Book Review: Confronting Animal Exploitation: Grassroots Essays on Liberation and Veganism, Kim Socha and Sarahjane Blum, eds. (2013)

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Abolitionist Vegan Voices from the Trenches of the Twin Cities

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: at my request, the publisher provided me with a free copy of this book for review.)

Born of a beautifully simple idea, Confronting Animal Exploitation: Grassroots Essays on Liberation and Veganism provides a platform for everyday, in-the-trenches animal activists to share their stories. More specifically, these author-activists all live in or around Minnesota’s Twin Cities and subscribe to the abolitionist vegan perspective (even if not all of the contributors label themselves as such). The result is a captivating, surprisingly diverse collection of essays that addresses myriad aspects of the animal liberation movement, from the obvious (welfare reform and “humane” meat; the problems with capitalist models of reform; the alienation of being a vegan in a non-vegan world) to connections seemingly obscure (animal-friendly themes in Stephen King’s oeuvre).

The essays in CAE are grouped into four themes: Theory for Praxis, Veganism in Action, Narratives of Change, and Moving Toward Revolution. Those already involved in the animal liberation movement will no doubt see a name or two that they recognize. Longtime activist Dallas Rising, for example, kicks off the anthology with an examination of why so many people actively choose to ignore the suffering of nonhuman animals (“Turning Our Heads: The ‘See No Evil’ Dilemma”). Perhaps the most frustrating roadblock encountered by activists, she attributes this willful ignorance to ethnocentrism, a fear of social ostracism, and the pain inherent in recognizing such traumas: we are at once perpetrators and victims of animal exploitation – an idea expertly grounded in Judith Herman’s classic text Trauma and Recovery. Rising’s second contribution – “Tales of an Animal Liberationist” – is at once inspiring and heartbreaking, and highlights the power of personal narratives in changing hearts and minds (and hopefully behavior as well).

In a community in which BBQ fundraisers and meat-based “Spay-ghetti and No Balls” dinners are the rule rather than the exception, vegans who work with companion animal rescue groups are no strangers to this disconnect. People who break their hearts and empty their bank accounts to save dogs and cats think nothing of selling the dead and dismembered bodies of cows and pigs to fund their efforts – and please their own palates. Melissa E. Masske makes a moving argument for sticking it out in such situations, both because animal rescue is a rewarding and effective form of direct action in and of itself – and to introduce “animal people” to the tenets of veganism (“Introducing Speciesism to the Rescue Community”).

(More below the fold…)

Vegan Junk Food Up the Wazoo!: Creamy Ranch Dressing

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

2012-04-30 - VJF Ranch Dressing - 0003

So here we have a batch of the Creamy Ranch Dressing from Lane Gold’s Vegan Junk Food. Super-yummy, and very close in taste to its dairy counterpart – or so the husband tells me. (This is the first ranch dressing I’ve tried, vegan or otherwise. Look out Thousand Islands, you’ve got competition!)

The name of the recipe is a little deceptive, actually, as Gold gives you options for creating both a dressing and a dip. You begin by making a sort of “spice packet” with garlic, onion, chives, and other goodies. (This, in turn, makes about 6 batches worth of dip/dressing.) Next, the base: one part vegan mayo to one part vegan sour cream. (There’s also a recipe for the latter, fyi. I thought I saw one for mayo, too, but I can’t seem to find it now!) Mix in a tablespoon of the spices and voilà! – you’ve got dip! Prefer dressing instead? Simply water it down with some soy milk.

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The taste of the dressing pairs especially well with sundried tomatoes and bacon bits, imho. I’ve got to find a way to work these into the recipe. I’m inclined to add the bacon bits to the spice packet, so they get nice and pulverized; but the sundried tomatoes might fare better when added at the last minute, when you’re actually making the dip/dressing. I wonder how well the base will soak up the flavor of the tomatoes if it’s allowed to sit for several days? THERE’S ONLY ONE WAY TO FIND OUT. I smell an experiment!

The dressing, though? Still makes for a nice dip, especially when chilled:

2012-04-30 - VJF Ranch Dressing - 0013

(If you’re wondering why there are so many damned saltines around, it’s because they’re an ingredient in the spice. Seriously!)

Last night, having depleted my salad reserves, I was snacking on some potato chips and ranch dressing over the kitchen counter* when suddenly a few of the dogs started barking at me. Out of nowhere! “Put down the chips, fatty, it’s eleven o’clock!” I’m pretty sure that’s what they were saying; they’re super-rude like that. Mags especially.

2012-04-01 - Dogs Outside - 0018

True story!

* While watching – shhhh! don’t tell! – Toddlers & Tiaras. Two of the prizes in the featured pageant? PUPPIES! Freaking PUPPIES! Gifting animals with the advantage of advanced planning is bad enough, but handing them out as door prizes? WTF! How do you know whether the winner even wants a dog? I mean, the kids do, obvs – the temper tantrums and cryfests from the losers were evidence enough – but what about their parents? You know, the ones who will actually (hopefully) be caring for these living, breathing, sentient creatures? Just when you thought the train wreck couldn’t possibly get any more twisted. Oy.

Mayhem!

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Normally I adore Allstate’s “Mayhem” commercials – my (as of now not-so-) secret crush on Dean Winters* being reason numero uno – but I loathe their latest edition, “Guard Dog.” Seriously, I start shouting at the tv / my husband / the dogs whenever it comes on. And yet, Dean Winters! I am unable to look away.

Guard Dog Mahem, how do I hate thee? Let me count the ways:

  1. If my house were ever burglarized while I was away, I’d want my dogs – all seven of ’em – to run and hide: under the bed, in a closet, behind the couch, whatever, wherever. Make themselves scarce. Disappear without a peep. Stay safe. What I wouldn’t want is for them to be injured or killed while protecting my property.

    Computers and tv sets can be replaced; my family members cannot.

  2. You hook your dog up to instruments of torture (i.e., “shock collars”) and expect him to be loyal, loving, and obedient, to the point of risking his life to “guard” your home? Fuck that noise!
  3. In this scenario, the dog is mayhem? How about the burglars? Feh, such bullshit.

Also, there are what – four thieves? One dog vs. four humans? Doggie Dean Winters would get his ribs broken and his ass handed to him. You bet he’s choosing the bone over a fight.

* Law & Order: SVU! Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles! 30 Rock! (In chronological order, not order of awesomeness!)

Tell them stories! Also: vegan experts needed, VegListings, and shopping vegan on etsy.

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Emma loves her Papa

Emma loves her papa!
CC image via flickr user Vegan Flower (Molly!).
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Hey there lovely people! I have a homework assignment for the dog people in the audience. Don’t worry, it’s short and kind of sweet and won’t distract from your holiday festivities. Dr. Frank McMillan at Best Friends Animal Society is studying human-nonhuman bonding and, as part of his background research, is soliciting stories of love and devotion from those who share their lives with dogs. How do you know that your dog friend loves you? The answer can be short or long-form, simple or multifaceted. Just TELL HIM STORIES! (Always quote His Dark Materials. ALWAYS!)

Here’s the call for submissions, which appeared in the November/December 2011 issue of Best Friends magazine:

BEST FRIENDS NEEDS YOUR HELP

If you have a dog who expresses love toward you, we would like to hear your story.

In a very special new study, we are looking in-depth at the emotions of bonding and affection – love – shown by dogs toward their human companions. For background research, we would like to collect stories of dogs’ expressions of love. The story could be about a single incident of your dog’s show of love and devotion, or the ways your dog demonstrates love within your overall relationship. It could simply be an answer to the question: How do you know your dog loves you? If you would like to share your story, please email it to Dr. Frank McMillan at dr.frank@bestfriends.org.

You may recall that I’ve written about Dr. McMillan’s research previously in this here space; see, e.g. Scientists, Poets, Changemakers and Heroes (Volunteer Opportunities & Action Alerts). (Wow, has it been two years already?) Participating in vegan-friendly research projects such as this is an awesome and fun way to contribute to science. And easy, too!

Dr. McMillan posts notices of current research opportunities in Best Friends magazine, which comes “free” with a $25 donation to Best Friends. (We made a donation in Ozzy’s name for their annual Blessing of the Animals ceremony.) In the future, I’ll try to relay new notices as quickly as possible, for those who don’t get the magazine. Forgetting is easy, since a) I tend to let my subscription lapse and b) the notices are somewhat inconspicuous and easy to miss! But I’ll do better, I promise. This stuff is important, yo!

While we’re doing the bulletin board thing, joyful vegan goddess Colleen Patrick-Goudreau recently posted this notice on her FB page:

Call for vegan experts: I’m building a directory of everything from vegan wellness practitioners (chiropractors, acupuncturists, dietitians, naturopaths, nutritionists, psychologists, nurse practitioners, massage therapists, veterinarians) to vegan cooking class instructor and chefs. Wherever you are, if you are vegan and fall into any of the first categories, please email lisa@compassionatecooks.com so we can include you. If you teach cooking classes or have a catering company or are a personal chef, please email colleendavis@compassionatecooks.com. We need the city and state your in, your name, and your website! PLEASE PASS IT ON!

Also, VegListings is a newish directory for vegetarian and vegan businesses; it might come in handy for shoppers as well as business owners, especially with the holidays fast approaching! In the past I’ve put together social justice-themed buying guides; this year, I briefly considered compiling a list of vegan shops on etsy (love me some etsy!) – and then I stumbled upon the Vegan Etsy Team page, making my idea seem redundant.

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…and I hope you will too!

So go, browse, buy (if you can). If not, maybe you’ll be inspired to give gifts crafted by your own two hands this holiday season. It’s fun!

(Image via Herbivore, by way of Vegan Etsy.)

Update, 4/9/12: Due to a recent negative experience on the site, I’m afraid that I can no longer recommend etsy to my friends, family, and readers (and ESPECIALLY not for expensive and/or custom orders!). While the majority of transactions do go smoothly, don’t expect any help from etsy’s customer service on those rare occasions when you have a problem with a seller. Seriously, they were a nightmare to work with – worse even than the seller who never delivered on my custom order, even after six months of haggling.

That said, I still love and support the many vegan storefronts on etsy, and will continue patronizing those that have a presence elsewhere on the web.

Bittersweet Mother’s Day Kisses & Vegan Birthday Wishes, Redux

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

2011-02-14 - Kaylee & O-Ren - 0002

This morning, I woke to vomit in the bed. Kaylee vomit, to be exact, which makes the situation slightly less bad than it might otherwise have been. (Also, it helps that it wasn’t on my pillow. Yes, that has happened. To Shane! Muahahaha….)

“What’s the diff?” you’re probably wondering; “Puke is puke, is it not?” Actually, there’s a 50-50 chance that I can match a pile of vomit to a dog – or at least one of my dog-kids – based on its content: Peedee likes to steal and nom on my earplugs, Ralphie is a grass and dirt eater, and during the spring and summer months Kaylee turns into a decidedly non-vegan bug hunter – but that’s beside the point. Kaylee vomit – and mishaps involving bodily fluids – is different ’cause it comes from Kaylee. Sweet, sweet Kaylee, who’s suffered so much in her short life – yet harbors not one resentful cell in her entire being – and with whom it’s impossible to become angry. At least, not for more than a split second at a time.

It’s difficult to celebrate Mother’s Day without also mourning for the billions of nonhuman animals whose reproductive systems and maternal instincts we exploit for our own gain: “laying” hens, “dairy” cows, “breeding” sows, and so on. For many vegans, it’s those females farmed for food who have come to symbolize motherhood hijacked and corrupted on Mother’s Day. But for me – a vegan who’s only visited a handful of farmed animal sanctuaries, and has yet to befriend and know a cow, hen or sow on a personal level – Kaylee is the representation of motherhood subverted.

Today I’d like to republish a piece I wrote for her last Mother’s Day. Every word rings as true now as it did then. More so, even: during the last two years, I’ve been struggling with some minor but chronic health issues. Whereas the other dogs – as much as I love and adore them – oftentimes add to the stress with their constant demands for attention and occasional doggy outbursts (bark! bark! bark!), to the point that I sometimes have to hand them off to Shane … not Kaylee.

While I long to comfort, coddle, pamper her – as a down payment on the debt humanity owes her for the pain she and so many like her have endured at our hands – so often, too often, it’s she who takes care of me. Rarely does she ask; never does she take. Most times, she is content to lay beside me, graciously accepting strokes and kisses; laments whispered. She is unflappable in her devotion and, despite all that she’s been through, manages to exude a sense of calmness. Of peace and pleasure, long delayed.

2011-04-02 - Kaylee Macro - 0004

Always soft but steady in her presence … my rock, made from marshmallows. She keeps me sane.

Happy mother’s day to all the moms in the world: human and non, biological and adoptive, same and cross-species, of all genders, ages and orientations. I hope you have a compassionate and peaceful day! And to those who are separated or estranged from your mother(s), my heart is with you.

P.S. My birthday is tomorrow, but my wish remains the same: live vegan, or at least as vegan as your life circumstances will allow.

(More below the fold…)

Disaster Relief in Japan: Animal Rescue & Vegan/Animal-Friendly Resources

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Last updated on 4/18/11 @ 11:15 AM CDT.

Jump to:

1. Introduction / Choosing a Charity
2. Human-Centered Disaster Relief, Vegan & Non
3. Animal Rescue & Disaster Relief
4. Vegan Fundraisers
5. Armchair Activism
6. News & (Somewhat Vegan) Views
7. Newsletters & Dispatches

 

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Before and after the quake, Arahama in Sendai. This image shows one continuous landscape across the rectangle–at center, see the roadway sloping slightly upward from left to right across the black bar. In the original, dynamic version of this image, the black bar can be scrolled left and right across the landscape.
Credits: Google, ABC, GeoEye
Source: cnet.com
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It’s a startling picture of how dramatic and destructive Friday’s massive earthquake actually was.

The quake, which has upgraded to a magnitude 9.0 by the Japan Meteorological Agency, may have shifted the position of Earth’s axis about 6.5 inches, Richard Gross, a geophysicist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told the Los Angeles Times. The quake likely sped up the Earth’s rotation, shortening the day by 1.8 microseconds, Gross said. Also, the main island of Japan appears to have moved 8 feet, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey told CNN.

To help illustrate the damaging power of the quake and the ensuing tsunami, Google has compiled a collection of high-resolution before-and-after satellite images that depict the areas affected most by the devastation.

“We’re working to provide this data directly to response organizations on the ground to aid their efforts,” Ryan Falor, Google Crisis Response team, said in a Google Lat Long Blog post. “We hope this new updated satellite imagery is valuable for them as well as everyone else following this situation to help illustrate the extent of the damage.”

ABC News has created a presentation of the images, overlaying the before and after images for each specific area for a more immediate representation of the quake and tsunami’s devastating effects.

(Source: cnet.com)

(More below the fold…)

Consuming Women, No. 6: blender? He hardly knew her!*

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Trigger warning for violent imagery, some of which involves female nudity, under the jump.**

A subsidiary of the department store Beymen, blender bills itself as a “concept store.” (Caution: meat-loving hipsters ahead!) The “concept” (scare quotes because the whole concept of a concept store is way too fucking pretentious for this thrift store shopper to stand), as you may have already surmised, involves the pairing of fashion with misogyny, the conflation of sex and violence, and the linkage of women and nonhuman animals: consumable objects, unite!

With several locations in Istanbul and Ankara, Turkey, blender doesn’t just sell clothing and assorted shiny baubles; oh no! Nor are body dysmorphia and low self-esteem its only wares. Ever the hipster-catering douchebags, each blender store is also home to a butcher shop! Because nothing accents a $500 white angora scarf quite like ghastly blood smear stain. (No, really!)

Curiously, blender attempts to sell its audience on this concept by treating at least half of them like pieces of meat, too!

(More below the fold…)

Speciesism-Denying Humans

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

is the name of a new vegan meme / tumblr blog by @VeganMudblood, which you should totes check out. Also: like (favorite? friend? I’m not down with the tumblr speak.*), share, add to, etc., etc., etc.

Here’s my submission. The first of many, no doubt. (Expect a slew to appear the next time I’m feeling particularly lazy, aimless, or in need of a good procrastinating.)

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To be fair, the speciesism-denying human pictured above never actually proffered this defense on her own behalf – though at least one commenter on her popular feminist blog did. (No, really!) And yes, it is in point o’ facts a square in the upcoming Speciesist Feminist Bingo II.

* Speaking of which, I tried to create a tumblr account so I could follow Speciesism-Denying Humans, but my both of my blog names are already taken! Looks like I’m gonna have to think on this for a bit. URLs are a weighty decision, you know.

Updated to add: I blame the kyriarchy. IBTK, for short.

2011 Brazil Mudslides: Animal Rescue & Vegan Relief Resources

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

Last updated on 3/14/11 @ 2:00 PM CDT.

Região Serrana 05 fevereiro 2011

Care for animals brought in by residents. © WSPA Brasil

Partnership between WSPA and UNIFESO mobilizes people to treat animals in the mountainous region: A stand of veterinary care will open this Saturday 05/02, to meet animals, victims of floods which have battered the mountainous region. Read more…
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Between the brush fires and flooding in Australia and the flash floods and landslides in Brazil, the world has seen at least several large-scale “natural” disasters in recent months – though consumers of mainstream media may be none the wiser. As with the 2010 floods in Pakistan, these emergencies have received little coverage (at least in the United States), including from animal advocacy corners.

Perhaps it’s due to “compassion fatigue” in the wake of the earthquakes in Haiti, which sparked an outpouring of support. (If not structural, but still.) I’d like to believe that, as far as fellow animal advocates are concerned, the silence is attributable to a simple lack of news to report. At least, this has been the case ’round these parts; aside from the stray plea for donations, I haven’t seen much in response to more recent disaster situations.

When I received Kinship Circle’s latest newsletter, reporting that it – in partnership with IDA – was on the ground in Brazil, providing disaster relief to the nonhuman victims of the floods and mudslides, I figured it was high time to write about the relief efforts currently underway in Brazil. Though I spent much of the morning combing through the websites of well-known animal welfare groups – including many of those that responded to previous disasters – I was only able to find a few that are currently providing aid in Brazil.

The most pressing need, of course, is for monetary donations. Please give what you can. Long-term, volunteers – bodies on the ground – are essential to providing emergency assistance as well. To this end, please also consider getting involved with an animal advocacy group that specializes in disaster response. If you live in the U.S., Kinship Circle is a good start; check out its Disaster Responder Volunteer Form for more info.

In you know of any other resources, please share! You can either email me at easyvegan [at] gmail.com, or leave in it the comments section, and I’ll tackle it it asap. Please and thank you.

Also, I’d like to remind y’all that I continue to update previous disaster hubs periodically, as new information becomes available. These include: the 2010 Pakistan Floods; the 2010 BP Oil Spill; the 2010 Earthquake in Chile; and the 2010 Earthquakes in Haiti. Additionally, I still maintain a disaster relief archive – dating back to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 – over at my old blog, Smite Me! (See: Disaster Relief.) All relevant newsletters are crossposted there as well.

 

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Aerial view of damages in Poco Fundo, an isolated area in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Jan. 18, 2011. (Vanderlei Almeida/AFP/Getty Images)
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1. Animal Rescue & Vegan Relief at a Glance

Here’s a quick roundup of the animal welfare, animal rights, and vegan groups that are either 1) directly assisting with animal rescue efforts in Brazil or 2) collecting and distributing funds to those that providing aid in the region. Please note that some of these groups may focus on “saving” farmed and working animals so that they can be further exploited in the future – and let your own ethics guide you in your decision to donate.

  • Kinship Circle and In Defense of Animals (IDA), two animal advocacy groups based in the United States, are working together to provide

    search and rescue services, veterinary treatment, including spaying and neutering, and other needed assistance. The goal, as in the aftermath of the 2010 Chile earthquake and tsunami, is to work within the structure of Brazilian agencies and bring together human, technical, and material resources.

    Both groups are experienced in disaster response and animal rescue efforts, with Kinship Circle in particular focusing disaster relief as a core mission. Kinship Circle and IDA deployed volunteers to Brazil in the weeks following the flash floods and mudslides. You can follow their progress on Kinship Circle’s website, with a special page dedicated to the campaign here: Brazil Floods & Mudslides – Field Notes. (IDA maintains an Animals in Disasters blog, but it hasn’t been updated since November ’10.) Both groups have a special nonhuman disaster relief fund to which you can donate: Kinship Circle (select “ANIMAL DISASTER AID FUND”) and IDA.

  • With an already-established presence in the region, Sociedade Mundial de Proteção Animal / World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) Brazil is engaging in direct, on-the-ground disaster relief. On its Animals in Disasters blog, the WSPA reports that, in conjunction with local university UNIFESO, it

    opened an operations centre to co-ordinate assistance to animal victims.

    The centre, situated in the worst-hit town of Teresópolis, opened on 27th January to respond to the essential emergency needs of dogs and cats, the animals most affected by the recent flooding. The centre is now holding 12 tons of dog food and one ton of cat food, as well as veterinary and other essential supplies, to be distributed according to the needs identifed by WSPA in its assesment following the disaster.

    The centre’s response team is being co-ordinated by Dr. Sérgio Vasquez, a specialist in disaster management from WSPA’s Central America, Mexico and Caribbean office. The team comprises members of WSPA Brazil and the director of a Brazilian member society, Ecosul, which co-ordinated relief in the state of Santa Catarina in 2009, as well as a profesor from UNIFESO.

    Additionally,

    In Rio’s floods and mudslides, local member societies SOS Animal, GAPA, AnimaVida and COMBINA all had animal shelters or other facilities in the disaster zone, and were able to respond initially, with the help of donations sent to WSPA Brazil. These organisations will continue to be involved as part of a WSPA-coordinated emergency response, which will focus on immediately providing food, and medical treatment. In the ensuing recovery period, WSPA will continue to co-ordinate such efforts, provide necessary shelter if required, and also engage local authorities and citizens in future preparedness for such disasters.

    The Animals in Disasters blog features a donation button for the WSPA’s Animal Disaster Fund, but the link is expired. It seems that the only way to make a donation at this time is through the WSPA’s general donation page.

    For continuing coverage, follow WSPA Brazil, as well as its Flickr feed (this set in particular: Animais em Desastres – WSPA – Região Serrana RJ – Janeiro 2010).

  • Of those groups mentioned above, I was only able to find a web presence for AnimaVida. You can read about its partnership with the WSPA here.

    At this time, AnimaVida is only able to take donations through bank deposit:

    Favorecido: AnimaVida Favored: animatable
    CNPJ: 05.855.112/0001-48 CNPJ: 05.855.112/0001-48
    Banco: 237 – BRADESCO Bank: 237 – Bradesco
    Agência: 3403-7 Agency: 3403-7
    Conta: 0041745-9 Account: 0041745-9

  • Food for Life Global (FFLG), which distributes free vegan/vegetarian meals to those in need worldwide (among other things), does not currently list the 2011 Brazil floods as one of its emergency relief programs. However, it does support a food distribution project in Rio de Janeiro.

    (More below the fold…)

  • IFAW: Tell Congress not to leave pets behind

    Friday, June 23rd, 2006

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: Fred O’Regan, International Fund for Animal Welfare – fred [at] ifaw1.org
    Date: Jun 19, 2006 5:00 PM
    Subject: Tell Congress not to leave pets behind

    International Fund for Animal Welfare June 19, 2006

    Tell Congress not to leave pets behind

    When a natural disaster strikes, pets are often the forgotten victims. Animals are often lost or owners are forced to leave them behind during mandatory evacuations.

    Throughout IFAW’s hurricane relief efforts last year to rescue the animals left behind in the wake of Katrina, we were continuously humbled by our encounters with survivors who risked everything to protect and reunite with their pets.

    From tales of incredible determination and courage, to stories of hope and perseverance, our animal rescue workers have been extremely privileged to be a part of so many extraordinary examples of the bond between humans and animals that clearly illustrate the compassion people have for their pets during the most difficult of times.

    And now you can help make sure no more pets needlessly suffer in the next natural emergency.

    Urge Your Senator to Pass the PETS Act

    (More below the fold…)

    IDA: Disaster Preparedness Today

    Wednesday, June 21st, 2006

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: In Defense of Animals – takeaction [at] idausa.org
    Date: Jun 16, 2006 6:19 PM
    Subject: Disaster Preparedness Today

    Months have passed since Hurricane Katrina shook the Gulf Coast. Along with the rest of the country, we at IDA were shocked and saddened by the tragic loss of lives in the devastation of this storm, which was the largest and most damaging in American history. The thousands who lost family members to the storm, including many beloved companion animals, are still in our thoughts. In the aftermath, countless animals were left homeless, abandoned, and in dire need. Starving and traumatized, suffering from illnesses and injuries, the animals in New Orleans and other storm-hit areas depended on IDA and other caring individuals and organizations for desperately needed help.

    Thanks to the generous support of our members, IDA’s Project Hope rescue team was among the first on the ground after the storm hit and among the last to leave after the storm laid waste to the area. Our humane trapping efforts allowed us to rescue hundreds of animals who are now in loving homes, and we saved many more animals from dying of starvation or thirst by maintaining outdoor feeding stations. The hurricane’s devastation shows us how important it is for guardians to plan ahead for the safety of animal companions in case of emergency.

    With hurricane season just around the corner, it is important to consider the following: Do you know what you would do if disaster struck? Where would you take your animals? Do you have enough food and water stored away? Who would check on your animals if you were away from home during a disaster?

    Your animal friends’ lives could depend on your answers to these questions.

    Please take some time to make a disaster plan TODAY. Click here for more information.

    (More below the fold…)

    IDA: Support Bill to Stop Abductions of Animal Companions

    Monday, June 12th, 2006

    A quick action alert from In Defense of Animals:

    Support Bill to Stop Abductions of Animal Companions

    The Pet Safety and Protection Act, H.R. 5229, would amend the Animal Welfare Act to prohibit Class B Animal Dealers from selling cats and dogs to research labs, as well as making it illegal for research labs to buy cats and dogs from such dealers. This will prevent strays or stolen family pets, and those acquired through deception, from being sold to labs. Please take action to urge Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Senator Charles Schumer to co-sponsor this important bill. Also please Tell-A-Friend who also lives in New York about this issue and donate to IDA so that we can continue working for animals.

    The entire alert, along with a sample letter, is available here.

    Update re: ‘Unchain the Avondale Pits’

    Sunday, June 11th, 2006

    Here’s an update I received on an earlier action alert – a petition to ‘Unchain the Avondale Pits’ (for the original alert, click here):

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    Posted by: “Mary”
    To: Dogs Deserve Better
    Sat Jun 10, 2006 9:51 am (PST)

    PLEASE PASS ON AND CROSSPOST WIDELY

    Lots of good news!!

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    JUNE 8th
    Case AS2006-012 (this was the case number for Messina’s court)

    Today’s hearing was “administrative”.

    All our information was submitted. ACO’s were present and submitted their reports – apparently they’d been to Mr. Davis’ house 3 times, one time was to get the second dog we had found (white / brindle patches w/ the doubled chain) and euthanize him at Mr. Davis’ request, as he was “too aggressive for the owner to handle”.

    Judge Messina reviewed evidence, looked at the pics and alond with the Parish Attorney, informed Mr. Davis that he was sending the case to the DA for criminal prosecution. The DA will decide, based on evidence, as to whether to prosecute or not. The dogs will not be released until this is resolved.

    Mr. Davis will be charged on 3 counts of cruelty under state law, not just Parish Ordinance if the DA decides to move forward. If not, the case will return to Judge Messina for decision.

    Elena has agreed with getting Phoenix to SAF for treatment!

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    JUNE 10

    I spoke w/ Anne at SAF and, per Anne’s typical wonderful response…”Of COURSE we’ll take him”. I love Anne Bell. Anyway, going to find out if Phoenix has had any shots at all, and if not, whether JPAS can give him some before we move him to SAF. There, they’ll get him healthy and begin HW treatment.

    Check the Blog for updates on when we get him to SAF!!!!!!

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I’ve put up a website for updates: http://www.geocities.com/unchainingtheavondalepits/

    For whatever reason, geocities makes you allow popups to see the Blog “Updates” link.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    If you would like to help with costs of his medical treatment (which, we’re sure will be staggering) you can:

    Send money directly to Southern Animal Foundation Southern Animal Foundation

    Attn: Anne Bell
    1823 Magazine Street
    New Orleans, LA 70130
    (504) 671-8235

    ****Please make sure you note on your check or a note that says the donation is for Phoenix / Avondale”****

    OR

    Purchase an “Unchaining the Avondale Pits” t-shirt. Brenda Shoss (Kinship Circle) has kindly donated the use of her “With My Eyes” poem for the back of the shirt. Phoenix’s “chained” picture with “Fighting For Their Lives, Unchaining the Avondale Pits” text, is on the front.

    All proceeds from sales will go directly to medical treatment with Southern Animal Foundation & transport to Villalobos Rescue for Phoenix, a formerly chained & abused dog from Avondale.

    http://www.cafepress.com/0221

    OR

    You can make a donation through PayPal to me (thaleia [at] triad.rr.com ) and I will send checks to Anne

    My thanks, love and respect again, to every single one of you who continue to fight this fight for these beautiful creatures

    Peace~

    Mary

    ASPCA: Is Your Backyard Safe for Your Pets?/New Dangerous Dog Laws

    Friday, June 9th, 2006

    Read the latest ASPCA News Alert here.

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: ASPCA – news-alert [at] aspca [dot] org
    Date: Jun 9, 2006 7:00 AM
    Subject: Is Your Backyard Safe for Your Pets?/New Dangerous Dog Laws

    JUNE 9, 2006
    Welcome to our weekly email newsletter, your source for the latest
    news from our animal welfare community and information on pending
    humane legislation.

    —————-
    ASPCA NEWS ALERT
    —————-

    KEEP YOUR BACKYARD SAFE (AND NON-TOXIC!) FOR YOUR PETS
    Summer’s almost here, the time of year when the ASPCA Animal
    Poison Control Center handles many requests from pet owners seeking
    information about safe garden and yard care. What plants are toxic to
    pets? What should you do if think your pet ate a poisonous mushroom?
    Our experts know the answers to these questions, and more.
    http://www.aspca.org/site/R?i=txjVrE9Pik4THkb8zIdVTA..

    ILLINOIS CRACKS DOWN ON DOG FIGHTING AND DOG ATTACKS
    Governor Blagojevich signs important legislation that toughens
    penalties against owners of vicious dogs.
    http://www.aspca.org/site/R?i=5ho4Vq63A2bToXSG3gU0dQ..

    ASPCA SUCCESS STORY OF THE WEEK: ROADSIDE ATTRACTION
    A car can take you far, but it can also put you on the road to the
    perfect pet, as Linda Davis found out.
    http://www.aspca.org/site/R?i=rJYzDSBgtl2Fk6Ir9udatA..

    HOW DO YOU LIKE OUR NEW PLANNED GIVING CENTER?
    We think you’ll find it easier to navigate, with added
    information about pet trusts.
    http://www.aspca.org/site/R?i=z1yhQS2oqp4Ayjku8csIBQ..

    LITTER BOXES 101 FOR NEW CAT OWNERS
    Just in time for Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat Month, the ASPCA and Fresh Step®
    litter have put together a few basic tips to ensure that your new
    kitty finds her way to the loo.
    http://www.aspca.org/site/R?i=0XordDUrPpnms_yYlcqYxQ..

    GOT BILLS? PAY ‘EM IN STYLE WITH ASPCA CHECKS
    Imagine paying your bills with a smile on your face? You can make this
    chore a little easier with cool dog and cat checks from Checks In the
    Mail.
    http://www.aspca.org/site/R?i=rBzCMtBjC4yDbHmJs-M2RA..

    ———————
    ASPCA ADVOCACY DIGEST
    ———————

    HELP PROTECT PETS IN EMERGENCIES
    If you haven’t already done so, please urge your senators to
    support the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act.
    http://www.aspca.org/site/R?i=c_wwyzKx119ikKm2FxnhxA..

    LOUISIANA: COCKFIGHTING LEGISLATION FAILS
    SB 652, legislation that would prohibit the cruel and barbaric
    bloodsport of cockfighting, failed to be reported favorably out of the
    House Agriculture Committee last week. Although the bill made history
    by passing favorably out of two Senate Committees and achieving
    victory and successful passage on the floor of the Senate, the bill
    was deferred in the House Agriculture Committee by a vote of 9 to 4.
    http://www.aspca.org/site/R?i=xvt3k5F7s-ulRkXQcP5g2Q..

    CONNECTICUT: LOW-COST SPAY/NEUTER PROGRAM ESTABLISHED!
    Wonderful news! Last Friday, June 2, Governor Rell signed HB 5795,
    legislation that will help both people and animals. Connecticut
    residents, please thank the Governor today.
    http://www.aspca.org/site/R?i=kZxTiISZtwDq_Ke7TGQDig..

    NEW YORK: URGE SENATE TO PASS “TAX CHECK-OFF” TO FUND
    LOW-COST SPAY/NEUTER
    Please urge the Senate to pass A.3651-A/S.8070. This legislation will
    infuse much-needed funding into the Animal Population Control Program,
    which provides low-cost spay/neuter services to New York pet owners.
    http://www.aspca.org/site/R?i=XrEmy2wZzSnjFVok6fzwIw..

    MORE ALERTS FOR YOUR AREA…
    http://www.aspca.org/site/R?i=B1777i-7iOUk8QpiCbNXVw..

    ————————————————

    Tell a Friend: http://www.aspca.org/site/TellAFriend

    Become a Member: http://www.aspca.org/site/R?i=Vzg5vOdT321UJi5PeYjHCw..

    ASPCA Store: http://www.aspca.org/site/R?i=FzCHxxrUrlhr6i6ab30I-Q..

    ASPCA Credit Card: http://www.aspca.org/site/R?i=rVwfw0EfoD9ygr6Gfz6qlg..

    © 2006 The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®
    424 E. 92nd St
    New York, NY 10128
    Visit us online at www.aspca.org

    DawnWatch: Wall Street Journal front page of emergency evacuation with pets 6/8/06

    Thursday, June 8th, 2006

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: DawnWatch – news [at] dawnwatch [dot] com
    Date: Jun 8, 2006 6:30 PM
    Subject: DawnWatch: Wall Street Journal front page of emergency evacuation with pets 6/8/06

    The Thursday, June 8, Wall Street Journal has a front page story headed, “In Case of Disaster, Mr. Milelli Has Plans For You and Your Dog.”

    It opens:

    “Moved by the images of teary residents who resisted leaving their flooded homes after Hurricane Katrina because they couldn’t take their pets with them, Paul Milelli hit upon a plan to shelter man and beast together in public schools.

    “‘Pets and people in our minds have to go together,’ says Mr. Milelli, Palm Beach County’s director of Public Safety. ‘It undermines our efforts to get vulnerable people out of harm’s way if they don’t want to leave Fifi or Fido behind.’

    “But Mr. Milelli and other emergency managers are finding that placing loved pets with their owners under one roof isn’t easy. Palm Beach County’s school board recently refused to participate in his plan for so-called pet-friendly shelters because it feared lawsuits. The concern: Pet dander would get into a ventilation system, trigger an asthma attack or other allergic reaction in a student or school staff member long after a storm has passed.”

    (More below the fold…)

    Doris Day Animal League: E-Newsletter, June 2006

    Thursday, June 8th, 2006

    Here are the actionable items from DDAL’s June eNewsletter. Follow the links to take action!

    The Big Chill

    While Congress continues to show an interest in the Antifreeze Bittering Act (see next item) time is running out to pass this important bill to help keep animals from dying! The Antifreeze Bittering Act (S. 1110/H.R. 2567) requires manufacturers of ethylene glycol antifreeze to add a bittering agent to make the antifreeze unpalatable. Children and animals are drawn to the sweet taste of antifreeze, which results in thousands of poisonings every year. Please contact your senators and representative and ask that they co-sponsor this bill. It is especially important to target the members of the House Subcommittee on Environment and Hazardous Materials, which has jurisdiction over H.R. 2567.

    Click here to find out if your help is needed to contact your U.S. Representative.

    A United Warm Front

    On May 23, 2006 DDAL Legislative Director Sara Amundson testified before the U.S. House Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Hazardous Materials in support of H.R. 2567. Her intelligent testimony presented a compelling case in support of this bill. Other supporters appearing before the subcommittee included Dr. Melinda Eyrich, a veterinarian from New Mexico who has treated animals poisoned to death with antifreeze, and Jeffrey Bye from Honeywell International on behalf of the Consumer Specialty Products Association. Bill sponsor U.S. Representative Gary Ackerman (D-NY) spoke strongly in support of the legislation and continues to push for passage in the 109th Congress.

    Visit the DDAL Web site to read Sara Amundson’s testimony.

    Preparing For the Worst

    With the official start of Hurricane Season on June 1st, many people have begun to plan for catastrophic storms, and so has the federal government. The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act (PETS Act), which requires local and state authorities to include in their evacuation plans how they will accommodate household pets and service animals in the event of a disaster. While the Senate has yet to pass the bill, Louisiana’s state senate has introduced the “Emergency Preparedness Bill” to provide a disaster operation plan for service animals and household pets. Of course, a personal disaster preparedness plan is the first line of defense for you loved ones, both human and animal.

    Visit the DDAL Web site for more information on animal disaster preparedness and the PETS Act.

    DawnWatch: Newsweek magazine on microchipping — June 12 edition

    Thursday, June 8th, 2006

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: DawnWatch – news [at] dawnwatch [dot] com
    Date: Jun 7, 2006 3:10 PM
    Subject: DawnWatch: Newsweek magazine on microchipping — June 12 edition

    Good news in the June 12 edition of Newsweek. An article (pg 10) headed, “Microchips: Fido Once Was Lost, But Now He’s Found” tells us that only 5% of pets in the USA are microchipped, part of the problem being that “competing U.S. companies keep separate registries and require different scanners.” However we that in July, “Bayer HealthCare plans to start selling ResQ, a universal scanner that can read all brands of pet microchips. It’s already shipping 20,000 free ones to shelters and pet hospitals nationwide.”

    And we read that some cities are starting to require microchipping in all pets.

    PETA’s Daphna Nachminovitch is quoted:

    “It is not pleasant having something the size of a grain of rice embedded under your skin. But it is far preferable to never being reunited with your person.”

    Imagine how different things would have been for rescuers and frantic families in New Orleans, after Katrina, if New Orleans had mandatory microchipping.

    (More below the fold…)

    Animal Protection Institute: Take Action Today to Help Animals, 6/7/06

    Thursday, June 8th, 2006

    My dogs are *so cool*!

    2005-08-07 - MyDogIsCool-0008

     
     
    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: newsletters [at] api4animals [dot] org
    Date: 7 Jun 2006 22:11:50 -0000
    Subject: Take Action Today to Help Animals

    National:

    My Dog Is Cool … Is Yours?

    Did you know that, every year, countless dogs die from being locked in hot cars while their guardians work, shop, or run other errands? The “dog days” of summer can be dangerous for dogs — especially those dogs left inside hot cars. These tragic deaths are entirely preventable. Visit API’s lifesaving website “My Dog is Cool” at www.MyDogIsCool.com. This website provides you with resources including the downloadable “It’s hot!” flyers that can be used when a dog is left in a hot car, and an easy weather forecast lookup to help plan road trips with canine pals. The MyDogIsCool.com site provides everything needed to keep dogs safe and happy during hot weather.

    (More below the fold…)

    Daily Press Poll: Barking up the wrong tree?

    Wednesday, June 7th, 2006

    Please hop on over to the main page of the Daily Press and vote “Yes” in this poll:

    Should chaining dogs to doghouses, trees, etc., be illegal?

    Hurry – methinks it’ll only be up ’till tomorrow morning.

    The feature article – Barking up the wrong tree? – is available here.

    Via the DDB Yahoo group.

    The Petition Site: Fighting For Their Lives – Unchaining the Avondale Pit’s

    Tuesday, June 6th, 2006

    Please take a moment to sign this petition on The Petition Site: Fighting For Their Lives – Unchaining the Avondale Pit’s:

    Two Rescuers in New Orleans happened upon two dogs at an address in Avondale, LA in late February while working with Villalobos staff facilitating a reunion. The dogs were chained on very short, very heavy and padlocked chains. The dogs had no food, no water and no shelter. One dog was severely emaciated and his skin rubbed raw from the padlock and chain. The other dog, while pictures show a doghouse present, we watched the dog attempt to go into the house and he could not reach it due to the short chain.

    After months of trying, THREE dogs were removed from this address in Avondale on Thurs 5/18/06. The owner signed a release for 2 and a euthanasia request for the other. Saturday 5/20, the owner requested the animals back. Elena at JPAS has gotten this case on a docket with Judge Messina for June 8. This is our plea to Judge Messina for these animals.

    The animals are ON HOLD and will not be released until after the hearing date. NO ANIMAL HAS BEEN EUTHANIZED.

    The hearing is in two days, so please take action ASAP.

    Via DDB.