Displaying items by tag: research
 

RALEIGH, NC (April 30, 2019) - The American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation (CHF) marks Pet Cancer Awareness Month this May with the launch of their Canine Cancer Research Initiative. The focus of this initiative is to direct research funding that will advance understanding, treatment and prevention of canine cancer to benefit dogs. With almost $2.3 million already invested in currently active canine cancer research, new oncology grants were recently awarded to study brain tumors, melanoma, osteosarcoma, and lymphoma, including:

  • 02663: Comparative Brain Tumor Consortium (CBTC) Meningioma Pathology Board
  • 02643-A:  Examination of the Effects of Cannabidiol on Canine Neoplastic Cell Apoptosis/Autophagy and Chemotherapy Resistance or Sensitivity
  • 02642-A:  NF-kappaB Inactivation Enhances Apoptosis in Canine Osteosarcoma Cells
  • 02636-A:  Development of RNA in-situ Hybridization to Identify T Regulatory Cells and their Function within the Tumor Microenvironment of Canine Oral Malignant Melanoma
  • 02595-A:  Defining the Flow Cytometric Characteristics of Normal and Diseased Canine Spleen and Visceral Lymph Nodes 

These studies complement ongoing canine cancer studies for hemangiosarcoma, lymphoma, bladder cancer, and more. Information on all active studies can be found in CHF's Research Grants Portfolio, including studies funded through CHF's Hemangiosarcoma Research Initiative.“The AKC Canine Health Foundation has a longstanding commitment to canine cancer research. The Canine Cancer Research Initiative provides an opportunity to advance our understanding of cancer in dogs while also exploring new targets for their diagnosis and treatment,” states Dr. Diane Brown, CHF Chief Executive Officer. “With the support generated through this initiative, CHF can resource more research to help dogs while also informing a comparative oncology aspect to the same cancers that affect people. Together with our donors, we are making progress in the fight against cancer.”The increase in canine cancer research funding is bolstered by the American Kennel Club’s pledge to match donations to the CHF Canine Cancer Research Initiative with an equal donation to CHF for canine health research up to $250,000 in 2019.Since 1995, CHF has invested more than $13 million to study canine cancer in search of ways to diagnose cancer earlier and treat it more effectively. Learn more about AKC Canine Health Foundation’s Canine Cancer Research Initiative and join the fight against cancer at akcchf.org/caninecancer.

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About AKC Canine Health Foundation
Since 1995, the AKC Canine Health Foundation has leveraged the power of science to address the health needs of all dogs. With more than $46 million in funding to date, the Foundation provides grants for the highest quality canine health research and shares information on the discoveries that help prevent, treat and cure canine diseases. The Foundation meets and exceeds industry standards for fiscal responsibility, as demonstrated by their highest four-star Charity Navigator rating and GuideStar Platinum Seal of Transparency. Learn more at www.akcchf.org.

 

   

Established in 1995, the AKC Canine Health Foundation's (CHF) mission is to advance the health of all dogs and their owners by funding scientific research and supporting the dissemination of health information to prevent, treat and cure canine disease.

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Paul Watson – Sea Shepherd

Captain-Paul-WatsonCaptain Paul Watson is the founder of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society – an organization dedicated to research, investigation and enforcement of laws, treaties, resolutions and regulations established to protect marine wildlife worldwide.

Watson was one of the founding members and directors of Greenpeace. In 1977, he left Greenpeace and founded Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. A renowned speaker, accomplished author, master mariner, and lifelong environmentalist, Captain Watson has been awarded many honors for his dedication to the oceans and to the planet. Among many commendations for his work, he received the Genesis Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1998, was named as one of the Top 20 Environmental Heroes of the 20th Century by Time Magazine in 2000, and was inducted into the U.S. Animal Rights Hall of Fame in Washington D.C. in 2002. He was also awarded the Amazon Peace Prize by the president of Ecuador in 2007.

In 2012, Captain Watson became only the second person after Captain Jacques Cousteau to be awarded the Jules Verne Award, dedicated to environmentalists and adventurers.” For more info: ww.seashepherd.org

 

Wyckoff, NJ; Hillsborough, NJ; May 23, 2017:  Winn Feline Foundation (Winn) and the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) are proud to announce the two recipients of the 2017 joint scholarships for clinical practice and clinical research scientist. Kaarin Muller, a fourth year veterinary student at Washington State University, was selected for the clinical practice scholarship and Liberty Sieberg, a third year veterinary student at Colorado State University, was selected for the clinical research scientist scholarship. Both of the $2,500 scholarships were chosen on individual academic achievements, admirable leadership, and profound dedication to the study of feline medicine, health and welfare.

“Both Kaarin and Liberty have demonstrated outstanding leadership skills and accomplishments, and are passionate about understanding the unique needs of cats which highlight their enthusiasm for feline medicine,” said Vicki Thayer, DVM, DABVP (Feline) and Executive Director of Winn.  

In 2016, the Boards of Directors of both the AAFP and Winn approved the development and implementation of a joint scholarship offered by these two leading feline-dedicated organizations. After a wave of applicants and prestigious feedback from veterinary education programs, the boards decided to offer this opportunity again, expanding the selection to two recipients in the categories of clinical practice and clinical research scientist. The application process prompted students to answer two essay questions explaining his/her specific interest and background in feline health and welfare, and their plans for future participation in feline medicine.  

“We are all impressed by the tremendous success shown by Kaarin and Liberty at such early stages in their careers,” said Heather O’Steen, CAE and Chief Executive Officer of the AAFP. She continues, “Their passion for clinical practice and clinical research, respectively, has enabled both of them to dedicate themselves to the health and welfare of felines.”

The AAFP and Winn are both dedicated to advancing and enhancing standards in feline care. The 2017 AAFP has several resources for veterinary students housed in the Student Center on their website, including complimentary webinars and a Toolkit for Veterinary Students. The toolkit contains materials to help veterinary students embrace a feline perspective and obtain further knowledge about the standards needed to elevate care for cats. Winn also offers various educational

resources on their website including the Cat Health News Blog, educational articles, podcasts, videos, and an annual continuing educational Symposium. Information regarding research grant awards and cat health study findings are also available on the website or through subscribing to their monthly e-newsletter.  

Other educational opportunities from Winn and the AAFP can be found on their websites, listed below. The AAFP is accepting abstracts for poster presentation through June 2, 2017. Accepted abstracts will be presented at the AAFP Annual Conference in Denver on Oct. 19-21. For more information, visit www.catvets.com/education/abstract/abstract-guidelines.

About Winn Feline Foundation

Winn Feline Foundation is a non-profit organization established in 1968 that supports studies to improve cat health. Since 1968, Winn Feline Foundation has funded almost $6.0 million in health research for cats at more than 30 partner institutions worldwide. This funding is made possible through the support of dedicated donors and partners. Research supported by Winn Feline Foundation helps veterinarians by providing educational resources that improve treatment of common feline health problems and prevent many diseases. Grants are awarded at least twice yearly with the help of the foundation’s expert review panel. For further information, go to www.winnfelinefoundation.org.

About the American Association of Feline Practitioners 

The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) improves the health and welfare of cats by supporting high standards of practice, continuing education and scientific investigation. The AAFP has a long-standing reputation and track record in the veterinary community for facilitating high standards of practice and publishes guidelines for practice excellence which are available to veterinarians at the AAFP website. Over the years, the AAFP has encouraged veterinarians to continuously re-evaluate preconceived notions of practice strategies in an effort to advance the quality of feline medicine practiced. Launched in 2012, the Cat Friendly Practice® (CFP) program was created to improve the treatment, handling, and overall healthcare provided to cats. Its purpose is to equip veterinary practices with the tools and resources to reduce stress associated with the visit and elevate the standard of care provided to cats. Find more information at www.catvets.com

 

(Washington, D.C.) October 25, 2016 The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) announced today it has awarded a $44,000 grant to Duke University School of Medicine’s Division of Pediatric Cardiology for a new research study titled Impact of Animal Assisted Therapy on Quality, Completeness, and Patient and Parental Satisfaction in Children Undergoing Clinical Echocardiography.

This study will examine the influence of Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) on young children undergoing an echocardiogram. It is hypothesized that children will have a more complete and higher quality echocardiogram in the presence of therapy dogs. In addition, parents are expected to report higher visit satisfaction scores and greater exam comfort for their children. 

“Echocardiography is an effective way to use ultrasound to ‘see’ inside the heart, and while taking the pictures is non-invasive, it can still be a scary procedure for young children,” said the study’s principal investigator, Dr. Piers C.A. Barker, Division of Pediatric Cardiology, Duke University School of Medicine. “Typically, we must sedate children who have trouble holding still so that we can get adequate pictures. This study aims to evaluate whether animal-assisted therapy could serve as an effective alternative technique to comfort the children and put them at ease, potentially resulting in more complete echocardiograms, higher quality images, and avoidance of sedation drugs.”

“We know from previous scientific research that animal-assisted therapy is effective in alleviating anxiety in hospital patients,” said co-investigator, Margaret Gruen, DVM, PhD, DACVB of Duke. “This is one of the first studies to focus on the potential of animal-assisted therapy to impact a clinical outcome. If results are successful, this study could potentially add non-pharmacologic, low-cost options to improve diagnostic quality for children having medical imaging procedures and could encourage broader use of therapy dogs in other pediatric cardiology settings.” 

The two-and-a-half-year project is a collaboration between Duke’s Division of Pediatric Cardiology and the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine. The team has partnered with the Pets@Duke program, which certifies therapy dogs to interact with patients throughout Duke University Health System hospitals. 

The study will examine 150 children between the ages of 1 and 5 and randomly assign them to a group: canine-assisted therapy only; canine-assisted therapy plus standard distraction techniques; and standard distraction techniques only. Dr. Barker – along with co-investigators Bruce W. Keene, DVM, MSc, DACVIM of NC State, Michael J. Campbell, MD of Duke and Margaret Gruen, DVM, PhD, DACVB of Duke – will evaluate quality, completeness and parental satisfaction of echocardiograms among the three groups, as well as reduction of stress or fear among the children.

The HABRI Foundation maintains the world’s largest online library of human-animal bond research and information; funds innovative research projects to scientifically document the health benefits of companion animals; and informs the public about human-animal bond research and the beneficial role of companion animals in society. For more information about the HABRI Foundation, please visit www.habri.org.

 

Nonprofit Horse Rescue Group Challenges Inhumane Experimental Surgery

HINES, Ore., July 26, 2016 – Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER), a national nonprofit working to end the abuse and neglect of horses through rescue, advocacy and education, announced today it is suing the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management to stop the BLM’s experimental sterilization of wild mares in Oregon. The lawsuit was filed late yesterday in federal court in Washington D.C.

FRER’s suit contends the BLM’s intention to conduct surgical experiments on 225 wild horses, many in various stages of pregnancy, and potentially thousands more horses over time, causes harm and suffering in violation of federal law.

The sterilizations on wild mares proposed by the BLM, to be carried out in collaboration with Oregon State University, include three untested, dangerous procedures:

  • Slicing open the mare’s vagina while sedated, but awake and standing, and blindly pulling out her ovaries – a risky and controversial surgical procedure even for tame mares under the best of conditions, let alone captive wild horses in a holding facility
  • Burning and then cutting the sedated, but conscious horses’ fallopian tubes, a procedure that is surgically untested on horses
  • Using a laser, inserted through the vagina, to scar and seal the ovaries – another surgery that has never been studied in horses

“It is unjustifiable for the BLM to conduct such barbaric sterilization experiments with a host of known risks, including death, on captive wild horses,” said Hilary Wood, President of FRER. “Performing unproven surgeries in a holding pen, let alone on the open range, is contrary to the BLM’s congressional mandate to care for wild horses, especially when responsible alternatives like the PZP contraceptive vaccine already exist to maintain population levels and ensure herd viability.”

Earlier this year, FRER filed formal comments opposing the “research” that will be done on conscious animals in long-term holding. These comments – and comments submitted by more than 20,000 members of the public – were disregarded, prompting FRER to file its suit.

“These sterilization procedures are not documented, practiced, or analyzed in non-surgical settings; they are overly invasive, and they are unlikely to have applicability for mares on public lands,” said Laureen Bartfield, DVM, an expert in population control of wild horses and the social structure of herds. “Two of the three procedures have virtually never been performed on horses, and the unvisualized removal of the ovaries, while documented in the literature, is disfavored by reputable veterinarians. The BLM’s plan is not just clinically ill advised, it constitutes animal cruelty on a large scale.”

The plans for eventual widespread sterilization of horses on the range will also run up an estimated cost to the taxpayers in the millions – and the first of the funds could be handed to OSU in the form of a BLM grant. This first group of mares to go under the knife are in BLM custody in the Hines Corral in Eastern Oregon.

FRER’s lawsuit says the experimental sterilizations represent a conflict of interest, and are not in the best interests of wild horses, but rather in the BLM’s own best interest by reducing their management load without considering their mandate to properly manage the horses.

This is not the first time the BLM has pursued surgical sterilization for wild horses. In 2011, a federal court found the bureau’s plans to castrate wild horses captured in Wyoming was of an “extreme and irreversible nature.” In 2012, the BLM was again forced to defend similar plans in federal court, and abandoned its efforts to castrate Nevada’s wild horses.

About Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER)

Front Range Equine Rescue is a 501c3 Colorado nonprofit working to end abuse and neglect of wild and domestic horses through rescue and education. Since 1997, FRER has assisted thousands of horses through its programs, and many more with expanded facilities on the East Coast. Many of FRER’s rescued horses are obtained directly from auctions and kill lots, and would have shipped to slaughter without FRER’s intervention. Through its legal advocacy, FRER has effectively prevented horses from being slaughtered for human food in the U.S., and is actively involved in preventing unnecessary and unlawful removal of wild horses and burros from public lands. For more information see www.frontrangeequinerescue.org.

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ANIMAL DEFENDERS INTERNATIONAL EXPOSES BRUTAL MONKEY FARM SENDING ANIMALS TO U.S. LABORATORIES
 
·      Conscious baby monkeys pinned down and tattooed without anesthetic
·      Plans to set up a monkey breeding farm in Labelle, Florida
·      Rising primate imports
 
An undercover investigation by Animal Defenders International (ADI) has filmed horrific treatment of monkeys at Biodia, a Mauritian monkey factory farm that supplies U.S. laboratories and whose monkeys could soon be behind bars in a new Florida breeding farm (1). The ADI findings come just days after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service revealed that monkey imports are on the rise (2). ADI is calling for the U.S. to stop the import of monkeys for experiments or breeding and for the U.S. to join the international move away from monkey experiments.
 
The ADI investigation took place inside Biodia, one of several Mauritian farms breeding long-tailed macaques for experiments. Findings include: Workers swinging screaming monkeys by their tails; distressed baby monkeys torn from the arms of their desperate mothers and tattooed without anesthetic; monkeys injected in the eyelids for TB tests; monkeys restrained and injected in view of other animals; animals captured from the wild and used as breeding machines; barren, crowded cages; animals killed and injured from fighting; stressful separation of mothers and babies; rough handling; monkeys wrenched from cages by their tails; netted animals slammed onto concrete floors; heavily pregnant monkeys manhandled and pinned down.
 
ADI President Jan Creamer said: “The poor U.S. regulations on primate experiments and imports are shameful, allowing unnecessary suffering, fear, pain and distress to intelligent and highly developed animals when alternatives already exist. U.S. primate imports also cause damage to wild populations and the wider environment. As other nations move away from primate research, the US remains in the scientific backwater, clinging to crude, outdated methods instead of advanced technology. This trade is cruel and unjustified.”
 
Monkeys are snatched from the wild on Mauritius to stock breeding farms. Babies are torn from their mothers prematurely so that the mothers can breed again. The young monkeys born on the farms will be locked in tiny boxes & flown 10,000 miles to U.S. laboratories. During the grueling journey some become sick and can even die (3). Air France & China Southern are the last remaining passenger airlines to fly monkeys destined for laboratories.
 
Monkey imports are on the rise with nearly 20,000 primates imported each year (2). The top importers are controversial Covance, Charles River and Shin Nippon Biomedical Laboratories. Mauritius is the second largest monkey supplier after China, supplying 2,842 animals to the U.S. in 2013, with Biodia supplying 300-600 monkeys each year. Imported monkeys are either sent directly to laboratories for cruel experiments, or are used to breed babies who will end up in laboratories. ADI’s investigation has revealed that Biodia’s U.S. trading partner Prelabs has plans to “establish the first Mauritius breeding colony in the U.S.” in Labelle, Florida (1).
 
Over 70,000 monkeys are used in cruel experiments in the U.S. each year (4). These intelligent, social animals are force-fed chemicals, injected with potentially poisonous substances and electrodes are implanted into their brains. They cry out as they are strapped into restraint chairs to immobilize them for cruel experiments; some experience such extreme fear and distress when being restrained that they suffer rectal prolapses. In experiments studied by ADI, monkeys were killed after suffering blocked lungs, trembling, collapse and bleeding. Terrified monkeys awaiting experiments self-mutilated and one animal chewed his finger to the bone (5, 6).
 
Most monkeys are killed at the end of the experiments, but others are forced to endure years of deprivation in barren cages, with nothing to interest them; fights often occur and monkeys under attack cannot escape due to restricted cage space. Many have been seen performing abnormal behaviors associated with psychological damage.
 
International regulatory bodies, scientists and governments around the world are moving away from monkey experiments and adopting the advanced alternatives which are available. The European Union, made up from 28 countries, has ended the use of apes and wild caught monkeys, placed restrictions on monkey experiments and is phasing out the trade in monkeys born to wild caught parents (7).
 
There are a number of alternatives available to replace monkey experiments, including: microdosing, where tiny amounts of new drugs are safely given to human volunteers - significantly more accurate at assessing the way a product is absorbed, broken down and passed through the body than primate models (8); biochips, which mimic human organs on USB-sized chips “providing comprehensive toxicity data very quickly and cheaply” (9), 3-D tissue engineering using human cells; and QSAR which predicts the toxicity of drugs through comparison with similar substances.
 
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Animal Defenders International With offices in Los Angeles, London and Bogotá, Animal Defenders International campaigns to protect animals in entertainment; replacement of animals in experiments; worldwide traffic in endangered species; vegetarianism; factory farming; pollution and conservation. ADI also rescues animals in distress worldwide. ADI-gathered evidence has led to campaigns and legislative action all over the world to protect them. www.ad-international.org

Oakland, CA - On Thursday, August 22, 2013, Oakland Zoo will open its new Biodiversity Center, a breeding, research, and education facility devoted to the conservation of endangered and threatened animals, plants and habitats.

“The Oakland Zoo Biodiversity Center is an important contribution to the global efforts to preserve our planet’s rich and diverse wildlife through conservation, research, education, and public participation”, said Colleen Kinzley, Director of Animal Care, Conservation and Research. “The Center will directly support critically endangered species both through captive breeding and by head starting. Animals bred in the Center will be introduced to wild habitats. Juveniles vulnerable in the wild will be brought to the center during their developmental period and returned to the wild once they are past their most vulnerable period.”

The Biodiversity Center Research Labs will house and display current and ongoing research activities and programs focused on the study, management, protection, and restoration of threatened and endangered species including the Western pond turtle, California condor, mountain lion, and mountain yellow-legged frog.

For more than five years, Oakland Zoo has partnered with Sonoma State University and San Francisco Zoo to research, raise, and release western pond turtles back into the wild. Turtle eggs are collected each year from a site in Lake County and transported to SSU for incubation. Once the eggs hatch, the tiny turtles are raised by zoo keepers at Oakland Zoo and San Francisco Zoo. To date, Oakland Zoo has fostered more than 150 baby turtles until they were large enough to live in the wild. Continued studies of their nesting patterns, breeding, habitat threats, incubation, growth, and diets are bringing the partnership closer to a long range strategy to save these important reptiles.

“The North Bay Western Pond Turtle Project has been a unique collaboration between the Conservation Department at Oakland Zoo and my laboratory at Sonoma State University that is a model for the key role that zoos can play in both basic science and applied conservation of imperiled local species,” said Dr. Nick Geist, Associate Professor of Biology at Sonoma State. “Working closely together we have been able to establish a highly effective program that has the potential save these amazing animals. Without the zoo’s enthusiasm and expertise of their staff, we never could have had this kind of success.”

The California Biodiversity Classroom will educate visitors on the crucial interdependence of plants, animals, people, and the environment as well as the importance of becoming responsible stewards of California’s rich natural heritage through hands-on, interactive scientific research activities including “citizen science” projects, habitat restoration, and field biology workshops. For example, Zoo staff, volunteers, and guests currently participate in “citizen science” projects collecting data for local, state, national, and international conservation agencies. Since 2010, staff and volunteers have conducted bird counts as part of Project Feeder Watch, a winter-long study of migratory patterns led by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Bird Studies in Canada. Oakland Zoo’s own Wild Watch program was created in 2013 and uses citizen scientists to monitor and record year-round wildlife and environmental change throughout the Zoo and Knowland Park. While not open to the general public, the Biodiversity Center will be available for specially arranged groups of junior high students, high school students, college students, volunteers, and researchers.

Located in the newly renovated building that formerly housed the Zoo’s Veterinary Care Center, the Biodiversity Center was made possible by an initial grant from the California Cultural and Historical Endowment (CCHE) and matching funding from an anonymous donor through the San Francisco Foundation. Chevron Corporation also participated by providing funding for interpretive materials and equipment for the California Biodiversity Classroom.

ABOUT OAKLAND ZOO:

The Bay Area's award-winning Oakland Zoo is home to more than 660 native and exotic animals. The Zoo offers many educational programs and supports wildlife conservation on-site, locally and globally. Nestled in the Oakland Hills, in 500-acre Knowland Park, the Zoo is located at 9777 Golf Links Road, off Highway 580. The East Bay Zoological Society (Oakland Zoo) is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization supported in part by members, contributions, the City of Oakland and the East Bay Regional Parks.

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LOS ANGELES, CA—A report released this morning finds that animal welfare violations are widespread and common in laboratories at University of California schools. The report, A Pattern of Abuse: Animal welfare violations in University of California laboratories, August 2010 - June 2013 tracks federal citations of the Animal Welfare Act over the past three years.
The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) is a federal law that protects some animals used in experiments. Most animals are not protected under this law; as the report highlights, at least 95% of animals used in experiments in the United States (including mice and birds) are excluded from protection under this law. The animals who do receive protection include cats, dogs, rabbits, and nonhuman primates.
According to Anthony Bellotti, Executive Director of the tax fraud watchdog group White Coat Waste, "Right now, Americans are being taxed to pay for wasteful and cruel animal experiments that directly benefit a small handful of UC professors on the big government dole. This new report exposes a disturbing pattern of waste, fraud, and abuse that we're all forced to pay for. For example, why does Washington, D.C. still need to study the effects of crystal meth and alcohol on mice and monkeys at UCLA? As budgets for air traffic controllers are getting slashed in tough economic times, how can we justify government waste like this?"
Despite the fact that the Animal Welfare Act only protects a very small minority of highly valued animals used in universities, UC schools have nevertheless been found to regularly violate even these minimal protections.
Study highlights:
 In the past three years, there are 28 confirmed violations of the Animal Welfare Act at seven UC campuses.
 UC Davis, UCLA, and UC San Francisco have received the most animal welfare violations from the federal government.
 UCLA received the most violations in this time period and has a history of violations for not allowing inspections of their facilities and failing to perform internal reviews of animal welfare.
 UC Davis was cited for inadequate sanitation and housing for cats and dogs and nonhuman primates.
 There is an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) on each campus to ensure that all animal experiments avoid the use of animals when possible and adhere to the highest welfare standards. However, over half of the citations received by UC schools in the past three years were due to failures of the IACUC to sufficiently perform its mandated duties.
 There is a pattern of citations for a lack of appropriate veterinary care.
According to report author, Dr. Carol Glasser: “The pattern of animal abuse revealed by these citations is particularly disturbing because it represents violations of basic animal welfare to animals that are culturally valued, such as cats, dogs, and monkeys. If these animals are not being given proper veterinary care or sanitary housing, then the treatment of the other 95% of animals used by our state’s universities is likely much worse.”
DOWNLOAD FULL REPORT HERE
Progress for Science is coalition of alumni and taxpayers opposed to the use of nonhuman primates in research experiments at UCLA. www.ProgressForScience.com

Greetings from The Pet Collective!
Late last year, 40 special beagles arrived in L.A. They had been rescued from an animal-testing lab in Spain by the Beagle Freedom Project, at great personal expense to the project's founder.  It was the first time these dogs had seen the sun or walked on solid ground.
Today, The Pet Collective, the premiere digital channel for pet lovers has released a wonderful follow-up video that completes the story of one of these dogs, a beagle named Ebbie, who was particularly scared and scarred by the life he had lived.
Ebbie could not eat or drink and was wasting away from years of lab testing and toxins being pumped into his body.  But when he met a litter of pit-bull puppies, his demeanor changed, and today, Ebbie is living in North Hollywood, Calif., in his "forever home."
We're all in need of happy endings these days, and this is a very happy one, indeed, as you'll see by the attached before and after pictures of Ebbie (short for Ebenezer).

 

(Washington, D.C., April 18, 2013) A new study from British scientists has documented for the first time, significant new impacts to birds from outdoor cats, reporting that even brief appearances of cats near avian nest sites leads to at least a doubling in lethal nest predation of eggs and young birds by third-party animals, as well as behavioral changes in parent birds that lead to an approximately 33 percent reduction in the amount of food brought to nestlings following a predation threat.

The study was peer-reviewed and published in the Journal of Applied Ecology (January 30, 2013). The study was led by Karl Evans of the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield in collaboration with his PhD student Colin Bonnington and Kevin Gaston of the Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter.

The study was carried out by observing 47 blackbird nests in 2010 and 49 nests in 2011 in Sheffield, England, during the breeding season from March to August and compared nest dynamics following presentation of a taxidermist-prepared cat, a predatory grey squirrel, and a rabbit. The crucial finding is that the natural response of parenting birds to the appearance of predators – alarm calling and nest defense – dramatically affects rates of bird nest predation by third-party animals thusly alerted to the nest, as well as much lower feeding rates of young birds for prolonged periods following the threat of predation by cats.

The domestic cat model consistently prompted significantly higher alarm calling rates than either the rabbit or the squirrel. “Logistical models of nest fate demonstrated that the probability of nest predation within 24 hours of model exposure increased with the amount of parental nest defense,” the study said. Predation by third-party animals during chick incubation was highest following presentation of the cat model (23 percent of nests) followed by the grey squirrel (5 percent) and the rabbit (0 percent). At the young chick stage, predation was 13 percent for the cat model and zero for the other two models. At the old chick stage, there was no predation owing to the ability of the young birds to escape on their own.

Even more concerning is the fact that the study found no evidence that parental feeding rates returned to normal even after the cat model had been removed for lengthy periods of time such as even up to 90 minutes later. Further, there was no evidence that the parents at any time compensated for the reduced feeding rate, by bringing more food at a later time.

“Reduced food delivery, even over short time periods, can adversely influence chick condition and reproductive success and over longer time periods can promote smaller clutches,” the study said.

The study said that the behavioral changes in birds caused by the appearance of cats “….may have considerable implications for (bird) population and community dynamics” and suggests that “…the impacts of sub lethal effects on avian prey populations are frequently greater than those arising from lethal effects…..”

The study concludes that whilst cats housed indoors require more care and attention from their owners the most effective management option is thus to house cats permanently indoors. About half of cat owners in North America do this to prevent cats having road traffic accidents or being injured in fights with other cats.

“Here we have yet another peer-reviewed study that documents additional, serious impacts to bird populations that previously have not been fully appreciated. Feral and outdoor cats are simply devastating populations of birds and other wildlife,” said Clare Nielsen, Director of Communications for American Bird Conservancy, one of the leading bird conservation organizations in the U.S.

The new study follows the release in January, 2013, of a new, widely-reported, peer-reviewed study by scientists from two of the world’s leading science and wildlife organizations – the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) – which found that bird and mammal mortality caused by outdoor cats in the United States is much higher than has been widely reported, with annual bird mortality now estimated to be 1.4 to 3.7 billion and mammal mortality likely 6.9 – 20.7 billion individuals.

That study’s estimate of bird mortality far exceeds any previously estimated U.S. figure for cats. In fact, this magnitude of mortality may exceed all other direct sources of anthropogenic bird and mammal mortality combined. Other bird mortality sources include collisions with windows, buildings, communication towers, and vehicles, as well as pesticide poisoning.

The study estimated that the median number of birds killed by cats annually is 2.4 billion and the median number of mammals killed is 12.3 billion. About 69 percent of the bird mortality from cat predation and 89 percent of the mammal mortality was from un-owned, or feral, cats.

Free-ranging cats on islands have caused or contributed to 33 (14 percent) of the modern bird, mammal, and reptile extinctions recorded by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.

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American Bird Conservancy (ABC) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit membership organization whose mission is to conserve native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. ABC acts by safeguarding the rarest species, conserving and restoring habitats, and reducing threats, while building capacity in the bird conservation movement.

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