Thursday, February 20, 2014

What's Wrong with Rodeos?

Which do you think is worse? The person who just doesn't care if an animal is terrified or hurt, or the person who doesn't want to know because it might ruin the experience for them?  I really hate the rodeo days here in Tucson. The news never reports on the fact that there are protesters, let alone that there is some thing to protest about rodeos. I was asked today why I wasn't going to go to the rodeo, and when I tried to explain about the calves that have to be destroyed because of broken legs, necks, backs or tails, I was cut off with the same thing I hear when people ask why I'm not a vegetarian instead of a vegan, or why I don't drink milk or eat eggs.
"Don't tell me that, you will ruin it for me." To which I always say, "good, it should be ruined for you". But this time it really made me think. Are the people who knowingly torture and maim animals worse than those that have an inkling, but don't want to hear any details, lest the experience be ruined for them?
          Don't believe rodeos are so bad? here are a few expert opinions:
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) takes a position of opposition to all rodeos and rodeo events:
"The HSUS opposes rodeos as they are commonly organized, since they typically cause torment and stress to animals; expose them to pain, injury, or even death; and encourage an insensitivity to and acceptance of the inhumane treatment of animals in the name of sport. Accordingly, we oppose the use of devices such as electric prods, sharpened sticks, spurs, flank straps, and other rodeo equipment that cause animals to react violently, and we oppose bull riding, bronco riding, steer roping, calf roping, "wild horse racing," chuck wagon racing, steer tailing, and horse tripping."[20]

From PETA:
         "Rodeo performers have been documented beating, kicking, and shocking normally docile cows and horses in chutes and holding pens. “Bucking broncos” and steers are provoked with electric prods, sharp sticks, caustic ointments, and the pinching “bucking” strap. By the time the animals are released into the arena, they are frantic. Calves, roped when running, have their necks snapped back by the lasso, often resulting in neck and back injuries, bruises, broken bones, and internal bleeding.After their short and painful “careers,” animals in rodeos are sent to the slaughterhouse. Dr. C.G. Haber, a veterinarian who spent 30 years as a federal meat inspector, describes the animals discarded from rodeos for slaughter as being “so extensively bruised that the only areas in which the skin was attached [to the flesh] was the head, neck, leg, and belly. I have seen animals with six to eight ribs broken from the spine and, at times, puncturing the lungs. I have seen as much as 2 to 3 gallons of free blood accumulated under the detached skin.”
Every national animal protection organization opposes rodeos because of their inherent cruelty. Urge your community to buck the rodeo.
Read more:"

But the cruelty does exist and is inherent in these spectacles. In
rodeos, there is no show unless the animal is frightened or in pain. In
circuses, animals suffer most before and after the show. They endure
punishment during training and are subjected to physical and emotional
hardships during transportation. They are forced to travel tens of
thousands of miles each year, often in extreme heat or cold, with tigers
living in cramped cages and elephants chained in filthy railroad cars. To
the entrepreneurs, animals are merely stock in trade, to be replaced when
they are used up.

James Serpell stated in his In the Company of Animals:
"... these performances hinge on the violent subjugation of living animals, some of which are deliberately incited to frenzied violence by raking them with spurs, constricting the genital region with leather straps, or by thrusting an electric prod into the rectal area. At the same time they are often given bogus, malevolent names in order to deflect sympathy from their plight. Occasionally, they are maimed or killed, and many are forced to undergo the same terrifying ordeal several times a day. Yet the rodeo is presented to the American public as a harmless, red-blooded entertainment in which the cowboy – the epitome of wholesome, manly virtue – uses his courage and skill to overcome and subdue untamable, outlaw stock. Doubtless, the Romans employed similar fantasies to justify their activities in the Circus Maximus.
 E.J. Finocchio, DVM wrote the Rhode Island legislature urging a ban on calf roping: "As a large animal veterinarian for 20 years...I have witnessed first hand the instant death of calves after their spinal cords were severed from the abrupt stop at the end of a rope when traveling up to 30 mph. I have also witnessed and tended calves who became paralyzed...and whose tracheas were totally or partially severed...Slamming to the ground has caused rupture of several internal organs leading to a slow, agonizing death for some of these calves."

U.S. Government: Ban All Rodeos in the U.S.

That's just a small sampling.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Best Feel good story of  New Year’s Day 2014

Did you hear about what happened at the Pima County Animal Care Center ( ) the county operated facility for Pima County, Tucson, Arizona, on Jan 1, 2014? Two hundred and fifty volunteers were turned away. Because there were too many volunteers!
PACC  asked for volunteers to come on New Year's Day and walk shelter dogs, play with cats and help make dog beds. Two hundred and ten volunteers walked dogs , with 250 more volunteer walkers turned away because the walker slots had been filled. Eighty volunteers showed up to construct dog beds for the center and constructed over 100 beds in 45 minutes to go into the new tent shelter being constructed to reduce the crowding at the facility. Adoption fees were also waived, but I don't know how many adoptions they had that day.
The new tent itself is interesting. I think that they got the Idea from Sherriff Arpaio's tent city at the prison in Phoenix, Az. Both are to reduce overcrowding. Unlike the prison tent city, the animal shelter tent will have heating and Air conditioning. It is 7,200 square feet of new housing and will basically double the shelter size with 100 new kennels. Right now, there are 5 dogs to a kennel, so you can see that this is desperately needed space, especially as the facility is trying to improve its "live release rate". The next step is to get the county to go "no kill" like the county in Phoenix did, and the local humane organization HSSAZ ( ) . Both are worthy causes, PACC because it is trying so darn hard to fix the prison like conditions of its old shelter, and HSSAZ because, well full disclosure, I used to work there and I know with initmate detail how hard they work to rescue and place animals.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Cat's Prayer answered (at least for this one)

Cat's Prayer

I hope I'm not asking too much, Lord;
All I want is a home of my own,
And to know when my next meal is coming
Instead of the scraps I get thrown.
I've been out in the cold for so long now,
Just coping as best as I can;
But it's not been so long I've forgotten
The touch of a soft caring hand.
I look in house windows at Christmas,
As cats doze by the fire, quite replete;
How I'd welcome a box in the kitchen,
And tasty food for me to eat.
For me there was tinsel and giftwrap,
But the fun didn't last very long.
They put me outside with the rubbish;
I still don't know what I did wrong.
I really don't want to be greedy;
At the moment I'm all skin and bone,
So would it be too much to hope for
That someone will give me a home?
Author Unknown

Jerry came to use 2 weeks ago and we didn't think he was going to survive. He has an abcessed tooth, but is too weak to have it taken care of, so he is on antibiotics. Look carefully at the first picture and you can see his backbone sticking up. When he came, he was just a skeleton with fur, but he has the will to take over. You can see the look on Chico's face because this tiny cat has taken over "his" human. You can also see just how thin Jerry is. He is still at risk, but whether he makes it or not, at least he is now warm and has a full belly. And love.

Monday, August 5, 2013

What is it like to sleep when you have rescues?

Last night I repositioned my body pillow and blanket, a nightly ritual because the dogs kick them around during the day when sleeping with daddy, then turned off the light. Before I could get into the bed, the big dogs jumped onto the bed and Chico the pit curled up onto Chuck's pillow (Chuck works nights) which put his butt right on the end of my pillow. After persuading him to move over a couple of inches, I managed to pretzel myself into the corner they left me, reached for my body pillow...yuck, it was sopping, and so was my blanket. When I had gotten Chico to move, his nose had brushed them. Both of the big dogs have noses that are so wet that with one touch, they can completely soak the front of a shirt when they snuggle you. Before I could decide to get up and see about a dry blanket, Dora (cat) jumped onto me and pawed her way under the blanket, where she promptly sneezed and soaked my legs. By this time I was so covered in bodily fluids that I just gave up and tried to go to sleep. Besides, I knew that even if I got completely fresh bedding and took a shower, it would be a waste of time, as the scene would just be replayed. Then Amber (cat) came to sleep on my feet and Dora moved Chico so she could lay with her back up against my face and maybe smother me. Typical night trying to get to bed.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

RIP Shoep 7/17/2013

 "I breathe but I can't catch my breath...Schoep passed yesterday." Owner John Unger posted in a brief Facebook statement on Thursday.
Shoep and John.Duluth News Tribune | Duluth, Minnesota

John took Shoep into Lake Superior every night to give him relief from his arthritis so that he could sleep.  John adopted Shoep as an abused 8 month old puppy. Shoep turned 20 June 15th. The image of Shoep sleeping in John's arms in the lake was taken by photographer Hannah Stonehouse Hudson  and went viral after she posted it on her Facebook page on August 1, 2012. It received over 2 million hits in just a week. Donations poured into Schoep's veterinarian, Dr. Erik Haukaas, for his care. "People out of the blue just wanted to donate some money to try and help this dog," Haukaas told the Ashland Daily Press. Eventually, the fund received more than $25,000 from as far away as Saudi Arabia, and Unger and Haukaas established the Schoep's Legacy Foundation to help low-income families pay for their pet's medical care.
  John  and Shoep are laying on a Tempurpedic bed for donated to Schoep by an individual touched by the photo as John talks about how the photo of him and his then 19-year-old dog Schoep in Lake Superior has turned his life upside down and resulted in donations of money and items for Schoep's long-term treatment.  Photo by Bob King /
Below, the photo by  Hannah Stonehouse Hudson  that started it all.


Monday, July 15, 2013

No need for bear bile

From: WSPA World Society for the Protection of Animals
In parts of Asia, bears are farmed for their bile in appallingly cruel conditions. Once extracted, the bile is used in some Traditional Asian Medicines. WSPA is working with the Traditional Asian Medicine (TAM) community to end the use of bear bile by promoting effective herbal and synthetic alternatives.

The bile trade

Bears are the only mammals to produce large amounts of ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA), the active ingredient in bear bile.
Bear farms emerged in the 1980's as a cost effective way to meet the demand for UDCA, which has been used to treat kidney problems and stomach and digestive disorders.
More recently bear bile has been added to non-medicinal products such as wine and shampoo.
Since the 1980's, the number of bears farmed in Asia has increased. Official figures from the region show around 12,000 bears are held in farms.
The conditions are enclosed, barren and lead to physical and mental illness.

Modern alternatives

Effective synthetic and herbal alternatives to bear bile are both widely available and affordable.
WSPA is working with the TAM community to educate consumers that the extraction and use of bear bile is inherently cruel.
More than 30 TAM groups have spoken out against bear bile. Their concern for animal welfare has led them to seek alternatives.
You can help WSPA consign bear farming and the use of bear bile to history.
If you use Traditional Asian Medicine, make sure your practitioner does not use bear bile in any of their treatments. Raising awareness and encouraging the use of alternatives will help protect bears from this cruel industry.
Download our Herbal Alternatives to Bear Bile report (PDF)

There are many thousands of bears being help captive in the bile industry across East and South East Asia. Most are kept in cages the size of a telephone booth, in which they are unable to stand and can only turn around with difficulty.
The bears in these farms are visibly in severe distress. They are often hurt or scarred from repeatedly rubbing or hitting themselves against the bars of their tiny enclosures.
Farmers prevent bears from hibernating – the cage floors are iron bars to stop the bears lying on firm ground.

Painful surgery

Bear bile can be accessed in a number of inhumane ways. All are likely to be carried out by untrained farm workers, with no veterinary experience.
Depending on the region, farms will use one of three methods:
  • A tube leading into the gall bladder is created, allowing bile to be extracted. To stop the tube closing up, the abdominal wound is reopened up to three times a day. 
  • Ultrasound equipment is used to locate the gall bladder, before a syringe is inserted deep into the bear’s body to extract the bile.
  • Bears are caged, left to reach a certain age and then killed. The bile is extracted once the bear is dead.

Lifelong suffering

If those bears subjected to operations do not die during or after the first procedure, they suffer from serious health problems.
Infections to the open wounds, tumors, internal abscesses, gallstones, and other related illnesses are common. It is a life of unremitting pain and distress.
Bears may stop producing bile after only a few years. They are then left to die or are killed for their paws or gall bladder.

Protect the bears

You can help WSPA end bear farming:

  • donate at or fundraise to help keep up the pressure on bear farms.
  • Do not use products which contain bile. Spread the word about alternatives