Swim back, Flipper!

Photo courtesy of freephotosbank

Swim aside, Flipper, there's a new aquatic-genius in town --- the goldfish!

Apparently, people think fish only have a 3-second memory span. Please ignore the silliness of arbitrarily assigning memory abilities.

A 15-year-old student discovered goldfish have pretty decent memory, spanning an entire week (which is saying something, considering I can barely remember this morning's breakfast).

Now his study is probably not going to be published in the Annals of Fish Geniusness (sadly, not a real word), but it does bring up a good question: If fish do have good memory, are those tiny bowls people dump them in really fulfilling their "fishiness"?

We hope this intelligent student's experiment convinces some people that fish can only hold onto a thought for a fleeting 3-seconds...because, as of yet, there are no studies on how long a fish holds a grudge!

In all seriousness, we encourage people not to buy fish and to seriously analyze their current aquariums, making sure the welfare of the animals take precedence over space concerns.

-Marji Beach, Program Coordinator

Helping animals is easy

By now, you've probably read or seen one of the over 2,000 media accounts involving the cruel treatment of cows sent to slaughter and the subsequent recall of 143-million pounds of beef. Cruelty charges are being laid, schools are making sure their beef isn't from the Chino, CA slaughterhouse and legislation is being proposed to close a loophole that permits downed animals from entering the human food chain.

We are duly impressed with the coverage this industry-standard cruelty is receiving. It's about time. We don't want it to overshadow the fact that this slaughterhouse is not unique, and the treatment of these animals not aberrant within animal agribusiness.

A big thank-you to the Humane Society of the United States and their dedicated undercover investigator for exposing this cruelty.

Times are changing, and we believe it will be for the better.

How You Can Help:

1) Press Pause:
That's right, pause and consider your dietary choices.

If the time isn't right for a vegan diet, reduce your consumption and nominate a day of the week as your Meat-Out day.

If the time is right (and we hope it is!), go vegan!

There are a plethora of mouth-watering and tasty-recipes available on the internet and at your local bookstore!

Try Veganomicon, Vegan with a Vengeance, Vegan Planet, How it all Vegan, and the very important Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.

Becoming vegan is a fun experience - it is a kindness we extend to the animals, our bodies and the planet. A win-win situation for all, really.

2) Contact the USDA:
Contact USDA secretary of agriculture, Edward Schafer.

Ask him to:
- close the loophole permitting such blatant cruelty to animals.
- stop allowing downed animals to enter the food chain.
- require USDA inspectors spend more time present at federally-inspected slaughterhouses.

Email: Edward.W.Schafer@usda.gov

3) Change the Menu: Here's a truth animal agribusiness doesn't like to share: the beef that ends up in government-funded school programs come from sick, diseased, overworked dairy cows.

Why? It's cheap.

And the solution shouldn't be to just buy meat from other slaughterhouses. It should include a serious reflection on what we do and do not want to teach our children. If we want to imbue a sense of compassion, of what is right and what is wrong, then perhaps we should encourage a trend of vegan menu options, instead of replacing one cruel product with another. After all, there is no escaping this fact: in order to produce cheap meat at a fast pace, animals must be mistreated from birth to death.

What you can do: Visit
CHOICE, a website that will assist you in getting vegetarian menu options available in your child's school. If you're a teenager, advocate on behalf of the animals and encourage menu changes at your school.

Triple threat - Bovine buddies

It's time for a meet and greet. Let's start with Animal Place's cattle because, hey!, we only have three…

The slideshow shows off our dapper bovines, enjoy!

From backyard "trash" to sanctuary star, Nicholas is the darling of the sanctuary with his mocha eyes, long lashes and playful attitude.
Age: 1.5 months
Breed: Jersey
Color: Brown (or a pale mocha…)
Likes: Chewing on scarves, hair, grass, pot-bellied pigs, hay, neck skritches
Dislikes: Not being fed exactly on time, goats who stare at him
Story: Nicholas was found tied in a yard, auction stickers glued to his body. He was only two-days-old. Animal Control confiscated him, called us and bam! Nicholas was on his way to his new digs. Nicholas is a by-product of the dairy industry; an unwanted male calf destined for the veal crate or a backyard slaughter.

From abused dairy cow to Howie-seducer, Sadie is now Queen Cow at the sanctuary.
Age: 9 years
Breed: Holstein
Color: Penguin black-and-white (but don't mention the penguin part to Sadie)
Likes: Alfalfa, handsome steers, full-body massages, apples
Dislikes: Frisky steers, pigs, medicine
Story: Sadie was a dairy cow. Contrary to popular belief, there are no happy pastures for retired dairy cows – they're slaughtered at a young age. When she was about six, Sadie was sent to auction for eventual slaughter. A veterinary university bought her so that students could poke and prod before selling her back at auction…what a great lesson to teach! A vegan vet student coordinated her rescue, and now she spends her days grazing with Howie and talking to Nicholas.

From a shelter night-drop box to wheelbarrow-crushing steer, Howie is our loveable lug of a bovine.
Age: 12 years
Breed: Charolais
Color: Sandy brown
Likes: Wheelbarrows (the tipping of), hay, pears, apples, watermelon, cantaloupe, carrots, sweet potatoes, head-butting the pigs
Dislikes: Head-butting goats, having to move out of anyone's way
Story: Howie's mom died giving birth. The farmer stuffed the one-day-old calf into a drop-off box at a shelter. When FFA (Future Farmers of America) heard about the calf, they wanted to raffle him off to the highest bidder…so they could kill him. And the shelter was okay with that! Animal Place garnered media attention and, smartly, the shelter agreed to place Howie with us. Twelve-years-later, Howie thrives and quite popular with visitors.

Remember, your actions affect their lives. Reduce and eliminate. Then go vegan.