Category Archives: Weekly Feature

We Have a Dream [Celebrating MLK the Animal Culture Way]

“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tired into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one destiny, affects all indirectly.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.


Today we celebrate the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr., who, because of his non-violent activism, played a crucial role in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. His peaceful stances and engaging speeches left a mark on this world forever, and by breaking the silence he was able to have a dream and help make it come true.

Here at Animal Culture we have a dream of our own.

We dream that animals and humans will be able to live in peace with one another, and that humans will start treating nature and its inhabitants as equals.

Photo Via: Pinterest.com

Photo Via: Pinterest.com

We dream that we see no more news articles of animals being beaten, tortured, and abused. Instead, we dream of seeing more of this:

We dream that one day the rights and welfare of animals will be a priority on everyone’s agenda.

Photo Via: animal-rights-action.com

Photo Via: animal-rights-action.com

We strive to speak up about animal abuse and educate the public about animal rights, and we try to live by the words of MLK, Jr: “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

We will not be silent, and we hope you will speak up as well.


*Note: The article above was written by © Kalie Lyn, 2016*
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Personality, Intelligence, and Cats vs. Dogs

Dogs and cats each have their own attributes and personalities, but does choosing to be a “dog person” or a “cat person” help determine our own traits?

It’s often creepy when we spot a pet and their pet parent who have an eerily physical resemblance to one another, however we don’t take much thought in similar personality traits between pets and their pet parents. It’s common knowledge that dogs are known as outgoing, active, and attention-loving animals, while cats are recognized as mellow, curious, solitude creatures. But does the type of pet a person brings into their home predict that person’s personality? According to a web-based study done in 2010 at the University of Texas, yes, yes it does.

Photo Via: Medicsindex.ning.com

Photo Via: Medicsindex.ning.com

The online study asked 4,565 different people if they identified themselves as “dog people”, “cat people”, both, or neither. They were then given a 44-question survey that measured their answers on the “Big Five” personality dimension spectrum which psychologists use to study personality – Conscientiousness (self-discipline), Extraversion (enthusiasm), Agreeableness (trusting), Openness (nontraditional thinking), and Neuroticism (stress).

46% of those surveyed self-identified as “dog people”,12% said they were “cat people”, and 28% were both while 15% were neither.

Dog People: The dog people were 15% more extroverted (outgoing and social), 13% more agreeable (trusting and kind), and 11% more conscientious (organized and self-disciplined ) than cat people.

Cat People: The cat people on the other hand were 12% more neurotic (anxious, easily stressed) and 11% more open (appreciative of art and culture) than dog people.

While this study is limited to only 4,565 people, and many are both or neither cat and dog people, this research has revealed that people may gravitate toward pets with similar personality traits as their own. An outgoing, dutiful, social person may prefer an equally outgoing, dutiful, and social dog. A reserved, introverted, more creative person may prefer a cat as their housemate. However, the lines do cross, and pets often balance out our different personalities.

Photo Via: Psychologytoday.com

Photo Via: Psychologytoday.com

Since being a pet parent to the animal of our choice can reveal more about a person’s personality, what can that choice tell us about a person’s intelligence? According to a more recent study, choosing “dog or cat” can reveal how smart we are.

According to the newer study done at Carroll University in Wisconsin, 600 college students were asked whether they were “dog people” or “cat people”, what qualities they liked best about their pets, and more questions that assessed their personalities.

Out of those 600 students, 60% said they identified more with dogs and enjoyed the “companionship” of their dog the best, while only 11% said they identified more with cats and enjoyed the “affection” from their cats the best – the remaining said they either liked both cats and dogs, or liked neither.

However, while the “dog people” reign once again in this study at 60%, it were the “cat people” who scored higher in intelligence. While dogs may be smarter than cats according to yet another study from 2010 (tired of the studies, already?) that found dogs have experienced greater brain growths in the past 60 million years compared to cats, it is the personalities of the cat people that make them smarter than the dog people.

Because dogs need ample exercise and walks outside, dog people spend more time outdoors and socializing. Cats however, are more comfortable indoors lounging on the couch, and usually their pet parents are the same. Cat people, who are usually introverted, are more likely to read a book and study their interests than dog people, who are usually more extroverted and social.

(Photo Via: Librarything.com)

(Photo Via: Librarything.com)

Of course though, just like with personality, the kind of pet a person chooses doesn’t necessarily determine their intelligence. Pets are here to bring us companionship and affection, to make us smile and lick our tears away, and to ultimately teach us to be better human beings. Whether we are extroverts or introverts, organized or creative, or relaxed or anxious, we all chose our pets for one reason: because we love them.


Are you a self-described “dog person” or “cat person”? Do you think the pet we choose describes our personality and intelligence? Let Animal Culture know in the comment section below!


*Sources: Psychologytoday.com, Pets.webmd.com, Time.com, Huffingtonpost.com, Livescience.com*
*Note: The article above was written by © Kalie Lyn, 2014*

Aiding the Voiceless Victims of Natural Disasters

It’s tornado season, and with the destruction comes unintentional abandonment for many pets.

Many of us have seen photos of what storms can do to lives, and some of us have even witnessed it first-hand. Houses that were once called homes are collapsed into rubble, memorabilia that meant something personal is destroyed in an instant, and emotions beyond any other flood the body and brain after such devastation. However, beings, not belongings, are the priority when it comes to such devastation.

The 79 (or more) tornadoes that hit Mississippi and surrounding areas of southern United States in April, 2014 claimed at least 34 human lives, and left hundreds more injured. Throughout the initial shock and ultimate tragedy of any natural disaster, animals are usually the last to be noticed, causing them to be abandoned and forgotten about at the moment.

(Photo Via: IFAW.org)

(Photo Via: IFAW.org)

Thousands of pets were left homeless after the April, 2014 tornadoes. Many were separated from their pet parents during the turmoil of the storms, and some were left at shelters as their pet parents were unable to care for them after being left homeless themselves. With the number of animals taking up capacity in the shelters across the storm-affected areas, The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is teaming up with The Animal Rescue Site and GreaterGood.org to aid in the transportation of abandoned pets that are filling up the shelters.

The Tupelo-Lee Humane Society of Tupelo, Mississippi, one of the hardest hit areas of the April tornadoes, is one shelter that has exceeded its capacity limit. Unable to allow more animals that are still being rescued from the storms, this specific shelter – along with many others – is in dire need of assistance. The IFAW is assisting in the transportation of these pets to other shelters who are able to take them in, and ultimately find them homes or even reunite them with their former pet parents.

(Photo Via: Theanimalrescuesite.greatergood.com)

(Photo Via: Theanimalrescuesite.greatergood.com)

Animals are voiceless victims when it comes to disasters – natural or human-made – and it is up to us to help them. It is expensive for shelters and rescue groups to take in the abandoned pets, and they need our help to continue their rescue work. You can help “Reunite Pets with Families After Devastating Tornadoes“. Another way to assist is by volunteering at your local animal shelter or rescue group, since most of these places are volunteer based.

Not only do the animals need our help, but also the people aiding these animals. They are the humans who give their time and hard work to creatures who can not say what hurts, or where the last place they saw their pet parent was. They need our support more than ever, and Animal Culture urges all you animal-lovers out there to give some of your money and time to help the animals affected by the April storms.


*Sources: Blog.theanimalrescuesite.com, Ifaw.org*
*Note: The above article was written by © Kalie Lyn, 2014*

 

Awarding TWAS – The Wild Animal Sanctuary

First legalizing the use of marijuana for recreational purposes, and now having a wildlife welfare organization that has been named the top 5 in the world, Colorado is fast becoming a popular, down-to-earth, natural state.

(Photo Via: Wildanimalsanctuary.org)

(Photo Via: Wildanimalsanctuary.org)

The CLASSY Awards came and went on May 2nd and 3rd, and the results are in. Celebrating the achievements of social impact in our society, the CLASSY Awards honor those who help make our world a better place. With 8 different award categories, and each category having sub-categories within them, “Animal Wildlife and Welfare” is one category recognized among others such as “Education Advancement”, “Environmental Protection”, and “Human Rights & Social Justice Services”.

At this year’s 5th Annual CLASSY Awards, The Wild Animal Sanctuary of Keenesburg, Colorado – 30 minutes outside of Denver – was selected as one of the top 5 nonprofit animal and wildlife welfare groups in the world, being recognized in the sub-category of “Captive Wildlife Rescue, Rehabilitation, & Education”. This Colorado sanctuary was named along with 4 other nonprofit animal welfare groups, including PETA, Best Friends Animal Society, Hilafax Humane Society, and World Vets.

Established in 1980 and being the oldest and largest nonprofit animal sanctuary in the United States, The Wild Animal Sanctuary (TWAS) rescues captive exotic and endangered large carnivores, giving them a forever home that closely mimics the animals’ natural habitat. Boasting 720 acres, this Colorado animal sanctuary is home to more than 290 lions, tigers, bears, wolves, and other exotic carnivorous mammals.

The preservation of these animals is not the only thing TWAS does to help. They also offer an extensive education program, focusing on the “Captive Wildlife Crisis”. According to the sanctuary’s website:

“There are estimates as high as 30,000 captive Great Cats, Bears, Wolves and other large carnivores living in substandard conditions throughout the US. In fact, after illegal drugs and weapons, the exotic animal trade is the third largest source of illicit profits in America…and in the world…today!”

“Our goal for the animals we rescue is to give them a life of dignity and respect, and make their life like it would be if they could choose. TWAS also works tirelessly to educate about the causes of…and solutions to…the Captive Wildlife Crisis.”

By providing this education, the public is able to learn about the plight of these exotic and endangered creatures, along with seeing the animals in what closely resembles their natural habitat. Building an elevated, almost 15,000 feet long walkway, the sanctuary allows visitors to view the animals in a way that does not disturb the habitat or the carnivores themselves.

Dubbed the "Mile Into the Wild Walkway", this bridge spans almost 3 miles, allowing visitors to view the sanctuary's animals. (Photo Via: Wildanimalsanctuary.org)

Dubbed the “Mile Into the Wild Walkway”, this bridge spans almost 3 miles, allowing visitors to view the sanctuary’s animals.
(Photo Via: Wildanimalsanctuary.org)

Changing the way the general public views these exotic large mammals, The Wild Animal Sanctuary has created a place that focuses on the needs and welfare of the animals. Their work and progress has been rightly honored, and their cause has definitely made a positive social impact.

If you’re planning a family vacation, or just looking to support a good cause, visiting The Wild Animal Sanctuary can help benefit these exotic animals that are often looked at as performers and profits.


*Note: The above article was written by © Kalie Lyn, 2014*
*Sources: Kplctv.com, Classyawards.org, Wildanimalsanctuary.org*

Lentils, Kale, Spinach, Oh My!

How do you ask someone if they’re a vegetarian?

You don’t, they automatically tell you.

Today marks the first day of US VegWeek 2014. Running from April 21 to April 27, US VegWeek is a week long meat-free pledge. Beneficial for your health, the planet, and of course animals, this is a week to test out the vegetarian waters.

Being a vegetarian now-a-days is an easier feat than before. With more vegetarian and vegan restaurants popping up, the many veggie recipes swarming the internet, and the discovery of kale chips, being a vegetarian is the new trend of the season. Animal Culture is a promoter of vegetarianism and veganism, and we are pleased more and more people are jumping on that bandwagon. However, it is not something that should be taken lightly.

Being a vegetarian is a lifestyle change. Whether you do it for your own personal health, or for the suffering of animals (and just as a side note: if you do it for the animals, you shouldn’t order a salad while you’re wearing a leather jacket), you need to know what to eat in order to keep both your body and mind healthy.

So why is it so important to take this 7-day VegWeek pledge, and possibly alter your life to become a full-time vegetarian? Well, let’s just jump right in and see why you should, how you should do it, and the benefits it provides.


Why?

Did you know that about 10 billion land animals are slaughtered for our consumption every year in the United States, and about 58 billion worldwide? And remember, these numbers are just for animals killed for food, not for the numerous other reasons animals are murdered. Going vegetarian for the animals means taking a stand against the abuse and inhumane killing methods these creatures endure in slaughter houses. And just think how nice it would be to sit down to eat, and not wonder what torture your meal had encountered before it reached your plate.

(Photo Via: Peta2.com)

(Photo Via: Peta2.com)

With the rise of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and the many other illnesses that plague the United States and beyond, going vegetarian can reduce and even prevent your risk of encountering these medical problems. According to the American Dietetic Association, as cited on the website of US VegWeek, “appropriately planned vegetarian diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.” So simply, why not reduce your risk and go veg?

(Photo Via: Care2.com)

(Photo Via: Care2.com)

We all want to help reduce our carbon footprints on this earth. Choosing a vegetarian lifestyle can assist with that. Animal agriculture results in 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions, mostly due to the three climate change-affecting gases that factory farms produce: carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. Eating veggie can help make your positive mark on the planet as you discourage the consumption of factory farm meats.

(Photo Via: Growingraw.com)

(Photo Via: Growingraw.com)

How?

In order to be a full-time vegetarian, or even to partake in VegWeek, you need to know what kinds of food to eat to keep yourself healthy.

Ah, that question again. (Photo Via: Elephantjournal.com)

Ah, that question again.
(Photo Via: Elephantjournal.com)

The phrase above, “where do you get your protein?”, is one thing vegetarians and vegans hear the most from meat-eaters. Women need about 46 grams of protein a day, while men need about 56 grams, and protein should fulfill 10-35% of a person’s daily calorie intake. It’s no secret that meat is the number one source of protein, and without meat, vegetarians and vegans need to find other ways to get their much-needed protein.

A normal 8-ounce piece of meat has 50+ grams of protein. In order to substitute meat, vegetarians and vegans need to know which foods are high enough in protein to give them the recommended daily amount. Quinoa, dubbed the “queen of whole grains”, is an excellent source of nutrients, and 1 cup contains 18 grams of protein and 9 grams of fiber. Beans, lentils, peas, tofu, soy, nuts and many dairy products (which vegetarians include in their diet, but vegans exclude) are also high in protein. These foods, along with fruit and leafy greens, help make a balanced veggie diet.

(Photo Via: Popularvegan.com)

(Photo Via: Popularvegan.com)


For those of you who are wondering what’s up with the header of this post, it’s a funny, and very true, joke. Being a vegetarian or vegan is not about impressing your friends or being “cool”. It is about altering your life for the better, and something to take very seriously. Some people may say “oh, it’s not that hard to be a vegetarian/vegan”, but it is. Getting the nutrients you need, standing up for a cause you believe in, and being taunted by meat everywhere can be very difficult. One major risk vegetarians/vegans face, especially those that have just started, is not eating right. This can turn into a serious problem, and can even make you sick – you can’t live off of Mac & Cheese and stir-fry.

Most veggie-promoting sites will list only the benefits of being a vegetarian/vegan, but at Animal Culture we strive to not only be informative but most importantly honest. It may sound like we are turning you off of going veggie, but it’s far from that. In Animal Culture‘s perfect world, eating meat would be obsolete. However, we understand what it takes to be a vegetarian/vegan, and it is something that potential veggies should be prepared for.

Partaking in VegWeek is a great start. It will test you and help you prepare if this is something you want to do full-time. And if it is, there are many sites out there that can help you with healthy and practical veggie meals. Some of Animal Cultures favorites include PETA, VegKitchenand AllRecipes.

If being a vegetarian or vegan is something you are interested in, or even if you just want to do it for a week, make sure to pledge at US VegWeekWhether you do it for yourself, for the animals, or for the planet, being a vegetarian/vegan is all about health. And if you know what to eat, being one can lead to a very fulfilling life choice.

So, go VEG!


*Sources: Humanesociety.org, Animalrights.about.com, Webmd.com, Vegetarian.about.com*

A Massacre in Canada

Today starts the hunt. Not the hunt for knowledge or treasure, but the hunt for murder.

Every year, around March and April, when the new spring harp seal babies shed their fuzzy white coats, which usually starts at 12 days old, thousands of Canadian fishermen make their way to the Canadian Atlantic coastline. However, they are not there for the fish.

(Photo Via: Goodnature.nathab.com)

(Photo Via: Goodnature.nathab.com)

They come bearing clubs or hakapiks – a stick with a hooked blade guns, and knives. These fishermen proceed to brutally slaughter hundreds of thousands of seals, the majority being infants (any seal over 12 days old is legal to kill). They club them to death, hitting them repeatedly over the head until they die. Now, according to new “standards” set in 2008 by the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), sealers are supposed to puncture the skull to make sure the seal is dead. After, they bleed the dead seals by slitting arteries located under the front flippers, then proceed to skin them.

(Photo Via: Canadiansealhunt.com)

(Photo Via: Canadiansealhunt.com)

This year, starting today on April 14, 2014, 400,000 harp seals are legally able to be killed, a quota set by the DFO. The majority of those seals are no older than 3 months, and their pelts, oil, and meat is sold while the rest of the seal will be discarded. Claiming also as a reason for the hunt, the DFO states that harp seals are eating all the cod. However, a seals diet only consists of 3% of cod, while the majority of their diet is fish that are actually predators to cod.

Currently, more than 30 countries have stopped their involvement with the seal trade, one of which is the United States. However, many countries still participate, the majority being Norway, Germany, China, and Greenland.

An annual massacre that is both brutal and unnecessary, the Canadian seal hunt needs to be stopped. Luckily, with fellow animal activists, your voice can be heard. Visit Harpseals.org to figure out how YOU can help end the inhumane murder of hundreds of thousands of baby and adult seals.


Want to make a bigger impact? Contact the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans directly. Feel free to express yourself in your own way (keep it clean and educated though!), or use the outline below provided by Animal Culture.

Outline:

I am appalled by the annual Canadian seal hunt. Hundreds of thousands of seals are brutally murdered, and it is unnecessary. 

Because of the continued ban of the seal trade in more than 30 countries, your market for seal skins, oil, and meat has dropped drastically, making this hunt irrelevant. I also understand that a reason for the hunt is that the seals are eating all the cod. However, only 3% of a seal’s diet is cod, and the majority of the seal’s diet consists of fish that are predators to cod. 

People from all over the world, including most Canadians, oppose the seal hunt. Because of this seal hunt, Canada is appearing insensitive and behind-the-times with the condoning and involvement in the seal hunt. Please, I urge you to stop this massacre of innocent baby and adult seals. Until this ends, I will not be purchasing Canadian seafood, anything made of seals, and will urge all my family and friends to do the same.

End the Canadian seal hunt!

Signed: (Your Name)

Emails:

Below is the email for Gail Shea, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. She is the one responsible for setting the seal hunt kill quota.

gail.shea@parl.gc.ca

Secondly, send an email to Keith Hutchings, Fisheries Minister for the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, where the majority of the seal hunt takes place.

keithhutchings@gov.nl.ca


*Sources: Harpseals.org, Liberationbc.org, Seashepherd.org, Hsi.org,*