Since 2001, Isla Animals Rescue has been working tirelessly to rescue and sterilize street dogs and cats on the island of Isla Mujeres, Mexico, offering vital free and reduced cost services to a community that desperately needs them. To date, hundreds of thousands of animals have been helped, and this year alone, they’ve rescued 140 dogs and performed almost 500 free spay/neuters.
Prior to the founding of Isla Animals, Isla Mujeres was an island overrun with starving, neglected dogs and cats. Unsterilized and unwanted, their unchecked breeding was bringing more and more animals into a world where they'd be destined for the same miserable life and the same risk of instant electrocution — the island’s method of animal control before Isla Animals began.
But now, the brave efforts of the Isla Animals team have been upended by the government of Isla Mujeres, which recently reclaimed the space inhabited by Isla Animals, leaving the rescue organization homeless like the abandoned animals they work so diligently to protect.
“Without the space, we are forced to take a step back, rethink and regroup. We are absolutely devastated! We’ve had to stop bringing these poor animals into safety, and leave them starving and diseased on the streets while we try to figure out what on earth we are going to do. Definitely, we will not be able to work at the rhythm we have so far, and it breaks our hearts to know that regardless of the passion our very small team of volunteers puts into our work toward the cats and dogs of this region, our hands are tied,” said Alison Sawyer, founder of Isla Animals.
The government offered Isla Animals a tiny, 10 x 8 foot building, which is far too small to even meet the storage needs of Isla Animals. The rescue group had to act fast to find temporary space. “We have found an immediate, small and very temporary solution to keep working toward the wellbeing of the animals,” explained Trina Noakes, Director of Isla Animals Rescue. “But there’s just not enough room — it’s someone’s house! Our numbers will now be reduced to approximately 20% of our previous capacity. Even the moving has put us in a terrible financial strain that we had not contemplated, and we are so worried for all the dogs and cats.”
In spite of the unthinkable setback, Noakes’ determination — and that of her volunteers and team — remains steadfast. “Twenty-two years and tens of thousands of dogs and cats saved — passion, sweat and tears — all of that will not be thrown away at the whim of an ungrateful government that doesn’t appreciate how we have taken care of their problem,” added Sawyer.
Isla Animals is in critical need of the public’s help. They have launched a Go Fund Me campaign (https://gofund.me/7fe42686) to raise money to build a new shelter. More information can be found (and donations can also be made) at https://www.islaanimals.org/.
It’s important to remember humans aren’t the only ones who take extraordinary steps to protect, nurture and raise their young. The animal kingdom is flush with moms that take the time to teach their babies how to find food and protect themselves against the elements. Here’s information on five outstanding animal mothers going the extra mile for their young:
The bond between an orangutan mother and her young is one of the strongest in nature. During the first two years of life, the young rely entirely on their mothers for both food and transportation. The moms stay with their young for six to seven years, teaching them where to find food, what and how to eat and the technique for building a sleeping nest. Female orangutans are known to “visit” their mothers until they reach the age of 15 or 16.
Attentive polar bear mothers usually give birth to twin cubs that stick by her for about two years to learn the necessary survival skills in the cold climate. The mothers den by digging into deep snow drifts, creating a space protected from the elements. They usually give birth between November and January and keep the cubs warm and healthy using their body heat and milk. The cubs leave the den in March and April to get used to outside temperatures before learning to hunt.
When it comes to African elephants, a new mom is not alone in guiding her young. Elephants live in a matriarchal society, so other females in the social group help a calf to its feet after birth and show the baby how to nurse. The older elephants adjust the pace of the herd so the calf can keep stride. By watching the adults, the calf learns which plants to eat and how to access them. The females regularly make affectionate contact with the calf.
Cheetah mothers raise their young in isolation. They move their litter—usually two to six cubs—every four days to prevent a build-up of smell that predators can track. After 18 months of training as hunters, the cheetah cubs finally leave their mothers. The cubs then form a sibling group that will stay together for another six months.
After laying an egg, the mother emperor penguin leaves it with a male who protects the fragile hard shell from the elements. The mother then travels up to 50 miles to reach the ocean and fish. She later returns to the hatching site to regurgitate the food to the newly hatched chicks. Using the warmth of her own brood pouch, the mother keeps the chick warm and safe.
A species that conservationists once saved from the brink of extinction is now facing a new powerful threat: avian flu. In a little more than a month, 21 critically endangered California condors have died of avian flu, according to a Friday news release from the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
The disease has been found in northern Arizona, among the bird’s Southwest flock, which straddles the Arizona-Utah border, says the service. Avian flu has not yet been confirmed among any condors in Utah, California, or Baja California, Mexico. The deceased birds, which officials counted from March 30 to May 5, included eight breeding pairs, according to the news release. Four condors with avian flu are currently recovering at Liberty Wildlife, an Arizona wildlife rescue.
The deaths have likely set conservation efforts back by a decade or more, the Peregrine Fund, which manages the Southwest flock, told CNN in an email. “Because the Condor is slow to mature, taking up to eight years before they can produce young, and with an average of one young every other year,” even a single loss in the wild can have “a big impact,” said Chris Parish, the non-profit’s president and CEO. “This will change recovery as we know it.”
“We will need to double down on causes of mortality that we can control or change rates of, like lead poisoning, and be better prepared with (hopefully) vaccines and greater infrastructure to respond to events like this in the future,” he went on. The US Fish and Wildlife Service has said it was working to manage the outbreak and may consider vaccinating the endangered birds.
The Peregrine Fund added it wasn’t sure how influenza entered the condor population. The organization explained that condors are important to preserve because they “provide a critical ecological service” by “eating dead animals that can be a source of disease transmission to other wildlife, livestock, and even humans.”
The species are also considered sacred to the Yurok Tribe, California’s largest Native American tribe. The condors, which are one of the world’s largest birds with a wingspan of 9.5 feet, almost went extinct in the 1980s, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service. By 1987, the tiny population of condors left in the wild was placed into a captive breeding program in an attempt to bring the species back from the brink.
In 1992, the service began releasing captive-born condors into the wild. The population has slowly started to bounce back: As of 2020, there were a total of 504 condors in the world with 175 living in captivity and 329 living in the wild, according to a report from the Department of the Interior. But they still face serious threats, including lead poisoning, which the birds contract after scavenging on animals that have been shot with lead ammunition. Experts have said this may be one of the deadliest outbreaks of avian flu ever in the US. The disease has affected almost 60,000 captive poultry across 47 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Risk to humans is limited – only one human infection has been detected in the US, says the CDC.
So the strip came back with two lines, you may not be the first to know. It's a commonly held belief that dogs can sense pregnancy. Some say they even see changes in their pup's behavior before they even know themselves that they are pregnant.
Here's what Dr. Camille Alander, a veterinarian with NYC's Bond Vet had to say about dogs sensing pregnancy.
While there is no hard scientific backing to the idea, Alander does say that it bodes well for the theory that dogs can sense cancer, decreases in blood sugar, and can help find missing people.
"Dogs have an absolutely incredible sense of smell," she said, so it's not out of the realm of possibility that with the hormone changes caused by pregnancy, a canine might be able to sniff out the condition.
People absolutely have reported that they knew they were pregnant because their dog began to act differently, Alander said. She jokes that signs from your pup should not be used in lieu of a pregnancy test.
A lot of people report that dogs will become more clingy or more protective, Alander said.
In a sitting setting, which is where most of Bond Vet's clinics are located, clients have reported that after pregnancy, their dog would become difficult to walk, she said, trying to attack nearly every other dog that passed by.
Alander also offered up the example of a dog following their owner to the shower in the morning and sitting outside the door until they were done. She described the change in behavior mostly as "subtle things that other people probably wouldn't notice as a change, but because you know your pet well you would probably pick up on."
Cats have a strong sense of smell just as dogs do, but are not often used in cadaver detection or other pursuits in the same way because they are not as trainable, Alander said.
It's not out of the question in terms of pregnancy though, she said, saying some clients have told her as soon as they got pregnant their cat wanted to sleep on its belly every night.
While they might be able to detect pregnancy, the personality change in a cat is not going to be as noticeable, Alander said, because of their general demeanor.
Buddy Holly, a petit basset griffon Vendéen, took the top prize at the Westminster Dog Show. He’s the first of his breed — better known as P.B.G.V., because that is easier to say — to do so. (Second place went to Rummie, a Pekingese whose breeder and handler, David Fitzpatrick, has produced two previous best in show winners, including Wasabi, the 2021 champion.)
“I have dreamed of this since I was 9 years old,” said Buddy Holly’s owner and trainer, Janice Hayes. She said the dog was “the epitome of a show dog; nothing bothers him.” Now he gets to relax and go back to his daily life, which involves hanging out with “his girlfriends,” Hayes said.
A Tacoma, Washington man sentenced after 107 dogs seized under animal cruelty.
Elmer Givens Jr. who was arrested in 2020 on approximately 72 counts of animal cruelty was finally sentenced to 10 months in prison and two years of probation. Givens' attorney asked for the judge to sentence his client to six months behind bars, but the judge said that six months was not enough time to send the message necessary given the severity of the crime. Givens Jr. was also banned for a lifetime from owning, possessing, or residing with any animals.
After two and half years of waiting, AnimalVictory.org would like to thank all of the animal welfare organizations, protestors, and people who signed this petition to help make this possible. Over 40,000 signatures were sent to the judge before sentencing.
- An Australian scientist says probabilities are the leading cause of the Bermuda Triangle disappearances. And he’s not the only one.
- Add in suspect weather, and iffy plane and boat piloting, and Karl Kruszelnicki believes there’s no reason to believe in the Bermuda Triangle phenomenon.
- While the conspiracy of the Bermuda Triangle has existed for decades, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association and Lloyd’s of London has long championed the same ideas.
Pick any one of the more than 50 ships or 20 planes that have disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle in the last century. Each one has a story without an ending, leading to a litany of conspiracy theories about the disappearances in the area, marked roughly by Florida, Bermuda, and the Greater Antilles.
Australian scientist Karl Kruszelnicki, along with the United States’ own National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), don’t subscribe to the Bermuda Triangle’s supernatural reputation. Both have been saying for years that there’s really no Bermuda Triangle mystery. In fact, the loss and disappearance of ships and planes is a mere fact of probabilities. “There is no evidence that mysterious disappearances occur with any greater frequency in the Bermuda Triangle than in any other large, well-traveled area of the ocean,” NOAA wrote in 2010.
And since 2017, Kruszelnicki has been saying the same thing. He told The Independent that the sheer volume of traffic—in a tricky area to navigate, no less—shows “the number [of ships and planes] that go missing in the Bermuda Triangle is the same as anywhere in the world on a percentage basis.” He says that both Lloyd’s of London and the U.S. Coast Guard support that idea. In fact, as The Independent notes, Lloyd’s of London has had this same theory since the 1970s. NOAA says environmental considerations can explain away most of the Bermuda Triangle disappearances, highlighting the Gulf Stream’s tendency towards violent changes in weather, the number of islands in the Caribbean Sea offering a complicated navigation adventure, and evidence that suggests the Bermuda Triangle may cause a magnetic compass to point to true north instead of magnetic north, causing for confusion in wayfinding.
“The U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard contend that there are no supernatural explanations for disasters at sea,” NOAA says. “Their experience suggests that the combined forces of nature and human fallibility outdo even the most incredulous science fiction.” Kruszelnicki has routinely garnered public attention for espousing these very thoughts on the Bermuda Triangle, first in 2017 and then again in 2022 before resurfacing once more in 2023. Throughout it all, he’s stuck to the same idea: the numbers don’t lie.
Even with some high-profile disappearances—such as Flight 19, a group of five U.S. Navy TBM Avenger torpedo bombers lost in 1945—pushing the theory into popular culture, Kruszelnicki points out that every instance contains a degree of poor weather or likely human error (or both, as in the case of Flight 19) as the true culprit. But culture clings to Bermuda Triangle conspiracy theories. The concepts of sea monsters, aliens, and even the entirety of Atlantis dropping to the ocean floor—those are fodder for books, television, and movies. It sure does sound more exciting than poor weather and mathematical probabilities, anyway, even if the “boring” story holds more water.
Dozens of veterinary students in Brazil soon will be challenged with a practical task that you wouldn't encounter in your standard veterinary medicine program: They will be asked to grow their own batch of cultured meat in a petri dish. Cultured meat, also known as cultivated, cell-based or lab-grown meat, is at the cutting edge of an alternative meat sector that includes more established plant-based products proffered for years by the likes of Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. Dr. Carla Molento, a professor at the Federal University of Paraná in southern Brazil, anticipates that "alt meat" will dramatically lessen the need for food animals. And she wants her students to be prepared with new skill sets that could help them adjust, be it through an understanding of animal-cell genetics or a continued role overseeing food hygiene and quality control. The elective course, cellular animal science, was offered for the first time this academic year to students enrolled in the Brazilian university's veterinary medicine and animal science programs. Fifty-five students signed up — an unusually high number for an optional subject there. "It's only an introductory course because we're still building our lab," Molento said. "We're aiming in the second semester to be able to teach with practical classes as well, so students can grow in a semester a small amount of muscle cells to see how it works." The course's debut comes even as discussion sizzles over how long it might take for alternative meat to start challenging traditional meat as a major protein source, let alone replace it entirely.
Some people, including Molento, predict that alternative meat — along with alternative dairy and alternative eggs — could, in 10 to 20 years, become a disruptor in the veterinary realm akin to the internal combustion engine, which triggered a sharp decline in the world's horse population during the early 20th century. Others posit that alternative meat could take longer — 30, 40, perhaps even 100 years — to become a major component of our diets, while others wonder if it'll ever become mainstream. Proponents point to two main growth drivers: improving animal welfare by removing the need for slaughter and/or cruel farming practices, and helping the environment. Meat production is a significant contributor to land clearing, whether to make room for farmed animals or the crops that feed them. Clearing land releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and destroys native habitats, diminishing biodiversity and potentially promoting emerging diseases. Methane emitted by cattle and other ruminants also is a potent greenhouse gas.
Despite its purported benefits, enthusiasm for the only form of alternative meat to gain commercial traction to date — plant-based meat — has been tempered by concerns about its nutritional value, taste, texture and price compared with traditional meat. Plant-based meat companies insist their wares will become more popular as they shrink production costs and, in the words of Beyond Meat founder Ethan Brown, "improve the sensory experience" of their products. Cultured meat developers maintain they can more easily overcome concerns about taste and texture because their products are made from actual animal cells. Adopting techniques used in regenerative medicine, making cultured meat involves taking stem cells from animals, adding nutrients, and allowing the cells to multiply in petri dishes or, for larger-scale production, in bioreactors. The cultured meat sector is in its infancy, with challenges of its own to overcome, such as high production costs and public perceptions about naturalness and safety. Singapore is the only place where it is available commercially. Moves are afoot to market cultured meat elsewhere, including in the United States.
Nectar-feeding bats in North America are looking to grow in numbers, thanks to the We Belong Together campaign, which aims to protect and restore agave landscapes that are a crucial habitat for the mammals.
Bat Conservation International (BCI) worked with filmmaker, Chris Gallaway, to create a video series capturing the work of BCI’s Agave Restoration Initiative. The videos feature initiative partners planting agaves, collecting seeds, and growing new plants; training farmers and community members in sustainable harvesting and agricultural practices; and working with land use managers to further inform decision-making.
The population of the Mexican long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris nivalis) has decreased by half in the last decade due to habitat loss and roost disturbances, BCI reports.
“Approximately 30 years ago, the Mexican long-nosed bat was listed as Endangered by the Mexican and U.S. governments because bat numbers were dire,” says BCI’s strategic advisor for endangered species, Ana Ibarra, PhD. “Now we find that 26 historically known roosts for long-nosed bats are alarmingly empty or at risk.”
“Bats are very important for ecosystems,” adds BCI’s agave restoration manager, Kristen Lear, PhD. “These bats that drink nectar from agaves are pollinating agaves. Other bats eat insects; they help control pest populations. Some bats disperse seeds and help regrow places like tropical rainforests.”
The campaign also captures stories with BCI scientists and farmers-turned-conservationists, learning how to sustainably harvest agaves for their livelihood, as well as stories of landscape conservationists working in the U.S. Southwest and Mexico to preserve desert and mountain ecosystems.
Dogs afflicted with osteoarthritis (OA) pain can soon benefit from a novel treatment.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Zoetis’ Librela (bedinvetmab), a once-monthly injectable monoclonal antibody (mAb) treatment for pain associated with canine OA.
The treatment, which is for veterinary use only, targets nerve growth factor (NGF), a key driver in OA pain, which helps improve the mobility, comfort, and overall well-being of canine patients.
Canine OA is a painful and progressive disease that is highly prevalent in dogs of all ages. While 40 percent of dogs show signs of OA, a higher percentage are likely also living with pain associated with it.
“Pain is often overlooked in dogs for two primary reasons: the signs of OA pain are misinterpreted as normal aging and OA pain is not considered in younger dogs,” says Duncan Lascelles, BSc, BVSc, PhD, MRCVS, CertVA, DSAS(ST), DECVS, DACVS, professor of translational research in pain and surgery at North Carolina State University and recent past chair of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) Global Pain Council.
Pain associated with OA can impact a dog’s physical and emotional health. Signs of the disease including difficulty in going up or down stairs, lagging behind on walks, hesitation to jump up or down, limping after exercise, and becoming more withdrawn.
In two field studies, dogs administered Librela as a monthly injection demonstrated a reduction in OA pain compared to dogs that received a placebo. While effectiveness may not be seen until after the second dose, some dogs showed a reduction in pain as early as seven days after the first dose.
Additionally, in a continuation study, dogs treated with bedinvetmab experienced lasting OA pain relief over the course of the study with monthly injections, Zoetis reports.
“As our understanding of canine pain expands, Librela provides a unique monthly treatment to control OA pain in dogs by targeting NGF, helping to improve their comfort, mobility, and overall well-being,” Dr. Lascelles says.
A petit basset griffon Vendéen (PBGV) named Buddy Holly has become the first of his breed to take “Best in Show’” at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
The six-year-old male from Palm Springs, Calif., bested a field of 2,500 entered dogs to win the title, earning top spots in his respective “Best in Breed” and “Best in Group” (Hound) categories.
Meanwhile, Rummie, a Pekingese, won “Reserve Best in Show.”
Other group winners include:
- Herding Group: Ribbon the Australian shepherd
- Sporting Group: Cider the English setter
- Non-sporting Group: Winston the French bulldog
- Working Group: Chaplin the giant schnauzer
- Terrier Group: Trouble the Staffordshire terrier
First held in 1877, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is the second-oldest continuous sporting event in the U.S. after only the Kentucky Derby.
Twitter users who recently typed in “dog” or “cat” in the social network’s search bar were reportedly met with a horrifying sight this week—autofill results that linked to animal cruelty videos. The top search suggestions after typing “cat” on Wednesday were “cat in blender,” “cat blender full video,” and “cat in a blender,” reported NBC, who replicated the searches. Users who clicked the autofill suggestion were met with a grisly clip of a kitten being slaughtered in a blender. Typing “dog” into the search bar yielded autofill suggestions for “dog screwdriver” and “dog stabbed by screwdriver,” which produced equally disgusting clips if clicked on. Twitter gave no explanation for the ordeal, but reportedly turned off its autofill suggestion completely. Yoel Roth, Twitter’s former head of trust and safety, told NBC News the company used to have safeguards to prevent graphic autofill results, but said those protections may have been dropped under Elon Musk’s leadership to promote “free speech.”
In an analysis of over 65,000 infants from Japan, children exposed to pet cats or indoor dogs during fetal development or early infancy tended to have fewer food allergies compared to other children, according to a study published March 29, 2023 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Hisao Okabe from the Fukushima Regional Center for the Japan Environment and Children's Study, Japan, and colleagues.
Across some high-income countries, more than one in ten children are diagnosed with food allergies, and the incidence of food allergies in children continues to rise. Previous research has suggested a potential link between dog or farm animal exposure in pregnancy and early childhood and the reduction of food allergies.
In this study, Okabe and colleagues used data from the Japan Environment and Children's Study (a nationwide, prospective birth cohort study) to study 66,215 children for whom data on exposure to various pets and food allergies were available. About 22 percent were exposed to pets during the fetal period (most commonly indoor dogs and cats). Among children exposed to indoor dogs and cats, there was a significantly reduced incidence of food allergies, though there was no significant difference for children in households with outdoor dogs. Children exposed to indoor dogs were significantly less likely to experience egg, milk, and nut allergies specifically; children exposed to cats were significantly less likely to have egg, wheat, and soybean allergies. Perhaps surprisingly, children exposed to hamsters (0.9 percent of the total group studied) had significantly greater incidence of nut allergies.
The data used here were self-reported (supplemented by medical record data gathered during the first trimester of pregnancy, at delivery, and at the one-month check-up), so relies on the accurate recall of participants. Additionally, this study cannot determine if the link between pet exposure and food allergy incidence is causative. Still, the authors suggest that these results can help guide future research into the mechanisms behind childhood food allergies.
The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a challenge to a California animal cruelty law that affects the pork industry, ruling that the case was properly dismissed by lower courts. Pork producers had said that the law could force industry-wide changes and raise the cost of bacon and other pork products nationwide.
California’s law requires more space for breeding pigs, and producers say it would force the $26 billion-a-year industry to change its practices even though pork is produced almost entirely outside California. The justices upheld lower court rulings dismissing the pork producers' case.
During arguments in the case in October, liberal and conservative justices underscored the potential reach of the case. Some worried whether greenlighting the animal cruelty law would give state legislators a license to pass laws targeting practices they disapprove of, such as a law that says a product cannot be sold in the state if workers who made it are not vaccinated or are not in the country legally. They also worried about the reverse: How many state laws would be called into question if California's law were not permitted?
The case before the court involved California’s Proposition 12, which voters passed in 2018. It said that pork sold in the state needs to come from pigs whose mothers were raised with at least 24 square feet of space, with the ability to lie down and turn around. That rules out confined “gestation crates,” metal enclosures that are common in the pork industry.
The Iowa-based National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation sued. They said that while Californians consume 13% of the pork eaten in the United States, nearly 100% of it comes from hogs raised outside the state, mostly in the Midwest and North Carolina. The vast majority of sows, meanwhile, are not raised under conditions that would meet Proposition 12′s standards.
The Biden administration had urged the justices to side with pork producers, telling the court in written filings that Proposition 12 would be a “wholesale change in how pork is raised and marketed in this country” and that it has “thrown a giant wrench" into the nation's pork market.
Pork producers argue that 72% of farmers use individual pens for sows that do not allow them to turn around and that even farmers who house sows in larger group pens do not provide the space California would require.
They also say that the way the pork market works, with cuts of meat from various producers being combined before sale, it is likely all pork would have to meet California standards, regardless of where it is sold. Complying with Proposition 12 could cost the industry $290 million to $350 million, they said.
Just call it bovine intervention.
A herd of cows helped a North Carolina police department corral a suspect on the run.
The partnership began when a 34-year-old man fled during a traffic stop, according to a Facebook post from the Boone Police Department.
He led police on a chase and then abandoned his vehicle before setting out on foot into an undeveloped area, says the Facebook post. Because of how quickly he was driving, officers couldn’t see exactly where he fled, the post says. Officers “received some unexpected, but welcomed assistance from some local cows,” according to the department.
The herd of cows were behooved to lead officers “directly to where the suspect was hiding,” says the post.
“The cows communicated with the officers as best they could and finally just had the officers follow them to the suspect’s location,” joked the department in the post.
The cows are privately owned and were in a large fenced area, the department told CNN in an email.
“Obviously, we want to express our gratitude to the cows for their assistance,” the post went on. “This opens up all kinds of questions as to the bovines’ role in crime fighting.”
In response to the successful assist, the department proposed introducing a new “Bovine Tracking Unit.” They thoughtfully pointed out that they would have to consider a variety of factors, including “how adaptable are cows to a variety of police work.”
In the meantime the suspect has been charged with fleeing arrest with a motor vehicle, driving with a revoked license, and disorderly conduct, according to the Facebook post.