Talk Back: Haiti, Farm Animal Factories, Favorite Books

By on January 21, 2010 with 0 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

Many readers have inquired about the animal welfare situation in Haiti. Since the earthquake struck we’ve been working to determine how best to assist the animals and people affected by the disaster. Together with our global affiliate Humane Society International and the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, The HSUS has assembled a team of trained veterinary experts to enter the capital city of Port-au-Prince today, and tomorrow I’ll have some news to report on that front. In the meantime, here are a few of your comments.

Our prayers are with you HSUS as you go and help and rescue our innocent animals, large or small. God Bless. —Ms. Dee

Thank you for helping animals. Nobody talks about them, nobody says anything about their situation, blesses for this. —Gloria

It would be great to set up a long-term fundraising plan for setting up the animal care infrastructure in Haiti. It doesn't address the immediate need, but will be a giant step forward as will be any. Regards. —RB

You also weighed in on my recent blog about the environmental and public health toll industrialized animal agriculture takes on local communities:

Thank you for using the term "animal factory" rather than "factory farm." I've never heard this term before and it resonated deeply with me just now upon reading your blog. There is nothing "farm-like" in these brutal places. As a writer and educator I appreciate the importance and power of words, and I will be using and propagating this term from now on. As a long time reader and supporter THANK YOU for all that you do. Here's to continued success in the new year. —Melinda MacInnis, Venice, Calif.

I am happy for these articles that expose how cruel factory farms are to humans as well to animals. Many people I know wouldn’t flinch regarding all the atrocities committed against animals. "They're only animals," they'd say. However, to also ignore the plight that their fellow neighbors suffer would be unconscionable. —Angel Ai

As a Farm Bureau member, I soon learned that Farm Bureau could care less about most of its members, preferring to look the other way on the regulations which should protect all members. They should change their name to the Industrial Livestock Farmers Organization because it is my opinion that is the element they prefer to protect and promote. The continually talk about ethics but fail to do anything other than talk about it. When will they put the farmer back into farming? Only when they are pressured to do so! —Mary Gibson

And finally, readers continue to react to my list of bookshelf favorites from last year, offering their own recommendations. Among your comments:

These entries on books were for sure some of your best, so I've put every single title I've read here on my list. I apologize for coming a bit late to the discussion, but I would like to add a few books I've found very rewarding and highly recommend. Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson has written “Dogs Never Lie About Love” and “When Elephants Weep.” Both books are about the rich emotional lives of animals and I think they're excellent. I just finished Susan Chernak McElroy's “Animals as Teachers and Healers” and I'm about to start her “Animals as Guides for the Soul.” These books are about the interaction between humans and animals, written with a great deal of respect for non-human creatures and why they are so important to us. All these books affected me deeply and emotionally, and I hope you and other readers of the blog will have a chance to enjoy them as I did. I so very much enjoy your blog, Wayne, and I look forward to reading every single entry when I log on. Thank you for the great work you do! —Victoria Rouse

Thanks for this blog. As to what to add to your bookshelf, I don't know if you've read it, but Berkeley Breathed's book "Flawed Dogs" was a great book that was published in 2009. You may not have read it, because it was in the independent reader (juvenile) section. This book presented several animal cruelty issues, such as dogfighting, to children (and many adults) in a way they can understand. If you haven't read it, please do. It should be a fast read for you. —Retha S.

I became manager of youth programs for a large shelter last fall. The first goal that occurred to me was to start a kid's book club for animal books. I hope to be ready to roll it out next fall. I love the idea of furthering humane education through literature! —Susan Skelley

Very poignant books for me are the “Wheely Willy” series, about a real life handicapped Chihuahua in California who learned to use a doggy wheelchair. Wheely Willy just recently died, and his life was a full and rich one as his person Deborah Turner brought him to visit schools, youth groups, and handicapped children. Willy was a real inspiration, and a real touchstone for bringing kindness and humane attitudes into the lives of many, young and old. He also taught many of us to open our minds and hearts to handicapped pets! —John

Perhaps this upcoming book might interest you. UCLA cardiologist Dr. Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and journalist Kathryn Bowers' Zoobiquity (to be published by Knopf), describing a new, species-spanning approach to health which explores the surprising overlaps between animal and human disease, and encourages collaboration between veterinarians and human doctors to the benefit of both. —Heather Chase

Animal Rescue and Care, Companion Animals

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