Archives for posts with tag: animal cruelty

Would you voluntarily commit to having holes drilled into your head, your eyelids sewn shut or chemicals pumped into your stomach (all without the benefit of pain relief)?   I assume not, yet we deem it acceptable to impose that type of suffering upon other creatures who feel pain and fear, all in the name of a “justifiable” end.

Millions of animals are caused unimaginable suffering in experiments that are mostly pointless and sometimes harmful to us.  Laboratories researching the latest cosmetics or government establishments focused upon developing the most state-of-the-art weapons for us to kill one another; organizations, such as March-of-Dimes, that devote millions of dollars to experiments that torture animals and are not essential to humans. . .these are some ways of justifying our capacity for moral degeneracy.

Animals are not biologically similar to humans to justify experimenting upon them for medical reasons; they don’t necessarily respond the same.  No medical model can adequately duplicate human anatomy and physiology.  Animal experimentation is inaccurate, inconclusive and misleading and can be detrimental to humans.  Cancer, one of the leading causes of death in the U.S., is still on the rise. Cosmetic and other companies that test their products on animals cannot guarantee that their products would have the same effect upon humans.  Roughly, 92% of drugs that pass preclinical testing on animals have failed in human clinical trials.  Yet, the FDA continues to permit animal testing.  Many people believe that animal experimentation is necessary for the progress of medicine; yet, there is growing concensus among professionals that it is preferable to utilize research methods that do not harm animals.  Equally signficant, they see negative consequences of using one species to provide information about another.  After years of failed experiments and with modern technology affording us excellent non-animal methods of testing and scientific research, some researchers STILL try to justify the senseless torture of animals.  What does this say about our society and its indifference towards cruelty?  It is highly disturbing that anyone can choose to inflict pain, without any sympathy or empathy, while having the means to prevent it.

I recall reading a report about one past laboratory in Port Royal, where scientists nailed dogs’ paws to boards before vivisecting them alive, without the benefit of an anesthetic.

In another New York-based research laboratory, a postdoctoral vivisector placed a rat in a small box, immobilizing his head by a vise.  He then proceeded to drill into his skull as the rat began to struggle. When the rat’s struggling increased, making it difficult to continue drilling, the vivisector stopped to inject him with an anesthetic.  Before it even took effect, he resumed drilling and the rat struggled again until after ten minutes into the vivisection, when the anesthetic took effect.  

At still another laboratory, negligent workers left a monkey in a cage as it went through a cleaning process, resulting in the monkey being scalded to death.  At this same laboratory, twelve monkeys were left in an over-heated room and consequently were cooked to death.

Stephen Lisberger of UCSF is known for his allegedly cruel treatment of monkeys for the past 25 years. He begins by slicing open their eyes so that wire coils can be placed inside.  Screws and bolts are drilled into their skulls, metal plates are inserted under their scalps and electrodes are driven into their brains. His victims are then restrained in chairs for up to eight hours a day.  He has access to non-invasive human scanning technology, but prefers to continue perpetrating his archaic methods on live beings.  If the monkeys don’t perform, they are denied fluids until the next day.  Dr. Lawrence Hansen (UCSD neuroscientist) has stated, “I’ve had many years of experience in neuroscience research, but I have never previously encountered experiments which would deliver quite so much suffering to higher primates for so comparatively little scientific gain.”

One of the provisions of the Animal Welfare Act is to ensure that animals intended for use in research facilities are provided humane care and treatment.  One would assume that pain prevention is part of “humane treatment.”  The AWA also states that it is necessary for “animal care, treatment, and practices in experimental procedures to ensure that animal pain and distress are minimized, including adequate veterinary care with the appropriate use of anesthetic, analgesic, tranquilizing drugs, or euthanasia.”  An exception is provided, however, to the use of anesthesia when scientifically necessary and “that the withholding of tranquilizers. . .or euthanasia when scientifically necessary shall continue for only the necessary period of time.”  Through this “loophole,” many of the procedures that laboratories utilize involve unrelieved pain.  Some of this is attributed to finances, time, lack of compassion, and an overflow of paperwork that workers wish to avoid.  Ironically (and tragically for the animals involved), in the AWA, the research industry succeeds in defining “animal” to exclude mice, rats and birds, who happen to make up 95 percent of all animals used in research. . .just to spare themselves the responsibility of compliance with even minimal standards of care.

Another issue is the fact that several of the top 20 animal experimentation facilities are owned by the Department of Defense.  The AWA does not presently give the USDA authority to inspect facilities owned by other branches of the federal government.  Thus, there is no oversight regarding the use of animals in labs owned by the DOF or any other federal agency.  Many of the most painful experiments are performed within military facilities, and involve the use of chemical and biological weapons.

With social media, networking, and the hard work of animal welfare advocates, information is being brought to the public’s attention about how animals are being treated in experimental facilities.  Many laboratories have been shut down; others have lost funding, been penalized, or have otherwise been held accountable.  But we have a long way to go and the public’s help is needed.

If we are to be the caretakers of the earth and its inhabitants, then we cannot selectively overlook, tolerate or condone abuses upon other creatures.  What is the difference between our beloved companion animals, whom we treat like family, and those who are trying to peacefully exist elsewhere?  Let us not be hypocrites and hold contradictory views towards those with whom we share the earth.  They value their lives and well being just as we value our own and that of our dog, cat or other pet.

Those wishing to look further into this topic can visit the sites of In Defense of Animals, the Anti-Vivisection Society, PCRM, HSUS, PETA and other animal welfare groups who are working towards ending animal experimentation.  Their sites will provide information about their campaigns and offer suggestions as to how you can help in various ways such as spreading the word, learning about alternative non-animal testing methods and sharing that knowledge, boycotting companies that test on animals, not supporting charities that utilize animal experimentation; and letting your university or college know that you will not donate to the alumni fund as long as they engage in animal experimentation. Together, in a unified effort, we can change the world for other species and preserve our humanity.

– Annoula Wylderich


Fish can suffer extreme cruelty as much as any other animal destined for our plates. They may be dragged for hours behind trawlers and crushed to death in nets. Commercial fishing nets, comprised of thin mesh, slice into the flesh of many fish, causing blood loss and strangling them. When they’re dragged from the ocean depths, they undergo excruciating decompression, often resulting in ruptures to their swim bladders, eyes popping out, or their stomachs being pushed through their mouths. When they’re hauled onto ships, they slowly suffocate on board.  Others experience having their throats and bellies sliced open while still conscious, or are thrown into freezers where they will suffer prolonged deaths.

According to studies, finned fishes and crustaceans (crabs and lobsters) can feel pain. Dr. Donald Broom, animal welfare adviser to the British government, has stated that, “Anatomically, physiologically, and biologically, the pain system in fish is virtually the same as in birds and mammals.” It’s a sobering thought to keep in mind next time we’re tempted to order lobster or crab, considering how they are prepared. Really, none escape suffering.

Since the commercial fishing industry has emptied the oceans of specific targeted fish, the seafood industry is consequently raising fish in contained fish farms (aquaculture), using tanks on land or cages in the ocean.  Tightly packed fish repeatedly bump into walls and each other, which in turn causes painful sores and damage to fins. Since they’re forced to live in their own waste with thousands of other fish, the tremendous amount of feces in their enclosures leads to outbreaks of disease and parasites.  To keep the fish alive in these conditions, large quantities of chemicals and antibiotics are poured into the water (guess who ultimately ends up ingesting these?). When fully grown, the fish are killed by having their stomachs cut open or they suffocate when the water in the tanks is drained away. Larger fish like tuna are killed by repeated stabbing. Many, such as catfish, are skinned alive, dying from shock.

The commercial fishing industry has wreaked havoc on the environment and caused irreversible damage.  To find out more about the suffering and environmental devastation that fish farms cause, visit

Those who eat fish for health reasons should be aware that the EPA revealed that women who ate fish twice a week had seven times the blood mercury concentrations than those of women who avoided fish. Mercury is known to cause severe health problems which include memory loss, brain damage, and damage to a developing fetus.  The PCBs, mercury, and other toxins found in fish can remain in your body for many years.

Reconsidering our food choices involves making the decision of whether or not we want to be complicit in the extreme suffering and misery of other living, feeling beings. Eating animals and their byproducts is essentially paying others to commit acts of cruelty for you for a momentary taste on the lips, at the cost of another’s life.  The question of adequate protein intake is usually raised by those who are not vegetarian/vegan.  Surprisingly, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vegetarians do not have higher levels of anemia than meat-eaters do.  The consequences of eating a high protein diet has been compared to pouring acid on your bones, due to the damage it can inflict.

For those concerned about getting adequate protein, there is some protein in just about every food; in any case, the necessary protein requirement guidelines previously established have been cited as being too high.  Numerous nutritional experts have advocated that a vegan diet is the choice of eating for good health, weight maintenance and disease prevention.  If you want to cut down or eliminate animals/fish from your diet, Vegan Outreach and Peta offer plenty of great information and guidance as well as additional referrals to other information sources. You can also contact Physicians for Responsible Medicine ( to request “The Protein Myth” article.

Another compelling reason to examine what we choose to eat is the factory farming contribution to global problems that will impact the future of the earth and its inhabitants. Let’s consider the rising temperatures and sea levels, the melting icecaps and glaciers, the shifting weather patterns and ocean currents.  Climate change is the most serious challenge facing us today.  It’s undeniable if you look around at what has been transpiring all over the world, these last number of years.  The livestock sector is a MAJOR player and is responsible for higher gas emissions than even the transport industry.

To quote my friend, esteemed Professor Tom Regan, “In a democracy like ours, the will of the majority (usually) is where the power is.  That’s our challenge: to make animal rights the perspective of the majority.  All of us — you and I — will be needed to make this happen.”  And by doing so, we are taking control of our own health, our environment and the future of our families.  WE must take the responsibility for our welfare, our earth and the creatures who live among us and who value their lives as much as we value our own.  I propose that we build upon the movement towards a more compassionate society by encouraging a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle.  The rewards are many.

– Annoula Wylderich

Most of us grew up looking forward to attending the circus, blissfully unaware of the horrors that animals suffer in the entertainment industry.  This area of animal exploitation is not depicted accurately, in most instances.  The realities have been well hidden from the public until animal welfare groups began conducting undercover investigations and sharing their findings. A few examples from investigative reports and video footage reveal the following:

The plight of Stoney, an elephant born in a zoo and subsequently dumped to a circus when he was only 3 years old.  He worked for the next 21 years, until the day he was forced to do a leg stand while warming up at the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas.  Stoney pulled a ham-string in his left rear leg, which is a crucial injury to an elephant.  He was unable to walk and in extreme pain.  His trainer and hotel officials placed the screaming elephant into a hotel dumpster, dragged it into a maintenance shed behind the hotel. . .and left him standing in a mechanical device (a “crush”), isolated, for almost a year.  Stoney lived in a buildup of feces and flies, received no fresh produce or other supplements and very little, if any, physical therapy.  Ultimately, following negative publicity and pressure from animal advocates, it was decided to move Stoney to a sanctuary.  As they tried to get him out of the device that had been holding him up, he fell, screaming in agony.  After his year of existing in miserable, lonely conditions, and suffering even more pain during the attempt to move him, he died, trying to reach out to his trainer one last time.

Ricardo, an 8-month-old baby elephant was killed by Ringling after he broke both legs following a fall from a circus pedestal.  His injuries were compounded by the bone disease from which he was suffering (attributed to malnourishment).  Ricardo’s mother was only 7 years old when she was used for breeding, much too young.  During labor, she was chained by three legs to a cold, hard cement floor.  After Ricardo was born, she tried reaching her trunk out to touch him; however, the staff had already pulled him away from her reach.

A young Bengal tiger was shot five times by his angry trainer; a sick baby elephant was forced into the ring repeatedly against veterinary orders, until he died when the show was over; a healthy 2-year-old lion died during transport in a stifling boxcar.

Animal circuses are deadly, miserable places for all the animals forced to spend their lives performing unnatural acts to entertain audiences.  They are kept in cramped, sweltering, poorly ventilated boxcars or trailers during travel; beaten, neglected or killed.  These animals are frightened into submission by the use of whips, sticks, bullhooks (heavy clubs with sharp metal hooks at the tip), and fists.  They are routinely beaten and forced into confusing, frightening and painful stunts.  How often do we see elephants performing headstands in the wild?  Does this sound like wholesome family entertainment?

Baby elephants are torn away from their mothers, tied hammock-style between two trees or posts; or chained to the ground for most of the time (up to 20 hours a day) in order to break them and make them submissive.  They can be heard crying out for their mothers, while being denied the right to play and do what is natural to them.

Ringling and other circuses sometimes try to sneak into town after nightfall, undetected, so as to avoid having anyone witness the abusive treatment of their animals.  They hired a former deputy director of the CIA to disrupt advocacy group efforts to expose their shameful abuse of animals. 

Former employees have confirmed the horrors that the circus has worked hard to hide.  These individuals left because they could no longer tolerate the horrible abuse inflicted upon the animals.  In their signed statements, they describe an incident in which an elephant refused a command; the trainer savagely beat her with a bullhook, hooking her behind the ear, on her back, on the leg. . .and at one point, swinging the club as hard as he could, embedding the sharp point inside the elephant’s ear canal, and pulling on the handle using both hands and all his bodyweight.  The elephant, crying out in agony, was left bleeding profusely from severe wounds.

Many hardworking animal welfare organizations such as In Defense of Animals. PAWS, PETA and The Humane Society of the United States work tirelessly to amass evidence, which is used to open investigations leading to fines, citations, forced compliance of the Animal Welfare Act, and the removal of some animals. Smaller circuses have been forced to shut down.

We can all help by refusing to patronize entertainment venues that are based upon the use of animals.  Additionally, investigations require ongoing funding; instead of paying circuses, consider contributing that money to one of the organizations above.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtfully committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

By Annoula Wylderich


“Excruciating pain.  Lost limbs.  Even death.  These are the results of trapping. . .not only for the wild animals whose furs are stripped from their bodies, but also for family dogs and cats and even endangered species who are ‘incidentally’ caught in the remorseless jaws of leghold traps, Conibear traps, or snares (cable nooses).”  – Born Free USA

As I researched trapping, I found out that the United States catches more wild animals for the fur trade than any other country in the world, with three to five million animals getting trapped each year by commercial fur trappers in the U.S. 

Millions of “non-targeted” animals get trapped as well, including pets and those on endangered species lists.  We call this “collateral damage,” which I’ll address later in this article.

Trapping is used by the fur trade, as well as wildlife control and by the federal government in the killing of native carnivores.  Some states permit wildlife damage control operators to sell the pelts of killed animals, which serves to encourage the killing of animals rather than using non-violent means of problem resolution. 

Types of traps that are used include the body-gripping variety (leghold traps, snares, and Conibear traps).  The steel-jaw leghold trap is a commonly used trap by both commercial and recreational U.S. trappers.  Approximately 89 countries have banned the use of this trap, while here in the U.S., some eight states have either banned or severely restricted its use (a pretty pathetic number).

Traps cause intense suffering and death to millions of animals every single year.  If the animals are not mercifully killed instantly by the trap, they sustain severe injuries and can suffer from exposure to the elements, dehydration, physical trauma, or fall victim to other predators.  Another fallout from trapping is the number of cubs and pups who are orphaned when their parents are caught and killed.  These orphans cannot fend for themselves or protect themselves from predators, and end up perishing from starvation, dehydration, exposure and attacks.

Trapped animals are usually clubbed, drowned, suffocated or have their chests crushed, rather than being shot and having the blood stains reduce the value of the pelt.  These methods would be considered cruelty to animals if they were inflicted upon cats or dogs.  Consequently, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Animal Hospital Association, the World Veterinary Association, and the National Animal Control Association have declared leghold traps to be inhumane.

While trapping regulations vary widely from state to state and are poorly enforced, some states have no laws whatsoever requiring traps to be regularly checked.  Thus, many animals linger for days suffering tremendously from their injuries.  And while the National Wildlife Refuge System’s original intent was to provide a safe haven for wild animal species, trapping is permitted on more than half the refuges across the U.S.

Trapping is an extremely cruel practice; and despite claims to the contrary, all traps cause horrific injuries and intense suffering to trapped animals.  If you don’t believe this, just try sticking your hand or foot in a leghold or Conibear trap. 

In 2011, Born Free USA conducted an investigation which exposed this highly unregulated, inhumane, dangerous industry.  The investigation bore out that the few existing regulations that monitor trapping are often ignored by trappers who openly use (illegal) snares and leave traps out after the close of the trapping season, continuing to capture animals.  There are no authorities present when traps are set or an animal is killed.  Most states don’t require trappers to report the number of animals they kill.

It’s interesting to note that a branch of the USDA, called “Wildlife Services,” spends $100 million annually on the goal of killing wildlife, mostly because they’re deemed a nuisance to municipalities, farmers or ranchers.  Wildlife Services kills a staggering number of animals using steel-jawed traps, snares and other body-gripping traps, in addition to the aerial shooting of animals and the use of deadly poisons.  These techniques are primarily random and non-selective, which results in the deaths of “non-targeted” species, as well.  Species that are killed include dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, turtles, bears, squirrels, and many others.  Ironically, though Wildlife Services’ work is conducted on behalf of the livestock industry, data show that wildlife plays an insignificant role in livestock losses.

Then, of course, there are also the “damage control trappers,” who each year trap and kill more than four million animals in the U.S. (in the name of game or livestock protection).  Or they may use “nuisance control” for the killings.  Taxpayers should note that many of these animal control programs are funded with our tax dollars.

Earlier in this article, I referred to the collateral damage related to trapping.  Non-targeted animals routinely fall victim to the traps which are set for other species.  Dogs, cats, hawks and many threatened and endangered species often become victims.  A Born Free USA investigator speaking with a trapper reported the following:

“In one of [the foothold traps] we find a fox squirrel, caught by both front paws. [The trapper] released the fox squirrel from the trap. Both of its front legs are stripped down to the flesh by the trap. He doesn’t usually use fox squirrel, though others will use the fur, so lets it go. At the same time he says it probably won’t survive and that seems the case as it limps off slowly.”  (I’m going to assume that it had to be in sheer agony from its injuries.)

Dogs are the most common non-targeted victims of traps and I read of two incidents (out of many) where a therapy dog for children of disabilities choked to death in a trap (“it took three men to pry the trap’s springs open in order to release Rupert”); and another pet ran home in agony, covered in blood, with his head locked in a Conibear trap.  He died in transit to the vet (“it took four people to get the trap off the dead dog’s head”).

During trapping season, hundreds of thousands of body-crushing traps and snares are baited and set, many of which are not retrieved by trappers at season’s end.  Unretrieved traps are waiting and ready to do their deadly damage, in addition to those traps which are set illegally by other trappers.  While State Wildlife Agencies don’t track data on unintended victims of trapping, Born Free USA does so all across the country and maintains a database of incidents that are reported to them.  This information is used to educate lawmakers and others to help prevent future injuries.

There are steps we can all take to help organizations like Born Free USA on the issue of trapping.  The goal is to expose the truth about this awful practice and to eliminate the cruel devices that are used to inflict suffering and death to both intended and unintended victims.  It is important that legislators and policymakers enact stronger laws and ensure the enforcement of existing protections.  Additionally, we need to urge the use of alternative humane methods of animal control.

You and your friends can be on the lookout for hidden traps when hiking with your dogs. 

Report incidents to Born Free USA at (916) 447-3085 x 208; or; or your local animal welfare group.

You can write letters to the editor of your local paper addressing this issue.

Post signs and prosecute anyone setting a trap on your property, if you live in a rural area.

Don’t buy anything made of fur.

Check out, for other suggestions, or to join their Action Team.  For more information about the gruesome consequences of trapping, go to their Victims of Vanity tab where they provide investigative video and graphics.

Below is an image of a discarded coyote whose fur was deemed “unsatisfactory,” and thus, died a needless, agonizing death.

discarded coyote

– Annoula Wylderich

A dog shot, then dragged behind a vehicle; cats and kittens found with their limbs broken; twelve dogs found starving; two dogs tortured and then burned; a kitten cooked to death in an oven; over 800 captive pigs left to starve in the cold on a Pennsylvania factory farm when their owner abandoned the premises, with no one to come to their rescue until it was too late.  If that isn’t enough to make us sit up, I can continue. . .systematic and pointless torture of animals in laboratories; factory farmed animals literally dying piece by piece while going through the processing line, after living in miserable, inhumane conditions since birth; dogs and cats being beaten and butchered alive in S. Korea for their meat; reptiles and other animals being skinned alive for their skins. . .and on it goes.  Somehow this doesn’t seem to be what was intended for humans to perpetuate or condone when we were given stewardship over other creatures.

At one time, we found it perfectly acceptable to burn “witches” at the stake, force human beings into slavery, and withhold the right to vote from women. However, society evolved and changes were enacted to respect human beings and their rights.  Why is it that we cannot seem to extend that same compassion to other species, especially those who have no voice or protection?  Worse, many people will refuse to read or learn about the issues involving neglect and cruelty to animals because it “upsets” them.  If it upsets them, imagine what the animals are going through!  The epitome of ignorance is refusing to learn or hear the truth.  The epitome of callousness is knowing the truth, yet refusing to do something about it.

It is disturbing that people continue to commit the most brutal acts of abuse, neglect, and murder of animals each year by beating, burning, torturing, sexually abusing, impaling, crushing, breaking limbs; or contributing to these actions by way of their consumer choices.  Whether we commit these acts ourselves or pay others to do it, we are complicit.

Research has proven that those who are capable of intentional cruelty are exhibiting the most serious signs of psychological problems that have been linked with sociopathic behavior.  The link between the abuse of animals and human violence has been made time and time again.  

Currently, 47 states have a felony provision in their animal cruelty statutes, thanks to the hard work of various animal welfare groups.  But that’s not enough.  It is up to each of us as citizens of planet Earth to make sure that the laws are enforced, and that knowledge about global animal exploitation issues is shared so as to raise awareness and to work towards a more compassionate society where life is respected.  It’s up to each of us to demand that our government do its job to seek justice for animals where due, to compel truth in advertising from fashion industries who lie about how animal skins are actually obtained or used, and to compel agri-business to keep from hiding the truth from consumers about what is occurring on factory farms and what is actually in animal-derived products (growth hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, arsenic, dioxins, herbicides. . .and poop).

As my esteemed friend, Professor Tom Regan (author of “The Animal Rights Debate”) so accurately puts it, “In a democracy like ours, the will of the majority (usually) is where the power is.  That’s our challenge: to make animal rights the perspective of the majority. All of us — you and I — will be needed to make this happen.”

On a moral scale, killing/abusing other beings is an act of exploitation and violence; we must ask ourselves if any being deserves to be tortured or killed to satisfy our taste buds, vanity, or need for amusement.  Many good folks, raised in our present culture, simply haven’t given much thought to how society envisions and treats animals.  Fortunately, a shift is occurring that has been bringing this issue to the forefront, compelling many of us to address it and make our personal choices in alignment with what we value.

It is my hope that 2013 begins an era of exponentially increased awareness and positive action on behalf of those who depend upon us to protect them.  We can create a more compassionate society and future generation by our present actions.  What other more significant legacy could we possibly leave behind to speak for our short existence in this life?  

There are many groups doing wonderful work that benefits animals all over the world, from companion animals in your own neighborhood to wildlife on other continents.  These organizations can always use our help and support in order to do their jobs and make them even more effective.  If you can’t afford to offer financial support, your voice or pen are just as important.  We can let these dedicated groups know that we have their backs and are willing to do what we can to further their efforts.  Lives are depending upon us, EACH and EVERY ONE of us.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtfully committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” (Margaret Mead)

Happy and compassionate New Year to all, a little belatedly.

Below are a few links to animal welfare organizations with a great track record.

– Annoula Wylderich


Most of us haven’t given much thought to horse slaughter until recent stories emerged about the Bureau of Land Management roundups and the removal of a prohibition on spending tax dollars to inspect horse slaughter plants (a move, encouraged by wealthy slaughter proponents, that will reverse years of a humane policy that ended horse slaughter in the U.S.).  I had to look further into this industry and was horrified by what I discovered.

BLM roundups are strongly opposed by equine groups and animal activists for good reason.  Ample videos have demonstrated that the methods used to gather horses induce fear, injury, and in some tragic cases, death to the animals.  Anyone who thinks that all these animals go to a place where they can live out their days in peace is mistaken.  For many, their ultimate destination will be a slaughter plant. 

According to Southern Winds Equine Rescue, 130,000 horses were mercilessly slaughtered in 2012.  They were shipped over our national borders, only to end up dying brutal deaths in foreign slaughterhouses. 

There is profound animal suffering involved in both the transport and the butchering of horses. The terrified animals are crammed into overcrowded double-decker trailers that are not appropriate for horse transport.  They endure days of travel in this confinement, without food or water, and often in extreme temperatures.  This stressful transport often results in injuries which can lead to leg amputations, broken backs and extreme misery.  It doesn’t get better.  Investigators have witnessed horses with their eyeballs hanging from their sockets; horses being beaten, dragged, and having their limbs broken from rough handling.

At the foreign slaughter plants, the animals are prodded and whipped as they progress through the processing line.  Typically, they are either shot in the face or stabbed in the neck repeatedly in order to sever their spine and be systematically hacked apart piece by piece, usually while still alive.  This is such a frightful, agonizing, and gruesome ending for a beautiful animal that has been part of American history for so long.  And it’s so undeserved.

This year, approximately 100,000 American horses will be transported to their deaths in foreign slaughterhouses, while our elected officials are preparing to open the floodgates for legal horse slaughter in our own country – despite that the overwhelming majority of American citizens object to the butchering. This is outrageous!

Those who are fighting to save and protect these animals are demanding that Congress ban horse slaughter in America.  Citizens are urging the passage of The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act and The Horse Protection Act Amendments (that would toughen the laws against abusing horses).  These bills have bipartisan support and with everyone’s help, our newly elected officials will learn that if they value their jobs, they need to pay attention to the call of outraged Americans for whom they work.

Proponents of horse slaughter include breeders, ranchers and lawmakers who have pointed out the untapped economic resource, claiming that the reopening of horse slaughterhouses would create jobs and help increase the market value of horses.  They expressed an interest in seeing horse plants all over the country.  Former Montana state legislator Ed Butcher (appropriately named) commented that “We are looking at plants that will probably kill 100 horses a day, nothing big.”

To see what he considers “nothing big,” I strongly encourage readers to check out the links below to learn more about what the horsemeat trade entails.   It’s a travesty to permit such an integral part of our nation’s history and heritage to be treated so callously.  I urge those who care to contact their legislators or go onto the website and get involved.  Additionally, there are many local advocacy and equine groups in each town, as well as PETA, who are working on this issue.  We shouldn’t permit our Administration to cow-tow to those with big money.  Let your voice be heard loud and often.  That’s what we have representatives for.

– Annoula Wylderich



Although the fur and retail industries will deny it, there is no question that articles made from animal skins involve extreme pain and agony for the creatures who had to unwillingly die for consumers’ vanity and retailers’ greed.

Animals killed for their fur suffer untold misery during their capture, confinement and ultimate flaying.  While awaiting their fate, they are cramped into tiny cages and denied the very basics such as adequate shelter from the elements, clean water, food, veterinary care, or the opportunity to engage in natural behavior. Many go insane from the intensive confinement.

In many instances where overcrowded cages are stacked atop one another and are dropped from the transport trucks onto the ground below, many animals suffer shattered and broken bones for which they do not receive any veterinary care.  In preparation of obtaining the skins from animals, especially in overseas operations (China), there is the involvement of stomping, beatings with metal pipes, anal electrocution (frying from the inside out), and slamming their heads onto the concrete.  As each terrified animal awaits their turn at slaughter, they are forced to watch the ones before them have their skin peeled off while still alive and then have their wounded bodies tossed onto a pile to slowly die a painful, agonizing death.

More than half of the finished furs in the U.S. come from China, where millions of dogs and cats are bludgeoned, hanged, bled to death, strangled with wire nooses, and skinned alive for their fur.  Approximately 97% of fur trims from China are estimated to be real dog or cat fur, although they are deliberately mislabeled as faux.  A bill was passed to address the issue of deceptive practices; however, additional pressure needs to be placed upon the Chinese fur industry to end their inhumane slaughter methods.

Snakes often have their heads nailed to a tree and then are skinned while alive. Their slow metabolisms cause them to suffer in agony for days before they die. Crocodiles have chisels pounded into the backs of their heads to paralyze them and make it easier to skin them (alive).

Baby seals are clubbed to death in Canada, often at only 2 weeks of age.  Every year, a number of professional fishermen descend to beat hundreds of thousands of these seals to death for their pelts.  To avoid damaging the fur, sealers hook the seals in the eye, cheek, or mouth and drag them across the ice while they are still conscious (in many cases, their panicked mothers watch from a few feet away, helpless to do anything).

The seal slaughter is not a subsistence trade but an example of government waste in support of a dying industry.  Canada spends millions of taxpayer money each year to subsidize the massacre through Coast Guard support, pro-sealing campaigns, and travel.  The U.S. and the European Union have banned seal fur; and world leaders, including President Obama and the Dalai Lama, have denounced the massacre. However, it continues.

Animals globally suffer in the leather and wool trades as well.  They are denied any comforts and are routinely mutilated and tortured, having the skins ripped from their broken and abused bodies.

With so many excellent synthetic materials, consumers can choose a compassionate and equally attractive alternative to real animal skin — and prevent the abject misery that so many helpless animals are subjected to.

Everyone’s voice is needed to help stop the carnage that takes place on fur farms and in the skin trade around the world.  There are many excellent organizations that provide more information (PETA, Peta-Asia, The Humane Society, In Defense of Animals,, International Anti-Fur Coalition, Mercy for Animals) as well as investigative videos in PETA’s archives such as Cold-Blooded Horrors (narrated by Joaquin Phoenix), Chinese Fur Farms, Nightmare on a Chinchilla Farm, and Plucked Alive.  Another informative site is   Although the video footage is upsetting, turning away and ignoring it will not alleviate the suffering for the millions of animals who need our help.  

Fur and exotic skins do not come from any humane methods.  They ALL involve extreme cruelty.  We can ALL make a difference with our buying choices and by lending a voice and getting involved in a campaign.  Often, it only takes a minute to make a difference with the click of a mouse.  But that minute of your time can make a huge difference for another being somewhere in the world.

More links:

 – Annoula Wylderich