An Unusual X-Mas Card

This ain't going to be the usual X-Mas postcard... this ain't gonna be one more rhetorical compilation of words and wishes.

This is a look into reality.

Many people like to give puppies and kittens as X-Mas or birthday presents, most of those people even buy these pets in a pet-store, making in this way no chance for a shelter animal to be adopted and rescued from certain sadness and death.

To all those people that decide to do so, to give the gift of a pet to your loved ones, i'd like to give myself a special X-Mas present... a chance for you all to more deeply and honestly think to what you are doing - and to hopefully accept and acknowledge the full (possible) implications of this act.

May Love & Devotion be the daily bread for all these sweet and innocent pets, and may they never ever experience a day of sadness, abuse and neglect.

This is my most true and strongest wish for this day.

The following poetry is not meant to bring sadness into your day - but to bring Hope to all animals that today will be welcomed into their new human family.

"You remember, the sweet little black one who I am certain used to curl up beside you and sleep. The loving cat that used to run to greet you every day you came home from work. The one who used to purr so loud as a kitten you thought for sure he would hurt himself. I'm certain you were so excited to bring home such an adorable little fur ball and I know how much fun it was to watch him grow. His gorgeous gold eyes mesmerized you and you couldn't get over how beautiful they were. Oh how much fun it would be to finally have a cat!

But then the newness began to wear off, the excitement began to wane, and he wasn't nearly as much as he used to be. The thought of having to clean out the litter box every day; making sure he had clean water and food available; and then there were vaccinations and vet care he would need for his entire life! Did you ever think that maybe you weren't ready to make a lifetime commitment to him? Was it because he was no longer a cute little kitten? Maybe he started to claw your furniture? Did you adopt him even though you lived in a place that didn't allow pets, but thought you could sneak him in? Maybe you moved and didn't own up to the RESPONSIBILTY of pet ownership? Or is it because we live in a society today where it pets are disposable?

After all, it's easy to just dump them off at a shelter. You just know someone will adopt him because, after all, he is beautiful and friendly. That's what you told your kids as they stood in the lobby of the animal shelter crying. The person behind the counter remained silent, knowing full well that your cat may be euthanized as soon as you walk out the front door. You see, shelters are full of beautiful, loving pets that folks just like you drop off every minute of every day. Sadly, most of them are destined for the landfill to make room for more loving, beautiful pets the next day.

You did teach your kids a lesson that day. You taught them it's ok to throw away a pet. You taught them animals have no value; they are just property to be disposed of when they are no longer convenient. You showed them how simple it is to refuse to take responsibility. Lessons that will follow them throughout their lives; that I am certain of.

But you didn't dump this cat off at a shelter. You chose to drive him to a remote area with just a few houses, hoping someone would take him in. You chose to turn him loose in an area full of wildlife, mostly predators, always looking for an easy meal. Hawks, Owls, Eagles, Coyotes, Foxes, etc, the list goes on….But your cat was one of the lucky ones. He managed to survive and did find people that cared. He found a couple who didn't want to see him injured or die a horrific death. They cared enough about YOUR cat to catch him and to try to offer him a chance at the Humane Society. But because so many folks refuse to take responsibility for their pets, the Humane Society is inundated with unwanted and abandoned pets. These nice folks were put on a waiting list and told it would be 2 – 8 weeks before the Humane Society may have room.

They cared for YOUR cat, until he got scared one day and bit the lady on the arm. It wasn't a vicious attack, he was terrified. After all, he went from a quiet life, to being tossed out into the woods to fend for himself, to being kept in a cage to keep him safe. I wonder how you would have reacted under the same circumstances.

I killed your cat today…..not because I am evil or twisted. Not because I needed a cat to fulfill some type of ritual. Not because I wanted to, because I HAD to. You see, when YOUR cat bit the lady that was trying to help him, he wasn't able to show me proof of having a rabies vaccination. I guess you didn't think to send that along with him when you dumped him off.

I killed your cat today….and I want you to know how and why. I want you to know so that maybe, just maybe, you think about this before you decide to get another pet. I want you to know so you can see just how emotionally draining it is on those of us who chose to take responsibility for YOUR pet.

I want you to know YOUR cat died on a cold stainless steel table, in the hands of total strangers. Strangers that were heartbroken by having to kill a healthy, loving animal that through no fault of his own ended up on that table. Strangers that held him close and stroked his fur while he drifted off to a never ending sleep.

I want you to know that YOUR cat was then taken into a back room and dismembered so his head could be sent off to a lab to be tested for rabies. I want you to know that YOUR cat caused a great deal of distress and heartache for all of us involved in his case. I want you to know that I then had to transport the remains of your cat to the landfill for disposal. Even the folks working at the landfill are affected knowing when I drive in; I am delivering what was once a cherished pet.

I want YOU to know that as much as I love my job, having YOUR cat killed deeply affects me. You see, I love ALL animals. I do my job because maybe, just maybe, I CAN make a difference in the lives of those who have no voice. I do my job, so maybe; just maybe, I can convince some people that pets aren't disposable. While I know I can't save them all, I can save one at a time. I killed your cat today…. I just wanted you to know."

Title : I killed your cat today...
Author : Karen J. Williams, Animal Cruelty Investigator, Idaho

Related articles:

Animal Birth Control - Spay & Neuter
Stop BSL
Puppy Mills & Pet Stores
What can You do to Help the Animals - pt 2

Milk, Veal & Dairy Cows

"Like humans, all dairy cows must give birth in order to begin producing milk. Dairy cows are artificially impregnated while they are still lactating from their previous birthing, so their bodies are always producing milk. The calves that are born female are raised to replace exhausted dairy cows. The calves that are male are slaughtered and used for veal."

Regardless of where they live, all dairy cows must give birth in order to begin producing milk. Today, dairy cows are forced to have a calf every year. Like human beings, cows have a nine-month gestation period, and so giving birth every twelve months is physically demanding. The cows are also artificially re-impregnated while they are still lactating from their previous birthing, so their bodies are continually producing milk during their nine-month pregnancy.

With genetic manipulation and intensive production technologies, it is common for modern dairy cows to produce 100 pounds of milk a day — ten times more than they would produce naturally. As a result, the cows' bodies are under constant stress, and they are at risk for numerous health problems.

Approximately half of the country's dairy cows suffer from mastitis, a bacterial infection of their udders. This is such a common and costly ailment that a dairy industry group, the National Mastitis Council, was formed specifically to combat the disease. Other diseases, such as Bovine Leukemia Virus, Bovine Immunodeficiency Virus, and Johne's disease (whose human counterpart is Crohn's disease) are also rampant on modern dairies, but they commonly go unnoticed because they are either difficult to detect or have a long incubation period.

A cow eating a normal grass diet could not produce milk at the abnormal levels expected on modern dairies, and so today's dairy cows must be given high energy feeds. The unnaturally rich diet causes metabolic disorders including ketosis, which can be fatal, and laminitis, which causes lameness.

Another dairy industry disease caused by intensive milk production is "Milk Fever." This ailment is caused by calcium deficiency, and it occurs when milk secretion depletes calcium faster than it can be replenished in the blood.

In a healthy environment, cows would live in excess of twenty-five years, but on modern dairies, they are slaughtered and made into ground beef after just three or four years. The abuse wreaked upon the bodies of dairy cows is so intense that the dairy industry also is a huge source of "downed animals" — animals who are so sick or injured that they are unable to walk even stand. Investigators have documented downed animals routinely being beaten, dragged, or pushed with bulldozers in attempts to move them to slaughter.

Although the dairy industry is familiar with the cows' health problems and suffering associated with intensive milk production, it continues to subject cows to even worse abuses in the name of increased profit. Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH), a synthetic hormone, is now being injected into cows to get them to produce even more milk. Besides adversely affecting the cows' health, BGH also increases birth defects in their calves.

(taken from )

This photo was taken inside a "milking parlor" where cows are milked and fed a high energy diet. Up until recently, this food contained the processed remains of other animals, which led to mad cow disease. Cattles eat only plant foods, but some humans thought they knew better.

The udder on this cow is so distended that she has to spread her legs apart, and she even defecates on her swollen udder because it extends so far to the rear. We also surmise that her pain is so great that she can't even lie down, as the other cow is doing. If farming causes animals to suffer, then we shouldn't be farming them.

Veal - The By-Product of the Dairy Industry

Calves born to dairy cows are separated from their mothers immediately after birth. The half that are born female are raised to replace older dairy cows in the milking herd. The other half of the calves are male, and because they will never produce milk, they are raised and slaughtered for veal.

The veal industry was created as a by-product of the dairy industry to take advantage of an abundant supply of unwanted male calves. Veal calves commonly live for eighteen to twenty weeks in wooden crates that are so small that they cannot turn around, stretch their legs, or even lie down comfortably. The calves are fed a liquid milk substitute, deficient in iron and fiber, which is designed to make the animals anemic, resulting in the light-colored flesh that is prized as veal. In addition to this high-priced veal, some calves are killed at just a few days old to be sold as low-grade 'bob' veal for products like frozen TV dinners.

(from )

These are downed calves at a stockyard where they were awaiting transport to slaughter. They are a testimony to the abomination of this farmed animal industry, and everyone who eats animals or their by-products contributes to this evil.

So... what are you gonna answer to your kid when he's gonna ask you:
"Mum... where does milk come from..?!?"

- Milk Sucks
- Milk Sucks - Find Out More
- Milk - Peta's Factsheet
- Veal - Peta's Factsheet
- Cows used for their milk
- Milk Myths
- Not Milk
- Dairy Cows are Tortured Cows
- No Milk Page
- No Veal
- Farm Sanctuary
- Story of a Downed Cow
- No Downers

Wary of Dairy?

Tesco: Stop the killing of turtles!

Tesco farms turtles to be sold in their Supermarkets in China.
The turtles are sold alive, once purchased the customer can have the live turtle butchered in the Tesco Supermarket or they can take them away and butcher them alive in any way they wish at home.

Tesco butcher turtles while they are still alive, with no pre stunning. The procedure used to butcher them is to cut the head off and then to crush it.
Until the head is correctly crushed, destroying the brain, the turtle can remain conscious throughout the procedure. If the head is not correctly crushed, the turtle's severed head can continue to remain conscious for up to an hour before it dies.
These turtles are known to move their neck and head with lightning speed and can easily withdraw into their shell. This can make the butchering task very unpredictable and far from easy, only prolonging the pain and suffering of the turtle while it is being butchered alive.

The level of suffering caused to turtles, frogs and so many other animals in Chinese markets is well documented. These animals are shipped and handled with no regard to their welfare and without any attempt to minimise their suffering. They are maintained in-store under totally unacceptable conditions, and are killed in a grossly inhumane and barbaric fashion. These animals are essentially dissected alive. They have highly developed sensory capabilities, and without question suffer the most extreme pain and distress over an extended period.

Two-fifths of the world’s tortoises and freshwater turtles and three quarters of Asian species are threatened with extinction as a result of human consumption. Despite legislation restricting trade in many turtle species, enforcement is weak, and many protected species still find their way onto Chinese plates. Any action that endorses or participates in this devastating trade pushes wild turtles one step closer to extinction. No western supermarket should have a hand in the extermination of these imperilled animals.

"Cruelty and evil can never be excused on the grounds of 'culture'. The infliction of horrendous suffering on sentient beings of any kind is universally wrong, and all the more so when the motive is simply to make a quick profit. Companies operating multinationally have a moral duty to uphold and disseminate the best standards and highest ideals, not to sink to the level of the very lowest and most debased practices that exist wherever they do business. Make no mistake - in this case Tesco have descended into the gutter. The level of suffering they are daily inflicting upon live animals in their Chinese stores would result in criminal charges being laid against them were they to repeat these acts of barbarity in the UK.

For Tesco to claim that "it would be wrong" for them to cease the sale of live turtles and frogs because these practices are part of Chinese culture is absurd. If gross cruelty is a part of a culture, then that culture needs to change. Would Tesco willingly sell dogs to be tortured to death in Korea? Would they sell 'bushmeat' from primates in Africa? Would they sell whale meat in Japan? The answer would appear to be "Yes, they would" - and indeed, they already have offered whale meat in their Japanese stores. They were forced to retreat when a major consumer backlash in Europe threatened."

Andy C. Highfield - Tortoise Trust

More detailed info in the following sites:

- Turtlesco
- Turtlesco - clip
- Linnics
- Care for the Wild Int.
- Tortoise Trust
- Tortoise Trust - Tesco's response
- Tortoise Trust - Campaign letter
- "The Independent" on Tesco

PETITIONS ---> Please Sign!!

- Turtlesco Petition
- No more turtles killing!
- Viva's Campaign

Sick & Heartless "Art"

"Guillermo Habacuc Vargas paid local children to catch a dog on the street and then confined, starved and publicly displayed the dog as an "art" exhibit until the innocent animal died of starvation.
This man is by no definition of the word an "artist", he is somebody who enjoys inflicting prolonged suffering upon his innocent victims.
He is a danger to all of society as it is well documented that those with the capacity to intentionally cause harm to an animal have the same capacity to harm humans.
Vargas stated that this animal would have died eventually of natural causes - this is unjustifiable and beyond logical, rational thinking.
Each and every person who knew of and witnessed the suffering of this innocent dog and the organizers of the event, are equally as guilty of causing its death.
And to let this crime go unpunished and instead be awarded by Guillermo Vargas representing Costa Rica in Bienal Centroamericana Honduras 2008 is unacceptable and shameful not only to Costa Rica but to all of its international participants.
He should be jailed and prosecuted to the fullest extent of law for this animals death, not representing Costa Rica as an artist for he is not an artist and to refer to him as such is an insult to all true artists."

"Has cruelty & death become so commonplace that people let this dog die for “art”? Or that people have become so complacent that no one speaks out or does anything when something as horrible as this is happening in front of them? I would have broken all sorts of laws to rescue this poor dog. This is such an outrage that I can barely find the words to express myself properly."

"The costa rican artist Guillermo Vargas let a stray dog starve to death during a performance that was mounted in an artistic fair at nicaragua. With dog's food he wrote in one wall "eres lo que lees" (you are what you read), the sandinista hymn was being played backwards and they were burning 175 rocks of crack and a marihuana once. Not happy with this, the artists known as Habacuc captured a dog in a slum of Managua and he tied him to one of the walls of his demential montage. The poor animal died the next day.

After being questioned and criticized for his work the author of this cruelty replied that his intention was to attack social hypocrisis. Among his confusing intentions he wanted to honor Natividad Canda, who was attacked in Nicaragua by 2 rottweilers. Vargas states that people didn't feel compassion for that man until he was aten by dogs, he also added that no one decided to feed the dog he was "exposing" thus contributing to his death. As logical as it seems, animal rights asociations disqualified this pretended work of art. It's really surprising that this kind of violent artistic expressions but unfortunately we now face the medusa syndrome, we are astonished at the screen, staring all kinds of horros without our consciousness or stomachs revolting.

The brutal "work" of Guillermo Vargas should lead us to think again of the real purpose of art and the lack of it in some of the so called contemporary art. Obsessed by taboo for disrespecting everything whatever it is, we should try to recover our discrimination capacity or at least accept that sometimes we have the right to be indignated.
Art can't be the shield from vandalism and for that reason it shouldn't be granted with impunity. Chris Burden shot against a plane in an airport, Santiago Sierra filled a Synagoge in Germany with unbreathable gases, Teresa Margolles generated vapor with water used to cleanse corpses. The worst thing is that these are obscene exhibition of atrocities without any real lack of purpose other than the quest for media impact."

Thanks to Akbal for english translation from:

Rest in Peace ... lil' one...


- from
- blog @ myspace

Stop Shark Finning

Shark finning is the practice of slicing off the shark's fins while the shark is still alive and throwing the rest of its body back into the ocean where it can take days to die what must be an agonising death. Some sharks starve to death, others are slowly eaten by other fish, and some drown, because sharks need to keep moving to force water through their gills for oxygen. Shark fins are used as the principal ingredient of shark fin soup, an Asian "delicacy". Demand for shark fin soup has rocketed in recent years due to the increased prosperity of China and other countries in the Far East. Shark fin soup, which can easily cost $100 a bowl, is often served at wedding celebrations so that the hosts can impress their guests with their affluence. Because there is such a high demand for shark fins, traders can make a lot of money from shark fin, but it is the restaurant owners who really "make a killing" in this foul trade.

Not only is the finning of sharks barbaric, but their indiscriminate slaughter at an unsustainable rate is pushing many species to the brink of extinction. Since the 1970s the populations of several species have been decimated by over 95%. Due to the clandestine nature of finning, records are rarely kept of the numbers of sharks and species caught. Estimates are based on declared imports to shark fin markets such as Hong Kong and China.

If you are concerned about the plight of sharks - an animal that has been around since before the dinosaurs - there are plenty of things you can do to help... keep on reading to know more.

(from )


1. Don't eat shark fin soup! Don't eat in restaurants that serve it.

2. Boycott any product that uses shark.

3. Tell people about it! This is extremely important. Tell your friends and tell them to pass the message on to their friends. Grassroots communication is vital for causes like this.

4. Write to the press, TV stations. Send emails, make phone calls.

5. Step up the pressure on companies that trade in shark products. Write to them saying you will boycott ALL their products. If you know of a restaurant that has shark fin soup or meat on the menu tell them you will not eat there until they remove shark from the menu.

6. Support organizations that are fighting to save marine wildlife such as Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Wild Aid

7. Visit Stop Shark Finning

8. Raise awareness on this issue creating a "Stop Shark Finning" account in networking sites as MySpace, Facebook etc

9. Buy a Stop Shark Finning T-Shirt and help raise awareness (all profits go to Sea Shepherd).

10. Go shark diving! The more money that can be made from seeing sharks in the wild, the more incentive there is for communities to conserve populations.


- Stop Shark Finning
- Stop Shark Finning - Videos
- Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
- Shark Friends
- Shark Attacks
- Shark Trust
- HSUS - Shark Finning
- Wild Aid
- Adopt a Shark
- Shark Water
- Shark Life News
- Stop Shark Finning .com
- Stop Shark Finning @ MySpace


- Stop Shark Definning
- Global Ban on Shark Finning
- Message to Alibaba
- Stop Shark Slaughter
- Stop Distribution of Shark Finns
- For a Strong Overfishing Rule
- International Trade Endangers Sharks - Take Action

This is how we like our friends.... FREE !!

Animal Birth Control - Spay & Neuter

For every one companion animal who lives inside with a human family and receives the attention (toys, exercise, companionship, etc.), health care, and emotional support that he or she needs, there are many more who are just barely surviving. Millions of domestic animals never know a kind human hand.
They live hard lives on the street before dying equally hard, agonizing deaths.
Some are picked up by dealers called "bunchers," who then sell them to laboratories and the hideous world of vivisection.
Others suffer all the same with careless owners.
Animals left outdoors unsupervised and uncared for fall victim to cruel people every day, in every state.....

That's why if you care for your companion animals and if you want to reduce animals' suffering, you should spay and/or neuter your pets.


1. Your female dog or cat will live a longer, healthier life.
Spaying—the removal of the ovaries and uterus—is a veterinary procedure performed under general anesthesia that usually requires minimal hospitalization. Spaying a female cat or dog helps prevent pyometra (pus-filled uterus) and breast cancer. Treatment of pyometra requires hospitalization, intravenous fluids and antibiotics. Breast cancer can be fatal in about 50 percent of female dogs and in 90 percent of female cats. Spaying your pet before her first heat offers the best protection from these diseases.

2. There are major health benefits for your male animal companion, too.
Besides preventing unwanted litters, neutering your male dog or cat—the surgical removal of the testicles—prevents testicular cancer, if done before six months of age.

3. Your spayed female won't go into heat.
While cycles can vary greatly, female felines usually go into heat four to five days every three weeks during breeding season. In an effort to advertise for mates, they'll yowl and urinate more frequently—sometimes all over the house. Unspayed female dogs generally have a bloody discharge for about a week, and can conceive for another week or so.

4. Your male dog won't need to roam away from home…
An intact male in search of a mate will do just about anything to get one! That includes digging his way under the fence and making like Houdini to escape from the house. And once he's free to roam, he risks injury in traffic and fights with other males.

5. …and he will be much better behaved to boot!
Neutered cats and dogs focus their attention on their human families. On the other hand, unneutered dogs and cats may mark their territory by spraying strong-smelling urine all over the house. Indoors, male dogs may embarrass you by mounting on furniture and human legs when stimulated. And FYI, a neutered dog protects his home and family just as well as unneutered dog--and many aggression problems can be avoided by early neutering.

6. Spaying or neutering will NOT make your pet fat.
It's no use to use that old excuse! Lack of exercise and overfeeding will cause your pet to pack on the extra pounds—not neutering. Your pet will remain fit and trim as long as you continue to provide exercise and monitor food intake.

7. Spaying or neutering is highly cost-effective.
The cost of your pet's spay or neuter surgery is a lot less than the cost of having and caring for a litter. It also beats the cost of treatment when your unneutered tom escapes and gets into fights with neighborhood strays…or the cost of cleaning the carpet that your unspayed female keeps mistaking for her litter box, or the cost of…well, you get the idea!

8. It's good for the community.
Stray animals pose real problems in many parts of the country. They can prey on wildlife, cause vehicular accidents, damage the local fauna and scare children.

9. Your pet doesn't need to have a litter for your children to witness the miracle of birth.
We've heard this one a lot. But you know what? Letting your pet produce offspring you have no intention of keeping teaches your children irresponsibility. Anyone who has seen an animal euthanized in a shelter for lack of a home knows the truth behind this dangerous myth. There are countless books and videos available to teach your children about birth in a responsible manner.

10. It packs a powerful punch in the fight against pet overpopulation.
Millions of cats and dogs of all ages and breeds are euthanized annually or suffer as strays. These high numbers are the result of unwanted, unplanned litters that could have been prevented by spaying or neutering.


In Hope: An Animal Shelter Story

Wanna know more info about spaying and neutering your companion animals?
If so, please check the following sites:

- PETA's ABC (Animal Birth Control) Campaign
- Pledge to End Animal Homelessness
- Spay & Neuter Info
- Animal Awareness - Companion Animals
- HSUS - Reasons to Spay or Neuter your Pets
- HSUS - Myths and Facts about Spaying and Neutering
- ASPCA - Top 10 Reasons why Spaying and Neutering
- Dog Hause - Spay & Neuter
- Brightlion - In Hope
- Spay USA
- Pet Rescue
- No Kill - Links Resource
- Nobody is going to "rescue" you
- Wake up Call (from Terri's blog)
- Companion Animals (from AV Links Archive) .. REMEMBER:

Don't get a pet unless you are absolutely committed to taking care of it for its entire life.

Don't kid yourself that the pet you dump at a shelter will find a home. Remember, no one is looking for it.

Always spay or neuter your animal companions, and never buy them from a breeder or a pet store.

For every dog purchased from a pet store or a breeder, a dog in an animal shelter is killed.

The Animal Rescue Site

Stop BSL

Breed-specific legislation (BSL) is designed to place restrictions on ownership of certain breeds of dogs. Typically, the restricted breeds include pit bull-type dogs (usually vaguely defined), followed by Rottweilers. Other breeds may include German Shepherds, Chow Chows, Presa Canarios, Dobermans, Cane Corsos, Huskies, Boxers, and mixes of these.

BSL exists because people are looking for an easy way out. It's easy to point fingers at a group of voiceless dogs and call them "dangerous". It makes for great sound bites on the evening news, and it gives politicians a way to distract people from real worries. It saves us from having to address the core problems - irresponsible, ignorant dog owners, bad breeders, criminals, and an uneducated public.

Some of the most common causes for dog attacks to humans are:

- Failure to understand dog behavior
- Failure to train and socialize
- Chaining and/or neglect results in an anxious, lonely, bored, understimulated, untrained, unsocialized, isolated dog.
- Raising/breeding dogs for dog fighting creates aggressive and dangerous animals.

Breed-specific legislation creates a number of restrictions or regulations on any one breed.
The most common kind of breed-specific legislation completely bans all dogs of a certain breed.
This means that all dogs of the banned breed must be removed from the area or euthanized.

Breed-specific legislation is not an effective approach for regulating dogs' behavior in communities.
BSL affects dogs based on appearance only. It has nothing to do with temperament. The alleged purpose of BSL is to increase public safety, but it can not do that because it completely overlooks temperament.
Although such bans might comfort individuals who have had unpleasant experiences with particular breeds or have heard of attacks by specific dog breeds in the media, the bans do not act to effectively regulate the behavior of any breed or of dogs and their owners collectively.

Are you the owner of one of these breeds?

*American Pit Bull Terrier
*American Staffordshire Terrier
*Staffordshire Bull Terrier
*Bull Mastiff
*Doberman Pinscher
*St. Bernard
*Dogo Argentino
*German Shephard
*Chow Chow
*Rhodesian Ridgeback
*Dogue de Bordeaux
*Wolf Hybrid
*Great Pyrenees

If so, your dog could be the target of Breed Specific Legislation!!

It's very important that all pet owners actively oppose, protest and fight against BSL, because it doesn't matter what breed of dog you own, you can easily with one incident become a target.

A recent huge target for breed-specific legislation has been the family of Pitbulls.
Pit bulls carry many stereotypes. Any time one of these dogs does something bad, the media makes sure we all know about it. The public never learns about the thousands of pitbulls that are cherished family pets, gentle with children, and excel in obedience or agility trials. Many of these dogs are abused and exploited. They are used for entertainment and gambling in the form of dog fighting. This activity is illegal, but enforcement is very difficult. These dogs are not the villains, but the victims!
American Pit Bull Terriers die every single day in shelters around the world not because they are vicious - because they are pitbulls.

Have a look at the many positive pit bull stories which the media prefers to be silent about:

- Positive Pitbull Press
- Heroic Pitbulls
- Pit Bull Press
- In Memory of Chief

Please check the following sites to get more details regarding BSL and how to fight against it:

- Say NO to BSL
- Stop BSL
- Bull 911
- American Pitbull Registry
- Defending Dog
- Understand a Bull
- Deed Not Breed
- Endangered Dogs
- Happy Pit Bull
- Hello Bully!
- I Heart Paws (on BSL)

Felix RIP......

From SPEAK Campaigns:

Today it is with much regret that we must inform everyone of the death of Felix.
The information we have been given is that he has been killed by those that tormented and tortured him for almost a year.

It is difficult to comprehend the type of person that can perform barbaric and gruesome procedures on a living sentient creature for an entire year. This person, if that is indeed the correct word for such an individual (monster, would probably be more apt), is capable of looking into the eyes of an innocent non human victim everyday but yet is incapable of feeling pangs of remorse or even sympathy with regards to the pain and suffering they are inflicting on an
individual capable of a full range of emotions from fear, to pain through to happiness.

Unfortunately Felix would certainly have experienced no happiness in the last year of his sad life at Oxford University, but if truth be told, he probably was never able to experience happiness or any sort of joy in his entire life.
It now appears that he was born in a cage. He lived in a cage and he ultimately suffered in a cage before being put to death alone in a cage.

Let's not forget, Oxford University have the audacity to label themselves as an institution of 'academic excellence'! However, the reality is that the life Felix was forced to endure has nothing to do with 'academia', but everything to do with arrogance; an arrogance of individuals who hold life so cheap, that they can dictate not just how and when to end a sentient life, but how much suffering they can and will inflict upon that life.

Despite what university representatives might say, Felix's final few months would have been filled with pain, torment, and much, much suffering. There's no hiding this fact and people should be made aware as to what exactly Felix went through in his final months. We can now disclose that Felix had the top of his skull sliced off, a procedure that has been documented through human and non human primate research as extremely painful. Electrodes were forced into
his brain and then he was fitted with a cranial chamber (a box like contraption that sits on top of the skull). His pain must have been unbearable but he had no one to comfort him. Just a barren cage surrounded him, there were no comforts. There was no kin to cuddle up to, to ease his pain. He was alone until the day his torturers had finished with him; the day they put him to death.

Felix is dead now, and it's important that we remember him. We have looked at the photos of him on numerous occasions and have been lost in his sad expression, his beautiful face. We will never forget him. Cry if you want to.
Don't be ashamed to mourn his sad, sad life. At SPEAK everyone has shed a tear for poor Felix. We had for months now been fighting to save Felix but we couldn't save him despite all the efforts we put into getting him released.

However, the fight has not been in vain: it continues.

Yes, by all means shed a tear for Felix, but this is far from the end of Felix's story. This is just the beginning. We know more today than we ever knew about the project Felix was being used and abused for. We now know that Felix was just the first victim of a 5 year project that began in 2006; a project that will be using, abusing and killing 2 macaque monkeys every year. The project will run for 5 years, which means that it still has about 4 years to run.

From the beginning of our Fighting for Felix campaign we have maintained that although Felix was an individual he was also a symbol. A symbol for not just the 1000's of animals dying inside Oxford University every year but the hundreds of millions being sacrificed in a fraudulent scientific practice worldwide. We still have everything to fight for, indeed we owe it to Felix not just to keep fighting for the animals but to redouble our efforts, and that's exactly what we will be doing at SPEAK. First and foremost we must bring to an end the project that was responsible for the suffering and death of Felix.
Remember this, 8 macaque monkeys will be suffering the same fate as Felix over the next 4 years if we don't stop the vivisectors at Oxford University.

Join with us. This battle is far from over. The animals need you and we need you by our side to fight the good fight. Let Felix's memory live on in all of us as we battle to end the crime that is vivisection.

In memory of Felix, a life so cruelly treated by Oxford University.
You will always be in our thoughts.

The Fight Continues…

To view the project licence for Felix and read this story online click on:

In memory of Felix


Inform yourself ---> HERE

Please read & watch the following material ----> HERE

Take Action:

- Let Felix be the last!
- Contact your MEPs to End Primate Tests

Veggie Kitchen in a Nutshell


Not sure what kombu is or where to find it? What exactly is agar-agar, and how is it prepared? This handy guide takes the mystery out of those unfamiliar ingredients and even tells you where to find them!

Agar-Agar: Sea vegetable that can be used in place of gelatin in many recipes. Available in flakes or bars in Asian markets and health food stores.
(Check out the gelatin alternatives section for preparation and substitution tips.)

Agave Nectar: From the agave plant. Can be used as a replacement for honey. Available in natural food stores.

Arrowroot: Starch that can be used for thickening sauces. Use 1 Tbsp. to thicken 1 cup of liquid. Available in health food stores.

Blackstrap Molasses: Unrefined molasses with a stronger taste than regular molasses. Available in health food stores.

Bragg’s Liquid Aminos: Unfermented alternative to soy sauce that can be used to flavor tofu, stir-fries, soups, and pot pies. Available in health food stores.

Brown Rice Syrup: Made from malted brown rice. Can be used in place of sugar, honey, and other sweeteners. Available in health food stores.

Bulgur: Crushed wheat kernels that are typically used in Middle Eastern cuisine. Found in most grocery stores and health food stores.

Carob: Can be used as a replacement for chocolate in baking. Found in health food stores.

Carrageen: Seaweed that can be cooked as a side or used as a gelling agent. (Check out the gelatin alternatives section for preparation and substitution tips.)

Couscous: A nutty-flavored, quick-cooking grain that can be used in place of rice. Found in grocery stores.

Daikon: A large, white, Japanese radish. Found in specialty markets and Asian markets.

Demerara Sugar: Unrefined cane sugar. Available in most grocery stores and health food stores.

Edamame: A green soybean that can be steamed, sautéed, or tossed into soups. Available in Asian markets and most grocery stores.

Egg Replacer: Can be a powdered replacer, like the one made by Ener-G, or puréed tofu. (Check out the egg replacements section for more egg replacers.)

Florida Crystals: A brand of unprocessed sugar. Found in most grocery stores and health food stores.

Galangal: Also known as “Thai ginger.” Similar in taste and appearance to ginger. Found in Asian markets.

Garam Masala: Typically used in Indian food. A blend of cumin, black pepper, cloves, fennel, cardamom, dried chili, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, and other spices. Found in the ethnic section of most grocery stores.

Herbs de Provence: A mixture of dried herbs from the southern region of France. Normally contains marjoram, savory, fennel, basil, thyme, and lavender.

Hijiki: Dark-green sea vegetable that needs to be rinsed before cooking. Found in Asian markets and health food stores.

Kohlrabi: A root vegetable that is similar in taste to cauliflower. To prepare, boil until tender. Found in many grocery stores and Asian markets.

Kombu: Seaweed that is often used as a flavoring agent in soups, stews, and chilis and for braising tempeh. Found in Asian markets and health food stores.

Kudzu: A starchy powder that can be used to thicken sauces, gravies, and stews. Whisk with cold water until smooth to avoid clumping when adding to a recipe. Found in health food stores. (If you do not have kudzu, cornstarch and arrowroot can be used instead.)

Miso: Fermented soybean paste that comes in several varieties. The darker the paste, the stronger and saltier the flavor. Can be used to replace anchovies in Caesar dressing or in a marinade for tofu. Available in Asian markets and health food stores.

Nori: Thin black seaweed typically sold in sheets. Used as a wrapper for sushi. Found in health food stores, Asian markets, or the Asian section of grocery stores.

Nutritional Yeast: Nutty, cheese-like flavored powder. Cannot be replaced with brewer’s yeast or active yeast. Found in health food stores.

Pectin: A natural gelling agent found in fruits that can be used to thicken jams and jellies. Found in most grocery stores.

Quinoa: Pronounced “keen-wah.” A fast-cooking ancient grain that’s loaded with protein. Must be rinsed before cooking. Growing in popularity and can now be found in most grocery stores and in health food stores.

Seitan: Made from wheat gluten. A perfect substitute for meat in any dish. Found in health food stores and Asian markets. (Check out the meat substitutes section for preparation tips and a recipe for homemade seitan.)

Stevia: A naturally sweet herb with no calories. Much sweeter than sugar. Found in the baking aisle of most grocery stores or in health food stores.

Sucanat: A semi-refined cane sugar that tastes like brown sugar.

Tahini: Made from sesame seeds and also called “sesame butter.” Found in the ethnic foods aisle of most grocery stores.

Tamari: True soy sauce. Fermented from soybeans. The wheat-free version of shoyu, another soy sauce. Found in Asian markets and most grocery stores.

Tamarind: A fruity and sour pod from a tropical evergreen. Found in Latin, Asian, and Indian markets.

Tempeh: A cake of pressed soybeans. Found in most grocery stores and health food stores. (Check out the meat substitutes section for preparation tips and more information.)

Turbinado Sugar: Light brown raw sugar that has been partially refined and washed. Found in more grocery stores.

Umboshi: Tart Japanese plum that is dried and pickled. Found in health food stores and Asian markets.


Don't know what to use in place of meat in your favorite recipes? There are now widely available alternatives to just about every type of meat, including chicken-, pork-, fish-, and beef-style products. Plant-based meat substitutes have come a long way in both taste and texture since the days of the first veggie burger, thanks to the growing popularity of vegetarian diets. Faux meats are most often made from soy or wheat protein and are available fresh, dried, or frozen. Check out the vegan shopping guide for a list of vegan meat alternatives that can give you the flavors you grew up with minus the cruelty to animals, and try the following meat substitutes for mouth-watering, cruelty-free, and heart-healthy meals.

Tofu: First used in China around 200 B.C., tofu has long been a staple of Asian cuisine. Tofu soaks up flavors and is best when marinated for at least 30 minutes or served with a flavorful sauce.

There are two types of tofu that you'll want to try: fresh, water-packed tofu (always refrigerated) for when you want the tofu to hold its shape, such as when baking or grilling, and silken tofu, which is packed in aseptic boxes and usually not refrigerated, for pureing. Try firm or extra-firm tofu for baking, grilling, sauting, and frying and soft or silken tofu for creamy sauces, desserts, and dressings. Silken tofu is used for making a heavenly chocolate cream pie but will fall apart if you try to make it into shish kebab. When baking tofu, cook it in a marinade so it will soak up more flavor. To give tofu a meatier texture, try freezing it for two to 24 hours and then defrosting it.

Press the water out of the tofu prior to preparing it. Wrap the tofu in a towel and set something heavy on top of it for at least 20 minutes, and it will be ready for marinades, sauces, freezing, and cooking.

Tempeh: This traditional Indonesian food is made from fermented soybeans and other grains. Unlike tofu, which is made from soybean milk, tempeh contains whole soybeans, making it denser. Because of its density, tempeh should be braised in a flavorful liquid (see recipe below) for at least one hour prior to cooking. This softens it up and makes the flavor milder.

After braising, you can dredge the tempeh in flour, corn meal, or a mixture of ground nuts and flour and panfry it. Then try adding it to a sauce and continue cooking it for an enhanced flavor. PETA's famous Tempeh Creole recipe is an example of how satisfying tempeh can be.

Seitan: Also known as wheat gluten, seitan is derived from wheat and is a great source of protein. Try seitan as a chicken substitute in your favorite recipes. We recommend trying Seitan Piccata or Macadamia-Encrusted Seitan With Mango Broccoli Slaw. You can find seitan at most health food stores—but if you are feeling adventurous, you can make it at home.

Whole Grains and Legumes
Whole grains are an excellent source of fiber, protein, B vitamins, and zinc. Legumes include pinto beans, navy beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, lentils, peanuts, and black-eyed and split peas. Use beans as a protein source in salads, soups, stews, and rice dishes. Check out our recipe section for delicious whole grain and legume recipes.


For every dairy product, there is a cruelty-free alternative. In addition to being more humane than cow's milk, soy-, rice-, and nut-based milks and cheeses are generally lower in fat and calories and contain no cholesterol.

Milk: Soy, rice, or nut milk can replace cow’s milk in any recipe. Soy and rice milks are available in a variety of flavors including plain, vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. If you cannot find a nondairy milk, try making soy milk at home.

• For desserts, try using almond, oat, or coconut milk.
• For whipped cream, try Rich's brand nondairy whipping cream, beaten until stiff peaks form. You can find it at most Kosher or specialty baking stores.
• For buttermilk, combine one cup soy milk and one tablespoon vinegar.
• Silk brand creamer makes an excellent coffee creamer.

Cheese: You can make vegan cheese at home; check out the many recipes available on the internet or in "old school" books ( try The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook by Joanne Stepaniak, available online at the PETA Bookstore There are also plenty of convenient alternatives to cheese, such as the following, available at the grocery store or online:

• Vegan Gourmet Cheese Alternative by Follow Your Heart brand comes in mozzarella, nacho, Monterey jack, and cheddar flavors and contains no casein (a milk derivative).
You'll find it in natural food stores or online at
• Tofutti brand makes a wide variety of soy cheeses, including nondairy cream cheese,
as well as vegan sour cream and ice cream.
• Replace cottage or ricotta cheese with crumbled, seasoned tofu.
• For parmesan cheese, try Soymage brand vegan parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast flakes.
• If you cannot find vegan cream cheese, make your own with our recipe.

Yogurt: Try Silk, Whole Soy, or Stoneyfield Farm O'Soy brand vegan yogurts alone or in a recipe. You can also make vegan yogurt at home with our recipe. For a sweeter version, omit the mustard and add sugar or fruit.

Ice Cream: There is a wide variety of vegan ice cream available on the market. Try Soy Delicious, Soy or Rice Dream or Tofutti, brand. If you're feeling adventurous, check out our vegan ice cream recipe to find out how to make homemade nondairy ice cream.


There are plenty of egg substitutes available for baking or preparing a dish that calls for eggs. Ener-G Egg Replacer is a reliable egg substitute for use in baking. It is available at health food stores and most grocery stores.

Tofu: Tofu is great for egg substitutions in recipes that call for a lot of eggs, like quiches or custards. To replace one egg in a recipe, purée 1/4 cup soft tofu. It is important to keep in mind that although tofu doesn’t fluff up like eggs, it does create a texture that is perfect for “eggy” dishes.

Tofu is also a great substitute for eggs in eggless egg salad and breakfast scrambles.

In Desserts and Sweet, Baked Goods: Try substituting one banana or 1/4 cup applesauce for each egg called for in a recipe for sweet, baked desserts. These will add some flavor to the recipe, so make sure bananas or apples are compatible with the other flavors in the dessert.

Other Egg Replacement Options

• 1 egg = 2 Tbsp. potato starch
• 1 egg = 1/4 cup mashed potatoes
• 1 egg = 1/4 cup canned pumpkin or squash
• 1 egg = 1/4 cup puréed prunes
• 1 egg = 2 Tbsp. water + 1 Tbsp. oil + 2 tsp. baking powder
• 1 egg = 1 Tbsp. ground flax seed simmered in 3 Tbsp. water
• 1 egg white = 1 Tbsp. plain agar powder dissolved in 1 Tbsp. water, whipped, chilled, and whipped again

Egg Replacement Tips

• If a recipe calls for three or more eggs, it is important to choose a replacer that will perform the same function (i.e., binding or leavening).
• Trying to replicate airy baked goods that call for a lot of eggs, such as angel food cake, can be very difficult. Instead, look for a recipe with a similar taste but fewer eggs, which will be easier to replicate.
• When adding tofu to a recipe as an egg replacer, be sure to purée it first to avoid chunks in the finished product.
• Be sure to use plain tofu, not seasoned or baked, as a replacer.
• Powdered egg replacers cannot be used to create egg recipes such as scrambles or omelets. Tofu is the perfect substitute for eggs in these applications.
• If you want a lighter texture and you’re using fruit purées as an egg substitute, add an extra 1/2 tsp. baking powder. Fruit purées tend to make the final product denser than the original recipe.
• If you’re looking for an egg replacer that binds, try adding 2 to 3 Tbsp. of any of the following for each egg: tomato paste, potato starch, arrowroot powder, whole wheat flour, mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, instant potato flakes, or 1/4 cup tofu puréed with 1 Tbsp. flour.


It's probably no coincidence that gelatin rhymes with skeleton—because that's exactly what it is—animal bones (along with animal skin, hooves, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage all boiled together into a goo that's added to all kinds of candy and baked goods). Luckily, there are plenty of easy gelatin alternatives available so that baking doesn't have to be bad to the bone.

This flavorless gelling agent, derived from cooked and pressed seaweed, is available flaked, powdered, or in bars. For best results, grind the agar-agar in a coffee grinder or food processor and then cook it, stirring it regularly until it dissolves. When used in a recipe, agar-agar sets in about an hour and doesn't require refrigeration to gel. For a firmer gel, add more agar-agar, and for a softer gel, add more liquid. And don't worry if you don't get it right the first time—you can fix a faux pas simply by reheating the gel. Here's a general guide on how to use agar in recipes:

• Substitute powdered agar-agar for gelatin using equal amounts.

• 1 Tbsp. of agar-agar flakes is equal to 1 tsp. of agar-agar powder.

• Set 2 cups of liquid using 2 tsp. of agar-agar powder, 2 Tbsp. of agar-agar flakes, or one bar.

• Keep in mind that highly acidic ingredients, such as lemons, strawberries, oranges, and other citrus fruits, may require more agar-agar than the recipe calls for. Also, enzymes in fresh mangoes, papaya, and pineapple break down the gelling ability of the agar-agar so that it will not set. Cooking these fruits before adding them to a recipe, however, neutralizes the enzymes so that the agar-agar can set.

Also known as Irish moss, this seaweed, found in coastal waters near Ireland, France, and North America, is best when used for making softer gels and puddings. To prepare carrageen, rinse it thoroughly, and then soak it in water until it swells. Add the carrageen to the liquid you want to set, boil for 10 minutes, and remove the carrageen. One ounce of carrageen will gel 1 cup of liquid.

Kosher Gelatin
Many kosher gelatins are vegan. Try Lieber’s unflavored gel, Emes Plain Kosher-Jel, Carmel’s unsweetened gel, KoJel’s unflavored gel, and Hain Superfruits.


Here are some secrets for saving time while jazzing and lightening up your recipes:

• Use vegetable oil instead of animal fat for frying and sautéing.
• Use vegetable stock or broth or wine instead of animal-based stocks in soups, sauces, and stews.
• To liven up your rice, heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a pot and sauté one tablespoon of garlic for two minutes. Add the rice and sauté until lightly browned. Cook the rice according to package directions, adding vegetable broth instead of water for flavor.
• Use only the freshest ingredients in your recipes.
• To perk up wilted lettuce, add lemon juice to a bowl of cold water and soak lettuce for an hour in the refrigerator.
• If a soup or stew is too salty, add chunks of raw potatoes. Discard them after they have cooked—they will have absorbed the salt. If a soup or stew is too sweet, add salt. If a main dish or vegetable is too sweet, add one teaspoon of cider vinegar.
• When sautéing zucchini, potatoes, carrots, and squash, use a fork to stir. Spoons often break up the vegetables.
• To thicken sauces: Try using cornstarch mixed with cold water (in a one-to-one ratio), brown rice flour (approximately 1 2/3 teaspoonfuls per 1/2 cup of liquid), potato starch or flour (2/3 teaspoon per 1/2 cup of liquid), tapioca flour mixed with cold water (in a one-to-one ratio), or ground nuts.
• Save time by reading a new recipe all the way through first and making sure you have all the ingredients and tools. Try mastering six to eight recipes and using them in rotation—a trick gourmet chefs use.
• Brown rice syrup can be used in place of sugar, honey, and other sweeteners. To substitute for sugar, use 1 1/4 cups of brown rice syrup for 1 cup of sugar and use 1/4 cup less of a liquid called for in the recipe.


No vegan kitchen would be complete without these helpful items:

• Fresh fruits and vegetables: Don't be afraid to try new ones.
• Soy, rice, or nut milk: Both are great for sauces and salad dressings.
• Coconut milk and coconut cream: The higher fat content is great for sorbets, ice creams, and baking.
• Soy sauce and tamari: These are great as a basic sauce ingredient.
• Vegetarian stock: There is a wide variety of faux-chicken stocks and vegetable stocks available. If you have the time, try making our Roasted Vegetable Stock, which can be kept in the freezer for future use.
• Nonhydrogenated margarine: Good brands to look for are Earth Balance and Soy Garden.
• High-quality oils: extra-virgin olive oil, safflower oil, canola oil, and coconut oil
• Nondairy sour cream: try Tofutti brand
• Maple syrup: an alternative to sugar for baking and for sauces
• Agave or brown rice syrup: can be used in place of honey in recipes
• Florida Crystals: unprocessed vegan sugar that can be used instead of refined sugar in any recipe
• Nutritional yeast: has a rich, nutty flavor and makes delicious cheesy sauces; can also be used in breading, dressings, and soups as well as on pasta
• Agar-agar: creates delicious vegan Jell-O, pudding, and jelly
• Arrowroot and/or cornstarch: great as a thickening agent in soups, stews, and sauces.
• Canned tomato sauce: always useful in preparing last-minute meal
• Staples: beans, rice, frozen veggies, and garlic
• Soy mayonnaise: Use in place of traditional mayonnaise in pasta and potato salads, sandwich spreads, and sauces; try Nayonaise or Vegenaise brands.
• A blender
• A food processor
• A chef's knife: It has a rigid blade with a slight curve that facilitates the rocking motion most chefs use in chopping and is perfect for slicing, dicing, and chopping.
• Good cookbooks (for example, check out the fabulous selection of vegan cookbooks at )

If you wanna know more about Vegetarian/Vegan lifestyle, including lots of jummy recipes to inspire your kitchen activities, just click the following link and you'll find a rich library of links :

VEGGIE LIFE @ Animal Voice Links Archive


We have a Choice

to use the Gift of our Lives

to make the World a Better Place

(Jane Goodall)

Please visit ----> Jane Goodall Institute



This is why i fight - this is why i suffer - this is why i'll never give up - this is why i need your help... till justice has been made, till when there will be no more of these news to publish.


Guadalupe County prosecutors are vowing to throw the book at three boys charged with torturing and killing a puppy that had been given to a neighbor's teenage daughter a few months ago.

"I was sickened, all of us were absolutely sickened," said Guadalupe County Attorney Elizabeth Murray-Kolb. "They found the easiest target, a friendly little dog. They were seen petting it."

The boys, ages 12, 14 and 16, took the 5-month-old Pomeranian mix named Toby on Tuesday to an abandoned house on Glenewinkel Road in Geronimo. What followed was a sadistic scene of torture and mutilation, according to officials at the Sheriff's Department and County Attorney's office.

They said the boys took the dog to the second floor of the house and twice threw it out a window, breaking its legs. Then they used a rope to hang the dog from a tree by its broken hind legs and used a lighter to burn its genitals.

"They got a board with nails sticking out of it and used the dog as a piñata," Murray-Kolb said.

Finally, they used a folding pocketknife to decapitate Toby. Murray-Kolb said she did not know if the dog was dead or alive when its head was cut off.

A deputy was called to the abandoned house by a neighbor, who reported suspicious activity at about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. The deputy found the boys and noticed blood on their clothes, said Guadalupe County Sheriff's Department Lt. Kevin Jordan. The deputy then found the decapitated dog, still hanging by its hind legs from the tree.

The three boys are all charged with animal cruelty resulting in death.

If tried as adults, they could receive two years in jail and a fine for the state jail felony. But as juveniles, they could be locked up at a Texas Youth Commission facility until they turn 19. That's what officials hope to do.

"These boys are a danger to the community," said Assistant County Attorney Nan Udell, who will prosecute the case. "We want society to be protected as long as we have the ability to protect it. As children, the goal is always rehabilitation. I don't know if that's possible here."

"The only remorse I've seen is they are sorry they got caught," Udell said.

County Court-at-Law Judge Linda Jones on Wednesday ordered all three boys to be detained in the Seguin juvenile lockup for 10 days, until their next mandated court hearing.

The killing shocked the dog's owners.

Toby was a "very playful, cute little puppy," said Lenora Tavera.

She said the dog was a gift from a friend to her 16-year-old daughter, Stephanie, a couple of months ago. Toby had a habit of escaping from their fenced yard to play with neighbors and their dogs.

Tavera said her daughter "knows one of the boys. She couldn't believe they would do that to a dog."


Sweet gentle soul - may You rest in Peace - may you only know Love & Care from Now On.

The Search For Alternatives in Cosmetic Testings

Vanity products such as cosmetics are not essential to human health and welfare, but are generally subjected to the same types of animal-based testing protocols as are more "useful" materials. In the United States, such cosmetic tests are not required, but are routine. In Europe, they are mandated, but with some interesting additional provisions. European Union Cosmetics Directives include requirements that animal tests should not be performed if scientifically adequate alternative procedures are "reasonably and practically available." In essence, this represents a built-in restriction on animal (in vivo) tests and promotes alternative (in vitro) tests-at least in principle.

The European Commission provided a further incentive for the development and use of alternative tests when, in 1996, it decided to prohibit cosmetic products containing ingredients or combinations of ingredients tested on animals. Although implementation was postponed from January 1, 1998 to June 30, 2000, this Directive produced a major push for new alternatives. A similar, proactive environment remains lacking in the U.S. regulatory community.

Major problems to the advancement of the alternatives approach remain, but are being actively addressed:

There are more than 7,000 chemicals used in cosmetics. In Europe, more than 400 substances are prohibited, while in the United States, only 14 are restricted. More restrictions correlate with fewer animal tests.

There is a general lack of high-quality in vivo data to serve as a baseline for in vitro validation studies. Considering the multitude of serious deficiencies associated with animal tests, this is not surprising. However, requirements that proposed in vitro replacements be validated against poor quality animal test data, biases such procedures before they begin.

Animal test data may be semi-quantitative, relatively useless, unreliable, and irreproducible, but it is still used to accept or reject many in vitro test proposals.

Regulatory authorities fail to promote alternatives for political rather than scientific reasons.

Corporate product liability lawyers and insurance companies continue to endorse the use of animal tests.

There are no consistent, effective, international efforts to promote alternatives or harmonize testing strategies. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) provides testing guidelines and procedures, but usually remains significantly out of date with respect to improvements in alternative testing methods.

Despite such difficulties, progress in promoting the alternatives approach to safety testing is being made. Cosmetic products provide several excellent examples.

Skin Corrosivity/ Irritation

Because cosmetics are designed for direct application to the skin, toxic responses of that tissue are of particular interest. Furthermore, if substances are identified as non-corrosive, then further testing for irritancy can be conducted on human volunteers rather than laboratory animals.

There are a wide variety of in vitro or computer-based replacement alternatives for the more traditional and inhumane Draize Rabbit skin tests. These alternative methods use numerous endpoints that provide a relatively complete picture of the potential toxicity of test substances.

The European Center for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM) recently noted that "it is becoming increasingly apparent that the development and implementation of stepwise (hierarchical) testing strategies" is providing the most effective approaches to predicting the toxicity of new substances and to reducing the number of animals killed in in vivo test procedures.

Quantitative Structure Activity Relationships (QSAR) are particularly useful regarding skin responses to toxic substances. A PC-based system for predicting skin corrosivity is routinely used as an initial screening procedure by companies such as Unilever. Even the OECD recommends that animal tests need not be done if skin corrosion or irritation can be predicted by the basic physiochemical properties of the materials. This is precisely what the QSAR does so well.

The OECD also suggests that "it may not be necessary to test in vivo materials for which corrosive properties are predicted on the basis of results from in vitro tests."

Based on currently available in vitro methods, there are no longer any justifications for the use of animal-based skin tests.

The use of multi-layered, in vitro human skin models is rapidly increasing in both testing and research laboratories. One such in system was recently approved as an in vitro replacement for animal skin corrosivity tests.

According to the ECVAM Scientific Advisory Committee, "the results obtained with the EPISKIN (a test involving the use of a reconstructed human skin model) in the European Center for the Validation of Alternative Methods international validation study on in vitro tests for skin corrosivity, were reproducible, both within and between the three laboratories that performed the test. The EPISKIN test proved applicable to testing a diverse group of chemicals of different physical forms, including organic acids, organic bases, neutral organics, inorganic acids, inorganic bases, inorganic salts, electrophiles, phenols, and soaps/surfactants.

The concordances between the skin corrosivity classifications derived from the in vitro data and from the in vivo data were very good. The test was able to distinguish between corrosive and non-corrosive chemicals for all of the chemical types studied. The Committee therefore agreed with the conclusion from this formal validation study that the EPISKIN test is scientifically validated for use as a replacement for the animal test, and that it is ready to be considered for regulatory acceptance."

EPISKIN is therefore a valid replacement for the Draize Rabbit Skin test, with the former's basic skin-like gross and microscopic structure, growth characteristics, and biochemical similarities to real human skin.

It is possible to replace the skin of live sentient animals with an in vitro system. Even more astounding possibilities are planned for the future. Work is currently in progress to provide blood vessels and sensory nerves to these artificial human skin equivalents.

If a test substance is found to be non-corrosive, then it becomes possible to determine the potential for skin irritation using human volunteers. A human 4-hour patch test has been developed, is widely used in several companies, and is being considered for endorsement by the OECD. This test was developed by the Unilever Company and validated with more than 65 types of chemicals. It was also optimized for possible ethnic, inter-individual, and seasonal differences in on the skin of volunteers. This represents another ideal replacement for animal-based procedures.

If the properties of the test substance are in doubt, several in vitro methods are also available. Single layer cultures of skin cells are useful for some categories of chemicals. Organ cultures of human skin are suitable and easy to use. Although some laboratories prefer to use animal skin, comparative results suggest that the latter are inappropriate and likely to over-predict toxicity. For example, rabbit skin is far more sensitive than human skin for the same materials.

Perhaps the most useful in vitro method for predicting skin irritation is the three-dimensional, reconstituted human skin equivalents.

As the sophistication of in vitro testing methods continues to increase, justifications and rationalizations used to defend animal testing diminish. As a consequence of this transition to a more rational, alternatives-based testing program, consumers' health and welfare are more adequately protected. As the following brief examples demonstrate, this trend is real and undeniable.

Acute Toxicity

For decades, the routine approach to this concern was mass poisoning large numbers of animals in the classical Lethal Dose 50 test (LD50). The LD50 test is still on the books, but conducted infrequently. It was replaced by several new, less traumatic, but still lethal options. Two of the latter were formally adopted by the OECD and are becoming worldwide standards: the fixed dose and acute toxic class methods.

There has always been a need for a quick, easy in vitro replacement for such lethal tests. Such an alternative-based approach is now available.

The Multicenter Evaluation of In Vitro Cytotoxicity (MEIC) program was initiated in 1989. By mid-1996, the 29 contributing laboratories had tested all 50 chemicals in each of the 61 proposed in vitro assays. Evaluation of the data was completed in 1998 with very positive results.

The MEIC found that the toxicity of most chemicals to human cell lines was relevant to acute, lethal effects in humans, with a successful prediction rate of 84%. Of the many methods examined, the MEIC group selected 15 of the best tests as replacement candidates for animal-based acute toxicity methods.

Two simple in vitro methods had an 84¢ prediction success rate for some, and 71% for all of the test substances. Addition of a third technique raised the overall success rate to 77%. If information on certain physiological parameters was added, the rate increased to 83%. What is particularly important about the MEIC effort is the use of human rather than rodent reference data to determine the efficacy of the proposed replacements.

What is also significant is that for the first time, an animal toxicity test was subjected to validation procedures. The mouse LD50 failed in comparison to the in vitro options, achieving only a 66% rate of accurate predictions.

Based on the results of the MEIC study and the creation of batteries of in vitro tests to measure acute toxicity, it is no longer necessary to poison even small groups of animals in order to identify risks resulting from human exposure to new or existing materials. Lethal animal tests are no longer necessary.

A practical, easy-to-use battery of in vitro tests, based on four different toxic endpoints, is now available and was proven to provide better results than traditional rodent-based procedures. The MEIC testing scheme is ready for adoption by companies and regulatory agencies. In addition, the MEIC in vitro methods are ideally suited to study the unknown mechanisms of acute lethal and toxic actions of chemicals, which would contribute to a rationally based approach to product safety.

Eye Irritancy-Draize Tests

About 20 years ago, the use of rabbits to test the ability of compounds to cause serious eye damage became a major focus of anti-animal testing and the development of replacement alternatives. In the decades that followed, multiple in vitro methods were proposed, tested, semi-validated, but not widely adopted. In large part, this is an artifact of the very serious problems with the unreliability of the original, animal-based Draize tests and a relative absence of suitable human eye exposure information.

Many of the available in vitro alternatives to the Draize clearly provide adequate information on ocular irritation. However, it is difficult to conduct an in vitro replacement validation study when the alternative is expected to favorably compare with in vivo results that are subjective and highly variable. In the long-term, the Draize Eye Irritancy Test and all of the data it has produced should be abandoned and replaced with a new set of well-defined, mechanistically based endpoints to which the proposed in vitro replacements can be compared. Toxicologists and regulatory agencies do not need a substitute for the Draize, but rather an entirely new approach to answering such questions.

As an interim step, a battery of in vitro and computer-based methods could be adopted to provide adequate information to determine the potential eye irritancy of new substances.

Structure Activity Relationship computer models combined with data on basic physiochemical properties can act as a pre-screen. A variety of cell-culture-based assays that have had difficulty passing earlier validation tests should be reconsidered on a case-by-case basis. These can be combined with more recently developed in vitro techniques.

Of particular interest is the HET-CAM assay, which utilizes exposure of the chorio-allantoic membrane of chicken eggs to test substances. This test provides information on inflammatory processes and passed several multi-laboratory validation trials with prediction rates as high as 80%.

The Epi Ocular in vitro system is a multi-layered culture of human cells that very closely mimics the structure of the human cornea. It consists of a metabolically active, stratified, squamous epithelium, with growth and morphological characteristics similar to human tissue. Although man-made, it behaves like the surface of the eye in response to direct exposure to compounds that cause inflammation and irritation.

A number of experimental trials with various chemicals and compounds have shown that the Epi Ocular System can act as a reliable safety test and provide a reproducible and accurate replacement for the Draize Eye Irritation Test. In one instance, the system was exposed to 41 materials, which included final formulations of shampoos, off-the-counter cosmetics, and basic chemicals. Epi Ocular had an 86% correct correlation. Other trials produced similar results.

Although "officially" still "necessary," the Draize test has never been a valid indicator of potential human eye injury. It can and will be replaced with a battery of humane alternatives.

Skin Sensitization

Because cosmetics are designed to make contact with the skin, potential allergic responses are a serious consideration for manufacturers. Traditional testing approaches involve exposure of substances to the skins of guinea pigs coupled with deliberately increased sensitivity. The resulting allergic reactions are observed and ranked.

In the United States, federal regulatory agencies recently adopted a new approach. Substances are applied to a mouse ear. After several days the mice are killed and their lymph nodes are examined for evidence of immune reactions. Although this murine Local Lymph Node Assay represents both a reduction (fewer animals) and refinement (less pain) alternative that is cheaper and quicker than the guinea pig tests, it still involves animal deaths.

In contrast, 1998 Belgian studies using reconstituted, multi-layered in vitro human skin examined potentially sensitizing materials. They concluded, "it may be possible in a single integrated assay to classify and to discriminate between irritant and sensitizing agents." Researchers in California examined the chemical profiles of substances (cytokines) released by humans in response to irritation and allergic reactions. This information may be combined with in vitro tests, making it easier to determine relevant properties of test substances.

Dr. Craig Meyers of Pennsylvania State University uses organotypic raft cultures of simulated human skin to study contact dermatitis. His research, sponsored in part by AAVS' Scientific Affiliate, the Alternatives Research & Development Foundation, is designed to provide a replacement for the tens of thousands of animals currently killed in such dermatitis testing and to provide an in vitro approach to examining treatments for the problem.

Phototoxicity / Photoirritation

This is a prime example of regulatory necessity producing new in vitro methods. Because some cosmetic preparations are exposed to sunlight, their potential toxic responses need to be identified. The European Union recently announced the formal acceptance of a cell-culture test (3T3 NRU PT) as the officially accepted standard for determining phototoxicity. It was accepted for all types of products, not just cosmetics.

This test uses cells in cultures that are exposed to new substances and UVA light, which simulates sunlight. It was easily reproducible in different laboratories and consistently distinguished between 30 photoirritants and non-irritants. What is even more significant is the effort that produced this alternative also identified five additional in vitro methods that showed significant promise in validation protocols.

Because the 3T3 cell method does not allow for direct application of test materials, as is the case with human skin, researchers in Germany also studied the Epiderm full-skin reconstructed human epidermis as a potential indicator of phototoxicity. Successful tests of 12 chemicals established this as a second reliable in vitro alternative that has the advantage of testing formulations not suitable for use in normal cell culture environments. In combination with the 3T3 cell culture method, these alternatives have eliminated the need for further animal testing of phototoxicity.

Percutaneous Absorptiona

A substance's ability to penetrate the skin is important, since failure to do so would obviate the need for some further types of toxicity testing, either in vivo or in vitro.

The OECD is currently considering guidelines for in vitro tests of percutaneous absorption. This is based on the long-term experience of European chemical, cosmetic, and pesticide manufacturers and has the support of most of the OECD member countries. Unfortunately, as often happens, the United States is on the wrong side of this issue, being opposed to the proposed alternatives.

Non-animal alternatives are available to determine the percutaneous absorption of cosmetics and other compounds. There is no need to continue animal-based procedures for this purpose.


With all commercial products, especially those intended for deliberate, direct contact with human tissues (i.e., skin), there is a concern about potential carcinogenicity. For this reason, tests to determine a compound's ability to produce mutations are conducted. For several years, in vitro replacement alternatives have been available to measure such mutagenicity. No animal-based methods are needed. In particular, a tri-partite group of in vitro tests are now, or should be, routinely used: 1) reverse mutation assay using bacteria; 2) chromosomal aberration test; and 3) gene mutation assay.


Traditional animal-based toxicity tests were never necessary for cosmetic and personal care products, as tacitly acknowledged in U.S. regulations. Their use has been optional, but widespread. As stated, for seven of the eight types of tests considered, in vitro replacement alternatives are available and should be adopted by manufacturers and regulatory agencies. The final test, the Draize Eye Irritancy test, may already have adequate in vitro substitutions, but problems inherent in the validation process have thus far excluded them. That situation should change in the very near future.

There are no compelling scientific reasons why the new millennium cannot begin with widespread use of cruelty-free, humane, in vitro approaches to toxicity testing of cosmetics, in particular, and other substances, in general.

(article by John McArdle, Ph.D., AAVS' Science Advisor)

lease visit the following links related to animal testing for cosmetics - you will learn about the many alternatives that a compassionate consumer have, and with choosing cruelty-free products you are going to actively help many innocente animals - Thank You!

- Leaping Bunny
- Choose Cruelty Free
- Compassionate Consumer
P&G Kills
- Uncaged - Boycott Procter & Gamble

+ Animal Tests / Vivisection links database