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
  • Wednesday, July 10, 2013

    There were 20 Heroes at That Fire

    Yesterday, there was a big memorial service for the 19 hotshot firecrew that were killed at Yarnell, AZ. We kept hearing all day about the "19 heroes". To say there were 19 fallen heroes is one thing, but there were 20 heroes there that day on the front line. They all went into a dangerous situation to try to save other people's homes and lives. Just because one survived by pure luck because his assigned position was not overrun does not alter the fact that he is as much of a hero as the rest.
    Being killed doesn't make you a hero, but surviving doesn't make you any less of one, either. Unfortunately, due to survivor's guilt and the high rate of suicide among first responders, I'm worried that he may not actually be a survivor. Let us pray that this equally worthy hero does indeed survive. And let us all remember all 20 heroes that were there that day.
 to lend support and to see more about these amazing, heroic men.
    Prescott Granite Mountain Hotshots's Photos in Timeline Photos