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Talkin' Pets News

December 2, 2023

Host - Jon Patch

Co-Host - Jasmine the Dog Trainer - Tampa Bay, Florida

Producer - Lexi Adams

Network Producer - Ben Boquist

Social Media - Bob Page

There’s a well-established inverse relationship between a dog’s size and its expected lifespan. Bernese mountain dogs and Great Danes live just six to eight years, for example, while corgis can live up to 15 years and Chihuahuas up to two decades.

San Francisco biotech company Loyal wants to close that gap, and is developing an experimental drug to extend the lifespan and improve the quality of life of large and giant dog breeds. Today, the company announced that based on early data, the US Food and Drug Administration has determined that Loyal’s drug has a “reasonable expectation of effectiveness.” The company hasn’t yet shown that its drug actually extends lifespan, but the FDA decision signals the agency’s confidence in Loyal’s approach, and the drug will soon be tested in a bigger trial.

“Big dog owners want more time with their dogs,” says Loyal CEO Celine Halioua. “It’s really heartbreaking to people that they don’t live that long.” She argues that the wide variety in dog sizes isn’t natural, but a result of selective breeding by humans to create dogs with certain physical traits or that can perform specific tasks. On average, mixed-breed dogs https://meridian.allenpress.com/jaaha/article-abstract/55/3/130/434661/Risk-Factors-Associated-with-Lifespan-in-Pet-Dogs"}" data-uri="abad50885d794b31d4b5aaeee57e57cb">live longer than their purebred counterparts.

So far, the FDA has not approved any drugs to expand the lifespan of animals—or humans, for that matter. “This is completely novel,” says Linda Rhodes, former CEO of pet biotech company Aratana Therapeutics and a consultant for Loyal. It’s difficult to study life-extension drugs in people, she says, because humans live relatively longer lives than other species. But starting with dogs—and the breeds with the shortest lives—could yield important clues. “The implication for other species, including humans, is pretty profound,” she says.

Loyal’s experimental drug is an injection designed to be given every three to six months by a veterinarian. The drug is meant to lower levels of a hormone called IGF-1, which is involved in growth and metabolism and has been linked to dog size. Large dogs have a genetic variant that leads to high levels of IGF-1 and small dogs have a different variant that results in lower levels.

Inhibiting this hormone has been shown to increase lifespan in worms, flies, and rodents. In humans, both very high and very low levels increase mortality risk, while a midrange is associated with the lowest mortality.

In early studies, Loyal dosed 130 research dogs with its investigational drug. Halioua says the company has shown that it can reduce IGF-1 levels in large dogs to those seen in medium-size dogs. Two dogs had loose stools for a day or two after receiving the injection, but beyond that, Halioua says, no major side effects have been observed.

To determine the drug’s effect on lifespan, the company is planning a bigger study that will start in 2024 or 2025, and enroll about 1,000 large and giant breed companion dogs that are at least 7 years old. Each will receive either the experimental drug or a placebo.

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Franktown, CO – Nearly a dozen horses died in a devastating barn fire early Monday morning. The Franktown Fire Protection District said:

Just before 4 a.m. FFPD responded to a smoke alarm activation in a horse barn near the N. Russellville Rd. Upon arrival, crews found a heavily involved fire. Working on rural water supply, crews have contained the fire. Unfortunately, numerous horses have passed away.

As reported by CBS News, a total of 11 horses died in the blaze. Franktown Fire Chief David Woodrick commented on the reason the fire spread so quickly, “These buildings and horse barns and things like this typically are full of dry horse straw and lumber.”

Fire crews responded to the blaze within minutes, but it was too late to save the horses.

A caretaker who lives onsite suffered smoke inhalation injuries while trying to save the horses trapped inside. According to sources, the barn was a boarding facility that had the capacity to hold up to 16 horses; the horses belonged to various owners.

The cause of the fire is unknown. Visit www.animalvictory.org for more information

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Berkely, MA – An adorable kitten named Applesauce is recovering from being nearly frozen to death in Berkley. According to the Animal Rescue League of Boston, the kitten was found in subfreezing temperatures by a woman who feeds and monitors a cat colony.

The good Samaritan warmed the kitten up, fed him some sugar water, and then got him to the animal shelter for care. According to the animal welfare agency, the kitten’s temperature registered just 93 degrees when he first arrived (normal temperature should be between 100.5-102.5 degrees).

Aside from nearly freezing to death, Applesauce was in relatively good health. He is just seven weeks of age, and too young to be adopted out, but he should be available soon. He is recuperating from his ordeal in a foster home.

Visit www.animalvictory.org for more information

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Songbirds are facing a nesting threat brought about by cold snaps and heat waves due to climate change, new research has found. The study, titled “Inconsistent Shifts in Warming and Temperature Variability are Linked to Reduced Avian Fitness,” and recently published in Nature Communications, sheds light on the dangers posed by temperature variability, particularly during crucial nesting stages.

While warmer temperatures have already prompted songbirds to nest earlier in spring, the study emphasizes the significance of exposure to temperature fluctuations, a factor that proves especially perilous for nestlings. Conor Taff, PhD, co-lead author and researcher in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Cornell University, highlights the distinction between changing temperature averages and temperature variability, noting their distinct roles in climate change’s impact on avian life.

“When we talk about temperature changes, the focus is mostly on averages,” says Dr. Taff. “But all creatures, including humans, interact with weather conditions right in the moment, not with long-term averages. Even a one or two-day period when it’s really cold or really hot can be incredibly challenging even if the average temperature hasn’t changed. Changing temperature averages and temperature variability are two different components of climate change.”

The research looks into the effects of temperature variability on nesting success by analyzing 300,000 breeding bird records from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s NestWatch project between 1995 and 2020. It identifies the coldest and hottest three-day periods for each nest and examines their correlation with lower nesting success, measured by the survival of nestlings to fledging.

According to Taff, the findings reveal 16 out of 24 species studied experienced reduced reproductive success during cold snaps in the incubation or nestling stages, while 11 out of 24 faced similar challenges during heat waves in the breeding season. Aerial insectivores, in particular, proved most vulnerable to temperature extremes, especially cold ones.

The majority of birds feed insects to their young, making them reliant on insect availability. Cold snaps diminish insect activity, triggering a decline in food supply during the critical early stages of nestlings. This vulnerability is exacerbated by the fact that nestlings cannot regulate their body temperature, and the rapid growth during their initial weeks of life makes them particularly susceptible to food shortages caused by temperature extremes.

To assess long-term trends, Taff and co-lead author, Ryan Shipley, PhD, examined 100 years of weather data. While no clear pattern in the timing of temperature extremes was found, Taff and Dr. Shipley noted an overall warming trend.

“Even if nestlings somehow manage to survive a cold snap or heat wave, there may still be long-term consequences affecting the overall health of the birds,” Shipley says. “We’re only looking at a brief snapshot during early life and cannot measure long-term health in an unbanded wild population.”

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Veterinary professionals and government health agencies are warning pet owners of a respiratory illness affecting dogs in multiple states. The cause remains a mystery.

In August 2023, the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) had started to receive report cases of an atypical canine infectious respiratory disease complex (CIRDC) spreading in the Portland metro and Willamette Valley areas. As of writing, more than 200 cases have been reported to ODA by veterinarians.

In a report by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), Andrea Cantu-Schomus, communications director with the ODA, says the cases appear to be “viral.”

“Based on the epidemiology of the cases reported at this point, the cases appear to share a viral etiology, but common respiratory diagnostic testing has been largely negative,” Cantu-Schomus wrote in an email. “A handful of cases do test positive for M. cynos, but that agent is not believed to be the underlying causative agent.”

According to a report by the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association, the cases reported to ODA appear to primarily fall within these clinical syndromes:

  • Chronic mild-moderate tracheobronchitis with a prolonged duration (six to eight weeks or longer) that is minimally or not responsive to antibiotics;
  • Chronic pneumonia that is minimally or not responsive to antibiotics;
  • Acute pneumonia that rapidly becomes severe and often leads to poor outcomes in as little as 24-36 hours

In a Fox12 news interview, Dr. Kurt Williams, director of the Oregon Veterinary Diagnostics Lab (OVDL) recommends pet owners to keep their dogs at home and avoid contact with other dogs.

“It would be prudent, first and foremost, to make sure your dog is fully vaccinated,” says Dr. Williams. “I think it would not be a bad idea to perhaps avoid possible situations where your dog is mingling with many other dogs. So, at a boarding facilities, or dog parks, or something like that.”

The mysterious respiratory illness seems to have spread across other states. In an interview with Today, Dr. Gina Kettig of the VCA Alameda East Veterinary Hospital in Denver, CO, says they have been “seeing a plethora of these infections.”

“We are using our isolation ward heavily,” Dr. Kettig tells Today.

The ODA is currently working with pathologists and virologists at the OVDL and the Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory (USDA NVSL) to find the causative agent behind the illness.

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Is there already a cure for the “mysterious” canine respiratory disease plaguing dogs in the United States? A couple from Southern California may have found an answer after they claim their dog, Ike, recovered from the condition, known as canine infectious respiratory disease complex (CIRDC), last September.

In an interview with ABC7, Becky and John Oliver narrate how their golden retriever that had been competing in dog shows suddenly fell ill. “They had given up,” says Becky, saying veterinarians did not what the condition was and how to treat it.

The couple transferred Ike to a hospital in Fallbrook, Calif., where the dog was isolated. “He couldn’t go in the room with them, no other dogs were in there with him, so that’s how contagious this is,” John adds. Ike was tested and was confirmed to have contracted CIRDC. The disease manifests with symptoms, such as cough, runny nose, sneezing, and lethargy. In more severe cases, the infected dog can suffer from pneumonia and fatality.

An online post made by Becky and John, sharing their dog’s condition, was what opened the idea to try a treatment. A stranger online recommended the couple to try chloramphenicol, a medication used to treat eye infections.

According to the interview, Ike was “breathing better” within hours after receiving chloramphenicol and was taken home a few days later.

“It was very, very strong last-resort antibiotic…but it’s what saved him,” Becky tells ABC7. “Otherwise, he would not be here.”

Always consult with your veterinarian before considering any alternatives and don’t be afraid to get a second opinion.

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Developing precision medicine is the main goal of a new veterinary learning health care system at the University of Florida (UF).

With support from the UF strategic funding initiative, a digital imaging platform powered by artificial intelligence (AI) will be developed to collect, collate, and analyze patient data from the UF College of Veterinary Medicine’s clinical caseload across animal species.

“We need to do everything we can to eliminate barriers to cancer treatments, and creating an AI-enabled digital imaging platform will help us do that,” says Ben Sasse, UF president.

This innovation aims to create a pathway to customized medical solutions with the aid of molecular and genomic data sets. It will also address bottlenecks in implementing personalized cancer diagnoses and treatments, including the scarcity of veterinary pathologists and the heterogeneous nature of cancer disorders.

In the first phase of the project, the college will focus on populating the data warehouse with digitized information amassed in diagnostic imaging, an area key to the veterinary oncology practice, as well as cell and tissue data that has been routinely collected from animal patients across UF’s various practice sites.

Subsequent phases of the project will deploy applications to resolve diagnostic and clinical problems for client-owned animal patients, as well as develop AI algorithms to establish reliable, preclinical, comparative, and translational research models.

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Jason Chou — or @JaytheChou as he is known on X — is undertaking a feat of digital endurance. In March 2021, he began posting images of Paddington, the anthropomorphized bear, edited into scenes from movies and TV shows like “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Forrest Gump.” In each post, he pledged to continue “until I forget.” He has yet to forget. On Sunday, Chou will reach an impressive milestone: his 1,000th post.

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Harvesting high-quality hay can be challenging for horse owners. To cut and bale premium hay, it must be cut at the right time, dried quickly, and baled at the correct moisture, then moved out of the elements and into storage. Although this sounds straightforward, it can be challenging because it relies heavily on weather conditions. In seasons that have a lot of precipitation, baling adequately dried hay becomes an issue. However, for horse hay, it is crucial that the bales not contain mold and are adequately dried.

Farmers monitor moisture content of forage throughout the harvesting process—when the hay is too wet mold is a concern and those bales could even become a fire hazard, and if the hay is baled too dry, there is significant nutrient loss due to leaf brittleness. Therefore, a happy medium is key.

Farmers might invest in inoculants or preservative sprays to reduce the likelihood of losing a crop because they allow the farmer to bale a hay at slightly higher moisture levels. For example, if the hay is not quite dry enough, but there is rain approaching in the forecast, the farmer might invest in a preservative spray for that field to ensure it can be baled prior to the rainfall. These products are most commonly used in wet and cool climates.

Manufacturers offer two main types of preservatives: bacterial inoculants and organic acids. Bacterial inoculants are typically characterized by the addition of lactic-acid-forming bacteria such as Lactobacillus, Streptococcus, and Bacillus. These organisms compete with mold-forming organisms in order to maintain forage quality. These products allow farmers to bale the hay at 3 to 5 percent higher moisture.

The other common preservative farmers spray on hay is organic acids (e.g., propionic acid). These products produce an acidic environment that is not supportive of mold growth. Again, this allows the hay to be baled slightly wetter so the grower can reduce the amount of time that it is in the field drying with a risk of it being rained on. Farmers only use these products when absolutely required because they are an investment; however, without them, more hay would be lost in wet years, which would create shortages and cause hay prices to skyrocket.

Regarding horse health, researchers have shown that horses preferentially eat nontreated hay when given the choice. However, it is safe for them to consume treated hay. In one study looking at feeding hay treated with commercial preservatives to yearlings, scientists found there was no difference in feed consumption or weight gain between the treated and untreated hay groups. When we investigate hay treated with propionic acid, keep in mind that the product is buffered; despite it having a very low pH on its own, it is buffered to be closer to neutral (pH of 7) and will not cause harm to the horse when consumed. Additionally, the horse naturally produces propionic acid in the hindgut when hay is fermented.

Although farmers prefer harvesting conditions that allow for the baling of high-quality horse hay without the use of preservatives such as organic acids and bacterial inoculants, these products are a safe and effective way to reduce the risk of mold development in hay. So, from a nutritional standpoint, hay that has been treated with a preservative such as propionic acid is safe for horses.

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Vetsource®, a leader in pet pharmacy and technology services, is excited to announce the launch of accredited continuing education courses in veterinary pharmacy.

Conceived by the Vetsource Clinical Committee, which is made up of pharmacists and veterinarians, the courses were developed after the team saw a need for veterinary-specific continuing education. "Such courses have become increasingly scarce," said Mark Balyshev, Vetsource's pharmacist manager and pharmacist in charge. "Historically, there have been limited resources available to pharmacists, pharmacy students, and pharmacy technicians, which led us to develop our own."

Courses are free of charge to anyone interested in expanding their knowledge of veterinary pharmacy. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians can earn one credit hour for each course.

"Pain Management in Dogs" covers the four types of pain categories, common risk factors, signs of pain, and pharmaceutical options for treatment. In "Treatment of Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome (EGUS)," participants learn about basic horse physiology, types of gastric ulcers, causes, treatment options, and dosing. These text-based courses include a questionnaire at the end to test the learner's knowledge.

The Vetsource Clinical Committee partnered with the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science to host and accredit the courses. Additional courses will be added over the next few years. The Vetsource pharmacy team also has a long-standing partnership with Oregon State University to host local pharmacy students on their rotations and share their knowledge of veterinary pharmacy. A new partnership with the Pacific University School of Pharmacy was recently formed to provide similar opportunities to their students.

"We take pride in being pioneers in the industry," Balyshev shared. "As we continue to expand our presence in the industry, we remain dedicated to maintaining our local outreach effort, as we have from the inception of Vetsource."

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Ethanol has been good to corn farmers. But when everybody starts switching to electric vehicles, where’s all that maize going to go?

Corn farmers and ethanol makers have an idea: green jet engine fuel, Bloomberg reported.

Ethanol is a fuel produced from biomass like potatoes, sorghum, and most commonly, corn. It was first added to gasoline in the 1920s to increase octane and reduce engine knock, but it got a big boost in the late 1970s in a bid to limit foreign-energy dependence and lower smog rates. Today, the US produces half of the world’s ethanol, and nearly all of our gas contains some proportion of it.

However, many major carmakers are set to produce only EVs in roughly the next 10 to 15 years, with entire countries prepared to ban the future sale of new gas-powered vehicles. Corn farmers and ethanol makers are tilting their heads upward for their next market:

  • Ethanol could be converted into a more environmentally friendly fuel for planes called sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), and BloombergNEF reported the industry could be worth $105 billion by 2050 as airlines are under pressure to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Last November, United Airlines became the first US carrier to invest in a biofuel refinery. The company will pump nearly $40 million into a NXTClean Fuels plant in Oregon, which could produce as much as 50,000 barrels of SAF per day after its completion in 2026.

Right now, SAF accounts for less than a tenth-of-a-percent of fuel used by major US airlines. SAF producers are eligible for tax breaks, but that’s only if the fuel cuts emissions by half that of standard jet fuel. Corn-derived jet fuel is still far below that threshold, with emissions just 15% less than traditional jet fuel. Roughly 40% of the nation’s corn crops go toward producing ethanol, so until the SAF situation is figured out, farmers can only hope people start eating corn on the cob for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

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A herd of followers are tracking a moose on the loose in southern Minnesota, hoping the majestic animal's journey ends safely after it was spotted Tuesday 140 miles (225 km) northwest of Minneapolis.

Fans have been tracking the young male moose for weeks and posting updates on a Facebook page that has more than 18,000 followers. Admirers call the animal “Bullwinkle” or “Rutt,” the latter in homage to a scatterbrained moose from the movie “Brother Bear.”

A Minnesota Department of Natural Resources big game expert told the Minnesota Star Tribune that moose typically only roam in northern Minnesota, making the now-famous moose's visit to south and central Minnesota a rare treat. Todd Froberg, the agency's big game program coordinator, said the young moose is likely looking for home territory or other moose and is expected to continue moving north.

“He’s lost, and he’s trying to get home to his family,” said Bernie Stang, a moose fan who spotted the animal in late October.

Amateur moose-tracker Brenda Johnson said traffic on the Facebook page, of which she is the administrator, picked up in September when the moose was spotted in Iowa near the border of Minnesota.

She suspects Rutt traveled from North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa before coming back to Minnesota, based on news reports of moose sightings in South Dakota that match his description.

Johnson said she created the Central MN Moose on the Loose Facebook page in 2018 to track another moose whose life tragically ended when it was fatally struck by a semi while crossing a highway.

Rutt enthusiasts had been monitoring his fan page for weeks hoping for news that the colossal creature would avoid a similar fate and safely cross Interstate 94. (He did.)

Danielle Magnuson began searching for the moose last month as a distraction from stressors in her life. She spent several days a week searching before she finally found him Nov. 13 near Sauk Centre. “It's almost like seeing a unicorn,” Magnuson said. “They're just really beautiful animals, and we don't get a chance to see them around our area.”

Stang said seeing Rutt was especially touching for her 26-year-old daughter Holly Stang, who had never seen a moose before. She said Holly Stang first named the creature Rutt. “This moose has brought so much joy to so many people and so much hope," Bernie Stang said, "because most people in their lifetime never get to see a moose.”

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Researchers with Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute (CMARI) sighted the first North Atlantic right whale mom and calf pair of the 2023-2024 season off the coast of South Carolina on November 28. The mother, Juno, estimated to be about 38 years old, has successfully given birth to her 8th documented calf.

While this sighting is highly anticipated and celebrated, researchers from around the world caution that despite a recent increase in their numbers, factors such as slow reproduction rate, entanglement in fishing gear, collisions with vessels, and other unidentified threats continue to pose significant challenges for the critically endangered right whales.

With only an estimated 360 North Atlantic right whales remaining, research and conservation programs are key to saving this critically endangered species. CMA Research Institute scientists have collected more than 20 years of aerial survey data on this species during its critical calving time in the southeast. This data has led to ship speed reduction and expanded habitat protection, halting whale mortality in the southeast. During our daily flights each winter, our scientists warn mariners from North Carolina down to Florida about whale locations to avoid vessel strikes and alert rescuers about whales entangled in fishing gear, two leading causes of mortality for this species.

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With the weather outside getting frightful – for San Diego at least – Helen Woodward Animal Center’s AniMeals Program wants to make sure that every pet’s holiday is quite delightful. TODAY, the Center’s long-standing relationship with Feeding San Diego, is making that goal even easier. The AniMeals program is honored to kick off its December efforts by providing food for 500 pets at Feeding San Diego’s Holiday Food Distribution at Palomar College this morning, Friday December 1st between 8:45 and noon.  

 Since its start, Helen Woodward Animal Center’s AniMeals program has supplied pet food to pets of homebound seniors, military veterans and San Diegan’s experiencing homelessness. The program first partnered with Feeding San Diego in 2020, to distribute pet food for those affected by pandemic-related job loss. Since then, the partnership has expanded to monthly pet food distribution along with Feeding San Diego’s standard human-centric operations.

 Every year, the Center program that began almost 40 years ago receives an increase in desperate pleas for nutritious and filling meals for the pets of those who are homebound and homeless during the winter months.  This year, the skyrocketing prices of household goods combined with stagnant wages, has made the need even greater. 

 “We normally feed about 50 dogs a month when we attend their food drops,” AniMeals Supervisor Taylor Casey said.  “We were thrilled that Feeding San Diego asked us to participate in their Holiday Food Distribution.  We know that so many people are really struggling right now and it’s challenging to reach everyone when they are spread across the city.  To be able to expand our pet food assistance from 50 to 500 this month is incredibly exciting.”

 AniMeals will continue its wintertime efforts throughout the month, thanks to a partnership with Kahoots Feed and Pet Store. Returning with an annual holiday tradition that began several years ago, all 11 San Diego Kahoots locations will serve as drop-off points for a December food drive between December 1 – 25, 2023. Shoppers can find AniMeals bins in all Kahoots locations, encouraging generous hearts to consider purchasing an extra bag or can for pets in need this holiday season.

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Italy’s national carrier ITA Airways and Humane Society International announced the airline’s official adoption of policy that prohibits the transportation of hunting trophies as cargo and passenger baggage on the airline’s flights. ITA Airways is the 42nd airline to make this commitment. A hunting trophy is the dead animal or its parts (such as its head, skin, teeth, etc.) that a hunter keeps as a souvenir, decoration or display to represent and brag about the success of their hunt. Their targets include imperiled species, such as elephants, lions and polar bears.

Given that a significant number of trophy hunters travel abroad to hunt, the transportation sector plays a key role in facilitating—or stopping—this unethical and harmful industry. The last decade has seen an increase in companies banning the transport of hunting trophies via their online policies in order to protect against biodiversity loss and trade in imperiled animals.

In response to this news, Elise Allart, corporate engagement director for Humane Society International/Europe, released the following statement: “The airline industry has the opportunity to spearhead ethical business practices that critically impact the lives of animals. Policies that prohibit the transport of animal trophies give hunters less incentive to kill animals for a trophy to bring home. Airlines that are taking this action and doing the right thing are significantly influencing global efforts to protect animals, our environment and biodiversity. This is why we work with big business—these partnerships have the power to make lasting change.

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