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Posts Tagged ‘cruelty to animals’

Published with permission of the author:  Sarah J West

 

 

IS CHANGE IN THE AIR?

HUMANE EDUCATION…and the URGENT call to action!

A puppy beaten to death on a golf course, a pit bull dog pelted with stones, another pit mix set on fire, an emaciated dog tethered and left to die and a puppy found dead after being hanged from a fence are all part of a series of shocking animal cruelty cases in Baltimore, MD.  The abusive acts have attracted the attention of city officials because they have all been committed by children, some aged as young as 10.   This was reported in the June 17, 2010 National Examiner article written by Seltzer. The incidences of animal abuse perpetrated by children and adolescents are not slowing down; they are becoming a rising tide!

 

On Saturday April 17, 2012 Canada Shannon Barry was kicked in the face and knocked unconscious by a stranger in Edmonton, for being gay. Statistics Canada figures suggest young people between the ages of 12 and 22 are responsible for six in 10 hate crimes; the majority of those accused being 17 or 18. According to Statistics Canada, in 2012, hate crimes against gays doubled. Helen Kennedy, Executive Director of Egale Canada, Canada Human Rights Trust said that “Hate crimes are an alarming reality that gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered Canadians know all too well , one that  governments can no longer ignore.” Kennedy said that’s consistent with Egale’s own research and suggested efforts to reverse this alarming trend need to begin in schools. In light of this EGALE hast has started the SAFER SCHOOLS CAMPAIGN.

If there is any one human expression that is indicative of and at the root of the fundamental and debilitating flaws in our society, it is a lack of compassion. The Dalai Lama expresses this best in his quote Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive. From gay bashing to racism, bullying to animal cruelty we have become a western society hardened and sensitized to violence, left isolated and invalidated by modern technology. Television and movie theatres stream and scream at us with programming and films full of murder, abject violence, fabricated global disasters and callous reality TV shows. Communications with each other as individuals are minimized to heads down texting and voice mails, leaving a complete absence of personal and emotive expression in our everyday contact with friends, family and colleagues. Global TV Vancouver Canada reported in a March 26th 2013 news cast that in the nation, over 10 million texts are sent every 60 minutes!

School shootings are on the rise.  If we recall the tragic events of the Sandy Hook Newport Connecticut school shooting, the second deadliest school shooting in American history in which 27 lives were taken and we can now clearly the parallels between the absence of empathy exhibited by those who commit this type of  violent act  inherent   animal cruelty perpetrators.The website Pet Abuse.com states: More recently, high school killers such as 15-year-old Kip Kinkel in Springfield, Ore., and Luke Woodham, 16, in Pearl, Miss., tortured animals before embarking on shooting sprees. Columbine High School students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who shot and killed 12 classmates before turning their guns on themselves, bragged about mutilating animals to their friends

. Dr. Randall Lockwood, Ph.D. Senior Vice President for Anti-Cruelty Field Services, for The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), who has written extensively on the link between animal abuse and human violence, wrote “Those who abuse animals for no obvious reason are budding psychopaths. They have no empathy and only see the world as what it’s going to do for them.”

School shooters generally have a common character flaws:1) a history of antisocial-personality traits, 2) suffer from mental illnesses such as depression or psychosis and 3) tend to obsess about how others, whether other individuals or society at large, have wronged them.
All of these character traits are also to be found in animal cruelty perpetrators and those who committed other violent acts.Ted Bundy Jeffrey Dahmer and John Wayne Gacy are infamous illustrations of this behavior and all presented to police and clinicians as having a complete absence of empathy. Both physical and cyber bullying permeate the fabric of our education systems in the United States and here in Canada. The British Columbia government is so concerned about this that they have launched a PSA campaign and website to combat this “Erasebullying.ca”  The campaign is specifically targeted to children and youth aged 13-18.This concern for bullying  is echoed worldwide had has prompted the introduction of International STAND UP to Bullying Day.  This is a special semi-annual event in which participants sign and wear a pink “pledge shirt” to take a visible, public stance against bullying. The event takes place in schools, workplaces, and organizations in 25 countries across the globe on the third Friday of November to coincide with Anti-bullying week, and then again on the last Friday of February       

Many schools across North America are introducing an Anti-Bullying contract to be entered into and signed by teachers, students and their parents or guardians. This contract created to combat the rising tide of bullying, alone, is a serious and critical indication of a lack of compassion in our children and youth today!

Youth suicides are at a record high as a result of bullying. This statistic contained in a recent British Columbia Global Television news cast reported that 9 young people have committed suicide, in BC alone, over the last 5 years; as a direct result of cyber, physical and verbal bullying.

The United States based website www. bullying statsistics.org states the following: As social networking and online social interaction becomes more and more popular with sites like Face book and Twitter, cyber bullying has become one of the most prevalent types of bullying that occurs between teens. About 80 percent of all high school students have encountered being bullied in some fashion online. These growing numbers are being attributed to youth violence including both homicide and suicide. While school shootings across the country are becoming more and more common, most teens that say they have considered becoming violent toward their peers, wish to do so because they want to get back at those who have bullied them online. About 35 percent of teens have been actually threatened online. About half of all teens admit they have said something mean or hurtful to another teen online. Most have done it more than once.

According to Wikipedia, Forty-nine states in the United States have passed school anti-bullying legislation, the first being Georgia in 1999. The one state without anti-bullying legislation is Montana. A watchdog organization called Bully Police USA advocates for and reports on anti-bullying legislation. In Canada the Ontario and Alberta governments have initiated legislation providing for anti-bullying laws. Ontario laws were enacted in 2012.

While looking at the tapestry of this critical lack of compassion in our society’s youth we have to include the statistics that animal cruelty perpetrators are now much younger than ever before! This fact is confirmed with founder and administrator of the Queen Waldorf Fights Back and Pet Abuse.com websites which keeps track of the most violent and animal cruelty crimes in North America. The founder whose name is not made public for security reasons, said”.  Some of the most violent crimes such as animal tortures are, in my experience, committed by youth.  Since there is a direct link to animal abuse and Conduct Disorders, diagnosis and early intervention is paramount in treating this serious psychiatric disorder.” 

According to the website Petabuse.com Animal abuse is in on the rise in North America .On November 12 the 2012 an RSPCA UK press release reported a rise in animal cruelty and stated that the number of cases of animal cruelty rose by 4% in the first nine months of 2012.

Cathy Kangas a Board of Directors member of the Humane Society of the United State writes in a January 18th 2013 Huffington post article: According to the Humane Society of the United States, researchers determined that between 71 percent and 83 percent of women entering domestic violence shelters reported that their partners also abused or killed the family pet.1

The British RSPCA (Royal Society for the Protection of Animals) stated in a recent press release “Animal cruelty, neglect and suffering are reaching “unprecedented levels“.

This absence of societal empathy among our youth also can be clearly evidenced from one highly significant resource! This the critical study conducted by the University of Michigan  who analyzed the personality tests of 13,737 students over 30 years and say that today’s college students are 40-per-cent less empathetic than those of the 1980s and 1990s ! Their study showed that the most notable and sizable empathy drop spiked after 2000 when social networks such as Face book and MySpace began to expand. These “literally” distant technical environments” allowed people to ionize their own lives and in doing so create emotional buffers between themselves and others (the world).This also creates a sensitization to another’s pain and an emotional disconnect from hurting others and animals.

The continuing evolution of inanimate social media such as Twitter, Face Book, Digg, Flickr, Youtube, Blogger, Reddit have provided a mechanism for transparent and virtually instant communication. However it has also been the significant factor in allowing young people to tune out and keep their emotions at bay, thus creating an ever increasing need for tools to combat this anesthetised communication with its notable absence of empathy.

While the majority of young adults may not come from highly dysfunctional families they come from families, where family time together and communication is minimal.  For so many families today’s economy necessitates that both parents work. Long hours working away from their children increase the ever widening gap between children and their sense of place and belonging. This and the ever increasing prevalence of a society that communicate via the latest smart phone just exacerbates this absence or need for feelings and the expression of emotions.

To find a place to begin in tackling this growing and unsettling lack of, or absence of empathy we must look to the historical and philosophical foundations of early learning. Fredrick Froebel.1782-1852, Jean Piaget,1896-1952, Maria Montessori, 1870- 1952, all well known to early childhood educators, were among some of the most world renowned philosophers of the belief that the primary years in a child’s grown are critical to forming solid foundations for children to grow into whole human beings.

Abram Maslow well known for Hierarchy of Needs model in 1940-50s theory supports this further and remains valid today for understanding human motivation, and personal development. In this Hierarchy of Needs model Maslow clearly outlines the foundations for normal human development and the necessary journey towards “actualization” the fullest whole potential that any individual can reach. In this hierarchy Maslow outlines five basic stages of growth: biological and psychological needs ( food  warmth sleep ect),  safety ( protection order security ect ) Society ( community, family, sense of belonging ), self esteem ( reputation achievements status, responsibilities ect ) and finally self- actualization ) reaching ones full emotional social and spiritual potential. If any one of these development platforms are not nurtured and provided to young children in these early learning stages of their lives in a healthy way; deviations and dysfunctional behaviors are created. When children and young adults do not feel validated and have a healthy self esteem, they lack the capacity to feel empathy. Their sense of being out of place, generally as a result of a highly dysfunctional family environment and an interrupted or damaged up bringing leads to rage and deviant behaviors. Individuals from families like this are more than likely to be the perpetrators of the most violent and deviant crimes and animal cruelty.

The most commonly seen deviant behaviors exhibited by those individuals from a seriously dysfunctional upbringing is rage expressed towards those seen to be those weaker than themselves, other family members and or animals. The Animal Cruelty Syndrome is now clearly   recognized by the American Psychiatric Association who state that this syndrome is serious presentation of a conduct disorder. According to a 1997 study done by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and Northeastern University, animal abusers are five times more likely to commit violent crimes against people and four times more likely to commit property crimes than are individuals without a history of animal abuse The link between abuse of animals , generally family pets and domestic violence is undeniable and statistically proven. If we accept that individuals who lack compassion, demonstrated by violence to animals and others have come from seriously dysfunctional role modeling, then it is that early upbringing within which we must influence in order to effect change.

Creating awareness and change in the early stages of an individual’s life must be the premise for the road to creating the foundations of healthy human beings. Therefore the place we must start to create that awareness and change is in the school system. We cannot change the foundations of family structures and their varying modes and models of upbringing for young children. However we can integrate humane education curriculum into our school systems that fosters the foundations of compassion and empathy. Primary and elementary school children spend and average of 30-35 hours of their lives at their school .By providing pre-school, kindergarten children and young adults with exposure to the concepts of compassion, empathy and the humane treatment of all living things; we have hope in counteracting this general lack of compassion in today’s society and influencing a new generation of young adults. This is where we have to begin. The need now for connecting with our children and youth and exposing them to the concepts of compassion and humane thinking, is greater than ever at any point previously in our history!

The early beginnings of this thinking with regard to what we refer now to as humane education can be traced back to John Locke 1632-1704 the Oxford university graduate who helped found the core thinking of western philosophy. A highly influential British scholar and philosopher Locke had a great concern for the welfare and humanity of children and a deep concern for their education and in creating sound minds and bodies. He wrote “For the custom of tormenting and killing other animals will by degrees harden their hearts even towards men: and they, who delight in suffering and destruction of inferior creatures, will not be apt to be very compassionate or benign to those of their own kind.

4 stages of cruelty no 1.jpg          This early and historical recorded concern for cruelty towards animals is further and later reflected in the visual portrayal of the work of British born William Hogarth, 1697-1764, Latin teacher and artist. Hogarth was deeply concerned about the abhorrent kinds of animal cruelty he witnessed on the 16th century working class London streets and created a serious of paintings entitled The Four Stages of Cruelty. Hogarth created the serious with a specific purpose. He stated that he had created the images“in the hopes of preventing to some degree the cruel treatment of poor animals which makes the streets of London more disagreeable to the human mind… the very describing of which gives pain.”

Hogarth believed that the cruelty to animals he was witnessing underscored other forms of social dysfunctions His 4 paintings illustrate acts such as blinding a bird the with a hot object, a pair of cats suspended and hung form a lamppost and a stray dog with a heavy object tied to its tail !

This historical  and visually compelling body of Hogarth’s work and the thinking behind it can be categorically be seen as the first recorded evidence of the fact that animal cruelty is in fact a symptom and reflection of larger abnormal social  pattern and behaviours. By today’s understanding this can described as some form of humane education in that both Locke and Hogarth felt a deep need to influence society and address what they both saw as serious societal flaws .Both Hogarth and Locke drew some form of parallel between society’s mistreatment of animals as a sickly symptom of the ills of society, violence and crime.

These “observations” have evolved into what we now know as The Animal Cruelty Syndrome, a form of conduct disorder identified by the American Psychiatric Association who considers animal cruelty as one of the diagnostic criteria of conduct disorder. Animal cruelty is now known as the signature pathology of violent offenders.

If we look at the roots and history of humane education in its more concrete and originating form we look at the inspiring work of American  George Thorndike Angell 1823-1909, lawyer , teacher, humanitarian and animal lover. The son of an educator Angell was extremely interested in education as a vehicle to combat animal cruelty. Like his historical forerunners Locke and Hogarth Angell had come to understand that in teaching children to show compassion towards animals facilitated the overall development of good character. 

After the end of the American Civil war it was purported that educating and influencing the characters of children was a positive step towards creating upstanding and good citizens. This time in American history was the perfect window for Angell to begin his work with teaching children of all ages, to show compassion. He began his work by illuminating the need to show that animals in the everyday lives of children, the cats dogs rabbits birds and horses ECT, must be shown kindness and given protection. This was the foundational premise for his Bands of Mercy work

Band of Mercy Badge, late 19th century.  Collection of Scotlund Haisley

Angell’s work with the children in his Bands of Mercy organization, founded in 1881, is with no question the early foundations of Humane Education. Angell wrote various short essays entitled “ 12 Lessons on Kindness to Animals “and included such subjects as the kindness to horses and that a horse’s metal bit should be warmed before it was put into the horse’s mouth. Along with this he created short questionnaires in which the children were required to read a short paragraph and then choose the correct answer to the questions .The lessons were sent free to children in the 85,000 Bands of Mercy groups throughout the world. Angell’s long term vision for all children to show kindness and respect for all living things gravitated rapidly across America. Although Angel’s primary focus in his mission for the children who joined his Bands of Mercy groups, was to deal with individual acts of cruelty inflicted on the animals present in the everyday lives of the children, his vision for sowing the seeds of kindness and compassion could not reach the institutionalized  cruelty of industries such as Fur farms.

Angell was devoted to animals. In 1868 he worked tirelessly to achieve Massachusetts’s first general anti-cruelty legislation. This was as a result of learning that two horses and been brutally raced for 40 miles over rough terrain and then dropped dead. He was horrified!

In 1889 Angell founded the American Humane Education Society He was also the founder of the then ground breaking publication dedicated to animal welfare “ “Our Dumb Animals” Over 25,000 copies were distributed The mission statement for the publication was “To speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.”

Sadly the onset of World War IIwas the key cause for the disbanding of Angell’s Bands of Mercy Groups. Children, their families and society had a far greater and pressing focus. Another key factor affecting the demise of the Bands of Mercy was that Angell’s’ work was not integrated into and institutionalised by the education systems at that time.

The definition of the word “humane” as defined by the Merriam Webster dictionary is“To be marked by compassion, sympathy, or consideration for humans or animalsIt is the word humane that best embodies the kinds of curriculum and education we need to offer in the schools and that will instill, inspire and create a sense of compassion in children and our youth  And from the words of the father of humane education George T Angell we must work at the roots!

A great deal has changed since the times and life of George Angell and his Bands of Mercy. We live in a radically different socioeconomic climate. We live in a society flooded with new technology I Pads and Tablets, communications that are dulled by the white noise of advertising, movies, and the daily Tweeting onslaught of celebrity’s lifestyles and fall outs. Our family lives are harried and fragmented by the need to work harder and longer, driven by a general and rising increased cost of living.

Eden Wood 1

Since the brief but global Spice Girls phenomenon young girls have been sexualized far too early .Young children from ages as early as 5 years are exposed to behaviours, clothing and ideas far too emotionally mature for their intellectual abilities to handle. Misguided parents paint, dress up and parade their little girls teaching them to pout and sway their hips in the hopes of becoming the next child beauty pageant queen. Advertisers and their ever watchful eye have now indentified a new “Tweenie” market to peddle princess wear, jewellery, make up and even cell phones!

         We are now seeing an ever increasing need for counselling and support for our young solders, witness to the most heinous acts of barbarism while away from their homes. Daily we hear about one politician or another found guilty of corruption. We watch the news and hear about yet another child abuse or kidnapping, suicide, hostage taking, homicide, or another case of heinous animal cruelty!  Our minds become numb, sensitised to all the violence, so we just change channels and munch on our potatoes chips .With all this coming at us like a battering ram how can we be expected to take time talk to our children about our humanity and the need for compassion, kindness and empathy in our lives? We can’t.

          While this sadly tragic snapshot of western life is debilitating, we can draw strength from the very early roots of humane education. While George Angell’s pioneer vision did not survive for very long, those roots were nurtured and kept alive through the work of others who came after him. In 1915 inspired by Dr. William O’Stillmanleader of the AHA’s, American Humane Association, “Be Kind to Animals Week “was founded. During this week, visits to local schools were made to promote the development of humane education and to publicize the good works of the nation’s humane societies. Be kind to Animals Week” is still an annual event, hosted by the American Humane Society.

         World Animal Day, founded in Florence Italy in 1931 was created by a group of compassionate ecologists whose mission was to celebrate the October 4th 1182 birthday of Italian Saint Francis of Assisi who loved all animals. World Animal Day is still celebrated annually all over the world.  There are now ambassadors in over 60 countries who speak out and for World Animal Day and the need to show compassion to all sentient non human beings.

          Our world today is vastly different of the world lived in by George Angell and as a society we are deeply flawed and in trouble. However with regard to the “intervention” if you like of our children and youth there is hope. Humane education today is quite different in its presentations than that of George Angell but it is slowly growing as a much needed focus. Change is in the air.

Founded in 1948 by Anna C  Brigs The National Humane Education Society (NHES),  based in  Charles Town, West Virginia, is a non profit animal welfare organization Their mission is to foster a sentiment of kindness to animals in children and adults. As well as rescue, relief assistance for animals and adoption services, they also provide educational presentations to all ages of individuals through their Humane Education & Advocacy Department.

            From Wikipedia the Institute for Humane Studies founded in 1961 in Menlo Park, California by F. A. Harper was created in order to promote peace, prosperity, and social harmony by fostering a greater understanding of human affairs and freedom. The institute offers scholarships and programs to all those in pursuit of a better world through education and training. Founded in 1996 by Zoe Wiel and based in Surry ME The Institute of Humane Education offered the first ever Humane Education training and continues to offer professional development , online training , workshops and presentations to teachers, students and the public. Ms. Wiel’s book The Power and Promise of Humane Education   is a must have resource for anyone in this field. Ms Wiel stated in an interview with TREE HUGGER, that humane education must be infused as regular curricula into all schools throughout the United States and that at present only a handful of states provide for some humane education; in a limited number of schools. The Institute of Humane Education is a non profit organization and dedicated to making a better world through humane education, creating and inspiring a respect and reverence for all living things, animals, our environment and each other

          Teach Kind an initiative created by PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals also offers human education resources and free materials for humane education teachers who wish to bring this kind of humane thinking to primary and elementary school children. Susan Hargreaves of Earth Save Miami has been spearheading an effort to get humane education into Florida schools. She’s been successful at introducing these issues into countless classrooms, reaching individuals ranging from ages 5 to 20 and approximately over 4,500 children. Earth Save promotes the values ofinspiring compassion and love, stimulates critical thinking ,provides factual information and offers positive lifestyle choices. Efforts to have humane education integrated into regular school curriculums are far greater in the United Sates, than in Canada.

In Canada all human education in left up to the animal welfare organizations to provide Canada has no dedicated institute or organization and this must change. While both the British Columbia and Ontario SPCA probably have the strongest and greatest wealth of humane education materials and resources it is not or ever will be enough. The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies CFHS offers a wonderful Humane Education kit that can be purchased on line for $25 .This is an invaluable resource for those individuals and teachers interested in bringing humane education concepts to their students Canada however does not offer any certified training as a Humane Educator. Anyone interested this field must pursue this through the US based Institute of Humane Education and The Humane Society of the United States University.

In 1996 Canadian Mary Gordon, educator, author, child advocate and parenting expert recognized internationally as an award-winning social , entrepreneur created the initial curriculum for her Roots of Empathy and began piloting the program in Toronto. In 2000 she established the national and international organization Roots of Empathy, which now offers programs in every province of Canada, New Zealand, the USA, the Isle of Man, the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Wales, Scotland, and Germany. Ms Gordon’s program allows young people to be introduced to a young baby and their family. Throughout the school year the children get to know the baby and watch their growth while seeing and taking about the baby’s expressions, progress and feelings. Though these experiences the children are exposed to how the baby and its family express their fear, sadness and joy. This is possibly the only and current humane education type program that is universally offered throughout Canada.

          When we think of humane education we automatically think of animals. To see why we think this we can start by remembering George Angell who knew by connecting the children at that time with animals, the strays, pets and farm animals in their everyday lives, he could offer the children an experience of relating to a living sentient being who showed feelings and actions., from the kinds of animals that that they could easily associate with.

          The same premise for the foundations of Angell’s “humane education”: is even truer today. We need only look at the statistics provided by the American Pet Products Association to confirm this and see how great the importance is of the animals (pets) in our lives are to us and the love we have for them. In the US alone here are approximately 78.2 million owned dogs and approximately 86.4 million owned cats. In 2012 in the US according to the association Americans   spent, $53.33 billion spent on their pets! There are no concrete statistics for the number of dog and cat owners in Canada.

We consider our pets our family. The use of the term “companion animal” is used globally. We have funeral services, birthday parties with cakes and presents, spa treatments and day care for our pets, therefore it continues to make the best sense to introduce our children and youth to the concepts and ideals of humane education though the inter-actional experiences with our animal friends.

When conventional therapy is unable to reach a child, animals and their unconditional love, trust, patience and support are used to assist in healing and to reach goals, The PAWWS to Heal non profit organization based in Madison Wisconsin is specially designed for this and matches up certified pet therapy animals with children who have challenges. Another clear example of an animal’s power to heal and teach the world about compassion are the programmes in which inmates are matched up with dogs who need training and socialization so they may become more easily adopted. Two such successful programs are two US based Paws on Parole and Prison Pups. In both programmes one inmate is assigned to one special chosen dog for several months. During this time the inmates live with that dog 24/7 feed, sleep, exercise and work with that dog. During the time that the inmates work with the dog their behaviour changes. They become more open to talking about feelings and for many inmates it is the first time that have learned to love something sentient. It is life changing for both the dogs and their inmate partners. Each gives and receives unconditional love to the other. This is humane education in another form.

Our companion Animals are part of our everyday lives. They guide the sight disadvantaged, those of us who are disabled or traumatised and greet us when we arrive home tired and stressed  from work .Animals are gifts to our world  and can show us the way to being compassionate.

As young people mature other aspects of the thinking at the core of humane education, a respect and reference for our environment and each other can be introduced.  As an example while on a walk with a group of Kindergarten children we can talk about the “happiness” shown by the dog running in the park and the love shown towards them by their guardian We can take care walking not to break branches, or tread on the ants crossing the concrete in front of us, or disturb the butterfly we see poised motionless on a nearby flower.

While humane education in its broadest sense is concerned with the wider picture of instilling and inspiring an accountability reference and respect for all living things, our environment and each other, animals are the initial and only way to introduce our young children and youth to these concepts.

Animals suffer silently in the industrialized cruelty of factory farming, scientific research, are hunted, trapped and skinned for their fur. These brutal truths are too raw and barbaric to bring into the lives of our young children. However to create a new society of compassionate young adults, who will care about these issues  our environment and each other, we must start in a place that is safe and recognizable with both our children and their families , with the animals we see on a daily basis. Looking into the eyes of an animal is our first window into the world of another.

On April 2nd of this year the Huffington Post reported this story of animal cruelty. Last week, in Monteo North Carolina a group of kids approached Jackson a black and white stray cat, threw him into the air, ran over him with their bikes and squirted energy drinks in his face. The bullies reportedly varied in age were from 5 to 13! While yet further evidence that animal cruelty abusers are getting younger, one remarkable and courageous action stands out! While highlighting this heinous animal abuse, action by another child gives us a glimmer of hope. A young boy called Wendell Overton 10 yrs old saw what was going on shouted at the group of bullies, ran over and scooped up Jackson ( as he has now been named) in his arms.

He took him home to his Mother who called the Outer Banks SPCA. Jackson is now recovering at the SPCA and will be up for adoption when his injuries are healed. Wendell has been receiving cards and letters of thanks from all over the state, for his act of compassion and courage, in saving this little cat. This compassion is what we want to instill and inspire in all our children and youth

          While traditionally and historically humane education has originated and remained in the hands of the animal shelters, humane societies and SPCA branches, this categorically cannot be allowed to continue! They are overburdened enough in their key mission to rescue, shelter, rehabilitate and re-home animals and by their very nature and size cannot in any way meet the needs of reaching all our children and youth .Humane education MUST first be acknowledged by our governments, teaching intuitions and the public as paramount to raising healthy whole compassionate young adults And further that the only concrete method in creating this foundation, is by providing human education curriculum via integration into our school systems throughout North America.

When we take a careful look at our society of young people anesthetised by modern technology, forced to dilute and keep their feelings at bay, the violence and disarray in our current daily lives; our only hope for change is to “talk” to the youngest members of our new generation. Yes change is in the air..However we have a very long journey in front of us.

          Taken from the Massachusetts SPCA website; from the father of humane education George Angell’s collection of quotes  “I am sometimes asked, “Why do you spend so much time and money talking about kindness to animals when there is so much cruelty to men?? I answer: I am working at the roots’

Small changes may be evolving, but this is where we must begin and we must act now!

-30-

 

COPYRIGHT (SJW) Sarah J. West Founder CFAWR Canadians for Animal Welfare Reform. Victoria BC Canada Canadian Ambassador World Animal day

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There has been much by way of   emailing between parties with reference to the controversial No Kill Movement, and in addressing the issues and conversation that ensued, I have received permission from Ms. West to copy and paste her response in one of her communiques.    My own comments are made first and I agree wholeheartedly with Ms. West.

Bloggers Comments:

Over population is definitely NOT and animal problem.  It is in fact a HUMAN problem period!  Every single day, in every single town, city and province countless kittens and puppies are born and cats and dogs are either turned into shelters, are found abandoned and dumped.  Why, because educating the masses as well try to do, stressing the need for spay/neuter is being totally ignored by the ignorant, the money hungry and the irresponsible pet owners not only in Canada but elsewhere throughout the US and every country on the Globe.  It is a HUMAN problem.  We see it everyday, and we clean up the mess and horror left behind.

As far as the laws governing companion animals in this country, we all know how archaic and antiquated these laws are, yet each time a new Bill is brought before the House to improve the legislation and declassify animals as mere property, it is voted down by the current government in power.  Further, shelter funding for the most part is not subsidized by provincial or federal funding and often depends solely upon donations.  What municipally owned shelters there are, are dictated to by the municipal bureaucrats who dictate!!

Over burdened shelters, and especially No-Kill Shelters trying so desperately to find forever homes for those in need,  unlicensed back yard breeders, the human failures of spaying and neutering companion animals, the total lack of responsible pet owners and the failure of municipal, provincial and federal government to properly address the issues of inadequate veterinary services in many areas across Canada, the Federal Legislation, the lack of very real animal protection By-Laws within our communities, municipalities and not having enough qualified, fully educated Animal Cruelty Investigators within each SPCA, town, city, municipality and province/territory is also part of the problem.

We need the powers of Seizure to save distressed animals held in the confines of ongoing neglect, disregard and failures to provide the necessities of life.  Here in Canada, we need the powers that are given to SPCA’s within the US.  Here instead we must depend upon the local police forces for seizure and quite honestly folks they have enough on their hands and distressed and abused animals are the last of their concerns.

Major movements within this country and elsewhere, as Sarah has pointed out, must have one focus to be effective Any problem regarding animal welfare is NOT  a single faceted one The No Kill Solution is taking the shelters to task.  This is one of the problems we have with bad shelter management, lack of cooperation with rescues, not socializing dogs and the list goes on!

We have seen the scandals surrounding the OSPCA, my God my computer files are enormous on that particular issue alone.  Then you take into account the Whistler case, that massive slaughter was unnecessary and fueled only by greed and a failure to effectively monitor such operations. The subsequent investigation into the slaughter was too little too late, and the outcome of the judgement issued by the Courts for this mass murder was merely a slap on the wrist.

WE must, support each other.  WE must be united period.  WE must not criticize or judge that which is being done by any one group or organization in their fight to end cruelty to animals in this country or anywhere else period.  Dissention among the troops proves only to make the army very shaky and ineffective.  While one has the right to disagree, and I will defend that right, we all have one common goal and purpose..to save animals.  Since the Federal Government shows total disrespect and total disregard, often branding many of us as ‘terrorists’ if we speak out against the lack of very real Animal Protection, cutting off charitable status to organizations that openly oppose current ridiculous antiquated legislation and policies..we have only each other from which to draw strength and resources.

 

Ms. West writes:

Areas of Focus That must be Addressed Regarding Pet Overpopulation and Animal Cruelty

 

  1. Education and awareness both public the government courts police and the media ( Bonnie is working on this )
  2. Education and awareness both public the government courts police and the media that animals are sentient beings
  3. Education and awareness with regards to THE CAMBRIDGE DECLARATION ( that animals have the same consciousness as we do) yes we all know this but it’s NOT public knowledge and  certainly NOT known and recognized by the public courts government police and media
  4. Education and awareness via humane education in elementary schools ( I am working on getting certified as a humane educator ) for CFAWR
  5. Education and awareness with regards to the Animal Cruelty Syndrome ( for the public courts, government and media)
  6. Getting the TERM “ Companion Animal” listed in our dictionaries and  as  working on getting the use of this TERM in precedence setting legal cases
  7. Debunking the myth that shelter ect are somehow inferior or broken
  8. The destruction of whose who run puppy mills and back yard breeder
  9. Education and awareness regarding the necessity and positives if spaying and neutering
  10. Creating ways to make spaying and neutering ( more accessible and affordable ) for the public  Mobile vets  and subsidised procedures by the veterinary profession for low income citizens
  11. Legislation that bans the sale of puppies and kitten from pet stores ( Canada wide)
  12. Acceptability of TNR programmes by municipalities ( Canada wide)
  13.  Complete transparency and better shelter management by shelters and humane societies ( FOCUS for the NO KILL MOVEMENT) and Bill Bruce the Calgary Model Bonnie also working on this
  14.  Animals removed as property from the Canadian criminal code and PROPER Animal welfare legislation brought into Canada ( CFAWR is trying to work on this tiny step  by tiny step
  15.  Creating and establishing relationships with those MP’s trying to make changes to federal and provincial cruelty legislation ( Peggy Nash Mac Harb Mark Holland ect
  16.  Contraception for cats and dogs Alliance for Contraception in Cats and Dogs
  17. Cohesiveness, elimination of back biting and power struggles inherent in many animal welfare rescuers and groups ( animal advocacy underground)
  18. Animal advocacy volunteer training/ support regarding education speaking with media, animal care and networking for animals in need

 

If we have groups and movements taking on any of these’ issues of this multi-faceted program…. it is a good thing!   No one group can do it all and we cannot criticize each other if any one of us feel that something is fundamentally wrong with a specific group then don’t work with them  Keep doing what you are doing, but I feel other than that we must work together as Bonnie says.

 

Think about this list above.  This is a huge problem  almost beyond comprehension but we can neither be “ overwhelmed” or critical.  All efforts are helping and the No Kill movement may be doing some things you don’t like  but the fact that Nathan Winograd has started this is a good thing.  Many animals lives have been saved by his movement and that is a good thing regardless. I for one glad am he is on the ground fighting back with the No Kill Movement

All of us have to pick one focus and working on creating a dove- tail relationships with others who have a different  mandate and focus! It is out of “ combined” efforts that will and do make a difference for all the animals we care for so deeply.

 

We can’t change other countries but we can all come together to do what we can for Canada and her animals and creatures, wild, marine, stray ,farm and companion.

 

Sincerely

 

Sarah West Founder/President

Canadians For Animal Welfare Reform (CFAWR) www.cfawr.org

Contact us via cfawr@telus.net  

Follow us on Twitter

Canadian Ambassador World Animal Day

 

 

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Tied and Shot!!! Fort McPherson

There is a new petition to the Canadian Government  for New Animal Protection Act under the Federal Legislation.  Those wishing copies to sign and to circulate please post request here or email:  protectionofnorthernanimals@gmail.com This is a hard copy petition which you can circulate/get people to sign.  Thanks everyone.

A great deal of media coverage concerning the Whistler, BC case has sparked International outrage. There is  a new petition seeking justice for these fallen victims to brutal execution:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/prosecute-for-the-senseless-slaughter-of-100-sled-dogs/

Please take the time to sign so that these animals were not massacred in vain.  No animals should suffer the brutality that they did.  There is NO ACCEPTABLE EXCUSE behind the horrendous acts they were subjected to.  THERE IS NO PLAUSIBLE EXCUSE why these dogs could not have been sold, adopted out or relocated to facilities where they would have had a decent chance at finding forever homes.  There is NO EXCUSE for not having said “NO” and notifying legal authorities of the plan to massacre these dogs.

Please also remember little “Garlic” brutally stabbed and beaten to death in Yellowknife by Lloyd Thrasher. (Prior posts)

Please remember tiny “Yuki” the sole surviving puppy in Wha Ti.  (Prior posts)

Remember the 44 sled dogs put down due to severe neglect in Beh Choko, the 6 tiny puppies found in the Beh Choko town dump with their throats slashed, the Pokiak team in Tuktoyaktuk, the fallen victim found alive and frozen to the floor of his wooden doghouse in Paulatuk;  and the countless hundreds that remain on the ends of chains, forgotten and uncared for in sub-zero temperatures, in backyards all across this country.

Please remember the thousands of animals who continue to suffer and die at the hands of uncaring, unfeeling individuals.  Of those in Canadian Research labs across this country, those who suffer in Factory Farms across this nation and those who become critically injured and often die during transit to processing plants.

CANADA IS NO PLACE FOR ANIMALS.

Each of us have the power and the ability to make their pleas and their voices heard.  Remember “The Pact of Fire” and look around you, what do you see?  It is up to each of us to fight for positive change to legislation, for effective prosecution of animal cruelty offenders, to improving the lives of the discarded, the forgotten, the unwanted and the suffering.

Be outraged, be angry, be heartbroken:   be effective,speak out, shout from the roof tops and be heard in whatever way you can be.  In doing so, if you can save just one animal for continued suffering, be grateful and be proud.


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A few days ago I posted an ALERT in an attempt to locate the owners of the nursing mother picked up in Hay River, NT.  This nursing mom had obviously only recently given birth, her teats swollen with milk as was her vulva.

Desperate attempts were made to locate the owners, who failed to come forward.  Walking her on a leash within the area she was found, in the hope that she would lead one to her pups or to her home was all in vain.

I had also posted the link to the story of “Yuki” , the sole surviving puppy rescued in Wha Ti, NT.  When RCMP arrived on the property, her mother and siblings were found frozen to death in sub-zero temperatures.  When Yuki’s mother had gone into labor she was basically pushed outside to deliver her puppies.  Little “Yuki” survived by the Grace of God and in the process lost part of her tiny nose due to severe frostbite.  Earlier this year a number of other animals had been seized from this property and when Yuki was rescued an additional 3-4 other severely neglected dogs were also seized from this owner.  This person now faces charges and is yet to appear in court.  “Yuki” is recovering thankfully, but her mother and siblings paid the ultimate price.

So this brings us back to that of the Nursing mom found here and her puppies that were never found ….likely they too are dead.  Were they born outside as well in sub-zero temperatures?  Or had the owners merely let her outside to void herself?  Could they not pay the fines involved in order to reclaim her? therefore not coming forward.  Or did they just not care enough?  Or is this mom just one more casualty of total indifference?

Once again, this morning, an urgent call has come in from another area of Canada that being Manitoba.  Puppies found frozen to death, animals abandoned, neglected, uncared for.  Dog populations exploding because proper veterinary care is unavailable, because of remote location, because of poverty in the community.

Manitoba recently passed a new Animal Health Care Act, which came into effect October 2010.  How wonderful, if it is actively and efficiently enforced.  If it services all areas across Manitoba and not just the rural and city communities.

Remote areas and communities in Canada do not have the luxuries of properly equipped animal shelters, with dedicated highly trained professionals.  Nor do remote communities have the luxury of resident veterinarians or veterinary hospitals.  More often than not, they also do not have veterinarians who travel to their communities, as is the case here in Hay River, NT.  We are very fortunate, our dedicated vet comes in from Alberta.

That being said, the question as to WHY networking and support for these remote areas and communities in other areas of Canada has not been properly established.  Dog populations have exploded, due to the lack of mobile free spay/neuter clinics visiting these areas of greatest need.

WSPA, did a couple of years ago, conduct a very successful clinic;  Fort Providence, NT also conducted a very successful clinic.  Inuvik has a relocation program established as does Yellowknife and Hay River.

IFAW:  International Fund for Animal Welfare with their Northern Dog Initiative a number of years ago, HSI Canada, Northern Lights Dog Rescue, and other groups have stepped up to the plate.

Would it not be wonderful to see Provincial Government step up to the plate as well?  Would it not be wonderful to put together a group of traveling veterinarians to visit these communities;  just as so many communities depend upon LOCAMS (medical doctors who visit for a number of weeks on rotation).

There are many rescue groups across this vast landscape, there are many well established city shelters that take in rescued animals from remote communities, but they can only do so much themselves.  Most are charitable organizations dependent upon dedicated volunteers and the generosity of their supporters.  Most do not receive Federal Funding or Provincial Funding whatsoever.

Recently a Protest Rally was held in Winnipeg on the steps of the Legislative Building.  Protesting the inaction and failure to not only investigate but also to uphold the laws governing animal cruelty.  The case was specific, however it has shed a great deal of light on the decades old problem.

Taxpayer dollars pay the salaries of all Municipal Officials, Government Ministers and Employees across Canada, in essence, these officials work for the electorate.  They are elected officials in whom the voters held enough confidence to vote for, making the assumption that their elected representatives will pro-actively take on and find solutions.  Hhhhmmm!  Just what does that mean?

It means total  accountability and total transparency of all government offices,  budgets and internal structures.  It means actively doing the best that one can in order to provide the required services needed everywhere within the respective Province or Territory.  It means listening, it means responding to complaints, suggestions and recommendations;  it means listening to those private citizens who stand up, speak out and demand action.

What it does not mean is shuffling paper, passing the buck to various other Government Departments, ignoring reports and complaints of situations that require immediate attention, in the hope of keeping one’s hands clean or that it will go away.  It means representing the concerns of the people, the electorate that put them in office.

In 2010 a growing awareness and intolerance of Animal Cruelty on all levels began to snow ball.  This is a Universal Awareness and it continues to grow.  The well researched and documented Link Between Animal Cruelty and Human Violence has seen countless publications, is well recognized by Legal Authorities, Medical Professionals and those in the dedicated field of Family Counciling.  In the years yet to come, this Global awareness will continue to sky rocket, more public outrage will be heard and governments of all manner and kind everywhere are going to have to pay attention.

Question:  Why have not the Canadian Provincial and Federal Government Leaders acknowledged this link between Animal Cruelty and Human Violence?  Done something to curb violence against animals? and in turn human victims?   Why has the Federal Government not updated the current Federal Criminal Code as yet, despite the pressure applied to do so?  Why are not Municipal and Provincial laws being enforced effectively in order to punish those who continue to cause so much pain and suffering to those who cannot speak for themselves.  Why are the courts hesitant to prosecute charges?  Under Section 448 of the F.C.C. the animals in themselves are evidence of wilful neglect, so that loophole does not apply.  PASSIVE Cruelty is a criminal offence.

HHHMMMM!!!      Something to definitely ask oneself is it not.

On November 1, 2010 the Government of the NT brought before their Legislative Assembly the new Dog Act which for three years I have fought for.  The first step towards the Comprehensive Animal Protection Act I am after.  This new Act will hopefully become law 120 days from November 1, 2010..meaning by March 1, 2011.  We will have to wait and see.  This new Act pertains to dogs only and no other domestic animals unfortunately so there remains a great deal of work yet to be done.

The point being made is that no matter what Municipal, Provincial, Territorial or Federal Laws are in place, they are not worth the paper they are written on unless they are effectively being enforced, unless there is total accountability on the part of  the law makers, that all reports are actively investigated, and that all offenders are duly charged, go to trial and face the consequences of their actions.

The next time you are asked to vote, query your prospective elected representatives on where they actually stand.  Request written responses and hold them to what they have to say.  Be it animal issues or not.  Remember they work for you, it is not the other way around and it is only from your support do they have their jobs and  life style secured.

To learn more about Active/Passive Animal Cruelty please go to www.Pet-Abuse.com

http://arkansasnews.com/2009/01/05/expert-cites-links-between-animal-cruelty-child-abuse/

http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/publications/biosecurity-magazine/issue-80/animal-abuse

http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=0+1278+1495&aid=3120

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/13/magazine/13dogfighting-t.html

Center for Research on Violence Against Women and Children. www.uwo.ca/violence/html/petabuselinks.html

Center for the Human-Animal Bond, Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine. www.vet.purdue.edu/chab/abuse.htm

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An Action Alert which I received in the last few days,  indicates that Canada has not listened and continues to allow imports which perpetuates the horrific exploitation of companion animals.

Would you buy a coat trimmed in his fur????

Or put his taxidermied body in a basket displayed on your mantel?

Further updates will be posted.  Please speak out and do not support this economic endeavor…gross profit gained by the price of horrible suffering.

http://prime.peta.org/2010/04/help-shut-down-the-chinese-fur-trade

prime.peta.org
Learn how to make a big difference for yourself, animals, and the Earth through simple day-to-day choices. PETA Prime has everything you need to know to live a healthy, humane, and rewarding life

Ban Canadian Imports of Dog and Cat Fur

- The Petition Site  www.thepetitionsite.com 30,100+ petition signatures: targeting
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz.

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Excerpt from ASPCA

Recognizing Animal Cruelty
What constitutes animal cruelty?

Animal cruelty occurs when someone intentionally injures or harms an animal or when a person willfully deprives an animal of food, water or necessary medical care. Here are some signs that may indicate abuse or neglect:
•    Tick or flea infestations
•    Wounds on the body
•    Patches of missing hair
•    Extremely thin, starving animal
•    Limping
•    An owner striking or otherwise physically abusing an animal
•    Dogs who are repeatedly left alone without food and water, and often chained in a yard
•    Dogs who have been hit by cars—or are showing any of the signs listed here—and have not been taken to a veterinarian
•    Dogs who are kept outside without shelter in extreme weather conditions
•    Animals who cower in fear or act aggressively when approached by their owners

Signs That an Animal Might Be Abused
Recognizing cruelty is simple, right? Not quite, say ASPCA experts. Obvious behaviors such as aggression, timidity and fear don’t always tell the whole story. Animals may appear to be timid or frightened for many reasons other than abuse.

“It’s almost impossible to make conclusions based on a pet’s behavior alone,” says the ASPCA Animal Behavior Center’s Kristen Collins, CPDT. “The best way to tell whether a pet is being or has been abused is to examine him and his surrounding environment.”

Check out our list of signs that may alert you an animal needs help:

Physical Signs
•    Collar so tight that it has caused a neck wound or has become embedded in the pet’s neck
•    Open wounds, signs of multiple healed wounds or an ongoing injury or illness that isn’t being treated
•    Untreated skin conditions that have caused loss of hair, scaly skin, bumps or rashes
•    Extreme thinness or emaciation—bones may be visible
•    Fur infested with fleas, ticks or other parasites
•    Patches of bumpy, scaly skin rashes
•    Signs of inadequate grooming, such as extreme matting of fur, overgrown nails and dirty coat
•    Weakness, limping or the inability to stand or walk normally
•    Heavy discharge from eyes or nose
•    An owner striking or otherwise physically abusing an animal
•    Visible signs of confusion or extreme drowsiness

Environmental Signs
•    Pets are tied up alone outside for long periods of time without adequate food or water, or with food or water that is unsanitary
•    Pets are kept outside in inclement weather without access to adequate shelter
•    Pets are kept in an area littered with feces, garbage, broken glass or other objects that could harm them
•    Animals are housed in kennels or cages (very often crowded in with other animals) that are too small to allow them to stand, turn around and make normal movements possibly with too many other animals
“Reporting suspected animal cruelty ensures that animals in jeopardy receive prompt and often lifesaving care,” says ASPCA Supervisory Special Investigator Annemarie Lucas. “By making a complaint to the police or humane society in your area—you can even do so anonymously—you help ensure that animals in need are rescued and that perpetrators of animal cruelty are brought to justice.”

While this information is provided by the ASPCA, the same criteria of recognizing animal abuse applies everwhere basically.  Common sense and moral decency apply EVERYWHERE across the Globe.

It is vitally  important that when one sees instances as noted above that immediate action be taken in order to help the animal in crisis.  To not do so, is to condone the abuse and allow the neglect and suffering to continue.

For information on your local and provincial Animal Cruelty Legislations the internet is a very useful tool.  Provincial Animal Protection Acts are available at:  Animal Legal Defense Fund,: legislation@aldg.org ,you can download these acts for reference.  Towns and cities across the country will also have their By-Laws online for reference.  Contact your local Humane Society for information as well.

Please, keep your eyes open and report all animals in need so that they may be given the help they so desperately need.

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