Are you unknowingly supporting cruelty to animals?

Are you unknowingly supporting

Image shared by The Paw Company

In the light of April being the prevention of cruelty to animals month, we want to look at some industries and practices that are contributing to the cruelty to animals, that you might be supporting. Have you ever complained about a dog being chained, yet you take your kids to petting farms, aquariums, on animal rides, or to the circus? Whether it hurts them physically or not, there is always an ethical, welfare and cruelty question! Let’s look at a few practices or industries.

Responsible people and tourists do not interact with captive wild animals! While many elephant-riding operations say that their animals are well treated, there is no quick, easy or humane way to train any elephant, Asian or African, purely for the pleasure of people to ride these highly intelligent and majestic creatures. Also, look at the spine structure and think about whether it will hurt or not.

When you purchase a ticket to a circus that exploits animals, you’re supporting their misery. Circus life is not good for animals!

Video of animals in permanent lockdown.


Are you unknowingly supporting

Image shared by The Paw Company

Too many animals living on one property can be a sign of animal hoarding. Thousands of animals are hoarding victims each year. Animals are kept in overcrowded, deteriorated areas and unfortunately most hoarding animal victims will have to be euthanized due to ill health.

Every year millions of animals suffer and die for nothing – animal-based experiments are misleading and retard medical progress.  There are safe, modern, effective, accurate, reliable and repeatable methods available that require no living beings. Watch this Save Ralph short film.

Make a difference where you can, by using kind options for household cleaners and grooming needs. It doesn’t matter what a brand says, it is what it can prove. Remember that all bunny logos does not mean the same.

Image by Beauty Without Cruelty SA (Facebook)

Even though we understand that hunting is deeply entrenched in the SA culture, we strongly object to any hunting or fishing for sport, entertainment, or recreational purposes. The sport does not justify causing suffering to animals.

A canned hunt is a trophy hunt that is not a “fair chase”; it has been made too easy for the hunter. Animals have been kept in a confined area, such as in a fenced-in area, increasing the likelihood of the hunter obtaining a kill. A canned hunt is a hunt for animals that have been raised on game ranches until they are mature enough to be killed for trophy collections.

Catch-and-release hunting is now possible by converting a high-powered rifle to a tranquilizer dart gun, immobilizing the animal for fun.

The welfare concerns are crucial here and both the dog and its prey can get injured and die a terrible death, apart from the living conditions of the hunting dogs.

A line of beaters pushes the animal in the direction of a chain of waiting hunters, this way you can be relatively certain of getting a chance of shooting the game several times each day.

Fox hunting is a very disturbing form of hunting.

Are you unknowingly supporting

Image shared by The Paw Company

Are you ok with cruel beauty or comfort? If you’re considering buying a product stuffed with down or body feathers, the first thought on your mind probably isn’t: “Where did these feathers come from? One of the ways they collect feathers is live-plucking. Live plucking is exactly what it sounds like: a goose or duck is held down by their neck or wings as the “targeted feathers” are torn from their skin. When the skin rips during this process it is sewn up with a straight needle (no analgesic or sterilization used) and the bird is left to recover before the next “harvest of feathers.” This process is repeated every 6-7 weeks before the bird’s eventual slaughter (or death from the trauma of the plucking process itself).

This is an amputation equivalent to the first digits of your fingers. We believe declawing cats is both unethical and inhumane. We also believe that Veterinarians should say no to this procedure unless there is a medical reason for it. There are many alternatives for responsible pet owners who are not lazy. Watch this video about declawing.

Image shared by The Paw Company

While docking and bobbing are more commonly used to refer to the removal of the tail, the term cropping is used about the ears. There is no justifiable reason to dock a dog’s tail or ears. Those who do it will be liable for prosecution under the Animal Protection Act no 71 of 1962. When you buy breeds where this has been done, you are supporting cruelty.

Many factors seriously compromise the welfare of the fish, leading to suffering and may even kill the animals. The water quality is affected and temperature changes are also a concern. Toxic (to fish) chemicals such as from toiletries or nail varnish may leach into the water. Chemicals used to clean or disinfect tanks or to clean clients’ feet before treatment may also be toxic to the fish. Overcrowding fish in a small volume of water will lead to increased concentrations of ammonia too. Well-fed fish may show no interest in human skin and may be unlikely to feed on the skin if they had access to appropriate food sources. There is also the question of what happens to the fish once they have become too big to be used for pedicures.

Image shared by the NSPCA (website)

People catch & release for personal fun. Take a photo to boost your low self-esteem maybe or for some likes on Facebook? You are not doing this for conservation. Fish can feel the injury and depending on where you hooked them, it can have detrimental effects on their well-being and that is apart from the fact that many die about a week later, due to infection of the injury site.

Foie gras is a speciality food made of duck or goose liver.  One bird is forced to consume between 160 and 210 kgs of corn mush in only three weeks. This is the equivalent of a 68kg human consuming roughly 27kgs of oiled pasta daily, or 54 boxes of pasta a day.

There is no way for you to justify these cruel practices or industries.  Animals do not deserve to be treated like products. They are sentient beings and deserve respect, care and most of all freedom.

Next week we will look at the things you need to consider when you have pets and you go house-hunting.


Source: The Bulletin
Written by: Ancois van Zyl

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World Veterinary Day – Celebrating and supporting our brave vets and the hardships they face

World Veterinary Day

Today we join together to celebrate World Veterinary Day and give thanks for the extraordinary work and tireless devotion of all those who work in the crucially important field of veterinary services, saving lives and giving support to all innocent animals. Both wild and domestic, animals fill our world and lives with joy and countless meaningful moments, be it in our homes or in the wild. What would we do without the selfless commitment of veterinarians all around the world?

We tend to give little credit to these brave soldiers (men and women) who, behind the scenes, dedicate their lives to ensuring the wellbeing of the many innocent and vulnerable creatures who share this planet with us, and the unimaginable emotional and psychological stress which they can experience. Their essential work is usually fascinating, varied and often deeply fulfilling, but it regularly includes a darker side, hidden from both their clients and the general public. Within the veterinary domain, it is veterinarians who are the guarantors of animal health and protectors of animal resources, providing a vital component of food security and public safety. The farm-to-fork strategy aims to make food systems fair, healthy and environmentally friendly. Historical and geographical references show that this role is vulnerable and must be protected to ensure its existence and quality, not only for the benefit of those involved, but above all for society as a whole.

Most people who call upon the skills of professional veterinarians imagine their days to be filled with simple analyses or the odd minor operation on cute and cuddly cats, dogs and other domestic animals. This is far from the reality of what they generally go through.

Recent studies have revealed statistics which are not easy to digest. Most of us forget to take into consideration the extreme hardships faced by our loving veterinarians, especially those working in clinical and companion animal medicine. These factors include excessive workloads and veterinary care costs, an often unhealthy work-life balance and a sense of isolation in the workplace. On top of this we must consider the high level of client expectations, unforeseen and sometimes tragic outcomes as well as the communication of distressing news to owners of pets.

It is a very sad and disturbing statistic that vets are twice as likely to commit suicide than doctors and medics and four times more likely than average members of the greater public. The most commonly encountered mental health issues experienced in the veterinary field includes depression, anxiety, anorexia, mood disorders and even alcoholism. They also have a very unbalanced and high debt to income ratio which adds to their consternation, and furthermore, having studied for roughly the same length of time, they earn only a fraction of what a physician can make on a yearly basis.

Various techniques have been developed to help in the battle to promote mental wellbeing and health awareness over recent years. The most well-known are defined as “mental health services and information delivered or enhanced through the internet or related technologies.” A few examples of these include: telemental health (videoconferencing for counselling), online support groups and games especially developed to give some much needed distraction and which can also aid in psychological or behavioural adjustment.

The Big Question is – What can you and I do to help? Well, most of the answers are what most people would consider common courtesy and mindfulness. Kindness and friendliness towards your veterinarian, combined with an understanding of the stress that they go through is the most obvious of these. Another important idea is to share positive thoughts and experiences, showing your appreciation rather than only voicing your concerns and fears. If you have friends or family members working in the field, give them as much support and time as possible to help to ease their stress levels.

Moreover, be prepared to deal with the often considerable expenses required to have your best-furry-friend looked after and treated – don’t expect discounts or free assistance and remember all of the medications, equipment and other staff which come into the equation. If you have an acquaintance in the veterinary world, avoid clogging up their phone and minds with constant questions and requests for help or suggestions, except when absolutely necessary.

These are just a few ways in which we can help to uplift the mental health of all those working arduously to protect nature, and our beloved animals. Love your vet! Show plenty of appreciation. Mindfulness is the Golden Key. We all live stressful lives in one way or another, but not all of us have to perform risky and arduous operations or worse, “put to sleep” the animals which are under our care. Your vet genuinely cares for and has a bond with your animal(s), and has chosen this difficult job out of love and respect for all living creatures. It can be as agonising for them as for you when tragic circumstances occur. So: be aware, make a difference and help to support your vet today and forever, thereby reducing the hardships and mental struggles which they face.

Join in the conversation and learn more through these links:

Celeb Hippo’s Penchant for Rooibos

Celeb Hippo's Penchant for Rooibos

Game ranger, Tonie and his wife, Shirley Joubert, adopted Jessica when she was only a few days old, after they found her on the banks of the Blyde River during a flood 22 years ago. Her favourite snack is Rooibos of which she drinks 20 litres a day.

Meet Jessica the Hippo – one of the world’s most famous animal stars. She’s played the lead in several National Geographic documentaries, appeared on the Discovery Channel, SKY news, BBC, Japanese, German and Australian telly and even made it onto the Oprah Winfrey Show.

Annually, thousands of tourists flock to the 6 ha reserve in Hoedspruit, situated along the Blyde River to catch a glimpse of Jessica.

Her favourite snack is homegrown Rooibos, and she eagerly gulps down 20 l a day.

Honorary game ranger, Tonie Joubert and his wife, Shirley, raised Jessica since she was a calf. They rescued her during the devastating floods that ravaged parts of Mozambique and South Africa in the year 2000.

“Shortly after being born, Jessica must have been swept downstream and thankfully, we found her still alive and intact on the banks of the Blyde River, near our home” Tonie recalls.

“When we got to her, she was weak and exhausted by the ordeal. She had no energy. Realising that she needed help, I picked her up and saw she was only a few hours old as she still had the umbilical cord attached to her.

“She needed milk urgently, but being so small, we couldn’t feed her cow’s milk. I quickly prepared a formula, which consisted of egg yolk, cream and full cream cow’s milk to create a substitute for colostrum. To our surprise, she took to the teat of the bottle greedily, and could hardly get enough of my formula.”

At 16 kg’s and 30 cm tall at the shoulder, it was the smallest hippo they had ever seen. Over a 24-hour period she had to consume 10% her body mass in milk (1.6 litres) – needless to say Tonie and Shirley had their hands full.

“Jessica’s chances of survival in the wild were very slim and we realised that it would be far more merciful to see the journey through, than to just let nature take its course, and so she became part of our family,” says Shirley.

When the time came to wean Jessica, they experimented with various teas, but the only one she took to was Rooibos.

“To this day, she’ll only drink Rooibos and prefers to take it warm with a bit of brown sugar. She has it for breakfast, lunch and supper, and always nudges us for it just before bedtime. It helps her to fall peacefully asleep on the veranda with our five English bull terriers – her very best mates.”

Weighing a modest 1 400 kg, Jessica maintains her figure by grazing on grass, consuming 5 kg of carrots and apples each, along with a loaf or two of bread.

With more than 100 films to her name, she must be one of the most documented animals on the planet. She also starred in Leon Schuster’s blockbuster movie, Mr Bones. She has her own fan page and celebrities from all over come to meet her.

Tonie says tourists enjoy feeding her on top of a raft on the river or by the jetty. “We give them each a warm bottle of Rooibos and well-prepared sweet potatoes cut into slices, which she simply can’t resist.

“She is a dear friend and is very protective over us. While hippos are known to be aggressive, Jessica is so gentle and kind.

“In 2012, we adopted another hippo, called Richie, who is exactly like Jessica. They both love Rooibos, watching television and listening to music with us. We must be the only people on earth living with hippos,” chuckles Tonie.

According to the SA Rooibos Council (SARC), the brew is one of the most sought-after herbal tisanes not only because of its high level of antioxidants, but for its alkalising benefits too.

Marthane Swart, secretariat of the SARC says that’s why Rooibos is a core ingredient in many pet foods.

“When it comes to the health of your pets, it’s vital to ensure the right pH balance. An alkaline environment allows your pets’ organs, tissues and immune system to thrive. Animals can also benefit from Rooibos’ health-giving properties by simply pouring it over their food or giving it to them to drink.

“The variety of antioxidants and bioflavonoids make Rooibos an important daily supplement for both pets and humans,” remarks Swart.

For more info on Jessica the Hippo and/or Rooibos’ health benefits, visit and

Source: Issued by Meropa Communications on behalf of the SA Rooibos Council.
For further information, please contact Brigitte Taim from Meropa on (021) 683 6464 / 082 410 8960
or email:



If you have to leave your dog on his own it can bring on separation anxiety, this is usually caused by over-dependence on an owner. It can be the result of being weaned too early, being abandoned, or simply due to the temperament of the dog.

You leave your dog alone for just twenty minutes while you run to do some shopping and when you return he’s emptied the rubbish onto the kitchen floor, destroyed a pillow or had a pee in your hallway. If this sort of behaviour happens frequently your dog may be suffering from separation anxiety.


Separation anxiety is common in dogs and is usually caused by over-dependence on an owner. This dependence can be the result of being weaned too early, being abandoned, or simply due to the temperament of the dog.

It is a difficult but not impossible condition to treat. And, with patience you can overcome the destructive behaviour associated with separation anxiety completely.

What to look out for

The types of behaviour commonly associated with the problem are urinating and/or defecating in inappropriate places, destructive chewing and pawing, excessive barking or whining, a refusal to eat or drink, self-chewing or self-licking.

When you return home there is usually a prolonged, over-enthusiastic greeting too.

Punishment isn’t the answer

Punishing your dog is the last thing you should do in this situation. He won’t be able to associate the mess he has made while you were out with the punishment he receives a few hours later. Your dog may appear to act guilty but this is simply submissive behaviour – dogs don’t feel guilt but they can anticipate a punishment.

Looking down, tucking his tail between his legs, slinking, showing his belly, these are all ways your dog shows submission, not guilt. Basically, he is saying “Hey, I know you’re the boss. Don’t beat me up.” Punishment only treats the symptoms of separation anxiety and not the root cause.

Come and go

The best way to deal with the problem is to decrease the dependence and anxiety your dog is feeling. This can be done simply by getting your dog used to people coming and going in the house.

When you leave, don’t make a fuss or a big deal of saying goodbye as this will only increase his anxiety. Similarly, when you return, give him a calm greeting only after he has calmed down.

You could even try some ‘practice’ entrances and exits from the house to get him used to your movements. Do this several times a day and go through the whole routine as if you’re actually going to leave.

Jingle your keys, pick up your bag or briefcase, put on your jacket and head out of the door. You could even hop in the car and drive around the block. After a minute or two, return.

As your dog gets used to these short outings, gradually increase their duration. Your goal is to be able to leave the house and return again without your dog working himself into a frenzy or misbehaving when you’re gone.

Once you can leave him alone for an hour or so you should be fairly confident about leaving him for an entire morning or afternoon.

Just ignore him!

If you continue to have trouble with your dog you may need to tackle the dependency directly. This is tough, because it calls for ignoring your dog for a week or two.

Ask someone else to feed, walk and play with him, or better still, get a few people to do so. It won’t be easy to ignore your dog, especially when it’s desperately looking for your attention, but after a few weeks you’ll find he is much less clingy.

As always, if you’re having difficulty with your dog you should consult a vet who will be able to determine if your dog’s misbehaviour is caused by separation anxiety or some underlying medical condition.

They may also be able to recommend a good behaviour specialist to help resolve the problem.

Source: Hill’s Pet Nutrition