Brazil Has A Highway of Death

Thousands die every year

BR-262 is a highway in Brazil that is known by a much more gruesome moniker: The Highway of Death. That's because over 3,000 animals die there every year, prompting local animal activists to take action and advocate for these terrible atrocities to wildlife. As someone who grew up near a road known as "Blood Alley" in my state, I understand the challenge of a dangerous road and improving it for all beings in a community.

This particular road, which crosses through the territory of thousands of animals, was constructed in the 1960s long before environmental impact was even considered during such an undertaking. Local authorities didn't address the issue until activists decided to sue them over it, and hopefully they will remedy the problem soon.

What other cases of humans saving animals have you read this week? Share them in the chat.

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Protect Monkeys From The Pet Trade

Monkeys shouldn't be pets

In 19 states, monkeys are allowed as pets. While we've all seen cute videos of people with their monkeys, in reality this is a cruel practice that is not only unfair to the monkeys, whose natural habitats are much different and suited to their needs, but also but to humans. Pet monkeys are dangerous to humans and result in injuries and health risks.

Monkey rescue organizations say that most of the monkeys they care for are former pets whose owners either surrendered them or had them removed from their care. To prevent this problem from happening, there's a bipartisan effort to change the Lacey Act and save these primates from this abuse, intentional or not. Sign on here to support this amendment.

Have you seen any other actions to support animals this week? Share them in the chat.

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Animals That Help With Pests

What are your favorites?

By now we all know how beneficial bees, birds and butterflies are to our gardens and very lives. Between pollination and pest control, they are invaluable as well as beautiful guests to enjoy. But what about other helpful animals around your property?

Where I live in the Midwest, black snakes are very helpful since they eat all the venomous snakes. The same goes for wolf spiders. The thing is, it's not fun to see either of them! Bats are also incredibly helpful, eating thousands of mosquitos, which are also bad where I live, which is near a river. Then there are ladybugs and nematodes that eat garden pests and possums that help get rid of ticks.

What other kinds of beneficial animals do you have where you live? Share their benefits in the chat!

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No, Penguins Do Not Have Teeth

Those pictures do look terrifying, though!

There are a bunch of pictures circulating the web about penguins and their terrifying teeth. They do look monstrous, completely spinning the usual adorable fluffy bird pics we see on their heads, but they aren't teeth. Penguins have beak teeth as babies, but those menacing-looking "teeth" in the pictures are actually structures called papillae.

The papillae are made out of soft keratin spikes that help the bird capture fish and ensure the slippery prey make it to their stomachs. It's a pretty cool adaptation, even if it's not teeth!

What other animal misconceptions have you read about? Share them in the chat!

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Protect the Pollinators!

Sign this pledge and share what you're doing in the chat

Bees and other pollinators are integral to our ecosystem and survival itself. We depend on bees to pollinate about a third of our crops but bee populations have dwindled by 60% since 1947. If we want to keep living here, we need to help save these pollinators.

This is a pledge you can sign to indicate your commitment to protecting pollinators, but what actions can you take locally? Our 4-H club planted a garden to help encourage pollinators in our area, and at our home, we have gardens, bee homes, water sources and other bee-friendly policies. We cut our grass very sparingly and leave as much clover and dandelions as possible, and of course we don't use weed killer. (We could use some help with weed control otherwise!)

What do you do to help pollinators where you live? Share your tips in the chat.

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Ban The Sale Of Harmful Traps

Ask Amazon to stop selling them

Have you considered how harmful it is to use a glue or typical mouse trap? A friend of mine taught me the horrors of how animals get stuck and slowly die. It's incredibly disturbing to see. Since then, I've swapped to cruelty-free release mouse traps that not only work quickly (we even caught my teen's pet mouse once when he escaped!), but allow us to catch and release mice.

Amazon sells these, but they also sell cruel traps used to crush, drown and otherwise torture animals once caught. The reviews on the items are disturbing as well. It's long past time for these traps to no longer be used, let alone sold by a company like Amazon. Click here to ask them to stop selling these heinous devices.

Do you have any animal actions to share this week? Post them in the chat!

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All the Alpacas

Reader's Digest brings the joy this week

One of my best friends and I have this llama thing. We saw llamas while on a float trip in high school together and ever since we have this llama inside joke. We also just love them, which is why I immediately thought of her when I saw this piece featuring 40 alpacas from Reader's Digest.

These are the perfect antidote to the doldrums this week, especially if you are an activist working against a lot of heavy stuff going on right now. It's already a week of action for many issues where I live, and add to it what's in the news right now... It's important to take a stand and never be silent but self-care is also essential to do the work, as I'm learning. Little breaks taken while we look at images like these can help.

What cute animals are you looking at this week? Share them in the chat.

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Jack Hanna to Retire

Hanna's diagnosis makes his beloved role more difficult

How many of you grew up with Jack Hanna giving you incredible peeks at animals on TV? I may be dating myself as a xennial when I mention that, but we always looked forward to seeing him and whatever creature he was going to be talking about when we were children. Hanna has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and will be stepping away from the career he clearly loved with all his heart.

My heart goes out to Jack Hanna and his family and I just want to thank him for all of the memories. I remember wanting to be a vet when I was young and he was one of the major reasons why. I didn't want to travel around and see the animals in the wild but I wanted to help them when they were hurt or sick and Hanna's obvious care for them inspired that. My family is full of animal lovers who just pore over National Geographic and encyclopedias of animals but Jack Hanna gave us glimpses into their worlds.

If you haven't, share Jack Hanna's YouTube videos with your kids and check out his work over the years. What's your favorite memory of him? Share it in the chat.

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Strangest Pets of Tiktok

Share your favorites!

If you have the TikTok app, you know that you could watch pet videos all day long, any day of the week. There are so many pets that I didn't even know people could have! There are tiny monkeys, farm animals, and even otters! Many of these animals aren't actually personal pets but animals at zoos, rescue centers and similar places.

Then there are pets that aren't so strange on their own (cats, dogs, fish and so forth) but who act strangely, or pet owners who dress them up and set them to music. It's no wonder TikTok is so popular, with so many cute and funny animal videos.

What is the weirdest or funniest animal video you've seen this week? Share it in the chat. 

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Cage-Free Eggs are on the Rise

Hopefully we can say the same for other inhumane practices soon

Did you know that global meat production has increased by 100 percent since 1988? That makes me so sad. I'm not a practicing vegetarian anymore but it makes me consider expanding my meatless days to most of the week instead of just three days. Wow, is that a lot of meat. And much of it is now produced via the American factory farm model, which is just awful.

The good news is that eggs that come from battery cages are on the decline. There's been a lot of pressure for people to provide cage-free eggs for different reasons--to stop cruelty, to get more nutrients in the eggs, etc. Entire states are even banning cages! This is fantastic news and it makes me hopeful that we'll create more humane legislation for farm animals, too. Factory farming may be on the rise but if this progress is being made, thatmeans that it can happen elsewhere.

As a hoby farmer with my own flock, I know I feel guilty if I can't even let my girls out of the run and into the yard to play. We like to keep an eye on them for safety (we still have raccoons and hawks around here!). I can't imagine them in tiny cages day in and day out. Chickens are funny, smart and have their own personalities. I'm totally okay taking eggs they aren't going to use anyway but I wouldn't buy an egg to support doing that to a chicken.
What animal protection is being legislated in your area? How did your community make it happen?

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