Misty, the 10-year-old Golden Retriever who inspired the Senior Dogs Project

The Senior Dogs Project
..........."Looking Out for Older Dogs" ...........

"Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog."
-
Sydney Jeanne Seward

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An Occasional Blog ........
"Special Report: Lost hooves, dead cattle before Merck halted Zilmax sales"*

Photo credit: reutersmedia.net

You're probably already aware that the FDA is calling for the voluntary phasing out of antibiotics use by cattle-raising operations because it is believed that such widespread use is causing the creation of "superbugs" -- bacteria that have morphed into drug-resistant strains, rendering many previously highly-effective drugs useless for both cattle and humans. Now we have the prospect of a new drug running rampant in the cattle-raising industry: Zilmax, courtesy of Merck Pharmaceuticals. The drug increases the weight of cattle (antibiotics did this, too), but it may also be the cause of their hooves disintegrating! You may have already eaten beef from these cows, as the drug was just recently pulled off the market. Residue of this drug may remain in the meat that's sold to you. Do you think it's a good idea to eat it? Even China -- a country looking for every possible means of feeding its 1,400,000,000 people -- doesn't think it's a good idea and won't import Zilmax-fed animals.

*From a Reuters News article by P.J. Huffstutter and Tom Polansek, dateline WALLA WALLA COUNTY, WASHINGTON Mon Dec 30, 2013:

"The U.S. beef industry's dependence on the muscle-building drug Zilmax began unraveling here, on a sweltering summer day, in the dusty cattle pens outside a Tyson Foods Inc slaughterhouse in southeastern Washington state.

"As cattle trailers that had traveled up to four hours in 95-degree heat began to unload, 15 heifers and steers hobbled down the ramps on August 5, barely able to walk. The reason: The animals had lost their hooves, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture documents reviewed by Reuters. The documents show the 15 animals were destroyed.

"The next day, the hottest day of the month, two more animals with missing hooves arrived by truck. Again, the animals were destroyed, the documents show."

The article goes on to state: "A Reuters review of data kept by the U.S. Agriculture Department show that euthanizations of cattle have risen substantially since Zilmax came on the market."

According to the Reuters article, Merck "... has said it plans to reintroduce Zilmax, but noted it is too soon to know when sales to U.S. and Canadian customers may resume."

We are not looking forward to the reintroduction of this drug.


Factory Farming Doesn't Want You to Know about the Horrors....
The right to free speech belongs to you only if factory farmers say you're entitled to it. If they have their way, laws may soon be passed in some states making it illegal for the public to try to find out and report the truth about factory farming.

It's really time for change....

We don't think of the work of the Senior Dogs Project as being "confrontational" or "disturbing." However, every so often we're reminded in a very graphic way of what happens to millions (that's right, millions) of animals in shelters every year in the U.S. The photo at the right shows the barrels of euthanized animals from one shelter on one day. Nearly all of these animals were adoptable, but there simply were not enough families "out there" to take them to a loving home. It's the same story at the majority of U.S. shelters. As a civilized society, we really do need to address this problem. It's not fair to the animals; it's not fair to the staff at shelters; and it's a waste of taxpayer money. You can do your part to encourage change by never purchasing an animal from a breeder or pet store, but instead adopting from your local shelter or a rescue organization; by encouraging friends and relatives to do the same; and by ensuring that your companion animals have been spayed or neutered.


Does How We Raise Meat Matter?
We've been hearing a lot over the past few years about how small farms and the "locavore" movement are going to improve the quality of food available to us, protect our health, and help save our planet. We've been encouraged to shop at farmers' markets and to buy products that are raised within a short distance of where we live. We've also been told that the animals raised on local farms aren't fed antibiotics and hormones, live and die under humane conditions, and that raising them in this way is less destructive to our environment. Unfortunately, there are facts that dispute the contention that small-farm production is better for the environment than industrial farming. To cite just one fact from the article The Myth of Sustainable Meat by James E. McWilliams, "Grass-grazing cows emit considerably more methane than grain-fed cows." The writer concludes that it isn't really a choice of the best way to raise animals for meat; it's a question of whether we raise animals for meat at all.

"Star Show-Jumping Horse Dies During Competition".....
.....that was the headline that grabbed our attention, at the top of an article in the New York Times in November 2011. The horse's name was "Hickstead," and he was an Olympic champion. Tonya Henning, 26, a Canadian grand prix rider was quoted as saying of the horse's attitude toward competition, "He wanted it just as bad as the rider did." Excuse me? Are we now reading the minds of horses and imbuing them with a human sort of competitive spirit? Uncomfirmed reports stated the horse died of a ruptured aorta and that he didn't suffer much. Please. The horse died; why even bother to guess how much he suffered in the last moments of his life? What we do to make horses compete is inhumane. Blood doping and drugs are not uncommon. But, even if those were eliminated from sports like show-jumping and racing, it would still be inhumane. Horses are animals that enjoy grazing and running free -- unencumbered by a human and saddle on their backs, a bit in their mouths, a bridle steering their heads, and a hubristic human assumption that they enjoy competition.

Kids Can Learn to Build a More Peaceful, Sustainable World -- but Not from Future Farmers of America

We thought the following was worth posting here on the Senior Dogs Project website, which believes in compassion not only for dogs, but for all creatures:

Empathy, a noble human attribute......Remarks by Dennis Taylor, referring to an article entitled "Hard to Say Goodbye" on the front page of the Monterey, CA, Herald, Tuesday, September 6, 2011.

Dennis Taylor wrote: "Future Farmers of America may have a lot to offer our kids, but teaching them to squelch their empathy isn't one of them. In your article about kids having to say good-bye to the farm animals they've raised, you quote Jorge, a participant, as saying '. . . you have to accept what's going to happen to them.' By 'what's going to happen to them,' he means that we're going to kill them. In fact, we kill about 28 million land animals per day in the U.S. As the kids correctly learn, these farm animals are as sensitive as our pets. Despite the momentum of this system, we don't have to continue to accept their slaughter. As a society, we have a responsibility to address whether animal agriculture serves our children's future. Current practices in animal agriculture are ecologically damaging and unsustainable. Human health suffers from our over-emphasis on animal products in our diet. Most important, the empathy these practices force us to repress is a noble human attribute. When we teach our kids to respect all sentient life, we give them the tools and inspiration to build a more peaceful, sustainable world."


De-vocalization/de-barking Is Inhumane
De-vocalization, a procedure that involves cutting a dog's vocal chords to terminate the dog's ability to bark, is unnecessary, risky, and inhumane -- even when performed by a veterinarian. In fact, many veterinarians will not perform the procedure. Excessive barking is an indicator of a bored, underexercised, and poorly adjusted dog. The solution lies in providing a suitable environment, not in a surgical procedure. An effort is under way in Massachusetts to outlaw de-vocalization. Learn more.....

There is No Scientific Data Supporting Manufacturer's Vaccination Schedule Recommendations
We all want our pets to be safe from infections and potentially fatal diseases. However, yearly vaccinations as recommended by vaccine manufacturers are not based on any studies showing their necessity.  In fact, past studies and studies currently under way show that an animal's immunity to disease is NOT enhanced by boosters and, given that all vaccinations have the potential for side-effects, can actually be harmful to an animal. The Rabies Challenge Fund has undertaken an ongoing study to determine just how long an animal's immunity remains intact following vaccination. So far, results have begun to show that animals maintain their immunity to rabies well beyond three years -- the interval that many states have legislated as the maximum allowable interval (some states still mandate a one-year interval). Read more about vaccinations and their potential harmful effects at http://www.trtalbott.com/ and also at Rabies Challenge Fund.

One Veterinary Student Can Start to Change the World.....
Nicole Putney, a student at Washington State University (WSU) College of Veterinary Medicine, knew that, when she began her studies there two years ago, one of her top concerns would be the traditional way in which animals are used for teaching purposes -- specifically that, following the surgeries that students must perform as part of their training, the animals are euthanized rather than allowed to recover. Often, students who advocate for more humane veterinary training face opposition by both faculty and other students who don't want to change things, but Nicole broke through the roadblocks she encountered and inspired some major changes at WSU.
She started by adopting a dog from the WSU program -- a dog that would have otherwise been euthanized. But, most important, has been the instrumental work she's done to affect WSU's decision to stop using dogs in its required veterinary courses, effective next year. Traditionally, dogs have been used in two required courses -- anesthesiology and theriogenology -- and after three procedures, the dogs were euthanized. Knowing there were more humane options that would allow students the same learning opportunities, she worked with faculty to implement alternative options. In the anesthesiology course, Nicole helped create an alternative track in which shelter dogs are anesthetized to be neutered by third- or fourth-year students, and then returned for adoption. In recognition of her work, Nicole was awarded the Outside the Box scholarship in April. The WSU scholarship -- created by Dr. Nancy Merrill, a 1997 WSU graduate -- is awarded to a veterinary student who has initiated positive change on campus by thinking "outside the box." Dr. Merrill says she created the award because she "believe[s] it is important to be involved and to improve whatever you do, wherever you are, even if it sometimes upsets the status quo."
Is There a Way to be Humane Toward Canada Geese?
Yes, says Beth Mowder, Vice President, Keeper of the Wild, Inc., Charleston/St. George, SC (www.keeperofthewild.org). You may know that Canada geese mate for life, which is one of their many endearing qualities. Some people are not so fond of them, however, because they intrude upon their property and may be destructive to it. Nonetheless, there are people and organizations that strive to protect them and provide alternatives to slaughtering them. Debbie Dangerfield (ddangerfield@carolinaone.com) is one such person. Several weeks ago, she tried to prevent the unreasonable and heartless slaughter of 75 Canada geese, some of which she had rescued and raised from infancy. Many of these geese were domesticated -- they were named and came when called. They were not ever caged. Three people were identified as being responsible for refusing to allow alternatives to the slaughter of the geese, arranging for the geese to be rounded up, packed in hot trucks and taken to slaughter at the USDA in Columbia. The people arranging the slaughter had been given a list of Canada geese rescue groups. None of the agencies was called. The public deserves to know what can happen to our wildlife as well as how heartless some people can be. Here are the names of the parties responsible for the slaughter: Andrew Reid, President of Parks and Recreation, E-mail: awreid3@bellsouth.net; Hilda Davenport, president of Traces & Reflections, the condo association that claimed the geese were destroying the grasses, E-mail: hdavenport1@comcast.net; Catherine Ellis, Property Manager with Spectrum Properties, E-mail: CEllis@spectrumproperties.biz

We Need to Find a Better Way to Feed Ourselves
As world population increases, we're going to have to find a way to feed people other than on a meat- and dairy-based diet. Our planet just can't support such a diet, given the amount of land available to grow food. Find out why and how by viewing the video "A Life Connected." At the right......a world map showing all the places from which people have viewed the video.


Puppy Mills Run Rampant in Virginia
An HSUS undercover investigation in Virginia revealed that puppy mills are out of control. In that state, nearly 1,000 commercial dog breeders are breeding as many dogs as often as they want, however they want, often in shockingly poor conditions.
HSUS investigators documented dogs living with little or no water or only filthy water; dogs with inadequate protection from the heat and cold; dogs living in filthy cages and urine-soaked trailers; dogs crowded into undersized cages; puppies suffering from untreated health problems; and sick puppies sold to unsuspecting members of the public. The investigation also found commercial dog breeders who have been selling to pet stores for years without a license from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in violation of the federal Animal Welfare Act. You can take action.

What the Australian Wool Industry Doesn't Want You to Know
Mulesing is a practice in which huge chunks of skin and flesh are cut from lambs' backsides -- without any painkillers. This is done to cause smooth, scarred skin that can't harbor fly eggs. However, the exposed, bloody wounds often fall victim to flystrike before they can heal. Live transport refers to the transport of tens of thousands of sheep to slaughter when they are no longer profitable to the wool industry. They are sent on weeks-long voyages on open-decked ships to Middle Eastern countries, where animal welfare standards are non-existent. Sheep are often dragged off ships by their ears and legs in order to have their throats slit while they are still conscious. You can help by refusing to buy wool from Australia.

How Many Dogs Die in Shelters......
A dog is killed in a shelter in the United States approximately every 9 seconds.

The photo at the left is of trash barrels at the back door of a shelter, ready to be picked up for disposal. Yes...... what you are seeing in the photo are the corpses of cats and dogs killed at a southern California shelter in one day. Photo from the book, One at a Time. Used with permission.


Canadian Foie Gras Industry Exposed
"Canadian foie gras accounts for the overwhelming majority of foie gras imported by the U.S. annually. Recently, Farm Sanctuary obtained undercover footage taken by a former employee of Canada's largest foie gras producer, which reveals atrocities at every level of production -- from the hatchery, to the abusive force-feeding process, to the slaughterhouse. Along with our Canadian colleagues at the Global Action Network, we've submitted evidence to Canadian authorities to urge prosecution of the foie gras facility for animal cruelty." Read more... Types of cruelty inflicted on the animals include: tearing the heads of live ducks off; kicking, throwing and punching ducks; leaving ducklings to die of hypothermia and asphyxiation inside trash cans; bashing live ducks against walls and floors; suffocating and crushing live ducklings; force feeding ducks; slaughter of fully-conscious ducks. Images -- beware, these are quite graphic.

Our Lives Can Be Enriched through Compassion
Wayne Pacelle, President & CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, writes:

"The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) believes that food choices should be significantly influenced by an ethical concern for animals. In the United States alone, there are 10 billion domesticated animals reared and slaughtered for food each year -- most of them raised in harsh, sunless confinement. With the rise of industrialized farming and the many miseries it inflicts, the decisions we make two or three times a day -- when we sit down to eat -- have vast implications for animals. We are deciding, in effect, whether or not we will add our own weight to the immense burdens placed upon animals in factory farms. Becoming vegetarian, or reducing our intake of animal products, does not subtract from the total amount of enjoyment we derive from eating. It can add to the pleasure of a good meal -- by opening up a new world of foods. More important, though, it marks an acceptance of personal responsibility. We human beings, after all, are not just consumers, answering to our appetites or to supply and demand. We are creatures of conscience, and each one of us has the power to turn away from the cruelties of the modern factory farm. We can carry a message of compassion into the world, and our own lives are richer for it."

See the HSUS Guide to Vegetarian Eating to reduce your consumption of animal products or replace them entirely.


Celebrity Chef Takes Foie Gras Off Menu!
Also adds more vegetarian options and insists on humane standards
Most of us have never had the opportunity to order an expensive specialty called "foie gras" (French for "fatty liver") featured on the menus of high-end restaurants. But we have heard about the cruelty involved in shoveling grain through a metal pipe down into the stomachs of the ducks and geese used in its production. Now, renowned celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck has implemented an historic animal welfare program that's the first of its kind in the restaurant industry. Working with The Humane Society of the United States and Farm Sanctuary, Puck is implementing a nine-point program for all its operations, which includes an immediate end to the use of foie gras, more delicious vegetarian and organic options, and higher welfare standards for animals used for his menus, such as no confinement in crates or cages.

Chef Puck said, "If consumers could see how abused these animals are, they would demand change." Thank you, Chef Puck!


There Are Excellent Alternatives to the Use of Dogs in Medical School Training
Two-thirds of all U.S. medical schools, including Harvard, Stanford and Yale, have eliminated the use of live animals in laboratories to train medical students (dogs, in particular, had been used -- often purchased from "bunchers" who get the dogs from shelters). There are modern, cost-effective and humane alternatives for the training of medical students. Yet, there are still some medical schools that stubbornly cling to the old methods of inflicting needless pain and suffering on dogs -- among them, the University of Wisconsin. Click here to find out more about the campaign to end these inhumane practices.
Some Reputable Organizations Aren't Humane.....
The March of Dimes continues to support cruel and ineffective research that uses animals inhumanely and unethically. There are currently many alternatives to animal-based research and experiments, and more are in development. You can help end cruelty to animals in unnecessary and misguided research and experiments. Find out more, then call or write the March of Dimes to let them know you won't contribute another dime until they make efforts to abandon such methods.
A Change in How We Define "Murder"
The following quote is attributed to Leonardo da Vinci:

"The time will come when men will look on the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of men."


Most people can't explain why they won't eat horse meat but will eat rabbits, cows, sheep, deer, and other gentle, sentient creatures......and in some Asian countries it's perfectly normal to put dogs and cats on your dinner plate.....
We were reminded of this conundrum when we encountered "Food for Thought," an opinion piece written by Andy Rooney, a commentator on the TV show, "CBS Sixty Minutes." Mr. Rooney died in November 2011, but his comments remain current and relevant.

Here's an excerpt from his remarks:

"I like steak, lamb and pork chops but you couldn't make me eat rabbit or horse. When I was in France during World War II, horses would often be killed in the fields by artillery fire and the French farmers would wait until the shooting stopped and then rush out to carve up the dead horses for dinner.

Andy Rooney, commentator on
"CBS 60 Minutes"

"I don't know why anyone who eats beef finds the idea of eating a horse so repulsive but I'm one of them. Horses seem so friendly and I don't like to be reminded of the animal I'm eating. I often pass a farm with cows grazing in the field and I think to myself how terrible it is that human beings grow other animals just to kill them and eat them.

"Most of us think of vegetarians as nuts and I'm not a vegetarian but I wouldn't be surprised if we came to a time in 50 or 100 years when civilized people everywhere refused to eat animals. I could be one of them."


The potential for cats and dogs being born and dying in the United States can reach staggering numbers......

One female dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 puppies in six years. One female cat and her offspring can produce 420,000 kittens in seven years. Between 8 to 12 million animals enter U.S. shelters annually; 35-60% are euthanized, almost all because there are no homes for them. Please don't breed or buy while shelter animals die; adopt a spayed or neutered companion animal from a shelter or rescue organization. Find one here.


A daily click can help feed animals in shelters and sanctuaries......

Millions of animals are rescued by shelters every year. You can help to feed them by clicking on the link that appears on the animal rescue site. Sponsors contribute to the cost of food based on how many visitors click on the link on the site each day. Your daily click provides food for an animal in a shelter or sanctuary.


You can help spread the word about the benefits of adopting a mature dog.....

Jazzmine, adopted at 8 years of ageSo many good dogs who are over the age of five are euthanized simply because of their age and the bias most people have toward adopting puppies. Our flyer explains why adopting an older dog is such a good idea. We can e-mail a copy of the flyer to you (request Word or PDF format, and you can print it out from your computer). Just send an e-mail to: info @ srdogs.com (remove spaces in the address before sending) with the word "Flyer Word" or "Flyer PDF" in the subject line. We've heard from supporters that they've posted the flyer in supermarkets, shelters, churches, veterinary offices, doggie daycare centers, dog trainers' offices, parks where people walk their dogs, and community bulletin boards. So, if you have time and opportunity, we'd appreciate your printing out a copy and posting it. Thank you!

You can also print out directly from the site our list of the "Top Ten Reasons to Adopt a Senior Dog." Just click here.


Books can help us make choices about the foods we eat....
Two new books bring our attention to how our food choices can help or hurt animals, our environment, and our own health and that of future generations, namely: "What to Eat," by Marion Nestle, a nutritionist at New York University; and "The Way We Eat," by Peter Singer, a bioethicist at Princeton, and co-author, Jim Mason, an animal rights activist. Be warned, a New York Times reporter writes in a review: "The examples the authors use to bolster their arguments are not for the weak of stomach. Dr. Singer's and Mr. Mason's gruesome description of industrial pig farming ought to turn any sentient reader away from anything but organic bacon. As Dr. Nestle puts it, 'If you think too much about what is involved in the raising and killing of animals, you may find meat hard to eat.' "

In addition to love of animals, there are many other reasons to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle.....

Pamela Rice, of the VivaVegie Society, Inc., has written a pamphlet entitled "101 Reasons Why I'm a Vegetarian." We've listed just three of the reasons here. If you'd like to read all of them, the pamphlet is available for purchase online via the VivaVegie.org site. Here is a preview of some of the reasons:

#88 Just as smokestack emissions result in acid rain, toxic fumes from decomposing livestock waste on factory farms become poisonous to fish when they are returned to the Earth via rainfall. The errant ammonia also ravages terrestrial ecosystems because plants that thrive on nitrogen are favored over species that don't. Fallout can degrade environments as far away as 300 miles.

#99 Every day 600 people in the U.S. die so suddenly from cardiac arrest that they don't even make it to the hospital. Of the victims, 90 percent have two or more arteries narrowed by atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), a disease inexorably liked to a meat-based diet.

And something to keep in mind if you need a reason not to bake a ham for a holiday dinner:

#81 Food animals are transported in all weather. When it is cold, animals may freeze right to the sides of trucks or become frozen in the urine and feces that build up on truck floors. In hot weather, heat stress kills many. Losses, however, are figured into the cost of doing business. According to swine specialist Kenneth B. Kephart, "Even with a zero death rate that might be associated with providing more space on a truck, the hogs that we save would not be enough to pay for the increased transportation costs of hauling fewer hogs on a load."