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LCA Blog

Blog for Last Chance for Animals, an international non-profit dedicated to ending animal cruelty and exploitation.

The High Cost of ‘Cheap Meat’

The High Cost of ‘Cheap Meat’

Deep in the Nebraska wheat fields lies a gory, little tax-payer funded a factory farm called the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center.  What goes on behind these doors would make even the most avid enthusiasts of slasher movies sick to their stomachs. Incredibly cruel experimentation is conducted on livestock that includes cows, sheep, and pigs, all in an effort to maximize meat production for the dinner table. To put this another way, the United States has already legalized cruelty to animals as long as the cruelty keeps meat prices lower and the cruelty is government regulated.

Stories like this have been in the news before, but never of this magnitude.  60 Minutes should really conduct an investigative report on this place.  They could show footage where scientists regularly submit livestock to cramped and crowded living quarters, harsh and horrific health conditions, and experimental processes that are designed to increase the levels of meat production while simultaneously decreasing the amount of bones.   Animals are killed by inhumane trapping mechanisms, exploding poison-filled caps, and a series of other ghoulish processes that would make our blood curdle.  Show this on TV, and the American Public would be outraged overnight.

Why are we allowing this to happen?

When faced with the problem of “animals as a sentient beings” vs. “escalating world hunger”, it is easy to see why politicians choose the latter as the more critical issue.  But why can’t we solve both issues?  Why does it have to be an “either/or” situation?  Surely our technology has advanced far enough along that we no longer need to inflict cruel and inhumane treatment on any member of the animal kingdom simple to put food on the table.  But, as one scientist recently interviewed by the New York Times recently put it, “It’s not a perfect world.  We are trying to feed a population (that will soon reach) nine billion by 2050.”

Meat Consumption and Global Warming

Meat consumption and global warming are two issues that most of us would assume have no direct connection to one another whatsoever.  But a recent study by Chatham House released in December of 2014 demonstrates that meat production is the single, largest contributor to the release of greenhouse gases that leads to global warming.  Of course, politicians are also in disagreement as to whether or not global warming even exists.

So, it comes as no surprise that this argument carries very little weight with state and federal lawmakers.  The American Public needs to become more involved in the oversight and accountability of our wildlife services.  We must force our politicians to reject animal cruelty while using other methods of alternative research to solve the world’s hunger problems and issues of climate change.   We can solve both issues, but only if we demand change.

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Service Dog ‘Burberry’ Fatally Shot by San Diego Police

Service Dog ‘Burberry’ Fatally Shot by San Diego Police

A 24-year old man is demanding accountability after his beloved pet Burberry was fatally shot by a local San Diego police officer.  The incident took place on March 17, 2015 when Burberry and his master, Ian Anderson, were startled awake at 5 a.m. by officers pounding on the door over a domestic disturbance call. But the police officers had the wrong house, and Burberry paid with his life.

The 6-year old pit bull responded just as any loyal dog would.  When Anderson opened the door, Burberry barked.  The officers identified themselves as Officers “Jackson” and “Bennet,t” and Anderson immediately explained that they had the wrong address.  Surveillance video captured footage of Jackson reaching down to pet the pooch on the head.   And according to Anderson, Burberry then headed over to Officer Bennett simply to “say hello.” That is when the situation became deadly.

The second officer is seen backing away from Burberry while reaching for his firearm.   Anderson reports that Bennett then told his partner Jackson to “step aside.”  Seconds later, a shot is heard off-camera.  Burberry was killed by a single shot to the head.  The immediate reaction of his owner was to run over to his loyal dog, but the officer immediately restrained Anderson, preventing him from being with poor Burberry in his last dying moments.  

Burberry wasn’t just a loving family pet. Burberry helped Anderson overcome long periods of depression and anxiety immediately following his father’s death, when Ian was still in high school.  Burberry was also a trained service animal for children living with autism and Downs syndrome.

Understandably, Anderson is devastated. “My world’s destroyed…I wish I could have taken the bullet instead of (Burberry).”

Now Anderson is demanding action.  He wants the officer to be held accountable, and has initiated a petition that would require all SDPD officers take part in mandatory training classes for animal behavior.  He has also contacted the Huffington Post, who is calling for the identities of the two officers to be released.

Anderson is asking people to sign a petition to have SDPD offiercers take a course that is manditory in animal behavior.

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The Ugly Truth about Marineland of Niagara Falls

The Ugly Truth about Marineland of Niagara Falls

Once a vibrant sea creature with an infectious personality, Larry the Harbour Seal now sits nearly lifeless in his cage with red, swollen eyes. Housed at Niagara Falls' Marineland's Marine Park, Larry is now blind after repeated neglect and exposure to terrible living conditions that include filthy pool water and poorly maintained cages. Staff and visitors alike are in an uproar.

And Larry isn’t alone. Some eight different Marineland employees have been complaining for several years about the harmful living conditions of the majestic animals suffering within the gates of Marineland. Top Trainer Phil Demers recently quit after 12 years as chief caregiver to the beloved Swooshi the Walrus over his concerns about the park’s management and cleanliness policies. Demers and others complain of both staffing shortages and poorly trained employees as contributing factors to the diminishing health conditions in Marineland.

John Holer, owner of Marineland for some 51 years, denies any wrongdoing. When asked to respond to allegations of misconduct, Holes simply states, “All our facilities are legal.” But Canadian regulations for sea mammal captivity are all but non-existent. According to many of the park’s employees, the question of legality is not the issue. Marineland has a moral obligation to these animals.

  • In October of 2011, five dolphins named Tsu, Lida, Sonar, Echo, and Marina were forced to swim in a cramped concrete pool filled with murky, green water for months on end. Former staffers talk of the dolphins either laying at the bottom of the pool or thrashing about wildly in reaction to the infested water. Over the next eight months, their coloring began to change, their appetites decreased, and massive chunks of their skin began to peel off into the water. The water in their concrete pool was finally changed in May of 2012.
  • On May 28, a baby beluga named Skoot died in the park after a continuous two-hour assault by two adult male belugas. The entire event was witnessed by a single helpless tour guide. She immediately alerted two trainers who were away from the property at the time. During the two hours that it took for the trainers to arrive to help, Skoot’s head and body were badly bitten by the older belugas who then spun her round by the tail before smashing her into an adjacent rock wall where she lay lifeless. When the trainers finally arrived to intervene, Skoot began to convulse and immediately died in their arms.
  • Sea lions Sandy and Baker are also going blind. In 2011, they had to be pulled from the water completely and placed into dry cages to prevent further damage occurring to their eyesight. Baker completely lost the lens in his left eye, and Sandy is often seen sitting in a corner of the cage still and statue-like. A video even exists of them writhing in pain, racing to place their tiny heads into a nearby bucket of pure, clean water.

Many trainers and employees feel that they can no longer stand by and watch these poor creatures suffer. Many feel as if their inability to help affect positive change to the living conditions in Marineland is only enabling the situation to further escalate out of control. As a result, employees like Phil Demers have chosen to leave the facility altogether where they will be free to shine a brighter spotlight on the neglect and abuse going on inside the park. Conditions are slowly improving, but there is still a very long way to go.

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Over Two Dozen Dogs Rescued on the ‘Underhound Railroad’

Over Two Dozen Dogs Rescued on the ‘Underhound Railroad’

Recently, an Atlanta-based television company headed to Dothan, Alabama, to film a rescue mission of nearly 30 puppies and dogs in need. This is the first of many future rescues to come, each falling under the lifesaving coordination efforts of an inspirational program called “The Underhound Railroad.” 

Related Article: Animal Cruelty = Human Cruelty 

Many of these poor pooches had been sitting on death row inside area animal shelters for quite some time, sadly awaiting their fate.  So an Atlanta veterinarian named Dr. Michael Good came up with an ingenious plan.  Why not rescue these precious pups from these small rural communities and bring them back to the bustling metropolis of Atlanta, where they’ll have a much better chance of being adopted?

“All Aboard!”

Dr. Michael Good is partnering with Ed Coughlin of Chet Burks Productions to film the first of many rescue missions in hopes of drawing national attention to this important cause.  The first stop for The Underhound Railroad was Dothan.  As Dr. Good gently rubbed the head of a beautiful golden lab, the lifelong animal lover was heard saying, “You’re going to have a good time in Hotlanta.”   

Now official Georgians, the rescued dogs are pampered and nurtured by Dr. Good’s team of do-gooders, collectively known as the Atlanta-based Homeless Pet Foundation. 

Next Stop: Hollywood

Dr. Good is quick to heap praise on the Dothan Community for all of their hard work and dedication to the stray animal problem in Alabama. Shelter administrators and the Atlanta Doc have the same end goal in mind: to rid the country of pet euthanasia once and for all.  Both Good and Dothan officials believe that public awareness and education is an important first step in the process.  And how better to educate the public than with an inspiring and life-affirming pet rescue show on the Discovery Channel’s Animal Planet?

The filming of the Dothan visit is the subject material for the pilot episode.  While there is no guarantee that the Animal Planet will pick up the program, Dr. Good remains optimistic.  After all, who would pass up a puppy rescue show with a host named Dr. Good?

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