EU Refocuses On Animal Welfare Issues

The European Commissioner has started off a meeting that re-launches the EU platform designed for addressing animal welfare issues. The platform will have about 75 representatives from different stakeholder organizations, including scientists, NGOs, EEA and EFSA among others. This time all main players of the EU are gathering to exchange ideas and contribute their experiences on how to improve animal welfare.

The commission is re-launching the platform as per a barometer survey that had been published last year. The survey showcased that most Europeans see animal welfare as an issue that is important and would like to see changes being brought about in how the animals are protected. Animal welfare improvement cannot be looked at through legislation only. The platform is not a forum where new legislation would be discussed or created. The motto is that everyone holds responsibility and hence, the key objectives are to get a mutual understanding as well as a trust to be built up among the players. The platform will aim at promoting dialogue among competent authorities. The renewed focus of EU on animal welfare issues and how legislation is being implemented will hopefully have positive repercussions across the EU member nations.

The platform will include societies, businesses, authorities, and scientists who can have an impact on animal welfare problems. The platform will work to coordinate the actions with a focus on ensuring that EU rules in this category are applied better. For that to happen, information exchange and best practices need to be known among the stakeholder organizations. Businesses need to come up with voluntary commitments on how to promote animal welfare on a global scale.

The members of the platform are selected to ensure that there is a fair representation among the different sectors with a focus on balance among different geographies and gender. The work practice of the platform will include meetings twice a year. In the first, the commission will identify priority work areas and reallocate resources among the members. This will enable sharing of information and resources from one member organization or group to another. It will also help facilitate ideas and best practices among the different member entities.

It is hopeful that a renewed focus on EU on animal welfare issues and legislative implementation will lead to bettering of animal welfare in different farms, food industries and in commercial activities where animals are deployed. It will certainly help address health issues that arise related to animal related food and products.

“Eat Real” Certifies For Humane Animal Breeding

Diners who love their meat but want to know what kind of treatment the animals had before they reached their plates, there is a new service that has been started. It is an independent program that certifies eateries like cafeterias, restaurant and other companies that deal with packaged animal meat. They certify as per certain nutrition and health standards as well as include animal welfare authority.

The organization is Eat Real a nonprofit organization that is based in Washington DC. It is devoted to helping improve healthfulness aspects of food that are served at different restaurants and to look into the humane treatment of animals raised in farms. The organization has partnered up with American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The tie-up began last month. The grading of the group shows how conditions of animals being bred for their meat as well as their nutrition have gained importance. Customers are now reaching past the usual government agencies and seek assurance that the meat they are being served in restaurants is from animals well raised and kept under humane conditions.

When a business gets certified they are awarded a ceramic dinner plate that is eleven inches in diameter. It has REAL Certified displayed on it. There are options for the certification copy to be shown on menus as well as window decals. The REAL word is an acronym that stands for Responsible, Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership. It is a new transparency level that the organization is trying to bring about. It is funded through certifying payments that restaurants make them as well as grants and private donations. The group states that the plan includes checking conditions under which farm animals are bred and kept at different stages of their lives. Practices that are looked down upon are caging, crowding, antibiotic overuse, creating and other issues. Eat REAL has been involved in certifying food and the nutritional aspects of them in the past. That included checking whole grain inclusion of items and whether deep fried and unhealthy cooking practices were taken up.

Restaurants that wish to be certified by this organization need to be audited independently by a nutritionist. He or she will look at criteria like whether chickens are raised in a free environment, seafood is sourced in a sustainable manner, animals are raised in pastures or not and so forth. They have about 500 companies in the food service which include fast casual, fine dining restaurants, food brands as well as school cafeterias. There are many complications that are arising from animal meat that are not bred in the right environment as well as misleading notions about how certain diseases are coming about due to animal linked food. With such certification, all such aspects would be cleared up and customers can be confident that the brands they depend on or the restaurants they go to are resorting to animal food that is sourced from the right places. It helps recognize eateries that are putting in the effort to ensure that the linkage of the raw materials they use in their food comes from the right places.


Help Farm Animals, As Well As Domestic Ones

If you wish to help animals, this should not pertain only to the animals you can harbor in your home. June, as the beginning of summer, is often known as kitten season as cats are known to give birth to a large number of kittens than shelters are able to give away. Hence, many communities ask pet owners to adopt a cat in the month of June which is also known as Adopt a Cat Month. At such a time the animal protection organizations like the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals increase their appeal to the public who can donate funds to spay and neuter animals in order to control animal population.

Some animal advocates are asking a change of perspective in such a time. They ask animal charities and donations to be sent across to help other animals. They are referring to farm animals like pigs, chicken and others who are raised on farms for the food industry. Effective animal treatment should not only be restricted to ones that are kept as domestic pets but those that are bred to be used for human consumption.

This change of focus needs to come by for not only companion animals but for the animals that provide us food. The focus on companion animals makes sense as there are millions of shelter cats and dogs who get euthanized every year as the shelters are unable to accommodate them. However, besides helping to make the conditions of these animals better, the focus has to be on the state of farm animals and to bring about standards and conditions that ensure that they are reared in good conditions. Most people are appalled as to how farm animals are kept but the reality is that the focus is less on how they are bred and what conditions are provided to them during their lifespan.


A Dog Named Jim

Did you hear about the story in Wisconsin where the police had to step up patrol at a local humane society after they started getting threats over euthanizing a dog?  Yeah, pretty crazy stuff.

humanesocietyThe dog in question was named Jim and was a handsome fellow.  His eyes were expressive and he was well behaved and gentle behind the camera. After being adopted out, though, he started showing signs of aggression.  There were several incidents where he bit, so he was soon labeled as a vicious dog and brought back to the shelter.  He was quickly adopted again where he hurt someone so bad they had to have stitches.


Of course the question on everyone’s mind is should Jim have been adopted out in the first place?  What about a second time?  Well, the answer is that he likely shouldn’t have been the first time, but the second time, probably not.  That is a whole other can of worms, though, that we aren’t going to get in to today.  What we do know for sure, though, is that the shelter had to make the responsible choice to put Jim down, a choice that caused them to receive threats.

Now I’m sure everyone knows that nobody (other than possibly PETA) wants to put an animal down.  In fact, that very humane society takes pride in its rate of live releases, and it really wanted the same thing for Jim.  Once you have done everything you can for a dog that has, on many occasions, bit to where it is required to get medical attention, you have to put the safety of the public and any future adopters first.  It is always heartbreaking to put down a dog that is healthy otherwise, but there are so many other animals out there who can be adopted out safely and responsibly who would love to have a forever home too.

But now, instead of accepting the fact that even shelters have to make the hard decisions at times, instead of discussing the non-biting animals available, there are lunatics that threatened to burn down an animal shelter.  This is crazy, folks, whether there is any real danger of the shelter being burned down or not.


Animal Assisted Therapy

I know of no animal lover that would be surprised by this following statement:  AAT (or Animal Assisted Therapy) can lend itself to being a big contributor with a lot of positive results when treating problems in children that deal with emotional, social, physical, or cognitive issues.  This has been proven time and time again.  Even teachers use animals in the classroom to help children with the skills they need in life.

istock_000016808341xsmallAdults have been documented on numerous occasions with a reduction in pain severity as well as anxiety through the use of animal assisted therapy.  There is also a massive amount of evidence that supports animal visitations and their benefits for children that are suffering with mental or physical trauma.  There is still a long ways to go when it comes to collecting the evidence of this and measuring the results.

So far, though, we have seen great results with children who are hospitalized becoming more and more independent, having less fear of their treatment or experience, a reduction in pain, and having much better appetites than those not receiving the AAT.  There have been many autistic children that have shown a huge improvement with the presence of a therapy dog also.

Therapy dogs, like most all working animals, seem to love the work they do, so it’s a win win situation!  They are very happy when they are around their people and love the petting, the fawning, and all of the attention.  Yes, I know, such a hard “job” for them to work at!  It is certainly an arrangement that is mutually beneficial!


Animal assisted therapy is one of the finest examples of the human and animal bond that we have.  This is a quickly growing field of study that we are certain will continue to yield many more benefits as it is explored even further.



Animal Based Research

There has been a story recently in the news that you perhaps overlooked because it wasn’t made a big deal of. There were some very important findings lately, though, that everyone should hear about. There were two studies done recently on the drug Truvada, and antiviral.  This drug was given to several hundred individuals that were at a high risk for getting an HIV infection.  This drug proved to be 100% effective in HIV prevention in this study!  It also was able to reduce the infection by a whopping 86% in other individuals.

Now, let’s take a step back for a minute and take this information in.  Twenty to thirty years ago, can you remember where HIV treatments were then? This news is a huge step forward in the fight against HIV!

mzzn6963-1344406314I am sure that everyone understands that this pill is no magic bullet.  Not only that, but there are quite a few known side effects from this drug such as dizziness, headache, nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, trouble sleeping, and joint pain.  Overall, though, these findings are very promising since they are able to bring us a little closer to not just controlling this horrible disease, but to eventually being able to eradicate it all around the world.

Now, you may be wondering why we are talking about HIV on a page about animal welfare.  Well, the answer is a pretty simple one.  Like many other medications, this one would not be available if it weren’t for research that was animal based.  Oftentimes this fact is glossed over, but it is a vital piece of information when new breakthroughs happen. With that piece of knowledge, while we celebrate this drug and all of the other advance in medicine, it is also important to know and appreciate the positive role that the animal based research played, and continues to play, in our lives to improve the health of both humans and animals.


Dog Breeders

rough-collie-dog-1365447402yrjThere was recently a huge, crazy outrage because a Collie was bought from a breeder by a director at a shelter.  Yep, what a horrible thing (eye roll). Her husband that works at fell in love with the breed and insisted on a full blooded Collie. There were quite a few petitions going around and then some attacks from activists online (harassment charges were brought against two of them) because of her buying instead of adopting. Of course it can be pretty easy to get in that absurd totalitarian mindset and to point out the flaw in this because of the contradictions in someone who should be an activist moving forward in adopting from a breeder.

But, hey, let’s not fret about it too long.  There are so many things that a good breeder can offer us.

We truly need responsible, reputable breeders in our communities.  These people work really hard to protect and preserve certain breeds of dogs, screen for diseases in their dogs, do everything they can to get rid of health problems, and provide the community with dogs that are healthy and well tempered. Good breeders do not increase the number of dogs that are homeless, no matter what any activist tries to tell you.  In fact, a breeder who is good sells only through a contract and offers to take a dog back if the owner is unable to provide the care the dog needs. A lot of these same people work in rescues for their breed, helping to keep these dogs out of the shelters.

It’s a given that people want to have dogs.  Many think that people actually need dogs.  So you know what?  If there weren’t breeders around, people would still sell dogs to others, the only thing that would be different is that it would be underground sales.  There would be no regulations in place, no contracts, no accountability, and no guarantees.  The main goal would be to move the product.  This is precisely what we don’t want to happen.

If that weren’t enough, remember that good breeders not only sell to individuals but also provide service dogs for our military, police, and special needs citizens.

It is appalling the number of people that attached the shelter director because she chose to buy a dog from a breeder.  We will always cheer for the breeders who passionately provide the communities with healthy, loving pets.


The Deceptions of the Animal Rights Movement

lg-nlg-animal-rights-eventThe movement for animal rights is the only US social movement that has a history of working with criminals in the underground, ones that the FBI have actually named as single issue terrorists.  Of course the leadership of the animal rights movement never seem to condemn acts of violence as long as they are carried out for their cause which, in itself, represents part of this radical and unethical movement. Most of the animal rights groups only seem to work towards their own fundraising purposes through exploiting problems with animal welfare. Many times, their campaigns to raise money are merely raising concerns about a business that uses animals somehow, telling people how cruel they are so they can take the moral high ground and raise some money in the process. The HSUS and ASPCA just recently paid out $15.75 million and $9.3 million respectively to the owning company of Ringling Bros circus in order to settle a suit where they paid someone to go on the witness stand against the circus and give a testimony that was not credible.

The legal status of animals is another area that the proponents of animal rights and animal welfare tend to disagree on.  The advocates for animal welfare call for laws that protect animals.  Those who are on the side of animal rights push to give rights to animals, an idea that would require the legal status of animals to change.  This would also need to put into place administrators in government that would make decisions, or be the voice for, the animals.  At it’s core, the movement in animal rights is about politics, not about improving the care of the animals. It is about power for them.  It is more specifically about deciding on how to best treat the animals, and whether there will even be private ownership of animals at all, or if the animals will be given a sanctuary for refuge from human use and ownership.  The ideology of animal rights would be to separate animals from people and forever sever the bond between humans and animals.

The Western ethical tradition is the framework that the principles of animal welfare come from.  It is a tradition that looks for tolerance for diversity and the views of the minority and then uses education and knowledge to advance its cause rather than using coercion.  Just looking at the animal rights leaderships willingness to work with illegal factions and to misrepresent their motives and beliefs shows how different they are from the animal welfare faction.



Animal Rights vs. Animal Welfare

A lot of times, proponents of animal welfare will also call themselves advocates for animal rights because, to them, the term appears to represent their beliefs, but animal rights and animal welfare are based off of completely different beliefs and they achieve their goals using totally different tactics. Animal rights proponents are against using animals in any way, shape or form, no matter how humanely or how responsibly they are used. On the other hand, animal welfare proponents believe in the responsible use of animals as long as it is humane.  The animal rights position motto from PETA shows their position quite well, demonstrating their system of beliefs that animal abuse and animal use are one in the same. They claim that animals are not ours to use for entertainment, to eat, to experiment on, to wear, or in any other way to abuse.

an_animal_rights_activist_fromEven though the activists for animal rights use issues of animal welfare to promote their agenda in their campaigns, their beliefs on animal rights are in conflict with the views of around ninety four percent of Americans, who are meat eaters. Not only that, but out of those who are vegetarians and omnivores, a large percentage of them keep family pets, hunt or fish, go to zoos and circuses, ride horses and/or use animals in some form or fashion.  They also often enjoy the benefits that come from animals being used for medical advances.  Overall, Americans are mostly unaware of the animal rights activists true agenda. That is likely the way the activists want it, though, considering how they, when speaking to the public, hide their true beliefs under rhetoric about animal welfare to mislead about their true agenda to their audience.  When speaking to their loyal followers, though, they tend to state all of their positions clearly.  The campaigns for animal rights will often use deceptions that are strategically against businesses and owners that use animals. Many times, people that see themselves as advocates for animal rights are just animal loving people that are interested in helping to improve the lives of animals.  They do not know the path that has been charted by the radical animal rights leadership.



The Types of Animal Abuse

There are quite a few programs and policies that have been developed over the years to improve the standards of care for animals and for their well being.  Proponents for animal welfare are also constantly working towards ending the abuse of animals.

perro-encadenadoThere are many forms of animal abuse, but to keep it simple, we can break them up into two categories:  the first is harm that comes from an act that is deliberate, and the second is the abuse that comes from negligence (the failure to take proper steps).  Many times, the lines are blurred between the things that are intentional and the things that are not. After that is decided, cases are decided based on the facts from the specific case. There are felony laws in every state now against animal cruelty, but the way these cases are designated varies from state to state, as does the punishment that goes along with the crime.  This can make it hard for those who are fighting against animal abuse because what is prosecuted in one state may not be prosecuted in the next.

There are many cases when abuse in the form of neglect can be just ignorance on the part of the pet owner, such as them not recognizing that veterinary treatment is needed for their pet, or in situations when a person allows a behavior to continue that harms the animals but they do not realize it is doing so.

Overt cruelty is often an abuse that animals face.  There are many deliberate acts of cruelty towards animals including activities like dog fighting, beating animals, maiming them, torturing animals, or anything else that leads to severe pain or injury to the animal involved, even death.  The most severe penalties are given to those who perform these deliberate acts not just for the immediate harm they impose or their shocking nature, but because of the link that is well known these days between abusing animals and performing violent behaviors towards other people.