Oct 12, 2015 - Shelter & Rescue    5 Comments

Big Business: More Dog Trafficking in the News

Humane relocation, dog trafficking, the “Puppy Pipeline” — whatever you call it, the practice is still relatively unknown outside of the organized animal community and to a lesser extent, law enforcement and media circles. In case you are scratching your head wondering what we are talking about, here’s a handy definition from the NAIA Shelter Project Glossary:

Humane relocation: Humane relocation refers to the practice of transporting un-owned pets in need of adoption (primarily dogs and cats) from areas with a surplus of homeless pets to areas with a higher demand for pets and more shelter and rescue space. When done responsibly, it is a cooperative, common-sense method of finding homes for pets that might otherwise be euthanized. When done without care, it does nothing to solve the problem of pet overpopulation at its source, and in some cases even encourages it. Worse, it can turn participating rescues and shelters into unregulated pet stores that deal in animals of unknown backgrounds – animals that may have serious behavioral problems or may be infected with parasites and diseases not endemic to a particular region (e.g. whip worm, heart worm, or rabies).

But it is appearing in the news with increasing frequency as sales of these dogs increase:

Dog sellers present the canines with heart-tugging tales of Southern kill shelters. They also describe residents of the South as uninterested in preventing unwanted puppies through regular spaying and neutering.

This is big money: at $300 per dog, a rescue operation that does not give the animals proper medical attention or humane transport conditions can make $420,000 a year for 1,400 dogs, said Raymond Connors, an animal control officer for the state.

“It’s a multimillion-dollar industry,” he said.

Industry indeed — and it’s not just dogs moving from the south to the northeast, as is most often reported, it is a multimillion-dollar national industry. Using Colorado as an example, the number of dogs imported into Colorado shelters nearly doubled between 2012 and 2014, to more than 24,000 dogs per year!

ColoradoImports

Given the unknown background, and behavioral issues of so many of these dogs and the way they are shipped, the issues of health, humane treatment, and consumer protection should be clear. The potential for this practice to impact the image of ethical rescue and pet ownership in general (e.g. avoiding rescues out of fear of health or behavioral issues, or deciding not to have pets at all) should not be discounted either.

As always, NAIA urges you to consider the source when picking your next pet: do your homework, support practices that create positive outcomes for pets and pet owners, and make an informed, ethical decision!

Oct 1, 2015 - Animal Research    1 Comment

Making a Meal(worm) out of Plastic

This is pretty amazing! Researchers from Stanford raised mealworms on a diet of styrofoam. And the results?

Each worm ate about a few dozen milligrams every day, converting about half to carbon dioxide and leaving half behind as non-toxic waste.

Assuming there are no ill effects down the road for these worms or predators that eat them, the implication of this styrofoam diet are huge!

According to the EPA, Americans toss out 25,000,000,000 styrofoam cups each year, which do not break down fast or easily — and that’s just cups! But if mealworms are willing and able to lend a helping mouth (or, more accurately, the helpful bacteria in their guts that breaks down plastic), this could be a powerful solution for the world’s plastic waste.

Hungry Mealworms Photo: Yu Yang, Stanford

Hungry Mealworms
Photo: Yu Yang, Stanford

 

Who says worms are slimy and gross?

A well-trained dog is a happy dog!

We always try to head off for the weekend on a positive note, but it’s rare we find something that makes us smile this much

Yes, it’s a tale as old as time itself: retired farmer takes in homeless dogs, welds together wheel and barrel, ties together and fills with dogs, then pulls with tractor for a trip to the local creek.

You know — the usual!

So what are your plans when you retire?

 

Sep 24, 2015 - Shelter & Rescue    No Comments

Shelter Accused of Deceiving Adopters After Dog Attack

From an Inside Edition headline: an Albuquerque, NM shelter is accused of adopting out dangerous dogs and deceiving well-meaning pet adopters. Furthermore, instead of euthanizing these dogs after the attack, the shelter allegedly handed the dogs off to private rescues:

But after one dog named Pappy killed a neighbor’s poodle and attacked its elderly owner, Animal Welfare ultimately handed over the dog to a private animal rescue group, which isn’t required to report where he is now.

Another animal, Mugsy Malone, went on to attack a three-year-old girl.

“It was horrible,” Ludwick said. “Her face was ripped up. The father had to hit the dog repeatedly with a rock trying to get the dog off of his child’s face.”

After the attack, the dog was never put down, he said.

“It was given to a rescue group,” he said. “That dog should have been euthanized.”

There are definitely some issues with this article — while the dog’s listed breed may have been altered to make it more adoptable, focusing on the breed (implying that the dog’s aggression was due to it being a pit bull, and links to two sensationalist articles on pit bulls) rather than the dog’s behavior is problematic. This, however, should not cause us to lose sight of the main — and very serious — issue of dangerous dogs being adopted out to unsuspecting families.

ViciousDog

 

Sep 23, 2015 - Animal Research    No Comments

Antiviral Drug Prevents HIV Infections… And Would Not Be Available Without Animal-Based Research

With the news cycle moving as fast and furious as it does nowadays, it could be easy to miss these important findings: in two recent studies, the antiviral drug, Truvada, was 100% effective in preventing HIV infection in several hundred high risk individuals, and it reduced infection by 86% in others.

Step back for a moment to take that in. Do you remember where we were in HIV treatment 20, even 30 years ago? This promises to be an extraordinary step forward.

Now, of course this pill is not perfect (“It’s no magic bullet,” as you may have read in the Newsweek piece), and there are numerous known side effects, but overall, these are extremely promising findings that bring us a step closer to controlling, and eventually eradicating this terrible disease worldwide.

Now, why are we talking about HIV if we are all about animal issues at NAIA? Well, that is simple enough: this medication, and many like it would not be available without necessary animal-based research. This is a vital, but often glossed-over fact when new breakthroughs are achieved. So while we celebrate advances in medicine that improve the health of humans and animals alike, it is important to acknowledge the positive role that animal-based research continues to play in all of our lives.

 

Sep 18, 2015 - Shelter & Rescue    No Comments

Foreign Dogs Good; U.S. Dogs Bad: Radical Dog Trafficking Continues

After feverishly working to eliminate local pet stores over their alleged inhumane sourcing of dogs, look who is importing dogs into the United States from Korea for the pet trade:

San Diego Humane Society takes custody of 29 dogs from the Korean meat trade.

Sounds like a great cause and makes for great press and fundraising opportunities — but whatever they claim as their primary motive for doing this, it certainly cannot be:

  • Protecting consumers and pets from zoonotic and infectious diseases (as you may remember, Korea was the source of a major canine influenza outbreak earlier this year)
  • Providing consumers with humanely sourced pets
  • A desire to provide the public with healthy, well-socialized dogs

 

So if humane societies are so hard up for dogs to adopt that they are importing from overseas, is it safe to assume we have solved all of our domestic pet problems? If so, the humane industry should quit pushing ordinances putting regulated, American sources of pets out of business.

Sep 9, 2015 - NAIA Conference    No Comments

Calling all Dog Clubs! (2015 NAIA Conference)

Hello animal lovers! Are you a member of a dog club?

If so, see if you can come as a representative of your kennel club at this year’s NAIA Conference, October 31-November 1, in Orlando, Florida!

This year’s presentations are especially valuable to dog fanciers, as we have several nationally renowned animal scientists, veterinarians, and husbandry experts speaking on the issues of breed preservation and genetic health (especially in the face of shrinking gene pools) — this is all highly useful information that can be put to practical use in breeding programs – improving the health and well-being of the dogs we all love!

This is going to be a great conference, and we hope to see your club represented!

For more conference details, including signup and lodging information, click here. And if you aren’t sure, check to see if your club is already a member of NAIA — if so, you will receive a discount, but please contact soon via email or phone to make arrangements!

Conference Information Link: naiaonline.org/get-involved/naia-annual-conference

Email: naia@naiaonline.org

 

Aug 31, 2015 - Agriculture    No Comments

Learning Valuable Skills Beehind Bars

So by now we all know about those neat programs where prison inmates train dogs, but I bet you didn’t know there are now 12 prisons in Washington state, part of the “Sustainability in Prisons Project,” where prisoners are trained in the art of beekeeping! Some are even considering turning these skills into a career when they are released:

Boysen plans to start his own hives and sell organic honey for a living. He’s excited about helping struggling bee populations recover their future. They’ve helped him recover a future too.

“You feel like you’re doing something not only for your own benefit, but for the rest of the world,” he said.

Now it may be tempting to laugh this off as an example of “good intentions gone kooky,” but it is a lot more than that: bees are incredibly important to agriculture. And hey, if somebody learns skills that help sustain bee populations, while at the same time gaining useful life and vocational skills, that sounds like a good deal to us!

 

Jens Beekeeper 2nd Visit

Jens Beekeeper 2nd Visit

Aug 26, 2015 - Animal Rights    1 Comment

Animal Activists Put a Halt to AVMF’s “America’s Favorite Veterinarian Contest”

A disturbing press release from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) says that cyber-bullying from animal activists has caused the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) to halt its “America’s Favorite Veterinarian Contest.”

Activists opposed to cat declawing “hijacked” the contest, resorting to cyber-bullying the majority of the contest finalists, those who believe that declawing cats remains a last-resort, but viable, alternative to separating pets from their owners when the animal’s behavior cannot be controlled any other way. One contestant, for example, was called “a whore, a butcher, a mutilator, a hack, an animal hater, a disgrace to the profession.” Other contestants were subjected to the circulation of fraudulent negative advertisements, negative reviews, and threatening phone calls.

Reading their press release, two thing come to mind immediately:

  • If the behavior from the activists wasn’t so shameful, it would be absurdly humorous. These contest finalists are veterinarians — people who have devoted their lives to saving animals! And these veterinarians who are being treated like “animal hating” monsters are among the best out there! Sheesh.
  • Veterinarians have been able to placate the animal activists longer than most professionals who work with animals, but it couldn’t last forever. To our many friends working day in and out to save and improve the lives of animals in the field of veterinary medicine, we say: welcome to the world of animal scientists, dog breeders, farmers, zoos, trainers, etc… but we are sorry you had to join us this way!

 

Aug 24, 2015 - NAIA Conference    1 Comment

NAIA 2015 Conference: One Week Left for Earlybird Admission!

Just a reminder: we’ve got a great conference coming up this year, and there is only one week left to get your tickets at earlybird prices!

Sign up here today!

NAIA2015ConferenceCover

Conference Brochure

Joining Forces to Save Our Animals

As our understanding of animals and how to care for them evolves, the issues facing the animals we love evolve as well, presenting us with new and ever greater challenges and opportunities:

  • Radical rescue and dog trafficking
  • How to work effectively with shrinking gene pools
  • How to reduce genetic diseases in domestic animals
  • Working wisely with science-based animal care standards
  • Dealing effectively with ideological legislation that empowers activists
  • How best to counter activist-driven campaigns that smear our communities

These are all serious issues, but they can all be overcome if we work together.

In this year’s conference, we will work to present the latest and best information on animal care, breeding and genetics, provide up to date information about the status of animal hobbies and industries, and we will also offer tools for dealing with propaganda campaigns and legislation!

Joining Forces to Save Our Animals is for people like you who are dedicated to caring for animals and learning about and utilizing new programs and tools created to assure animal wellbeing – both now and for future generations.

If you love and care for animals, show it by attending this conference. We need to work together to solve the problems we face. As Ben Franklin cautioned, “If we don’t hang together, then assuredly we shall hang separately”

 

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