Posted by: animalvoice | February 21, 2010

Using Those Who Came Before, To Inspire Us Today More

Okay I know that I haven’t written in a while. I’ve had commitments doing other writing endeavors, but I’ve been working on this post for a while. See I changed my life from my career as a lawyer to embark on an entirely different career  as a writer. It has been a nerve-wracking, and sometimes frightening journey. Along the way I found that motivational and inspirational quotes have helped me tremendously. I’ve also come across a plethora of quotes on animals from animal rights to vegetarianism etc.

The following is an essay that I’ve submitted for publication in a monthly newsletter update for one of the Committee’s that I’m involved with. It is an entire essay based solely on quotes – no language of mine included.

I hope you like it. Please feel free to leave a comment either way..

Using Those Who Came Before, To Inspire Us Today More

            “I’m sometimes asked ‘Why do you spend so much of your time and money talking about kindness to animals when there is so much cruelty to men?’ I answer: ‘I’m working at the roots.’” [George T. Angell – 19th century American lawyer & advocate for humane treatment of animals]

            “I hope to make people realize how totally helpless animals are, how dependent on us, trusting as a child must that we will be kind and take care of their needs…[they] are an obligation put on us, a responsibility we have no right to neglect, nor to violate by cruelty.” [James Herriot – British veterinarian and author]

     “The fate of animals is of greater importance to me than the fear of appearing ridiculous.” [Emile Zola – 19th century French writer] 

     “Cruelty to dumb animals is one of the distinguishing vices of the lowest and basest of the people – wherever it is found, it is a certain mark of ignorance and meanness.” [William Jones of Nayland – 17th century English Theologian]

     “I don’t hold animals superior or even equal to humans. The whole case for behaving decently to animals rests on the fact that we are the superior species. We are the species uniquely capable of imagination, rationality, and moral choice – and that is precisely why we are under an obligation to recognize and respect the rights of animals.” [Brigid Brophy – 20th century English novelist and vocal campaigner of animal rights and vegetarianism]

     “The wild things of this earth are not ours to do with as we please. They have been given to us in trust, and we must account for them to the generation which will come after us and audit our accounts.” [William T. Hornaday – late 19th century American Zoologist and author]

     “We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass and knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. The animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren; they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the Earth.” [Henry Beston – early 20th century American writer and naturalist]

     “One day the absurdity of the almost universal human belief in the slavery of other animals will be palpable. We shall then have discovered our souls and become worthier of sharing this planet with them.” [Martin Luther King Jr.]

     “Life is life’s greatest gift. Guard the life of another creature as you would your own because it is your own. On life’s scale of values, the smallest is no less precious to the creature who owns it than the largest…” [Lloyd Biggle Jr. – 20th century American writer]

     “Life is life – whether in a cat, or dog or man. There is no difference between a cat and a man. The idea of difference is a human conception for man’s own advantage.” [Sri Aurobindo – early 20th century Indian philosopher]

     “When animals express their feelings they pour like water from a spout. Animals’ emotions are raw, unfiltered, and uncontrolled. Their joy is the purest and most contagious of joys and their grief the deepest and most devastating. Their passions bring us to our knees in delight and sorrow.” [Marc Bekoff – animal activist and writer]

     “One cannot look deeply into the eyes of an animal and not see the same depth, complexity and feeling that we humans lay exclusive claim to.” [Nan Sea Love – Californian artist, environmentalist and educator]

     “Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way.” [John Muir – late 19th century Scottish born American author advocating for the preservation of U.S. wildlife]

     “I believe in animal rights, and high among them is the right to a gentle stroke of a human hand.” [Robert Brault – freelance writer and blogger]

     “Providing food and shelter is not proving love for your pet. Those too, but proper care and protection from harm make the truest sense of responsible pet ownership.” [John D. Carraway, DVM]

     “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” [Anatole France – late 19th century French poet, journalist & novelist]

     “If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.” [James Herriot]

     “Animals are reliable, many full of love, true in their affections, predictable in their actions, grateful and loyal; difficult standards for people to live up to.” [Alfred A. Montapert – American author]

     “I don’t believe in the concept of hell, but if I did I would think of it as filled with people who were cruel to animals.” [Gary Larson – creator of Farside comic strip]

     “My doctrine is this: that if we see cruelty or wrong that we have the power to stop, and we do nothing, we make ourselves sharers in the guilt.” [Anna Sewell – 19th century English author of Black Beauty]

     “Most pets display so many humanlike traits and emotions it’s easy to forget they’re not gifted with the English language and then get snubbed when we talk to them and they don’t say anything back.” [Stephenie Geist – modern day author]

     “Many people feel drawn to advocate for animals because even though they can feel pain and suffer just as we do, they do not have a way to advocate for their own welfare. In fact, animals are viewed by many as nothing more than property to be treated however the owner wishes. This view has created an inhumane situation for billions of animals that share our world.” [Robert Alan – American writer & activist]

     “Animals are considered as property only. To destroy or to abuse them, from malice to the proprietor, or with an intention injurious to his interest in them, is criminal. But the animals themselves are without protection. The law regards them as not substantively. They have no RIGHTS!” [Shirley Lord – American writer]

     “Ever occur to you why some of us can be this much concerned with animals suffering? Because government is not. Why not? Animals don’t vote.” [Paul Harvey – 20th century radio broadcaster known for ‘the rest of the story’]

     “Animals do feel like us, also joy, love, fear and pain but they cannot grasp the spoken word. It is our obligation to take their part and continue to resist the people who profit by them, who slaughter them and who torture them.” [Denis de Rougement – 20th century Swiss writer]

     “It seems to me of great importance to teach our children respect for life. Towards this end, experiments on living animals in classrooms should be stopped. To encourage cruelty in the name of science can only destroy the finer emotions of affection and sympathy, and breed an unfeeling callousness in the young toward suffering in all living creatures.” [Eleanor Roosevelt – former 1st lady, prominent author & activist]

     “Vivisection is a social evil because if it advances human knowledge, it does so at the expense of human character.” [George Bernard Shaw – early 20th century Irish playwright]

     “Atrocities are no less atrocities when they occur in laboratories and are called ‘medical research’.” [George Bernard Shaw]

     “Since compassion for animals is intimately connected with goodness of character, it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man.” [Arthur Schopenhauer – early 19rg century German philosopher]

     “The assumption that animals are without rights; and the illusion that our treatment of them; has no moral significance, is positively an outrageous example of Western crudity and barbarity. Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality.” [Arthur Schopenhauer]

     “Animals give me more pleasure through the viewfinder of a camera than they ever did in the crosshairs of a gun-sight. And after I’ve finished ‘shooting,’ my unharmed victims are still around for others to enjoy.” [Jimmy Stewart – American actor]

     “If man is not to stifle human feelings, he must practice kindness to animals, for He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.” [Immanuel Kant – 18th century German philosopher]

     “If we stop loving animals, aren’t we bound to stop loving humans too?” [Alexander Solzhenitsyn – Russian novelist and staunch animal rights advocate]

     “We are finite and separate, and neurotic, while the consciousness of an animal is at peace and eternal. We strive and go crazy to become more important. Animals rest and sleep and enjoy the company of each other. We think we have evolved upwards from animals but we have lost almost all of their qualities and abilities.” [Stuart Wilde – British writer and staunch supporter for animal rights]

     “The fact that man knows right from wrong proves his intellectual superiority to the other creatures; but the fact that he can do wrong proves his moral inferiority to any creatures that cannot.” [Mark Twain – late 19th century American author]

 So what do you think??? I’d really like to hear any comments.

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Posted by: animalvoice | December 28, 2009

Holiday Greetings

     It has been a while since I’ve done a joyful happy blog about my children, so I’ve decided to do one now. These are some Christmas memories of my three cats growing up.

     Each year my husband and I get a real live tree and decorate it. The kids love these stupid ornaments that are just balls covered with string in different colors so we always put them on the lower branches. Our good breakable ornaments are put on the top branches. Each year we put plain water in the tree holder (since it suddenly becomes their water dish for a few weeks) and then cover it with the tree skirt. The tree skirt is a picture of Tigger – we have a Pooh theme since as you know our oldest daughter’s name is Tigger.

     The kids love to help us decorate the tree by following that long strand of garland or those lovely little strands of lights.

     We also have a Winne the Pooh skating pond with figurines that skate on it, in time with the music, that mystifies the kids. That is until one of them (usually Tigger) knocks at least one of the Pooh skaters off the rink.

     Each evening when we go to bed, all the balls are on the branches, and the tree skirt is spread out lovely covering the tree holder filled with water. Then sometime during the night an alien attacks the tree and knocks most of the balls off, totally tortures the Tigger tree skirt, and causes water to jump out of the holder. Of course my 3 angels were asleep at the time. Yeah right — Mommy and Daddy know everything just like Santa does!!!

     We also get them presents. Usually one large present, i.e. a new oversized automatic litter box or a brand new carpet covered hutch or jungle gym type thing. If it’s in a box we wrap it. Then they also get some little presents – each year a new little stuffed animal filled with fresh cat nip. Some new shiny wands with feathers, little balls that they can roll and play with. We replace whatever they have destroyed during the year. Each kid has a stocking that we hang from the fireplace and fill with toys. Their grandparents also sometimes buy them presents which are wrapped. We might start the unwrapping with a corner but the kids pretty much take over after that.

     We can’t put wrapped presents under the tree until Christmas eve because those pesky aliens have unwrapped some secrets in the past.

     Our two youngest Calie (11) and Riley (8) are usually found sleeping under the tree on the skirt at least a few times each week we have the tree. NOT TOGETHER of course. Those two are so much like human siblings with their bickering and fighting.

     We also get them each their favorite flavors of food (wet stuff) for Christmas dinner so they can enjoy it whilie we have our Quorn vegetarian roast.

     And Grandpa McConville always sends them some fresh dried catnip. God the box smells so much they almost attack the mailman. Grandpa loves them enough to actually grow the catnip in his garden each year and then dries it out all fall until Christmas.

     Our cutest Christmas memory was when Calie was a kitten 10 mos at the time and she climbed up the tree and hid in between the branches and fell asleep up there. We frantically searched the house (they are all indoor cats) and FINALLY we found her. I grabbed a camera and we took a picture of it. She was so little and adorable.

     Now she weighs about 14 lbs and doesn’t even attempt to climb the tree. Exercise is for wimps except for racing to her food bowl then she has to be the first. Tigger however, our agile one, will jump from the nearest window and try to land on a branch — which usually doesn’t work too well.

     You know people ask me sometimes if I ever regret not having children. First of all, HELLO I HAVE 3. Secondly, no I don’t. Our three babies are the most precious little people. I couldn’t have asked for a better family. Although Riley is starting to ask for a baby brother to help try to balance the female domination.

     Well that is all for now. I hope you all had a happy holiday. Any animal lovers who wish to share their holiday traditions, I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment.

     Till next year – hug an animal, because you can’t be sad when you hug an animal. You just can’t. Try it.

Posted by: animalvoice | December 9, 2009

Romantic Abomination

     Okay, I know what you’re thinking; those two words don’t really go together. In most cases, I would agree with you. However, it is the perfect title to describe the destruction of the romantic nature of Central Park in New York City.

     No one will deny that Central Park is one of the most romantic places in New York City; in New York; maybe even in the world. When the words ‘romance’ and ‘Central Park’ are linked together, an image is immediately conjured in my mind. The setting is a cold, winter night at dusk, and the scene is of a couple snuggled under a blanket, with only eyes for each other, being driven through the snow in a handsome horse drawn carriage. There may be champagne and possibly an engagement ring, who knows. The sky’s the limit and everything seems right with the world. It’s the stuff that dreams were made of. It sounds like a ‘Currier & Ives’ painting or a scene from a romantic movie. Okay, did I mention that I’m an aspiring romance novelist? No, well, so that might be a little over the top but, you get my drift.

     Well if you’ve been following this blog, you know that I am a mother to three quadra-peds, and a staunch animal activist, with a mission to bring matters of animal cruelty and abuse to the forefront. I’ve been quiet lately, but I feel compelled to write about this topic.

     So this is where the second word in the title comes from. For every romantic image conjured, there is an equally horrific image of animal cruelty and abuse. The romance is a fallacy conjured by the industry, which is an abomination.

      Who said a photo was worth a thousand words?

 

A most horrific hansom cab accident in midtown Manhattan – January 2, 2006. Photo © by Catherine Nance  

      This picture is the scene of an accident between a horse-drawn carriage and a station wagon at the intersection of Ninth Avenue and 50th Street. Spotty, a five year old carriage horse, spooked by blaring traffic horns, bolted on the midtown street, ejected the driver and galloped straight into the station wagon. Three people were hospitalized, one critically. The horse was pinned under the car and had to be euthanized. It took police and fire department thirty minutes to extricate the horse from under the car. This story was reported on page 6 of the Daily News, on January 3, 2006. The two people in the car were not seriously injured, but the ejected carriage driver suffered head injuries

     The Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages, a standing committee of the Coalition for New York City Animals, Inc., was formed by Elizabeth Forel in 2005, in response to horrific accidents just like this one.

      The most recent accident between a horse-drawn carriage and a vehicle (a taxicab) was on September 19, 2009, when the taxi drove into the carriage. The carriage driver and the taxi driver were both hospitalized, thankfully, the horse was uninjured.

     Did you know that the horses don’t live in Central Park? I didn’t know that. I always just assumed they did. Well they don’t. The over 200 horses are actually stabled in multi-storied stables on the west side of Manhattan. The furthest stable is two miles from Central Park. How do you think the horses get to Central Park? They are driven on the side of the street in traffic with vehicles. It is normal for horses to ‘react to threatening situations with panic and flight’. What could be more threatening than the loud sounds of city traffic? I refuse to even contemplate driving in NYC, so I can’t imagine what it’s like for the horses.

     The living conditions of the horses are horrid. They live in small stables approximately 4 x 10 feet (yet a recommended size for a large horse is 12 x 12 ft) which are too short for a horse to be able to lie down and sleep. They also work nine hour days, seven days a week. I’d like to see our politicians work those hours.  

     What about weather conditions? Sure, your imagination drifts to the happy couple in a comfy blanket on a blustery, snowy ride through Central Park, right? Well what about the poor horses, they aren’t warm and cozy. Current legislation says that the horses may not work when the temperature is 90 degrees or above, or 18 degrees or below. So in other words, unless the horse drops dead from heat stroke or frostbite, it has to do its job.

     Statistics have shown that the average working life for a NYC carriage horse is 4 years, whereas the average working life for a NYC police horse is 14-15 years. Gee I wonder why that is?

     Did you ever think about what happens to the horses as they get too lame to work in these slave-like conditions? The industry would want you to believe the fallacy that they are all rescued and live out their lives on an idyllic farm somewhere. In reality, they are sold and the money is spent to buy new horses. Present law requires the horses to be sold or disposed of in a humane matter. Some horses from NYC that have been sold have been found and rescued from slaughter auctions.

     The Coalition has been attempting to bring this issue to the public and has finally gotten some recognition. In 2007, City Council Member, Tony Avella, introduced a bill, Intro 658 to ban horse-drawn carriages. This is the first time ever that legislation was introduced to ban this archaic out-of-place industry.

     In a letter to the editor of the Times Ledger on January 17, 2008, Mr. Avella responded to opposition to his proposed ban on horse-drawn carriages with the following statement:

     “I believe that we have grown as a society to recognize that the mistreatment of any animal is simply wrong. I guess the Times Ledger feels differently. The paper ignores the fact that in the last year and a half there have been seven accidents involving horse-drawn carriages. As a result, three horses have died and five people have been injured. As far as it being a big tourist attraction – are you going to tell me that a prospective tourist is not going to come to New York City because they can’t get a ride on a horse-driven carriage? That is absolute nonsense and belittles all that the city has to offer. Since I introduced the legislation, I have received support from an overwhelming number of New Yorkers. In addition, I have received an equal number of supportive e-mail messages from people all across the country. In fact, quite a number of tourists have stated that they would never take a ride on one of these carriages and are ashamed of New York City for continuing this practice. The inhumane treatment of the horses simply must end. It is time to put this industry out to pasture. It is shame that the Times Ledger does not see that.”

     A letter to the editor of the NY Daily News, on January 15, 2009, reported that from 1998 until 2008 there have been at least 22 serious horse-drawn carriage accidents resulting in five horse deaths and nineteen human injuries.

     The Coalition believes that it is essential to ban this archaic out-of-place industry. It has drafted a petition in support of the ban which has gathered between 40,000 to 50,000 signatures online (including my own) and on the street. I urge you to visit the website located at www.banhdc.org and sign the online petition.

     This is not just a NYC problem either. A survey of national carriage horse accidents revealed that 85% of all accidents were the result of ‘spooking’ the horse. Seventy percent of the time there was human injury and 22% of the time there was human death. Not surprisingly, New York City has the highest carriage horse accident rate in the country, and 98% of the horses that are spooked become injured.

     Pressure from concerned residents has resulted in bans on carriage horses in a growing number of cities, including Palm Beach, Florida; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Las Vegas, and Reno, Nevada; London; Paris; Beijing, and Toronto. Most recently New Delhi, India just banned carriage horses.

     In early 2008, rock star Pink got involved in the movement through her PETA involvement. She has been quoted as saying, “It honestly hurts my heart when I think of what those horses must be feeling, as far as anxiety and fear, and how unnatural and wrong it is for these animals to have blinders on, trotting up and down on concrete, while taxis blare and people scream. It’s absolutely unnatural and ignorant of us to continue this outdated tradition. What about this is romantic?”

     Mayor Michael Bloomberg in defense of the carriage horse trade stated in a letter to the editor of the NY Metro on December 31, 2007, that, “These are things that the tourists like and New Yorkers like, and they define a city.”

     Huh? What was the Mayor thinking? Obviously he wasn’t thinking about the horses. Unfortunately, Councilman Avella’s term ends at the end of this month. Thankfully, the bill will be reintroduced in early 2010, under a different number, by it’s new sponsor, Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito.

     An integral part of the proposed legislation in my eyes, is that it revises §17-329 concerning ‘humane disposition’ of the horses as: ‘either being sold or donated to a private individual, or a duly incorporated animal sanctuary or animal protection organization, that signs an assurance that the horse will not be sold and shall be kept as a companion animal and cared for the remainder of the horse’s natural life.’ 

     The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), executive director, Ed Sayres states ”the ASPCA, a privately-funded agency, continues to voluntarily – and at it’s own expense – do the city’s job, monitoring the activity and enforcing the regulations that govern horses’ handling, care and welfare. The city’s taxpayers (knowingly or unknowingly) are subsidizing the very industry the city should be overseeing by allowing them to work out of city owned property, and revenues from their business are not subject to sales tax.” (www.aspca.org)

     The New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets (NYCLASS), executive director Jared Rosen, states, “The horse carriages…are expensive, unsanitary and dangerous to humans and the horses.” Not only does it affect the public health, it also subjects the horses to inhumane conditions. Furthermore,  “the carriage horse [live in stables on] prime real estate that could be used for more affordable housing for people, which the city desperately needs…It’s time for New Yorkers to demand an alternative to the carriage horses, specifically ‘green’ (eco-friendly) replicas of antique cars.” (www.ny-class.org) Furthermore, a similiar initiative has been successfully implemented in San Francisco, by NYCLASS.

     These cars can provide the rides that tourists want, offer jobs to the carriage workers with the potential for higher wages, and maintain the historic and romantic feel of the tours through Central Park.  The cars will eliminate the sanitation and health concerns for humans but, most of all put an end to the cruelty and inhumane treatment of the horses. 

     NYCLASS also vows that it “will rescue all carriage horses and place them on farms or other suitable sanctuaries to be recuperated to their natural, healthy capacity and live out the remainder of their lives [in peace and safety].”

     I agree with his suggestion. In this day and age, when we as a culture are moving towards ‘green,’ I think this is a great way to help clean up NYC and save the horses as well. Plus think of the nostalgia associated with driving through Central Park in a replica of a 20th century car, a remembrance to yesteryear, without animal cruelty. Because, after all, isn’t that what the tourism industry is trying to achieve with the horse-drawn carriages.

     However, NYCLASS and ASPCA propose a ‘phase-out’ of the horse drawn carriages over a three year period, as opposed to an all out ban NOW. In my heart, I disagree with that suggestion, even though it might be a more ‘politically acceptable compromise’ in the end.

     The Coalition and other animal rights activists say that the animals can’t wait. This practice has gone on way too long already. They propose a two-step process: first the total ban NOW, then later introduce the ‘vintage car’ industry as a replacement.

     In my OWN opinion I believe that the politics and economics will be the deciding factor in the end. A total ban NOW to be followed years later, if ever, with vintage cars will negatively affect the NYC economy at the worst possible time. We can’t just eliminate jobs without providing assistance to the drivers in the way of jobs or money. Unfortunately, I believe the only way that NYC can have enough votes to pass legislation and put the horse carriage industry out to pasture, will be if there is some sort of phase-out.

     Now don’t get me wrong, first and foremost, I’m an animal lover. I wish we could end it NOW, but realistically I don’t think it is feasible without the phase-out. To get any legislative change takes time, no matter what the industry, or the issue. Emotions run high because of the animals. But the end goal of both proposals is the same – the end of the cruelty and abuse of the horses. If that involves a phase out to achieve that goal, then although, it may have to be a tough pill for some activists to swallow, we will have to do it.

     All animals deserve respect not cruelty and abuse. They need a voice. Be that voice, go to the website www.banhdc.org, watch the videos and clips from the city council hearings on www.youtube.com, read the proposed legislation and take a stand. Help end this cruel, archaic, and unromantic industry.

     I’d love to hear your comments on this issue.

Posted by: animalvoice | October 8, 2009

Cutting out Dissection

     I still remember that fall day in junior high when I walked into our science lab to start our dissection rotation. We dissected earthworms, grasshoppers, clams and oh yes, eventually the infamous frog. To this day, I still can’t eat a clam. I mean who knew that you ate all the inside organs when you ate a clam??? I surely never even imagined it. But that was just the beginning of my education.

     The poor frog was the worst. We wore our smocks, goggles and gloves and brandished our gleaming new scalpels and cut into the frog. We spent about a week on that poor pitiful frog. We learned about the muscles, tissues, and organs etc. There was more out of the frog by the time we were done than was left inside.

     We thought we were finally done with Fred, that’s what our team lovingly named him. But we were sadly mistaken. The next day when we entered the lab we were met with the most putrid smell I’ve ever had the displeasure of smelling. It was formaldehyde; lots of boiling pots of it. We were instructed by our teacher to drop our frogs into the boiling pots so that the formaldehyde would remove the rest of the carcass of the frog leaving only the skeleton. If I ever had any plans to eat frog legs, they were boiled away that day.

     After what seemed like forever, using tongs and pot holders we pulled our frogs out of the vats of water. Low and behold our poor Fred was a mere skeleton. Then we were instructed to let Fred dry out overnight. Then the next day we glued him, well what was left of him onto a piece of construction paper. We then dutifully labeled all the bones on the skeleton, put our individual names on the group display and ta-da we had finished our science project for parent night, the following week.  

     At the time I wanted to be a doctor so the dissection didn’t really bother me. I had always been an animal lover but in my naïveté I didn’t think of these animals as animals. I owned cats and dogs but never a frog. When it came right down to it, I didn’t have compassion for the frog. It wasn’t until I got into college and took classes where we worked on rats that I truly evolved in my thinking to realize that what we were doing and had done was wrong. But that will be the subject of an entirely different blog entry.

     Back then it was the eighties and students had no choice in the matter. My only choice was to not take gross anatomy in college since it involved first a fetal pig followed by a cat the following semester. That was where I drew the imaginary line in the sand. To those of you who know me and follow this blog, you know that I’m “MOM” to three cats that are truly my “KIDS” in every sense of the word. The idea of dissecting a cat just sent me over the edge and was a huge part of my decision to NOT go to medical school. I went to law school instead. I’m still not sure how much better of a decision that was, but at least no animals were harmed in the earning of my degree.

     But TODAY children and parents have a CHOICE about dissection in schools. Did you know that you have a right to ‘refuse to dissect animals in New York’? And New York is not alone in this endeavor. California, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia also have similar laws.

     New York State Education Law section 809(4) gives students the rights to say “NO” to cutting up animals in NY:   “Any student in a public school expressing a moral or religious objection to performing or witnessing the dissection of an animal SHALL BE PROVIDED with the opportunity to complete an altenative project WITHOUT PENALTY. The student’s objection must be substantiated in writing by the student’s parent or guardian. Experiments on live animals is forbidden.” (emphasis added)

     AND even better, October is ‘Cut out Dissection’ Month, with a number of websites providing documentation and pamphlets for parents and students to voice their objection to dissection. Of course PETA leads the way with a number of articles and pamphlets located at www.peta2.org/cutoutdissection/cutoutdissection.asp .

     Since I realize that some folks find PETA to be too radical, I also recommend some over very good sites, starting with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) website with an entire dissection campaign located at www.hsus.org/animals_in_research/animals_in_education/dissection_campaign_packet.html. HSUS also has a ‘Student Choice in Biology Education: a Policy Guide’ to assist school districts in drafting student choice policies.

     Suite101.com has great articles at http://educationalissues.suite101.org.com/print_articles.cfm/dissection_choice; or www.animalearn.org/dissectionandvivisection04.phpand finally the Physicians Committee on Responsible Medicine (PCRM) website has www.dissectionalternatives.org/concerned/welfare.cfm.

     To those of you parents out there who wonder if it really is a big deal I did some research for this blog to see exactly how big of a deal it is. Every year six million animals (including frogs, cats, and fetal pigs) are cut up in classrooms around the country – even though humane alternatives exist. 28 out of 29 studies conducted have shown that students who use alternatives to dissection perform just as well – if not better – than students who cut up animals.

     Paul Comeau’s article “Dissection Choice in the Classroom: Supporting Students Rights to Choose or Object to Dissection in Class” is posted on the Suite101.com website. I would highly recommend any parent interested in this subject to read that article.

     Mr. Comeau states that “dissection choices, or more accurately a lack thereof, affects students in virtually every school across the country that has a science or biology class. Standardized curriculums for the majority of these biology courses require the students to dissect an animal. It is a major component of the course, with a grade weighed heavily on such participation. This weighing of a grade acts as a coercive force in silencing students who might object to dissection for fear of it negatively affecting their grade.” (Emphasis added)

     The Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association (HSVMA) has developed an Alternative to Dissection Database containing thousands of alternatives to animal use in education.

     HSUS offers the Humane Education Loan Program (HELP), a free service that lends CD-ROMS, videos, models and charts to students and teachers interested in alternatives to dissection. Just for fun I checked their list and found that their alternatives include such animals as earthworms, clams, grasshoppers and frogs. All the animals I dissected all those years ago.

     PCRM did a survey and found that “a school with five biology classes, for example, purchases 35 bullfrogs per class per year which costs around $1300.00. By contrast purchasing the ‘Digital Bullfrog’ CD-ROM requires a one-time layout of just $200.00.” So assuming the school didn’t use HSUS’s free services, it could save a lot of money with the alternative methods to dissection. With the economy in such dire straits, think of the impact this cost savings could have on school budgets.

     As far back as 2004, a study of high school students found that as many as 90% of the students felt that they should have a choice regarding dissection. School principals and districts have found these students to be ‘annoying, difficult and rebellious teenagers. These students in all actuality are expressing an awareness of the suffering endured by animals during capture, handling, trapping and/or killing as well as the decline in the wild kingdom population in part because of dissection exercises.’

     Mr. Comeau in his article states “forcing students to participate in these barbaric practices discourage some…students from pursuing careers in science.”

     There is also a negative psychological impact on young students who participate in dissection. In fact, studies have shown that dissection can “desensitize some students fostering attitudes of indifference and callousness towards animals.” Dissection sends a harmful message that animal life is expendable. And everyone knows about the link between child abuser of animals is likely to lead to an adult abuser of animals and humans.

     Another factor that impacts this debate further is the number of high school students that are vegetarians. An article in USA today states that 1 in every 200 students are vegetarians. If these kids won’t eat animals, do we really want to force them to dissect the animal?

 “In the pursuit of education, curiosity shouldn’t kill the cat.” (Paul Comeau)

In Memory of Fred

In Memory of Fred

Posted by: animalvoice | September 23, 2009

HAPPY Act for Pets

     The first time I heard that statement I thought some Congressman had lost his mind. What the heck was he talking about? Well when I researched the subject, I discovered it was the catch name for a bill introduced into Congress by Representative Thaddeus McCotter. I was astonished to learn that McCotter is actually a Republican from Michigan, who introduced the bill on July 31, 2009. The bill is identified as H.R. 3501 and officially known as the ‘Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years (HAPPY) Act. The text of the bill can be found at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:H.R.3501. The ASPCA website has an action alert with an already filed out letter that all you have to do is sign and it is automatically emailed to your local U.S. Representative. https://secure2.convio.net/aspca/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=2605.

      Essentially the essence of the bill is to provide a tax deduction for pet care expenses up to a maximum of $3,500.00 per year. Qualified expenses include ‘amounts paid in connection with providing care (including veterinary care) for a qualified pet other than any expense in connection with the acquisition of the qualified pet. In layman’s terms that means you can’t deduct the charges you paid to adopt the animal from a breeder or shelter. You could however deduct regular veterinary expenses such as spay/neuter, office visits, vaccines and surgeries.

      It is significant to point out that Rep. McCotter stated in the ‘findings’ section of the bill the following two points:

(1)               According to the 2007-2008 National Pet Owners Survey, 63% of United States households own a pet.

(2)               The Human-Animal Bond has been shown to have positive effects upon people’s emotional and physical well-being.

     From further research I have learned that of the 63% of households owning pets, only 3% opt for pet health insurance, according to the Wall Street Journal. In the next year, it is estimated that the number will grow to about 5-7%. That still leaves a tremendous amount of pet owners paying for veterinary care from their own pockets.

     As advances in veterinary care allow pets to live longer lives, this usually corresponds to higher costs for care. It’s not unusually to have veterinary bills of more than $1,000.00 for surgeries, emergency room visits or long-term chronic care, which can have a major impact on family finances. The HAPPY Act is important because it would help Americans provide their pets with the medical attention and quality of life they deserve. After all adopting a pet is a commitment for life, similar to getting married, or having a child (2-legged).

     As I’ve stated in an earlier blog entitled ‘a child in need’ I explain our situation when our SON Riley developed an eye disorder at the age of six months. Because he is not ‘just a pet’ but a ‘member of our family as much as we are as parents’, we drove four hours to Connecticut and paid a specialist over $1200.00 for eye surgery. We attempted to get pet insurance but it was a pre-existing condition (sound familiar) so we ended up paying for his care out of pocket. You can read the blog to learn the entire story, including suggestions made by my so called colleagues at the law office, of what I could do to take care of Riley permanently.

     I have seen first hand in the shelter where I am on the Board of Directors, adoptions are way down this year, but more pets are being abandoned at the shelters for the inability to pay for their care. This is also seen with the rise in foreclosures as people move from home to apartment where a pet might not be allowed. Some people bring their animals to the shelters others abandon them by leaving them in the abandoned home or yard. This bill may help ensure that some pets get the treatment that they need AND are still able to remain in the loving home instead of being wretched away and abandoned to fend for themselves.

     As a fellow blogger wrote ‘opponents of the bill might say that pets are just possessions and owners don’t deserve a tax break. But for many people, pets are more than that. They are members of the family! If a tax exemption allowed people to take better care of their pets, I’m all for it…I recognize that not everyone feels the same way I do. Still a tax break may encourage people of all pet philosophies to take better care of their pets.’

     Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with this bill, I think everyone would agree that the economy sucks for everyone. Why should pets be just one more victims of the downward spiral our nation is going through?

     This blog entry started out with a simple message to friends on Facebook talking about the bill and asking them for their support by sending letters of support to their local congressperson. My message will be the first comment.

     I include ALL comments in their entirety because I believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I respect that even if I don’t agree with them. Let’s agree to disagree. But I think we all agree that this bill if passed would be only a tiny baby-step in the right direction of animal rights.

Posted by: animalvoice | September 22, 2009

Animals: Casualties of OUR Military

            To those of you new to my blog, so far it’s been pretty mild, from an animal activist point of view. Well except for a couple of entries where I ranted about Michael Vick and his return to the NFL, because I just had to. But other than that my blog has mainly centered about my three children of the four-legged variety. I’ve coined the term ‘quadra-peds’. Anyhow my intention for this blog is to delve into some very serious animal issues that most people are not aware of. If that offends you then I’m sorry. But don’t despair I promise I’ll insert some humorous ‘tails’ of my cats to break up the seriousness of the blog. 

            Did you know that our military trains its medics by using live animals? They don’t broadcast it because after all, don’t they face enough negative publicity? To animal activists it is a travesty that must be exposed.  

            There was an episode on Grey’s Anatomy last season that dealt with this very subject (Season 5, episode 6, ‘life during wartime’). One of the doctors, a trauma surgeon recently back from Iraq, conducted a skills lab for the residents and interns. It was a training session where they would learn by ‘working with live tissue’. The live tissue turned out to be four anesthetized live pigs on operating tables. Horrified the doctors watched the surgeon pull out a knife and mutilate each of the pigs in various areas of their bodies. He then told the doctors to work as teams to save the pigs.         

            Isabel Stevens, portrayed by Katherine Heigl (an animal activist in real life) refused to take part in the exercise. Her character informed the surgeon that with today’s technology there is no need to torture live creatures. She goes so far as to call him a ‘monster’ and then later ‘a murdering sadistic bastard.’

            One resident and four interns take part in the exercise and manage to keep all four pigs alive. At the end of the day the surgeon comes back to see their work, he congratulates them and then tells them to kill the pigs. The resident balks at the mere suggestion. Ironically the surgeon says, “They’ll be in pain, those are massive injuries which will require months of recovery. To keep them alive after that is not humane.”

            Naively I thought that the writers went to extreme measures to allow Katherine Heigl to highlight her animal activism. After doing some research I realized that this actually happens in this country.

            In fact the Department of Defense (DoD) actually has three videos on YouTube showing graphic ‘combat trauma training courses’ which are claimed to improve military medicine. The U.S. military blatantly disregards the lives of pigs, goats and Vervet monkeys in these videos without any remorse. The pigs and goats are subjected to severe injuries including stab wounds, gunshot wounds, burns and amputations before they are killed. The U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense injects the Vervet monkeys with a toxic dose of the drug physostigmine (a nerve gas) which induces seizures, difficulty breathing and eventually death. In that video the students and trainer merely stand there and watch as the monkey suffers a seizure and starts to go into respiratory distress. That is nothing short of an abomination and beyond inhumane. The instructor specifically states that the “primary function of the exercise is observation.” I for one would like to observe that trainer experience a seizure and respiratory distress for a similar injection. The link for this video is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYMZFvJEO6I and the other videos can be reached from the same link. Please be advised that the videos are very graphic and as shocking as any PETA video I’ve ever watched.

            On June 3, 2009, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) submitted a legal petition to Department of Defense officials asking them to exercise their authority to require that existing alternative methods that could immediately replace the use of live animals. See http://www.pcrm.org/resch/dod/petition.pdf

            The Israel Defense Forces Medical Corps and the Israel’s Carmel Medical Center have developed a non-animal training curriculum which includes lectures, simulation training, and the use of moulage (actors apply makeup and mimic the symptoms of the chemical warfare casualties). The irony of Middle Eastern countries using more humane methods than the U.S. is not lost on me. It shouldn’t be lost on you either.

            In this country, a professor at Harvard, who is also a doctor at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, has organized numerous scenarios that simulate mass casualty incidents and nerve gas attacks. Similar models are used through the U.S. to prepare personnel for mass casualty incidents in the instance of a terrorist attack. In my opinion, the U.S. military’s use of the live animals is nothing more than a terrorist attack against animals.

            To skeptics who wonder exactly how much of a problem this is, in 2007 alone, more than 5,000 live goats and 3,500 live pigs were used and killed in combat trauma training courses at Fort Sam Houston, Fort Bragg, and elsewhere. So, approximately 9,000 animals give up their lives each year, for military training purposes, when they don’t have to.

            The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has also jumped on the bandwagon by pointing out that neither the Air Force Expeditionary Medical Skills Institute’s Center for Sustainment of Trauma and Readiness Skills nor the Navy Trauma Training Center use animals for trauma training – “more proof that it is not necessary to use animals in order to teach these treatment skills.” I’d really like somebody to explain to me why the Army is so different.

            PETA has a petition that will be sent to President Barrack Obama asking him for an executive order requiring the DoD to replace the use of animals in trauma and chemical-casualty training exercises with available non-animal methods. As of this writing on September 21, 2009, I am one of 20,742 signatures on that petition. http://www.peta.org/trauma discusses the situation and links you to the petition which is actually through a cause on Facebook. The petition can be reached directly on Facebook at http://apps.facebook.com/causes/petitions/245.  PETA also has a letter online that people can sign to be forwarded to their local Congressperson. The letter can be found at https://secure.peta.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=1710.

            I, of course being a writer, an attorney, a lover of all animals, a parent of three cats, and a former EMT, had to sign the letter. I took the liberty of changing and adding language to personalize it though.  

            So I ask you, if you are an animal lover go to the PETA website and sign the petition, and the letter to your Congressperson. Go to the PCRM website and read their petition and look at the videos.

            Animals are innocents without a voice. We must be that voice for them. Help me be that voice.

Posted by: animalvoice | September 22, 2009

Riley Matthew

August 23, 2009 by animalauthor01

riley lounging

 

This is Riley Matthew . I’ve been meaning to do a post about him for a while but I got distracted by football. Now you’ve met Riley before in the posting called ‘a child in need’. Riley developed an eye problem when he was six months old and eventually had to have eye surgery. A lot of closed minded people thought we were insane to drive to a specialist in Connecticut (about 4-5 hrs from our house) and pay a substantial amount of money for surgery for A CAT.

     People just didn’t understand that Riley was OUR CHILD not our cat. Just like our 2 daughters we (Kevin & I) would do anything for our kids.

     Riley is my little angel. He was so good when he had his eye problem. Even though we all went through a horrible experience it brought us all closer together.

     I say Riley reminds me of the cowardly lion in the Wizard of Oz. He’s red, well technically ‘red smoke’ so he looks like a lion. He struts around like he owns the place until Calie glares at him and he runs away in fear. He’s also very majestic sometimes. He’ll just sit there and give you this look like ‘worship me’. Then again he is a purebred so maybe he knows something we don’t.

    From the picture above you’ll see he has that pushed- in nose. Its called ‘peke-faced’ persian because it looks like a Pekingese’s face. Some people think he looks mean but he is the sweetest, gentliest soul.

   And he’s spoiled rotten. Somehow I don’t even remember when it started but one day he came into the bathroomwith me. Thanks to Tigger not liking closed doors (see earlier posts) I usually leave the door open about an inch. All 3 have no respect for privacy and just waltz right in. Well one day while I’m brushing my teeth, in comes Riley. He jumps up onto the toilet seat – yes we have to keep the cover down because all 3 have claimed it as their ‘thrown’. Anyway, when Riley wants attention he talks. Okay I know what you’re thinking, he talks ‘cat’ but he still talks. Experts say that a cat can learn up to about a 20 word vocabulary. They really do understand us with a lot of things. Anyway, Riley gave me this ‘pay attention to me Mommy’  face and made a ‘wah’ noise. After finishing my teeth I bent down and started to pet him. Well he started to do it regularly and we got into a routine. Now he comes in, stands up on the toilet seat so that his front paws on the top of the bowl and he looks over his shoulder at me and ‘wah’s me. This has now become his request, no his demand for A MASSAGE. I know you think I’m crazy but he loves me to massage his back. And if I try to skimp and rush through it he ‘wah’s at me in complaint. At the end of the massage I tap (love tap) him on his butt and he jumps down from the toilet.

     The cute thing now is that anytime anyone goes near the bathroom and he’s around he races you to it. It’s hilarious. I can also get him back really good. You see the way our house is set up, from the  living room you can either continue down the hall to the bathroom, or you can make a left and goes downstairs. If he thinks you’re going to the bathroom he’ll run and then I go downstairs instead just to torture him. You know what he does? He whine and howls like an injured wolf. He’s actually woke me up during the night by howling from the toilet seat. I promptly explained to him that the massage parlor is closed at 3:00 a.m. Sometimes if he thinks you’re coming back, he falls asleep in there.. LOL

     But the best part of Riley is that he loves to sleep with us in bed. He prefers to have my pillow but if my head’s there, he makes an adjustment. He plops right next to my head, so you can barely even see me. He has woke me up a number of times by licking me in the ear like a dog. That wakes you up fast, let me tell you.. If I’m awake when he gets up on the pillow he’ll snuggle with me so that his nose in against the side of my neck and it is just the most precious feeling. It brings tears to my eyes.

    You know how experts say that cats smother babies. I’m sure there is truth to it and it probably is a jealous thing but…Riley has plopped on my head actually my face a couple of times and I’ve had to move him off. He wasn’t trying to kill me (at least I don’t think he was) but he just wanted to be as close to me as possible. I don’t know it’s just my opinion.

     Anyway that’s enough gushing about my baby boy.

    Talk soon.

Posted by: animalvoice | September 22, 2009

Falcon turns into an Eagle

August 14, 2009 by animalauthor01

  Sorry guys I know that I still haven’t finished my blog about my son Riley but this Michael Vick thing just keeps coming back.

  I’m sure that if you’ve been watching the news you’ve heard that the Philadelphia Eagles SIGNED Michael Vick. (Gasp – ‘the horror’)

  My first comment is ‘What the hell were they thinking?” No team can be in that dire straits to need Michael Vick on their bench!!! Hello you already have McNabb who is an excellent QB.

    Yeah sure Vick might have been awesome back in 2006 when he last played. Since then he’s lost his A-game. Prison will do that to you.

     I hope Reid thought about how this will impact McNabb – does he see it as a good thing? or a potential replacement?  As far as I’m concerned McNabb is one of the best players Philly has. I would be leary about making him want to leave.

  My second comment comes from another NFL story playing out in the media dealing with Plaxico Burress. Okay I’ll admit that I’m a HUGE Giants fan and I think Burress is a wonderful player that the Giants will surely miss. He’s being indicted on 2 counts of criminal possession of a weapon and is facing a MINIMUM of 3 1/2  yrs in the slammer. That’s for mistakenly shooting himself in the leg in a nightclub in NYC.  3  1/2 yrs Minimum and Vick served 23 months for what he did.

    This just goes to show you that animal cruelty cases need to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and that the penalties have to be harsher. Vick should still be sitting in a jail cell NOT on a bench on the sidelines. That is the really moral to this blog. Although I’m ranting about football the fact remains that animal cruelty does not get the ‘punishment’ it deserves. We need to fight on the state level and federal level.

     I think somebody needs to warn Philly that they better be prepared for the backlash of their actions. Philly will DEFINITELY lose fans over this.

   There’s always been a big rivalry between Giants and Eagles — this just adds to it for me. They play on Nov 1st and Dec 13th and all I can say is ‘bring it on’. If Vick does get to play (GOD FORBID) I hope whatever team they’re playing sacks the shit out of him. I’d even be okay with some injury that would keep him out for a few games if not the rest of the season.

Talk soon

K

Posted by: animalvoice | September 22, 2009

NFL Comm. needs psych evaluation

(Originally submitted July 30, 2009)

     Again my blog about Riley is getting pushed off due to the urgency of this subject.  As I’ve said before, this blog is for animal lovers and as an attorney for animals I have to comment on the whole Michael Vick situation. For those of you who feel that he should be allowed to play in the NFL let’s agree to disagree. I’m climbing on my soap box again but I promise to look at it from both sides.

     On the one hand, there are those who think that Michael Vick could never finish ‘repaying his debt’ to society. What he did and let be done, to those dogs was nothing short of a massacre. No amount of money or prison time is going to make up for those dogs lost lives. People say that ’well he killed animals not people…there’s a difference.’ No IT ISN”T different. A life is a life. If he had killed that number of people instead of  dogs he would still be in jail for a long time. And he definitely wouldn’t ever be playing football again.

Others say ‘he paid his debt to society’ leave him alone and let him live his life…his livelihood is football…reinstate him. To those people I want to say ’speaking without thinking about the impact on animals and just responding to that’ this is what I say… 

    To those of you who haven’t heard, Vick has been conditionally reinstated – he can’t play for the first 6 games of the season. Now he just has to find a team that will take him. Think a second about that team – say for example it was the NY Giants — (my favorite team) I’d kick Tom Coughlin’s ass myself. But I digress. You’re a parent and your 6 year old son looks up to Vick and wants to wear his jersey and be just like him when he grows up…do you really want him to be just like Vick?? No matter how much time goes by Vick is never going to get rid of this bad publicity… is he really the best role model??? A convicted felon. I think that whatever team takes him is going to suffer some severely bad publicity and lose fans over it.

     I’ve never been a fan of the Atlanta Falcons but I am now and you know why?? The owner Arthur Blank tried to trade Vick (that’s like trying to get a job for someone from Enron) to no avail so he let him go. Vick’s contract with the Falcons wasn’t suppose to expire until 2013. Blank actually is fighting Vick to get some of the signing bonus money back. The point is that Blank wanted absolutely nothing to do with Michael Vick.  Blank earned himself a fan just by those actions – I am now a Falcon fan.

     As for my men in blue – I’ve loved the Giants since the late 1980s and they are starting training camp on Monday in Albany at SUNY Albany and I already have my season pass for it. I love them playing this close to me, where I’m 50 ft away from them as they practice. But I have to admit even with this love, I’d have to serious consider my loyalty if they considered Michael Vick. Thankfully I think that Coughlin and the higher ups are sufficiently happy with Eli Manning so it shouldn’t effect me. But I don’t know if I could get past it.

     I’ve heard some people say they are going to boycott the NFL all together. I can’t do that because I love football too much.   

    Another very good point that I’ve heard is that Pete Rose did a hell of a lot less and he’s still banned from baseball. Which gets me back to my title

“What the hell was NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell thinking????”

Posted by: animalvoice | September 22, 2009

Animal Activism 101

    Keeping in line with my blog today’s entry should be all about my baby, Riley but it isn’t going to be. Today I’m going to jump on my soapbox about animal activism. Some of you might be turned off by that and I’m sorry but part of my mission in life is to improve the lives of animals everywhere in whatever way I can.

    The easy ways are: adopt from a shelter, donate to animal causes, spay or neuter all your pets etc., put a bumper sticker on your car, wear an activism shirt, become a vegetarian.

    The hard ones involve taking a stand on a topic. Doing something like joining an organization and attend their rallies, send letters to congressmen or President Obama. Volunteer at your local shelter. Make your voice heard. You have to remember that animals don’t have a voice, WE ARE THEIR VOICE. If we don’t do anything, than nobody will.

    For those of you who care about shelter animals PLEASE go to this site. It’s a wonderful site where the advertisers pay for food for animals in shelters. The amount is based on the number of ‘clicks’ on the button by visitors to the site. Each click provides .6 bowls of food. It’s  www.theanimalrescuesite.com. It also has a section for signing petitions for various causes involving animals. I would ask every person reading this entry to please go to that site and check it out. It isn’t just about animals either, there are also links for other causes such as breast cancer, literacy, hunger etc.

    As an attorney in NYS I’m a member of the NYS Bar Assocation which has sections on a variety of topics of law as well as committees. The committee that I’ve been involved with for 4 years now is called the ‘Committee on Animals and the Law’ or CAL. We not only help people throughout NYS with animal cases, but we also refer cases to the correct people who can help them. We also have a website with a blog and resources and publications for people. I’m a member of the Legislation Subcommittee which involves us looking at proposed bills in the assembly/senate, seeing which ones we want to oppose or support and then choosing ones to do memorandums on. The memos then go to the legislature for their consideration with the bill. I’ve personally worked on bills involving penalties for leaving animals in cars in extreme temperatures; providing adequate shelter for dogs chained outside; and increasing penalties for repeat offenders of animal cruelty.

    I’m also the Chair of the Publications Subcommittee which involves us drafting and distributing a brochure on Animal Law in New York State, a biannual electronic newsletter on a variety of topics from pet trusts to international wildlife treaties. A current topic hot off the presses is the influx of people leaving animals behind in foreclosed houses. We’ve drafted tipsheets for realtors, banks, neighbors etc. and compiled a database to send the sheets via a listserve. The sheets tell people who to call and what to do to save those animals.

   Finally I don’t think any blog entry on this topic would be complete without mentioning PETA. I will grant you that sometimes I believe PETA members go a little too far at times, but their hearts are in the right place and their message is good.

    For example right now, one of their action alerts involves three hospitals that continue to use LIVE AWAKE CATS for their students to practice intubation on. You know where they push the annoying and painful breathing tube down your throat (hopefully not down your esophagus) and breathe for you. The three hospitals in question are St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Heartland Regional Medical Center and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.  

Because of pressure from PETA the University of Connecticut Health Center has stopped using live cats and gone with the simulators or dummies. If EMS can train on dummies why can’t these schools. Hell when a person is intubated during general anesthesia for surgery they AREN’T AWAKE FOR IT.

    What’s worse is that The American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) RECOMMEND using dummies instead of the live cats.

   PETA has a letter all drafted and addressed on it’s website. All you have to do is type in your name and off it goes to the individual schools. Please do things like this because that’s how things get done.

    Enough soap box for today — stay tuned for Activism 102!!

I leave you with one quote from Gandhi “the greatness of a nation and its moral progress, can be judged by the way its animals are treated” and another one from the Animal Legal Defense Fund – we’re probably the only attorneys whose clients are all innocent.

Hug an animal – you can’t help but smile

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