Feel Good Sunday: Chapter 1 – Living with Four-Legged Children

by R.T. Fitch

“Behind the scenes, here at Straight from the Horse’s Heart, are several volunteers who write while others scour the internet in search of equine related news and articles that will not only be entertaining but of value to our horsey readership. One such individual, Geraldine Bray, works seven days a week with no compensation in an effort to get the news about horses, burros, buffalo, whales, wolves, grizzles, dolphins and any other wild being that is downtrodden by humans out and in front of our readers so that they can have the information needed to make a difference when discussing such topics with family, friends and legislators. Likewise, Chief News Correspondent, Geri, endeavors to locate at least one story a week that might bemuse and uplift our audience as a Feel Good Sunday (FGS) installation so that we can wash our hearts and souls out for one day a week before we wade back into the fray on Monday. This week, I am kindly going to ask Geri to take the day off as I have found the fodder for FGS right within arm’s reach in our own backyard with our wild and wacky four legged charges who never cease to either entertain or amaze me.” ~ R.T.


Terry and I never copied ourselves by manufacturing two legged children that would be labeled as “ours”. Her reasoning harkens back to the grotesque video that public schools used to show to pre-pubescent girls during special sessions after hours in grade school, when they thought the boys had all gone home, fat chance of that. Plus, she was prepared to take a hit for the team when it came to population control as humans do NOT have the propensity to treat their world, or it’s other inhabitants, kindly. (She also says that she has been raising one over-sized kid, me, for over twenty years and that was about as much fun as she could stand)

Me, I was and still am convinced that if you mixed my genes with another human’s you would end up with some sort of individual that would grow hair on the palms of their hands and drink out of the toilet so in an effort to save humanity from a backwards trip down evolutionary lane I was gelded very early in my adult life. And no, I do not speak in a high-pitched voice.

So with that all being said, we have always been guardians to four-legged children who we have welcomed into our lives and been devastated when they pass on. It is tough being a parent who outlives their children but we have always had a very staunch rule when it comes to being a guardian to dogs, cats, horses and yes, even fish. When you enter our lives, we will never, ever give you up, your home is permanent and you shall always be loved; even if you are a butt-head, we will still love you and your uniqueness.

With all of that tone setting preamble behind us let me tell you about a little adventure that I had when attempting to accomplish some fencing repairs out in our pastures the other day.

Perhaps those who don’t live with horses might not understand, just like I don’t get cute baby stories, but those who do interact with ponies and donkeys on a daily basis will recognize and appreciate the curious and adventurous spirits that graze upon grass out behind their barn and home. We are blessed.

I had been absent from the farm for several months, earlier this year, working hard to supply an income that would allow for the purchase of hay for the horses and batteries for cat toys; it is what I do, I am a guy, it tis my job. But in my absence the electric rope that is strung across the top of our cross-fencing in an effort to stop one juvenile drafty from breaking fence boards while playing “Dueling Heads” with his TB brother mal-functioned and it did not take the giant, 1 ton, golden baby very long to figure out that he could begin to disassemble the inert electric rope and associated gate guards. So that is what I returned home to and set upon repairing the other day, WITH a lot of help from my friends.

My trusty, full-time companion, Roxy the Wonder Border Collie, goes everywhere with me, so much so that she has laid claim to the big, red Dodge Dually and does not allow me to take it on my extended domestic trips, instead, I have been instructed to take Mom’s much smaller Grand Cherokee; a 4X4 with panties. Sorry, I digress.

The other day Roxy and I entered the pastures with my bag of tools, roll of rope and wire in an effort to get as much of the fence-line back up and running before the temps would begin to kiss the 100 degree mark so I attempted to work quickly while she supervised me from a shady spot and I worked along the fence-line.

And we had help. As shown in the video that accompanies this tale of frivolity and mirth, one of our pasture ornament off the track TBs, Bart, came over to check out his girlfriend, Roxy. Bart is in love with Roxy and she just does not have any time for the giant suitor who is 20 times her size, in fact, she is rude and will sit with her back to him but Bart is not the Einstein of Equines and continues to try to win her favor, which works out well for me as it keeps him busy. He loves to stick his nose in my ear, while I am working, and say “Can you hear me now” which is immediately followed by stealing my straw hat and running away with it.

Not today, when he became bored of being stood up by Roxy he stuck his nose in my ear and said “I have a special present for you,” and before his words even stopped rattling around in my head I saw his tail stand up and heard the sound of well hydrated horse turds plopping upon the ground, but upon further examination, they never made it to the ground as they ALL landed right inside my canvas tool back where they exploded all over my drill, pliers, screwdrivers and hardware. “REALLY!?!”

If not for the look of total and abject amusement on his face and Roxy running over to partake of this fresh manna from heaven I would have been a tad bit pissed but instead I trudged back up to the house and garage and cleaned up the mess before going back down to the pasture to continue my work.

Once back down, I clamped off a section of rope and began the tedious task of wiring an underground section to pass under a gate so that I could leave the gate open yet the power would continue to pulse further downstream where it was needed. With mission accomplished I looked for my staple gun so that I could safely secure the traversing wire to the fence posts on either side of the gate but alias I could not find it in the bag where Moose, the juvenile drafty, had been nuzzling just moments before. It took a few moments for it to register as I gazed at his ample backside calmly walk away and cross into an adjoining pasture but the concept struck home when I called his name, he turned around to look at me and there was a glint of shiny metal between his lips, I had been robbed. Of course, this turned into a fun and exciting romp around the pastures with dog in tow for about 20 minutes in 90 degree heat but I finally picked the staple gun out of the mini-mud pond that the horses roll in when it gets too hot. The staple gun was no longer recognizable.

Tools back in the bag, rolls of rope and wire under my arms and towards the house I dragged myself.

Industrial sized Wrangler Iced Tea was made and I walked into the pool fully clothed to sit on the steps and let the coolness roll over me and down inside me. I was finished.

Not much later, Terry appeared at the side of the pool, covered with sweat herself from her continued gardening obsession and stood over Roxy and I sitting neck deep on the steps in the middle of a giant slick of mud and grease.

With hands on her hips she said, “You two sure did not work very long.”

To which I replied, with Roxy panting in agreement, “Time is irrelevant when working with your children, often, it seems like an eternity when working in the pastures…and for that I am grateful.” as I raised the 36oz tumbler, filled with Diet Arizona Tea infused with a good Texas vodka, to her in the form of a salute. “Might I interest you in a drink?”

Curtain closes, exit stage left.

And so goes another day and chapter in the life of the residents at “Laughing Horse Farm”.

Next episode: “Moose eats tractor seat and steals all shift knobs when fuel line breaks during mowing and I go to the barn for tools. Time away from equipment: 2 minutes.”

Stay tuned…the adventures continue.

Keep the Faith!

From Wolves to Horses to Dogs, This Big Law Partner Has Built a Practice Exclusively Defending Animals

Jenna Greene, The Litigation Daily

Bruce Wagman, Behind the Scenes Warrior for Wild Horses & Burros

“It is a very sincere pleasure to share with you this article about our legal consultant and my longtime friend, Bruce Wagman.  Bruce was the attorney that we pleaded with, almost a decade ago, to research for Terry and myself ways to stop the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from zeroing out federally protected wild horse herds.  With no organization to back us up and zero history to bolster our dedication to the cause Bruce took up our case and to this day was the silent partner and legal consultant behind our BLM Long Term Holding White Paper…and there is more to come.  Thank you Bruce for all that you do for those who are recognized only as property and even if they could speak, would not be allowed to.  You are the voice for millions.  Rock On my brother!” ~ R.T.


Schiff Hardin‘s Bruce Wagman with dogs Kazi (left) and Tatu at his home in Stinson Beach, CA. Jason Doiy

Schiff Hardin partner Bruce Wagman has the best client list ever: birds, cats, chickens, chimpanzees, cows, deer, dogs, dolphins, ducks, elephants, elk, gorillas, horses, lions, mice, monkeys, pigs, sharks, turkeys, whales and wolves.

Okay, technically they’re not his clients, because, well, animals can’t hire lawyers.

But Wagman, who plausibly asserts he is the only Big Law partner in the country focusing exclusively on animal law, has carved out a unique practice defending and improving the lives of animals.

On Tuesday, he and Schiff Hardin partner Elizabeth Runyan Geise, along with co-counsel from the Humane Society of the United States, scored a big win when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld a lower court decision protecting gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region, which includes Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

They challenged a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rule de-listing the wolves as a protected group under the Endangered Species Act.

The panel—Judges Thomas Griffith, Patricia Millett and Nina Pillard—held that the agency failed to reasonably consider the impact of partial delisting on the remaining portion of the species, as well the impact of historical range loss. Their decision will save the wolves from trophy hunting and commercial trapping, including hound hunting, snares, baiting, electronic calls and the use of leg hold traps.

Per the Endangered Species Act, the prevailing lawyers are entitled to an award of legal fees. Still, Wagman acknowledged one ongoing “tension” in his practice is getting paid. Because in addition to being unable to hire lawyers, animals don’t have any money.

But his partners at 300-lawyer Schiff Hardin have been “incredibly supportive,” he said. Wagman previously practiced with 35-lawyer Morgenstein & Jubelirer in San Francisco, which merged with Schiff Hardin in 2007. “I was in the right place at the right time” to build the practice, he said. “I’ve slowly picked up more and more clients.”

In 2015 when he was honored by the ABA’s Animal Law Committee, Wagman wrote, “I expected my tenure there would last a couple of years at most, and that this Chicago-based firm would not want this animal law weirdo as a partner. Well, I could not have been more wrong. … The firm’s validation of the work has been overwhelming and consistent.”

Among his big cases: defending a California law requiring humane treatment of animals too sick or injured to stand or walk; stopping commercial horse slaughter for human consumption; suing the federal government to stop untested surgical sterilization “research” on wild mares; upholding a ban on the possession or sale of shark fins in California; and negotiating the release of chimpanzees used for medical research. He also helped found two permanent sanctuaries for them.

Some of Wagman’s work, especially the big-impact litigation, is pro bono, he said. Some is “low bono,” for reduced fees. And some is full-fee work for private clients, including dog bite cases and custody fights over pets.

Under the law, pets are considered to be property—a discovery that people who call Wagman up wanting to sue for emotional distress after someone kills their dog find dismaying, he said.

“It’s ripe for change, but change is slow,” he said. Still, he sees subtle signs that more judges are taking into account what’s best for the pet in custody fights, looking beyond indicia of ownership. Who walks the dog? Who has a yard? “It’s happening without anyone realizing it’s happening,” he said.

http://www.litigationdaily.com/id=1202794647496/From-Wolves-to-Horses-to-Dogs-This-Big-Law-Partner-Has-Built-a-Practice-Exclusively-Defending-Animals?slreturn=20170704070805

Feel Good Sunday: Italian City to Use Quiet Fireworks Out of Respect for Critters

by R.T. Fitch

“More Companion Animals Run Away During the 4th Than any other Time of the Year…”

Living in an equestrian community it has always been the ‘law of the land’ to ban all types of fireworks at all times of the year for the sake of the horses and donkeys, but of course; there is always a drunk or unsupervised teenager who attempts to press the envelope during the 4th of July.  But all in all, we manage to stem the panic at a local level but are not exempt from the pops and booms from neighboring communities and our companion animals end up suffering stress from the surrounding commotion.

Years ago, when we had a quaint little farm in the countryside north of Lafayette, LA we were surrounded my neighboring farmers who would actually aim their aerial assault OVER our property just to watch our horses run as depicted in a story/chapter in our book, ‘Straight from the Horses Heart‘.

Even as I type, today, I have a little boarder collie glued to my desk chair as the pops and bangs from last night are still fresh in her mind.  This time of the year I am forced to sleep on the couch with one hand on my best friend, Roxy, to keep her settled during the nighttime explosions.  The couch is lower than the bed and she can nuzzle me with her nose when she gets too stressed.  Although this sleeping arrangement works well for her it does little for my rest during this holiday weekend.

But someone is doing something about all the noise.  Horses, donkeys, cats, dogs, and other companion animals living in the Italian town of Collecchio will now be able to rest a little easier during city-wide celebrations as the local government mandates that only silent fireworks be used out of respect for the critters.  Imagine THAT!

The town elders have figure out that more pets are lost, frightened, and stressed during holidays and special events in which fireworks are used in celebration than at any other time of the year. When spooked by a barrage of pops, bangs, and explosions, horses often bolt, running away to escape the blasts. Each year, hundreds of smaller pets such as cats and dogs never make it back home again.

That’s why the town of Collecchio in Italy’s Parma province has passed new legislation that mandates the use of silent fireworks as a way to minimize the fear and trauma equines, cats, dogs, and other animals experience during the celebratory displays.

One Italian company, Setti Fireworks, has already developed a quieter version of the brilliant displays and spectacular light shows, without the accompanying explosive sounds that send pets and wildlife into a panic. Similarly, fireworks companies in the U.S. have been developing quiet fireworks displays in anticipation of the trend toward respecting animals and wildlife expanding world wide…a trend that cannot come soon enough!

An interesting story on Quiet Fireworks: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/01/science/july-4-fireworks-quiet.html

Great News! New York Senate Votes to Increase Penalties for Animal Cruelty Offenses

Story by as published on One Green Planet.org

People convicted of serious animal cruelty crimes will now be banned from owning companion animals.

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

We have some great news for animals! The New York state Senate passed legislation on June 6, 2017, that would increase penalties for those convicted of animal cruelty. This legislation was sponsored by Republican Senator James Tedisco, and it received support from both major parties. According to Tedisco, “It’s the most bipartisan, nonpartisan day of the session … It’s a privilege to have an animal; it’s your responsibility to take care of them.”

People convicted of serious animal cruelty crimes will now be banned from owning companion animals. Additionally, they voted to double the jail time and fines for these crimes, from two years in prison and a $5,000 fine to four years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Those convicted will also be required to undergo a psychological evaluation. There is also a bill before the assembly that would make harming an animal a felony during the act of another felony, such as a burglary.

This is amazing news considering so many cases of animal cruelty either don’t get reported or when they do come to court, the penalties are hardly enough to deter people from repeating similar offenses. We are thrilled New York has made this major step to fight animal cruelty, especially since cases of animal cruelty have often gone overlooked and underpunished. We hope this is a sign there will be more improvements in animal cruelty laws across the nation.

Please share this good news with your friends and family!

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/news/new-york-senate-votes-to-increase-penalties-for-animal-cruelty/

‘Horrific incident’: Family Speaks Out after Pet Dog Killed by ‘Cyanide Bomb’

By Shelbie Harris as published on The Idaho State Journal

“While at first glance this sad story might not appear to have much to do with wild horses and burros but it most certainly applies, with spades.  Some time ago, myself and fellow investigators from Wild Horse Freedom Federation were documenting BLM Contract long term holding facilities when we came across one contractor’s property, used to house former wild horses, with prominent signs indicating that like poison devices were in use on the very same property that captive wild horses were grazing.  To date, this finding haunts us as we continue to seek ways and means to stop the barbaric removal of protected wild horses and burros from their congressionaly approved, rightful range.” ~ R.T.


Signage on BLM contractor’s property housing former wild horses. (Click to Enlarge) ~ photo by R.T. Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

POCATELLO — As he walked his dog along the ridgeline of the hillside just south of his family’s home on West Buckskin Road, 14-year-old Canyon Mansfield noticed what he thought was a sprinkler head protruding 6 inches from the ground.

Like many curious teenagers would, he bent down and touched the pipe, which erupted with a loud popping noise that knocked Canyon off his feet. A hissing sound ensued and Canyon noticed his clothing and face were covered with an orange, powdery substance. After quickly washing his face and clothes in a nearby patch of snow, he called for his dog, a 3-year-old Lab named Casey.

But Canyon’s best friend didn’t respond.

“He just stayed on the ground mumbling,” Canyon said. “I thought he was playing with his toy, but I saw the toy a couple yards away from him. … So, I called him again and got really scared. I sprinted toward him and landed on my knees and saw this red froth coming from his mouth and his eyes turning glassy and he was having a seizure.”

Within minutes, Casey was dead.

“My little brother is lying in bed crying next to me,” said Canyon’s sister, Madison Mansfield. “He spent yesterday in the emergency room after stumbling upon an unmarked cyanide bomb in the woods directly behind my home. He watched his best friend suffocate as sodium cyanide was deposited in his mouth.”

Canyon was taken to Portneuf Medical Center, where he was treated and released. But he must continue daily follow-up appointments to check toxicity levels.

On Thursday afternoon, Casey joined thousands of other non-targeted animals — both wild and domestic — that have been mistakenly killed by one of the most lethal tools at the disposal of the U.S. Department of Agriculture — spring-loaded metal cylinders that are baited with scent that shoot sodium cyanide powder into the mouth or face of whatever or whoever touches them.

Known as M-44 devices, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) division of the USDA deploys these sodium cyanide capsules throughout the West to protect livestock from coyotes, wild dogs, and red and gray foxes.

M-44s are hollow metal tubes 5 to 7 inches long that are driven into the ground, loaded with 0.9 grams of sodium cyanide and coated with the smelliest bait possible…(CONTINUED)

http://www.idahostatejournal.com/outdoors/xtreme_idaho/horrific-incident-family-speaks-out-after-pet-dog-killed-by/article_93f3d07e-6ecb-5035-8d39-f27c791eb4b5.html

Animal Protection Groups Commend Bill to Ban Dog and Cat Meat in the United States

Source: International Humane Society PR

“This story walks hand-in-hand with our discussion on Wild Horse and Burro Radio last night” ~ R.T.

Bill also shines a light on brutal trade in China and South Korea

Little Ricky, a dog rescued from the Yulin dog meat festival in 2015, plays in U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings’ office in Washington, DC. Kevin Wolf/AP Images for HSI

U.S. Representatives Alcee L. Hastings, D-Fla., Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., Dave Trott, R-Mich. and Brendan Boyle, D-Pa., have introduced legislation to ban the dog and cat meat trade in the United States, earning applause from Humane Society International, The Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Legislative Fund. The bill, the Dog and Cat Meat Prohibition Act of 2017, would amend the U.S Animal Welfare Act to prohibit the slaughter and trade of dogs and cats for human consumption, and would provide penalties for individuals involved in the dog or cat meat trade.

HSI is one of the leading organizations campaigning across Asia to end the dog meat trade that sees around 30 million dogs a year killed for human consumption. It’s a trade that subjects dogs to horrifying treatment and raises serious human health concerns for traders and consumers alike, all for a type of meat that relatively few people eat on a regular basis. Similar problems face an untold number of cats. In the United States, the dog and cat meat industry is limited. The new bill will prevent domestic trade and imports, and serve as an important symbol of unity with countries and regions such as Thailand, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Taiwan that have dog meat bans in place.

Kelly O’Meara, director of companion animals and engagement for HSI, said: “The dog and cat meat trade is immensely cruel, so much so that many Asian countries have bans in place. This bill prevents the dog and cat meat trade from taking hold in the United States, but it also shines a spotlight on those countries where this brutal industry is not yet outlawed and where action is desperately needed.”

O’Meara adds: “Through our work in China, South Korea, Vietnam and Indonesia, we are urging policy makers to take decisive steps to end the trade. A similar law here in the United States would show important solidarity with those that have already enacted bans and inspire more to join the cause. We applaud Congressmen Hastings, Buchanan, Trott and Boyle for introducing this bill and their commitment to ending this brutal trade.”

Last year, and again this year, Congressman Hastings introduced a Congressional Resolution condemning China’s Yulin dog meat festival. Dog meat traders in China launched the festival in 2010 to increase sales, but popular outcry, both internationally and within China, has dramatically reduced the scope of the festival that takes place every year during the summer solstice. HSI and its Chinese partner groups have been on the ground every year to uncover the cruelty of the festival, and to stop the illegal transport of dogs into Yulin. Last year, HSI and its local partners rescued 170 dogs and cats from slaughterhouses on the outskirts of Yulin and transported them to the US, UK and Canada for adoption.

“Many people would be shocked to learn that it is still legal to slaughter dogs and cats for the purpose of human consumption in 44 states,” said Congressman Hastings. “This legislation will prohibit these practices and unify the animal cruelty laws across our country by explicitly prohibiting the slaughter and consumption of our most beloved companions. I am proud to join my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to fight against these cruel and inhumane practices.”

Facts:

  • In China, HSI works alongside Chinese groups to rescue dogs from trucks bound for the dog meat markets, uncover the immense cruelty that takes place at the slaughterhouses, and draw attention to the plight of the animals.
  • In South Korea, thousands of dog farms throughout the country rear an estimated 2.5 million dogs each year for human consumption. HSI has worked with six farmers since 2015 to shut down their farms and rescue 770 dogs. By helping farmers transition into humane trades, HSI is demonstrating that a government-led dog meat farm phase out is possible and desired by many farmers in the industry.

For more information visit hsi.org/dogmeat

Media Contact: Raúl Arce-Contreras, rcontreras@humanesociety.org, 301-721-6440

For US supporter inquiries: call 866-614-4371 or fill out our contact form

US Activist’s Efforts to Rescue Dogs from Asia’s Meat Trade Draw Both Praise and Censure

by Susan Pi as published on Earth Island Journal

“Here at SFTHH and WHFF we are all about the safety and future well being of wild horses and burros but of course that concern extends to domestic equine and all wildlife in general.  You will see articles appear hear that speak to the uncalled for slaughter and/or abuse of bison, wolves, bears, coyotes, mountain lion and the case of today’s article, domestic dogs.

I spent the past six years rotating in and of China on a monthly basis and unfortunately my eyes have witnessed acts of cruelty that I would prefer to forget versus regurgitating.  But everyday is a bad day for any sort of domestic animal who lives in rural China and I have witnessed the worst.  Although I might have been able to influence the educated young nationals who worked with me it was beyond my ability to influence the actions of rural farmers; all I could do was to divert my gaze and pray for an end to the suffering of the affected animal.  It is a cultural thing as there is little respect for human life so how can one expect the culture to respect animal pain and suffering, the mind set just is not there.

So today, stroke the head of your bird, cat, dog, horse or donkey and remind yourself how lucky they are to have you in their lives and how special a ingredient they are to your daily diet of goodness and how they enhance your spiritual well being.

We are all connected and we are all fellow passengers on this spaceship Earth.  A little courtesy to others goes a long, long way.  Keep the faith.” ~ R.T.


“You will never see, in my opinion, anything more brutal than the dog meat trade,”

Photo courtesy of Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation. Ching is aware that there are many who disagree with what he’s doing, but he believes his foundation can make a difference in the lives of thousands of dogs.

When a family in Korea discovered their beloved dog, Cheom Hwa, had been stolen, they were inconsolable. The German Shepherd had been with them since she was a puppy. “She is like my family,” the daughter says to Marc Ching, founder of Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation. “I am the only child so she was like my sister.”

It’s a nightmare no dog owner wants to have to go through. In Korea, where Cheom Hwa’s family lives, millions of dogs are stolen every year for their meat, and many are suspected to be stolen pets.

“The dog meat trade is big business,” Ching tells Earth Island Journal. “China exports meat to Korea. Cambodia exports to Vietnam.”

Ching, an American animal nutritionist who runs an organic pet food company in California, first heard about the Yulin dog meat festival that’s held every year in southern China only two years ago. The stories sounded so horrific that he had a hard time believing they were true. When he flew to China to see for himself what was going on, the atrocities turned out to be even worse. “What they’re doing is beyond inhumane,” Ching says. “It’s pure evil. They’ll boil dogs alive, hang and skin them alive.”

Today, Ching is most known for going undercover into slaughterhouses. By posing as a meat buyer, Ching often manages to get access to the kill floor where cages of whimpering animals are stacked on top of one another. The owner, hoping to make a sale, proudly talks up the facility, explaining their slaughtering process and how many dogs they go through on any given day. All the while, an iPhone in Ching’s pocket remains on video mode, surreptitiously recording everything.

If he’s caught, best-case scenario: He loses his phone. A previous trip to Vietnam ended with him beaten and nearly killed.

For Ching, the risk is worth it, even if too many of the dogs end up dying on the way to the veterinary hospital. Most are already close to death by the time he gets to them. In an interview with LA Weekly, he talks about coming across a dog with all four of her legs cut off. She died in his arms.

“You will never see, in my opinion, anything more brutal than the dog meat trade,” Ching says.

In the years since his first trip to China, he’s witnessed more than his share of unimaginable cruelty. The horror doesn’t deter him; it’s more like gasoline poured onto a smoldering flame urging him to save as many as he can. But while many activists are fueled into action by anger, Ching fervently believes that compassion is the key to lasting change.

“Even the people killing animals who, to me, aren’t good people,” Ching says, “I still try to be compassionate toward them. I think compassion wins in most cases and that’s what we do out in these countries. It’s all about compassion.”

Ching’s philosophy is evident with every trip back to Asia. He often works with locals, building his trip around the information they tell him. Before he steps onto a plane, he already knows who to talk to and where to go. For instance, in early 2017, locals in Korea helped to arrange a meeting with the owner of a slaughterhouse. This isn’t an undercover mission. The man knows that Ching wants to shut down his business.

Photo courtesy of Animals Asia. A dog meat market in Yulin, China. Several China-based animal welfare groups have asking international animal rights activists to stop buying dogs bound for the meat market saying that purchasing dogs only encourages the black market dog meat trade.

With the help of a local translator, Ching makes his appeal. “There’s a push against what you’re doing,” he tells him. “Whether it happens today, next year, or five years, you’ll be out of business soon. I’d like to work with you to stop what you’re doing and give you a chance at a decent living that doesn’t involve harming animals.”

The conversation is one Ching has had before with other slaughterhouse owners. His foundation’s economic development program is an attempt to build a viable model to affect far-reaching change. With enough successful cases, he hopes the Chinese government will someday take it over.

When asked about the people who slaughter dogs for a living, Ching recalls a man in Cambodia running a smaller operation that slaughters 50 to 100 dogs a day. “This guy sold his two daughters into prostitution. One of his daughters was four years old. I think he’s a terrible guy but he told me he didn’t choose to do this. He had to feed his family somehow and he became a dog slaughterer.”

It isn’t easy for Ching to sit across men who commit such horrific acts. Those who get into the business for money tend to be receptive, but there are always exceptions.

“In a slaughterhouse in Indonesia,” Ching says, “they hang dogs off these hooks and torture them. This guy is very popular for what he does because people come there believing the meat has healing powers. He’ll say, ‘I help people live better. I cure diseases like cancer.’ This guy will never close because he really believes in what he’s doing.”…(CONTINUED)

http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/elist/eListRead/us_activists_efforts_to_rescue_dogs_from_asias_meat_trade_draw_both_praise_/

Feel Good Sunday: Rescue at The Rainbow Bridge

Author Unkown

rainbow-bridge-v4

Unlike most days at Rainbow Bridge, this day dawned cold and gray, damp as a swamp and as dismal as could be imagined. All of the recent arrivals had no idea what to think, as they had never experienced a day like this before.  But the animals who had been waiting for their beloved people knew exactly what was going on and started to gather at the pathway leading to The Bridge to watch.

It wasn’t long before an elderly animal came into view, head hung low and tail dragging. The other animals, the ones who had been there for a while, knew what his story was right away, for they had seen this happen far too often.

He approached slowly, obviously in great emotional pain, but with no sign of injury or illness. Unlike all of the other animals waiting at The Bridge, this animal had not been restored to youth and made healthy and vigorous again. As he walked toward The Bridge, he watched all of the other animals watching him. He knew he was out of place here and the sooner he could cross  over, the happier he would be.

But, alas, as he approached The Bridge, his way was barred by the appearance of an Angel who apologized, but told him that he would not be able to pass. Only those animals who were with their people could pass over Rainbow Bridge.

With no place else to turn to, the elderly animal turned towards the fields before The Bridge and saw a group of other animals like himself, also elderly and infirm. They weren’t playing, but rather simply lying on the green grass, forlornly staring out at the pathway leading to The Bridge. And so, he took his place among them, watching the pathway and waiting.

One of the newest arrivals at The Bridge didn’t understand what he had just witnessed and asked one of the animals that had been there for a while to explain it to him.

You see, that poor animal was a rescue. He was turned in to rescue just as you see him now, an older animal with his fur graying and his eyes clouding. He never made it out of rescue and passed on with only the love of his rescuer to comfort him as he left his earthly existence. Because he had no family to give his love to, he has no one to escort him across The Bridge.

The first animal thought about this for a minute and then asked, “So what will happen now?” As he was about to receive his answer, the clouds suddenly parted and the gloom lifted. Approaching The Bridge could be seen a single person and among the older animals, a whole group was suddenly bathed in a golden light and they were all young and healthy again, just as they were in the prime of life.

“Watch, and see” said the second animal. A second group of animals from those waiting came to the pathway and bowed low as the person neared. At each bowed head, the person offered a pat on the head or a scratch behind the ears. The newly restored animals fell into line and followed him towards The Bridge. They all crossed The Bridge together.

“What happened?”

“That was a rescuer.” The animals you saw bowing in respect were those who found new homes because of his work.  They will cross when their new families arrive. Those you saw restored were those who never found homes. When a rescuer arrives, they are allowed to perform one, final act of rescue. They are allowed to escort those poor animals that they couldn’t place on earth, across The Rainbow Bridge.

“I think I like rescuers,” said the first animal.

“So does GOD,” was the reply.

Feel Good Sunday Update: Sunday Dec 11th to be Horse and Donkey Health Day on SFTHH

Pele, Bart and Harley ~ photo by Terry Fitch

Pele, Bart and Harley ~ photo by Terry Fitch

With our thoughts on the holidays, family and friends let us not forget our kind companions that grace the pastures behind our homes; it is essential that we stay focused on the health, safety and welfare of not only our wild equine brothers and sisters but also our domestic friends be they equine, canine or feline…they are all beloved and cherished.

Over the past several weeks our volunteer News Editor has been gathering articles on equine health so in an effort to make Sunday a happy day we will be sharing a cornucopia of Horse and Donkey health articles for you to collect, review and utilize as you see fit.

Check in tomorrow, and download till you drop.

Merry Christmas.

Feel Good Sunday: Horse And Dog Have Been Best Friends Since The Moment They Met

By caitlinnjill as published on The Dodo

“They built this amazing trust and knowledge of each other and this has only grown over the years,”

Leslie grew up always having multiple dogs around, and so when she moved out on her own, there was never any question about who her housemates would be.

Instagram/thedobieteam

Currently, Leslie has four Dobermans: Boss, Kyra, Gaia and Zeus.

All the dogs love each other very much, and are always following each other around …

… and getting into mischief together, of course.

Leslie also grew up around horses, and her horse Contino is just as much a part of the pack as the dogs — especially with Boss.

“The pack just knows how to deal and live around horses,” Leslie told The Dodo. “They’ve been around horses since they were allowed to go outside. However, the case of Boss is a different one.”

From the very first time Boss wandered around Contino’s stables, the pair were simply drawn to one another. Neither has ever been afraid of the other, and their bond is truly unlike any other.

“Boss was always fearless around him and was even curious to come close to lick or smell him,” Leslie said. “Contino accepted him amazingly since day one, so that’s about time when I realized their relationship was something special.”

Boss and Contino love spending time together, giving each other kisses and cuddles. Despite being much bigger than him, Contino is always very gentle with Boss, and seems to know exactly what he needs.

“They built this amazing trust and knowledge of each other and this has only grown over the years,” Leslie said.