begins the show by taking on the still controversial topic of laws and regulations aimed at specific dog breeds, generally referred to as breed specific legislation. There are hundreds of such laws and regulations on the books across the US, which regulate or ban certain dog breeds. Breed specific legislation (BSL) typically targets pit bull type dogs. Those in favor of BSL say it’s necessary to ensure the public’s safety and argue that such legislation protects citizens from vicious and dangerous dogs.
Lori goes on to explain how the assumptions inherent in these types of laws are faulty and discriminatory and outlines the negative consequences that flow from them. A primary problem with breed specific bans or restrictions is that they rely upon the visual appearance and physical traits of a dog to designate them as a certain breed. But numerous studies have shown that one can’t reliably determine the breed or mix of breeds of a dog based upon the visual appearances. Only DNA testing is able to accurately determine the genetic makeup of a dog.
Also, the laws do not take into account the actual behavior of individual dogs. And there is new research showing that the dog’s breed is not a good predictor of the dog’s behavior. It is the experiences of the dog, the environmental factors and the training that are most responsible for the individual characteristics of a dog.
Moreover, we now know that legislation that restricts dogs based on appearance does not reduce dog bites or dog attacks in communities where the laws are in effect. And of course, the existence of these very laws, however misguided and ineffective, reinforce the beliefs that certain dog breeds are just too risky to be around, because they are inherently dangerous.
As a consequence, more of these dogs populate shelters, they are euthanized at high rates, and they become less frequently adopted by the public at large. They are stigmatized and the taint is pervasive. And the downstream effects of stigmatizing dogs (pit bulls especially) are broad, including restrictions placed upon renters by landlords, regulations and limitations placed by homeowner’s associations, limitations on homeowners’ insurability, and so on.
In certain restrictive jurisdictions, one might even be forced to relinquish or give away one’s dog.
So, experts now agree that breed specific legislation and similar policies that restrict dogs based on appearance do not reduce dog bites in communities or enhance public safety. And finally, there is a gradual but slow-moving trend to easing some of the laws and restrictions related to breed discrimination, as the science is more clear than ever against any rationale for restricting or banning dogs based on their appearance.
Lori calls for revocation of laws and regulations against dogs based on breeds, and emphasizes that if the goal is to reduce dog bites and dog attacks in our communities, perhaps funds and resources would be best used on education and on regulation that targets irresponsible dog owners, dog breeders and animal abusers.
Then Peter welcomes Lori Kalef Director of Programs at SPCA International to speak about China’s Yulin dog meat festival and the successful rescue of 21 dogs from certain death. This long running annual event attracts many international visitors, during which an estimated 10,000 dogs are slaughtered and consumed. US based China Rescue Dogs, Partnering with SPCA international coordinated the effort, with vital assistance of rescue groups and dedicated animals lovers in China and stateside to give a few of the lucky dogs what they all deserve: and safe, happy life as our treasured companions.
Kalef details the logistical challenges that were met, the teamwork and coordination employed by a small army of volunteers, organizations, and financial supporters. SPCA International funded the freedom airline flight with a $50,000 Shelter Support grant to China Rescue Dogs. Despite public outcry, the controversial festival continues its horrific practices of torture. Kalef expects this small group of saved dogs will continue to bring greater attention to China’s awful practice, ultimately helping to bring about its end.
To conclude, there are many colorful and descriptive names designating a group of a particular type of animal. You could call a group of geese a gaggle, a bunch of kangaroos a mob, but how about some porcupines?? Test yourself and have fun!
Animals Today June 24, 2023. Hot news update! Giraffe conservation facts and challenges. What defines a dangerous or vicious dog? Tough question!
Peter begins with an animal news round-up including giraffe conservation, why people must not approach wild animals in national parks or anywhere, imagining a world teeming with T. rexes, mad cow madness and the continuing tragedy of horse racing.
Lori then continues the giraffe theme with facts and queries about these magnificent, gentle beings. June 21 was World Giraffe Day!
Then, did you know that two states, Virginia and California, now have laws requiring shelters and rescue group which adopt out dogs, to share the dogs’ “bite history” if known, to the potential adopters? Lori believes that in principle, such laws are a good idea because more information about the dogs’ history should lead to better matches between adopters and dogs. However, determining the true and complete history of dogs’ prior lives can be near impossible. And, saying a dog has bitten in the past automatically stigmatizes the dog in the eyes of many, even though the circumstances surrounding the alleged incident are unknown. For instance, if a child pulls the tail of dog, frightening the animal, who then spins around and nips the child, can the dog be blamed? Another regrettable phenomenon is the imprecise use of the word vicious. A dog who has bitten is often wrongly called a vicious dog, which lessens the dogs’ prospects for adoption, and raises its chances of being euthanized. So, whether and how to provide histories to potential adopters is a complex issue. For now the best we can do is to remind or educate adopters that they need to be realistic and adaptable. There is a little story, apropos here, where a woman asks her Vet, “Is there any chance my dog will bite?” The Vet replies, “Does he have teeth?”
Nubian giraffe. Photo: Giraffe Conservation Foundation.
Animals Today January 15, 2023. History of the animal rights movement. Pet care coverage in case of emergency at home. Please don’t adopt or buy a wolfdog. The Beatles had many songs about animals. Vertebral disc disease with a veterinary neurologist.
Lori begins with something any animal advocate ought to know about: the history of the animal rights and welfare movements. From the practices of ancient spiritual teachers of India, to the ideas of modern philosophers, Lori hopes this condensed history will inspire you to continue learning on your own.
Next, do you have a plan in place if you cannot make it home because of an emergency? Lori’s unexpected hospitalization while Peter was away presented such a situation, and fortunately, our trusted neighbors were prepared to step in and take care of the dogs and cats. So get your plan in place, especially if you still have an appendix!
Then Darlene Kobobel, President of the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center returns to discuss the many problems related to wolf-dog hybrids, properly called wolfdogs. You will want to think twice before buying one!
And, who doesn’t like the music of the Beatles? Lori offers up a bit of much needed levity, with a fun quiz about Beatles songs with animals in their titles. Next, in recognition of International Cheetah Day, Lori tells us all about these majestic and athletic big cats. As expected, their numbers in the wild in Africa are shrinking, from about 100,000 individuals in 1900 to 9,000 – 12,000 now.
To conclude, Stephen Hanson, DVM joins Lori to discuss veterinary neurology and vertebral disc disease in dogs. Our dog, Susie was his patient.
Animals Today April 2, 2022: Ukraine war update from Paws of War. The cruelty continues at Alaska’s infamous sled dog race. More animal adaptations.
Lori begins with an update on the situation in Ukraine and the war region with Robert Misseri, founder and President of Paws of War. The situation Robert describes is very fraught, with starving and terrified animals roaming and hiding, worsened by severe hindrances to relief efforts due to the ever-present danger. Sometimes, dumping bags of dog food onto the ground for the dogs is all that relief workers can do.
Then, the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race has just marked its 50th anniversary. Yes, it continues despite strong efforts by many groups and individuals to shut down this profoundly cruel yearly event. The contest is a 1100 mile long race from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska. The teams racing in the Iditarod consist of one human driver of the sled (musher) and 12-16 dogs who are connected to the sled by a series of lines. These dogs are forced to run beyond exhaustion over 8-16 days on grueling terrain, with jagged rocks, high winds, dense forest and subzero temperatures. They can develop lung and kidney damage, stomach ulcers, hypothermia, frostbite, bone fractures, shoulder injuries and often sustain tendon tears. Dogs can get injured or killed by getting tangled in the lines. This year, conditions were especially stormy and cold. According to PETA, two dogs went missing, and nearly 250 were pulled off the trail due to exhaustion, illness or injury. Before the race even started, dogs were attacked and one was killed during training. Also, the Anchorage Daily News reported that 3 mushers were penalized for the rule-breaking act of allowing dogs to escape the brutal story and cold conditions by allowing them to spend the night in their shelters. Lori recommends the 2016 film, “Sled Dogs” for a behind the scenes look at this cruel race including the culture and businesses that sustain it. Also, visit Sled Dog Action Coalition for extensive information about the race and its cruelty. Due to the widespread criticism of the event, corporate sponsorship is decreasing. Let’s hope this portends the end of this very cruel event.
Lori then continues sharing some amazing physical adaptations possessed by some creatures including the Alaskan wood frog, which can freeze and thaw to survive the winter, the innocuous looking stonefish, which can kill with its highly potent venom, the extreme bite strength of the Tasmanian devil, the javelina, which happily ingests spine covered prickly pear cactus pads, and more
Animals Today Feb 20, 2022. Support the FDA Modernization Act! What can and should shelters disclose about the history of their adoptable dogs?
We begin speaking with Wayne Pacelle about pending legislation in both the House and Senate, the FDA Modernization Act, which would eliminate the animal testing mandate for development and approval of new pharmaceutical drugs for human use.
Mr. Pacelle, as President of Center for a Humane Economy, Founder of Animal Wellness Action, and CEO of Animal Wellness Foundation, as well as former CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, is diligently working to garner support for these bills. He is arguably the county’s most effective lobbyist for animal welfare laws in the US.
Under the current regulations, in the 83 year old the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetics Act (FFDCA), the FDA requires testing on animals as part of the requirements to get a new drug approved for use in humans. This is clearly outdated and antiquated for many reasons including that testing on animals often does not produce results applicable to humans. Consequently, potentially useful drugs never make it to human use (due to the drugs failing animal testing), and other drugs go on to harm and kill people after having been deemed safe in animal tests. Furthermore, when animal testing is utilized, drug development costs are raised, contributing to the high prices of new prescription drugs. And of course, the incredible scope of animal cruelty in these tests is well documented. So, at long last, there is a real opportunity to modernize the way drugs get developed and approved and now is the time for all of us to take action!
First, read more about the bills at Center for a Humane Economy. Then contact both of your US senators and your house member and urge them to support the FDA modernization Act! The Senate bill is S. 2952, and the House bill is H.R. 2565. Write, call, email or fill out the form linked here which makes it quick and easy – and share it widely, too.
Then, did you know that 2 states, Virginia and California, now have laws requiring shelters and rescue group which adopt out dogs, to share the dogs’ “bite history” if known, to the potential adopters? Lori believes that in principle, such laws are a good idea because more information about the dogs’ history should lead to better matches between adopters and dogs. However, determining the true and complete history of dogs’ prior lives can be near impossible. And, saying a dog has bitten in the past automatically stigmatizes the dog in the eyes of many, even though the circumstances surrounding the alleged incident are unknown. For instance, if a child pulls the tail of dog, frightening the animal, who then spins around and nips the child, can the dog be blamed? Another regrettable phenomenon is the imprecise use of the word vicious. A dog who has bitten is often wrongly called a vicious dog, which lessens the dogs’ prospects for adoption, and raises its chances of being euthanized.
So, whether and how to provide histories to potential adopters is a complex issue. For now the best we can do is to remind or educate adopters that they need to be realistic and adaptable.
There is a little story, apropos here, where a woman asks her Vet, “Is there any chance my dog will bite?” The Vet replies, “Does he have teeth?”
Animals Today August 17, 2019: Finding shelter and homes for ALL animals
Lori welcomes two special guests on this show:
- Inga Fricke, Director of Shelter Initiatives and Outreach for the Humane Society of the United States.
- Holly Sizemore, Chief Mission Officer, Best Friends Animal Society.
Finding shelter and homes for ALL animals
Over the past few decades, we have made great strides in reducing the number of healthy, adoptable dogs and cats “euthanized” in shelters. But we still have not reached our goal where each and every homeless animal becomes part of a loving family. Lori asks Inga and Holly to reflect on the admirable progress we have made, and what the biggest challenges and roadblocks remain in reaching this goal. Will we get there? Our experts say yes, and soon!
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