World Week for Animals in Laboratories

Leaping-Bunny-Cruelty-Free

Look for the “Cruelty Free” logo

Hey all,

Hope everyone had a good Earth Day! As the week comes to a close, however, I would like to mention another important set of dates that is coming to an end: World Week for Animals in Laboratories. This is a week for us to think about and act on the behalf of millions of animals that we often take for granted. Animal Legal Defense Fund says it best, “They are hidden from view, but animals in labs suffer by the millions each year, and we can all do something about it”. Explore their site if you would like to hear a bit more about the significance of this week.

While it is often argued that animal research is necessary for the development of cures for diseases (which there is some truth to), a lot of animal research does not work towards such a cause. For example, in the United States, many animals are subjected to testing for household cleaning products as well as cosmetics. The questionable ethical nature of these tests has led to an European Union ban on such nontherapeutic testing.

Regrettably, the institution who I work for (obviously not as an animal researcher; although I do research “about” animals) has over 13,000 mice present on its main campus, among others such as tamarin monkeys. Some are used for “life saving” therapeutic research. Others are experimented on for testing general knowledge or simply to result in publications of questionable utility (such as a study I recently read about fear and boredom in caged mink at the University of Guelph).

Regardless on what you believe to be the role of animal testing in society and whether it is justified or not, take some time as this week comes to a close to reflect on how the decisions you make as a consumer can have an impact. If you are like me and are trying to reduce your unnecessary impact on animals, there are some easy things you can do such as look for the Cruelty Free certification on hygiene and cleaning products, among others.

If you are interested in learning more about animal research and some of the current ethical musings on it, check out a book I recently read to review for the open source journal Between the Species. The book being Animal Rights without Liberation: Applied Ethics and Human Obligations by Alasdair Cochrane

Sources:

http://aldf.org/blog/world-week-for-animals-in-laboratories/

http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/sectors/cosmetics/animal-testing/index_en.htm

http://www.gocrueltyfree.org/shopper

Images: Cruelty Free logo downloaded from http://www.seabuckthorninsider.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Leaping-Bunny-Cruelty-Free.jpg

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Happy Earth Day!

Just wanted to say happy Earth Day from all of us at Urban Hermits! Today is a good day to think about your lifestyle and how you can use it to contribute to a healthier planet. It also is a great day to get outside and enjoy nature or watch a good film. I am going to try and catch a screening of Green Fire, an Emmy award winning film about Aldo Leopold’s land ethic later this week.

Here is something for your amusement: Google’s earth day logos over the years.

Have a great day and continue tuning into Urban Hermits!

If You’re in Chicago, Go to the Pet Store and…Adopt!?

yinny

Yin, a wonderful adopted house cat!

Here is an interesting and innovate solution for you. Just last month, it was announced that the city of Chicago is banning the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits from breeders within the city limits. In other words, pet stores will now be selling rescue animals from shelters and welfare societies, both private and public. A lot of the rhetoric around this ordinance relates to the abusive conditions in some breeding operations (think “puppy mills”). While I would warn everybody from assuming that all breeders are running inadequate operations in which the animals’ needs and rights are neglected, there certainly has been a share of cases to cause concern. What hasn’t been mentioned so far, and why I support this law, is that this could be seen as a way to manage the overpopulation of stray animals so prominent in many cities (especially my hometown, Detroit, MI). For example, I have heard estimates that there are 2,000 to 50,000 stray dogs in Detroit. While 50,000 seems a bit high to me, I can’t say I haven’t driven around at night, alongside a pack of 3 or 4 dogs in a desolate part of the city. By keeping shelter pets in the pet stores, and not breeding new ones, perhaps we can curb some of this problem. Some dogs are feral and at this point may not be appropriate to become house pets right away. However, many need a loving home and shelters often provide cheap or complimentary spaying or nudering, which alleviates the stray and feral problem.

It appears that this idea was so well received that the rest of Cook County, where most of Chicago resides, decided to follow suit. I believe that this law has potential to improve both the human and animal urban environment. In a sense, the control of stray and feral household pets has become the city’s version of wildlife management. For example, we have deer out here in central Pennsylvania. Detroit and Chicago have dogs and cats. While the current proposed regulations only deal with dogs, cats, and rabbits, I think this could definitely be extended to parrots. As a parrot caretaker, I am well aware of the the abundance of those, particularly the larger ones, who need to be rescued and re-homed. This happens while breeders keep pumping out more than what people can purchase.

Again, I am not trying to condemn all breeders. However, the amount of companion animals that need our help is astonishing and shutting down some of the countries worst operations, as well as the illegal pet trade, can’t hurt. I applaud Chicago and would like to see this pick up some momentum.

For another interesting and recent example of using legislation to protect animals, check out New York City’s animal abuse registry. Interesting stuff!

Sources: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-03-05/news/chi-chicago-antipuppy-mill-measure-advances-20140304_1_pet-stores-chicago-aldermen-homeless-animals

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-03-05/news/chi-chicago-antipuppy-mill-measure-advances-20140304_1_pet-stores-chicago-aldermen-homeless-animals

Image: Lauren Korany, Urban Hermits