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Talkin' Pets News

April 13, 2019

Host - Jon Patch

Co-Host - Matt Nall - Super Pet

Producer - Zach Budin

Network Producer - Quin McCarthy

Social Media / Production - Bob Page

Special Guests - Author Marc Bekoff of the newly released book, Unleashing Your Dog, will join Jon and Talkin' Pets 4/13/19 at 5pm ET to discuss and give away his book

Child actor Finn Little of the new film in theaters now, "Storm Boy" will join Jon and Talkin' Pets 4/13/19 at 630pm ET to discuss his film and working with Pelicans

When it comes to happiness, dog owners have a big advantage over cat owners, a new study suggests.

The 2018 General Social Survey found dog owners to be “about twice as likely as cat owners to say they’re very happy,” the Washington Post reports.

People who own both a dog and a cat fall between the two extremes.

People who own no pets are roughly equal to those who own pets in terms of happiness, according to the survey.

Dog owners are a bit happier than non-pet-owners, on average. Cat owners are less happy than those with no pets, the Post reports.

It’s not clear that owning one type of pet or the other necessarily causes a certain level of happiness, as other factors come into play, the newspaper notes.

For example, owning a dog is associated with being married and being a homeowner — factors that can, in themselves, have an impact on happiness levels.

On April 6, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation (FWC) Commission Chairman Robert Spottswood visited biologists and divers from The Florida Aquarium working at the Keys Marine Laboratory as they prepared to release over 3,000 staghorn coral offspring back into the waters of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Each one of these corals has a unique genetic makeup, originating from 20 different parents, and range in age from eight months to two years old.
The Florida Reef Tract is experiencing a multi-year outbreak of Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease. While disease outbreaks are not uncommon, this event is unique due to its large geographic range, duration and the number of species affected. Staghorn coral is not affected by Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease, but the techniques used at The Florida Aquarium to raise young corals from eggs and sperm will be applied in the future to species that are heavily affected by the disease.
“Using corals that were rescued before the disease hit as the parents, we will be able to create a supportive breeding program for disease-affected species where thousands of corals can be produced and re-introduced to the Florida Reef Tract when the time is right,” said Keri O’Neil, Senior Coral Scientist for The Florida Aquarium. “We are working closely with FWC and NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service to rescue as many corals as possible, to serve as the parents for future generations of corals once the disease has passed.” A single pair of brain corals can produce thousands of offspring each year, and when reared in the laboratory, survival can be as high as 50%, compared to less than 1% in the wild.   

“Innovative partnerships like this are vital to this complicated mission,” Spottswood said. “The hands-on work of these experts is vital to strengthening our coral reefs and ensuring a positive future for this ecosystem.”

“The Florida Aquarium is staunchly committed to working closely with FWC and our many other partners to address the coral crisis in the Florida Keys along the vital Florida Coral Reef Tract,” said Roger Germann, President & CEO of The Florida Aquarium. “We were honored to have FWC Chairman Spottswood join our team of coral experts and divers on the frontlines as part of the largest out-planting of genetically diverse Caribbean staghorn coral in Florida’s history.”

All research activities occurred under 
NOAA Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary permit.

Dogs can use their amazing sense of smell to pick out blood samples from people with cancer with nearly 97 percent accuracy, a new study suggests.

Science Daily reports that the results “could lead to new cancer-screening approaches that are inexpensive and accurate without being invasive.”

“Although there is currently no cure for cancer, early detection offers the best hope of survival,” said Heather Junqueira, who is lead researcher at BioScentDx and conducted the study. “A highly sensitive test for detecting cancer could potentially save thousands of lives and change the way the disease is treated.”

Junqueira was set to present the research at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology annual meeting. That event was to take place during the 2019 Experimental Biology meeting April 6-9 in Orlando, FL.

For the study, Junqueira and her colleagues “used a form of clicker training to teach four beagles to distinguish between normal blood serum and samples from patients with malignant lung cancer,” according to Science Daily. Although one beagle was unmotivated to perform, the other three dogs correctly identified lung cancer samples 96.7 percent of the time and normal samples 97.5 percent of the time.

“This work is very exciting because it paves the way for further research along two paths, both of which could lead to new cancer-detection tools,” Junqueira said.

“One is using canine scent detection as a screening method for cancers, and the other would be to determine the biologic compounds the dogs detect and then design cancer-screening tests based on those compounds.”

BioScentDx plans to use canine scent detection to develop a non-invasive method of screening for cancer and other  diseases.

The beagles who were undergoing pesticide testing at a Michigan lab have been released to the care of the Michigan Humane Society, where they will be prepared for adoption. The Humane Society of the United States is thrilled and excited to report this outcome that our staff and our supporters worked hard for.

An HSUS undercover investigation at the Charles River Laboratories in Michigan last month revealed that the beagles were undergoing testing for a Brazil-bound pesticide developed by Dow AgroSciences (now Corteva Agriscience). As soon as we learned of this, our Humane Society International team reached out to Brazil to get a waiver for the test. Once Dow had announced an end to the test, we tapped into our vast network of 350 animal shelter partners to find a suitable organization to take the beagles in and prepare them for loving homes.

The Michigan Humane Society stepped up to the plate and agreed to take the dogs under their wing. MHS has the expertise and a proven track record so we know the dogs are now in good hands as they begin this new, exciting journey in their lives.

Kitty Block, CEO and president of the Humane Society of the United States, says in her latest blog:

“Since the dogs have been raised for use in the laboratory and aren’t used to walking on leash or going outside, MHS’s expert behaviorists will carry out a full behavioral assessment of each dog, as well as an independent veterinary assessment. The shelter will then use these assessments to determine next steps for the dogs, including possible placement of the dogs in their foster network. The HSUS will provide a grant to help assist with the care of the dogs prior to adoption.”


Because Animals Inc., a pet nutrition startup, will debut a “clean meat” line of pet foods in early 2020, according to a press release published at

The first product will be a cat treat made from mice — but the meat will be cultured, without slaughtering any animals.

Clean or cell-based meat is meat grown using biotechnology, the release notes. It has the same nutritional value and composition as animal-based meat.

Because Animals “is the first company to use the pioneering clean- or cell-meat technology in pet food without using the controversial Fetal Bovine Serum, or FBS,” according to the release.

“What makes this clean meat extra special is that we’ve grown it without any animal ingredients,” said Dr. Shannon Falconer, CEO of Because Animals.

“At the moment, the standard in the clean meat industry is to grow tissue using serum from another animal – usually fetal bovine serum. Because Animals is changing that by creating ultra-nutritious foods that provide all the nutritional benefits of traditional animal protein but with animal-free ingredients that protect pets, people and our planet.”

Because Animals explains that FBS is controversial because it involves extracting blood from pregnant cows at slaughter. It is also difficult to scale.

Oil prices have a long history of volatility due to swings in supply and demand. The demand is driven by market forces, while the supply is affected by both natural and artificial means. Suppliers like OPEC, for example, routinely manipulate supply in order to artificially affect prices. The bottom line is that the cost of crude oil fluctuates wildly due to varied combinations of factors.

Now, oil prices are on the rise again. Since the start of 2019, oil prices have seen an increase of nearly 42 percent according to data from Macrotrends. The most recent increase in oil costs came quickly as trade concerns arose following disruption in Libya. Crude oil prices rose 55 cents in only one day, bringing them to their highest since November. OPEC, through reductions in crude oil supplies, is hoping to return prices to $70 a barrel by late fall of this year. This has sparked worry in consumers across the globe, and leaders in the renewable energy discussion are speaking up.

Nicki Zvik, Founder of Green Solar Technologies and long-time renewable energy advocate, states, "It's unfortunate that we continue to see issues with high oil costs when we have access to an energy source whose cost is steadily reduced over time. The energy from the sun and from other renewable sources is limitless, and the technology we use to absorb and generate power from this energy becomes more and more affordable everyday." In contrast with oil prices, Zvik also notes that solar energy prices alone have dropped approximately 99 percent in the past four decades and continue to drop rapidly.

In stark contrast to the continuing drop in solar energy prices, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts that, by 2025, the average price of a barrel of Brent crude oil (the benchmark for global oil prices) will rise to $81.73/b, and by 2030, world demand will drive oil to $92.98/b. By 2040 the EIA predicts that prices will be $105.16/b, and by then the cheap sources of oil will have been exhausted, making oil extraction more expensive.

By 2050, oil prices will be $107.94/b, according to Table 1 of the EIA's Annual Energy Outlook. The necessity for switching from fossil fuels to renewables has never been more obvious or more urgent.
"Growing global awareness of the existential need for renewable energy production is spurring research and development efforts into new technologies," continues
Nicki Zvik, "We continue to push for advances in renewable technology in order to break free from the constraints of fossil fuels like oil, which are finite and will only continue to become more expensive as their scarcity increases." Finite fossil fuel resources are a ticking time bomb whose continued use will result in global-wide financial chaos and disastrous environmental impact.

Zvik continues, "Too many of us continue to act as though we are forced to depend on fossil fuels as sources of energy. This is simply not true. Renewables are the viable alternative. If we continue to use resources like oil and coal those sources will rapidly diminish, energy costs will inevitably rise, and we will ultimately inflict irreversible damage on the environment. It's well within our means to avoid such a scenario by firmly committing to renewable energy sources like solar."


The kitten experts over at Alley Cat Allies offer some very helpful advice for first steps in dealing with stray kittens:

Realize that you’re facing an important decision–caring for a feral kitten takes time and patience. Some kittens may need medical intervention, or may be too young to be removed from their mother’s care.

  • Do you have the time to take care of and socialize a kitten? Caring for a feral kitten requires multiple hours a day of one-on-one attention for weeks, or sometimes even months.
  • Do you have the proper connections and network to find the kitten a new home? Are you willing or able to keep it?
  • How old is this kitten? Alley Cat Allies recommends that feral kittens older than 4 months of age be allowed to stay with their colony, and need not be taken in and socialized. Instead, kittens older than 4 months should be neutered, vaccinated, and then returned to their outdoor homes.

The organization offers these helpful tips for determining a kitten’s age:

  • Under one week: (3-8 oz) Eyes are shut, ears are folded down, and kittens are unable to walk. They can purr and make tiny noises. The umbilical cord may still be visible.
  • One-two weeks: (8-11 oz) Eyes start to open (they are blue) and focus. Ears begin to open and movement is improved to crawling, snuggling, and kneading.
  • Three weeks: (7.5-14.5 oz) Eyes fully open and ears are open and standing up. The kitten will start to respond to noises and movement. The first wobbly steps are taken and baby teeth start to come in.
  • Four-five weeks: (8-16.75 oz) Running, playing, digging, and pouncing occur often. Kittens will start to wean and will be able to lap up formula, eat soft food, and use the litter box by themselves. Eyes have fully changed from blue to their adult color.
  • Eight weeks: (2 lbs) Kittens look like little versions of full-grown cats.

Alley Cat Allies has some great articles on other steps of the process, such as how to deal with different trapping scenarios, how to care for neonatal kittens, and how to socialize feral kittens.

If you find a feral kitten or kittens and cannot care for them yourself, call your local animal services office–they will be able to connect you with an animal shelter that can care for the kittens.

Beware animal lovers. Netflix says parts of its new series "Our Planet" may be too graphic.

"Our Planet" is a docuseries that shows the effects of climate change on Earth's wildlife. Netflix warned viewers of several scenes that may be too disturbing for some eyes.

"As you make your way through @OurPlanet, here are some moments animal lovers may want to skip," Netflix said on Twitter as it listed specific timestamps in the episodes.

Some of the moments include killer whales eating a penguin, jaguars killing an alligator, a baby flamingo's legs solidified in salt deposits and fish getting stuck in fishing nets.

Producers from the nature series have said that no computer enhancement was involved. It took filming over the course of four years, in 50 countries, to complete the eight-part project.

As you make your way through @OurPlanet, here are some moments animal lovers may want to skip:

One Planet: 16:04 - 16:43
Frozen World: 16:29 - 17:47, 32:50 - 33:45, 48:45 - 51:00
Fresh Water: 26:10 - 27:09
Deserts and Grasslands: 28:45-29:10
High Seas: 37:42-37:52


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