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.