Archives for posts with tag: animal suffering

“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 www.bornfreeusa.org/trappingreport; 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 www.bornfreeusa.org, 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

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Powerful factory farming interests, threatened by undercover investigative footage which has gone public, are trying to criminalize this activity; and for good reason.  This industry is wrong on so many levels.

Already passed in Iowa and Utah, a number of other states are trying to pass bills making it a crime for undercover investigators to document animal neglect and abuse on factory farms.  Those who profit from factory farming are attempting to protect animal abusers from public scrutiny by passing these bills.  The implications of these bills are far-reaching and grave not only for the animals who are affected, but for consumers and the general public.

Ag-gag bills would serve to make factory farms sanctuaries for those who torture animals, and provide protection for food safety and environmental violators.  Exposes via hidden-camera videos have brought this industry and it’s cruel, abusive and illegal practices into public scrutiny; and they obviously have much to conceal if they’re trying so hard to prevent further undercover investigations.  Footage shows animals crammed into tiny, filthy enclosures where they cannot even turn around; it shows animals who are beaten, thrown into grinding machines, tortured relentlessly in sadistic ways, mutilated without painkillers, and forced to face unspeakable violence and slaughter.  One can hear them screaming and squealing as they have body parts and skin hacked off with no one to offer them any protection or an ounce of compassion.

This greedy, corrupt industry not only harms animals, it destroys our environment and public health as well.  Factory farms account for land, air and water pollution.  Theyfurther contribute to endangering consumer health by the drugs and chemicals that are administered to farm animals, as well as the filthy conditions in which these animals are raised.  With all the billions of dollars that have gone into cancer research, we must wonder why this deadly disease is on the rise.  I believe there is a direct correlation between our health issues and what we are ingesting.  Our bodies are not meant to process chemicals and there are plenty of cancer-causing carcinogens in the meat, pork, chicken and fish that is consumed daily.  In a previous article, I mentioned that there is invariably a certain amount of poop in every burger.  I wasn’t kidding.

We must ask ourselves why an industry would be working so hard to keep their operations and practices from public view if they had nothing to hide.  Additionally, we need to step up and speak out against any legislation that would serve to take away protection of public health or expose injustices.  Passage of these bills is essentially taking away our right to be informed about wrongdoing that affects our families’ health and the wellbeing of vulnerable animals.

There is a reason factory farming groups don’t want whistleblowers to speak out or show the public what is occurring on farms; it’s a horror movie for the victims (picture Texas Chainsaw Massacre).  There is plenty of footage available for viewing on the websites of Mercy for Animals, PETA, and the Humane Society of the United States, to name a few of the dedicated organizations that work hard to expose the truth about factory farm abuses.

We must not allow Iowa or Utah to set a precedent for other states.  If you’re concerned about the health of your family and that of future generations, as well as the helpless animals who are suffering behind the closed doors of these factory farming torture chambers, please voice your opposition.  These dangerous bills have the potential for imposing egregious effects on every citizen, not just residents of the aforementioned states.

For more information about ag-gag bills, go to:

http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/world-our-backyard/2013/apr/2/ag-gag-bills-criminalizing-whistleblowing-factory-/

To view undercover footage, check out:

www.mercyforanimals.org

www.PETA.org

www.HSUS.org

Finally, don’t support these animal abusers.  Go for a plant-based diet, either by eliminating animal-based products or cutting down your consumption.  You’ll help save the planet, animal lives, and your health.

– Annoula Wylderich

       

More poultry is raised and killed for food than the total of all other farm animals combined; however, there are no federal laws protecting them from abuse. 

Chickens raised in captivity for our food spend their entire lives in cramped, filthy sheds or cages with high levels of ammonia (from waste accumulation) that burn their skin, eyes, and respiratory tracts.   They share these quarters with tens of thousands of other birds, all of whom are given a steady stream of drugs to grow so large so fast that many experience organ failure or become crippled under their own weight.  Chickens and turkeys have the ends of their sensitive beaks cut off with a burning-hot blade, but no anesthesia, to prevent them from injuring one another in their frustrating and overcrowded confinement.   They experience pain for weeks afterwards, making it difficult to eat; many starve to death.  These animals are unable to breathe fresh air, exercise or engage in their basic behaviors which results in severe physical and psychological maladies.  They are routinely subjected to torment by industry workers who have been documented beating, whipping, spray-painting, stomping, sexually abusing, slamming them into walls and urinating on them.  Birds often have their legs and wings broken when they’re shoved into the transport trucks; further, they’re shipped through all weather extremes without food or water.

Undercover investigators have witnessed birds with broken legs and wings and open wounds shackled on the slaughter line.  Others were seen writhing on the floor in agony for hours.  Workers ripped the heads off birds who were trapped inside transport cages.  In 2005, a PETA investigator observed many birds who had been mangled by the throat-cutting machines, yet were still alive when they reached the scalding tanks.  Shackled upside down by their feet, they were systematically immersed into the tanks, where they were either boiled alive or drowned.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-L0nmoZDcc

Egg-laying hens are typically packed inside cages so tightly that they can’t even spread their wings.  Due to constantly scraping against the wire cages, their feathers are worn away, while their bodies become battered and bloodied.  The cages (typically less than half a square foot of floor space) contribute to asphyxiation or dehydration. 

Decomposing corpses are frequently found in cages with live birds. The birds live this way before being sent to slaughter.  Once at the slaughterhouse, they are roughly pulled from their transport crates and shackled by their feet upside down on a moving rail.  They experience untold suffering as speed is emphasized over humane consideration. 

Male chicks, who are of no value to the egg industry, are typically gassed, suffocated, or ground up alive.  Many dead and dying birds are found in dumpsters behind hatcheries.  Free-range farms, while a small improvement over factory farms, are by no means free of suffering.

In the case of foie gras production, severely movement-restricted ducks are violently handled and force-fed enormous quantities of food daily via a long pipe that is rammed down their throat.  The ducks are haggard, depressed, sick; and many do not even have the strength to raise their heads.  They tremble from fear and illness while they await feeding times.

The giant corporations that profit from factory farming spend millions of dollars trying to convey the image of animals living an idyllic barnyard existence.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Try to get a tour of a slaughterhouse and ask to see ALL the areas.  Go to a factory farm and ask for an impromptu tour.  Don’t make prior appointments for either if you want to see the reality versus a contrived scenario.  Or click on the links below to get an idea of what you would see:  http://www.chooseveg.com/turkey-slaughterhouse.asp

http://www.chooseveg.com/tortured-by-tyson.asp

http://www.fowlplaymovie.com/

The USDA does a poor job of enforcing regulations.  This is not only detrimental to the animals’ welfare, but to YOURS.  According to a recent study by Consumer Reports, two-thirds of grocery-store chicken meat is contaminated with dangerous bacteria such as salmonella and/or E. coli.  The overuse of antibiotics on farm animals has been linked to this bacteria as well as to Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), threatening our ability to treat illness and disease in humans.  This is especially true for the most vulnerable among our society, including the elderly and children.  The FDA has issued a draft guidance document acknowledging this connection between human health and antibiotic use on factory farms; ironically, they’ve made unenforceable recommendations to limit the use of certain drugs.  Do you need to wonder whose side they’re on?  Despite the potentially serious threats to human health, approximately 70 percent of antibiotics in the U.S. are used by the animal agriculture industry.  This use has become necessary to maintain the cruel and unnatural conditions of factory farms; thus, agriculture interests have pushed for relaxed regulations.  Now, the FDA is considering a rule that may make it easier for factory farmers to obtain and use these drugs.  No big surprise here, folks.  Now would not be the time to weaken antibiotic regulations as the many negative effects of factory farming on human health, animal welfare and the environment are becoming undeniable. 

Although hidden from public view, the abject cruelty that occurs on factory farms is being exposed thanks to the excellent work of animal activists and advocacy organizations; and as more and more people are taking a look at how horribly farmed animals are treated and killed, they are deciding that it’s too cruel to support.  Fish aren’t exempt, by the way, and we’ll look at that industry in another post.

– Annoula Wylderich

 
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Every day, thousands of people go about their lives without giving much thought to the origins of the food and material products which they consume or use. Many folks, especially with the benefit of technology and the media, are becoming increasingly aware that a certain amount of cruelty is involved in the production of their purchases.

Fashion, research, food and entertainment industries that utilize animals are not kind to these beings. In fact, investigations have repeatedly revealed an incredible and unbelievable amount of suffering involved on the part of innocent beings who don’t happen to be members of our species, yet are just as capable of feeling pain, fear and misery.   The documentary film, Earthlings, bears this out and should be viewed by every human being on this planet.  Watch it for free at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5403685606111090415#

Since I began dedicating my time to helping improve and save the lives of sentient beings, I have come across many hardworking, devoted and successful organizations that have made a difference to thousands (and hopefully millions) of animals worldwide.

For those who wish to learn about animal exploitation and how they can help alleviate the suffering, just ‘google’ one or all of the following organizations: The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), PETA, In Defense of Animals, the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Born Free USA, Mercy for Animals, Action for Animals, Farm Sanctuary, International Anti-Fur Coalition. There are countless more who work hard to end animal cruelty. Each one of us can do something to help, no matter where we are in our evolution. No gesture is too small and every effort counts.

According to Action for Animals: “Every year worldwide over 50 billion land animals and over one trillion fish and other marine animals are exploited and killed for food. Millions more suffer and die for their fur and skin, for entertainment, or as tools in research laboratories.”

The amount of exploitation and suffering that is forced upon these animals is staggering and hard to even imagine. Faced with such an overwhelming amount of misery and death, many people simply turn their backs, unable or unwilling to acknowledge what is happening to animals. That is why we must keep bringing this harsh reality to the forefront of people’s minds. We can prevent the vast majority of suffering, exploitation, and murder simply by changes in diet and lifestyle. Ultimately, we benefit ourselves as well by improving our health and feeling good about our cruelty-free choices.

Not long ago, I had viewed a video of an undercover investigation conducted on an overseas pig farm. Although this did not take place in the U.S., the conditions at pig farms on our soil aren’t any different. Animals are treated like commodities and worse. They are tortured, brutalized and murdered. Managers at these facilities are aware of their employees’ activities but turn a blind eye. The clip can be viewed at http://www.mfablog.org/2012/02/spanish-pig-farm-brutality-exposed.html.

We permit the exploitation and violation of animals’ rights to a peaceful existence by remaining silent and turning away. We muffle our ears and close our eyes to the reality of their suffering and agony, because we find the truth too difficult to hear, read or view. But our silence and denial do not lessen the anguish, the agony, and the screams of those victims who are tortured, skinned alive, hacked to death piece by piece, burned, experimented upon without anesthesia, or harmed in so many other unimaginable ways.

We have the power to end cruelty by the purchasing decisions we make, our dietary choices, and by letting companies and legislators know that we won’t tolerate the torture and exploitation of animals and that we expect perpetrators to be justly punished. Take it a step further and contact the media; let mainstream magazines and tv stations know that you want to see more exposes of industries responsible for harming innocent animals.

Take some action, but don’t turn your back, resolving that you cannot do anything. Every effort counts and a suffering being is depending upon you and me to help them. They are hungry, thirsty, fearful, cold, hot, dirty, confined, and in pain. They are denied basic comforts that any creature has a right to experience. In the end, after a life of misery, they are even denied a life. We dominate them and subject them to horrific abuse simply because they do not look like us. That’s a poor reason to justify their mistreatment.

– Annoula Wylderich