October 2011

Raw Feeding: Is It Really a Good Option?

"I think the main concern for many is the cost of raw feeding."

For years, dogs survived by hunting in the wild.  They did not have commercial kibble to see to all their nutritional needs, nor did they have loving humans to provide for their every meal.  Still, the species has managed to propagate and even become one of the most populated animal species in the world.

That species growth did not happen in the wild, however.  Dogs did not become so common until after they attached themselves to humans.  Without the easy food and protection offered by humans, dogs may not have been able to grow in population so much.  However, even 50 years ago, we did not have all these pelleted commercial feeds for our dogs and they still managed to survive.

Nautilus May Reach Endangered Status

Overfishing threatens cephalopod's numbers

Everyone's favorite living fossil turned exercise machine namesake has been seeing some tough times lately. The nautilus currently finds itself in a rather particular kind of peril. It's not the accidental victim of habitat destruction like many endangered creatures, nor has it been traditionally fished for food. Instead, it's the shape of its shell and our historical fascination with it that have diminished the numbers of the peculiar cephalopod. In short, the chambered nautilus looks too cool to live.

Should People Be Allowed to Keep Exotic Animals?

"Let's create safe, nurturing environments for these animals and educate others on how to responsibly care for them."

In light of the recent story where an exotic animal owner freed his dangerous animals before committing suicide, many people are questioning whether or not exotic animals should be allowed as pets at all.  This is a reasonable question, since animals like lions and tigers can be extremely dangerous to humans and other animals alike.  If let loose in our urban world, they can cause tremendous fear and damage, as we saw the other day.

When I was a teenager, I lived with my grandparents on their exotic animal farm.  Though they had nothing the size of a tiger, there were many animals there who were capable of causing severe damage and even death to people should they get the opportunity.  While the potential for harm was always there, the learning experiences for us and for the public were tremendous.  The animals on this farm were used to teach others about the different animals in our world, expanding the minds of children and adults alike.

Private Exotic Animal Collection Loosed In Ohio

Private zoos have become a real problem in America for a lot of reasons. In the most recent, and most dramatic, example of the danger of private zoos, a man in Zanesville, Ohio freed all of the 56 animals on his "exotic game reserve" (which included "18 tigers, nine lions, eight lionesses, three mountain lions, six black bears, two grizzly bears and a baboon"), then committed suicide. The town and surrounding areas have been on lockdown as police and SWAT teams were mobilized to round up the animals. 

Raccoon Dogs Skinned Alive To Provide Fake Fur

I'll tell you right up front: I will not link to the video in this post. The video is described as being incredibly disturbing, and I believe them. If you want to see the video, just Google "raccoon dogs being skinned" and you'll have no trouble finding it. 
Ever wonder where fake fur comes from? It turns out that sometimes, it comes from real animals. I guess their explanation is probably that "it's fur from a real animal that we're pretending came from another animal," or "it's fake WOLF fur, but it's fur that actually came from an animal." 
This is different from many people's understanding of the term "fake fur," which is "this did not come from an animal." Myself included. 
But no, often fake fur comes from raccoon dogs. Who, in a video which has made quite a splash online, are skinned alive. It's terrible, okay? Terrible. Based on the descriptions, it easily qualifies as "torture porn." I don't understand why these men (on farms in China) don't kill the animals before skinning them. The animal rights movement has a long way to go in China, let's just say that. (Not to mention the human rights movement, witness the common practice of selective gender abortions of female babies.)
Fake Ugg Boots are said to be the single biggest consumers of fake fur from raccoon dogs. The animals skins are presumably sheared short to show just the woolly undercoat. At least with real sheepskin, the sheep are killed before being skinned. And although commercial sheep farms can be less than ideal places for a sheep to live, I doubt the conditions ever approach what you would see on a Chinese raccoon dog farm.
What, you might wonder, is a raccoon dog?