Sunday, 25 December 2011

Seasons Greetings from The Animal News!

Hope you have a wonderful day xxx

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Saturday, 24 December 2011

Christmas Hiatus (Sort of)

Can you hear the distant sleigh bells approaching?

Over the Christmas period we are going to be at home spending time with family which means I am without regular Internet connection.  This means that I will not be able to do any blogging until January, however, there is still plenty to be getting on with as animals need help every single day.  The best way to keep in touch and up to date is to follow me on Twitter which I am able to access via my mobile phone.

There are a lot of issues on my mind at the moment so it is with a heavy heart that I close down the blog over this period, but I will be active on Twitter so please, please join me there.

I will be back in January with more campaigns and some Christmas pictures of Suki and Rusty!

With love and best wishes to you all and thank you for all your hard work this year.

Helen x

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Friday, 23 December 2011

Fluffy Friday #40 (Last edition of the year)

Welcome to the final Fluffy Friday of 2011!

Instead of fluffy pictures, today I am going to share with you the three You Tube videos that have made me cry with laughter this year.




I hope you enjoy these as much as I did, have a lovely Friday! Best Blogger Tips

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Update on Stray Dogs in Ukraine

Good news brought to you via Four Paws!

You may remember my post back on 29th November reporting the dreadful situation in Ukraine, where the many stray dogs were misguidedly being poisoned in order to remove them from the streets in time for Euro 2012.

Four Paws and the Ukraine government have reached an agreement, and signed a treaty, for a comprehensive neutering and vaccination project for the stray dogs in Lvov, which is the venue of several Euro 2012 football matches.  Read all about it here!

Happy Christmas :-)
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Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Countdown to Christmas #3

Being a vegetarian for many years means I have experimented with many variations on the traditional Christmas dinner.  Butternut squash lasagne, goats cheese and roasted tomato quiche, and the Quorn roast to name but a few. 

Quorn is an excellent alternative to meat but please not that if you are a vegan reader then Quorn products are not suitable for vegans, however, the Linda McCartney food range is simply delicious and many of the products are suitable for vegans. 

Both Linda McCartney and Quorn products are available at major supermarkets and many of these stores hold their own brands of vegetarian/vegan foods which can be just as delicious.

If you are a meat eater why not set yourself a challenge this Christmas and try something new for Christmas dinner?

BBC Good Food’s yummy Vegetarian Roast take on the healthy Vegetarian Roast Loaf

 Christmas advice on food from the Vegan Society
 The Guardian article on a Merry Veggie Christmas (with recipes)

Anyone else hungry?

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Saturday, 17 December 2011

Say it with an e-card

Have you sent your holiday cards yet?  

Quite often I will be pleased that I have managed to send all mine out on time only to then realise that I have forgotten someone and it is too late to reach them via mail, especially if it happens to be one of my friends in the USA.  

Every year I ask myself how I can use my holiday cards to spread awareness, I buy cards from animal rescue centres which donates money to a good cause and also advertises the centre on the card itself.  This year I wanted to do something extra so have decided to be extra festive by sending a card and an e-card.  

The e-card I have chosen is a snow leopard themed card from WWF.

The beautiful snow leopard resides in the rocky alpine regions of Central Asia.  Currently there are just 6,000 snow leopards in the wild across 12 countries including China, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Pakistan and Russia.  The number is gradually declining due to hunting (for their beautiful fur and bones for Chinese medicine) and habitat loss.  Some snow leopards are killed by farmers as they prey on their livestock, they are preying on domestic animals due to the decline of their natural prey.

Spread the word by sharing this post on Facebook and Twitter.

Snow leopard trust

If you would like an e-card from The Animal News please send your e-mail address to

Thank you.

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Friday, 16 December 2011

Fluffy Friday #40

Can you believe that this is the 40th Fluffy Friday?!  

For 40 Fridays we have been celebrating animals of all shapes, sizes and fluffiness.  To celebrate our 40th edition, I am going to share my Top Ten Fluffy Friday images.  I very nearly chose all of them, it has been so hard to narrow it down.  Here they are...

Happy, happy, happy Fluffy Friday one and all!

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Thursday, 15 December 2011

Christmas is cancelled for Badgers.

I was saddened to hear the Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman's announcement yesterday that badger culls in two trial areas of the UK will be going ahead in late autumn next year in an attempt to control Bovine TB.

Caroline was my MP for a number of years when I lived in her constituency, she has always responded to my numerous letters and e-mails on various animal welfare issues, I wrote to her several times about this issue and I am disappointed that she, and the Government as a whole, have ignored both science and members of the public in order to come to this decision.

In response to the announcement Humane Society International is submitting a formal complaint against the policy and stated that ministers had failed to examine alternatives to the cull and claimed it lacked "legitimate purpose" whilst posing a significant threat to badger populations.  Read what the HSI has to say here.

The League Against Cruel Sports has also expressed dismay at the decision and accused the Government of being cowardly, not acting appropriately and ignoring science, public opinion and past mistakes.  Read more from the League here.

Read my previous badger cull posts here and here to gain some background information

Contact Caroline Spelman by e-mailing her at and politely let her know you oppose the decision for a trail cull to go ahead.  

Key points to bring up in the e-mail include: 

- Why did you decide upon this action when there is a distinct lack of evidence that a badger cull would be effective? 

- How are the Government going to prosecute people that use the badger cull as an excuse for the unlicensed shooting of badgers?

- How will this effect the population of badgers?

- Which alternatives were examined and why weren't they feasible?

If you haven't already, sign this petition for 38 Degrees asking the government to re-think.

Check out the Badger Protection League web page.

Follow me on Twitter for all the latest news (I am using this a lot more lately as it is a fantastic way to obtain information and spread the word)

Thank you.

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A pet is for life, not just for Christmas.

The famous slogan "A dog is for life, not just for Christmas" was created by the Chief Executive of the Dogs Trust back in 1978 and I am sure that you will agree that it is still relevant here in 2011.

The Dogs Trust's campaign raises awareness to the consequences of treating dogs like presents which will soon be discarded when the novelty wears off.

I think a pet is for life, not just for Christmas.  This applies to other animals we humans like to keep as pets; cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, parrots e.t.c.  All animals need (and deserve) love, care and attention throughout their lives so if you are thinking of adopting/buying a pet as a Christmas gift please stop and think seriously before doing so.

Before committing ask yourself the following questions:

TIME... Do you have the time and commitment to spend with your pet?  Look into what your animal will need on a daily basis and decide on whether you can provide this.  Are you available to exercise your dog regularly?  Do you live in a place suitable for a cat?  Are you able to clean out your rabbits home regularly?

Pet ownership is a long term commitment, dogs can live for around 15 years and I have known dogs to live a lot longer.  The same goes for cats who on average live around 12 to 15 years and quite possibly a lot longer.  Before getting a pet research the life span and ask yourself honestly if you can commit to them for the duration of their life.

MONEY... Pets cost money, food, toys, vaccinations, insurance, vet bills...  Are you able to afford this?

CARE... Are you prepared to arrange for someone to care for your pet if you go away on holiday?  If you go abroad every year then you will need someone to look after your pet whilst you are away.

YOUR LIFESTYLE... Is this the right time for you to consider getting a pet?  Life is full of surprises and all sorts of things can happen, your pets must be considered.  It isn't fair for them to join your family in the midst of upheaval.  Are you planning on moving house?  Pregnant or planning to be pregnant?  Have any significant health concerns?  Away from home or travelling regularly?  

OTHERS.. You need to ensure that everyone in your home is happy about a new addition, including any other pets you may already have.  Introducing a new playmate may not be what they wanted for Christmas!
If you have asked yourself all these questions and can provide a stable, loving, forever home for an animal then please consider adopting from an animal sanctuary in your area.  There are all sorts of unwanted animals waiting to be re-homed so investigate the possibility of adoption before anything else.   

If you are set on buying a puppy, please ensure that you buy from a proper breeder.  There is a high possibility that if you buy a puppy from a pet shop, an advert in the paper or from an unreliable source that you will be contributing to the puppy farming industry.

Remember, a pet is for life - not just for Christmas.

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Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Countdown to Christmas #2

I am the proud owner of a donkey and a seal, although the seal doesn't live in the bath and the donkey isn't grazing in the garden but technically I have adopted them.  My adoption of Oscar the donkey was a birthday present from my Mum as part of the Adopta Donkey scheme at Elisabeth Svendsen’s Trust for Children and Donkeys; Kitto the seal was a Christmas gift from my Mum and the Gweek Seal Sanctuary. 

As part of adopting Oscar I receive a regular newsletter about how Oscar is getting on, as well as a certificate, birthday and Christmas cards and the option of popping along to the Sanctuary to visit him if I arrange an appointment.  My sister adopted Donk Dean from the same Sanctuary as Oscar so for my birthday one year we all went to visit them and it was lovely.

My Nan adores whales and dolphins so one year I adopted a dolphin called Whiskey for her, she received a video of Whiskey as well as a certificate and newsletter.  She was thrilled to bits with it and I think she was seriously considering making room in her bath for him!

It really is a fantastic idea to sponsor or adopt an animal for an animal lover this Christmas (maybe even treat yourself!), as well as spreading joy to the receiver - the gift of sponsorship or adoption can make a huge difference to the life of the animal.

Many organisations run sponsorship or adoption schemes which all offer something different depending on your preference.  For more information I recommend the following links:

Dudley Zoo (or your local zoo)

Always make sure you buy your adoption or sponsorship directly from the animal organisation concerned to ensure your money is going to the right place.

I would love to hear from any of you that do decide to adopt or sponsor an animal this Christmas.

Seasons Greetings!

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Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Before you relax...

As it's the holidays Lunch Time Links is on hiatus until the New Year, however, there is still work to be done.  Please spare a moment to take the very important and extremely worthwhile actions below, they won't take a minute but will make a BIG difference.

Take Humane Society International's Pledge and check out their tips for a Cruelty Free Christmas.

Support the new Animal Protection Law in India

Each action provides you with the ability to share with your friends on Facebook and Twitter, this makes a real difference so please spread the word!

Thank you!

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Monday, 12 December 2011

BUAV calls for Parliamentary debate on animal experiments

After working with MPs over the last few months BUAV has reported that animal testing is an issue that concerns both politicians and the public.  Because of this BUAV has launched a Government e-petition calling for a Parliamentary debate on animal experiments in order for the views of MPs and their constituents can be heard.  

In 2010 the UK reached a 25 year high by using over 3.6 million animals in experiments.

(Figure taken from BUAV)

The Government are currently considering its approach to three important aspects of animal testing:

If you are a UK resident, please spare a moment to sign this petition calling on the Government to hold a Parliamentary debate.  Once you have signed the petition, please share this with your friends and family.

If you are not a UK resident then you can still help by letting any of your friends or family in the UK know about this by sharing this on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you.

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Friday, 9 December 2011

Fluffy Friday #39

Bringing you an extra fluffy, Fluffy Friday this week to keep you nice and warm in this cold weather.  

Cuddle up and enjoy the adorable pictures of this baby owl thoroughly enjoying being petted...

Check out the source for an adorable video too!

Have a lovely weekend. 

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Thursday, 8 December 2011

Seasonal Safety – Part Three

Are you excited yet?  Not long to go until Christmas!  Suki has been sniffing her doggie stocking since we unpacked it in our new house back in October.  Over Halloween and Bonfire night you may remember my posts on Seasonal Safety, this is the third and final instalment and I hope you find it interesting reading and a source of help to you and your pets over Christmas.

Top Tips for a Carefree Christmas

Now, I don’t mean to be a kill joy but cute Christmas costumes come in the same category as Halloween costumes I’m afraid, they are simply not suitable for most pets.  They look utterly adorable and unquestionably cute but they can really frighten and annoy animals.  It is unsafe if animals are unable to see, hear or breathe and if the costume is too tight it can cut off circulation.  Basically, costumes can be a recipe for disaster and it isn’t fair to assume that your pet wants to join in with the festivities.

Keep the mince pies, Christmas pudding and mulled wine for human consumption only, do not under any circumstances let your pet have any sweets, chocolate or alcohol and make sure that this doesn't happen accidentally either.  Sweets and their wrappers can cause choking and obstruction so ensure that you dispose or wrappers safely.  Chocolate is poisonous and can cause nerve damage and potentially death.  If your pet has eaten anything they shouldn’t have and you notice a problem, consult your vet immediately.  Ensure that you explain this to all members of your household – especially children and your guests.

You might be lucky enough to receive a lot of guests over Christmas, make sure that they are sensitive towards your pets and if you are holding any Christmas parties ensure that your animals are able to escape to somewhere safe and quiet where they can relax if they want to.

I don't know about your pet but Suki loves to chew and eat anything and everything, so keep out of reach things that may cause harm (this goes for every day, not just Christmas time)  Some things worth considering keeping your pet clear of would be, Christmas trees(!), batteries, toys, pot pourri, spray on snow.

And the final tip....

Most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy yourselves and have a lovely time together!

Take care.

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Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Countdown to Christmas #1

The true Spirit of Christmas is helping others, this extends to animals too.  When you are buying your Christmas gifts this year make a difference to the lives of animals by contributing to a good cause and ordering your gifts from one of the animal charities who have their own Christmas stores.

Charities that have their own gift stores include:

Over the years I have bought many things from the RSPCA and PDSA online catalogues and found it an easy way to shop, purchasing several unique and competitively priced presents at the click of a button and having them all delivered at the same time.  The gifts on offer are suitable for all types of people and the cards and gift wrap are adorable, in fact so much so that I want to keep them for myself!

My picks from the catalogues-

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Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Staffies, they're softer than you think.

Children screaming and running into oncoming traffic, women screeching and running wild on trains, men stopping dead in the street in terror before crossing the road and hurrying away.  An asteroid?  A tornado? A contagious disease?  No, just me and Suki out and about.  

Honestly, this is what really happens. 

I think the thing that hurts the most is when fellow dog owners spot us in the park and instead of coming to say hello they drag their dog in the opposite direction.  Shouldn't they know better? 

Suki thinks that everybody loves her and as such a sociable dog seems puzzled and somewhat surprised when people scream in her face and seem terrified of her.  We always shout to the people running away in hysterics "she won't hurt you!" or "she'll only lick you to death!" but I don't think the message gets through.  

At this point I must mention that some people gravitate towards Suki and show no fear as she attempts to lick them clean, often shaking their heads and saying "People don't realise how lovely Staffies are!" Some family members were quite wary when we first adopted her but after meeting her they are as obsessed as we are!

Despite all this, there is still such a bad perception of Staffordshire Bull Terriers amongst many people.  This is due to the minority that are dangerous because of the behaviour of their owners.  Aside from trying to educate people and show them what a loving, soppy, cuddle monster Suki is I am at a loss as of what else to do.  That is why I was thrilled to hear of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home's new campaign Staffies, They're Softer Than You Think.  The campaign encourages people to find out more about Staffies (such as the fact they are called "the Nanny dog" due to them being so gentle and good with children) and even consider adopting one of the many that are currently residing at Battersea.

I'm going to have to stop looking at the website, otherwise Suki is going to end up with more brothers and sisters than she can manage!

Go on, Snuggle a Staffie!

P.S. ~ Staffies in the news.

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Monday, 5 December 2011

Please help stray dogs in Romania

Not long ago I posted about dogs in Ukraine being poisoned in order to combat the overpopulation of stray dogs on the streets.  Ukraine isn’t the only country with a large number of stray animals, according to Care2, Romania also shares this concern.  

Luckily, there are some organisations in Romania that are attempting to help the stray animals but unfortunately their funding is limited which means they are also limited as to what they can do.

This means that change needs to come for the law.  Please spare a small amount of time to click on this link and sign the petition urging the Romanian government to update and enforce modern animal welfare laws in their country.

Please also share this action with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you.

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Sunday, 4 December 2011

REMINDER! 8 Hours Campaign

The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) reports that millions of farm animals suffer from heat stress, disease and overcrowding whilst enduring transportation across long distances in Europe in hot, cramped and soiled cages with little food, water or rest.  Once they reach the end of their journey they are slaughtered.

Please sign this petition to support the 8 Hours campaign and ask the European Commission to enforce legalisation preventing any farm animal from enduring more than 8 hours of transportation. 

Deadline for signatures is: 5th January 2012.

Thank you.

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