Animal Testing: Beagles

Passing right by the fact that I haven’t written in over a year, I want to share some information I’ve been reading tonight about animal testing, specifically testing on beagles.

This will be short and sweet and mainly used to bring all of the info together and share it with my friends and fellow animal-lovers. Otherwise I’d be posting FB after FB.

I came across this story tonight:

University of Missouri researchers blinded, killed six beagles for inconclusive study

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Need I say it? It’s sad. And it raises questions of the reasoning behind our insistence on animal experimentation. It does this in part because when you really find out what some of the “important” scientific investigations do to animals, it challenges you ask yourself what that kind of pain, trauma, and wasted life is worth. It’s like watching slaughterhouse videos and then considering how important that hamburger is really.

Then I saw this article:

Beagles bred at two Dane County facilities go to labs around the country

This one hit home because Dane County is where I now call home, specifically Madison. It is hard being back in the midwest sometimes, hard being in the dairy capitol of the world, hard to not have all the vegan options at my fingertips like I did on the west coast, hard to not have the same vigorous animal rights groups as I’ve known. But I don’t mind being part of the progress happening all over the nation. There is progress happening here.

But when I read that in my county is one of the top three international beagle breeding facilities, Ridglan Farms, well it’s just a bummer. A big, heartbreaking bummer. Ridglan sells its beagles to (mainly) U.S. companies who conduct experiments for various purposes, mostly pharmaceutical labs and university labs. University of Wisconsin has been a customer. Some especially heartbreaking bummer-facts about Ridglan:

  • Puppies born at Ridglan who aren’t born to the physical specifications they are looking for are killed.
  • However, they also “preprogram” (read: breed) beagles to have certain defects to fit what the researchers are hoping to “treat.” For example heart abnormalities, circulatory problems, cataracts…
  • “…there are more than 67,000 dogs used in laboratories today across the country. Wisconsin is home to 7,196 of these dogs, more than any other state.”
  • Most of the dogs there are females who breed their whole lives. (Here is where an entire article about the connection between feminism and animal rights would go.)
  • The vast majority of dogs who are used in research are euthanized even if they would be adoptable.
  • In addition to having a nice size for cruel experimentation, beagles surpass any other breed in research because “they’re very docile, people-pleasing and forgiving.”

I hope you’ll just read these two articles. So many questions. What about the ethics of doing something because we CAN? Even it does have merit in the eyes of our culture and considering our position as human animals (the best kind of animal apparently), what is the cost. What are we establishing for our children in terms of their relationship with animals? What kind of karma are we engaging in…yes, I’ll go there. What kind of speciesism is going on behind the scenes when we care about this happening to beagles but not rodents?

But mostly right now I just feel like: What have we done? When did we become so callous? When did we turn into creatures that could look at something “docile, people-pleasing, and forgiving” and think, “Let’s breed it to hurt it.”

To find out more, please read those articles. For some hope you can check out the Beagle Freedom Project. And maybe next time you’re looking for a new pooch to add to your family, consider rescuing a beagle…you’ll know he’s done his time by the tattooed numbers on the inside of his ear.

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Shirley the Elephant – “Free at Last”

I don’t cry easily at things I watch, but I dare you to not cry while you watch this:

I want to say “thank you,” to Solomon James, wherever you are, for being the one and only saving grace that Shirley had for so many years. You are the kind of soul this world needs more of. Bless you.

Weekend To-Do (Good) List: Circus Edition!!!

As you probably know, Ringling Bros.’ parent company made the startling announcement this week that they will be ending all elephant performances by 2018. We all celebrate this victory after years of petitioning, protesting, and increasing public awareness.

Staples circus protest 2011

We can’t forget though that there is still plenty to do to help animals in entertainment.  Life As a Wave wants YOU to help keep the momentum going by taking these easy actions. Lend some of your weekend time to these efforts, post this blog to your social media pages, let people know what you’re up to and how they can help too.

Most of all, have fun doing good!!

With big, elephant love,

~~~S Wave~~~

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1. Help Magnus the Lion

This cub was removed from his mother shortly after birth and intentionally malnourished by a circus in Spain. They wanted to keep him small, but instead they made him permanently ill. When they wanted to euthanize him, a rescue group and a team of vets came together to save him. Read the story here.

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To find out more about Magnus’ rescue and surgery, visit Let’s Adopt! Global. If you want to contribute some money to his care and to finding a new sanctuary home for him like I did, click here. Most of all, share his story so that people remember that there are many more animals suffering in circuses around the world.

2. Keep the Seaworld Buzz Alive!

One can’t help but compare the elephants in Ringling Bros. shows and the orcas in SeaWorld shows. Two majestic, wild, roaming species confined and exploited to the point of psychological breakdown.

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Citizens from all walks — animal rights activists to the neighbors down the street — are growing weary of SeaWorld’s persistence to keep orcas and other marine mammals performing at their parks. This is especially true since the breakout documentary, Blackfish. In fact, this has been one of the most powerful animal rights campaigns I have personally witnessed. How can we keep it going?

First, watch Blackfish if you haven’t. Post about it. Share the trailer on social media.

Second, be another voice in the protest. Join over 50,000 others in signing this petition by Fins and Fluke or this petition by SeaWorldofHurt.

Third, follow social media sites like Stop SeaWorld and Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project that speak out against marine life abuse.

Fourth, don’t go to SeaWorld! I’ve said it once and I’ll keep saying it: it’s time to move past this kind of entertainment and captivity. It is time for preservation and sanctuary, for respect for animals’ natural behaviors, and for teaching our children to embrace the “wild” of wilderness.

Fifth, if you want to really get out there and get your hands dirty, join a protest! Protests are regularly held in San Diego, San Antonio, and Orlando.

3. Watch Dumbo With a Child

Here’s one that doesn’t make you a “crazy activist” and doesn’t cost you any money (except maybe for some almond milk and cookies). Children have a keen sense of compassion for animals, an instinct that they are too often conditioned to ignore.

Why not engage them in a conversation about why Dumbo was taken from his mother?

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Why not ask them what they think about the Ringling news?

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Why not tell them that they have power to make bad things good? Because they really do.

Youth Protester

Enjoy your weekend and DO GOOD!

Less amusing animals: How movements work

Reblogging this from David Meyer’s wordpress site. As I hope you have heard, Ringling Bros. have announced that they will be phasing out the use of elephants in their shows. This is a huge development! Historic! Our responsibility to honor our fellow non-human animals in this time of species collapse demands that out-dated exploitations like this end. Thank you, Ringling Bros.!

Politics Outdoors

As anyone who has stumbled across the internet and sampled a tiny sliver of the astounding variety of cat videos, animals can be entertaining.  For years animal rights advocates have been emphasizing the price those animals pay for our amusement.

When we learn that elephants are beaten in training, we may become a little less impressed by those amusing tricks.  Maybe, we go to the movies or  a concert instead of dragging the family to the circus.

After years of countering the rhetoric,  and offering reforms in training methods, even litigating against its critics (and winning!), Ringling Brothers has given up, announcing that it will phase out the use of elephants in its circus shows.  There are a lot of factors–as there always are: circus audiences are declining; taking care of elephants is expensive; and some cities have laws banning elephant performances.

Kenneth Feld, the president of Feld…

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Revilers Will Revile…and then nothing changes

Oh my gosh, I’m starting a post with a dictionary entry. What’s become of me??

REVILE verb (used with object), reviled, reviling.

1. to assail with contemptuous or opprobrious language; address or speak of abusively.

In this post you’ll read the word “revile” a lot. I chose it over “hate” because “hate” has lost its punch if you ask me. And the meaning I am looking for is to regard someone with boiling contempt, to despise them, or to wish them ill-will, so “revile” seemed a better fit. I also liked, “despise.”

Okay, read on…..

Did you hear about the cow who ran for her life? Literally? Well, she lost it in the end anyway. Here is the whole story.

Just like many other people (there were 1,488 comments on MFAs FB post of this story last I checked), I was disappointed about how the situation was handled. I think there must be better ways to deal with a loose cow than to shoot it dead, right? I also feel sad for the cow since its story represents a fight for freedom, the saga of an underdog and because it suffered. I am tempted to villainize the police officer who shot the cow, (especially because the picture gets me emotionally revved up) and to appoint him as a “bad person” in my mind.

I said I am tempted.

I’m writing this post to suggest that despite that strong urge, it is absolutely necessary to check my revile-o-meter level and get a grip. Because when revilers revile, nothing changes. 

Let me give you an example. Here are some comments that were made on the Facebook post of the story:

MFA FB posts

That is some of the more moderate reviling that was there. These don’t represent all of the comments of course. Most of the commenters were simply sad and frustrated and incredulous as to why the cow wasn’t simply tranquilized or corralled.

It is these types of comments though that I am writing about today. What does that kind of thinking and expressing accomplish? And I don’t mean for the cow…I mean for our evolution as a species for goodness sakes!! I agree that we are an incredibly violent species. I agree that we are complicit in impossibly egregious actions against animals through our indifference and disinterest. But I also believe that each and every one of us is capable of doing horrible things depending on what our path has been. But for the grace of God, and so on.

We are submerged in a culture that inundates us with messages of violence, consumerism, competition, fear, and selfishness. We are constantly hypnotized into believing that these things are the truth and other ideas of reality are considered ridiculous and feeble. There are simply people out there who do not know that this does not have to be the way it is. Can revilers not see that they are just adding to the suffocating culture of separateness that is the problem? A slaughterhouse worker says, “F*** you, cow,” and you say, “F*** you, slaughterhouse worker.” What’s the difference?? You, the cow, and the slaughterhouse worker are ALL the same. Let’s get up and above all this status quo reviling! Let’s recognize the interconnective repercussions that our thoughts and intentions have! We are not going to change a thing by spreading more of the same.

*sigh* I wrote about this in the past regarding the Taiji dolphin hunt. I think I write about it because I have a hard time believing in the good of people. I have a hard time trusting people. I have a hard time not giving into the temptation to revile. So I’m writing to myself also. Because I know that when I agree to not send that hateful energy to a person I have never and will never meet, whose life and struggle I cannot know, I feel better. I feel more powerful, not less. I am more of Self and less of ego. That is when change can happen. And we need some serious change don’t we?

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Before I go, I want to recognize that I haven’t posted the next installment of The Untethered Soul review this week. I was planning on it tonight, but as you can see I got on a soapbox and couldn’t get down. 😉 Don’t worry though…it’s coming soon!

Love from a recovering reviler,

~~~S Wave~~~

Another Thanksgiving, Another Turkey

There is an interesting article in the Washington Post that is circulating and raising some interesting questions about the presidential turkey pardon that takes place every Thanksgiving.

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You can read the article HERE. It should come as no big surprise that I tend to side with the (as the author coins us) activist-minded, such as Gene Baur, who were cited in the article.

What do you think about Baur’s suggestion that people celebrate truly rescued turkeys instead of cheering the presidential pardon?  Yes, it’s clearly a self-promotion since he specifically recommends Farm Sanctuary‘s Adopt-A-Turkey Program. Nevertheless, it’s a great idea! I’ve been “adopting” a turkey for the last few years and have done the same this year. This time, I am sponsoring a turkey from The Gentle Barn, another wonderful farmed animal sanctuary. In December we will visit the barn and have the chance to meet our new gobbly friend in person

So as the president “pardons” two turkeys this week, let me introduce to you the turkey that my family and I are sponsoring this year, “New Turkey.” 😉  She is lovely and we are sponsoring her to honor her new life at the farm.

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Here’s to happy, healthy animals, human and otherwise!

~~~S Wave~~~

First Killing in 2014 Taiji Dolphin Hunt

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12 Rissos Dolphins trapped at the cove for slaughter. 09-16-14. Photo: Ric O’Barry’s Dophin Project, #DolphinProject

This week, on the 16th, the first dolphins were killed in the annual and controversial Taiji dolphin hunt. In case this is the first you’re hearing of this, the Taiji hunt was featured in Oscar winning documentary The Cove and has gained more and more opponents as the years have gone by. Both Sea Shepherd and Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project provide fabulous coverage of the hunt each year so animal rights advocates can be in the loop.

Below I am reposting an excerpt from a post, Change in Taiji: Finite Disappointment, Infinite Hope, which I wrote during last season’s  hunt. In it you will find some ways to help speak out against the hunt if you feel so inclined. There is also, at the end, a call to maintain your compassion for every individual involved in this dilemma, even those who may seem like enemies.

As the hunt continues this season, Life As a Wave will be standing with others who believe the practice is out-dated, unnecessary and inhumane. More updates will come!

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Here is the excerpt:

So now, dear readers, is the time when we feel helpless to help. However, as Martin Luther King Jr. said, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” So stir up your hope that there is a world awaiting us where respect for our non-human animal companions is the norm. Then, take even just one action. Can’t think of what you might be able to do? Let me help:

Spread the Word:

Follow Operation Infinite Patience on social media and share with your friends and family. Ask them to help us end this atrocity.

Cove Guardian Facebook
Sea Shepherd USA Facebook
Cove Guardian Twitter
Sea Shepherd USA Twitter

Educate others on the link between the captive dolphin industry and the Taiji dolphin slaughter. Please discourage your friends and family from visiting dolphinariums, aquariums, or participating in captive dolphin programs like “swimming with the dolphins”

Contact the Authorities:

Help us end the brutal Taiji dolphin slaughter by voicing your concerns to the authorities in Taiji as well as the Japanese Embassy, US Embassy to Japan, US and Japanese Ambassadors to the UN, and the US Senate members of the Committee on Foreign Relations.

Japanese Embassies Worldwide:

Websites of Japanese Embassies, Consulates and Permanent Missions

List of Embassies and Consulates-General in Japan:

List of Embassies and Consulates-General in Japan

US Embassy in Japan:

Kurt Tong – Charge d’Affaires ad interim
Telephone: 011-81-3-3224-5000
Fax: 011-81-3-3505-1862
Send E-mail to the U.S. Embassy in Japan

Japanese UN Representatives:

H.E. Mr Kazuyoshi Umemoto – Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
japan.mission@dn.mofa.go.jp

H.E. Mr. Jun Yamazaki – Deputy Representative of Japan to the UN
japan.mission@dn.mofa.go.jp

United States UN Representative:

Samantha Power – US Ambassador to the UN
Samantha Power’s Twitter
United States Mission to the United Nations Contact Form

US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations:

US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

Wakayama Prefecture Office, Fishery Division:

E0717001@pref.wakayama.lg.jp
Telephone: +81-73-441-3010
Fax: +81-73-432-4124

International Whaling Commission (IWC)

The Red House,
135 Station Road,
Impington,
Cambridge,
Cambridgeshire CB24 9NP, UK.
Tel: +44 (0) 1223 233 971
Fax: +44 (0) 1223 232 87
Email: secretariat@iwcoffice.org

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) / Convention on Migratory Species (CMP)

UNEP/CMS Secretariat
Platz der Vereinten Nationen 1
53113 Bonn, Germany
Tel: (+49 228) 815 2401
Fax: (+49 228) 815 2449
Email: secretariat@cms.int

Mayor – Taiji Town Hall:

Telephone: +81-73-559-2335

Taiji Fishermen’s Union:

Telephone: +81-73-559-2340
Fax: +81-735-59-2821

Hotel Dolphin Resort/Dolphin Base:

Telephone: +81-0735-59-3514
Fax: +81-0735-59-2810

Japan Fisheries Public Content Form:

Contact the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries

WAZA: The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums

secretariat@waza.org

IMATA: The International Marine Mammal Trainers’ Association

info@imata.org

This information is from Sea Shepherd and surely there is ONE action from this list that you can do. To make it even easier, here is the message I will be including in my e-mail to many of the above contacts. Please feel free to copy the text and use it for yourself as well.

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to express my dismay and disapproval with the continued Taiji dolphin hunt. In light of the increasing global awareness and concern of our exploitation of dwindling marine creatures, as well as the increasing public outrage (including that from Japanese citizens) toward this hunt, I believe the time for defending this tradition has ended. With respect to the citizens and leaders of Japan and admiration for many of the country’s beautiful non-violent traditions, I implore you to cease this annual hunt and bring Japan further into the more peaceful and conservationist future that is necessary for our planet and its species.

Don’t Sacrifice Your Compassion:

Lastly, I want to exhort you to remain compassionate toward the people who carry out this hunt. I have seen plenty of comments on social media spewing hate and violence toward them, but there is no difference between that violence and the violence they inflict on the dolphins. Not essentially. And what are we doing if we counter darkness with darkness?