Tag: Health

U.S. Senator & Noted Vegan Cory Booker Appointed To Senate Agriculture Committee Focused On Sustainability, Our Environment & The Health Of Americans

United States Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) has been appointed to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. A known vegan, Booker has inspired positive change in the plant-based movement throughout his career as the former mayor of Newark, New Jersey, and now a U.S. senator.

In addition to Booker, Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA) was also appointed to the committee, marking the first time in history two African-Americans will serve simultaneously on the panel.

“Our food system is deeply broken. Family farmers are struggling and their farms are disappearing, while big agriculture conglomerates get bigger and enjoy greater profits. Meanwhile, healthy, fresh food is hard to find and even harder to afford in rural and urban communities alike. In the richest country on the planet, over 35 million Americans from every walk of life are food insecure,” said Senator Booker in a statement.

“Everyone eats, and with agriculture and food policy at the center of its work, the Senate Ag Committee touches everyone’s lives – from the Central Ward of Newark to the middle of the Corn Belt,” continued Booker.

“I can’t wait to get to work on this committee building diverse coalitions of stakeholders to begin addressing these urgent issues and making change for the people of this country, of New Jersey, and my neighborhood in Newark,” concluded Booker.

As Mayor of Newark, Booker witnessed first-hand how our broken food system harmed local residents, as large sections of Newark were essentially “food deserts,” where communities had no access to healthy foods. He was instrumental in helping to bring several supermarkets to the area that helped increase access for Newarkers to healthy foods. He also spearheaded the creation of community gardens and urban farms.

Throughout his time in the Senate, Senator Booker has been an advocate for agriculture and nutrition reform. Most recently, he introduced the Justice for Black Farmers Act to enact policies to end discrimination within the USDA, protect remaining Black farmers from losing their land, provide land grants to create a new generation of Black farmers, restore the land base that has been lost, and implement systemic reforms to help family farmers across the United States.

In 2018 and 2019, Booker introduced the Food and Agribusiness Merger Moratorium and Antitrust Review Act to put an indefinite halt on large agribusiness, food and beverage manufacturing, and grocery retail mergers and acquisitions. Booker also introduced the Farm System Reform Act which would, among other things, strengthen the Packers & Stockyards Act to crack down on the monopolistic practices of multi-national meatpackers and corporate integrators, place a moratorium on large industrial animal operations, sometimes referred to as concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), and restore mandatory country-of-origin labeling requirements.

Booker is also the author of the Climate Stewardship Act which would support stewardship practices on more than 100 million acres of farmland by investing tens of billions of dollars through existing voluntary USDA conservation programs to empower family farmers and ranchers to be part of the solution to climate change.

In response to rising food insecurity and supply chain disruptions witnessed during the coronavirus pandemic and stemming from our hyper-consolidated food system, Booker introduced the Local Food Assistance and Resilient Markets (FARM) Act to expand food assistance to vulnerable Americans and increase support for the local and regional food systems that have proven most resilient during the COVID-19 crisis. Booker also introduced the Safe Line Speeds in COVID-19 Act to protect worker, consumer, and animal safety by suspending all current and future USDA waivers and regulations that allow companies to increase production line speeds at meatpacking plants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, Booker introduced the Food and Nutrition Education in Schools Act with Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) to allocate federal funding for projects that educate students while connecting them to healthy food practices, with a priority given to schools in neighborhoods with high rates of childhood diet-related illnesses and those in which 40% of students qualify for free or reduced-priced meals.

Booker and Lee also introduced Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) Improvement Act to reform the EQIP program, which provides farmers and ranchers with federal cost-share grants to implement environmentally-beneficial conservation practices on working agricultural lands, in order to better prioritize taxpayer dollars to support the most effective farm conservation practices.

WAN and Peace 4 Animals are grateful to Senator Booker for has advocacy and commitment to bringing more sustainable plant-based initiatives to the mainstream. We believe his new role in the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry will strengthen his mission to better protect our planet, animals, and the health of Americans.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

The post U.S. Senator & Noted Vegan Cory Booker Appointed To Senate Agriculture Committee Focused On Sustainability, Our Environment & The Health Of Americans appeared first on World Animal News.

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Peace 4 Animals & WAN’s New Billboard Campaign Urges People To Save Millions Of Lives This Holiday By Choosing Health & Compassion On Their Plate

This holiday season it is more important than ever to make healthy choices that save the lives of millions of innocent animals by simply leaving meat off your plate. To help spread this important message, Peace 4 Animals and World Animal News (WAN) have launched another impactful billboard campaign to encourage people to go plant-based.

“If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that significant changes must be made in order to save our planet and all of the sentient beings that inhabit it,” said Katie Cleary, Founder and President of Peace 4 Animals and World Animal News. “There needs to be a cultural shift in the U.S. and throughout the world to change the way we are conditioned to think about farm animals. One that includes recognizing animals as individuals, not food for human consumption.”

The powerful newChoose Compassion This Holiday Season, Go Plant-Based’ billboard, featuring a turkey, a cow, and a pig, now stands tall above the highly-trafficked I-5 Santa Ana Freeway near Garfield Avenue in the city of Commerce in Los Angeles County.

“While many Americans are still digesting the fact that some 46 million turkeys are slaughtered for Thanksgiving alone each year in the United States, there are tragically another estimated 22 million turkeys that are killed for holiday meals throughout the month of December,” continued Cleary. “The statistics are even more staggering when considering the millions of other farm animals, all victims of the destructive factory-farming industry, who are killed for their meat. This, despite there being so many delicious and accessible plant-based options that are better for our health, the planet, and of course, for the animals.”

Peace 4 Animals and WAN’sSave A Life This Thanksgiving, Adopt A Turkey’ Los Angeles County-based billboards that launched last month in support of Farm Sanctuary will also remain up throughout December 2020. They are strategically located on the 710 Long Beach Freeway near the Imperial Highway exit in the city of Lynwood and on the 110 Harbor Freeway near Sepulveda Boulevard in Harbor City.

The post Peace 4 Animals & WAN’s New Billboard Campaign Urges People To Save Millions Of Lives This Holiday By Choosing Health & Compassion On Their Plate appeared first on World Animal News.

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U.S. Senator Cory Booker Introduces Important Bill To Shut Down Wildlife Markets Which Threaten Public Health In The United States

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Our Top Pet Health Tips for Autumn

Woman with her dog during the fall season

Ahhh, Fall! This time of year means football, crisp air, colorful foliage and even, depending on where you live, a little bit of snow. It’s a great time to get outside with your pet; for a dog, there’s nothing like a romp in the leaves, while for cats, midday sunbeams have never felt better as the days get shorter and the nights get colder. When it comes to keeping your pet healthy and helping him enjoy fall to the fullest, there are some things to keep in mind. Read on for our top fall pet tips.

#1. Watch out for ticks in fall
Just because fall is here doesn’t mean that ticks aren’t still lurking. In fact, according to the University of Rhode Island, many species of ticks are active even into the winter and can survive the first frost. Here are some tips to keep your pet tick-free this fall:

  • Don’t let ticks cozy up. Eliminate their favorite environments, such as leaf and garden litter, where ticks can sometimes survive even into winter.
  • Check for ticks frequently.
  • Continue using tick control and repellent products, especially if you spend a lot of time outdoors with your pet enjoying activities like hiking, camping, or hunting.
  • Ask your veterinarian about regular screening for tick-borne infections. (The Companion Animal Parasite Council recommends screening annually for tick-borne infections.)

[Learn about tick disease in your area.]

Rat poison

#2. Beware rat poison and other rodenticides
Fall is the time of year when mice, rats, and other rodents start to scurry for warmth. And where do they find it? You guessed it – your home!

Be careful when it comes to mouse traps and rodenticides like rat and mouse poison. Nobody wants an infestation of mice, but many poisons that are currently on the market can be very harmful to dogs and cats. Direct ingestion can be deadly.  Make sure you talk to your veterinarian about methods of pest control that are safe for your pets.

Even if you don’t have a rodent problem or choose to deal with mice and rats humanely using live traps, you never know what methods your neighbors are using. The carcasses of rodents that have been killed by rodenticides can also be dangerous, so if you see the telltale tail dangling from your pet’s mouth, make sure he drops it and keep an eye on him, and if you think your pet has eaten any of the rodent, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Mushroom

#3. There is a fungus amongus!
In some regions of the country, fall is just as wet as spring. That means that more mushrooms dot backyards and forest floors. While most mushrooms are perfectly safe, there’s a small percentage that are highly toxic to our furry friends (and to us!). Check out this handy guide from the ASPCA to stay informed about toxic mushrooms, and if you think your pet has gobbled up a toxic mushroom, contact the ASCPA  Animal Poison Control Center immediately!

#4. Feed your pet right
It’s getting colder out there, and cool temperatures mean more energy is needed to stay warm. You’ll probably need to feed your pet a bit more food – food generates body heat, so pets who spend a lot of time exercising outdoors need to eat more than in the summer. However, don’t start dishing out more food just yet – make sure you talk to your veterinarian first, as every pet’s needs are different.

Chocolate#5. Watch out for antifreeze toxicity
In preparing for the winter months ahead, people tend to use fall to winterize their cars. This often involves changing fluids such as antifreeze, which can be deadly for pets. Consider this: one to two teaspoons of the stuff can kill a 10-pound dog! Less can kill a 10-pound cat.1

Part of the problem is ethylene glycol, a substance in antifreeze that has a sickly-sweet smell that entices pets to lap it up. That’s why it’s important to clean up spills immediately and make sure your pets steer clear of the garage while you’re working on your vehicle. Read our in-depth article to learn more about the dangers of antifreeze and other automotive fluids.

#6. Beware chocolate and hearty foods
The fall and winter parallel our holiday seasons, when we ramp up our intake of hearty, heavy foods and sweets. It’s important to make sure your pets don’t get into any foods that can make them sick; for dogs, this means chocolate, grapes, and raisins are off limits because they are toxic.

Just because some foods aren’t technically considered toxic to pets doesn’t mean they’re safe. Rich, high-fat foods can cause stomach problems such as diarrhea and gastroenteritis and even more serious conditions like pancreatitis. Also, think about small food items that can be choking hazards, like turkey bones around Thanksgiving.  Talk to your veterinarian to make sure you know what’s safe and what’s not.  

#7. Be careful with decorations
Holidays mean decorations! But be careful about leaving irregularly shaped objects and trinkets around the house. While you might like to get into the seasonal spirit, dogs and cats do too – in the form of sampling, say, decorative gourds or other fall props. Eating strange objects can be dangerous and lead to foreign body obstruction. Learn what to watch for, including symptoms, in our in-depth article about foreign body ingestion.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

1. Information obtained from “Position Statement on the Use of Taste Aversive Additives in Antifreeze,” ASPCA, Web Access 24 Oct. 2012.

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How My Former Puppy Mill Dog Changed All of My Pet Health Assumptions

I’m the first to admit that I tend to go a little overboard for my pet’s care. After all, as a life-long animal advocate, I’ve seen too much inhumanity, too much pain, too much suffering put on these animals not to want to reverse that in my own home. I’ve also seen how amazing, resilient and inspiring they can be. Even for me though, some treatments can seem too extreme for some pets. When I’m faced with a serious medical decision, it can be difficult and stressful to decide what’s right. 

Recently, I found myself in just such a situation with my dog, Fiona. I hope that my story might help you in the future.

Meet Fiona, former puppy mill breeder
Meet Fiona, perhaps the worst candidate for treatment (or so I thought). My little Fiona is an 11-year-old former puppy mill breeder who spent the first 7 years of her life in a cage, pumping out litters of (badly) purebred Italian Greyhounds. While her puppies were probably shipped to families across the country, she spent 7 years with little-to-no human interaction, affection or medical care. By the time she got to rescue she was so emotionally stunted that — despite being smaller, younger and healthier than many other adoptable dogs in NYC — she spent two years in foster care. She kept getting adopted and returned because she was so afraid to live like a normal dog.

I met Fiona shortly after her second anniversary with K9Kastle, a great rescue group I volunteered with at the time. I took Fi on as a foster to help with her socialization. I hoped I could work to get her to a place where she could bond with other people. Eventually, Fi and I got her there, but also ended up falling undeniably in love on the way. So I “failed” as a foster mom and became Fi’s permanent “mom” instead.

Fiona’s fear of treatment
Two years later, Fi’s gone from the terrified pup who would duck for cover anytime someone moved, to approaching strangers on the street. (Thank you, bacon treats!!!) As she always did, she adores cuddles and chin scratches, but now seeks them out from people she doesn’t know. She’s even started doing a little post-poop dance and run in the mornings.

Fiona’s not without her scars. Recurrent urinary issues and frequent stress-related colitis are two of the biggies. It took over a year to find a secondary caretaker who she’d be comfortable with when I traveled to keep her from developing heartbreakingly bloody stools from the stress. She’s never learned to play, but has found solace in stuffed kongs and rawhide chews.

Medicating Fiona can set her off, so her veterinarians have often opted for the “wait and watch” approach when anything new comes up. It’s not that they don’t want to treat her; it’s that treatment has often made the problem worse.  

So Fiona didn’t seem (to me) like the kind of pup who would be a good candidate for chemo. When we discovered a rare form of mast cell tumor in her gum I assumed treating it would mean destroying any quality of life she had left – something I wasn’t willing to do.

My decision to treat Fiona
I’d never gone through chemo with my dogs or cats before. I’d known others who had tried it, to varying results. However, I secretly always assumed that chemo would be a little extreme, even for me and especially for a dog like Fi. And, lucky or not, any time I’d battled the big “C” with pets before, chemo wasn’t a good option.

But then Fi’s diagnosis came back and, yet again, she started teaching me to throw all of my assumptions to the wind.

  • The cancer was inoperable, but slow-growing
  • A chemical released by the tumor was making her nauseated
  • Chemo provided a small chance, but a bigger one than I’d assumed
  • She had to be medicated for the nausea and tumor side effects either way

I was given a GREAT referral to an excellent oncologist, and had a quick crash-course in mast cell tumors and chemo for dogs. The conversation was eye opening and soon, Fiona started chemo.

Fiona’s amazing reaction has changed all of my assumptions
Fiona’s now two weeks in and, amazingly, doing better than she has in months. Her poop-dance is back. She begs me and my partner for pets. She comes running down the hall, ears perked, at “wanna go for a walk?” She hasn’t started running away from me when it’s time for her meds, yet.

We won’t know for a while whether the chemo’s actually doing anything, but for now, I’m just thankful to have hope and yet another lesson from my “little old lady.”

What is it they say?

“Never give up. Never surrender.”

Fiona’s got that one down.

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