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Animal Fun and Animal Welfare
.Something light and fun to start!
'JAZZ FOR COWS"!! Who said cows didn't have any musical appreciation?!
Dog and Elephant Best Buddies
Dog washed out to sea by tsunami for three weeks on rooftop, reunited happily with owner. Check out the clip - it's wonderful!
Here we have Maku the dog being reunited with his human family after the Japanese Tsunami and Earthquake. A short but beautiful clip! To help save and reunite other animals affected by these disasters please check out Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support Website.
INSPIRATIONAL FARM SANCTUARY
.Three happy, grateful baby animals get a new chance at life! Saved by the Farm Sanctuary!
Chickens Feel Empathy, Why Can't We? by Mac McDaniels
A new study at the University of Bristol has shown that chickens can feel empathy, a trait that was previously thought exclusive to humans.
The study involved ruffling the feathers of chicks with puffs of air. The chicks showed signs of distress at having their feathers ruffled and the mother hens mirrored their stress. The researchers were able to document equivalent signs of physiological distress in the mothers when they observed that their chicks were bothered.
Scientists documented increased heart rate and alertness as well as lowered eye temperature, all signs of distress in chickens.
Scientists working at the University of Bristol as well as groups like Compassion in World Farming have already taken note of the impact that this knowledge could have on the considerations of farm and laboratory animal welfare. Among the most horrifying parts of being an animal on a farm or in a laboratory is having to witness other animals being tortured and killed. Up until now it was thought that most animals weren't capable of empathizing with others in distress.
This study shows that the animals that we most often slaughter for food are capable of not only feeling pain and fear for themselves, but are also capable of being terrified at what they are seeing happening to others around them. In the United States we kill almost 9 billion chickens for food annually, which doesn't even count male chicks killed at birth and egg-laying hens confined in cages their whole lives. Compare that number to only around 100 million cattle slaughtered for beef.
Once again many are missing the point in saying that this study creates an imperative for so-called "better welfare" on farms and in slaughterhouses when what it creates is an even greater imperative to stop slaughtering animals for food entirely.
We don't need friendlier and "happier" slaughterhouses, we need no slaughterhouses. We don't need compassion in animal agriculture, we need to end animal agriculture.
Every step of the way we learn more about animals and how much they are like us and we struggle to continue justifying the fact that we treat animals like property instead of sentient beings.
We've proven that chickens feel empathy with the suffering of others, the only thing left is for us to prove that we as humans feel empathy for the suffering of chickens and other animals.
The squirrel above is fending off the crows to protect the body of its dead friend. Squirrels are vegetarian but occasionally will eat ants and other bugs but not animals, so this squirrel is not protecting a food source.
Information supplied by Voiceless
Yesterday, a group of animal and veterinary scientists published a full page advertisement in The Australian admonishing Coles for their recent policy decision to stock only hormone growth promotant (HGP)-free beef and to phase out pork sourced from gestation crates (small metal cages in which pregnant pigs are confined). The ad was bankrolled by Animal Health Alliance, a veterinary pharmaceutical industry lobby group. Their criticism of Coles is based on the premise that Coles' policies may "harm the environment and animals" and that, for example, gestation crates "favour the well-being" of the animals.
Voiceless strongly refutes the claims made in the advertisement, on scientific and ethical grounds. In a bid to provide Australians with the truth, Voiceless has prepared the following opinion. Sydney Morning Herald Online will be publishing a version of this opinion over the next few days. We will continue to monitor breaking news on this issue. Please check our website for updates.
Brian Sherman AM HonLittD is co-founder and MD of animal protection think tank Voiceless. Dr Annemarie Jonson is Voiceless's head of communications and a writer on ethics and technology.
The grocery retail giant Coles has unjustly come under heavy fire recently from a group led by Ian Lean, adjunct professor of veterinary science at the University of Sydney and managing director of SBScibus – “formerly known as Strategic Bovine Services and Cattle Production Consultants”.
Lean has claimed that Coles’ policy to stock only hormone (HGP)-free beef, and to phase out pork sourced from pigs in gestation crates (small metal cages), is “bad for the environment” and “bad for animals”.
His views have now been echoed in a major advertising campaign mounted together with his colleagues, and bankrolled by the so called "Animal Health Alliance". This is a veterinary pharmaceutical lobby group whose members include major manufacturers of HGPs used in beef production.
Notably, HGPs are banned in Europe.
The ad campaign has denounced Coles’ animal welfare policies as a “threat to the sustainable and ethical production of food”. Move over George Orwell. To those of us without a vested interest in animal agribusiness, this “threat” is doublespeak for an encouraging movement in the right direction by Coles.
Take for example the view of Clive Phillips, Professor of Animal Welfare at the University of Queensland and Voiceless Scientific Councillor. Phillips has said of HGPs, “These growth promoters are most effective in intensive feedlot systems for cattle, and with a rapidly expanding world population we should be moving to more sustainable systems that don’t use large quantities of cereal grain in cattle feed. The risks to the environment, and to animal welfare, are not worth the small improvement in growth efficiency that HGPs provide.”
On the animal welfare issue there is scientific evidence that HGPs dramatically reduce their resting time. HGPs make cattle more susceptible to climatic extremes, increasing the risk, for example, of heat stress. According to the RSPCA, in addition to the welfare risks that intensive feedlot systems already pose for cattle, the side effects of HGPs include infection at the site of the implant, aggressiveness, nervousness and rectal prolapse. A 2008 study cited by the RSPCA found evidence of “chronic stress conditions” in HGP implanted cattle.
But HGPs are just one technology used in intensive farming. Gestation crates are a case in point of the worst aspects of the industry. Extraordinarily, Lean and his colleagues claim in their advertising campaign that gestation crates “favour animal well-being".
Gestation crates, also known as sow stalls, are metal cages, often with concrete or slatted floors, in which female breeding pigs are individually confined for much of their adult life. These cages are only slightly larger than the pig’s body, meaning this intelligent creature is unable to even turn around. Confined sows show repetitive bar-biting and head-waving, apathy and depression. They suffer from poor physical health including skin ulcerations, reduced muscle mass, bone strength and cardiovascular health, joint damage, urinary infections and gastrointestinal problems. They are unable to exercise any of their natural behaviours, which include ranging over many kilometres to build a nest for their young, separating their area for defecation, and rooting in natural materials with their snout. If you kept your dog like this you would potentially be subject to criminal prosecution.
The relevant science on both the welfare and reproductive performance of pigs does not support the continued use of individual sow stalls. The eminent members of the EU’s Scientific Veterinary Committee concluded that, “since overall welfare appears to be better when sows are not confined throughout gestation, sows should preferably be kept in groups”.
Internationally, there is a wave of change away from the intensive animal production systems, like gestation crates, which cause the greatest suffering. The UK banned sow stalls in 1999. The EU has banned sow stalls (except for the first four weeks of pregnancy) from 2013 and in the US, sow stalls have been banned in a number of states including California, Michigan and Florida. Closer to home, New Zealand and Tasmania have also committed to banning sow stalls. Even our pork industry’s peak body, Australian Pork Limited, announced last year that it will phase out sow stalls by 2017. The Australian government is still the international laggard. Voiceless is now calling on the Commonwealth to follow industry’s lead and revise the Model Code of Practice for Pigs to ban these unconscionable cages.
Lean and his colleagues deride the “emotion” that motivates those concerned with animals and their wellbeing, saying we must have recourse only to the “science”. But as consumers increasingly make animal-friendly choices, they are showing that “emotion” – in other words, compassion toward animals – is not so easily disregarded. Compassion is central to community values, and a touchstone of our better human natures. And happily, emotion and science are entirely in agreement. As we know and feel instinctively, and as the scientific research shows, intensive farming is generally bad for animals.
The truth is that Coles, and other major retailers like Woolworths, have seen the writing on the wall and are responding positively. They are making strategic decisions on supply chain that extend "ethical sourcing", which is an integral facet of corporate responsibility programs, to embrace both animal welfare and increasing consumer preference toward animal-friendly products. So too, with less fanfare, is Woolworths. It removed cage eggs from its in-house Select brand in 2009, has introduced several free-range deli lines (which have shown extraordinary sales growth), and is sourcing about 40 percent of its pork from non-sow stall production systems.
We, as a community are starting to see the farm animal as a sentient being, with capacities like our own, including complex social and family behaviours, intelligence and a wide range of emotions. Basic human decency demands that we take seriously these animals’ needs to be free of suffering, and to exercise their rich behavioral repertoires. Ian Lean and his colleagues in animal agribusiness would do well to reflect on this. But don’t take it from us. Take it from a scientist. As Einstein wrote: “our task must be to free ourselves from the prison house” of our personal desires by “widening the circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures”.
Are Monkeys Self-Aware? Does it Matter? By Mac McDaniel
Researchers have observed monkeys showing signs of self-awareness, something scientists previously thought monkeys were incapable of.
At the University of Wisconsin, a neuroscientist was studying attention deficit disorder with rhesus macaque monkeys when he noticed them studying themselves in the mirror -- including the "saltshaker sized" implants he had screwed into their skulls during the course of his study.
The ability of an animal to recognize itself in a mirror is a sign of self-awareness. Originally only humans were thought to be self-aware, but a number of other animals have proven themselves to be self-aware, including chimpanzees and dolphins.
The procedure for checking for self-awareness involves making a mark on an unconscious animal's face and then allowing the animal to examine herself in a mirror. If she recognizes the mark on her own face, then she is thought to be self-aware.
The "mark test" as it is called, has been called insufficient by some scientists to measure self-awareness. The type of monkey in the UW study, the macaque has always failed the mark test, but the new evidence from the researchers at UW and the videos they've taken seem to suggest there is a gradient of self-awareness and not an all-or-nothing measurement.
Other scientists have suggested the idea of a spectrum of self-awareness, including a primatologist at Emory University.
Other scientists, including the researcher who invented the mark test, are skeptical and say there may be other explanations for the monkeys' behavior.
In the midst of this debate about the validity of the observations is the debate about the implications of the results. Ostensibly in the vivisection community there is a line between what they consider to be lower animals without self-awareness and animals like chimps. According to a scientist at UW who was not involved in the study: "There are decisions I would make with a monkey, that I would not feel comfortable making with a chimpanzee".
We've learned time and again, however, that even the treatment afforded to the "more humanlike" animals is still cruel, disgusting and inhumane. The researcher who made the discovery voiced his hope that this new information wouldn't spell the end of research on macaques.
One cannot help but cringe at the irony: a researcher accidentally discovers that the monkeys he's torturing are smarter than anyone had given them credit for. He simultaneously argues the monkeys are self-aware and that in spite of that information, it's imperative we continue testing on them.
This kind of cruel scientific doublethink isn't surprising coming from a facility that has been cited so many times for their mistreatment of animals.
If we can acknowledge that maybe self-awareness isn't an all-or-nothing phenomenon, and recognize that it is a spectrum, then we can hopefully make the logical next step in realizing that justifying any animal suffering based on their abstract mental capacity has no moral basis.
Being self-aware to a certain arbitrary degree shouldn't be an animal's ticket out of torture and experimentation because that kind of treatment of animals shouldn't exist to begin with.
Alexander, Blitzen and Lawrence: Baby Animals Rescued and Happy!
There is no question that some of the most dismal scenes unfold at stockyard auctions across the U.S. At these terrible weigh stations for animals being sold by one party and purchased by another – some heading into a life of production, others to slaughter – there isn’t any compassion to be found, and suffering abounds to a staggering degree. Here, labeled with numbers and pushed and prodded into chaotic auction rings for bidding, terrified and confused farm animals of all ages and conditions – from tiny babies to aging adults – are all typically treated in the same callous manner until the sale is over and they go on to meet some equally miserable end.
Since Farm Sanctuary started 25 years ago, we have been rescuing animals from these environments, nursing them to health, and giving them new, better lives – starting with Hilda, the now famous sheep who we lifted from a stockyard dead pile in 1986. Late last year, with the help of members and supporters like you, we rescued Riley
On the day National Shelter Director Susie Coston discovered the calves, she watched truck after truck filled with these baby animals drive up to the auction yard. The newborns, some not even a day old yet, were visibly frenzied and could be heard bawling for their mothers. But while all Susie wanted to do was comfort them, their terror was only met with frustration from the workers who forcefully unloaded and moved them into holding pens by hitting them with canes or shocking them with cattle prods. – a very sickly and partially blind piglet – from such a place, and, most recently, found three newborn male dairy calves on the brink of death at a large sale being held on one of the most bitterly cold days of winter.
The scene turned even grislier when she came across the poor babies who were obviously very ill. She found one – a little calf who couldn’t even stand – collapsed and left freezing in the less than 20 degree weather near a loading dock. The other two she would rescue that day were shoved into the auction ring when the sale began. One was so sick and weak that his legs kept buckling beneath him as workers prodded him to get him on his feet. The other, weighing only 37 pounds, was so small that the bidders made a joke of him – calling him “trash.” Treated with the same indifference as all the others, these little ones were only mocked in their distress and ultimately deemed as being worthless when they failed to sell for even $1.
Stepping in to claim these three sweet babies when no one else would, Susie rushed them to safety and ensured that they immediately began receiving the emergency medical treatment they so desperately needed to have any chance of survival. If she hadn’t shown up, there is no question that these boys would have wound up in a garbage heap or the grip of a renderer, their suffering simply ignored. And if Farm Sanctuary members and supporters like you hadn’t taken immediate action to help us, they would certainly never be where they are today.
As generous donations to the Emergency Rescue Fund came in from compassionate people like you to provide them with the care they needed to have fighting chance at life, the calves, since named Alexander, Blitzen and Lawrence, started on the long road to recovery:
Blitzen , the smallest baby, was initially taken to the Cornell University Hospital for Animals with the other two calves, but since he was very active and alert despite having pneumonia, he was sent home after receiving a physical and having blood drawn. Because he and the other babies were denied the nutrients in their mother’s vital colostrum, they had very low protein levels. As a result, Blitzen’s immunity was low and he later had to return to the hospital for a plasma transfusion to provide him with the antibodies he needed to fight off illness. After this, he was placed on antibiotics, but continued to spike high fevers and was not gaining weight, which caused us great concern. Thankfully, after a third trip to the hospital and a second transfusion, he is finally gaining weight, but we are still keeping a close eye on him to monitor his progress.
Lawrence , the calf who was downed at the auction and the one we were most worried about initially, has surprised us all by rallying and doing the best health-wise out of the three. He finished his treatments for pneumonia earlier this month, and, while he was in renal failure upon arrival at Cornell, the condition was successfully reversed thanks to the intensive care unit there. Test results also showed that Lawrence had salmonella, but that is now under control as well.
Alexander , the largest calf, sadly, had the most health issues of the bunch. Because he did not have the chance to receive colostrum from his mother and received no basic care from humans after birth (his umbilical cord was not treated with iodine to prevent infection), he contracted a severe navel infection that had spread to his leg joints and was treated with IV antibiotics. But after returning home following a course of treatments, Alexander’s condition did not continue to improve, so he returned to the hospital for a critical surgery to remove the infection. During the procedure, the doctors also discovered a bone cyst and chip on one his legs. While Alexander is still at Cornell now, we are very hopeful that he will be able to start enjoying sanctuary life soon.
If it weren’t for the support of friends like you, none of these sweet babies would be receiving the vital care they need to begin new lives and have the chance to just be themselves. Despite all they have been through, the trio remain in good spirits and are exceptionally loving and playful, craving attention from their many admirers at every turn. They are an absolute joy to know, and we hope one day all of you will have the chance to meet the very special calves you helped save.
Together, we are piercing the darkness suffering farm animals endure every day and shining a light on their plight so it might be changed in time with each person we enlighten and each life we touch. We are their only hope, and you have shown that you are there for them. Thank you!
This article was contributed by Farm Animal Sanctuary.
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