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Levy County TNR Project–from the Williston Pioneer–Feb 14, 2018

Spay, neuter program enjoys successful launch

  • Sean Arnold

Staff writer

Levy County Animal Services is introducing a free trap-neuter-release program in an effort to rein in the county’s feral cat problem.

The program had its first run Jan. 25, and it was more successful than Darlene Esler, DVM, LCAS staff veterinarian, could have imagined.

With help from a couple of volunteers, the team spaid 10 females and neutered three males. One of the females was pregnant, and more were in heat, reported Esler, indicating the program is already making a modest dent on the large problem. LCAS is euthanizing around half the feral cats that are brought in. It hopes to hold a spay-neuter date at least once a month, possibly more in the summer, for feral cats.

The program is aimed at treating what are commonly referred to as “community cats” or “neighborhood cats,” which includes cats that are feral but are being fed or cared for in some capacity. Those who participate can pick up traps from Animal Services, for a $25 refundable deposit. The cats are brought in the day before the surgery and picked up the day after.

Esler said there are procedure dates planned for Feb. 22 and March 22, and most or all of the available slots have been taken already. She said her group will increase the number of cats it spays and neuters as the program continues. They worked on 10 cats on Jan. 25, and handled a few more on previous dates.

“We’re going up to 15 the next two months to see how that goes with the staff and volunteers that we have,” said Esler, who commended the work of her two volunteers, who also help with socializing and walking dogs and other weekly tasks. “We expect the next one will go even more smoothly, but there will be problems that come up along the line, that’s just inevitable.”

Esler said that For Our Friends the Animals provided a $4,000 grant for surgical packs. She also noted that the next pet adoption event will be held March 10 at Tractor Supply Co. in Chiefland from approx. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

IFAS can do better!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Let’s hope IFAS can do better.

Today’s Ocala paper carries a short letter from one of the senior people at the U. of Florida Institute for Food and Agricultural Studies (IFAS).  He announced the creation of a doctoral program designed to teach students how to head off some of humanity’s most profound social challenges.

May I respectfully suggest that IFAS tackle the most pressing social challenge, and one that confronts us daily in Florida; namely, the enormous problems caused by factory farming and animal Ag.  Among these problems are:

use of antibiotics and other drugs in animals;
farm waste leading to air and water pollution;
harm to humans from meat consumption;
waste of food and water to care for animals ;
and last but certainly not least, the vile treatment accorded animals bred solely for slaughter and human consumption

Wouldn’t it be marvelous for a university Ag department to lead the way to a plant based diet and away from the many ills (only a few of which are noted above) involved with the slaughter of innocent animals.

Please start now.

Time to stop animal ag

What to do about animal Ag?

The penultimate question in this series is this: should humans breed animals for our own consumption and other purposes, i.e. fur, horns, fins, etc.?

My answer is no.

Let’s go through the analysis. First such breeding clearly violates the dictate to do no harm, as these animals are harmed and killed in the most painful, egregious fashion.

Second, breeding animals for use and consumption violates all of the Five Freedoms.

Third, this breeding is the antithesis of a reverence for life, as the animals are treated as mere, money-making commodities, not as precious lives with an equal right to their own existence.

Finally, there is no need for such breeding, as alternatives exist for our diet to provide proteins (without the deleterious consequences that ingesting animal products brings), and rhino horns and shark fins are neither indicated nor needed to increase a man’s virility. Even if proven scientifically, torturing animals for a portion of their bodies to increase a person’s libido is beneath contempt. We have enough humans as it is.

Whether animals can be raised without slaughter and torture and still provide us milk and fur I do not know; frankly, given the many alternatives now available, there is no need to engage in any further dialogue.

Where is the anger??????????????

Why no outcry in America?

 

 

For decades now lawyers and health groups (deservedly so, I hasten to add) have been piling on the  tobacco companies. Ever since the US Surgeon General announced a link between cigarettes and cancer, lawsuits against the tobacco industry have been in vogue, many resulting in enormous verdicts for the plaintiff. I well recall a dreary plane trip seated next to one such pettifogger who salivated at the chance to stick it to the tobacco companies and blamed them totally through false advertising for the number of people hooked on the drug.   OK. Where are all of you now that we know the certain link between meat consumption and cancer? Not to mention the squalid, horrid conditions in which most animals who comprise the meat industry (beef, pork, or fowl) find themselves. It is shocking to see the total lack of interest in animal welfare and a plant based diet evinced by today’s legal cadre. False advertising?  How about the beef industry using Aaron Copland music to promote beef—that’s what’s for dinner? Disgraceful.  Fries with that?

We must help unwanted horses!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Time to help unwanted horses.

In Marion County, Florida, “the horse capital of the world”, we must come to grips with the awful truth that we humans are failing in our duty towards these wonderful creatures, creatures that we cause to be bred and, when they don’t measure up at the track, rodeo or elsewhere, we routinely neglect or injure, often fatally so. Putting it bluntly, we view and deal with them as commodities that merit favorable treatment should they provide us a profit, or cruelty and death should they not. To say this is wrong is nowhere near a strong enough condemnation of human perfidy as regards these magnificent animals. We must do better. Following are some ideas for remediation of the situation, for partially assuaging the guilt we should feel when contemplating our malignant indifference to their suffering.

First let’s review what our philosophy towards life, all life including equine, should be, then we’ll review some basic standards for breeders before closing with some specific actions that can be taken here. Our ethos will start with an injunction, broaden to incorporate baseline precepts, then arrive at the over-arching principle that is to guide all behavior as regards all life.

The injunction? First do no harm, taken from the Hippocratic Oath, or the idea of non-maleficence. If we can do nothing else for horses, at a minimum let us at least avoid harming them.

But that is the minimum. The next higher layer of our behavior towards animals is The Five Freedoms. We must ensure that all animals under our care or cognizance have the following:

  1. Freedom from hunger or thirst
  2. Freedom from discomfort

  3. Freedom from pain, injury or disease

  4. Freedom to express normal behavior

  5. Freedom from fear and distress

And yet even the Five Freedoms outline only a floor for our moral behavior, not a ceiling. So while useful, a broader sense of obligation towards animals and all life is needed, and that is found in Albert Schweitzer’s reverence for life:” A man is ethical, only where life, as such, is sacred to him, that of plants and animals as that of his fellow men, and when he devotes himself helpfully to all life that is in need of help.” In other words, we owe a duty of care and stewardship to all lives, particularly those for whose birth we are responsible. Let us then adopt a reverence for life as our all-encompassing standard for dealing with animals, in this case horses.

 

All right. With a reverence for life as our ethos, we need some basic standards to help reduce the number of unwanted horses and to provide better care for those that are bred.

Again, breeders must first agree that animals are not commodities, but rather are lives worthy of reverence and compassionate stewardship, meaning that horses shall be bred for companionship only and only when their proper care is assured. We must have further restrictions on breeding, which restrictions include at a minimum casual breeding licenses, a strict limit on the number of times a mare can be bred, veterinarian oversight and certification of the breeding process, and a license provision permitting county animal control officials to inspect the mother and offspring and facilities wherein breeding is taking place should those officials have reason to suspect the horses are not in good health or otherwise not humanely cared for.

While we push for an end to horse racing and thereby breeding for horse racing (one of the chief causes of the unwanted horse population), due to money and memes a reversal of the status quo is unlikely soon, so let’s work for some achievable results. There are tens (perhaps hundreds) of thousands of unwanted horses from racing and rodeo that end up slaughtered. Many more are neglected or otherwise maltreated before being moved on from the industries that brought them into being. Far too many horses, those bred for racing and in general, end up unloved and neglected. Horses are costly, so once they become money losers many are slaughtered, abandoned or otherwise barely cared for, if at all.

 

Again, these are creatures brought into the world by and large due to human volition and action, so, at the very least, we owe something to the creatures we have created for our own needs and then abandoned when those needs were no longer met. Part of the license fee for breeding horses must include a sizable amount payable to the county where the horses are kept to pay for a horse sanctuary. This place would afford all those horses who are no longer wanted, for whatever reason, a place of safety and compassion where they can live out their lives. The license fee would also help pay for vet and farrier care, food, and sanctuary upkeep. Those horses that could be adopted out should be given that opportunity (with proper safeguards to ensure the adopting party will care for the horse lovingly and not ship it directly to the slaughterhouse), but any abandoned horse will be welcomed and tended to.

 

A look around any part of the world, or our beautiful state, will confirm that we humans live in a throw away society When an item is no longer useful or pleasurable, we discard it with scant heed to the consequences. Sadly this philosophy pervades our dealings with horses. These animals are viewed as things to be used and then discarded when no longer useful. We must start seeing these creatures as lives with their own intrinsic value, and because of that possessing under natural law a right to exist, to be cared for, and to live their lives to the fullest. As it is we humans who have brought these horses into this world, we owe them that and so much more. Under the aegis of a reverence for life, let us treat these horses with compassion and stewardship all through their lives. Schweitzer said it best: “

Compassion, in which all ethics must take root, can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces

all living creatures and does not limit itself to mankind.”

Or to cite St Francis:

“Not to hurt our humble brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission — to be of service to them wherever they require it.”

They require it now. Please help!

 

 

 

 

Humans must act to save our horses

Humans must act– As for breeders of cats and horses, my initial guidance is the same, mutatis mutandis.  For cats, part of the license fee for any breeder shall establish or enhance a trap, neuter, release (TNR) program within the county. TNR targets feral cats who can never be part of a household but who have brought into being by human action. As for horses, while we push for an end to horse racing, due to money and memes a reversal of the status quo is unlikely soon, so let’s work for some achievable results. Far too many horses, those bred for racing and in general, end up unloved and neglected. Horses are costly, so many are slaughtered, abandoned or otherwise barely cared for, if at all. Again, these are creatures brought into the world by and large due to human volition and action, so, at the very least, we owe something to the creatures we have created for our own needs and then abandoned when those needs were no longer met. Part of the license fee for breeding horses must include a sizable amount payable to the county where the horses are kept to pay for a horse sanctuary. This place would afford all those horses who are no longer wanted, for whatever reason, a place of safety and compassion where they can live out their lives. 

A philosophy for how humans should treat animals, and all life.

This final part of the trilogy is divided into four parts: an ethos to under gird our behavior, suggestions for breeders of companion animals and for the Ag industry itself, then a short discussion of legal changes.  Our ethos will start with an injunction, broaden to incorporate baseline precepts, then arrive at the over-arching principle that is to guide all behavior as regards life. The injunction? First do no harm, taken from the Hippocratic Oath, or non-maleficence. If we can do nothing else for animals, at a minimum let us at least avoid harming them. But that is the minimum. The next layer of our behavior towards animals is The Five Freedoms. Freedom from hunger or thirst Freedom from discomfort Freedom from pain, injury or disease Freedom to express normal behavior Freedom from fear and distress While useful, a broader sense of obligation towards animals and all life is needed, found in Schweitzer’s reverence for life:” A man is ethical, only where life, as such, is sacred to him, that of plants and animals as that of his fellow men, and when he devotes himself helpfully to all life that is in need of help.” Let us then adopt a reverence for life as our all-encompassing standard for dealing with animals.

time to ban horse racing

Now for the second part of our animal rights trilogy. Should horse racing be banned? As with grey hound racing, the answer is a resounding yes. Horse racing violates all five freedoms, as, to cite a quick list of ills from various websites, it results in: over breeding and in-breeding for speed; slaughter of also-rans by the thousands; confinement; injury and death on the track and in training; forced drug use; and neglect of race horses lucky enough not to be sent to the slaughter house. PETA estimates that 24 horses break down each week at U.S. tracks, and that figure reflects the decline in horse racing in the U.S. For every Secretariat there are thousands, perhaps more, who suffer and pain and cruelty until the end. Why does horse racing continue? The two M’s: money and memes. There are many wealthy individuals and families who breed race horses, and they command a great presence in their communities and great influence with lawmakers. As for memes, horse racing, despite its sordid underbelly, exudes an aura of grace and gentility wherein women wear garish hats and fancy dresses, men resemble Eustache Tilley in their foppery, and all drink machine made mint juleps (what a waste of good bourbon)! Next time—permissible uses of animals.

Message to Florida Executive Committee

Dear Executive Committee:
I reside in Ocala and run a private foundation dedicated, inter alia, to lessening the suffering of animals in this world, especially those subject to human whims and control, such as grey hounds.
Florida is rightly viewed as a pariah for allowing this abuse of animals not only to be continued, but to be sanctioned by the state.  This cruelty must stop now.
 Following is a short message I posted on LinkedIn a month ago:
“Isn’t it time to end greyhound racing in Florida?  Is there any greater form of animal abuse than to breed a dog solely for purposes of human gaming?  How many of these gentle dogs are injured or killed each year, just to satisfy the whims of a few human bettors?  It is time for politicians in Florida to end this “sport”, and it is time for the Florida animal groups that purport to seek and promote humane behavior to agree that this is animal abuse that must be stopped.  Dog breeding should be limited in frequency and of proper purpose.  Being bred solely for the traits of speed and endurance to circle a race track is not a proper purpose; it is wrong.  It is a violation of the Five Freedoms, and it is the antithesis of a reverence for life.  “A man is ethical, only where life, as such, is sacred to him, that of plants and animals as that of his fellow men, and when he devotes himself helpfully to all life that is in need of help.”
Please vote to end this dreadful abuse of wonderful dogs and help Florida regain its place among those who seek stewardship of the earth, rather than its despoilment.
With my best regards
Bob Echols 
For Our Friends The Animals
forourfriendstheanimals@aol.com
“Hear our humble prayer, O God,
For our friends the animals…
Make us, ourselves, to be true friends to animals,
And so to share the blessings of the merciful.”

Animal Racing, continued

Recently the Ocala paper published a letter in support of letting greyhounds race. The writer made two puerile points that I will address. Then he asked a far more sophisticated, difficult  question that I will address next time.   He posits 2 ideas in support of greyhound racing; namely, no one forces the dogs to run, and if the dogs are treated well during their racing days they will be adopted and well looked after. The knee jerk response is to ask what planet have you been living on, but let’s be more professional. Thanks to Grey 2k USA, here’s a summary of the numerous, inhumane aspects of greyhound racing: steroid use; improper feeding, cramped transportation; confined living space; injuries and death while racing; neglect and cruelty shown by their “owners”, and being bred solely for racing, to name just a few. Greyhound racing violates every element of the Five Freedoms, and it is the direct opposite of evidencing a reverence for life.  It is time for Florida politicians to override what is expedient or desired by their more wealthy contributors and end greyhound racing now. Now, the intriguing query asked by the writer: if we end greyhound racing, why not thoroughbred and all horse racing? Stay tuned.