Category: Australia

Week 52 Animals Australia

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One thing that sucks more than goodbyes is long goodbyes.  So I have begun this at 2.24 pm and have allowed myself exactly one hour to publish it so none of the quality control (ok I probably made some mistakes, I did my best)  and researched facts of yore, just anecdotes, and rambling for the next 58 minutes.

So how did the 52 weeks work out?…Really well, thank you for asking.

I had no sick days from work and I trimmed off a small amount of excess fat and have felt good energy levels and much happier in my heart and mind all round.  It feels good to have made and actually 99% stuck to my first* NY resolution. I thank my ex, who said I never finish anything for providing extra motivation 🙂

(*and probably last- don’t wanna spoil my 99% success rate…!! Why 99%?  Because most of  my wine wasn’t vegan…I’ve been drinking lovely stuff in a fancy 4 litre box, if you would like to know more about vegan alcohol, Barnivore is a great site. Yalumba wines are vegan, kudos to them. Yalumba viognier is lovely which I buy for a ‘lash out’.  Also I have had to wear leather shoes for work and leather gloves for bushland maintenance work.  I think a lot about the animal who was unwillingly involved in their manufacture. Why I am putting this here is to show that perfection is hard to achieve as an imperfect being in an imperfect world, imperfection is not an excuse to give up trying to do the best you can wherever you can.  Oh and also I got Indian takeaway and despite my repeated request for no dairy, the food turned out to be loaded with ghee (clarified butter) rather than waste it, I ate it.  But it is good to be able to share this experience here as a trap for young players…Indian food is great for vegetarians, vegans really need to be diligent.)

Regarding the charities, wow! There are some amazing organisations out there.  Most of the ones I listed are easy to donate to, except for Haytap (Turkey) who had their Paypal cancelled by the government and they were unable to accept my credit card. So the $52 from that week sadly never made it, but all the rest are sorted.  I connected with a few lovely people around the world throught this and if you are travelling overseas, I would definitely recommend researching legitimate charities where you are headed to see if you can help out and who you can meet and share knowledge and passion for compassion with :-).  I almost wish there were more weeks in the year as there are so many other worthy ones, it is amazing what you find when you look.

One I always planned to cover was Soi Dog in Thailand, but it got bumped a couple of times and now it’s week 52 already.  I might give them the Haytap donation.  Suffering is suffering and it is great to alleviate it for any individual.  But one thing that was admirable  about most of the charities I chose to support was how they work to invoke systemic change…changing the way individuals and society treat animals and working towards cutting out the root of much animal suffering.

I will definitely stick with the plant powered lifestyle and continue to advocate for animals…

Oh and I have a little surprise… while this is the end of this particular chapter, its not a complete “So long and thanks for not eating fish” from me…

….Now I have graduated from 52 Charities High School, I am going to work on another project that will bring together all the links and knowledge and news I can find about a animals, the environment, food, events etc. Hang on in there and in a couple of months I will create a post to guide you to the cornucopia of wonderfulness I have planned.

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http://www.animalsaustralia.org/

This is one of my favourite charities that I have supported for many years. It is definitely worth visiting their page and learning about their work.

Animals Australia’s major campaigns are strategically targeting the areas where animals are in greatest need — whether due to extreme cruelty, or due to the vast number of individual animals who are suffering.

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Our work is focused around two strategic areas: investigations to expose animal abuse wherever it occurs, and public awareness initiatives to empower and inspire the community to adopt cruelty-free lifestyle choices.

You can order a free vegetarian starter kit here.

And watch a wonderful video by Lyn White here.

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To the friends I know and to the friends I haven’t met yet who read this, I really thank you!! It was pretty nerve wracking putting it out there, self doubt and all that.

I hope in some way I have contributed something beneficial xxx

1 hour 3 mins. Not bad!

Week 51 Frog Safe (Australia)

Last night we watched a David Attenborough documentary about fabulous frogs, it really was fabulous!

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2fzuxx

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Definitely worth watching if you’re having a good day, bad day or anything in between.

(A cry is another thing I can heartily recommend if the occasion arises-speaking from very recent experience, it is a very underrated pressure relief tool…cos…unlike frogs…we can’t eat whatever bugs us…images.png)

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frog

http://www.frogsafe.org.au/about_fdr/our_group.shtml

http://www.frogsafe.org.au/about_fdr/frog_hospital.shtml

Frog Safe – if all the world was safe for frogs,

it would be safe for all of us!

For a long time, you have known us as the Frog Decline Reversal Project but we hope you will like us even better as Frog Safe. It is a much shorter name but, no matter which tools we might use for frog conservation, it describes what we do. All our efforts are meant to make the world safe for frogs to live in. At the moment, it is not safe at all.

You have probably heard already that amphibians the world over are disappearing and,

Here in Far North Queensland, we are one of the world’s “hot spots” for frog decline with several high-altitude species already feared extinct.

Instead of newsletters and meetings, we are a very hands-on outfit doing rescue and rehabilitation of amphibians every single day.

The Cairns Frog Hospital is small but our Curator has been receiving sick and injured frogs since August 1998. As of this writing, over 2,800 adult/subadult frogs have been turned in (plus dozens of toads and hundreds of thousands of tadpoles). Most of the injured frogs can be recovered and released back to the wild. Diseased frogs are another story, however.

We encourage members to be active at our facility but being a ‘financial member only’ still helps our work.

 

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All animals desperately need our help and Christmas is a perfect time to show you care through what you eat and where you do (or don’t) spend spend your money.

http://www.animalsaustralia.org/kinder-christmas

https://www.edgarsmission.org.au/guide-kind-christmas/

http://awfw.org/no-animal-gifts/

Here’s to a Hoppy Christmas.

 

What is a frog’s favourite year?

Leap year.

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Week 47 AMRRIC: Animal Management in Rural and Remote Indigenous Communities (Australia)

My partner is currently reading a book called The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia.  The thesis of the book is that that Aboriginal people were proactive land managers who had long controlled the land until much of it was as shaped by humans as the English countryside was.

biggest-estate

As I think I understand it, a ‘home among the gum trees’ is only a relatively modern phenomenon in the Australian landscape.  Once there was much thick forest.  Millenia of human habitation and fire-farming practices changed the landscape to meet the needs of the first people.  When white people arrived and helped themselves to the land and trampled over traditional practices, the previously maintained environment turned into the scrubby woodlands, dominated by fire-tolerant species, that we think of as ‘untouched Australia’ today.

Apparently gum trees actually ‘want’ to catch fire as then they can burn out the competition around them.  (Strips of bark peel down like wicks inviting flame into the oily, combustible canopy. The trees can reshoot by coppicing after fire.)  I pity the poor plants, animals and tree changers that get in their way.

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Most Australians know little about our land, and even less about our first people.

Like Tim Flannery and John Doyle pointed out in their series “Two on the Great Divide”, Australia is an incredibly divided nation.  We could all learn so much if we let ourselves.   Yet whether it’s white guilt, fear of rejection, fear of saying something ‘wrong’ or just complacency, sadly it feels easier to sit safely on one side of the divide, shut our eyes, put our hands over our ears and sing ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ instead.

The LGBTQIA community has worked hard and positioned itself well to change social norms and gain not only widespread acceptance, but also admiration. Society can change for the good.

Change has to be driven from both sides of the divide.

Let’s start by changing the constitution, changing to a more inclusive flag and changing the nature of Australia Day.

flag

Oh, and let’s stop climbing Uluru. Of course the land was here billions of years before any of us.*  But Aborigines were here tens of thousands of years before the rest of us.

Nobody would enter a traditional Japanese person’s home with their shoes on.

If the traditional owners of Uluru ask us to please not climb Uluru, then surely we should be courteous enough to comply? 

Let’s build bridges, rather than burning them.

http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/real-life/good-news/aboriginal-mans-gentle-rebuke-to-two-elderly-women/news-story/29d6902afef3662b73999015fb2df2fb

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I like the sound of this organisation.

amrric

http://www.amrric.org

About AMRRIC

Indigenous kids holding a camp dog

AMRRIC (Animal Management in Rural and Remote Indigenous Communities) is a not-for-profit charity that uses a One Health approach to coordinate veterinary and education programs in Indigenous communities.

Our One Health approach recognises the inextricable links between human, animal and environmental health and wellbeing. By working with remote Indigenous communities to improve the health of their pets, we are helping to create healthier, safer and happier communities.

In the last financial year, AMRRIC has facilitated veterinary programs in 92 different remote communities and homelands.

Our work:

By improving the health and welfare of companion animals in a community, AMRRIC’s animal health programs contribute to an improvement in human health

Our work:

  • assists with the control of dog populations through veterinarian-led desexing programs (addressing problems of noise, scavenging and attacks on humans)
  • empowers Aboriginal communities by providing the knowledge, training and resources that enable them to take responsibility for their animals’ health and welfare
  • delivers education programs to school students, community members, environmental health practitioners, animal management workers and government and non-government organisations about all aspects of animal health and welfare in remote Indigenous communities
  • educates Indigenous communities specifically about parasites and diseases in companion animals, leading to a reduction in the transmission of disease from animals to people (zoonoses)
  • partners with government at all levels to develop animal health and welfare policy relevant to remote Indigenous communities
  • contributes to research programs across Australia and internationally, with the Cancer Genome Project in Cambridge, UK, and its work on Canine Transmissible Venereal Tumour, a common disease in dogs in remote Australian communities.

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* If for some reason cultural respect isn’t convincing enough, how about this:

…the path left by rubber from the soles of climbers’ shoes is visible from kilometres away and some tourists leave litter and damage the rock. Moreover, extreme heat and a lack of toilet facilities mean that large amounts of evaporated, concentrated human urine flow into the area’s waterholes whenever it rains.

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/offtrack/climbing-the-rock:-why-do-tourists-still-climb-uluru/6603640

 

Update: I just woke up to find a report on a really good essay by Stan Grant 🙂

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-19/stan-grant-on-‘the-australian-dream’/8038826

Week 43 Save the Tasmanian Devil (Australia)

“Yet doe I feare thy Nature, It is too full o’ th’ Milke of humane kindnesse.”

Macbeth, 1605

 

When Lady Macbeth spoke of ‘the Milke of humane kindnesse’, she was referring to benevolence or compassion.

Sadly actual milk is the product of anything but.

There is more cruelty in a glass of milk than there is in a piece of beef.  Dairy cows are kept alive as living factories, they are forcibly impregnated, only to have their babies stolen from them and either killed as veal or turned into the next generation of slaves. We steal their milk. Then, when their bodies are spent, they are sent off to slaughter. 

The vast majority of dairy cows worldwide are not grazing on green pastures but spend their lives on cement floors in industrial facilites. 

All this for a product we don’t need. 

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/is-there-more-cruelty-in-a-glass-of-milk-or-pound-of-beef/

A couple of months ago cockroach milk was crawling all over the media as the next ‘superfood’.

Sounds revolting, but so is cows milk if you haven’t been socialised to accept it!

Two tiny Tasmanian Devil joeys

The latest is Tasmanian devil milk  which is being investgated for its potential to cast an evil eye at cancer and superbugs.

Is there actually anything we won’t milk?!

Cockroaches and devils obviously only produce tiny amounts of milk which is difficult to get, so in both cases science is working on creating a replica product in a laboratory.

Clearly, where there is a will there is a way. 

When will we finally change another equation and take the cow out of the milk, rather than the milk out of the cow?

 

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http://www.tassiedevil.com.au/tasdevil.nsf

Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) is a rare infectious cancer that is spreading through wild Tasmanian devil populations. The Tasmanian devil has been listed as Endangered by the Federal and State governments, as well as the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). The Tasmanian devil is now wholly protected. Find out more…

The Save the Tasmanian Devil Program (STDP) was established in 2003 following concern for the decline of the Tasmanian devil due to DFTD. The core activity of the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program is funded by the Australian and Tasmanian Governments and is overseen by a Steering Committee. The Program is co-ordinated by the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE).

 

While devils are dying of facial tumours we are looking at what’s in their milk for us.

Let’s hope that this discovery is used to benefit them as well.  .

Let’s let the milke of our humane kindnesse flow.

 

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Ps: A Great 3 part documentary series began airing this week and will continue on Thurs 27/10 and 3/11/16 on SBS at 7.30pm

http://www.sbs.com.au/food/programs/for-the-love-of-meat

Pps: This article came out the morning after I posted..weird!

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-22/australians-slowly-turning-to-alternative-milks/7949890

Milk may be ‘more nutritious’ but most of the health problems in the west are due to over-nutrition … cows’ milk is designed for baby calves, not adult humans.

I feel sorry for the farmers too, I grew up in that world.  But I feel more sorry for the cows.

It is so easy to make your own nut milk – I blend twelve raw cashews and two dates along with 250ml of hot or cold water, tea or coffee.  I love to add in cacao and chai powder as well.

If you want AMAZING cheesy sauce go here.  Use stock powder if you don’t have nutritional yeast.  You can add turmeric for a golden colour.

 

 

 

Week 36 Vegan Australia / Aquafaba 101 (Australia)

 

This week is mum’s b’day and the end of winter, and what better way to celebrate than with a post on DESSERTS!!!

It makes me sad how many animal products are called for in the making of purely indulgent foods like desserts.  A simple packet of cake mix calls for the addition of eggs, butter and milk – all totally unnecessary – and easily replaced with melted coconut oil and extra liquid such as oat milk or water.  (If you are feeling saucy add some dark spirit like spiced rum, and a maybe a bit of coffee to your chocolate cake and it will be extra amazing.)

vegan cake

Of course there is something that since going plant powered I haven’t been able to have…

vegan meringue 1

…until now!!

vegan meringue 2

But…don’t you need eggs for that…? NUP!

Thanks to some detective work by a French chef and an American couple, in Feb 2015 the alchemy that has come to be known as ‘aquafaba’ (bean water!) was unleashed onto an adoring public. It already has 50,000 fans on Facebook, but I only heard of it for the first time last week, when dad rang to tell me about an article on the ABC…it is already huge in America, I guess Australia is still playing catch-up? We should be able to get E.T on video any day now.

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/blueprintforliving/bean-water-aquafabe-the-new-vegan-miracle/7781582

So what is it and what does it do?

It is the liquid that you find in a tin of beans or chickpeas and normally tip down the sink. You can also use your own water after cooking, so long as it is as nice and thick as the canned stuff.

Its unique mix of starches, proteins, and other soluble plant solids which have migrated from the seeds to the water during the cooking process gives aquafaba a wide spectrum of emulsifying, foaming, binding, gelatinizing and thickening properties.

According to a post on its Facebook site, aquafaba works like soap bubbles – it has no structure in itself but can provide structure to other ingredients. Adding acid like cream of tartar can help the foam stay aerated but, again, isn’t structural. To provide structure you must add starch or sugar – or both.

It even has its own URL http://aquafaba.com/ and Facebook fansite.

So what do you use it for? Click on each link for a recipe.  I haven’t tested each of these recipes yet, so if one doesn’t work for you, try another, there are hundreds of recipes available.. just google ‘aquafaba’ and whatever it is you would like to make.Vegan Meringue Cookies are made using the water that is leftover from a can of chickpeas! Tastes even better than egg white meringues, and you get to use something that would otherwise be thrown out. So cool! #vegan #eggfree

It totally replaces the egg white in meringues.

It replaces eggs and/or cream in mousse, sponge cakes and ice cream, nougat. It can even be used in marshmallows for advanced cooks!

It acts as an emulsifier and replaces eggs in mayonnaise.  If you want it to taste like more like Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise follow the tips for ‘Follow your Heart’ veganaise in the notes at the end.

vegan mayo

It works with coconut oil to create a spreadable butter.

Vegan Aquafaba Butter

It replaces egg whites in cocktails, apparently better than eggs themselves.

“If you fill two glasses, one with egg whites and the other with aquafaba, you wouldn’t even know the difference,” he said. “The only telltale sign is the smell: Egg whites smell like wet dog and chickpeas have no smell whatsoever.”

Jason Eisner, Lead Bartender – Cafe Gratitude and Gracias Madre

How do I make up my own recipes with it?

Use white coloured beans or chickpeas if a lighter colour is desired, but by all means play around with other colours, all will work.  Choose low sodium, particularly for sweet recipes.

The rule of thumb is: 1 Tbsp. for one yolk, 2 Tbsp. for one white, and 3 Tbsp. for one whole egg. That said, the consistency of your aquafaba makes a difference. If its thin, reduce watery aquafaba about 25 percent on the stove to thicken it up. If it’s already thick (as it sometimes is from canned chickpeas), you don’t have to reduce. With some trial and error, you’ll get a feel for it. (http://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/ingredients/article/aquafaba-health-benefits)

For more information:

https://www.vegansociety.com/whats-new/blog/13-amazing-things-you-can-do-aquafaba

Thanks dad!! I owe you a meringue…or mousse….or mayonnaise…or butter…or how about a cocktail then?!

As Sam Turnbull from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken says…

…with limitation comes inspiration.  

This is an exciting glimpse of the future!

We can’t afford to eat like it’s still 1959.

World population milestones in billions (USCB estimates)
Population 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Year 1804 1927 1959 1974 1987 1999 2012 2026 2042
Years elapsed –– 123 32 15 13 12 13 14 16

 

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http://www.veganaustralia.org.au/

Go to their page to find out great information about events, including Brisveganfest this weekend (Sept 4, 2016) featuring the wonderful James Aspey of Voiceless365 fame (referring to the year long vow of silence he took to ‘speak up’ for animals).

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Isn’t this aquafabulous?!

Australia is now the third-fastest growing vegan market in the world, after the United Arab Emirates and China.

http://www.smh.com.au/business/consumer-affairs/australia-is-the-thirdfastest-growing-vegan-market-in-the-world-20160601-gp972u.html

Week 29 Friends of the Hound (Australia)

Some great news this week –

NSW and ACT acted to ban greyhound racing.  That’s now two big paws up to the Liberal Party this year.  Federally, they also outlawed testing of cosmetics on animals and the sale of new products tested on animals overseas.  Who knows what other wonders the future may hold!  (Derryn Hinch in the senate could be a very good thing for further animal justice).

As the week has rolled on Premier Mike Baird has been under enormous pressure from the industry (who can talk), but if only they could talk, he would be getting even more kudos from the animals he has moved to protect.  Fortunately an industry vet who can talk and knows his stuff has spoken up today supporting the finding industry is beyond salvation.

A former greyhound racing insider is lifting the lid on horrific animal cruelty and corruption in the sport, saying what he has witnessed shows the sport is incapable of cleaning itself up.

I was disgusted by what I witnessed. I saw some horrific injuries and I saw some of the worst aspects of human behaviour too, said Dr Bryant, who was an on-track vet in 2014 and 2015.

Dr Bryant was on the inside of the industry when the sport was thrown into turmoil by revelations on the ABC’s Four Corners program of widespread live baiting in February 2015.

I can remember there was a lot of nervousness from management of Greyhound Racing NSW.

They were in a way relieved the program only focused on live baiting because [there were] other issues they were worried about, like money laundering that takes place and the horrific injuries and wastage in the industry.

When I left Greyhound Racing NSW, my view of the industry was that it was a very cruel and corrupt industry.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-14/the-tail-was-torn-off-former-greyhound-vet-reveals-cruelty/7629906

The producer of the Four Corners program has an interesting personal angle to add to the story: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-07/sam-clark-moment-extent-greyhound-live-baiting-became-apparent/7578704

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bull(In other news: a matador was gored to death in Spain.  Apparently the crowd was ‘horrified’…but didn’t they pay the ticket price specifically to see blood and misery?   They should have offered to pay double! This is the first matador to die in this unfair ‘fight’ in 30 years; they are far more likely to die in a car crash.)

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I chose to support this week’s charity as it no doubt very much in need at this time, but I do it with a grain of sand… firstly, it annoys me that good people are constantly called on to clean up the mess after animal users (this includes people who buy baby animals as pets and dump them as their novelty fades) and abusers have had their fill.

Animal carers understandably want to rescue as many animals as they can so they are unwilling to ‘rock the boat’ and do anything that discourages needy animals from being brought to them…The users/abusers skip off unscathed after dumping their unwanted animals at sanctuaries/shelters and get the feel-good glow that they have ‘done the right thing’…but…

Is there a donation to go with it, to cover the significant ongoing co$ts? …and…

Do they learn from their failure as carers and use this experience to educate others? 

Unlikely.

I’m also not supportive of encouraging people to adopt animals willy nilly, just to prevent them being euthanased:

  • Feeding pet animals costs the environment dearly.  Kangaroo meat means another animal has died specifically so a pet can eat.  This is not right.
  • The money spent on keeping one pet, might be better spent on a charity that looks after the needs of a greater number of desperately needful animals.  There are some great charities already on this fabulous blog and 23 more to come!
  • People are living closer and closer together and having a dog barking in a residential environment is not fair on neighbours.
  • Many people just don’t have what it takes to be own any animal, let alone something with high needs such as a dog. The Victorian government recognises this and has created an awareness campaign  Making Victoria better for pets . After surveying 2,362 dog, cat, bird, rabbit, rat, mouse, guinea pig, ferret, lizard, snake, turtle, and frog owners in Victoria, they found that many pets aren’t getting the care they need to stay happy and healthy.  And this was amongst people decent enough to take the survey!

 

 

Cat Your cat’s welfare needs

Dog Your dog’s welfare needs

Bird Your bird’s welfare needs

Rabbit Your rabbit’s welfare needs

Your ferret’s welfare needs

Your guinea pig’s welfare needs

Your rodent’s welfare needs

Your frog’s welfare needs

Your reptile’s welfare needs

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But as someone said, and I agree, don’t blame the greyhounds.  

And, also let’s celebrate people who are trying to spread kindness and care:-)

Without further ado, I choose to make a one off donation to

Friends of the Hound Logo

http://www.friendsofthehound.org.au/about-friends-of-the-hound/

Our Mission

Our mission is to save the lives of Greyhounds and reduce the mass wastage that currently occurs by promoting awareness about the welfare of Greyhounds and advocating their suitability as pets and companion dogs.

Through a continued program of promotion and education, Friends of the Hound Inc. aims to dispel the public misconceptions about Greyhounds and change the perception of the breed as “just a race dog”. The organisation works tirelessly to rescue Greyhounds and rehome them into suitable, permanent homes as family pets and companions.
It is all about the dogs.

 

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Thought for the day:

Greyhound trainers emphasise how much they ‘love’ their dogs – then why are they so quick to dispose of them when they are not profitable?

 

 

Week 27 Australia Zoo Wildlife Rescue (Australia)

We have climbed the ladder up to the middle of the year and now it’s time to slide down to the other end.

snakes0880a

 

Snakes have come up a few times in the past week, so this week is dedicated to them.

Unfairly maligned, they are creatures of great wonder.

Imagine being able to eat, mate and climb with no arms or legs. No wonder they can be armed to the teeth…so to speak.

The fear they instill in some humans, is also evident in the animal world.  Sometimes people can use this to their advantage, like using cucumbers ‘snakes’ to scare unsuspecting cats on YouTube…

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…or using rubber snakes to scare away birds from veggie patches.

The first seems pretty effective, I’m not so sure about the second.

I tried it to stop birds from flying into our window, but neither this or cd’s helped.

If you want to stop birds from flying into your windows, go to a cheap shop and buy static cling L or P stickers for learner drivers…any colour is fine…cut out small shapes of your choice and stick randomly over the window with gaps of about 45cm between them. You won’t even notice them there after a couple of days.

I made love hearts about 1 inch x 1 inch. It’s easy to make them even by folding the edge of the sticker over and then you can cut out both halves at once to make them even and quick.

The difference between how animals and humans respond to snakes is why I wanted to write about them today.  Most animals avoid them.  Too many humans kill them.

I was speaking to an ‘animal lover’ last week who was cheerfully justifying his killing of snakes.  That night, while reading about euthanasia for a different type of animal, we came across a section on reptiles.  What I read made me very, very sad and I would like more people to be aware of this fact…

When you decapitate a warm blooded animal, unconsciousness and brain death follows very rapidly and any movement after a short space of time can be attributed to nerves.

However.

When you decapitate a cold blooded animal, full consciousness and brain life persist…for up to an hour.

 

snakes

The  article the extract below is taken from is titled “Decapitation of Reptiles: Inhumane for Euthanasia”.

“Some of the many ways in which reptiles are “killed” are mentioned later on but one method which is quite commonly used is decapitation. Generally speaking, in mammals and birds, for example, quickly severing the head from the rest of the body may cause immediate or near immediate loss of consciousness and a very rapid death. It might not be describable as ‘humane’ but the period of post-severance life in the head is almost certainly short. Although meaning certain death, decapitation is certainly not a rapid or humane way of killing reptiles. As hard to believe as it seems, the heads cut from reptiles live on well after the horrific event of decapitation itself. It is not a case of “nerves causing the head to move unconsciously” as most people think. The heads, and parts of the neck if still attached, are alive and some may attempt to bite objects which approach; the eyes may follow movement and the pupils contract and dilate in response to light and dark; they can blink and in the case of snakes and lizards, flick out and in their tongues to test the air for scent and even move slightly if enough of their neck is left.

“With what movement they can manage they often writhe in agony from the massive severance of tissue. They are virtually helpless, frightened and going to die. If it seems too inconceivable to be true, then think of it as being a case of animals which have had most of their bodies cut away. One might think that suffering of this kind could not be endured for long. If only that were true. Unfortunately, a problem associated with the reptilian metabolism’s ability to operate at relatively low oxygen and low blood pressure levels is that nerve tissue is, to put it simply, very tough. Therefore, the nervous system, which of course includes the brain, can function away from the rest of the body for some time. In fact, the activities of decapitated heads mentioned earlier have been recorded as present for around an hour or so. If reptiles are to be killed by physical means (rather than by, say, an injected overdose of an anesthetic), then it has to involve complete and rapid destruction of the brain; otherwise they are very likely to suffer enormously and for a long time before dying.”

 

So please don’t do it!

If you haven’t seen them before, you probably won’t see them there again.  They don’t like humans or our pets much at all. If they do persist and it bothers you, try removing any junk you have lying around that may be harbour for them and the rats and mice they feed on.

If that doesn’t work, and you’re willing to pay $50+  you can call a snake rescuer, to try and ensure the safe and humane removal of snakes. Here is a link for Victoria.

(Well mostly safe,as I was writing this I found an article about a  snake handler is Kerala. Why they didn’t leave the poor thing alone once it had disappeared underground is beyond me.)

Fortunately the next story had a happy ending, although the resident rats might disagree…Monty is now thriving in a sewerage treatment plant.

Massive python found in Mission Beach bedroom

Mr Goodwin released the python into a nearby sewage plant.

Oh and please don’t buy ANYTHING made from real snake skin…I have heard that often they are skinned alive.  Same goes for eels served as cuisine.

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I wish you and all the lovely reptiles all the best for the second half of the old year and the first half of the new financial year.

Who knows what surprises will be in store for us, since the result of Brexit showed that apparently no one can predict the future!*

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ps I’m having trouble finding any reptile charity I am comfortable supporting this week…it seems that a lot of snake removers charge for their services,  make money from displaying them, or don’t show the conditions that the ones they are rehabilitating are living in.

Most other wildlife rescuers get/ask nothing for their services… I wonder why those who deal in the cold blooded are generally so, …well…

Which reminds me to mention this:

Donations to Wildlife Victoria do not go to the frontline rescuers at all, only to the office itself.  If you want to assist the volunteers who arrive at callouts to animals, it is best to donate to them directly.  They are giving up their own time out of compassion, while also paying for their own petrol, medicines, and often, sadly, bullets.

Surprise!…It was to me tooindex

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Australia Zoo

Yes, of Steve Irwin fame.  I’m not a fan of zoos, but I just remembered someone mentioned visiting their rescue facility recently and how impressed they were with it.  After visitng their site and seeing they attend call outs from the public for free I think they definitely deserve credit (and a direct debit) for this.

About the Australia Zoo Rescue Unit

Australian Wildlife Hospital 24-hour emergency hotline
Phone: 1300 369 652

The conservation team

From koalas to Green Sea turtles, the Australia Zoo Rescue Unit is dedicated to rescuing all wildlife in need. From Brisbane to Kilcoy and beyond the team travels far and wide with a proven catch and release program in place – their aim is to successfully rescue, rehabilitate and release. The team works closely with Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors – Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital to ensure each animal receives the best possible care.

The Australia Zoo Rescue Unit provides a free service to the community to rescue sick and injured wildlife and get them to the best possible veterinary treatment, the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital. The team are highly skilled and trained to rescue everything from road accident victims to marine animal strandings (including everything in between) and they do it all seven days a week!

A variety of specialised gear is required in any given animal emergency and theirs includes Australia Zoo Rescue vehicles decked out with a range of rescue equipment and access to watercraft for local marine rescues.

The team receive an average of 500 calls per month with most of those located in the Greater Sunshine Coast Region. The best part of the job is getting the call from the vet that the animal has recovered in their care and ready to be released back to the wild – that’s why we love what we do!

Any contributions to rescue team provide essential rescue equipment to ensure that we can provide the best service possible to the animals.

A contribution of $50 will provide the Rescue Unit with:

  • 2 Vials of Anaesthetic drugs to anesthetise Kangaroos and Wallabies to enable their safe and pain free transportation to the AWH.
  • 2 Koala poles to enable safe and stress free capture of Koalas in trees that may be suffering from illnesses or injury.
  • Large snake and Goanna bags for safe capture and transport of reptiles
  • 2 small carry cages for transport of flying foxes, birds and small mammals that are sick or injured.
  • An emergency rescue pack – Torches, Binoculars, Bandages, and Pliers (to remove animals from Barbed wire)
  • Animal Rescue First Aid Kit – Containing all the essential first aid equipment to stabilise our patients before transport to AWH!

http://wildlifewarriors.org.au/donate/

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*Now the vote has been decided, interpretations of Baba Vanga the ‘blind mystic’s’ prediction of Europe turning into a lifeless wasteland appear on Google now with claims from supporters that this is proof she had foreseen Brexit.

It sounds plausible if you overlook the fact that it was apparently a nuclear World War III, raging from 2010-2016, that she predicted as decimating Europe, rather than the democratic vote of one nation.

Mind you we still have six months left…let’s hope she’s wrong!

Week 25 Humane Research Australia (Australia)

Emoji EmojiEmojiEmojiEmojiEmojiEmojiEmoji
Some very good news recently – Australia is starting to catch up with NZ, bro!!

I am not sure why it isn’t being more widely celebrated, if my parents in law hadn’t given me a back copy of the Herald Sun (June 2 2016), I might have missed this altogether.

Cosmetics cruelty will be banned in Australia by July next year, the Federal Government pledged today, following a two year campaign by #BeCrueltyFree, led by Humane Research Australia and Humane Society International (Global).

Cosmetics tested on animals to be banned in Australia

THOUSANDS of cosmetics, including perfume, toothpaste and makeup, will be banned from stores after the Federal Government pledged to outlaw the sale of all products tested on animals.

From July next year any products that have been tested on animals, or which contain ingredients that have been tested on animals, will be prohibited.

This reform will bring Australia’s laws into line with laws in the European Union and in New Zealand.

But existing products won’t be pulled from shelves. The strict laws will apply only to new products.

The law will still allow “responsible animal testing” for medical tests and for drug development.

The Coalition hopes the move will see all products tested on animals, phased out of the local marketplace.

The RSPCA says major beauty brands including Estée Lauder, Johnson & Johnson, Revlon and Colgate are all involved in animal testing, with more than 27,000 animals — mainly rodents, rabbits and guinea pigs — still subjected to cosmetics testing.

The animal welfare group has long pushed for the change and says there are more than 20,000 safe chemical ingredients already available to manufacturers.

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The RSPCA didn’t mention L’Oreal who are one of the worst offenders…and who own the Body Shop.  Please don’t support them.

Animal testing is not just putting ‘lipstick on a pig’…

Toxicity—LD50 test:

The traditional LD50 (lethal dose 50 percent) test forced animals, often rats and mice, to ingest chemicals to determine the dose that resulted in the death of 50 percent of the animals. The animals were, for example, force-fed by a tube inserted down the esophagus into the stomach, causing severe discomfort and extreme and unrelenting pain.

Eye irritancy—Draize test:

The Draize test measures the eye irritancy of chemicals and other products by dropping concentrated amounts of a test substance into an animal’s eye (often albino rabbits, who are docile and inexpensive) and then assessing the eye’s reactions using a subjective numeral score to indicate the level of eye damage and injury. In most instances, the conscious animals are immobilized in full body restraint stocks and remain unanaesthetized for up to 14 days for evaluation.

Skin irritation, corrosion, sensitization, and absorption tests:

Tests for skin irritation (level of damage caused to the skin by a substance) and corrosivity (potential of a substance to cause irreversible damage to the skin) are typically conducted on shaved rabbits using the classic Draize skin test, the lesser-known cousin of its ocular counterpart.

And these are just some of the delights animals are subjected to in the name of ‘research’…  For a fuller list see New England Anti Vivisection Society.

China is a major cause of utterly unnecessary animal suffering.  It not only doesn’t ban, but actually requires by law the animal testing of cosmetic products that have been been deemed safe for years, even in slightly more *ahem* ‘stringent’ countries.

Do they seriously think it is still 1950 over there?

George-Clayton

If a brand sells its product in China, it can’t claim cruelty free status.

At present, it is a legal requirement in China for imported cosmetics to be tested on animals – mostly mice or rats, but also rabbits and guinea pigs. Britain banned the practice in 1998, while the European Union did so in 2013. Artificial skin cells are now used for safety tests.

Of course medical research globally continues unabated, and relatively unreformed.

In some ways I guess, is still 1950 in many laboratories…

smoking beagles

…but thankfully not in all….

Here is a list of Australian medical charities that don’t test on animals.

I propose an easy way to distinguish progressive, cruelty free laboratories from the cruel, animal testing kind.  The latter can have their names permanently changed to lavatories instead, for the shits you will find inside them.

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Humane Research Australia

http://www.humaneresearch.org.au/

If a picture tells a thousand words, then each of these pictures also represent thousands of lives.

Humane Research Australia speaks out against animal experimentation at every opportunity. These are some of the issues they have focused on:

 

Ban Primate Experiments Campaign WebsiteThrough the Looking GlassChoosing Cruelty FreeHappy EndingsVoices from the LabsXenotransplantation: Trading in spare partsStopping the use of Pound Animals in Research Ban the importation of primates for researchUse of Fetal Calf SerumSay NO to disection

I wonder… if animals could cry in pain and fear just as humans do, would we treat them so ruthlessly?

 

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And of course there is some bad news..the good news I guess is that it even made the news…

Vietnamese feedlot and abattoirs suspended from receiving Australian cattle following animal cruelty allegations

Lets just ban this truly bloody obscenity. NZ  has stopped live export for slaughter since 2007.

Keep up with your cousins, Australia-they’re way ahead. They’ve even got a laser kiwi flag.

 

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Week 24 Local Sherlock Holmes Part II (Australia)

There has been a lot of animal news recently.  The ongoing removal of tigers, living and dead – both whole and in body parts – from the ‘Tiger Temple’ in Thailand is yet another reminder to travellers to please not support  the ‘animals as entertainment’ industry.

tiger-temple2.jpg

Thailand tiger ‘slaughterhouse’ discovered by police at temple following tip-off

Crocodiles and sharks continue to do what comes naturally to them.  In turn, with the killing of Harambe the gorilla, humans did what comes naturally to us, which is to look after ourselves and our own kind first… especially when there is a high risk of being sued!

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People like saying ‘life is precious’, but they usually don’t really  mean it.  Otherwise they wouldn’t support the premature termination of precious lives by buying bits of dead animals.

We often don’t even mean human lives are precious, or we would do more to help our desperate brothers and sisters out there, instead of helping ourselves to another piece of chocolate cake .  If you do believe in all human lives are precious, the children of Rafiki Mwema in Kenya would benefit greatly from your support.

If we’re honest, what most of us really mean is just our lives and a those of few individuals selected by us are precious.  Which I guess is quite a natural way for the apex predator to think.

Just looking at the way existence plays fast and loose with lives, it certainly is hard to see any evidence that life is objectively precious at all…

aamosaic

 

Subjectively, of course, is a different matter.


Nature is certainly not kind, but fortunately humans can choose to be.

 

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Survival of the fittest has created a natural world that is full of traps for players of all ages. Most of us know better than to pick strange fungi and eat them, but who would have thought that grass could be a lethal killer?

Last week I wrote about the sickness affecting kangaroos in our local area.  A professional  autopsy has since shown it to be the result of chronic phalaris toxicity – poisoning caused by naturally present alkaloids in a common pasture grass.  Since the finding we have spoken to a number of people and have found the problem to be quite widespread, as is the grass.  It is also affecting some lambs.  This year it may be particularly bad because of the long dry spell followed by rapid growth after good autumn rains.

Farmers can in many ways control what their livestock eats, but kangaroos range and graze widely.  By the time they are showing signs of toxicity, it is probably already too late to help them.  (See video of a strongly affected eastern grey kangaroo here.)

Sometimes it is hard to know how best to be kind.  I think I would like someone to euthanase me if I was in that state, but other people might answer differently…especially people who truly do believe that life quantity  (regardless of quality) is precious.

To euthanase or not euthanase?  That is the question.

In the case of chronic phalaris toxicity in kangaroos, this may be the kindest option available.  It is illegal to kill a kangaroo without permission so please contact a local wildlife carer or the government department responsible for wildlife for further help. (In Victoria, it is DELWP).

One lucky thing for animals is that euthanasia is an option available to them.

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Why can’t humans be given the same option?

We defend the concept of ‘freedom’ yet still put up with the government denying us even the basic the right to end our own lives on our own terms. Why?

 aagreens

 

Week 23 Local ‘Sherlock Holmes’ (Australia)

“The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.”

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – The Hound of the Baskervilles

And so it is with many kangaroos at the moment.

We have been spending a lot of time in the Macedon Ranges area since Easter last year, and since the beginning were noticing odd kangaroos that were affected by something strange.

I wondered if it was poisoning or something else.  In mid 2015 I went online and found a 2012 Melbourne university report mentioning similar symptoms and rang Pam Whitely who is named in the report, to find out more.

Kangaroos and Wallabies. We are keen to investigate reports of incoordinated, wobbly or apparently blind macropods. Kangaroo blindness virus is spread by midges. Phalaris staggers from pasture, and toxoplasmosis (from cat faeces) are other possible causes of incoordination and death. Eye and nasal discharge, sneezing and tail twitching have also been reported. If you see kangaroos or wallabies with any of these signs of disease, please contact us.

It turned out that there were still many questions and she was keen for us to try and get the body of an affected kangaroo to them for examination.  The catch was that they needed the brain intact and it needed to be delivered to the university on a weekday.

If you must shoot a kangaroo, a head shot is the only ‘humane’ way*.   So what to do?

I rang a local rescuer with a tranquiliser gun and he said he would be very happy to come out and help.  The only problem was the terrain is quite challenging and you can’t ever know when you will come across an affected kangaroo, and despite their symptoms, they can still disappear, fast.

Time got away, and it seemed to settle down, but now many rescuers are being called out to kangaroos that appear ‘drunk’.

We spoke to one carer who swore it was the phalaris, a common pasture grass,

Image result for phalaris pasture grass

and another who swore it wasn’t.  Video of one kangaroo affected by phalaris seems similar but different to what we are seeing. The fact is, nobody seems to know for sure and it is not something that has been identified in central Victoria before.

But now appears to be increasingly common.

One local rescuer, the ‘Sherlock Holmes’ of the title, wants a definitive answer and so she jumped onboard with us.  She asked us to get a video and she arranged another rescuer to come out with a tranquiliser gun.  We took a video that I will post on YouTube once we have some answers.  Here are some grainy captures to highlight points we have observed in these roos.

Often, but not always alone.  If in a mob they will be the last to hop off.  Ears are often out flat.  Look ‘vagued out’.  Sometimes shake heads. Will let you get up closer than a healthy roo.  Will be aware of your presence, but sometimes will look in your direction but seem not to see you.  Often underweight.

 

When they do hop off it will be awkward, not in a straight line, many bounces are in a twisted motion and higher than usual.  Badly affected ones will often fall over and roll on the ground and have difficulty getting up.

We did find a kangaroo who appeared to be affected  (though not as badly as the one pictured)  while we had the two wonderful rescuers there.  Of course, conclusions will be hard to draw from one examination alone, as kangaroos can be affected by a large number of miseries (not the least of them being humans) but it is a hop in the right direction.

Thank you to the rescuers for their dedication to helping our native wildlife and to Melbourne Uni for its invaluable expertise.  I will update with their findings when I hear back.

8 June 2016 Results have come back from testing and the kangaroo tested positive for chronic phalaris toxicity…the grass is to blame after all. Caligula would have it whipped. Or at least whipper-snipped.  We have since heard of many more apparent cases in the area.   More in Week 24.

 

“The important thing is to not stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence…”

Albert Einstein

*Before defending the barely regulated kangaroo killing industry, please ask how often do you think pissed cowboy shooters can hit a fast moving kangaroo accurately in its small head?

It is hard enough to accurately shoot an injured kangaroo at close range.  I’ve seen it and it’s not pretty.