Friday, January 29, 2010
Mississippians who commit acts of cruelty against dogs or cats could face up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine, based on a state Senate committee’s action Tuesday, January 26th.
Members of Judiciary B approved the decision to send the Senate a bill that would make it a felony on first offense to “torture, mutilate, maim, burn or maliciously starve, disfigure or kill any domesticated dog or cat.”
“It was great,” said Audrey Orek, MS-FACT contact person for Clay County. “I took leave from work to attend the committee hearing with other members of the organization. We were not disappointed.”
MS-FACT, or Mississippi – Fighting Animal Cruelty Together has about 2,600 members.
Next Tuesday is the deadline for committees to report general bills and constitutional amendments originating in their own chamber. If the full Senate approves Senate Bill 2623, it will go to the House, where members of the MS-FACT are confident the bill will pass early this year.
“It was a unanimous outcome,” said Orek about the committee vote.
The author of the measure, Sen. Billy Hewes, R-Gulfport, said there is “pretty broad support for it.” According to Hewes, supporters of tougher animal cruelty laws have been lobbying for action for several years.
Mississippi is one of four states where animal cruelty is a misdemeanor instead of a felony. Here, the maximum penalty is a six-month jail sentence and a $1,000 fine.
“That is simply a slap on the wrist,” said Lynda Koch, a member of MS-FACT. “Being labeled a felon would prevent offenders of vicious crimes from working in child care facilities and with the elderly.”
Koch also believes that most people who oppose Bill 2623, do so because they don’t fully understand it. The bill specifies domesticated dogs and cats only and lists exclusions.
“They think we are attempting to change the laws that apply to farmers and agriculture,” Koch said. “That is not the case. This bill is strictly for dogs and cats.”
Hewes agreed saying, if passed, the new legislation would not impact hunting and fishing activities and dog-handling practices. The bill also excludes medical research. But at least first steps are bring taken to get cruelty on the books as a felony.
Citing studies advocates of tougher penalties say animal abusers often become people abusers. “From a mental health standpoint, I believe this is a huge issue for protecting people,” said Nancy Goldman, vice president of MS-FACT and a psychiatric mental health clinical nurse specialist.
“Serial killers often have a history of animal cruelty. There is also a link between animal cruelty and domestic violence and child abuse.”
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
ALERT - VOTE ON FEBRUARY 2ND FOR THE HORSES HAS BEEN POSTPONED!
We all need to make our voices heard now more than ever! Please note that the vote on February 2nd has been postponed. Congressman John Conyers was scheduled to bring up bill H.R.503 in Congress for a vote on February 2, 2010. This does not mean we cannot continue to flood Congress with calls for our representatives to co-sponsor the bill. The horses need us more than ever.
We need to flood the phone lines of our Congressmen and Senators and tell them how strongly we feel collectively that this bill come up for a vote, pass, and becomes law once and for all. It can only pass with all our voices coming together.
It will only take a few minutes of your time, but it will mean so much to all the horses whose destiny is the unthinkable...slaughter. Please make your phone call today! And pass this information on to all your friends and family and spread the word. It only takes but a few minutes. We can all agree the horses deserve that time from us. Call and email if you can do both and ask everyone you know to do the same.
Unfortunately, votes are continually postponed and some continually stand in the way of reform every year. Advocates, horse guardians/owners, veterinarians and animal lovers must continue to fight for America’s horses and push toward the passage of H.R. 503, the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act.
Contact your rep today! Together we can make our voices heard in unity for the beloved horses. Let's make 2010 the year for the horses! Visit http://www.congress.org/
Sunday, January 24, 2010
by Susan Thixton
A recent study proves our pets are exposed to chemicals and toxins in far greater amounts than people. In a ground breaking study, Environmental Working Group found dogs and cats to be contaminated with 48 different chemicals – 43 of which were at higher levels typically found in people. Most people try their best to protect the four legged loves of their lives. Yet thanks to lax or non-existent regulations, a new study has proven that our pets are becoming polluted with chemicals. EWG released a unique study earlier this year finding 48 different chemicals in the blood and urine of dogs and cats.
Briefly the EWG report (www.ewg.org/reports/pets) tested 20 dogs and 37 cats. In dogs, seven chemicals tested at least five times higher than typical human levels and another seven chemicals showed levels up to five times the amounts in people. In cats, 25 chemicals averaged at least five times higher than human levels and another 18 averaged up to five times the typical level found in humans.
EWG contributes these startling findings to sources including contaminated pet food bags, pet food cans, toys, house dust, stain-proofed furniture, pet beds, and more. It´s frightening to consider the toll these contaminants are taking on our pets, and overwhelming to know what to do about it.
Here are some suggestions that I follow for my own household – home to two dogs, one cat, and two birds. First and foremost, feed your pet the absolute best food you can. Proper nutrition empowers your pet´s body to fend off toxins. Dogs and cats alike need a pet food made from a human grade/quality meat (not by-products; by-products are not meat), no added chemical preservatives or dyes, and no Chinese imports. Many of the better pet food lines also provide pets with antioxidant supplements and added probiotics. Antioxidants have been proven to fend off the damages from ´free radicals´ in humans and pets alike.
A highly tested antioxidant supplement to look for in your pet´s food ingredient list is ´grape seed extract´ (grapes are toxic to pets – grape seed extract is not toxic). I store my pet´s food in an air tight, pet safe container; placing the container in a dark, dry pantry. Exposure to air, light, and heat can cause a naturally preserved pet food to lose its nutritional value quicker. I also feed my pets twice per day; two meals a day for adult dogs and cats is optimal. Only feeding once per day is challenging for the pet to properly utilize the nutrition over a 24 hour period.
Next, make sure your pet stays active. Daily exercise plays an important role in keeping our pets healthy. For dog owners a daily walk around the block or tossing the toy in the yard each day; for cats-a daily workout with a toy of choice provides necessary physical and mental stimulation. Provide your pet with only natural materials for their toys and bedding. And for cats, try to use natural cat litters.
Limit the amount of flea treatments to your pet and to your lawn. For my own pets, a daily once-over with a flea comb is the flea ´treatment´ that I prefer for my group. If you must treat the lawn with fertilizers and pest control, make sure the products are pet-safe and completely dry before your pet goes onto the lawn. Supervise your dog or cat in the yard to prevent eating chemically-treated grass. All household cleaning products should be ´green´ – pet friendly – and limit your pet´s exposure to them.
When you consider the short lifespan of our pets, the effects of exposure to toxic chemicals are magnified when compared to that of human exposure. Natural pet foods with health promoting ingredients, toys and bedding made from 100% natural materials, and limiting exposure to cleaners, pesticides and fertilizers will help to protect your pet from toxins and hopefully add years to their life.
Susan Thixton is internationally recognized as the pet food expert helping humans understand how to find the safest and healthiest dog and cat foods and treats. Susan Thixton's 'truth' will help you find a safer, healthier dog or cat food that could add years to your pet's life. www.TruthAboutPetFood.com
By Debra Saum, Animal Communication Artist
We all have a sixth sense…animals, humans, we’re all born with it. There’s no difference between an animal’s sixth sense and a human’s intuition. Animals are just more trusting of theirs. When we allow animals to show us their intuitive nature, we allow ourselves to return to our own divine nature.
My “Talking Art” is a way for me to portray the many positive and inspirational messages that animals have for all of us. Happiness, balance, peace, unity…these are the lessons that they want to give us.
Equine intuition is particularly potent. Horses are dialed into their sixth sense because as herd animals, their very survival depends upon it. Known for their uncanny ability to ignite psychic awareness in humans, horses have a powerful way of reminding us to follow our hearts and trust our intuition.
Horses have graced us with their strength, loyalty and wisdom for eons. Some say that the horse domesticated the human, not the other way around. Could it be that horses brought us into their inner circle of intuitive grace and power in order to teach us how to be better stewards of the planet?
As an animal intuitive, it is my commitment to speak for the animals I paint by capturing their magnificent spirits on canvas. I believe that all animals are our teachers. Horses in particular, are here to help us remember our inner qualities of grace, kindness and peace. Using my communication skills, I have many conversations with the animals while creating their portraits. Whether meeting them in person, or using a photograph of them as reference, I begin by asking each animal what I can do to help paint their message. With deep reverence and respect, I ask them to talk to me about their essence, their heart, their feelings and what it is they want to say with their portrait. Then, as a self-taught artist, I use my instincts to help guide me through the entire process.
Having painted for nearly 20 years, I have found that by using close-up compositions, emphasis on large, soulful eyes and a slow process of building layers of color onto the canvas, I can create a vibrant rendition of each animal’s spirit. It is my experience that the canvas captures the essence of the many hours of communication I have had with each animal. Existing within each acrylic painting stretched on canvas is the memory of those communications.
As quantum physics states, we are all just energy organizing itself into various forms. There is no real difference, for example, between the basic energy of thought and the energy of a paintbrush. When creating paintings of horses, I have found that this energy transfer can be especially profound. I have come to know the energy of horses as saint-like, so very comforting , familiar and soulful. They are one of our most powerful teachers.
Perhaps it is because of the incredible sacrifices that horses have given to the human race that we are curious to get to know them. Or perhaps it is because they have so humbly allowed us to use them for our own advancement that they continue to invoke in us a sense of awe and wonder. We continue to be drawn to them as they continue to allow us into their mystical, natural world. They give us their unconditional love, their loyalty and their ever-present wildness. We are forever drawn to their essence and on some level, we yearn for their inherent connection to all things divine.
It is my hope as an artist to convey the profound messages of The Horse. I believe they are here to help us listen with our hearts; to be reminded of the power of love; to live our lives with the same grace, simplicity and beauty that has helped The Equine Spirit survive for centuries.
Debra Saum is an Animal Intuitive and nationally recognized, self-taught artist who lives in Southern California. Known for her revolutionary style of expressing Animal Communication through Art, her vibrant animal portraits invoke strong emotions. “Oh, you completely captured his spirit” is a common statement. Committed to raising awareness about the power of animals and their ability to ignite unconditional love, Debra regularly donates her art to Animal Organizations and projects that help promote compassion and kindness to all species.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
By Mark Bottell
Animal conservation work is growing in popularity, with many people taking adult gap years where they work with animals in Africa. It is a fulfilling way to give something back to nature, and you will take the experiences you had on your gap year for adults with you forever.
Africa, the continent known for its abundant wildlife, now has many of its animals on the list of endangered species. It is essential that conservationists continue with the work that they are doing, and that others get involved too.
Here are some African animals that can be found on Africa's endangered list.
#1 African Wild Dog
The African wild dog is a medium-sized canine which traditionally lives in packs of 15 and preys on smaller grazers such as impala. The African wild dog can be found in the savanna woodlands of Sub-Saharan Africa, but its numbers are dwindling due to it being shot by farmers, and it now has a place on the endangered species list. Conservation work is necessary to restore original population numbers, and the animal is now a protected species.
#2 Mountain Zebra
The mountain zebra can be found in the mountainous regions of South Africa; a beautiful striped, herbivorous animal, eating mostly grass, leaves, shrubs and bark. One of its sub-species, the Cape mountain zebra, has a population of only 600. The numbers of these animals are dwindling due to hunting and the effects of drought. Conservation projects have been put into place in protected areas, to try and manage this dwindling population.
The leopard can be found in many different places across the world, and in Africa, it can be found all across the Sub-Saharan regions, and west of the Kalahari Desert. It has been known to prey on farmers' livestock, and the resultant hunting has begun to pose a threat. Other factors placing this animals on the endangered list are loss of habitat and loss of prey populations. Animal conservation workers have begun putting conservation projects in place, and the leopard population is being managed with a fair amount of success.
On the African continent, the chimpanzee can be found in grasslands, rainforests and open woodlands. But human expansion is depleting these natural environments, and the chimpanzees' habitat is being diminished. For some time now, wildlife conservation projects have focused on chimpanzees, but more animal conservation work is needed to manage the dwindling chimpanzee population.
#5 Dama Gazelle
This elegant animal can be found in Saharan Africa, where it usually either lives in solitude or in a small group. It primarily feeds on shrubs, acacias and desert dates. Sadly, dama gazelle numbers have dropped by about 80% in the last decade, making them a prime subject of conservation projects. The rapid decrease in population numbers is due to hunting, habitat destruction and drought. It is imperative for animal conservation workers to implement projects to prevent these animals from becoming extinct.
Mark Bottell is the General Manager for Worldwide Experience, an online tour operator offering extended breaks for adult gap years, an exciting opportunity to get involved in animal conservation work. Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Mark_Bottell
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Christian Veterinary Mission has served in Haiti since the early 1980s and has set up a dedicated fund for earthquake relief. They currently have three long-term fieldworkers on site, all of whom have checked in as safe. They have also trained more than 1,000 village-level animal health workers.
The fieldworkers are "working with the Haitian people to assess the damage, respond to the immediate needs, and understand how to help once again," CVM Executive Director Dr. Kit Flowers said in a statement.
Christian Veterinary Mission seeks to help veterinarians serve others and live out their Christian faith through their profession. We seek to change lives and communities by improving the care of livestock and other animals.
Donate to the Christian Veterinary Mission Haiti Earthquake Fund.
Plese visit http://www.cvmusa.org/Page.aspx?&pid=183
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Remembering Albert Schweitzer
Born on January 14, 1875 in a country village in Alsace (then part of Germany; later part of France), Albert Schweitzer was the son of a Lutheran pastor. Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965) was an accomplished theologian, musicologist, organ technician, physician and surgeon, missionary, philosopher of ethics, lecturer, writer and the builder and chief force of the famous hospital at Lambarene, in Gabon, the former French Equatorial Africa.
He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952. He is known for his compassion and respect for animals. During his life he stated, “We need a boundless ethic which will include the animals also. The ethics of respect for life makes us keep on the lookout together for opportunities of bringing some sort of help to animals, to make up for the great miseries men inflict on them.”
In 1949 Albert visited the United States and in 1952 he received the Nobel Peace Prize to add to such other recognitions as the Goethe prize of Frankfurt and numerous honorary doctorates awarded by many universities.
Another reflection from Schweitzer, "The time will come when public opinion will no longer tolerate amusements based on the mistreatment and killing of animals. The time will come, but when? When will we reach the point that hunting, the pleasure in killing animals for sport, will be regarded as a mental aberration?"
The monies associated with the Nobel Prize were expended towards the accomodation of persons afflicted with leprosy at Lambaréné.
Albert Schweitzer died September 4, 1965 and was buried in the grounds of the medical mission to which he had devoted his life. He was ninety years of age at the time and had remained actively involved in the medical mission at Lambaréné for almost fifty years.
There is a hospital in Haiti named after this incredible man: Hôpital Albert Schweitzer in Deschapelles, Haiti. Hospital Albert Schweitzer Haiti, founded by Larry Mellon and Gwen Grant Mellon in 1956, is an integrated rural health system that provides medical care and community health and development programs for 300,000 impoverished people in the Artibonite Valley of central Haiti. Larry Mellon was inspired by the life and philosophy of Albert Schweitzer to dedicate his life to the creation of this hospital.The hospital is located in Deschapelles. Email email@example.com Also visit http://www.friendsofhas.org/
There is also the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Lambaréné, now in Gabon, west central Africa (then French Equatorial Africa.)
Schweitzer said, "As long as I can remember, I have suffered because of the great misery I saw in the world. I never really knew the artless, youthful joy of living, and I believe that many children feel this way, even when outwardly they seem to be wholly happy and without a single care.I used to suffer particularly because the poor animals must endure so much pain and want. The sight of an old, limping horse being dragged along by one man while another man struck him with a stick -- he was being driven to the Colmar slaughterhouse -- haunted me for weeks."
Albert Schweitzer wrote the following prayer for the animals he so loved:
Hear our humble prayer, O God, for our friends, the animals. Especially for animals who are suffering: for any that are hunted or lost or deserted or frightened or hungry; for all that must be put to death. We entreat for them all thy mercy and pity, and for those who deal with them, we ask a heart of compassion and gentle hands and kindly words. Make us, ourselves, to be true friends to animals and so to share the blessings of the merciful.
Albert Schweitzer quotes: http://www.unitedearth.com.au/schweitzer.html
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Attorney gives voice to Animals
Antoine Goetschel's job as animal welfare attorney in Zurich is not only unique in Switzerland – it's also a worldwide first. Zurich's pioneering work in this area could soon be adopted by other cantons. Goetschel tells swissinfo how Switzerland is among the most progressive countries when it comes to protecting our feathered and furry friends.
Working for the canton of Zurich, the lawyer acts in court cases and in criminal proceedings on behalf of abused animals. Discussions have recently been held by parliamentarians about introducing the Zurich idea into federal legislation.
Goetschel, a vegetarian, has held the part-time post since November 2007.
He is also one of the founders of the Zurich-based Foundation for the Animal in the Law, which has the largest public library of texts on animal welfare law and animal ethics in the German-speaking world.
swissinfo: What does the work of an animal welfare attorney involve?
Antoine Goetschel: I have about 150-180 cases per year. I'm informed from the start of the investigation into the case and I can see whether special exams, proofs and witnesses have been made or asked. If not, I can influence this procedure. When the case comes to court or to a decision I can suggest the punishment by comparing it with other cases.
As the animal welfare attorney, and in collaboration with the Foundation for the Animal in the Law, I have access to information on every court case and every criminal case decision concerning animal welfare and ethics in Switzerland.
This allows me to say a case looks similar to another one and there, the punishment was SFr800 ($715). This is a more serious case, so the punishment should not be under SFr2,000.
Working on this with a warm heart, but not showing too many emotions, we cooperate very well with state attorneys, the courts, police and other offices and I feel we are accepted as experts in the field.
swissinfo: Can you describe a typical case?
A.G.: Overall, 60-70 per cent of cases are of mistreated dogs - dog abuse cases are quite common, not always by the owners but also by third parties. I also have a case where a person was seen mistreating horses. We had four witnesses but the state attorney at first didn't want to listen to the witnesses because he thought the case was not proven. We won an opening of the investigation in court and these witnesses have now been questioned and the person has gone to court.
swissinfo: There are discussions about having animal welfare attorneys across the whole of Switzerland, but the government is not so keen. Why?
A.G.: The government is protecting the cantons which are each responsible for their own application of animal welfare legislation. So it is not being visionary at the moment. But there is some support in parliament and the move could still be implemented in Switzerland within the next few years.
swissinfo: Would you nevertheless describe Switzerland as being at the forefront of animal welfare legislation?
A.G.: It depends what you compare. We have just changed our animal welfare legislation and this could be said to be among the leading laws in Europe, with Germany and Austria and the Netherlands. We have changed the legal status of animals in Switzerland, as has also been done in Germany and Austria, and a bit in France.
The Swiss law goes a bit more into detail. For instance, it protects animals in divorce cases, meaning they cannot be seized. On the other hand, there's a legal right to keep animals in apartments in France, but not in Switzerland. If you compare this, then we have interesting aspects in Switzerland and interesting aspects in other legislations.
swissinfo: You have been researching the situation in other countries for a publication.
A.G.: We compared 18 legislations worldwide from Argentina, Japan and China to Britain, asking the same 18 questions. The goal is to motivate politicians and legislators interested in animal welfare in one country to adopt a good legislation from another country.
For example, it could be interesting for Britain to have animal welfare lawyers because it is where animal welfare legislation started in 1824 and it gives the impression of being very animal friendly.
swissinfo: Are the Swiss a nation of animal lovers?
A.G.: Looking back into Germanic history, before the 1930s and especially in the Middle Ages, people had a closer relationship to animals so it is not astonishing that Germany, Switzerland and Austria are progressive here and are pushing European legislation forward.
Through this Switzerland is becoming increasingly known as animal welfare friendly. I had the honour of helping change the Swiss constitution in 1992. Switzerland is now the only place worldwide which protects animals' dignity both in the constitution and in legislation. It encourages other states to look at Swiss solutions more closely.
swissinfo: What was your motivation for becoming involved in animal welfare?
A.G.: It started in 1986 quite by chance when I was asked to write on its legal aspects. I realised the importance of animal ethics as far as animal experiments were concerned, for vegetarianism, farm animals and so on.
During this time I was not allowed to speak for ten days because of an operation. For me it was deep personal experience, this deprivation of expression, because I like talking a lot! I felt solidarity to especially farm animals which are not able to express themselves and I looked at animal welfare with new eyes.
swissinfo: Animals are for you...?
A.G.: Animals for me have a soul and intelligence that is not being seen appropriately by human beings and are a special life form, just as humans are. For me it's a question of solidarity to protect their interests, lives and wellbeing just as it is important to protect the environment, abused children and so on.
He has also stated since taking on this role that the biggest challenges he faces are hard hearted judges and state attorneys, stubborn farmers, selfish pet owners. And politicians that lack vision.
Interview by Isobel Leybold-Johnson in Zurich
Name of Firm: Antoine F. Goetschel, Attorney-at-Law
City/Country: Zurich, Switzerland
Type of Practitioner: Sole, in fulfilling official duties.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
United Kingdom Week for the Animals is an exciting week of events created to celebrate and joyfully build awareness for the animals.
January 27, 2010
(New York City, New York) Animal World USA-International is excited to announce the
1st United Kingdom Week for the Animals will be held July 3-11, 2010. This very special week, which will highlight the importance that animals play in our lives, will also joyfully bring communities together on behalf of the animals throughout the UK.
This first-ever week long series of events will span two weekends and is designed to celebrate and build awareness on behalf of all animals, as well as recognize the organizations and citizens who support them. UK Week for the Animals will bring together animal shelters, rescue organizations, sanctuaries, businesses, students, musicians, artists, educators, community leaders, decision makers and caring citizens in an exciting week of community-building activities.
The fun-filled week will feature pet adoption events, animal-assisted therapy in hospitals, a salute to animals in law enforcement and the military, school/art displays and activities, pet awareness events at libraries, blessings of the animals, golf outings, art exhibits, low cost spay and neuter events, art gallery events, book signings, walks for farm animals, musical events and so much more! All these activities and events will shine the spotlight on the amazing animals and compassionate people who love them.
Precious lives which will be saved and communities will be transformed in this week with the variety of animal-related activities and events. Organizers expect scores of events to be created and scheduled for the calendar.
Animal World USA-Int'l Weeks for the Animals organizers released a statement saying, “We have seen a tremendous outpouring of compassion and history-making change for the animals in the U.S. Weeks campaign. We expect the UK to be an exceptionally dynamic week that will be filled with excitement as only the U.K. can bring to the international stage. We are extremely grateful to the generous response that the UK animal welfare organizations have shown. We will be working non-stop over the upcoming months to ensure success for this incredible 1st UK Week for the Animals. Together we all will help the animals and build wonderfully new and exciting relationships!”
If you would like to learn more, be involved or schedule an event, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 877-454-0807 or visit the official website at http://ukanimals.org/
~Animal World USA-International's mission is inspiring, educating and empowering people to understand, love and protect the animals of our world.~
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Participate in the National Bird Day State Bird Count and make your state rate!
The count collection begins October 1, 2009, and ends January 31, 2010.
Beginning in 1927 the legislature of each state in the United States designated one bird species as the official "State Bird" for that state. Some states have two! Not sure what your State's official bird is? Visit the website to find out! Visit http://www.nationalbirdday.com/g_state_bird.php
Help Birds in Winter.
(See Virginia state bird pictured, the Cardinal. )
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Born Free USA in coordination with the Avian Welfare Coalition (AWC) is calling on activists around the U.S. to take action on behalf of captive birds by drawing attention to the exploitation of other countries' native birds by the U.S. pet industry on January 5 — National Bird Day.
Visit http://www.nationalbirdday.com/ where you will find a host of activities and ways to become involved for the birds. There is some really cool stuff on the website including “Name that Tune.”
"National Bird Day" is not only a good day to take time to appreciate the native wild birds flying free outside our windows, it is also a perfect time to reflect on how we treat the native birds of other countries. While we have enacted laws to protect our native birds — such as blue jays, cardinals, and crows — from commercial exploitation, we fail to recognize the inconsistency in allowing the pet industry to exploit the birds of other countries.
As we do every year, we compile a list of events and participating artists, complete with contact information, that the public and other interested people can attend. If you plan such an activity, or know of one upcoming in your neighborhood, please let us know. Email email@example.com so we can add your action to our list of participants and activities.
Or write to us at:
National Bird Day
c/o Born Free USA
P.O. Box 22505
Sacramento, CA 95822
Visit animalworldusa.org for a list of bird adoption rescue organizations which can be found on the AWUSA shelter page.
Monday, January 4, 2010
by Mat Thomas, animalrighter.org
Encompassing 21 seasons and 450 episodes, “The Simpsons” is the longest-running sitcom in television history, and this January 10th, Fox will culminate its year-long celebration of the classic cartoon's 20th anniversary with a documentary special by Super Size Me director and star Morgan Spurlock.
Diehard fans already know that “The Simpsons” pioneered a subversive style of animal rights comedy never before seen on the small screen. So, at the dawn of a new decade deluged with Top 10 lists, I decided to pay the program tribute by showcasing the 10 best animal-centric “Simpsons” episodes (so far, in chronological order).
1. Episode 1: “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” – In the series premiere, Homer loses the family's Christmas money betting at the dog track, but then brings home the best present ever — a rescued racing greyhound named Santa's Little Helper.
2. Episode 29: “Bart's Dog Gets an F” – The family's misbehaving canine attends obedience school, where Bart refuses to implement the draconian instructor's pain-based training methods.
3. Episode 43: “Lisa's Pony” – Homer finally grants his 8-year-old daughter's wish for a pony, but she relinquishes her beloved horse after learning that dad must work nights to pay for expensive stabling.
4. Episode 54: “Dog of Death” – After Santa's Little Helper runs away from home, billionaire tyrant Mr. Burns plucks him from the pound and turns him into a vicious attack hound — but his love for Bart ultimately overcomes his killer conditioning.
5. Episode 79: “Whacking Day” – Each May, the town of Springfield observes a traditional holiday that entails beating snakes to a pulp with clubs, but Bart and Lisa save the serpents' lives with the help of soul crooner Barry White's earth-shaking basso profundo.
6. Episode 98: “Bart Gets an Elephant” – Bart wins a real live pachyderm from a radio call-in show, but “Stampy” proves a neighborhood hazard, so Bart and Lisa must persuade Homer to send his gargantuan pal to a sanctuary instead of selling him to an ivory dealer.
7. Episode 133: “Lisa the Vegetarian” – Lisa gives up eating meat, but almost cracks under constant ridicule at home and school — until a pep talk by Paul and Linda McCartney puts her back on the right path.
8. Episode 249: “Treehouse of Horror XI” – In a Free Willy parody, Lisa releases a captive bottlenose dolphin from a marine park where he was forced to perform demeaning tricks — but the deposed “King of the Dolphins” then enslaves humanity for banishing his kind to the sea eons ago.
9. Episode 252: “Lisa the Tree Hugger” – Trying to win the affections of activist (and “level-five vegan”) Jessie Grass, Lisa (channelling Julia Butterfly) refuses to disembark from an ancient redwood until it is spared from logging.
10. Episode 417: “Apocalypse Cow” – Bart joins 4H to drive cool combine harvesters, but winds up having to save the calf he raised from butchery — with a cow-costumed Homer nearly being killed in a fully-automated slaughterhouse.
Visit thesimpsons.com to learn more about “The Simpsons”! Learn more about Mat Thomas' wonderful work and writing at animalrighter.org. Mat Thomas is a contributing columnist for Animal World USA monthly publication.