Oct 22, 2014 - Education    No Comments

Life… Finds a Way!

What happened when Cornell University tried to reign in an out of control deer population by performing tubal ligations on the does?

Well, as you’d expect, the birth rate went down, but the problem wasn’t solved: the population stayed the same, as it was maintained by mature bucks …

Something was attracting an abnormal number of mature bucks. Cornell’s biologists realized that the reproductive cycle of the ligated does was to blame.

Under normal conditions, all female whitetails go into heat within several weeks of each other and become pregnant at around the same time. This annual event is called the rut. However, if a doe is not impregnated during the rut, it will enter heat again the following month and again the month after that. Because the ligated does were unable to become pregnant, they continued to produce chemical signals of readiness to reproduce — signals that can attract bucks from miles away.

At $1,200 per doe, that’s an expensive surprise!

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Cute, but catastrophic when mixed with traffic.

 

Volunteer hunters (who would eat or donate deer meat) are a proven inexpensive and effective way to reduce the population, but the university continued to seek out a nonlethal solution to the “deer problem.” So they began surgically removing ovaries from does, and were yet again quickly met with another unbelievable surprise:

Even after the surgical removal of their ovaries, one of the three deer became pregnant again. It is not clear how this was possible. One supposition is that some ovarian tissue may have escaped the scalpel and regrown into a functioning ovary.

Of course, this reproductive tenacity is probably a lot more fascinating (and amusing) to people who don’t have to deal with deer eating their gardens, causing auto accidents, or Lyme disease, but it does serve as a valuable lesson of the things that can go wrong when we try to outsmart nature. The ovaries win this round!

Sep 10, 2014 - NAIA Conference    No Comments

Sign Up Today for the 2014 NAIA Conference!

Spots are going quickly for this year’s NAIA Conference — sign up today to reserve your space!

As always, this will be a fascinating and inspiring event for all animal lovers with unforgettable, world-class presentations from experts. There will also be a strong focus on workshops to help you make a difference in your community with the knowledge you have gained!

List of featured speakers and topics:

  • Robert Guyer, Founder and President of The Lobby School:  Effective Grassroots Lobbying;
  • David Jentsch, PhD, Neuroscientist and UCLA Professor: Seeking cures in an age of extremism;
  • John Simpson and Michelle Pardo, Attorneys at Law and Partners, Norton Rose Fulbright, Washington, DC: Insights gained along the way to the landmark $25 million settlement paid by HSUS and the ASPCA to Feld Entertainment.
  • Cynthia O’Connor, DVM, Chris Walker, AKC VP of Communications, Patti Strand, NAIA President: The anatomy of a TV hit piece: HBO’s Unnatural Selection.
  • Theresie Tungilik, Dept. of Economic Development, Gov. of Nunavut: The impact of propaganda and international law on our traditional and modern economy;
  • Thomas Albert, VP Gov. Relations, Feld Entertainment, Janice Aria, Director of Animal Stewardship, Ringling Brothers Center for Elephant Conservation: From the courts to city hall, the extremist’s campaign to ban the circus continues;
  • Baylen Linnekin, Executive Director, Keep Food Legal, Adjunct Faculty at American University: Food Freedom;
  • Steve Malone, Horse Carriage Owner-Operator, Teamster Delegate: The campaign to end the horse carriage industry; and
  • Cindy Buckmaster, PhD Neurobiologist, Chair, Americans for Medical Progress, Director, Center of Comparative Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine: Speak now or forever rest in peace.

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See you there!
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Sep 2, 2014 - Animal Policy    No Comments

Report on 2014 NCSL Conference

By NAIA Board Members Patte Klecan and Caren Cowan

That famous line from Field of Dreams – “Build it and they will come” is the best way to describe our experience at the 2014 NCSL. NAIA took the plunge and purchased a booth display that was without a doubt one of the most attractive in the Exhibit Hall. The bright colors, the logo front and center and the message all worked together to draw people in. Of course, George Washington was strategically placed and people were forced to stop to admire. This allowed us the opportunity to explain that George was the originator of the American Foxhound which he needed to pursue his hunting adventures. The Legislators from Virginia were especially intrigued and one even took my card and asked if we could help him promote the American Foxhound which is the official dog of Virginia!

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It was somewhat amusing to watch the reactions of our visitors when they realized that NAIA was not affiliated with HSUS or any of the other radical fundraising groups. Once we explained that NAIA was the “reasonable alternative to the extremists,” the Legislators and staff members breathed a visible sigh of relief, relaxed, and said they were excited to know we were available to assist them. One staff member, who is the Research Director for his state’s Ag & Natural Resources Committee, asked if we could come and testify before the committee on animal issues!  All those that we were able to engage in conversation eagerly accepted our literature. A Senator from Mississippi returned the next day to tell us that he had read our material and was going to check with his staff to see if he was available to attend our conference. A behavioral researcher also returned the next day to say how much she learned from our handouts, delighted that we were a research based group and that she was also considering attending our conference.

Our visitors weren’t just Legislators and staff. We had other exhibitors come by as well. Two women were quite upset when they realized that the tote bag they were carrying with the elephant on it was from Ringling Bros. until we explained to them the facts about Feld’s conservation efforts on behalf of the Asian Elephants. They thanked us and left with a different opinion.

The biggest reaction was to our handout about the unregulated importation of stray dogs. Nearly every visitor was impressed to learn the key roles NAIA plays with state and federal agencies in developing regulations to protect people and pets.

Granted not everyone was thrilled we were there. One woman passed by and in response to Caren’s greeting said she didn’t know about NAIA, but, she didn’t agree with us. Can’t win them all!  The most amusing encounter occurred Thursday afternoon when the MN Director of HSUS stopped by. He stood just outside the booth, read our values statement and snickered. He then proceeded to verbally assault me with his ranting about anti-trapping of Bobcats in MN. I explained to him that trapping was not my area of expertise and I wasn’t interested in standing there debating with him. He proclaimed that we weren’t interested in facts. I responded that we were indeed interested in facts, just not emotional rhetoric. After a second invitation, he left.

2015 NCSL will be in Seattle. Having a booth at these types of events is extremely important so that we can provide Legislators and others with an alternative perspective on the issues. They want to hear from us and NAIA needs to consider expanding its presence at other venues in order to spread our message.

Aug 28, 2014 - NAIA Conference    No Comments

See You at This Year’s Conference!

Just a reminder: the early bird rate for this year’s NAIA Conference won’t last much longer. Sign up today!

As always, this will be a fascinating and inspiring event for all animal lovers with unforgettable, world-class presentations from experts. There will also be a strong focus on workshops to help you make a difference in your community with the knowledge you have gained!

List of featured speakers and topics:

  • Robert Guyer, Founder and President of The Lobby School:  Effective Grassroots Lobbying;
  • David Jentsch, PhD, Neuroscientist and UCLA Professor: Seeking cures in an age of extremism;
  • John Simpson and Michelle Pardo, Attorneys at Law and Partners, Norton Rose Fulbright, Washington, DC: Insights gained along the way to the landmark $25 million settlement paid by HSUS and the ASPCA to Feld Entertainment.
  • Cynthia O’Connor, DVM, Chris Walker, AKC VP of Communications, Patti Strand, NAIA President: The anatomy of a TV hit piece: HBO’s Unnatural Selection.
  • Theresie Tungilik, Dept. of Economic Development, Gov. of Nunavut: The impact of propaganda and international law on our traditional and modern economy;
  • Thomas Albert, VP Gov. Relations, Feld Entertainment: From the courts to city hall, the extremist’s campaign to ban the circus continues;
  • Baylen Linnekin, Executive Director, Keep Food Legal, Adjunct Faculty at American University: Food Freedom;
  • Steve Malone, Horse Carriage Owner-Operator: The campaign to end the horse carriage industry;
  • Cindy Buckmaster, PhD Neurobiologist, Chair, Americans for Medical Progress, Director, Center of Comparative Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine: Speak now or forever rest in peace; and
  • Janice Aria, Director of Animal Stewardship, Ringling Brothers Center for Elephant Conservation: Animal care at the Greatest Show on Earth, perception vs. reality.

NAIA2014ConferenceCover
See you there!
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Aug 21, 2014 - Animal Welfare    No Comments

Animal Welfare is not Appeasement

“In a perfect world, we would not keep animals for our benefit, including pets,”

Animal rights proponent Tom Regan, emeritus professor of philosophy at NC State University and author of Empty Cages – March 3, 2004


When trying to understand the animal rights mindset, and why they are never satisfied with improvement in animal care and welfare, it is important to remember the above quote.

Because it has never been about humans taking better care of the animals they keep, it is about humans not keeping animals for any reason whatsoever.

So of course it comes as no surprise that SeaWorld’s Larger Killer Whale Habitats Fail To Appease Animal Rights Advocates

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But the idea that they are trying to appease animal rights advocates misses the point. Animal welfare is not about appeasing ideologues and extremists who will never be happy with you. If that is what you make it about, you’re doing it wrong: the only form of appeasement that works with them is not to keep any animals at all.

Animal welfare is about making sure the animals you care for are not hungry, thirsty, or afraid. It is about providing comfort and preventing pain and injury. And (as in this case) it is about providing an ever-improving environment for them. Animal welfare is for people who actually care about animals.

These are the kind of things normal people care about, and these are the standards being addressed by SeaWorld.

Aug 15, 2014 - Animal Policy    No Comments

New USDA regulation: a boon to public health and safety

The USDA’s new health requirements for dogs properly limits dogs from being imported into the US from foreign countries and territories for resale. These dogs, which are often sold from the back of vans in parking lots and adopted from rescue groups often come from parts of the world where humane standards are non existent, and where diseases and parasites eliminated in this country long ago are still prevalent. Many dog traffickers will figure out a way around this law (thousands are being smuggled across the Mexican border into the US each year) but at minimum it will serve as a warning to the people who now peddle these dogs to an unwitting public.

This is big news and we are thrilled at NAIA. Imported dogs pose serious health threats to US animals and people, and we have long supported reasonable import regulations and enforcement as part of a solution.

 


Note: this will not affect the ability of individuals to import dogs for their own use; this affects only dogs brought into the United States for resale.

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Aug 11, 2014 - Animal Policy    No Comments

Summer 2014 Animal Policy Review

The Summer 2014 Animal Policy Review is now live, and can be found on naiaonline.org here:

NAIA Animal Policy Review, Summer 2014

This edition’s top stories:

  • Dog rescues and animal shelters risk public health and safety
  • Charity watchdog dings HSUS after $15 million settlement
  • Circus $25 million, animal activists zero in fraud and racketeering case
  • NAIA conference information: Those who aren’t at the table are on the table!
  • Carriage horses and drivers face extinction in NYC

 
Animal Policy Review Summer 2014

Aug 1, 2014 - Animals and Culture    No Comments

Dog Attacks in a World Without Common Sense or Accountability

Recent dog attacks, one that left a jogger dead and a second that resulted in a child being mauled by three dogs highlight issues that we have been studying for a long time: enforcement of animal control laws, and rescue gone wild.

In the case of the jogger’s tragic death, one of the dogs involved had been in a prior attack, with the victim suing the owners, making one wonder how these dogs could still be running free. Could the jogger’s death have been averted by enforcing the law? According to our resident legal expert and NAIA board member, Julian Prager, “Based on the reported information, proper reporting and enforcement of existing Michigan law could have prevented more attacks.”

But as the woman who sued for being bitten in 2012 pointed out, the owners still have not even put up a fence around the yard, as was stipulated in her lawsuit. Had the owner been forced to comply with just that one small measure, we wouldn’t be talking about this story today.

As for the young boy, he was mauled by three vicious dogs that had escaped from a nearby rescue. Thankfully, he survived and is recovering. But disturbingly, his family states:

At least one of the dogs that attacked Colby had been surrendered to animal control by its owners, because of its “dangerous and vicious nature.”

If it is true that animal control knew the dog was vicious, but still released it to the rescue, we must take a moment to weep for the death of common sense. Do incidents like these need to become commonplace before something is actually done?

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Bolstering the Black Market in Dogs

A raid of a very disturbing breeding operation recently took place in Jacksonville, Florida.

Not only were the breeders selling people sick pets, they were deceptively operating under five different business names, operating without a license, illegally importing dogs from South America, and forging documents. A quick online search reveals numerous complaints from people who had bought sick puppies from them, as well. Dishonest, inhumane, the type of operation that sickens and enrages decent people everywhere.

Every time a breeding operation like this is raided, there are calls for new regulations to “put these awful people out of business.” The fact is, virtually all of the recent raids we have tracked at NAIA are of breeders who are operating like this: illegally without a license (when required) or inspections, or with lapsed license and serious prior violations (where were the follow up inspections?). If current laws aren’t being followed or enforced, what makes anyone think newer, stricter regulations will affect anybody other those who are already complying: licensed, transparent, inspected breeders?

We have taken our share of flack at NAIA for taking a “Why not enforce existing laws first, before passing new laws?” position. Some people confuse this with an opposition to all regulations. Without enforcement, you’ll never get rid of the bad guys (who couldn’t care less about animal care regulations), while knee-jerk legislative responses simply place additional burdens on those who are already complying with the law. Taken to its logical conclusion: in the end all you’ll have left is the black market.

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