Help a Wolf

Fourth Edition available of “Give a Wolf (and The World) A Break Today:

Go Veggie!”

This tri-fold produced by the Biodiversity/Vegetarian Outreach Committee the Atlantic Chapter of the Sierra Club makes the connection between protecting our planet and wildlife to the choice to eat a plant-based diet. Here are the topics covered:

“National Sierra Club Policy”

“Our Taxes Paying to Kill Wildlife”

“Invasive Plant Species”

“Factory Farms”

“New York Lakes Contaminated with Manure”

“Hungry Ocean Mammals”

“Fish Farm Woes”

“Animal Agriculture’s Impact on Climate”

“What About Grass-fed and Local?”

“John Muir Weighs In”

“Making Changes”

“So What Should I Eat?”

Here are a few excerpts. 

Under “Our Taxes Paying to Kill Wildlife”: “In the West, much of the land wasted for meat production is public land.  Grazing rights are sold at ridiculously low prices to ranchers (some of whom are actually large corporations), thus forcing taxpayers to subsidize their industry.  Our taxes are also used to kill wild animals through the federal Wildlife Services at the behest of the ranching industry. Prairie dogs, coyotes, mountain lions, wolves and other animals are trapped, poisoned, burned in their den, and shot.  Wild horses and burros are rounded up and sometimes sold for slaughter so they don’t compete with cattle and sheep on public land.” — 

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Talking Turkey

Submitted by Linda DeStefano

Translated by Rob English 

A lot of people don’t give much thought to the 45 million turkeys killed each year for Thanksgiving. Nor do many think about the 300 million turkeys who are killed each year for their plates. But also, many people have turned away from the cruelty of meat.

It really helps for some people to interact with animals in order to understand them as beings, not food.

Farm Sanctuary does this very well. At Farm Sanctuary, you notice how large and powerful cows are, and how gentle they are.

But it is the turkeys who affect people the most and change them. Turkeys get along with people as well as other birds.

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The Lyme Disease

Encouraging new field research on Prevention of Lyme Disease

In a controversial move, the village of Fayetteville, NY contracted with the federal government to shoot and kill deer. The slaughter resulted in the death of 89 individuals. A primary purpose was to reduce the number of deer in an attempt to control them as hosts for the black-legged tick, which can infect people with Lyme disease. However, deer are only one species among many which are part of the tick life cycle.  And the public has not been informed whether these particular deer were even inspected for ticks right after they were killed. Did these deer have ticks and, if so, how many?

A Mistaken Strategy 

Yet this approach is regarded as mistaken by Dr. Felicia Keesing, an expert on Lyme disease, who is with Bard College and the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook,  NY.  Instead, she is part of a multi-million dollar study that focuses on mice, chipmunks and shrews, since these animals – especially the white-footed mouse – are crucial in the cycle of infection for Lyme disease. Beginning in Spring, 2017, two methods of control will be used in a large residential area of Duchess County, NY, which has a high incidence of Lyme disease.  Bait boxes will be put in people’s yards. When the small mammal enters, she or he will be sprayed with a pesticide (the same active ingredient as in many flea prevention products for dogs and cats). This will kill the ticks but not the mammal. The other method is to spray a naturally-occurring fungus in areas of the yard where ticks are likely to hang out – tall vegetation, especially in shade. This is lethal to ticks but not other insects.

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Myth that Deer Hunting is for POPULATION Control

It is ironic that deer have been murdered in Fayetteville, New York, supposedly to reduce the herd (although such a strategy is temporary), while the Bureau of Wildlife Management of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation encourages the growth of the herd in other areas of NYS. This is because the deer population is managed to ensure there are always surplus deer for sport hunters to “harvest.”   For example, the Bureau reports that  deer populations in Wildlife Management Units 6F and 6J have been declining, so “harvest “of antlerless deer is now prohibited during the early muzzleloader season in these units. Coupled with mild conditions this past winter, reducing the “harvest” of antlerless deer should prevent further population decline and stimulate growth, the Bureau says. My interpretation is that the Bureau has managed for a temporary reduction in the number of deer killed so that the population can rebound for better hunting later.

 

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100 HEARTBEATS

100 HEARTBEATS: The Race to Save Earth’s Most Endangered Species

by Jeff Corwin   ( 2009,  Rodale)

Reviewed by Richard W. Weiskopf

Translated by Rob English

This book is a must for those who want to learn more about the problems of survival that animals face all over the world. The title refers to critically endangered species and subspecies that have one hundred or fewer individuals in the world today. Jeff Corwin tells in a very personal way of his travels in many parts of the world and of his efforts in behalf of many endangered and disappearing species. He spells out the effects of shrinking and disappearing habitat, global warming, pollution, chemical toxins, human overpopulation, land development, illegal hunting, exploitation as well as oil exploration and development.   

Corwin makes an interesting point that I hadn’t thought about: If the species at the top of the food chain are disappearing (such as polar bear, Bengal tiger) this affects all of the many species of the entire food chain’s precarious balance is put out of order, i.e. some species may overpopulate or some may severely decrease.

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Nuclear Energy threatens animals, people and the Planet

In a strange, Orwellian misuse of language, a proposal in the NYS Clean Energy Standard would define nuclear energy as “clean.”  By doing so, ratepayers would be obliged to subsidize the nuclear power reactors in upstate NY which are losing money. Rather than the companies which own these facilities taking the consequences of their failing business, we ratepayers would have to bail them out.

The worst part is that keeping these plants open perpetuates the potential disaster we all face by living near these aged, dangerous reactors. I and others spoke about this at hearings held by NYS in May to solicit comments on the Clean Energy Standard plan before it is finalized. Here are just some of the testimonies:

Tommy Rock, a Navajo from Flagstaff, Arizona, spoke about the radioactive uranium dumps on his reservation that are polluting the water. These dumps result from the first step in the nuclear fuel cycle. Since nuclear reactors have to be periodically refueled, the continued operation of reactors such as the 4 in upstate NY will add to the desecration of Native American land.

Kristina Andreotti, staff with Citizen Action, testified while holding her baby son. She often looked at him as she spoke tearfully about the radioactivity he can be regular exposed to being downwind of nuclear reactors. She also agonized over what world we are leaving him and others of his generation since there is no solution for the safe storage of radioactive waste, some of which is active for hundreds of thousands of years.

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Dog Years

Dog Years: A Memoir  by Mark Doty Harper Perennial, 2007

This is the story of a man and his dogs – Beau and Arden.  Mark shares with us his deep relationship of trust and love with these dogs – who travel with him on life’s journey until he helps them through their death as old dogs. Mark writes and teaches poetry so you’ll find quite a bit in this memoir. He’s also prone to philosophizing.

I like Mark’s reply to the oft-repeated question animal protection activists encounter, namely, why are you working on behalf of animals when you could be working on behalf of people?  “…Compassion isn’t a limited quality, something we can only possess so much of and thus must be carefully conserved.”

Another subject which those of us who help animals share with Mark is the desire to do more but the pull to protect ourselves from over commitment.

He tells about his encounter with a gentle street dog in Mexico. He wanted to take her back to the U.S. with him but was ambivalent about the effort that would take and how Arden, now old and sick, would react. The dog so much wanted to be loved and fed and rescued, and I found it the saddest part of the book that he ultimately decided to leave her in Mexico.

There are funny stories too, as when he and his partner (Paul) try to convince Arden to eat various medicines. I’m an expert at making pills into palatable little packages…though, in truth, even when I think I’ve succeeded in slipping something by, it’s not all that unusual to find, hours or days later, some discarded pill discreetly stashed in a corner someplace. But there is no hesitation about the green, fragrant Chinese herbs; they’re immediately, unequivocally spit out, and no amount of persuasion or coercion avails. (p.186)

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