Collar Check: Animal Abuse and Neglect

Very often, we talk about how human actions have affected wildlife. Encroachment in environments all around the world has taken away the homes of many animals and can lead to extinction. It is fairly easy to wrap our minds around this idea.

What about the animals in our backyards and in our homes?

According to the City of Boston, “setting tails on fire, putting rubber bands around limbs, choking, kicking, drowning, animal fighting – these are all definite forms of abuse.” Just as domestic abuse for people are kept behind closed doors, animal abuse can be hidden as well. Approximately 13% of animal abuse cases involve domestic violence.

Dog fighting has physical and psychological effects.

An obvious form of abuse is animal fighting. Animal fighting is an underground activity as it is illegal in Massachusetts and in 41 other states. Dogs are raised to fight each other for entertainment purposes, but the cost for the animals is too high. These dogs grow up extremely aggressive and have attack behaviors, tend to mask their emotions, and are often subjected to thick and heavy chains for collars and leashes. Furthermore, these dogs have excessive wounds and scars, also shown by mangled and torn ears.

Abuse is a conscious action. Neglect can be unconscious, but is just as harmful. It is more than forgetting to feed your pet. It can kill.

Something really disturbing that we came across this week is animal collars. But before we discuss this further, imagine this: you put a bracelet on at the young age of 5 and it fits like a glove. Two years later, it’s starting to feel a little tight, but you don’t do anything about it. 5 years later, you’re a teenager and the bracelet is still on. Except now the bracelet causes you serious pain, but it’s too late to take it off. Your wrist has grown around the bracelet and the doctors say that it needs to be surgically removed. Now imagine the same thing happening with a necklace and it is exposing your neck: the part of you that is essential for breathing and eating.

Leaving pets in cars is illegal and can kill an animal. Temperatures can rise up to 160 degrees in a matter of minutes, causing severe brain damage or death.

This is happening to dogs and cats. Owners who do not check collars regularly could be suffocating and killing their pets. Pictures of the effects of unchecked collars are extremely disturbing, so we have not posted any with this blog post.

So let’s do our part. Report cases of abuse to animal control in your town and check the collars on your pets.

For more information on animal abuse and neglect, check out the City of Boston Animal Control website.

https://www.cityofboston.gov/animalcontrol/abuseneglect/

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Picture Story: Drumlin Farm!

This week we visited Drumlin Farm in Lincoln! While Drumlin is indeed a farm, full of cows, goats, sheep, pigs, horses, and chickens, it is also a wildlife sanctuary. We are thrilled to be sending out volunteers to Drumlin this year and believe it has a lot of great talking points for Animals. In addition, it is a site full of FYSOP Fusion. We see obvious impacts on Environment at Drumlin and even through their sustainable efforts involving solar energy. With a teaching garden, a camp and a pre-school, Drumlin also reaches out to the community’s Children to introduce them to all aspects of farming. Inevitably, we see overlaps with Hunger as well–Drumlin participates in Community Supported Agriculture. To recap our trip further, check out some photos!

This is a fisher! A relative of the weasel. She is quite lively and always running around. Make sure to cut through Bird Hill and visit her! Drumlin acts a sanctuary for wildlife that have been imprinted or injured and could no longer survive in the wild. An interesting fact about Drumlin Farm is that they try to refrain from naming their animals.

These piglets were born a few weeks ago! Look at the cute little piglets!

This is Bart! Bart is a goat in one of Drumlin’s newer barns. As you can see, Bart is super friendly and loves to be pet. Now king of the pen, he was once a young kid struggling to reproduce.

Bart is actually housed with some sheep. Here we saw a sheep give herself a thorough post massage. Quite innovative animals! Volunteers will participate in some sheep skirting while at Drumlin.

Drumlin raises free range chickens! Did you know: Chickens only need to have 15 minutes of cage-less outdoor activity to be considered “free range.” Pictured here is a description of Drumlin’s Egg Mobiles. The egg mobiles are designed to give the chickens a greater range of land for more access to fresh nutrients and bugs.

Pictured here are solar powered birds. The exhibit is designed to educate about solar power energy and how it works. If you approach the solar panels and cover them to block the sun, the birds will stop flapping their wings!

Here is Drumlin’s main building and their largest concentration of solar panels that power the farm.


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Symbiosis

Consider this: Animals-Children-People Living with Disabilities FUSION
http://www.nytimes.com/1990/01/11/us/health-children-and-their-pets-unexpected-psychological-benefits.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

The article above talks about the therapeutic effect that animals can have on children, especially those who are suffering from neglect or are struggling with emotional disabilities. According to their research, it is not only your traditional pets that can help in therapy, but farm animals and wildlife as well.

Animals of all shapes and sizes work together to stay healthy and survive.

It is incredible how the world works and how organisms of all shapes and sizes work together to form an ecosystem. Every living thing has its role to play in the greater scope of the environment that it lives in. However, environments are only sustainable if the interactions between the organisms balance each other out.

A key word that we should consider is “symbiosis.” It is defined as “the living together in more or less intimate association or close union of two dissimilar organisms” (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary). An example of this is the clownfish and the anemone. The clownfish cleans and maintains the anemone, and the anemone protects the clownfish from pretators and provides a home. We benefit so much from animals, but do we truly live in symbiosis with other animals?

In terms of food, animals play a huge role in the production of food. Not only do we eat animals, but we use them to help with farming to grow staple crops and such. Without the influence of animals, our diets would differ from what they are today.

However, as shown in this article, we also benefit from them emotionally. When we trust animals and they trust us back, we are able to build confidence and promote positive group collaboration and cooperation. Do we do the same for them?

In terms of pets, there is the question of putting them on leashes. For farm animals, do we treat them in a humane manner? In terms of wildlife, we encroach on their natural habitats and often destroy their homes. We should really think about symbiosis. Are we promoting a symbiotic relationship with all animals?

Over the years, there has been more movement to reduce human encroachment on environments and more humane treatment of animals. Some zoos are working to reintroduce species that would be otherwise extinct for reasons caused by humans. All of this is great, but quite a bit of it is to try to right the wrongs of the past. What more can we do to help other animals since they help us so much?

Check out some of the links and articles below and let us know what you think!

Links:

Former TV writer fatally punches poodle in face
http://bostonherald.com/news/national/northeast/view.bg?articleid=1061139576

List of Red List endangered species
http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/19/world/rio-red-list-extinction-species/index.html?iref=allsearch

Merriam-Webster Definition
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/symbiosis

Britannica article about service animals
http://advocacy.britannica.com/blog/advocacy/2007/01/service-animals-help-humans-live-fuller-lives/

Go Blue!
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/16/us/in-new-mexico-a-city-divies-and-unites-for-a-dog-named-blue.html?ref=animals

Using Goats to Clean Up!
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/22/nyregion/at-freshkills-park-borrowing-goats-to-tackle-a-weed-problem.html?ref=animals

An opinion article about animal protection
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/26/who-protects-the-animals/

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Meet Our Wonderful FYStaff!

Some of the most important people of the First-Year Student Outreach Project are the dedicated student leaders that make up the FYSOP Staff, lovingly referred to as the FYStaff. We would love for you all to have an opportunity to get to know a little bit about them before FYSOP begins. This year, Animals has 24 staff members who are just as excited as we are for FYSOP 23! You can find their mini-bios under the “About” tab.

Rachel with her Disabilities co-staff at FYSOP 22 Closing Ceremonies.

The FYSOP staff are a wonderful group of volunteers who are interested in making a difference and are excellent role models for our incoming first-years. FYStaff go with the first-year volunteers to our various service sites throughout the week of FYSOP and are there for the social events as well. These staff members have an effect that outlasts the week of FYSOP: the connections that the new Terriers make with the staff can last throughout the entire BU experience.

Jack with his Human Rights co-staff in Marsh Plaza for the volunteer welcoming before FYSOP 22 Opening Ceremonies.

Take a moment to meet our staff. Our Animals issue area is lucky to have such wonderful people who are passionate about animals and our community!

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