Animal issues and questions are prominent everywhere. Here we’ll highlight just a few that face our animals and those who care about them everyday:
Animals Skinned for Fur
A big animal welfare issue is the lack of compassion in fashion. There is not any humane way to make a fur coat. Here are just a few facts you may not know about how those beautiful coats are made.
The most common and gruesome form of killing is by electrocution. An electrical cable is clamped onto the animal’s mouth and another inserted into the rectum. The animal screams and suffers extreme pain during this process.
Most trapped animals are caught in a steel-jaw leghold trap — a device so inhumane that it has been banned in 65 countries but not in the United States. An animal caught in one of these traps is said to experience pain comparable to a human getting his hand slammed in a car door and then not being able to remove it. If the animal does not immediately die, it could succumb to starvation, dehydration, freezing temperatures, or predator attacks. If the animal is still alive, trappers kill them in any number of ways, including a blow to the chest (to suffocate the creature or crush his heart), drowning, or a hit in the head with a blunt instrument.
Just like trapping, there are no laws regulating how animals may be killed, so anything goes.
Help stop the suffering
Ask your friends and family not to buy furs or any product with fur lining. Let others know that wearing clothing made from so much suffering is not fashionable. If there is not a market for fur coats, these animals will no longer be trapped or raised for their fur.
Dissection in the Classroom
Most of us probably recall being asked to dissect frogs, worms, turtles, pigs, cats, mice, and other animals in school. If we refused, it often meant a failing or lower grade in the class.
Even though our views on animals have changed for the better over the last 30 years, many school systems still advocate this archaic practice as a necessary element of a child’s education. Dissection not only teaches children the anatomy of only a single species, but it also teaches them that it is all right to disregard another’s life for the sake of learning.
Fortunately, concerned students, parents, and teachers are speaking out against dissection and asking for educational alternatives to this unnecessary killing and casual use of millions of animals. As a result, some states have already passed laws giving students the legal right to choose an alternative form of study. And students who choose high-tech alternatives, such as computer models, actually score better on tests than students who dissect animals.
What you can do
- Write a letter to the editor of your newspaper.
- Talk to teachers and principals about alternatives.
- Present your viewpoint at the next school board meeting. Encourage students to speak out against dissection and seek alternatives.
- Ask your state representatives to propose legislation that would give students the right to choose alternative methods.
How to Make a Difference in Animal Welfare
Ten ways to help animals
- Schedule a speaker from a shelter to talk to your clubs, lunch forums, neighborhood groups, religious gatherings, and scout groups
- Place donation canisters wherever you do business (or pleasure), such as your office, grocery store, dry cleaners, bar, restaurant, or gym
- Volunteer to walk dogs, play with cats, man an exhibit, bathe puppies, spearhead a special event, or otherwise volunteer at your local shelter
- Coordinate fundraising projects, like bake sales, happy hours, or fashion shows
- Post fliers about shelter services or events at your apartment complex, office, or club
- Offer to drive your neighbor’s unspayed pet to a low-cost clinic (we’ll help you find one)
- If your company, church, school, sorority, fraternity, or club donates to charities, add us to their receiving list
- Donate money to your local shelter or to American Humane (always extremely useful)
- If your company matches employee donations to charities, make sure American Humane is on their list
- Find out if your local shelter could use any of the services or products your company produces
Humane Society or Animal Control
What’s the difference?
In the beginning, humane societies (also called animal rescue leagues or societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals) were created by concerned individuals to protect animals from people. Animal control agencies, on the other hand, were created by governments to protect people from animals.
Their source of funding matches their purposes: Animal control agencies are funded by the local government (city or county) they serve; humane societies survive on donations from individuals and businesses in their community. These nonprofit agencies are not chapters of any national group, but are private organizations governed by a volunteer board of directors made up of people from the community.
Both of these types of agencies work for the welfare and humane treatment of animals, and they often have similar programs — adoptions, euthanasia services, cruelty investigations, and animal rescue. Animal control agencies, however, are generally responsible for picking up strays and enforcing local animal codes (e.g., leash laws, vicious dog laws, pet licensing). Some humane societies contract with their local governments to take on this civic responsibility.
Humane societies and some animal control agencies tend to have services that reach out to area pet owners (and potential pet owners), such as visiting classrooms, holding summer day camps for kids, offering pet behavior classes, visiting nursing homes and hospitals with pets, and running low-cost spay/neuter clinics.
If you want to learn more about what shelters do or volunteer, call your local humane society or animal control agency!
The Backyard Dog
You see one in every community, a dog tied day after day to a back porch or fence, lying lonely on a pad of bare, packed dirt.
Dying for attention
Dogs are instinctually pack animals. Forcing a dog to live away from its human goes against the dog’s most basic instinct. If you doubt this, think of all the whining, barking, clawing dogs you have seen tied alone outside. Abandoned, but chained up, backyard dogs cannot move to comfort, shelter, or companionship. Most often their water and food bowls are empty.
Dogs can offer people the gifts of steadfast devotion, abiding love, and joyful companionship. Unless people accept these offerings and take the time to return them in kind, it is best to not to get a dog. A sad, lonely, bewildered dog tied out back only suffers, and what sort of person wants to maintain suffering.