World Environment Day 2020: Overpopulation & Humanity’s Toll On Nature

Photo Credit: Huffington Post

(ENVIRONMENT/GO GREEN) Today, June 5 marks World Environment Day, which has focused on pressing environmental issues since 1974.

While this year’s theme focuses on ‘Biodiversity,’ there’s no doubt that humanity’s unhealthy relationship with nature holds the largest impact on climate change and habitat disruption.

Overpopulation not only pollutes the Earth and consumes its natural resources, but it’s also the driving cause of global warming, pollution, habitat loss, and mass extinction.

The damage our species has caused to the Earth seems insurmountable at times, and considering the current state of the world, it’s clear our prevailing systems failed to consider a variety of factors.

One organization, Having Kids, is proactively addressing issues surrounding overpopulation and aims to shift the world towards a sustainable family planning system based on what future generations of children will objectively need.

Continue reading below for more behind the group’s mission as they call on 100 key world environmental influencers to adopt a “child-first” family planning model. — Global Animal

World Environment Day 2020. Photo Credit: Huffington Post


Organization calls for child-first family planning model

The organization Having Kids is urging 100 key world environmental influencers to move from our current and failing and unsustainable approach to family planning to a cooperative system based on what all children objectively need. This new system is based upon a variety of peer-reviewed research papers, and has been featured in Newsweek, Salon, Hello Magazine, and many other popular outlets. That change has never been more vital, given recent reactions to vast racial and economic inequity, the ongoing threat of pandemics, and massive volatility in world population prospects.

Read the full letter here.

Our current family planning system does not guarantee children any minimum level of welfare or equity, and does not take into account impacts on our ecologies, or the relationship between family planning and the building of human rights-based democracies. As our ecological and social conditions continue to deteriorate, it is becoming increasingly clear that the current system failed to account for a variety of factors. It was a mistake, and one that enables policies that Nobel laureate Steven Chu likened to a pyramid or Ponzi scheme.

The alternative we propose, called Fair Start, is simple: communities help parents to plan and wait to be ready before having kids, and ensure resources to give all kids a fair start in life, and smaller and more regenerative families make it all possible. We believe it is the best interpretation of the fundamental right to have children. The Fair Start Model is ten to twenty times more effective at protecting children and our environment, and building human rights and democracy, than other policies that address these issues. For many reasons, it is an overriding human right which can be furthered by all means effective.

According to Executive Director Erika Mathews: “Because our current system of family planning oppresses future generations and puts us all at existential risk, it is illegitimate, and an impediment to the constituting of true democracies.”


Having Kids is a 501(c)3 nonprofit nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring a fair start for all children by reforming family planning with the human rights-based and child-first Fair Start model.

National Rescue Dog Day Is Here, So What Are You Waiting For?

Photo Credit: PetFinder

(RESCUE DOGS/PET ADOPTION) Today, May 20, is National Rescue Dog Day, a day to recognize and appreciate the countless benefits of adopting a four-legged friend in need of a forever home.

Over 3 million abandoned and abused dogs enter animal shelters each year, and their potential for love is limitless. These dogs often overcome extreme odds, but can still provide boundless comfort, security, and friendship as family pets.

They offer a variety of therapeutic benefits to help relieve anxiety, depression, and PTSD, and with a little extra training, rescue dogs can also serve as dutiful service pets for the elderly or those with disabilities.

Proud parents of rescue pets know first-hand how their four-legged friends improve their lives, and couldn’t imagine a more worthy companion. So today, for National Rescue Dog Day, celebrate the joys of animal adoption and give your furry friends a well-deserved treat!

Photo Credit: PetFinder

If you’ve been considering bringing a new four-legged family member into your home, what are you waiting for?

Making a commitment to a pet is a huge responsibility and can seem overwhelming at times. While the adoption process has many variables and requires patience, luckily there are countless resources and shelter workers–who know the pets best–available to help you find the perfect match.

If you’re not quite ready to adopt a pet, you can still help by volunteering at a local shelter, making a financial donation, or fostering a pet today.

What Should I Know Before Adopting a Shelter Dog? (Resources)

Adopt a pet, rescue a cat, dog, puppy or kitten
Visit Global Animal’s pet adoption database

San Diego Sea Lion Plays In Bioluminescent Waters

(ANIMAL VIDEOS/OCEANS) In the video clip above, witness a sea lion playing in the bioluminescent waves in the San Diego Bay. A pair of kayakers were delightfully surprised by the unexpected visitor and were lucky enough to capture the rare moment on film. — Global Animal

Don’t Forget To Wash Your Paws!

(DOGS/CUTE ANIMAL VIDEOS) With so many safety measures currently in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, hand-washing is still the single most effective way to prevent the spread of infections. Watch this doggy demonstration in the video clip above! For more delightful dachshunds, follow Three Daxie Trouble on Facebook. — Global Animal

Dog Mom Anthem Says “Happy Mother’s Day” To All Dog Moms

(DOGS/PETS/CUTE ANIMAL VIDEOS) Did you know dog moms can celebrate Mother’s Day, too?! This Dog Mom Anthem goes out to all the compassionate dog mothers out there! — Global Animal

Are Plants Poisoning Your Pets? (GALLERY)

World Environment Day is a great day to plant a tree

(CATS AND DOGS/PET CARE) Flowers and plants are a wonderful addition to any garden, but some of our favorites can adversely affect our favorite animals. Check out the gallery below of 10 pet-poisoning plants that may be growing in your backyard. — Global Animal

Some of the most common flowers and plants can be harmful to your pets.

Discovery News, Tim Wall

Some favorite flowers and prized plants can be four-legged friends’ worst enemies. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals lists hundreds of pet-poisoning plants, including these 10.

Daffodil Danger

Squirrels tend to leave daffodil bulbs alone. That’s good news for gardeners, but bad news for cats and dogs. The bulbs are the most toxic part of the plant and can poison dogs and cats.

Daffodil bulbs can poison your pet. Photo Credit: Kropsoq, Wikimedia Commons
Daffodil bulbs can poison your pet. Photo Credit: Kropsoq, Wikimedia Commons

Kiss of Death from Tulips

Tulip bulbs are toxic too, and not just to pets. Humans should think twice before tasting a tulip. In fact many plant’s roots and bulbs hide toxic defenses. Even the seemingly benign potato can develop dangerous levels of the poison solanine, if the spuds grow too close to the surface and turn green.

Tulip bulbs are dangerous for pets and humans. Photo Credit: Tulip Fields with the Rijnsburg Windmill, Claude Monet, Wikimedia Commons
Tulip bulbs are dangerous for pets and humans. Photo Credit: Tulip Fields with the Rijnsburg Windmill, Claude Monet, Wikimedia Commons

Wimpy Name, Deadly Effect

Periwinkle may have a sissy name, but this ground cover can kill a cat or dog if they ingest it. The poison punch of periwinkle comes from vinca alkaloids. Those same chemicals once served as anti-cancer drugs until they were replaced by synthetics.

Periwinkle can kill a cat or a dog. Photo Credit: Selena N.B.H, Wikimedia Commons
Periwinkle can kill a cat or a dog. Photo Credit: Selena N.B.H, Wikimedia Commons

Beauty Bad for Beasts

Showy rhododendrons can be the end of the road for pets. Eating a few leaves can cause serious problems, even death. The plant contains a nasty nerve poison, grayanotoxin. That poison can contaminate honey if bees feast on rhododendrons. In Nepal, this tainted honey fetches a high price because of its supposed medicinal properties, reported National Geographic.

Rhododendrons can be very problematic for pets. Photo Credit: FG2, Wikimedia Commons
Rhododendrons can be very problematic for pets. Photo Credit: FG2, Wikimedia Commons

Aloe and Goodbye

The slimy sap of an aloe plant can sooth burned skin, and the chemicals, known as saponins, make aloe a naturally foamy shampoo. But those same chemicals are deadly to fish — and cause vomiting, diarrhea, and tremors in cats and dogs.

Aloe causes vomiting, diarrhea, and tremors in cats and dogs. Photo Credit: Frank Vincentz, Wikimedia Commons
Aloe causes vomiting, diarrhea, and tremors in cats and dogs. Photo Credit: Frank Vincentz, Wikimedia Commons

Pet Poison: Ivy

The signature vegetation of higher education, English ivy, also contains saponins — particularly one known as hederagenin, which some people take as a stimulant. The effects on pets, however, are anything but stimulating. Ivy can make cats and dogs very sick and the leaves pack more toxic punch than the berries.

Ivy can make cats and dogs very sick. Photo Credit: The Pond and Erman Biology Center at the University of Chicago, Bob Krist, Corbis
Ivy can make cats and dogs very sick. Photo Credit: The Pond and Erman Biology Center at the University of Chicago, Bob Krist, Corbis

No Tea for Kitty

Chamomile tea may sooth human nerves, but the plant can cause allergic reactions in cats and dogs as well as skin irritation, vomiting and diarrhea.

Chamomile can cause allergic reactions in cats and dogs. Photo Credit: Pikiwikisrael, Wikimedia Commons
Chamomile can cause allergic reactions in cats and dogs. Photo Credit: Pikiwikisrael, Wikimedia Commons

Doesn’t Keep Vet Away

An apple a day may be good for people, but the leaves, stems and seeds of apple trees release cyanide when chewed. Humans too can be exposed to cyanide if they chew up apple seeds. However, it would take approximately 100 grams of crushed apple seeds to poison an average size adult human, according to the Naked Scientists.

The leaves, stems, and seeds of apple trees release cyanide when chewed. Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Wikimedia Commons
The leaves, stems, and seeds of apple trees release cyanide when chewed. Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Wikimedia Commons

No Coleus for Canines

Oils in the many-colored foliage of coleus plants can cause vomiting and bloody diarrhea in dogs and cats.

Coleus plants can cause vomiting in dogs and cats. Photo Credit: Roger Price, Wikimedia Commons
Coleus plants can cause vomiting in dogs and cats. Photo Credit: Roger Price, Wikimedia Commons

Push Up Daisies

Daisies and other chrysanthemum species contain natural pesticides that can poison pets. However, those natural pest poisons — including sesquiterpene, lactones, and pyrethrins — make daisies an excellent guard plant to deter pests form attacking other, less-defended flowers and crops. Helpful bees, though, are undeterred.

Daises contain natural pesticides. Photo Credit: Jessica Merz, Wikimedia Commons
Daises contain natural pesticides. Photo Credit: Jessica Merz, Wikimedia Commons

More Discovery News:

This Breakthrough Will Help Save Our Coral Reefs

The ridged cactus coral which reproduced. Photo Credit: via CNN

(OCEANS/CORAL REEFS) For the first time in history, the Florida Aquarium has successfully reproduced ridged cactus coral–a scientific breakthrough that will help save the third largest coral reef in the world, “America’s Great Barrier Reef.”

The corals are just one of the many species rescued from Florida’s waters after the region’s coral reefs began undergoing a major disease outbreak that started in 2014. Scientists intend to breed and reproduce these rescued colonies in hopes of eventually restoring the reefs once the disease is gone.

Continue reading to learn more about this major step toward repopulating the world’s coral reefs. — Global Animal

The ridged cactus coral which reproduced. Photo Credit: via CNN

CNN, Alaa Elassar

The Florida Aquarium has made a breakthrough that will help save “America’s Great Barrier Reef,” the third largest coral reef in the world.

For the first time in world history, the aquarium in Tampa, Florida has successfully reproduced ridged cactus coral in human care.

The corals are just one of a variety of species rescued from Florida’s waters by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and NOAA Fisheries after coral reefs in the state began undergoing a major disease outbreak that started in 2014.

Scientists are now caring for the rescued adult coral colonies to breed and reproduce them in hopes of someday restoring the reefs once the disease is gone. While reproducing these species, scientists are discovering for the first time basic information on their biology, such as when they have babies or what their larvae look like.

“We are losing coral species faster than we can learn about them,” Keri O’Neil, senior coral scientist at the Florida Aquarium, told CNN.

“This breakthrough is just really exciting; we’re still learning basic new things you’d think we’ve known for hundreds of years. It’s just people never worked with this species before and now that we have the opportunity to work with these corals in the lab, we’re going to find out so much more about them.”

Before this discovery, there was very little information known about how ridged cactus coral reproduce. No photos, videos, or published studies were ever done on the species’ reproductive biology until scientists at the aquarium successfully reproduced them while catching the “birth” on video.

Baby ridged cactus corals. Photo Credit: via CNN

The reproduction process

Ridged cactus corals are brooding coral, meaning to reproduce, only their sperm — not the eggs — are released into the water. The eggs are then fertilized and the larvae development occurs inside the parent coral.

The parent corals “spit out” the tiny baby coral, which immediately start swimming around until they find a perfect place on the reef where they stay for the rest of their lives. After witnessing the corals “give birth” for the first time, scientists have discovered that this species’ larvae is the largest they have ever seen before.

The corals first began generating spawn — or giving birth — in early April, and are still having babies over a week later. So far, over 350 coral babies have been released.

The next step, O’Neil said, is finding out how long the larvae swim around before settling and turning into an adult coral. This is important because knowing how far they can travel will shed light on how mixed coral reef populations really are.

“Conservation and saving wildlife from extinction is our foremost business focus and scientific breakthroughs that have a direct impact on protecting and restoring our natural environment is why we exist,” Roger Germann, The Florida Aquarium president and CEO, told CNN.

“Healthy coral reefs are vital to the survival and quality of life of humans and animals, especially here in Florida and throughout the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. We believe it’s our responsibility to save the Florida Reef Tract from disappearing.”

Participating in ‘Project Coral’

About a year ago, the aquarium’s scientists became the first in the world to get Atlantic Ocean coral to successfully reproduce two days in a row for the first time in a lab setting.

The aquarium is also taking part in “Project Coral” — a program designed to spawn coral with the goal of ultimately repopulating the world’s coral reefs. The project works in partnership with London’s Horniman Museum and Gardens to induce corals to spawn, or release their eggs and sperm, in a lab.

Unlike the natural reproduction of the ridged cactus corals, Project Coral uses advanced LED technology and computer-control systems to mimic the natural environment of the coral to subtly signal the corals to reproduce.

More CNN:

When Humans Go Away, Wild Animals Come Out To Play

Great Orme Kashmiri goats on the streets of Llandudno, Wales. Photo Credit: Andrew Stuart

(WILDLIFE) With more than a billion people worldwide socially distancing themselves to prevent the spread of COVID-19, hoards of wild animals are venturing out into towns and cities where normally the presence of humans would keep them away.

This includes goats in Wales, coyotes in San Francisco, and rats practically everywhere.

Continue reading for more on what wildlife that usually keep their distance do when they are left alone. — Global Animal

Great Orme Kashmiri goats on the streets of Llandudno, Wales. Photo Credit: Andrew Stuart

New York Times, Sandra E. Garcia

Under the cover of night, in their feathered, silken, cream-colored coats, they trotted into Llandudno, a seaside town in Wales.

On Thursday evening, a herd of Great Orme Kashmiri goats galloped through the desolate streets of the small town looking for food. Some goats got their fill from hedges, others climbed building walls.

“They are very mischievous,” Andrew Stuart, a Llandudno resident who spotted the goats, said in an interview. “They seem a bit wary of humans, they wouldn’t go past me at one point and were very cautious.”

Luckily for the goats, there weren’t many humans around.

More than a billion people worldwide are staying at home under guidance from their governments, socially distancing themselves from one another to avoid the spread of the coronavirus, which has claimed over 43,000 lives globally, including 2,300 in Britain.

With businesses closed and towns and cities emptied out, people are getting a glimpse of what animals that usually keep their distance do when they are left alone.

The Great Orme goats ventured out farther than they normally would, Mr. Stuart, 31, said.

The goats live in Great Orme Country Park, in Conwy, Wales. They were a gift from Queen Victoria, from the royal herd, but their descendants are wild animals that roam and forage in the large park.

“They like to come down when it gets a bit windy,” Mr. Stuart said. “When they get down to the bottom of the hills they don’t go much further because there is busy town life. They are known for coming down a bit and causing a bit of mayhem.”

But with the country under lockdown because of the coronavirus, the goats saw an opportunity to get a whiff of their neighboring town and hopped right to it. In the video Mr. Stuart recorded, the goats can be seen running down the middle of a street.

“They were just racing through the town,” said Mr. Stuart, who called a nonemergency police line. “They are in town because it is so quiet, because hardly anyone is about.”

There is also hardly anyone outside in San Francisco — except for the coyotes.

Residents in San Francisco have been under orders to practice social distancing for two weeks, leaving their homes only to buy groceries, go to pharmacies and participate in other essential tasks. The streets have been left to the coyotes, which seem to be venturing farther into the city because there are so few cars, according to Deb Campbell, a spokeswoman for San Francisco Animal Care and Control.

“We have had a lot more reported sightings of them in the streets,” she said. “They are probably wondering where everyone went.”

Social distancing has not increased wild animals’ populations, but it does seem to have changed their behavior in seeking new food sources, said Jim Fredericks, chief entomologist at the National Pest Management Association.

“What we are also seeing is that they are looking for food in places they had not before,” he said. “The part of the equation that is missing right now is people.”

Ever since Louisiana imposed a lockdown, causing restaurants to shut down, the rats in New Orleans are almost certainly wondering where the usual French Quarter crowds — and their trash — have gone.

“Animals are opportunistic and feed off trash,” said Claudia Riegel, executive director of the New Orleans Mosquito, Termite and Rodent Control Board. “The restaurants are producing a lot of trash, and right now, a lot of that is just gone.”

This moment of desperation for the rodents can become an opportunity for communities trying to control the pest population, since rats are more likely to be lured by traps and baits, Dr. Fredericks said.

Dr. Riegel and her team are taking advantage of that.

“We are never going to have this chance again, when most of the restaurants and the buildings are temporarily closed,” she said.

New York City is known for its large population of already brazen rats, including the notorious Pizza Rat. There has not been a change in behavior from pests in the city, according to Katy Hansen, the spokeswoman for the Animal Care Centers of NYC.

“People are not outside leaving food and trash around, so it’s not attracting them,” she said.

But there is a possibility that with the absence of people, and their trash, New York rats become even more brazen in their search for food, as a gang of macaques did in Lopburi, Thailand, last month. The macaques are usually fed by tourists who visit the ancient city, but with an 85 percent drop in tourism, the monkeys became more aggressive in their search for food.

Humans can easily forget that the cities and towns they call home and frequently visit are also home to wild animals, like the Great Orme goats.

“There is not much we can do,” Mr. Stuart said of getting the goats to go home. “There is no sort of truck that they can put them in to get them back up there.”

“They go back of their free will, or when they get bored.”

More New York Times:

How Animal Cruelty Caused The Coronavirus

Photo Credit: Heather Ainsworth

(ANIMAL WELFARE) With many countries in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, experts continue to speculate over the virus’ origins while medical researchers try to find a cure.

COVID-19 is not unlike most infectious diseases given that it is zoonotic–meaning it can jump the species barrier from animals to humans. This relatively common phenomenon almost always arises–directly or indirectly–from the inhumane ways in which humans treat animals.

As the New York Times author below perfectly states, “The conditions that lead to the emergence of new infectious diseases are the same ones that inflict horrific harms on animals.”

Continue reading for more about how the coronavirus pandemic arose from humankind’s maltreatment of animals and steps towards future prevention. — Global Animal

Photo Credit: Heather Ainsworth

New York Times, David Benatar

There is the obvious and then there is what should be obvious. The obvious is that the coronavirus pandemic has brought much of the human world to a standstill. Many countries are in lockdown. So far, more than 1.7 million have been infected, more than 100,000 have died, and billions live in fear that the numbers of sick and dead will rise exponentially. Economies are in recession, with all the hardship that entails for human well-being.

What should be obvious, but may not be to many, is that none of this should come as a surprise. That there would be another pandemic was entirely predictable, even though the precise timing of its emergence and the shape of its trajectory were not. And there is an important sense in which the pandemic is of our own making as humans. A pandemic may seem like an entirely natural disaster, but it is often — perhaps even usually — not.

The coronavirus arose in animals and jumped the species barrier to humans and then spread with human-to-human transmission. This is a common phenomenon. Most — and some believe all — infectious diseases are of this type (zoonotic). That in itself does not put them within the realm of human responsibility. However, many zoonotic diseases arise because of the ways in which humans treat animals. The “wet” markets of China are a prime example. They are the likely source not only of Covid-19 but also of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and some outbreaks of avian influenza, for example. (Another possible source of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 may be one of the many mixed wildlife-livestock farms in China, but humans are responsible for those, too.)

The “wet” markets, which are found not only in China but also in some other East Asian countries, have a number of features that makes them especially conducive to spawning infectious zoonotic diseases. Live animals are housed in extremely cramped conditions until they are slaughtered in the market for those who have purchased them. In these conditions, infections are easily transmitted from one animal to another. Because new animals are regularly being brought to market, a disease can be spread through a chain of infection from one animal to others that arrive in the market much later. The proximity to humans, coupled with the flood of blood, excrement and other bodily fluids and parts, all facilitate the infection of humans. Once transmission from human to human occurs, an epidemic is the expected outcome, unless the problem is quickly contained. Global air travel can convert epidemic to pandemic within weeks or months — exactly as it did with the coronavirus.

It is these very conditions that facilitate the emergence of new infectious diseases and that also inflict horrific harms on animals — being kept in confined conditions and then butchered. Simply put, the coronavirus pandemic is a result of our gross maltreatment of animals.

Those who think that this is a Chinese problem rather than a human one should think again. There is no shortage of zoonoses that have emerged from human maltreatment of animals. The most likely origin of H.I.V. (human immunodeficiency virus), for example, is S.I.V. (simian immunodeficiency virus), and the most likely way in which it crossed the species barrier is through blood of a nonhuman primate butchered for human consumption. Similarly, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease probably had its origins in its bovine analogue — bovine spongiform encephalopathy (B.S.E.), or “mad cow disease.” The most probable mechanism of transmission is through human consumption of infected cattle.

In the future, we should fully expect our maltreatment of animals to wreak havoc on our own species. In addition to future pandemics, we face the very real risk of breeding antibiotic resistance. The major contributor to this is the use of antibiotics in the animal agriculture industry, as a growth promoter (to bring animals to slaughter weight as quickly as possible) and to curb the spread of infections among animals reared in cruel intensive “factory farmed” conditions.

It is entirely possible that the human future will involve a return to the pre-antibiotics era, in which people died in droves from infections that have been effectively treated since the discovery of penicillin and other early antibacterial agents. If so, it may turn out that the antibiotics era was a brief interlude between two much longer periods in human history in which we succumbed in large numbers to bacterial infections. That prospect, which is even more awful than the current crisis, is no less real for that. We, as a species, know about this problem, but we have not yet done what needs to be done to avert it (or at least minimize the chances of its happening).

What these and many other examples show is that harming animals can lead to considerable harm to humans. This provides a self-interested reason — in addition to the even stronger moral reasons — for humans to treat animals better. The problem is that even self-interest is an imperfect motivator. For all the puffery in calling ourselves Homo sapiens, the “wise human,” we display remarkably little wisdom, even of a prudential kind.

This is not to deny the many intellectual achievements of humankind. However, they are combined with many cognitive and moral shortcomings, including undue confidence in our ability to solve problems. In general, humans respond to pandemics rather than act to prevent them — we attempt to prevent their spread after they emerge and to develop treatments for those infected. The current crisis demonstrates the folly of this approach. The closest we come to prevention is the effort to develop vaccines. But even this sort of prevention is a kind of reaction. Vaccines are developed in response to viruses that have already emerged. As the coronavirus experience shows, there can be a significant lag between that emergence and the development of a safe and effective vaccine, during which time great damage can be done both by the virus and by attempts to prevent its spread.

Real prevention requires taking steps to minimize the chances of the virus or other infectious agents emerging in the first place. One of a number of crucial measures would be a more intelligent — and more compassionate — appraisal of our treatment of nonhuman animals, and concomitant action.

Some might say that it is insensitive to highlight human responsibility for the current pandemic while we are in the midst of it. Isn’t it unseemly to rub our collective nose in this mess of our own making? Such concerns are misplaced. Earlier warnings of the dangers of our behavior, offered in less panicked times, went unheeded. Of course, it is entirely possible that even if we are now momentarily awakened, we will soon forget the lessons. There is plenty of precedent for that. However, given the importance of what lies in the balance, it is better to risk a little purported insensitivity than to pass up an opportunity to encourage some positive change. Millions of lives and the avoidance of much suffering are at stake.

More New York Times:

Compassionate Treats For A Happy Vegan Easter

Photo Credit: Red Hot Vegans

(ANIMAL WELFARE/VEGAN EASTER) Easter is almost here, and what better way to enjoy this celebration of new life than to celebrate with compassion toward all life?

After all, this lovely springtime holiday and the animal rights movement do share the same cotton-tailed mascot!

Learn how easy and delicious it can be to have a happy vegan Easter with the following tips!  — Global Animal

Celebrate Easter with your family with a healthy, vegan brunch! Photo Credit: Red Hot Vegans

VegNews, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau & Liz Miller

Want to continue celebrating Easter, sans cruelty to animals? It’s as easy as biting into a vegan chocolate egg.

Here’s the great thing about Easter: Whether or not you believe in its religious history, there are still delicious vegan chocolate eggs to eat. Yes, here at VN we embrace veganizing pretty much everything, and holidays are no exception. Since cruelty-free living can coincide with any and every occasion, we’ve rounded up the best crafts, confections, and cookery we could find to ensure 2010 marks your most compassionate Easter celebration yet.

EggNots are an egg coloring alternative for vegans and those with egg allergies. Photo Credit:

Egg (Decorating) Replacer

While Easter egg decorating and egg hunts clearly don’t align with vegan ethics, it isn’t the eggs involved in these memories that stir nostalgia, it’s the family bonding time. Time spent with parents or grandparents, sharing stories and working together, is a holiday tradition worth keeping alive. A simple alternative to egg decorating is painting wooden eggs or any wooden figure, which serves as a replacement and lets you enjoy the artwork year-round. Other items (plastic eggs filled with vegan treats, for example) allow for the same effect without contributing to unnecessary cruelty.

Enjoy a compassionate Easter brunch spread complete with vegan chocolate bunnies, seasonal fruits, as well as mimosas and Bellinis. Photo Credit:

Easter Morning Brunch

After drumming up an appetite during the early morning “egg” hunt, children and adults alike can enjoy a compassionate brunch spread complete with Strawberry-Ricotta French Toast (made with tofu) and Strawberry-Rhubarb Syrup, Chive Biscuits with jam, a Tofu Scramble or Tomato-Zucchini Frittata, herbed hash browns, and smoked tofu. For a special treat, mix up mimosas, or do holiday brunch truly proud by serving Ginger White Peach Bellinis. Cap off your decadent midday meal with a fresh, crisp, and perfectly seasonable Strawberry Pie.

Lake Champlain offers dark chocolate placesetting bunnies and organic dark chocolate hopp’n bunnies to share with all Easter guests. Photo Credit:

Candy Basket—Yes, please!

One of the most celebrated—and delicious—American Easter traditions is exchanging gifts and gifting children Easter baskets. While kids will certainly appreciate a basket brimming with goodies, consider also extending the same treasure trove of candy to vegan friends and family members. Cruelty-free chocolate bunnies and marshmallow chicks are easy to find, thanks to a host of vegan confectioners across the country. Sjaak’s Organic Chocolates makes Easter basket shopping easy with its Dark Chocolate Basket with Bunny—yes, the basket is edible—and Dark Chocolate Eggs. To satisfy crème-filled egg cravings, look no further than The Good Egg by Rescue Chocolate. Balance out that healthy dose of chocolate with vegan Jelly Beans by Paskesz or adorable Marshmallow Chicks and Bunnies by Sweet & Sara.

Opt for a 100 percent vegan Easter basket this holiday. Photo Credit: The Glowing Fridge

Healthy Holiday

Want to err on the side of health for your holiday treats? Create a special basket filled with your favorite homemade muffins, egg-shaped cookies, or carrot cake, along with recipes or a cookbook. If you’re looking to steer clear of edible offerings altogether, fill a basket with lovely seasonal flowers, such as daffodils and marigolds, or the quintessential symbol of spring, Easter lily bulbs. Another great gift that keeps on giving—to you and to others—is creating a herb or vegetable garden. Purchase heirloom and organic seeds from a local nursery and begin the process that embodies the true meaning of the season. A basic herb garden will thrive as long as you have sun, and staples like lettuce, kale, and collards will keep you in the green stuff for many months to come. Just think: This time next year you could be creating a new spring tradition by serving loved ones a home-cooked meal with homegrown veggies.

More Veg News:

Tiger Cubs Exploited In America’s Malls Of Shame — Tiger King’s Cruelty Goes Mainstream Nearly 10 Years Later

(WILDLIFE TRADE/EXOTIC ANIMALS) With the rise in popularity of Netflix’s hit show Tiger King, the world is finally getting a glimpse into the life of Joe “Exotic” Maldonado-Passage (previously Shreibvogel) and the exotic animal trade. But as many long-time Global Animals may know, Joe has been bad news for tigers for quite some time.

No doubt, Tiger King glamorizes Joe Exotic and a number of other crude individuals, but it also sends an important message to a mainstream audience (albeit in a dramatic Jerry Springer Show fashion) that states: “More tigers are privately owned in the U.S. than exist in the wild–and these are the type of people who own them. Let’s do something about it all while laughing at their expense.”

In the article below, Global Animal uncovers the truth behind the G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial Park and Joe’s travelling tiger cub exhibit. Little did we know, this story–published nearly a decade ago–was just the tip of the iceberg for this notorious animal abuser.

Originally published on December 23, 2011

Alisa Manzelli, Global Animal

Animal advocates are seeking to end a sickening year-round attraction in malls across America: the exploitation of tiger cubs. One notorious exotic animal exhibit travels to malls all over the country, charging shoppers to pet and take a photo with a tiger cub.

The wild animals in the show are provided by Joe Schreibvogel, owner of G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial Park, a private roadside zoo in Oklahoma with a questionable past. Schreibvogel claims to provide consumers with education about the plight of exotic cats. In reality, 23 tiger cubs died within a year while on Schreibvogel’s retail circuit.

At the Northgate Mall in Cincinnati, Ohio, shoppers paid $55 to get their pictures taken with a cub and play with the baby tigers in a pen, according to an Inside Edition investigation. Many of these tigers were either noticeably ill, suffering from diarrhea or missing patches of fur, and all appeared distressed. Where do these tiger cubs come from and why are they in cages by the food court?

Schreibvogel runs the traveling tiger exhibit under the name Big Cat Rescue Entertainment—not to be confused with the legitimate nonprofit Big Cat Rescue, the largest sanctuary in the U.S. for abused and abandoned big cats.

What’s more, Schreibvogel also operates as a nonprofit and the park’s website is setup to take donations. Schreibvogel’s G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial Park and Big Cat Rescue Entertainment have had several problems in the past. Though he denies any wrongdoing, he has paid $25,000 for repeated animal welfare violations and has been investigated by the USDA for the unexplained deaths of 23 tiger cubs at his park in 2010. He claims the deaths were a reaction to “bad formula,” though other organizations have had no such problems.

After receiving disturbing information involving animal cruelty and neglect at Schreibvogel’s “sanctuary,” PETA sent an undercover investigator to the park. What PETA discovered is disturbing: dead, dying, and injured animals, extremely crowded conditions, a serious lack of basic necessities, as well as untrained staff members who were intentionally cruel to many of the animals.

PETA’s website provides a graphic video documenting their findings. Schreibvogel maintains the video is a fabrication and has devoted a web page claiming he’s an innocent victim of “spies.” It’s a curious assertion given that legitimate sanctuaries do not breed, buy, sell, or trade animals.

PETA writes, “…a pseudo-sanctuary, such as G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial Park, breeds animals to keep itself supplied with cute babies to draw visitors to the park, profits by using them for public photo opportunities, and buys, sells, and trades animals.”

“Not only is Joe clearly using his park’s animals for profit in his traveling mall shows, but he also has an orchestrated breeding program that has produced dozens and dozens of animals shipped to facilities around the world,” PETA continues.

Despite a recent ban on pet sales in over 70 malls across the United States, many malls still promote animal cruelty. Mounds Mall in Anderson, Indiana, insisted on displaying these distressed tiger cubs, even after receiving a letter from PETA requesting the shopping mall cancel Big Cat Rescue Entertainment’s appearances. At Concord Mall in Elkhart, Indiana, the traveling tiger show made its fourth appearance this year. In fact, Bob Thatcher, the mall’s general manger, asserts the animals are “really well cared for,” and, “handled professionally.”

This video taken at a shopping mall shows differently:

Big Cat Rescue Entertainment claims to no longer feature these cubs in cages due to pressure from animal activists. Hooray! Needless to say, Global Animal believes no animals should be exploited for entertainment or profit. When shopping in America, you should not encounter a living tiger.

For now, Schreibvogel’s travelling show of caged wild animals, and what some call a scam-on-wheels, is on hiatus. Yet, the G.W. Wild Animal Park is still selling tickets, breeding, and exploiting the tigers as well as many other wild animals including lions, cougars, bears, primates, and wolves. These cruel exhibits can only stay in business if people pay to visit them.

Global Animal is calling for a boycott of Schreibvogel’s G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial Park and Big Cat Rescue Entertainment and regulation to end private ownership of wild animals. As we saw recently in Ohio, where a private zoo owner killed himself after releasing all of his captive animals who were subsequently shot to death, wild animals aren’t meant to be privately owned.

Let’s keep watch on shopping malls for exotic animal shows. With only 3,200 tigers left in the wild, there are more tigers in captivity in the United States than there are where they belong. We can change this.

Tips To Help Your Dog Survive During Quarantine

Photo Credit: Corey Jenkins/Getty Images

(PETS/HEALTH & SAFETY) While there’s no evidence that pets can catch or transmit the virus, there’s no doubt that COVID-19 is changing lives of animals across the country. But this is especially true for dogs living in apartments.

These quarantine dogs do not have the luxury of private yards or outdoor spaces, so pet parents must take extra precautions to keep their pets enriched and mentally stimulated indoors.

Read on to learn more about the challenges of isolation and how you and your furry friend(s) can overcome them. — Global Animal

Photo Credit: Corey Jenkins/Getty Images

New York Times, Sassafras Lowrey

The only good thing about Covid-19 is that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.), World Health Organization (W.H.O.) and other experts are in agreement that there are no meaningful signs that our pets can get this virus or spread it. That said, although our pets aren’t getting sick, Covid-19 is changing the lives of pets across the country, especially for dogs and in particular those living in apartments.

Prepare properly

If you are not yet quarantined and have time to prepare, think beyond toilet paper and instead, about supplies for your pets that you need to have on hand.

Heather Loenser, D.V.M. and senior veterinary officer at the American Animal Hospital Association, expressed concern that many pet owners weren’t going to be prepared with the supplies that they might need if they weren’t able to leave their homes for a couple of weeks. Pet food and cleaning supplies should be at the top of your list for things to stock up on. Dr. Loenser also advises pet guardians to plan to have extra monthly preventive medication for conditions like flea, tick and heartworm, as well as any prescription medication and specialty diets that your pet may need. If you are not yet needing to quarantine and your pet hasn’t been to the vet in a while, now is a good time to go and make sure that your pet is up-to-date on all vaccines.

The potty problem

A primary issue for urban dogs who are quarantined with their owners is the inability to go outside to relieve themselves. This is particularly concerning for dogs who live in apartments and who, under normal circumstances, must be walked multiple times a day, as opposed to dogs in other parts of the country who are able to use their private yards. Under quarantine dogs in apartments are going to need to do their business inside.

Ettel Edshteyn, a certified trainer at Karen Pryor Academy and owner of New York City’s Poodles to Pit Bulls Clicker Training, says the easiest way to teach your dog to potty in your apartment (something you probably spent a long time teaching it not to do) is to act as if you are going outside.

To do this, you should prep for how “you would normally for a walk,” she said, which can include grabbing a leash, bags and treats. Cue to your dog that this is business as usual, even if it’s in a corner of your living room instead of down the block.

“Walk your dog to the area where you want them to go during a time when you think they need to potty,” Ms. Edshteyn said. For most dogs, this happens in the morning, after exercising, after eating or after a nap. If at first your dog doesn’t go, give yourselves a break and return to another area of your apartment to hang out. Then watch for signs that your dog needs to potty and try again.

For cleanliness and to protect the area of the floor of your apartment that you are designating as the potty area, you can use newspapers, commercially available “pee pads” or even fake grass or sod patches, which can be delivered. Dr. Loenser says that while having to potty your dog inside, it’s important to “practice good hygiene yourself when handling any excrement or urine, not because of Covid per se, but because you don’t want to become ill from other transmissible diseases, like giardia or leptospirosis, and tax an otherwise overwhelmed health care system.”

Keep them enriched, indoors

Although you might not be able to keep your dog as physically active while under quarantine, you can still keep your dog mentally exercised. Dr. Loenser advised owners to “consider getting puzzle toys or treat dispensers to use in the house.”

Ms. Edshteyn suggested that you could “feed all meals from food toys,” which would make mealtime more enriching for your dog.

Looking to distract yourself and your dog? Ms. Edshteyn said that training goes a long way toward stimulating and exercising dogs who were stuck inside during a quarantine. She suggested saving one of your dog’s daily meals to use as rewards for training sessions. Dogs who are used to a lot of physical activity can handle more physically demanding training such as physical tricks like spins, rollovers, sitting pretty or weaving between an owner’s legs. If you and your pets are struggling, it’s always a good idea to reach out by phone to your vet or dog trainer. You can even make puzzles for your dog with items you already have around your home. Two simple puzzles that will entertain your dog:

Box Puzzle: If you have been getting a lot of deliveries, you probably have boxes. With your dog in another part of the apartment, arrange empty boxes on the floor and hide treats in some of the boxes. Show your dog the boxes and let your pup use its nose to find the hidden treats. Rearrange the boxes with more treats.

Cupcake Puzzle: Take an empty cupcake baking tray and 12 (or as many as you have) tennis balls. Place treats or pieces of your dog’s kibble into some but not all of the baking tray’s cups, and cover all of the cups with the tennis balls. Show your dog the tray and see how long it takes for your dog to move the right balls to find the hidden food. Each time you play, change where you place the treats in the baking tray.

The challenges of isolation

Like people across the country and around the world whose lives have suddenly been turned upside down by Covid-19, dogs who are stuck in quarantine with their owners may experience stress and even depression.

Ms. Edshteyn said that “we might see an uptick in depressive behavior like trouble sleeping, losing their appetite, not wanting to play or seeming listless,” but that some dogs might also “become more destructive and anxious, exhibiting behavior like increased reactivity, increased barking or difficulty settling.” She added that increasing enrichment and structured playing inside the home could help. “Most of the time, dogs want something to do, and when that’s taken away, they can struggle,” she said. The same goes for their human companions.

More New York Times:

Broadcaster Provides Hilarious Commentary While Dogs Eat

(DOGS/ANIMAL VIDEOS) With live sports on hold (along with the rest of the world) due to the coronavirus pandemic, several on-air personalities are trying to keep themselves busy and entertained–whatever means necessary. We’ve seen rugby commentator Nick Heath provide play-by-play of dogs chasing each other around a park, now witness BBC sports broadcaster Andrew Cotter commentate while his dogs eat a meal. It’s a tail-wagging good time all around! — Global Animal

American Vs. European Dog Culture: What We Can Learn

Photo Credit:

(DOGS/LIFE WITH PETS) Have you ever traveled to Europe and noticed a stark difference in how dogs are integrated into society when compared to the United States?

In the New York Times article below, one writer witnesses an abundance of dogs in restaurants, on buses, at live performances, and countless other public places throughout Europe.

He notices European dogs and American dogs act differently, but ascertains dog behavior isn’t all about the dogs, but instead it’s about their guardians.

Continue reading for more behind these behavioral differences and learn what we can do that will have a big impact on our dogs’ behavior–from creating space and setting boundaries to embracing positive training methods. — Global Animal

A family dining with their dog in Paris. Photo Credit: Peter Turnley, Getty Images

New York Times, Sassafras Lowrey

When I traveled in Europe, specifically England, Germany, France and the Netherlands, I noticed an intense difference in the way dogs were treated and integrated into society compared to the United States. Quite simply, dogs were everywhere: restaurants and buses and performance venues and countless other places.

This is obviously not the case in the United States, and it got me wondering why European dogs and American dogs behave so differently. In Europe dogs tend to be welcome in most public spaces and they are calm, relaxed and quiet there. In the United States, however, pet dogs aren’t welcome in most public spaces, and often struggle in the public places where they are allowed. Dogs are dogs no matter where they are born, and the differences in behavior often come down to an individual dog’s temperament as well as socialization and training received as a puppy.

But dog behavior isn’t all about the dogs. A lot of it has to do with us. As big as the differences might be between the behavior of American dogs and European dogs, there are even bigger differences in how Americans relate to dogs we encounter in public. Our behavior has a lot to do with why our dogs might have more behavioral challenges, and the good news is there’s something we can do about it.

Give your dog some space

One small thing that we can do that will have a big impact on our dogs is to admire them from a distance instead of getting in their face.

Kama Brown, a professional dog trainer, said that “in America, we tend to comment on each other’s dogs, we tend to interact with each other’s dogs.” But, she said, “In Europe they don’t tend to do that as much.” This sounds simple, but it can have a profound impact on the way dogs move through space. Ms. Brown notes that in Europe, “a person walking with a dog is not seen as an invitation to socialize. Whereas in America, moving across the street to avoid another owner and dog, or not allowing dogs to interact who are passing each other on a walk, can be seen as antisocial.”

The problem then is that in order to appease strangers and be seen as neighborly, people routinely put their dogs into stressful social situations that can lead to rehearsing fearful or anxious behavior (or even dog bites.) Your dog might like you and your family, might even like your friends, but that doesn’t mean he or she wants every stranger to run up and give a hug.

It’s easy to see why people are drawn to cute dogs, but one of the most important things American dog guardians can do is be advocates for their dogs, telling strangers “no” when they ask to pet their dog and being thoughtful about busy public places.

Set proper boundaries

When people think about boundaries and dog training, they generally assume we’re talking about the dog — but most of the time, the main problem is people.

To set up our dogs to succeed, we need to not put them in uncomfortable situations, whether out in the world or at home with guests and family. Zazie Todd, a professional dog trainer and author of the forthcoming book “Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy,” said that “people tend to assume that dogs are sociable and friendly, and don’t necessarily consider if a dog wants affection from them at a particular moment in time. This is especially an issue with children.”

Children are particularly susceptible to being bitten by dogs, but not just by strange dogs. Many children are bitten by dogs that they know and that are in the home. This has less to do with the dog and more to do with the child. Educating family and friends of all ages about when it is and isn’t OK to engage your dog makes sure everyone stays and feels safe, including your dog.

Dr. Todd said, “It’s important to know that if a dog is resting (sitting or lying down), a child should not approach them as this is a common scenario for young children to be bitten; instead we should teach them to call the dog to them, and supervise carefully while they pat the dog.”

Embrace positive training methods

The way we teach our dogs has a substantial impact on their quality of life and adaptability to new situations. Unfortunately, dog training in the United States is not a regulated industry. Anyone can call themselves dog trainers and start charging people without any qualifications or breadth of experience, using any methodology they choose, regardless of if it’s based in science or not.

Dog training takes time, and dogs learn best when we use positive reward-based training methods that gently help and encourage dogs by rewarding good behavior. “Studies have found that using aversive methods — like leash jerks or electronic collars — has risks for dogs, including the risk of fear, anxiety, and aggression,” Dr. Todd said. “Positive reinforcement avoids those risks and it works really well.”

People desperate for a quick fix to behavioral issues with their dogs are particularly susceptible to empty promises from unqualified trainers, or trainers who use pain and coercion-based methods.

“Unfortunately, we know that many dog owners use a mix of methods, and dog training is not regulated, so it’s important for dog owners to learn more about how to train dogs.” Dr. Todd said.

For example, shock collars, sometimes called e-collars or electronic collars, are banned in the United Kingdom, but they are legal in the United States. If you are hiring a dog trainer, be sure to ask questions not only about the trainer’s experience but also his or her qualifications and approach to training.

Do not be afraid to ask if trainers use only positive reinforcement-based training methods. You want to find a trainer who rewards dogs with treats and toys as they learn and avoids punishing behaviors or using pain-based techniques (such as prong collars, shock collars or physical intimidation).

Similarly, you want to avoid any trainer who talks about “dominance,” “alpha” or “pack” training because we now know that dogs are not actually small wolves. This kind of aggressive training will only exacerbate any behavioral challenges you see.

No matter where we live, we can all be a little more thoughtful about how we engage with the pups we encounter. Ask before greeting and just generally give them space instead of assuming that all dogs want to or will be comfortable interacting with strangers.

If you have a dog, you can help your pup out by being its advocate and reminding people you encounter your dog isn’t a walking stuffed animal.

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