Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Join the statewide winning team for the animals

Black bears, beavers, feral (a.k.a. community) cats, deer, Canada geese . . . Which national animal welfare group has led and carried out extensive efforts on behalf of all these New Jersey animals, and still others? 

None of them.

National groups work for the benefit of animals all over the world. Sometimes that includes NJ animals, but then only for limited numbers of them, for limited time. They do not (and by definition and name, can not) focus exclusively on the needs of animals here.

Just one organization has done that since 1983: the Animal Protection League of New Jersey – the only statewide organization that speaks for all animals, large and small, domestic and wild. And “APL” is still going strong – anticipating next year’s 35th anniversary of untiring, and effective, activism for animals.
APL’s earlier successes have included stopping the cruel diving “horses” (actually mules) act in
Atlantic City; helping pass NJ’s landmark dissection-choice legislation; stopping eight bear hunts (pre-Christie); and working with towns and caregivers around the state to implement Trap-Neuter-Return for community cats. 

More recently, APL members worked for termination of a contract to gas Canada geese, thus saving Edgewater’s geese from that fate.  Earlier campaigns have dealt with factory farming and animals in laboratories and fur farms, while a major push is underway now to convince counties and municipalities to ban wild animals in circuses.

The organization’s mode of operation is one reason for APL’s wide credibility and support --100% of its income comes from donations and fundraisers, by the way. This is not an “in your face” operation; it’s not big on protests, demonstrations or gruesome images. APL is all about public education, persistence and persuasion. Its website (www.aplnj.org) offers detailed looks at APL programs, campaigns – and successes.  

This has been a look at some of the animals and issues APLNJ works for in our state.  If you like what you’ve read, why not donate to New Jersey’s only statewide organization for animals? Join the move to change minds and laws to end institutionalized and legalized animal abuse. You can help hasten the day when all animals here are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.

The website spells out a variety of options for donating. (www.aplnj.org/donate.php). You can do so online (with a one-time or membership donation, or with a monthly donation of an amount you choose) by mail (send your check or money order to APLNJ, PO Box 174, Englishtown, NJ 07726) or by phone (call us at 732-446-6808, x 101, and a rep will take your donation amount and credit card number).    

Regardless of what you give or how often, your donation will make a positive difference for the animals. Thank you!  


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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A mixed 'bag o’ briefs' about animals

    If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian
--Paul McCartney, singer-songwriter, composer, poet, and activist (1942- )  

Helping injured wildlife

If some evening you spot a squirrel who looks hurt . . . or if some other small wild animal appears to be injured, you can help.  The Mercer County Wildlife Center is open 365 days a year, and its hours for receiving patients vary: summer, 9 am-6 pm; winter, 9 am-4 pm daily.

If you miss those hours, (1) use gloves to place the animal in a box in a warm, quiet place away from pets and children, (2) don’t handle the animal, and (3) don’t try to feed or force water. 

The center’s phone number is 609-303-0552, and it’s at 1748 River Road, Hopewell Township (mailing address = Lambertville).  The Wildlife Center is the last item under “Facilities” at MercerCountyParks.org.   

Changing times & dog houses

When two “women of a certain age” recently talked about pet dogs when they were growing up, one remembered only dogs who lived outside, in dog houses. That was the norm.

These days, the notion of “dog houses” is archaic, even cruel. Today’s dogs typically live in the home, often sleeping on their people’s beds. And still other “luxuries” abound.

No wonder then, that a Dodo story about a rescued puppy in Brazil who shared her cozy blanket with a stray dog, drew numereous comments – not about the pup’s generous act, but the fact that Lana lives outside her adoptive family’s home, in a dog house.   

Not the “cat’s meow,” but “the cat’s whiskers”  

The story appeared in the “Wellness” section of the NYTimes, which sometimes features news and views about pets as well as people. It easily caught my attention because of the cat connection – then the concern about cats’ whiskers that has led to new food bowl designs.

Pretend you have sensitive whiskers that stick out from your face three or more inches in each direction. Then imagine having to eat by sticking your face into a narrow, deep bowl with sides that would rub against those whiskers. Finally, picture yourself reaching into the bowl to pull out food instead, or getting grouchy or just giving up.

That’s called “whisker fatigue,” the dilemma some cats are thought to face when their info-gathering whiskers are tampered with by . . . a bowl!  The solution: bowls designed with whiskers in mind: shallow, with no rim or sides to brush against whiskers. Mealtime becomes happy time again.

(Note to readers who may have or know a cat with food issues that suggest whisker fatigue: I have two of the "Dr. Catsby” bowls described in the article. They’re free to the first two responders here.) 

Deep in dog days 
Does anyone doubt we’re deep in the dog days of summer right now? Think hot, sultry, fevered kind of weather that promotes lethargy – a good reason for those dreamy images of lounging under a tree, reading. 

The name “Dog days” alludes to the “dog star” Sirius, part of the Canis Major, or Large Dog constellation, which at this time of year rises near the same time as the sun in this hemisphere.  Depending on your info source, dog days run from July 3-August 11 or July 24-August 24.  We’ll soon find out.

Today’s word 

abattoir (AHB-a-twar)  From French.  Slaughterhouse; butchery.  A place where animals are killed for their meat.



Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Hot cars are death traps for kids & animals alike

A living animal or creature [cannot be] unattended in a vehicle under inhumane conditions 
     adverse to the health or welfare of the living animal or creature.”  (N.J.S.A. 4:22-26c)

Sunscreen available from ALDF.org/hotcars 
While some deaths are unavoidable, others are 100% avoidable, and they’re the worst kind – the most hurtful to survivors and maybe guilt-inducing too. This is the season when “hot cars” can make news no one wants to read.  

“Kids locked in hot cars can die in minutes,” the headline read. And they do – 12 have died this year alone, and since 1990, there have been 793 documented vehicular heat stroke deaths in the US (many of them accidental), according to the Miami Herald. “The interior of cars left in the hot sun can reach 125 degrees in just minutes, even if the windows are cracked (which has no effect on the heating process),” the paper continued. 

Hot cars hold the same hazard for animals, especially dogs, as they do for kids.  It hasn’t happened yet this summer, but you can be sure it will, as it does every year: the media will report the death of a police dog in an overheated car.

Of course the dead dog’s human partner will reportedly be sad and sorry. And of course s/he will also be derelict, irresponsible, shamefully cruel. Of all people to let this happen – the very ones who should model correct behavior toward dogs in hot cars are too often the killers.


Beyond police officers come the countless, clueless others who leave their pets in cars “just for a minute,” that grows ever longer until . . . the worst.          

“The law protects Good Samaritans from civil liability,” the Miami Herald story said, of people who saved a child from a hot car, breaking a window if necessary after calling 911. But what about those who save animals from the same death trap? What are the legalities of helping an animal in jeopardy in a hot car?  

Providing a run-down on “hot car” laws across the country, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) indicates that some state laws are limited to specified animals and some laws allow only specified public officials to break into the vehicle to rescue the animal. Still other states have “Good Samaritan” hot car laws allowing private citizens to take matters into their own hands.

In just two states – New Jersey and West Virginia – “although it’s illegal to leave an animal trapped in a hot car, no one is granted authority to break into the vehicle to save the animal, not even law enforcement.”

You read it right. New Jersey brings up the rear in supporting would-be rescuers of animals trapped in hot cars. That hurts, even though ALDF points out that “prosecutors may be reluctant to bring charges against rescuers, given the public relations nightmare and scant chance of a conviction.”

No matter what state you may be in, here are the recommended steps to follow if you want to help an animal locked in a hot car:

1 – Be sure the vehicle is locked and forcible entry is the only way to free the animal.

2 – Try to locate the pet parent and politely inform him/her of the danger.  (I think this step wastes valuable time.)

3 – Call 911 or local enforcement.

4 – If necessary, take action yourself to free the animal.

Thank you for caring!


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

'1 more once': back to vegans & veganism

Hoping to help save pets from the upset of fireworks (last post), I allowed very little time for the the post before it, on vegans and veganism, to be seen -- even though, ultimately, it's a subject of far greater importance to animals.  For that reason, and because I still hope for lots of comments on the subject, I invite you to return to "the vegan post," which I've pasted below.  Please take another look (and another think), and possibly contribute a comment while you're there.


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Saluting vegans: major animal lifesavers

"There is no meaningful distinction between eating flesh and eating dairy or other animal products. Animals exploited in the dairy industry live longer than those used for meat, but they are treated worse during their lives, and they end up in the same slaughterhouse after which we consume their flesh anyway. There is probably more suffering in a glass of milk or an ice cream cone than there is in a steak." —  Gary L. Francione, vegan American legal scholar and animal rights advocate  

Brussels sprouts fried rice                                     isachandra.com
With that, I’ve learned the truth of the familiar expression: “Pride goeth before a fall” – now amended to “Pride goeth before realizing how many ways (of which meat-avoidance is only one) vegans 
change their lives, for animals’ sakes.”

In other words, I’m a bare beginner, a raw recruit and hardly a hero at trying to save animals’ lives. Vegans are the ones I admire. Their route is truly tough. But lessening animal suffering and helping animals stay alive are what it’s all about.

Veganism is easier than vegetarianism to understand -- if not to live. Meat, fish, poultry, dairy, eggs, and all other animal-based products, like honey, are entirely given up. Any food or product that makes use of animals is rejected.

This often extends to clothing, medicines, and anything else in which animals or animal products are used. For example, vegans wouldn’t use leather handbags, shoes or belts; cosmetics tested on animals; down comforters; medicine capsules or candy (goodbye, “regular” marshmallows) containing gelatin; silk or woolen clothing or that made with dyes made from insects; or fur coats, of course. 
 Seitan pizza               Wikipedia

One info source had it that vegetarianism is usually a diet, while veganism is a lifestyle. Considering all that the typical vegan does without – animal flesh as well as products tested on or derived from animals -- “lifestyle” seems correct, of necessity. Here’s a simple and welcome summary: Vegans just leave animals alone and let them live their lives, period.

So, I get the why of becoming a vegan, but I wonder about the how of it. Does it happen in “one swell foop”?  Or is it more often a gradual process?  

Indicating that some 16 million people are veggie or vegan, one source reports that “69% said they chose to eat a vegan diet to support the ethical treatment of animals. Forty-five percent say they transitioned into veganism over time.”

If that sounded like a cue, it was!  Time to remind readers about the “Food for Life” starter kit, the free aid available on request from Animal Protection League of NJ.  Just visit the website (http://aplnj.org/food-for-life.php) and under the APLNJ logo near the top right, enter your email and click on “Request the Kit” -- then watch for the mail.  

(Note to vegan readers: You could help wannabe vegans by commenting here. How about telling us how you got started, what foods you enjoy – tips and recipes welcome-- and how you feel about veganism.)