Month: June 2015

Guest Blogger, Judi Hewitt

Animal Advocacy Blog Picture Janet Bovitz Sandefur


Along with other animal rights campaigners I’ve often been accused of afraid to protest against so-called religious slaughter. The accusers have almost always been pro-hunt supporters. Well they can’t accuse my companions and I of being afraid to protest, since we’ve already taken our campaign to the streets and lobbied the authorities !!!

One of those protests took us to a small town in North Wales, UK, for a demo against a newly refurbished Halal abattoir, but the level of indifference from some people in this town staggered me. Grown men and women sniggering as they went by with no sign of any compassion – whilst looking at our graphic banners.

Is it any wonder why so many of us in the animal rights movement get so depressed, whist other members of our species feel they have a divine right to do just as they please in this world? Perhaps it’s because we’re taught at a young age to place ourselves above all other creatures. And? So what if we can send craft into space and other animals can’t! There are things they can do that we cannot ever dream of doing.

At the end of the day, we’re all living creatures surviving as best we can.

What matters is keeping the fabric of life intact; In other words we should be working with nature instead of against it!

For example, we slaughter crows and jackdaws – and other predatory animals, to protect so called ‘game birds’, which we breed in large numbers for paying guns to blast out of the sky. We butcher rabbits as vermin – and then blame the fox that depends on them as a food source. And we chase and disembowel these animals just for the thrill of it, and if that’s not enough, we then dig them out after they’ve gone to ground because it’s a fun thing to do! Why else would hunts routinely use artificial earths to ensure a fox for their paying hunt members to chase and kill? At least they can’t claim they’re some kind of ‘pest control’ after that little expose.

We wrongly blame badgers for spreading bovine TB – and refuse to accept that it’s us who are to blame for ‘factory farming’ too many animals and for raping the land.

We pack sheep into multi tier trucks; the ones on the top defecating on the ones below; and we transport these animals all over the world often without rest, food and water.

Pigs are thought to be more intelligent than dogs! Yet we keep them crowded inside sheds and force them to produce many litters. Sows are then unable to nurture their own piglets because they’re kept imprisoned in crates for up to two months at a time unable to turn around.

Just recently pigs were ‘accidentally’ boiled alive in a slaughterhouse in Sweden; it was claimed to be an accident. Yet when the vet returned a week later, he found two more writhing agonised pigs in the boiling water. I’d bet everything I own, that this has happened many times in our own British slaughterhouses.

Chickens, which were meant to live a life foraging outdoors, are crammed five to a cage not much bigger than a phone book and every attempt to stop vile factory farming is still met with the utmost resistance and indifference. Other chickens are kept in overcrowded sheds with no room to move – let alone act out their natural behaviour. No wonder these animals need so much antibiotic in an attempt to halt infection. Plus their feathers fall out from the stress of a their abnormal lives!

In other words, we decide which animals will die cruelly and which we will nurture as pets. And after thousands of years we still believe that it’s all right for animals to die in religious rituals; and yet we call ourselves a humane society – what a joke!

When a calf is forced into the killing hold – the smell of death all around, eyes bulging in terror – where’s the compassion?  When the slaughter man grabs the ears of a frightened whimpering lamb – and then pulls back her head to cut her throat, where’s the compassion? Can’t people see that without compassion there’s no hope for any of us!

The animal’s friend the very eloquent Reverend James Thompson had this to say about ritual slaughter. “Any major world religion that claims to worship either a God of Love, or ‘An All Compassionate One’, yet condones or indeed contributes to the abuse of gentle, herbivorous farm animals are worthy of being stigmatised as hypocritical.  I agree one hundred percent with the following words attributed to Anna Sewell, the authoress of Black Beauty, who wrote: ‘You can talk as much as you like about your religion, but if it does not teach you to be kind and caring to both animals as well as humans, then it is nothing but a sham’. How very true!”

It’s bad enough that animals have to go through such a traumatic experience in the first place, but to compound their terror further by subjecting them to such a brutal end is inconceivable. And let’s not forget that all animals entering a slaughterhouse are going to suffer before they lose that most precious of gifts – life!

If people must eat meat (though we can live without it – I have for my entire adult life), then animals selected for slaughter should be killed on the farm with a single shot to the head. They should not have to endure transportation, the market place and the horrific slaughterhouse. Nor should any animal be separated from their young until these youngsters are fully-grown. I saw the devastating effect on a herd of cows after their babies had been removed, and the memory of those wailing bellowing mothers will haunt me for the rest of my life.

A shift from eating meat gets us all a little closer to a saner world; a less hostile world; a world where humanity really does mean what it implies; a world worth waking up to every single morning!

Okay, so there will always be animals predating on other animals, but does that mean we should be the most gruesomely cruel animal on earth? We have the gift of knowing right from wrong – we can make moral judgements, wild animals can’t! Nor do wild animals treat their prey as cruelly as mankind.

For the sake of our species – and every living creature on Earth, we have to stop the mindless slaughter of the innocents – IT CAN BE DONE!!

– Judi Hewitt
  Founder Wales Against Animal Cruelty  

For the past 25 years, I have devoted a great deal of my time towards campaigning for the rights and welfare of animals. I founded Wales Against Animal Cruelty – to highlight the plight of creatures persecuted in the name of so called [blood] ‘sport’, intensive farming, animal experiments, fur farming, bull fighting and circus entertainment. I write articles for magazines and newspapers to highlight the plight of animals and ‘game’ birds – and also bombard newspapers with letters in an attempt to educate the public regarding animal welfare issues – as well as the benefit of adopting a meat free diet. To date I have over 2,000 published articles and letters. Over the past 30 years, I have rescued many injured or orphaned birds – wood pigeons, cuckoos, wood peckers, jackdaws – and more, have been rehabilitated and released back to the wild.

Animal Advocacy Blog Picture Janet Bovitz Sandefur






Animal Advocacy Guest Blogger Thank You Janet Bovitz Sandefur

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Happy Father’s Day

A parent doesn’t have to be human to be a great Dad to their kids.

Dads, in general, do the following:

  • They defend their family
  • They protect their young
  • They provide food and shelter
  • They stand guard
  • They stay close
  • They instill survival
  • They encourage independence
  • They teach by example
  • They comfort
  • They reprimand
  • They provide structure
  • They play with their children

Dad’s are role models.

They leave us their legacy, their DNA.

Without Dads, life could not be created.  We wouldn’t exist.

Here’s to being a Dad, and here’s to having a Dad – no matter WHOSE Dad we are talking about;
they ALL matter.

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Happy Father’s Day!

Animal Advocacy Blog Picture Janet Bovitz Sandefur




Animal Advocacy Blog Picture Janet Bovitz Sandefur

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Guest Blogger, Melissa Borden (

The Forgotten Dogs

It started with a dog I would name Shawn; a dog that needed a chance but no one would give her one.

She was a feral dog, part of a large pack at one time but most had either died or moved on.

It was her time, she needed out before she started having puppies and adding to the already overwhelming population of feral dogs in Detroit.

I had sat back just watching a handful of rescue try and figure out what to do about her. It was frustrating; no one understood what she needed. There just aren’t any rehabilitation places for
feral dogs around Detroit.

It was out of that frustration I decided to switch my focus in rescue from mostly black dogs in kill shelters to feral dogs.

I knew feral dogs were very misunderstood, I also knew that they deserved a chance. If no one else was willing to give them one, I would.

Catching Shawn wasn’t easy but we did it. I will never forget that day.  It’s the day that changed everything for me.

Four years later Shawn is a permanent member of my family and she’s doing great.

That day I committed to feral dogs, to education and to opening up a farm where we could rehabilitate them in a safe, non-threatening way.

The most common asked question is “aren’t they vicious?”. That answer is simple. No. A feral dog is too fearful of people to ever willingly get close enough to bite.

That’s just one of the many misconceptions about feral.

The word “feral” does not mean aggressive or mean, it simply means “wild”.  A feral dog is a dog that has not had human interaction.  Think of them the same way you a deer, it’s a wild animal.

We tend to humanize our pets. We think every dog wants to be curled up on the couch next to us.  That’s just not true. Feral dogs see nothing wrong with the life they live. They don’t know anything different. Coming into our world is terrifying and confusing.  We speak a language they don’t understand, we move our bodies in motions they have never seen. Our pet dogs do use dog body language but it’s often very subtle.  They understand us so they don’t have to rely on body language for all their communication.  Feral dogs do not understand us and rely solely on body language. Their body language is very exaggerated but it’s also very clear. There is no need for words.

We use their language to start the rehabilitation process along with some help from really good food.

Because they are so fearful, we want every interaction with people to be very positive.

We start with food; all good things come from us. We keep it simple in the beginning, not asking much of them.

Rehabilitating a feral dog is a process; it’s a rollercoaster ride at times. We take steps forward and backwards on a daily basis. It’s a very long process that can’t be rushed.

It’s hard to describe the feeling of earning the trust of a feral; the first tail wag is magical.

Feral dogs come in all shapes and sizes. Most often feral dogs come from once owned dogs that were left abandoned.  They will have a litter of puppies and without an owner; they will not get to know people. That starts the cycle.

Watching feral dogs can educate and help us with our domestic dogs. They teach us their language.

Our mission was to create a place where we could give these forgotten dogs a chance at a life inside a home with people. To learn to trust and to be loved, to have a chance to be healthy and to most importantly stop the cycle of creating more feral dogs.

We accomplished that mission and have had the joy of watching these feral dogs transition into family dogs. They are no longer forgotten.

– Melissa Borden
   The Devoted Barn

I am a 42 year old single mother of five. I am the founder/owner of The Devoted Barn, I have been in rescue for over 20 years.  My mission was to open a farm where we could give not only feral dogs a chance but also animals from extreme cruelty and neglect.  We bring in at risk kids and adult special needs to help us with the animals to teach compassion and empathy.

Please visit The Devoted Barn on Facebook! and Twitter!

Animal Advocacy Guest Blogger Thank You Janet Bovitz Sandefur

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Guest Blogger, Susan Schrade

I belong to many Dog Lover facebook groups.  I own a purebred Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, a West Highland White Terrier.  When I retired on disability due to MS, I fostered dogs and ended up adopting two of them.  My disability has progressed so that I use a wheel chair and I spend most of my time on the computer while my husband is at work.

In the few weeks leading up to to November 22, 2014 various rescue volunteers were desperately raising money to buy over 150 Cavaliers of high quality who were to be available at an Auction.   Many of us followed the campaign which raised over $500,000 in about 11 days.  The fear that puppy mill breeders, or worse would be purchasing these animals heightened our sense of urgency!  The dreaded day came, we were getting hour by hour on line reports of number of dogs bought and the price.  The price kept rising, the profession bidder was  paying over $6000 per dog toward the end of the day.  All in all the dogs averaged about $3000 for each dog – unheard of!  The rescue group refused to leave any dog behind, and the other puppy mill breeders knew that!  So after our first sigh of relief, and taking a big breath – many of us asked ourselves – oh my gosh what have we done!

Ron Sturgeon, a well known dog lover and successful millionaire wrote an article to all of our Facebook groups – “Have we won the battle but lost the war?” – the response was tremendous.  Ron article suggests we should go after the root cause of the problem, most likely legislation, rather than succumb to the emotional and financial extortion that occurred with this auction.   A conversation of many wonderful people ensued.  As a result Ron founded the group now called National Alliance for Dog Breeder Reform.

I started donating my time immediately, documenting the conversation, and now I assist with the social media campaign.  I’m involved.  I even took another foster dog.  I didn’t think I could do that from a wheel chair but I can!

We are just getting started, come learn about us and volunteer to help us.  To fully understand our mission I recommend you read the leadership posts, starting with the oldest one first.  To see who all had volunteered across the country to be on the board, you can read about us.

Sign up and volunteer on the website – we could use help!

Meet Willow, a mill survivor:

Animal Advocacy Blog Picture Janet Bovitz Sandefur







 Willow is one of our recent foster dogs.  She had some care as she didn’t have worms, no skin problems and she is the correct weight.  However she was in intense pain and could barely move.  Once we removed her teeth she started walking.  She is debarked.  She strains to breathe sometimes – we think this is a result of no dental care, being confined to a small cage, and the debarking left scar tissue affecting her breathing.  Aside from that who knows what else she suffered.  She runs when she sees a broom, she ducks her head down when I reach to pet her, and she is very timid.  She is easily startled, and she is terrified of thunder.  She won’t walk through a door if a person is standing there.  Despite her challenges, Willow will have a happy life now and we foresee adoption soon.

I knew, as a handicapped person that it would be a good thing to volunteer, I just didn’t know how good.

Please visit National Alliance for Dog Breeder Reform on Facebook!

– Susan Schrade, volunteer at National Alliance for Dog Breeder Reform

Animal Advocacy Guest Blogger Thank You Janet Bovitz Sandefur


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