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”

 

Aug 21, 2015 - Animal Rights    1 Comment

Decision to Revoke Humane Society of Canada’s Charitable Registration Upheld

Meanwhile, in Canada:  the Federal Court of Appeal upheld a decision to revoke the Humane Society of Canada’s registration as a charitable organization.

What were the reasons for revoking its registration, you ask?

The Appeals Directorate cited three reasons for its decision: the humane society had failed to devote all of its resources to charitable activities; it had provided some of its income for the “personal benefit” of O’Sullivan; and it had failed to keep appropriate books and records.

Sounds like a reasonable call to us. We know you are busy and have important things to do, Canada, but while you are at it, maybe you can help out with the Humane Society of the United States (you know, the one that paid out millions of dollars to settle a RICO suit not so long ago)?

 

Aug 17, 2015 - Shelter & Rescue    1 Comment

NAIA Perspective on No-Kill Philosophy in the News

In a Garden Island article on euthanasia and the no-kill philosophy last weekend, NAIA president Patti Strand weighed in on the consequences of focusing on numbers over real solutions:

If [the Kauai Humane Society] were pressured to “have better numbers,” Strand said it would be impossible to do so without ample funding and effort to fix the symptoms. And that’s something she said can’t be done overnight.

“What happens is the value of saving the life of the dog is valued more highly than the value of protecting an adoptive family from a dangerous dog,” Strand said. “It’s this idea that, ‘’Gee whiz, I’d like to save this dog and he’s only nipped someone once,’ that can have real consequences.”

One of the best examples comes out of New Mexico, where the Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department last year permitted more than 100 dangerous dogs to be adopted by families or returned to them after they failed nationally recognized behavioral tests.

The result was tragic: Dozens of these dogs killed or injured other pets, bit children, attacked their owners or displayed otherwise aggressive behavior.
“All across the country, dangerous dogs that should not be adopted out to the public today and wouldn’t have been adopted out 10 years ago are being adopted out,” Strand said. “The reason is this idea that there are numbers every shelter should be hitting, and it’s not that black and white. Not every community is ready to be no-kill. It’s not a switch that can just be flipped.

“I’m absolutely in favor of the wholesome goal that’s attached to the no-kill label, but you have to look below the surface to see how it’s being applied.”

As always, the focus should be striving for the best possible standards of care — in home and in shelters — on cooperation, public education, and outreach; improvements in “the numbers” will flow naturally from those goals and improvements.

There are now many communities in the United States with open-admission shelters that do not kill for lack of space — this was considered “impossible” 40 years ago, and speaks to the tireless efforts of education and outreach, changing culture, and improved standards of care

Obedience Event Added to Next Year’s Westminster Dog Show

Next year’s Westminster Dog Show will be adding an obedience event, and we think this is pretty cool!  Obedience training is a great experience for dogs and their owners — and not just for the sake of competition and titles; obedience training is a fantastic positive experience for dogs and their people that brings with it lifelong benefits.

A well-trained dog is the kind of dog that other people will be as delighted to see as you are. And dogs so often live to please — all that positive energy a “good doggie” receives means so much to them! Furthermore, training provides your dog with positive activities that stimulate them mentally and physically. Dogs have a need to interact with their people and to be entertained. Like people, they can get bored. What better way to improve the bond between you and your dog than activities that will improve both of your lives!

While an obedience title takes a lot more time and effort than many owners are able to commit to (which is fine!), it’s still fun to be a spectator at obedience events, and we love that this display of such a valuable — and at its most basic level, highly practical — skillset will now be part of the highest-profile dog show in the U.S.!

 

 

Aug 11, 2015 - Animal Science    No Comments

Cat Eyes, Sheep Eyes, Measures and Countermeasures

If you’ve ever wondered why cat’s eyes look so cool, check out this explanation that covers both predator and prey:

We found animals with vertically elongated pupils are very likely to be ambush predators which hide until they strike their prey from relatively close distance. They also tend to have eyes on the front of their heads. […]

In contrast, horizontally elongated pupils are nearly always found in grazing animals, which have eyes on the sides of their head. They are also very likely to be prey animals such as sheep and goats.

Why is this? Essentially, modeling shows that vertically elongated pupils allow a predator the ability to judge distances without moving its head, thus giving prey fewer opportunities to notice its approach. At the same time, prey with elongated horizontal pupils and eyes on the sides of their head are able to see nearly the entire area around their bodies, providing them with a keen early warning system against predators.

Pretty neat stuff — definitely worth reading about!

Vertical elongated pupils assist predators in ambushing... horizontal elongated pupils assist prey in spotting  (and hopefully escaping) ambushes!

Measures and Countermeasures

 

 

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