Category Archives: Animals

Whaling resumes :(

Whale captured

It’s bad news for whales. Japan has resumed commercial whaling, bringing back to port the country’s first official catch since it withdrew from the International Whaling Commission, a global organization committed to the conservation of whales. But Japan isn’t the only country still hunting whales, in spite of a 1986 ban on the practice. Norway and Iceland hunt whales too.

Whales roam throughout all of the world’s oceans, communicating with complex and mysterious sounds. Their sheer size amazes us: the blue whale can reach lengths of more than 100 feet and weigh up to 200 tons—as much as 33 elephants.

Despite living in the water, whales breathe air. A thick layer of fat called blubber insulates them from cold ocean waters. And like humans, they are warm-blooded mammals who nurse their young.  We know that they feel pain just like us too.

Whales are at the top of the food chain and have an important role in the overall health of the marine environment. Unfortunately their large size and mythical aura does not protect them; six out of the 13 great whale species are classified as endangered, even after decades of protection.

There are a number of factors contributing to the current endangered status of whales such as overfishing, pollution, dam/bridge construction, private/commercial boating and commercial whaling, but out of these contributing factors commercial whaling has had the largest effect on the endangered status of today’s existing whale populations.

Fortunately, whale meat is becoming less appetizing. Conservation groups have revealed that Norwegian exports of minke whale to Japan contained damaging levels of toxic pesticides, making that meat unfit for human consumption. It’s a discovery that could cue a swifter decline in the appetite for whale meat.

Japan used to import whale meat from Norway but had to stop. Tests showed samples contained pesticides at twice the limit Japan imposes on its imports. The meat harbored chemicals such as aldrin, dieldrin, and chlordane, thought to play a role in causing birth defects, neurological harm, and some cancers, if humans consume them in high quantities.

We hope that this is a wake-up call for those cultures that still consume whale meat.  Of course we wish that the whales weren’t so polluted, since it isn’t good for their health either, but we also wish that they were free to roam the oceans without fear of capture.  Hopefully that day will come in the not-too-distant future.

Another case of animal abuse

Veal calvesYet another horror story has come out about the abuse of animals on farms. This time it’s at the Fair Oaks farm in Indiana.  The owners give the usual excuse that they didn’t know this was going on. They express shock and make the usual promises to make things better. Unfortunately, we’ve heard this all before!

Three former employees of the large northwestern Indiana dairy have been charged with animal cruelty, following the release of an undercover video showing workers kicking and throwing young calves. Even worse, the video showed calves being hit with steel rods and burnt with branding irons.

As well as showing animal abuse, the video revealed that the farm had been untruthful about the destination of some of the male calves that were being sent to the veal industry.

Calves raised to make veal are severely confined. Veal calves live the entirety of their short lives in “vela crates,” wooden crates that severely restrict the calves’ movement. These crates are typically only 2.5 feet wide at most and have slatted wooden floors which are hard to stand on.

Calves raised to become veal are also purposely fed an all-liquid milk substitute which is deficient in iron and fiber. This insufficient diet makes the calves severely anemic in order to produce the pale-colored flesh that veal-eaters prefer.

While undercover videos and law enforcement have their place, the only way to truly eliminate farm animal abuse is to follow a plant-based diet. When people stop buying animal products, and especially meat such as veal, farmers will stop producing it for sale and much animal suffering will be prevented.

Eating salmon is killing the Orcas!

orca with dead baby

Our taste for salmon is killing the orca whales. The southern resident orcas which inhabit the waters of the Salish Sea between the US and Canada, and the outer coasts of Washington, Oregon and California, are starving to death. They just can’t find enough of their primary food source, chinook salmon, to keep themselves well-fed. There are currently only 74 of them in the three pods of this group, down from a peak of 98 in 1995. Struggling to survive in hostile waters, the southern residents have not successfully reproduced in three years. Read more

The end of effective antibiotics?

AntibioticsThis is serious. This could cost you your life! What if the medication your doctor gave you for an infection didn’t work? What if the second antibiotic didn’t work either? Blame the beef industry. According to a new study, sponsored by consumer and environmental groups, 23 out of 25 U.S. burger chains, including McDonald’s and Burger King, were found serving beef raised with the routine use of antibiotics.

Most of antibiotics sold in the U.S. are fed to farm animals not people. In fact, 70% of medically important antibiotics sold in the U.S. go to food producing animals, and 43% of that goes to the beef industry. The result is that each year in the U.S., at least 2 million people are infected with antibiotic resistant bacteria, and at least 23,000 people die as a result. Read more

Cats and dogs are not for dinner!

Cats and dogs.jpg

Can you imagine eating cats and dogs? There’s a new law on its way that would prevent this from ever happening by prohibiting this cruel practice. According to the Humane Society of the United States, “The House and Senate provisions will prevent this appalling trade from taking hold in the U.S., and strengthen our hand in seeking to end it worldwide.” This bill has broad bipartisan support and is very likely to pass.

While the practice of eating cats and dogs is uncommon in the United States “Around 30 million dogs and untold numbers of cats are subjected to this brutal industry globally every year, with animals often snatched off the street or stolen from loving families, still wearing collars as they are subjected to unspeakable abuse to end up on someone’s dinner plate” according to the Humane Society.

The new law would alter the Animal Welfare Act to forbid people from knowingly slaughtering a dog or cat for human consumption. Punishment for violating the law would be up to one year in prison and a fine of $2,500.

It’s bad enough that we eat farm animals – we shouldn’t expand that to include cats and dogs. Of course, we wish cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, turkeys and fish were covered under the law as well. We love cats and dogs, but we also care about farm animals just the same. While there’s no law pending to prevent eating them, there’s still something you can do – switch to a plant-based diet!

No reason to celebrate Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A Cow Appreciation DayChick-fil-A recently held a “Cow Appreciation Day”, but we’re doing anything but celebrating. Their idea of “appreciating” cows is to give away free chicken. While we’re all for skipping the burgers, substituting chicken has to be one of the worst deals of the century. Let’s look at some of the details of the Chick-fil-A bad deal.

While not quite as high as beef, chicken still has high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol that contribute to clogged arteries and other diseases. Cooking chicken also produces more cancer-causing heterocyclic amines (HCA’s) than any other meat when cooked, and fried chicken is even worse. So there’s no doubt that eating chicken is bad for your health. Read more

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