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Good News:Virtual Reality Surgical System Replaces Practice with Live Pigs

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 12.44.25 AM

photo: Jo-Anne McArthur, WeAnimals

Technologies in many fields are advancing at an ever faster pace. Some of these save lives, and some of these also save lives of animals in a different ways.

Many doctors had to do their training on live animals, but now there are some fascinating replacement technologies that not only save human lives but also the lives of other beings.

Obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN) doctors-in-training at renowned Rush University Medical Center in Chicago will no longer practice surgical procedures on live pigs. Thanks to a collaboration between the hospital and PETA, medical residents will now train on a state-of-the-art virtual reality surgical system.

“The surgical experience of our residents takes a huge leap forward as we move toward a more humane and effective method of simulation training,” said Dr. Xavier Pombar, the OB/GYN residency director at Rush University. “Representatives from PETA have worked steadfastly with our department toward this goal. I cannot thank them enough for their efforts.”

Now this news has to spread so that more doctors can learn without harming other beings.

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What Is the Difference between a Dog Farm and a Hog Farm?

The only difference

If you ever have attended a western-style barbecue you will most certainly have seen a pig being roasted over a fire. And if you have traveled through some parts of Asia you might have come across a dog on a spike being roasted over a fire pit.

If you go shopping through almost any super market in the western hemisphere you will come across rows and rows of products made from animals such as pigs, cows, sheep, chickens, turkeys, and maybe some rabbits, too. They will hardly ever still be recognizable as coming from any of these beings, because how would you cook a whole cow? Even a rabbit still wearing her fur coat seems to be unappealing to the appetite of someone who would most happily chew on a part of her. There also might be different varieties of animals from the sea, some fish will be lying on ice, others have been cut into smaller pieces so that you no longer know who was chopped up into easily cookable portions. And you might see tanks with live animals like lobsters and other sea creatures.

In many Asian markets and food stores, you will see a different variety of foods, including different animals displayed either in bits and pieces or as a whole for human consumption. If you have ever walked over a farmer’s market in different parts of the world you will certainly have come across whole chickens hanging – either still alive or having been killed recently – from wooden beams. There will be goats and sheep cut open, their intestines removed, but otherwise still easily recognizable as the animals that would have walked to the market with the farmer. There will be cages with chickens, birds, and, depending where in the world you are, maybe with monkeys, maybe with dogs.

More and more stories have come up recently showing us pictures of dog farms in Korea. And of these farms being raided by animal rights organizations, taking the dogs and rescuing them from being slaughtered for human consumption. What would a farmer in Iowa, North Carolina, Germany, China, or Russia say, if a group of people would rescue their pigs and cows from the slaughterhouse? If this group of people would say that the way they have been treating these animals in their care is inhumane and therefore these beings need to be rescued? If these people would say that it is inhumane to eat such a being because it is a sentient being?

Humane education is one of the most important parts in raising awareness, in leading a path away from inhumane traditions, in bringing insight into the plight of millions of animals. Pointing with fingers at those who do something differently will probably not lead to a change of thinking. But giving someone the possibility to look at the picture from another angle, and giving someone the chance to decide on their own how to change their ways will most likely lead to a willful readiness in change. And this will not only save those  sentient beings stuck in that cage in this moment but to less cages in the future.

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When Laws Change in Favor of Animals, There is Hope

Screen Shot 2016-01-16 at 3.15.22 AM

photo: Washington Post

In most legal systems of the world animals are still “things” and not beings. Even though this has not (yet) changed in the United States, it is a big step in this direction when animal cruelty is to be a treated as a crime by the FBI. This includes only companion animals, for now. Mary Lou Randour, a psychologist who started the fight for this change, is to be applauded for her consistent push that has significantly paved the path towards success.

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animal shelter, animal welfare, cat adoption, dog, dog adoption, humane education, Tierschutz

At the Mall: Shopping, Restaurants and …. Animal Adoptions?

There seems to be a new trend developing in the animal shelter world. Shelters are expanding their shelter adoption places to the mall. At first it might seem scary to hear that people can stop by between buying a new pair of jeans and getting a cup of coffee to check out the kittens and puppies at the shelter’s space directly in the mall.

The Humane Society of Naples, Florida set up their first animal adoption space in a mall several years ago. Several other organizations have followed and so far, it seems to be a win-win situation. People who might otherwise have bought a puppy from a puppy mill supported pet shop see what the local animal shelter has to offer. They are then provided with information on adoptions, learn more about where the animals come from and some even decide against the baby dog in favor of a more mature dog waiting for a forever home at the shelter.

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Good News: Seventh Generation Got the Message

Photo: AAVS

Photo: AAVS

It is clear that through social media, petitions, e-mails and other forms of communication companies feel the pressure of the consumers and are able to react fast. So adding your voice to a petition, writing an e-mail or picking up the phone makes a difference – for many animals in this case.

“After receiving tens of thousands of calls and e-mails and after 85,000 angry consumers signed our petition, Seventh Generation now understands the importance of animal-protection issues to consumers, and it has cleaned up its act! The company reversed course and signed on to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine’s letter to Congress acknowledging that animal tests are “slow, unreliable, and expensive” and calling for non-animal methods and strategies to be used first and foremost, and it has committed to advocating for this principle in all of its lobbying efforts.”

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Does a University Need an Elephant?

Photo: PeTA

Photo: PeTA

Many universities have traditions, most of them are fun for all. But having an elephant walk for a university? Together with the advancement of knowledge the advancement of learning should be proven here. Let the students be creative and start a new tradition – without cruelty towards other beings.

“Despite learning of the cruelty and abuse endured by elephants who are exploited for publicity stunts, Texas A&M University is moving forward with plans to maintain its archaic tradition of hosting live elephants as part of its annual Elephant Walk, an event designed to pay homage to exiting seniors. Join PETA in urging Texas A&M to wake up to the age of compassion for others!

There is no excuse for an institution of higher education to be promoting cruelty, especially among this generation of compassionate and socially aware students. Speak up for exploited elephants TODAY and ask Texas A&M to be true to its core values by compassionately carrying on its tradition without the use of a live elephant.”

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Would You Experiment on Your Dog? Or Cat? Or Hamster?

Photo: HSUS

Photo: HSUS

At first, most people will respond to this question with an immediate negation. But asked whether or not they want progress in medical research they would mostly support this, even if it includes experiments on animals. In times of medical crises these numbers rise, as can be seen with the spread of ebola.

So first of all, finding alternatives to these inhumane experiments is crucial, and secondly, educating the public on what kind of experiments are done and to whom is essential. Progress is being made, but there still are many unnecessary torture-like experiments being done on animals.

“Almost a year has passed since the release of our investigation that captured painful dental experiments on dogs like Shy Guy behind closed doors at Georgia Regents University (GRU). Fortunately, the university agreed to stop buying dogs from random-source “Class B” dealers in response to our investigation. But it appears that lethal experiments continue on other dogs, and additional public pressure is needed to bring them to an end.”

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Students Need Not Despair: There Are Alternatives to Dissecting Real Animals

The Digital Frog

The Digital Frog




To motivate students in class to learn it is important to keep them interested in the subject. In the beginning of each school year many students come back from their summer break eager to find out what the new classes will bring (well, most kids would probably prefer a longer summer break but hope for not too boring classes).

Especially in biology and anatomy classes students will learn about how the body functions, if taught right a fascinating subject. Sadly, most schools have not yet learned that there are several humane tools for teaching out there.

“It’s September, and millions of students and educators are back in school—it’s a time of new beginnings. Unfortunately, the new school year will bring a cruel end for millions of animals, including cats, frogs, sharks, fetal pigs, mink, who will be dissected in classroom demonstrations.”

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Beauty through Animal Testing = Ugly

Photo: AAVS

Photo: AAVS

Despite what some people still try to make you believe it is completely unnecessary to test cosmetics, shampoos, soaps, etc. on animals prior to putting them on the market for humans. Many countries world wide have proven this and many are moving away from animal testing.

“Election season is a perfect time to communicate with your legislators about the issues that matter to you—like animal testing! The Humane Cosmetics Act would ban the use of animals in testing cosmetics and their ingredients, as well as the sale of these products. Consumers in the U.S. have long been using their purchasing power to support cruelty-free products, and industry support for humane cosmetics has also been growing. Additionally, effective alternatives to animal testing exist and are widely accepted.

Now it’s time for Congress to do the right thing by passing the Humane Cosmetics Act!

There is no U.S. law requiring companies to test their cosmetics and ingredients on animals. However, internationally, there are laws that ban this practice. The European Union enacted a ban on animal tested cosmetics in 2004, and Israel and India passed similar laws in 2007 and 2013 respectively. The U.S. should also enact a ban on animal tested cosmetics.”

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Study in Torture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Photo: Dr. Ruth Decker

Photo: Dr. Ruth Decker

If you find the idea of taking a baby away from its mother disturbing and cruel, it is time to speak up against the proposed studies of the University of Wisconsin-Madison wants. The non-human beings are to be used because their emotionality is so similar to human beings.

“Newborn monkeys are to be forcibly separated from their mothers and kept in isolation, with nothing more than a stuffed toy to comfort them. They’ll be subjected to test after test specifically designed to cause fear–including being confronted with a live Kingsnake. They will then be killed so their brain chemicals can be measured.

There’s still time to stop this, please sign now!

This is an experiment that has been proposed at the University of Wisconsin–a study with so many questions that some scientists are demanding it be cancelled. They say the experiments will be of no measurable benefit to people, while causing tremendous suffering to highly intelligent and social animals.

Notably, according to the proposal, rhesus monkeys are the subjects of this proposed study because of their “similarity to humans in social behavior, emotion, hormonal responses and brain structure.” In other words, they suffer just like us.”

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