Oakland, CA…May 10, 2016 – Seven little piggies- that is, baby warthogs- are now on exhibit at Oakland Zoo. Almost three years ago, female warthogs Frenchie and Alice were brought to Oakland Zoo in hopes of a ‘love connection’ with Simon – the Zoo’s resident male. It took a little while but Simon has proven himself quite a catch – Alice and Frenchie have both given birth to litters exactly one week apart.

Frenchie birthed the first litter of three on May 6, and days later the second litter of four piglets was born to Alice on May 13 – both sows are also first-time moms. Zookeepers have been readying for the piglets’ arrival for months, via closed circuit cameras in the animals’ night house dens and continue to monitor the maternal care and the developmental milestones of the piglets.

“We are thrilled to have two litters of healthy piglets! Both sows, "Frenchie" and "Alice" are first time moms, and are doing a wonderful job and being very protective. All seven piglets are just now beginning to explore their surroundings under the watchful eyes of their moms and keepers,” Lovesong Cahill, Senior Zookeeper.

Zookeepers worked very hard preparing for the births by making changes to the warthogs’ night houses and exhibit; including modifying denning boxes to receive central heating, piglet-proofing gates and other areas the piglets will have access to, and monitoring the pregnancy progress through positive-reinforcement training. This training resulted in one of the mothers allowing ultrasound imaging of her piglets in utero.

Over the next couple months, both litters will have access to the exhibit, but may or may not be visible depending on their preference to come out or stay in the warthogs' night house. 

Warthogs typically birth two to three piglets complete with tusks to jockey for the best nursing position. The piglets, covered in a sparse coarse fur, are quite mobile soon after birth, but remain in the den for 10-20 days. They will wean from the sow at about three months old. Both sexes are born with the characteristic ‘mutton chops’, but males are easily determined by ‘warts’ that are visible at birth. Both sexes eventually develop ‘warts’, but boars display the most obvious protuberances of thick fleshy pads below their eyes and above their tusks, which protect their face when competing for females. None of the piglets have been sexed yet as Zookeepers are keeping their distance to allow the dams and piglets their privacy.

“Whenever animals breed at the Zoo, we plan not just for the health of the newborns and a great start to their life, but we also work with our animal expert colleagues at AZA accredited zoos across the country to plan for the often arduous task of social introductions,” said Darren Minier, Zoological Manager at Oakland Zoo.

The decision to breed our warthogs is based on a rigorous process with other AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) accredited Zoos, through a program called the SSP (Species Survival Plan), which tracks the genetics of individual animals, the social, environmental and health needs of each, and the overall needs of the population in zoos. The goal is to assure the best in welfare for each animal and the population as a whole. 

 

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ABOUT WARTHOGS: Warthogs have been known to live into their mid to late teens in captivity. They are found in sub-Sahara Africa, in the grassland and savannah habitats. Typically, these animals are seen eating, sleeping, and wallowing in the mud. They will rest frequently during the afternoon hours. Warthogs are in the pig family and can make the grunting and squealing sounds associated with that type of animal. When greeting one another through the fence or on exhibit, they make what is described by zookeepers as a low repetitious grunt. Gestation period is approximately 170 days.  Sows typically birth two-four piglets, each weighing about 6 pounds. Piglets will nurse up to four months of age, and become independent at six months.

ABOUT OAKLAND ZOO:

The Bay Area's award-winning Oakland Zoo is home to more than 660 native and exotic animals. The Zoo offers many educational programs and kid's activities perfect for science field trips, family day trips and exciting birthday parties. Oakland Zoo is dedicated to the humane treatment of animals and wildlife conservation onsite and worldwide; with 25¢ from each ticket donated to support conservation partners and programs around the world. The California Trail, a transformational project that more than doubles our size, opens in 2018, and will further our commitment to animal care, education, and conservation with a focus on this state’s remarkable native wildlife. Nestled in the Oakland Hills, in 500-acre Knowland Park, the Zoo is located at 9777 Golf Links Road, off Highway 580. The East Bay Zoological Society (Oakland Zoo) is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization supported in part by members, contributions, the City of Oakland and the East Bay Regional Parks. For more information, go to: www.oaklandzoo.org

Review written by Jon Patch with 1 paws out of 4

The Lobster

A24, Film4, Irish Film Board and Eurimages present an R rated, 118 minute, Comedy, Drama, Romance, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, written by Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou with a theater release date of June 3, 2016.

 

 “Zoos are playing Russian roulette with dangerous wild animals” – Born Free USA CEO

Washington, D.C., May 31, 2016 -- Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, grieves the tragic and preventable death of Harambe, and urges zoos to permanently end exhibitions of captive gorillas. Harambe, a 17-year-old gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo, was killed on Saturday after a young boy fell into his enclosure. This incident is not the first at this zoo, and is one of many involving gorillas at zoos throughout the U.S. 

According to international animal welfare expert Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, “The lesson of Harambe is that having dangerous wild animals in American zoos is not worth the risk to humans and the risk to the animals themselves. Zoos, whether licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture or accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, cannot predict or prevent the possibility that animals will escape their compounds or that humans will enter them. The only way to eliminate risk is to not have certain animals in zoos in the first place. Should dangerous animals not be on display? Should exhibits be closed while a complete review of safety protocols is put in place? Should all emergency protocols at every zoo in the country be assessed? If you play Russian roulette with wild animals in captivity, it’s best to reduce the number of bullets in the chamber. However, the lesson of Harambe is that it’s best not to play at all. Gorillas should be protected in Africa where they belong. Children can learn about gorillas—and tigers, lions, elephants, and polar bears—without ever seeing one up close.”

According to the Born Free USA Exotic Animal Incidents Database, at the Cincinnati Zoo:

  • In 1990, a zookeeper named Laurie Stober was offering a grape to a caged polar bear when it pushed its teeth through the bars and chewed up her right arm almost to the elbow. She survived, and the subsequent lawsuit included allegations that the zoo ignored danger warnings from Stober and other staff.
  • In 1996, a Bengal tiger mauled the seven-year-old daughter of the zoo education director as the animal was about to appear on a television show with the girl’s father.
  • Multiple young animals, including a polar bear, a giraffe, and a white lion, have died from avoidable injuries or unapparent causes.
  • It is clear that safety protocols have not improved. In March 2016, a polar bear named Berit escaped from his enclosure, forcing the zoo to close temporarily.

In addition, the Born Free USA Exotic Animal Incidents Database catalogues more than 20 incidents involving gorillas at U.S. zoos, demonstrating the inherent risk associated with keeping them in captivity:

  • In 1998, a 340-pound gorilla escaped from his room at the Dallas Zoo, raided the kitchen, bit a keeper, and then dragged her down a hallway.
  • In 2000, Evelyn, a gorilla at the Los Angeles Zoo, used overgrown honeysuckle vines to pull herself out of her enclosure and wandered the grounds for an hour until subdued by a tranquilizer dart.
  • In 2003, Little Joe, a 300-pound gorilla, escaped from his cage at the Franklin Park Zoo for the second time that year by scaling a 10-foot wide, 12-foot deep moat, getting past electric wire, and leaving the zoo grounds. During the escape, Little Joe attacked an 18-year-old woman, throwing her several feet in the air, stepping on her, dragging her, and biting her on her back. The woman was holding a two-year-old girl who was snatched out of her arms and slammed to the ground.
  • In 2004, Jabari, a 13-year-old western lowland gorilla, escaped from his two-acre enclosure at the Dallas Zoo and attacked several people before charging at police officers, who fired three shots, killing him. Jabari bit a 26-year-old woman and her three-year-old son several times and threw them against a wall.
  • In 2012, a 400-pound adult male gorilla escaped his cage at the Buffalo Zoo, biting a female zookeeper before being tranquilized and captured.

Roberts adds, “Zoo apologists like Jack Hanna keep saying the same thing. They say zoos are safe; that accidents happen; and that the decision to shoot the gorilla was the right one (just as Hanna said about a deadly incident at the San Francisco Zoo involving a tiger a decade ago). But, the point is that these situations should never arise in the first place. We should be guided by a sense of precaution, not risk. Let us honor Harambe by ensuring that this tragedy is never repeated.”

Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic "pets," trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to America the message of "compassionate conservation": the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son, Will Travers. Born Free's mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at www.bornfreeusa.org, www.twitter.com/bornfreeusa, and www.facebook.com/bornfreeusa.

Talkin' Pets News

Host - Jon Patch

Co-Host - Jillyn Sidlo

Producer - Daisey Charlotte

Network Producer - Ben Boquist

Executive Producer - Bob Page

Special guests:

Author Dr. Chris Blazina will join Jon and Talkin' Pets Saturday 5/28/16 at 5 PM EST to dicuss and give away his new book - "When Man Meets Dog"

Bret Ward the Owner of Leisure Leash will join Jon and Talkin' Pets 5/28/16 at 630pm EST to discuss and give away his leash

 

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Oakland, CA…May 24, 2016 – Construction of the Oakland Zoo’s new California Trail expansion, including a new state-of-the-art visitor center, is in full swing thanks to a generous $3 million grant from Kaiser Permanente’s fund at the East Bay Community Foundation.

Slated to open in Spring 2017, the Kaiser Permanente Visitor Center at Oakland Zoo’s California Trail serves as the entry point to the developing 56-acre expansion; with Zoo guests arriving via Northern California’s first urban gondola offering awe-inspiring views of the entire SF Bay Area. The 15,500 square foot building will also feature viewing decks from 625 feet above sea level and the upper level will house an expansive, family-friendly restaurant.

“The California Trail at Oakland Zoo will be the first-ever of its kind, giving almost a million visitors each year the opportunity to connect with and learn about many California native species, like the Grizzly bear, that vanished from our lands so long ago,” said Dr. Joel Parrott, President & CEO of Oakland Zoo, “We are so pleased to have Kaiser Permanente’s name added to this monumental structure which will serve as the first experience for guests exploring the many attractions of the California Trail.”

In addition to securing naming rights to the Kaiser Permanente Visitors Center, the organization’s investment will support two prominent educational programs for youth at the Zoo, the Teen Wild Guide program and Field Biology workshops. Both programs offer Bay Area tweens and teens long-term, hands-on learning and research opportunities focused on conservation and wildlife both at the Zoo and beyond.

“Kaiser Permanente is committed to improving the health of the communities we serve,” explained Vice President of External and Community Relations Yvette Radford. “We’re excited to help support the Oakland Zoo’s California Trail because it encourages people of all ages to enjoy outdoor physical activity and appreciate the beauty and environmental diversity of our incredible state.”  

As construction continues on the Kaiser Permanente Visitor Center and all of the exhibits and attractions within the California Trail, several naming opportunities remain for the many new habitats, viewing stations, pavilion, classroom and the only one of its kind in Northern California – urban gondola. The first animal residents are anticipated in the fall of this year with the addition of twenty American Bison from the Blackfeet Nation tribe in Montana. Other animals will be added to the Zoo family from both rescue situations and other Zoos in need of relocating animals. The California Trail is slated to open to the public in 2018.

**Click here for large versions of above images**

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ABOUT CALIFORNIA TRAIL AT OAKLAND ZOO:

California Trail brings to life the rich natural history of California in a whole new way.  Designed to be more like a wild animal park, California Trail will feature the state's historic and iconic animal species in large exhibits, including grey wolves, grizzly bears, jaguars, mountain lions, bald eagles, California condors, black bears, and American bison. Through the California Trail experience, Oakland Zoo presents a dynamic and inspiring story about finding balance in how we steward our state's natural legacy. Interactive features along the Trail will help to complete the animals' stories with a vision for their healthy future in the wild and opportunities for you to help them thrive. For more information, go to: www.californiatrail.org

ABOUT OAKLAND ZOO:

The Bay Area's award-winning Oakland Zoo is home to more than 660 native and exotic animals. The Zoo offers many educational programs and kid's activities perfect for science field trips, family day trips and exciting birthday parties. Oakland Zoo is dedicated to the humane treatment of animals and wildlife conservation onsite and worldwide; with 25¢ from each ticket donated to support conservation partners and programs around the world. The California Trail, a transformational project that more than doubles our size, opens in 2018, and will further our commitment to animal care, education, and conservation with a focus on this state’s remarkable native wildlife. Nestled in the Oakland Hills, in 500-acre Knowland Park, the Zoo is located at 9777 Golf Links Road, off Highway 580. The East Bay Zoological Society (Oakland Zoo) is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization supported in part by members, contributions, the City of Oakland and the East Bay Regional Parks. For more information, go to: www.oaklandzoo.org

 

The Pets in the Classroom grant program is able to provide 60 teachers with funding to purchase classroom pets thanks to money raised during America’s Family Pet Expo.

The Pet Care Trust is pleased to announce that 60 teachers will be receiving Pets in the Classroom Grants thanks to a donation through the World Pet Association (WPA), Hikari Sales USA, and other pet-related businesses.  Nearly $6,200 was raised for the Pets in the Classroom grant program at the WPA’s April 22-24, 2016 America’s Family Pet Expo in Orange County, California. The money raised will fund 60 teacher grants, allowing 2,500 students to experience the benefits of interacting with pets in the school setting.

https://us.vocuspr.com/Publish/1193095/vcsPRAsset_1193095_119235_89040fae-3b4e-48d2-8307-a02fbc358f85_0.jpgThe Expo, which is known for its notable history of placing animals in forever homes and educating people on responsible pet care, featured a Betta Fish Toss booth in which attendees had the opportunity to win a betta fish by throwing a ping pong ball into cups of water.  Aquatic Companies Dolphin, Estes, and Hikari Sales USA, Inc. all donated products for the Betta Toss while Hikari Sales USA President and Pet Care Trust Board member Chris Clevers also spent the weekend helping at the booth.

"The Pet Care Trust sincerely appreciates the tremendous support that the World Pet Association and Chris Clevers have provided to the Pets in the Classroom program,” said Steven T. King, Executive Director for the Pet Care Trust.  “Thanks to their efforts and the donations made by Dolphin, Estes, and Hikari USA Sales, Inc., thousands of kids will be able to experience the joys of a classroom pet as a result. The support of those in the pet industry have been instrumental in the continued growth of this wonderful program.”

Clevers has been instrumental in raising funds for the grant program at the annual Expo since 2011.  His dedication to the program is evident in his and his wife’s donation of time and products to fundraising efforts, and in his involvement in the Pet Care Trust board.  Clevers commented:

“We feel this program is extremely important to teachers and their students as it allows children to interact with animals and reconnect with nature while providing firsthand experience developing responsibility and compassion as well as helping the teachers with daily lesson plans designed around the animals. No program in the pet industry does more to foster pet parents of the future than Pets in the Classroom. We’re pleased we could support such a worthwhile and important program. We only wish more companies in our industry would join us.”

The Pets in the Classroom program was established by the Pet Care Trust to assist teachers in obtaining or maintaining classroom pets. The Pets in the Classroom program benefits students by teaching them responsible, long-term pet care at an early age and providing the psychological and developmental benefits associated with the human-animal bond.  Studies have shown that caring for pets has a positive effect on children, improving school attendance and teaching children responsibility, as well as encouraging nurturing and building self-esteem.

For more information on the World Pet Association and its events, visit www.WorldPetAssociation.org, or for more information on the Pet Care Trust and its Pets in the Classroom grant program, visit www.petsintheclassroom.org.

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The American Kennel Club (AKC®), the world’s largest purebred dog registry, announces the launch of its newest award, the AKC Paw of Courage, in an effort to show appreciation for the many sacrifices that working dogs make while serving and protecting our country. This award specifically recognizes the extraordinary sacrifices of dogs who have been severely injured or killed in the line of duty.

“These working dogs possess great courage and dedication,” said AKC Vice President Gina DiNardo. “They continuously put their lives on the line, and have sacrificed their own safety, well-being, and in some cases even their lives, to keep us safe. Each dog awarded with the AKC Paw of Courage has made a significant sacrifice in the line of duty.”

Any working dog is eligible to receive the AKC Paw of Courage; the award is not specific to purebred dogs. Recipients of the award, or their former human partner, will receive a 2016 AKC Paw of Courage medal along with a certificate. In addition, the recipients will receive a photo and profile on akc.org.

The first 2016 AKC Paw of Courage recipients are:

K9 Officer Ogar: of Smith County Constable’s Office – Precinct 5, TX

K9 Ogar, a one-year-old Belgian Malinois of Smith County Constable’s Office in Texas, was shot and killed while attempting an apprehension this past January. K9 Ogar and his handler, Deputy Constable Kevin Petty, were conducting a routine traffic stop when a vehicle fled, leading to a pursuit. The vehicle was wrecked and the subject evaded on foot into a wooded area, and K9 Ogar was deployed. During this confrontation, K9 Ogar was shot and killed. Deputy Constable Petty says, “Ogar sacrificed his life to save mine.” He says that Ogar was always right by his side and looked at him with true love and devotion.

When K9 Ogar was not on duty he was like any other family dog. He loved to run circles around the swimming pool with Deputy Constable Petty’s two young girls. He also enjoyed playing tug of war and catch and was a master escape artist. From the moment he was brought home by his handler, he fit right in with the family. According to his handler, Ogar had mastered the combination of being both soft and strong simultaneously. He loved any attention he could get and in exchange, all he asked for was love. K9 Ogar touched many lives in his time as a K9 officer and he is dearly missed each and every day.

K9 Officer Jag: of Twin Rivers Unified School District Police Dept., CA

K9 Jag was an eight-year-old Belgian Malinois who served with the Twin Rivers Unified School District Police Department for five years. During his annual state certification, he was struck by a vehicle. “K9 Jag was everything a handler and a school Police Department could want. He knew his job and did it well,” says his partner, Sergeant Arlin Kocher. He describes Jag as intense, energetic, sweet and powerful. K9 Jag was the first ever Twin Rivers Unified School District Police Department’s canine. He excelled in every aspect of his career; credited with hundreds of narcotics searches, over 50 suspect surrenders and three apprehensions throughout his time in the department.

Equally as important, K9 Jag also spent a ton of time doing public outreach in the schools and nearby communities. Students, staff and parents looked forward to seeing Jag on a daily basis. He was adored for being sweet and friendly while also serving as their fierce and dependable protector.

Throughout his career, K9 Jag competed in countless events and won numerous awards. According to his partner, Sgt. Kocher, K9 Jag wouldn’t let anyone leave a room without petting him. At the end of his shift, he was always eager to go back to the Police Department where the fellow officers were waiting, for what he thought was just to play with him. K9 Jag is sorely missed by Sergeant Kocher as well as the entire Twin Rivers USD as a uniformed working dog as well as a family dog.

K9 Officer Betcha: of Rutland County Sheriff’s Office, VT

K9 Betcha was a two-year-old Australian Cattle Dog who served as a narcotics/tracking K9 at the Rutland County Sheriff’s Office in Vermont. He was with the Sheriff’s Office for about a year when he was struck and killed by a vehicle while in the line of duty. “He was my fourth K9 partner but my first dog that I can say was my therapy,” says his handler, Deputy Sheriff Edward Hunter of Betcha. Deputy Sheriff Hunter has been in police work for 35 years and says that K9 Betcha truly helped him cope with his past and present in the job. When Betcha was off-duty, he loved playing Frisbee and driving down the road with his head out the window allowing people to snap pictures of him as he passed by. K9 Betcha gave his life for his career and is greatly missed by his partner, and his off-duty family, as well as his family at Rutland County Sheriff’s Office.

K9 Officer Krijger: of Norfolk Police Department, VA

K9 Kirjger, a four-year-old Belgian Malinois of the Norfolk Police Department in Virginia was shot and killed following a violent barricade situation this past January. Police were responding to a domestic violence call when the man barricaded himself inside his home with his wife as a hostage. After several hours, the man exited the home opening fire on the officers, fatally wounding Krijger.

K9 Krijger’s partner, Officer Ryan McNiff began his partnership and friendship during a 16-week training course. During the training, the duo became proficient in numerous skills including: obedience, tracking, open area searches, agility, building searches, apprehensions, and control commands. Even more importantly, Officer McNiff and Krijger learned to work together and to trust one another. “Krijger was not only my partner, he was also my best friend”, says Officer McNiff. “Krijger taught me many things about courage, honor, loyalty and friendship”. K9 Krijger has assisted in locating evidence for countless crimes and he is responsible for over 30 felony apprehensions. Not only was he constantly busy keeping the city safe, Krijger also performed many public demonstrations within the schools and the community. In his off-duty hours, K9 Krijger could be found hanging out on the patio enjoying a bone or running around the backyard with one of his many toys. Krijger loved backyard barbeques with his off-duty family and enjoyed relaxing by the fire pit at night.

When it came to making the ultimate sacrifice in order to protect his partner and his fellow officers, Krijger did not hesitate. “I truly believe that because of him, I am a better police officer and person”, says Officer McNiff. K9 Krijger’s sacrifice is deeply appreciated by his fellow officers, his partner, his off-duty family and the entire community that he served. He is commemorated by his community as a true hero.

For downloadable images of the recipients, click HERE.

 

Appropriations bill will prevent U.S. horse slaughter operations in FY2017 by eliminating funding for horse slaughter inspections

WASHINGTON—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today commends the members of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee for approving an anti-horse slaughter amendment to its fiscal year 2017 Agriculture Appropriations bill. The Udall-Kirk Amendment, introduced by Sens. Tom Udall (D-NM) and Mark Kirk (R-IL), and cosponsored by Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Jack Reed (D-RI) was passed in the full committee by a bipartisan vote and will continue a ban on the gruesome horse slaughter industry on U.S. soil by preventing the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from using taxpayer dollars to conduct horse slaughter inspections, which is a requirement for slaughterhouses to operate. An identical amendment was approved by the House Appropriations Committee in April.

“Horse slaughter is inherently cruel, environmentally and economically devastating to local communities and unsafe for foreign consumers,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. “Eighty percent of American voters oppose the slaughter of horses for human consumption and now that both the House and Senate have approved this language we are one step closer to prohibiting the irresponsible and wasteful use of taxpayer dollars to fund this brutal practice. We are grateful to Senators Udall and Kirk for introducing this amendment to ensure this grisly industry does not establish itself in the U.S.”

"New Mexicans regularly write and call asking me to ensure we never allow horse slaughter in the United States, and this amendment will ensure no federal dollars are used to allow the practice to exist," Udall said. "Horses are a beautiful symbol of Western independence. Most Americans find the idea of slaughtering horses for human consumption repulsive, and they have no tolerance for attempts to open horse slaughtering plants. This amendment is a strong step forward, and I will keep fighting to prohibit horse slaughter in the United States." 

"Illinois banned horse slaughter in 2007 and I support the end of the practice in the United States,” said Sen. Kirk. “Americans have a long-established history with horses and overwhelmingly reject their slaughter for profit."

A recent Edge Research poll commissioned by the ASPCA shows that 2.3 million Americans have adequate space, resources, and strong interest in adopting horses. This new data suggests that there are more than enough homes available for the 125,000 American horses shipped to Canada and Mexico last year to be slaughtered for human consumption. The majority of these horses – 92 percent, according to the USDA – are young, healthy animals who could otherwise go on to lead productive lives with loving owners.

Whether slaughter occurs in the U.S. or abroad, the methods used to slaughter horses rarely result in quick, painless deaths, as horses are difficult to stun and often remain conscious during their butchering and dismemberment. In addition, meat from American horses is unsafe for human consumption since horses are not raised as food animals. They are routinely given medications and other substances that are toxic to humans and are expressly forbidden by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in animals intended for human consumption.

While the Udall-Kirk Amendment prevents slaughterhouses from opening on U.S. soil for another year, it is not a permanent solution and cannot prohibit the current transport of U.S. horses from being trucked to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico. To address this issue, Sens. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act (S. 1214 /H.R. 1942)—legislation that would permanently ban horse slaughter in the U.S., end the current export of American horses for slaughter abroad, and protect the public from consuming toxic horse meat.

To learn more about the ASPCA’s efforts to ensure animals have greater protection under the law, please visit www.aspca.org.

About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, and celebrating its 150th birthday this year, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Marbled Murrelet’s protected zone reduced by 98 percent, carbon sequestration cut by 38 percent

MAMU inNest_Thomas Hamer_HamerEnviornmental LP_U (002)

(Washington, D.C. May 16, 2016)The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is proposing a final forest plan for the forests it manages in Oregon that weakens existing protections for the threatenedMarbled Murrelet and Northern Spotted Owl. These protections were put in place in 1995 as part of President Clinton’s Northwest Forest Plan.

American Bird Conservancy (ABC) has submitted aletterto BLM, and is urging Obama administration officials to shelve the proposed plan and to keep the Northwest Forest Plan in effect until it can be updated next year in conjunction with the Forest Service.

“The Marbled Murrelet is an endangered species being placed at great risk by the BLM’s plan to increase logging in mature forests,” said Steve Holmer, ABC’s Senior Policy Advisor. “The Northwest Forest Plan provided for half-mile buffers needed to mitigate for the heavily fragmented landscape. This common-sense safeguard must be retained.”

The Marbled Murrelet nests on large branches of mature and old-growth trees. It is listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act because of habitat loss caused primarily by logging of old-growth forests. An estimated 19,000 birds remain, but the Washington State population is currently in a steep 5.9 percent annual decline, and long-term population projections indicate a high risk of extinction in California and Oregon within the next 100 years.

Marbled Murrelet nests suffer heavier predation in areas where the forest is not intact. Clearcutting proposed in the BLM plan for Oregon will further fragment the landscape. The current buffers protect 503 acres of habitat based on a circular radius from the nest site. A 300-foot buffer provides for only 6.5 acres of protected habitat,a 98% reduction from the current standard.

The BLM plan calls for commercial logging that is not focused on restoration of late-successional conditions in the reserves, which raises doubt that they will function as intended. The Northwest Forest Plan would increase the amount of carbon stored in the area over the next 100 years by 82 percent, reducing the amount of heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere. But the BLM plan would sequester much less carbon--only 44 percent, a blow to efforts to fight global climate change.

In the system of late-successional reserves, the loss of carbon storage is even more glaring. The Northwest Forest Plan anticipates that reserves will have a 100 percent increase in carbon sequestration. Under the BLM plan the reserves, which will be heavily logged, will only store 58 percent more carbon.

The BLM plan is proposing a five-to-eight-year moratorium on owl take until a Barred Owl control program is initiated in the planning area. Research on the effectiveness of Barred Owl removal has just begun, and uncertainty remains as to how much Barred Owl control the public will support over the long term.

“The Northern Spotted Owl will benefit from the proposed moratorium on take, but its habitat is at greater risk over the long-term because of the extensive logging planned in the late-successional reserves,” said Holmer. “We advise placing a much longer moratorium on owl take. In about 30 years, a large amount of new, suitable owl habitat will become available under the Northwest Forest Plan as forests mature. We need to stay the course and be as protective of the owl as possible until then.”

(Photo: The Marbled Murrelet nests on the branches of mature and old-growth trees. Photo by Thomas Hamer of Hamer Environmental.)

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American Bird Conservancy is the Western Hemisphere's bird conservation specialist—the only organization with a single and steadfast commitment to achieving conservation results for native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas.  With a focus on efficiency and working in partnership, we take on the toughest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on sound science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation.

Marc Ching PetStaurant, consulting pet issues

PetStaurant owner Marc Ching draws on his background as a fourth-generation Japanese herbalist and holistic nutritionist to bring sick cats and dogs back to good health. Meanwhile, staff help patrons select from food prepared in-house or from about two dozen brands of healthy food and snacks — gluten-free, organic, and hypoallergenic. Dogs play in their own room or follow their owners around the small Sherman Oaks shop.

As the lead nutritionist, Marc brings eastern medical methodologies and homeopathic healing of animal ailments through healthful individualized real food diets. Marc creates species appropriate meals for both dogs and cats, understanding the anatomy of animals and how their bodies process and absorb nutrients. His belief and culture, a presence which has become the corner stone of the company – is that our pets are a part of our family.

“Many people who drive by think we are a pet store. We do sell pet products, but mostly we are an Animal Nutritional Center.” Marc states, “The majority of people whom come here are patients, who have found us through referral and the fact that they have been from vet to vet, and have been unable to find relief for their pet. Things like digestive issues, kidney failure, especially food allergies.”

Marc’s belief is that medication is not a cure. Most veterinarians only provide a band aid, whereas he and the PetStaurant use dietary changes, herbs, and homeopathy to cure ailments and help animals suffering from diseases.

“We see an overwhelming amount of people coming through our doors trying to find relief for their dogs itching or reoccurring ear infections. Yearly we see thousands of dogs with these so called Allergies. For the owners whom listen and actually follow what we say, we have a 100% cure rate.”

The PetStaurant is a company that not only makes Organic Pet Food, but a place where Animal Nutrition, Wellness, and Prevention is of primary focus. Not only does Marc work to help people that have pets find the right foods for specific ailments, but Marc also teaches people how to cook and prepare meals for their pets. In addition to this, Marc provides Hospice service free of charge to hundreds of Los Angeles pet owners around his store.

“I teach people how to take care of not only of their healthy animals, but when animals are sick. Many people do not know what to expect, or how to handle specific disease associated incidents when they happen.” The PetStaurant provides a Free Service, and has a 24 hour free hotline where people can ask Marc for help and seek correct answers to situations as they arise. “Over the years I have become the primary care giver to thousands of animals and their families across the country.”

At the PetStaurant, the founding philosophy the company centers itself on is one of wellness and the health of animals. Marc states, “We can help you, and guarantee results. We promise hope, and can show you a better way in regards to helping your dog or cat. Medication is not always a cure, and for many animals – it is just a band aid. But there is hope and power in education, and a better way of life through love.”

Animal Hope & Wellness Foundation

The Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization focused on rescuing and rehabilitating severely abused animals. Founded by Nutritionist and Herbalist Marc Ching, the foundation specializes in abuse and neglect cases. Ching rescues them, providing full rehabilitation services, then works to find them perfect homes.

What makes AHWF different from other rescues out there is the animals it takes in are not pound animals or strays, but animals that have been abused or severely beaten for years. The organization finds these animals through other organizations and a network of people whom inform of these abuse situations. AHWF goes into the streets and even into gang territory to rescue and save the animals, and then spend months rehabilitating them. Once they are healthy and fully adoptable, they are brought to the Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation in Sherman Oaks, where they stay until they find their forever home.

CHINA EFFORT

In addition to saving domestic animals, Ching travels to China and Korea to save dogs from the meat trade and transport the dogs to the U.S. and find them forever homes. When they arrive, there are foster homes lined up for the dogs where they can recover and rehabilitate until they are healthy and can be matched with their perfect, forever, home.   Ching is also working with authorities in China in order to make it criminal to abuse dogs for the meat trade and they are doing work here in the U.S. to stop the illegal dog meat trade.

On his first trip to China, Marc left America without a plan, without knowing anyone in the country and without a hotel reservation. He came only with a bag and a ticket and a desire to save animals from abuse. China continues to have a dog meat and fur trade and general societal views of animals in the country are vastly different from America. While Ching understands you cannot tell a country who does not have the same value system as America to love dogs, he can plant the seed and let the dogs soften their hearts. In time he is certain there will no longer be a society that eats them and no longer bashes in their skulls because their lives will now hold meaning.

By talking to people on the streets, Ching has discovered slaughterhouses and puppy mills and animals that need saving. While on his journey he found the Little Flower Orphanage and created a partnership with them to utilize their farm for the first dog sanctuary in Bejjing. In return, Ching pays the orphans to take care of the dogs, and trains them to nurture the animals back to health so that they may be adopted locally, with the most horrific cases being flown back home to Los Angeles to the Animal Hope & Wellness Foundation.

VICTIM ABUSE ADOPTION

Ching also works to connect abused animals with human crime and abuse victims. It is his mission to connect these victims of crimes with human victims of similar crimes. The belief is that no one will be more understanding of the suffering then someone who lived through it. One survivor sums it up like this, “I am not a victim. I am an Animal Hope and Wellness miracle. I am the truth and proof behind the fact that dogs can rescue humans. Today - life spared me.”

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