Love Your Critters

A country is only as great as how it treats its most vulnerable.

In a deeply disturbing move last week, the USDA mysteriously removed the website on animal welfare inspection reports.

Advocacy groups, journalists and other members of the public have used the information to track any potential history of abuses on the part of animal testing labs and commercial dog and horse breeders.

The head of the Humane Society of the United States, Wayne Pacelle, said the group often used the now-removed USDA reports to track animal rights abuses.

“We assembled information about the worst operators of puppy mills, people who were violating the federal Horse Protection Act,” Pacelle said.

Pacelle said taking down some of that information violates a settlement between the USDA and the Humane Society over public access to Animal Welfare Act reports. He’s prepared to take legal action.

Bees are only one of the many beautiful, gracious creatures companioning us on earth that need our voice.  Thursday I will go up to Santa Fe’s Roundhouse to support the Senate Bee Memorial #4 labeling pollinator friendly plants in our state’s nurseries. This is being sponsored by UNM Wild Friends, the amazing group of NM school children who put forward a bill every year to safeguard our precious heritage of “wild friends”.  I invite you to support this memorial and contact your Senate Conservation Committee members before Thursday, Feb. 9. Bees need our voice!

NM SENATE CONSERVATION COMMITTEE

Senator Joseph Cervantes D Chair
Senator Elizabeth “Liz” Stefanics D Vice Chair
Senator Ron Griggs R Member
Senator Richard C. Martinez D Member
Senator Cisco McSorley D Member
Senator William H. Payne R Member
Senator William P. Soules D Member
Senator Peter Wirth D Member
Senator Pat Woods R Ranking Member

This week I had a chance encounter with a winged one that is often despised. The pigeon. As my husband and I drove to the voting precinct on Tuesday a pigeon waddled into the street right into our car’s path. “Stop the car!” I shouted. I jumped out as the pigeon sat under our wheel blinking at me, seemingly dazed. Then I noticed she was banded. She belonged to Johnnie Williams in Amarillo, Texas. I wrapped the pigeon in a towel and we brought her home. We called Johnnie in Texas and he told us that he had recently sold her to someone in our neighborhood. When we mentioned her unusually docile behavior, he said that she must be practically starved. So we called her new owner. Edward promptly came to pick her up. Clearly he loved pigeons, having kept them since a teenager. All God’s creatures deserve a place on this planet he said, his face beaming as he gently held the little pigeon, noting how she was “empty” of food as he touched her belly. It was amazing what he could tell just by holding her. As a pigeon aficionado (It’s true. Can you believe it?!) he took pigeons into civic associations, schools and neighborhood youth centers to teach them about the importance of pigeons and why they had a rightful place on the planet. I was touched by his love of such a humble and usually despised bird.

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  (Elizabeth Roberts & Elias Amidon, eds. Earth Prayers, HarperSanFrancisco, 254)

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