Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Nurse Mare Foals: Thoroughbred Horseracing's Invisible Victims

by Mat Thomas -

For decades, the thoroughbred racehorse industry has practiced a shockingly cruel breeding method that activists have only recently brought to light. The result of this compulsory procreative procedure are nurse mare foals — the unwanted offspring of female horses used as nursing surrogates for thoroughbred ponies. Every year, tens of thousands of these horses are killed or orphaned simply because they are useless to a multi-million dollar enterprise that thrives on equine exploitation.

Here's how it works: in order to get thoroughbred mares to produce as many potential racehorse champions as possible, breeders push their biological limits to extremes by forcing them to reproduce once a year. Maximizing productivity requires breeders to have the mares reimpregnated right after giving birth, which precludes them from nursing their own babies. The newborns are therefore taken away from their mothers within days of delivery, and nursed by surrogate mares (of “inferior” breeds) who have just given birth to their own offspring — the “by-products” of this process are known as nurse mare foals.

Permanently separating thoroughbred babies from their mothers is tragic enough, but nurse mare foals usually face a far worse fate. While some are killed soon after being born or starved to death, others are sold (as young as one day old) to the tanning industry which slaughters them and turns their skin into handbags, belts, and other high-grade leather products.

The lucky ones are rescued by horse advocacy groups, which, just like the tanners, must pay the going rate of $250 to $350 apiece — and then spend several hundred more dollars feeding and raising each horse until they are ready for adoption.

Rescuers nourish nurse mare foals by bottle-feeding them milk replacer, which could theoretically be used to feed thoroughbred foals as well, thus eliminating this exceedingly inhumane breeding practice altogether.

There are two main reasons that they don't do this: formula is expensive, and horse breeders maintain that thoroughbreds need to drink real (albeit surrogate) mother's milk from the source to achieve peak performance. Plus, the larger nurse mare farms (concentrated in New York, Kentucky and Tennesee) produce 50 to 100 foals a year, and it is more operationally efficient to make the surrogate mothers do all the work rather than paying human caretakers to feed the foals by hand.

Another possible solution to producing unwanted foals is a new domperidone-based drug protocol that induces non-pregnant mares who have given birth before to lactate. Though chemically manipulating horses' hormones poses ethical dilemmas, in practical terms it would prevent tens of thousands of unwanted foals from being born into a life of suffering and untimely death. It could also dramatically reduce the number of surrogate nurse mares by enabling thoroughbreds who are too old for breeding to nurse foals.

There are many ways to help relieve the suffering of nurse mares and their orphaned foals, from urging elected legislators to pass humane laws to financially supporting horse advocacy organizations or adopting a rescued foal. Learn more about how to take action by visiting

Saturday, May 15, 2010

2nd Annual Washington DC Week for the Animals May 29-June 6, 2010!

Animal World USA

(Washington, DC) Animal World USA is pleased to announce the 2nd Annual Washington DC Week for the Animals will kick off Saturday, May 29, 2010 and run through Sunday, June 6, 2010. The exciting celebration is again designed to celebrate and recognize the unique and life-changing role that animals play in the lives of citizens through all walks of life.

The week will underscore community spirit throughout the Washington, DC Metro area as people come together on behalf of the amazing animals. To further add to the excitement, the 23rd Washington Humane Society’s Bark Ball will take place June 5, 2010! George Washington Law School will once again host a wonderful law night, featuring a panel of leading attorneys and advocates, that will be transformative to all in attendance.

The 2nd Annual DC Week for the Animals will be bringing together educators, animal shelters, humane organizations, sanctuaries, restaurants, businesses, students, musicians, artists, community leaders, decision makers and caring citizens in an action-packed compassionate week of community activities for the animals! This extraordinary week will feature a multitude of awesome fun-filled pet adoption events, events for the farm animals, festivals and blessings of the animals, free and low cost spay/neuter opportunities, microchipping, unique ways to help the horses, library storytelling events, vaccinations, wildlife activities, pet therapy, pet food/supply donation opportunities to help local orgs, vegetarian get-togethers, a salute to the military and so much more!

Please feel free to contact us by phone and/or email. We will also be working with publishers to have books donated and education underscored in the metro communities.

Precious lives will be saved and communities transformed during this incredible week. The 2nd Annual Washington, DC Week for the Animals will build new relationships for the animals and save precious lives once again. Visit the official website for complete contact and event information at

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

North Carolina Students say Thanks to Ft. Bragg K-9's and Handlers

Irwin Intermediate School present thank you cards to the Ft. Bragg K-9's and Handlers!

During 3rd Annual North Carolina Week for the Animals which transpired May 1-9, 2010 Irwin Intermediate School made colorful cards for the Ft. Bragg soldiers and working K-9's. These sweet cards (as only young ones can create) were a way for the school to show their appreciation for the sacrifice and courage the soldiers and dogs give to our country.

Stacey Crawford, 6th Grade Teacher at Irwin Intermediate School in Fort Bragg, NC said "It was fantastic! Thank you for allowing our students to be a part of this special NC Week for Animals." Irwin Intermediate Teacher Deborah Popour also expressed her sincere gratitude.

The students were visited by two handlers from Ft. Bragg ...Sergeant Webster and Staff Sergeant Wade and of course coming along was one of the awesome working K-9's, Barron. After the visit, Sgt. Webster said, "It was great. It means a lot to us to receive the cards from the students. We don't normally on our daily business receive this feedback, and it really makes us know that we are appreciated."

A big thank you to Dr. Tim Howle, principal of Irwin Intermediate School and teachers who helped to coordinate this activity. Thanks to the students for creating the beautiful cards and taking the pictures.

This just serves to remind us all that when we say thank you it can changes lives. A salute to all our courageous troops wherever they are. Animal World USA also extends our gratitude and say "We love you!"

Monday, May 3, 2010

Tell Congress to Close Loopholes on Cruel Shark Finning

by Mat Thomas,

Every year, the world’s fishermen hack all the fins off of more than 100 million living sharks and dump their dismembered bodies back into the sea, leaving these massive fish to suffer an agonizing death that can take days. Some die from starvation, while others are slowly devoured by various predators, or simply suffocate because they cannot swim and sharks must remain in constant motion to keep oxygenated water flowing through their gills.

The driving force behind this aquatic atrocity is the growing global appetite for shark fin soup, a high-priced delicacy that is most popular in China, Japan and other far-east Asian nations. Shark fins fetch about $200 per pound, while shark meat only sells for less than one-tenth that price.

So it is economically profitable for fishing companies to simply chop sharks’ fins off and throw their mutilated bodies overboard because ships can only fit so much flesh in their refrigerated holds on long journeys out at sea.

The impact of this inhumane practice has been devastating to fragile oceanic ecosystems. Coupled with other slash-and-burn methods like long-line fishing, shark finning has caused a 90 percent decline in worldwide shark populations over the last half century.

And because sharks are the top apex predators of the deep, their dramatic disappearance has led to radically increased numbers of rays and skates, which devour shellfish at an unsustainable rate.

Fortunately, some people are taking effective action to counter the seafood industry’s wave of wanton destruction. When the Goldman Environmental Prize (widely considered the “Nobel” of environmental awards) recently recognized biologist Randall Arauz for his efforts to end shark finning in Costa Rica, the campaign against this abominable animal abuse achieved new levels of international awareness.

His undercover video documentation of a vessel finning 30,000 sharks ultimately led to a ban on the practice in his native country. Formerly the third largest exporter of shark meat, the law Costa Rica passed in 2006 has become a model for countries around the world to follow.

Momentum to prohibit shark finning by the U.S. fishing fleet is proceeding apace here, as well. Congress banned shark finning in 2000, but a loophole allows ships in the Pacific Ocean to bring shark fins to market as long as they weigh less than five percent of sharks’ “dressed” weight (i.e., the carcass minus its head and innards).

In March 2009, the House of Representatives passed a bill to make Pacific fisheries comply with the same rules as those operating in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. Passage of a Senate companion bill, entitled the Shark Conservation Act (S. 850), is all that’s needed to make it the law of the land (and sea).

What You Can Do
Please urge your two U.S. Senators to support and co-sponsor the Shark Conservation Act.
Also call and write President Obama urging him to aggressively promote an international ban on shark finning, as only 33 of the world’s nearly 200 countries have instituted regulations against the practice.