Screen stars back ban on wild animals in circuses #circusban

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Star of seven Bond films, Sir Roger Moore, has joined forces with Imelda Staunton to back Animal Defenders International’s (ADI) Stop Circus Suffering campaign bywriting to the Queen urging her to include a commitment to a wild animal circus ban in her speech at the state opening of Parliament on June 4.

Sir Roger and Imelda Staunton’s letter raises concerns that, despite Government promises, action to bring a ban on wild animals in circuses into law has been slow.

Last month, David Cameron reaffirmed his commitment to ban wild animal acts to an ADI delegation headed by former Conservative MEP and conservationist Stanley Johnson, and social justice campaigner Peter Tatchell, when they delivered a letter to the Prime Minister signed by 75 celebrities and politicians.

ADI chief executive Jan Creamer said: “I am delighted Sir Roger Moore and Imelda Staunton are urging the Queen to support the promised ban on wild animals in circuses, which has support from the public and politicians alike.

“The Government has promised a ban and we want to see it happen. Further delays will result in continued animal suffering.”

The Government announced in March 2012 its intention to introduce legislation to prohibit the use of wild animals in circuses and last month ADI secured a commitment from the Prime Minister that a ban would be passed.

However, following the publication of the Draft Wild Animals in Circuses Bill last April, ADI claims little progress has been made to bring this legislation into law, despite an implementation date of December 2015 being proposed in the bill.
Prime Minister receives letter signed by 75 celebrities and commits to ban wild animals in circuses http://www.ad-international.org/media_centre/go.php?id=3609&si=12

History of the ADI campaign to end the use of wild animals in UK circuses http://www.ad-international.org/animals_in_entertainment/go.php?id=1370&ssi=10

Wild Animals in UK Circuses: Questions & Answers http://www.ad-international.org/animals_in_entertainment/go.php?id=1484&ssi=10

ADI exposé of Anne the elephant at Bobby Roberts Super Circus http://www.ad-international.org/animals_in_entertainment/go.php?id=2075&ssi=10

Peter Tatchell’s Huffington Post blog on wild circus animals 
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/peter-g-tatchell/wild-animals-circsuses-ban-david-cameron_b_5113198.html

Dods: Queen’s Speech 2014: Speculation and Insight p8-9 http://bit.ly/ROuTrd


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Animals’ VC presented posthumously to canine hero

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A British army dog that helped save lives by finding explosive devices in Afghanistan has been awarded a posthumous medal by the animal charity PDSA.

Sasha, a four-year-old Labrador, was killed along with her handler, Lance Corporal Kenneth Rowe, in a Taliban ambush in July 2008. The two were shot dead while on patrol from a remote base in Helmand province.

The PDSA Dickin Medal was accepted on Sasha’s behalf by her former handler Sergeant Major Andy Dodds and retired Military Working Dog, Fire, who was also injured in Afghanistan and made an amazing recovery from serious injuries.

Sasha was initially deployed in Afghanistan with Sergeant Andy Dodds (now Sergeant Major) of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps attached to the 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment.  Their primary role was to search in advance of patrols, providing safe passage for soldiers, uncovering hidden weapons, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and bomb-making equipment.

Sasha’s determination to search and push forward – despite grueling conditions and relentless Taliban attacks – was described as a morale boost to the soldiers who entrusted their lives to her weapon-finding capability.

On one occasion recalled by regimental colleagues, Sasha was searching a building in Garsmsir when she detected two mortars and a large quantity of weaponry, including explosives and mines. This find alone undoubtedly saved the lives of many soldiers and civilians.

In May 2008, Sasha was re-assigned to Lance Corporal Kenneth Rowe and deployed to Kandahar on further duties. During their time together they forged a unique bond, locating numerous IEDs. They were considered the best handler and dog team in the region. 

On 24 July 2008 Sasha and Lance Corporal Rowe were returning from a routine search operation when their patrol was ambushed. They survived the first attack but a second tragically claimed both their lives.

During her time in Afghanistan Sasha made 15 confirmed operational finds. Her actions saved many soldiers and innocent civilians from death and serious injury.

The awards ceremony was attended by colleagues and relatives of Lance Corporal Kenneth Rowe.

Colonel Neil Smith QHVS, Director of the Army Veterinary and Remount Services, said: “The Royal Army Veterinary Corps is honoured and delighted that Sasha has been recognised with a PDSA Dickin Medal. Our soldiers and their dogs do a tremendous job, a job that saves countless lives. It is an honour to share this important day with Lance Corporal Kenneth Rowe’s family to recognise the work that he and Sasha undertook before being tragically killed. I am pleased that Sasha’s previous handler, WO2 Andy Dodd, is able to receive the medal on her behalf.”

Actress and PDSA Ambassador, Joanna Page, who attended today’s PDSA Dickin Medal ceremony, said: “Sasha’s story is an uplifting and poignant example of the lifesaving work carried out by dedicated animals alongside our armed forces.  This outstanding bravery and devotion to duty epitomises what the PDSA Dickin Medal has stood for since its inception in 1943. I am honoured to present Sasha’s PDSA Dickin Medal today.”

Commenting on the award, PDSA Director General Jan McLoughlin, said: “We are immensely proud to honour Sasha with the PDSA Dickin Medal. It is the highest award any animal can receive for lifesaving bravery in conflict. Without doubt, her heroic actions in Afghanistan saved many lives.

“For over 70 years, PDSA has recognised the gallant and lifesaving deeds of animals ‘who also serve’. By continuing this tradition today we are fulfilling our founder’s mission by helping to raise the status of animals in society.”

Lyn Rowe, Kenneth’s mother, said: “Kenneth was a big animal-lover from a young age and thought the world of the dogs he served alongside. He would be proud to know that Sasha’s hard work, devotion and lifesaving actions were being recognised with the PDSA Dickin Medal.”

Sasha’s posthumous presentation brings the total number of PDSA Dickin Medals awarded to animals in war to 65. Since the introduction of the Medal by PDSA founder Maria Dickin CBE in 1943 it has been awarded to 29 dogs (including Sasha), 32 World War II messenger pigeons, three horses and one cat.

For more information about the PDSA Dickin Medal visit www.pdsa.org.uk/Sasha.


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Tips on taking a rescue pet home  

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By Amy Wilson, charity manager, Support Adoption for Pets

Amy provides some tips on helping find the right rescue pet for you and ensuring it settles into its new home.

1. Before you make the commitment to take home any pet, you need to ask yourself some questions:

a. Do you have the time to look after the pet?

b. Is your home ‘pet friendly’? Gardens need to be secure for dogs, wires need to be protected for house rabbits and living near a main/fast road is dangerous for cats.

c. Can you afford to keep a pet? The costs can be huge, not just the adoption fees and food but annual and one off vaccinations, insurance, fleeing and worming.

Remember if/when you go on holiday you need to think about what happens to your pet, boarding fees can be high. Add into this any unexpected vet bills not covered by insurance and the annual cost can add up.

d. Are your circumstances stable or likely to change soon? Re-homing a pet is a serious commitment and changes to your family size, home or finances can have a big effect not just on you but also your pet.

2. Research the rescue centre and ensure it is reputable. You want to find out what sort of processes the rescue conducts, for instance does it vaccinate, neuter and/or microchip? Finally make sure that the rescue offers full life time back up and will take the pet back if need be. You can find a list of reputable rescue centres on our website.

3. Look into your pet’s background, remember a rescue pet will have previous experience that shapes its behaviour. Don’t expect the perfect pet from day one. It will need time and your help to learn.

4. Make sure the pet you pick is okay with your family dynamic. Some animals aren’t happy around other pets and children. It’s important to make sure your current pets are able to adapt to the change, the best way to do this is to visit the pet at the rescue more than once and to take the family – including your existing pet dog.

5. If all the introductions have gone well and if appropriate you’ve passed the home check, then it’s time to start getting your home ready for a new arrival. The key here is to ensure you have everything that you need and also to set up a quiet area for the pet to disappear to whilst it adjusts to its new home.

6. Bringing your pet home can be a very exciting time but remember this environment will be very new to them – sights, smells and noises! Don’t overwhelm the pet with lots of new faces on day one, let them get used to the “immediate” family first.

Every animal is different but as a rule of thumb here are some generic tips:

a. Rabbits – set them up in their new home, provide food and clean water and let them become accustomed to their new surroundings.

b. Dogs – will want to sniff and find their way around, but also set them up a bed to retreat to and let them have some quiet time. If introducing a new dog to an existing dog, do it on neutral territory; for example, on a walk and on a lead.

c. Cats – will want a place to retreat to; let them come to you and make sure that all the doors and windows are closed.

7. Don’t give up! During the first couple of weeks a pet is getting used to its new home. If they have come from a cattery or kennels then home life will seem very strange and they won’t understand. Accidents may happen but this is your time to teach them where to go to use the toilet and what is acceptable but don’t scare or frighten them.

8. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice from the rescue. They will probably want to ensure that the pet is settling in well so they will likely be in touch to check everything is going okay anyway, however they should also be open to helping you with their experience and background knowledge of the pet.

9. The use of Adaptil* or Feliway** may also help rescue dogs and cats relax into their new homes.

10. Finally enjoy the experience – re-homing a rescue animal can be very rewarding and they can give you a lot of love!

*Adaptil offers a natural, convenient and unique solution to canine stress, helping comfort and reassure dogs in challenging situations and prevent or reduce stress-related inappropriate behaviours.

**Feliway is an easy-to-use product that helps create a loving and comfortable home environment where your cat will spend more time with you. This special scent (odourless to people and other animals) that Feliway utilizes is a replication of the pheromone that cats leave naturally when they are feeling comfortable in their environment

Support Adoption For Pets is an independent animal charity, which runs 350 re-homing centres across the country in Pets at Home stores. It is also the UK’s largest grant giving animal charity supporting local rescue centres and animal organisations nationwide.


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The arrival of ‘puppy passports’

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UK’s first ‘bring your dog to work day’ to help pet charities 

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The phrase ‘working like a dog’ is often associated with long-hours at the office, fuelled by several cups of hot coffee. But that phrase may adopt a new meaning this summer, as employee wellbeing takes centre stage in the UK’s first Bring Your Dog To Work Day. 

Set to be held on Friday 27 June 2014, businesses from across the UK will welcome their dog-loving employees into the workplace, along with their loyal four-legged companions.

Both businesses and individuals can make online donations of £50 and £2 respectively to participate, with all proceeds being split between All Dogs Matter, Animals Asia and Pup Aid – three organisations that make a huge difference to the welfare of animals.

“Many scientific studies have shown that the presence of pets can substantially reduce a person’s stress level in the workplace and be beneficial to a person’s well being,” says Jo Amit, co-founder of natural grooming product company Butch & Bess, one of two pet industry businesses behind the initiative.

“But what really inspired Bring Your Dog To Work Day was my own experience of taking my labradoodle Laila into the office. She was such a calming influence whilst developing our first range of products. It even made me ask our building manager if I could bring her in on a regular basis, but he declined and sent Laila packing with her bed, treats and water bowl!

“So we thought an annual Bring Your Dog To Work Day would be an excellent way to highlight the role dogs can play in creating a productive work environment, while raising money for three organisations that champion the rights of animals. And if you already take your dog to work, even better!”

Businesses can participate in the day by becoming an official sponsor. In return for a minimum donation of £50, a company logo and website link will be displayed on Bring Your Dog to Work Day’s homepage.

Providing there is employer permission, individuals can also bring their dogs to work. For a minimum donation of £2, an individual can submit a picture of their dog to be published on the official website’s gallery entitled the ‘Dog With A Job Hall of Fame’, along with a description of the dog’s work duties for the day.

“We’re absolutely certain that Bring Your Dog To Work Day participants will create a new kind of Friday feeling in the company of man’s best friend,” explains Leean Young, director of healthy dog treat company LoveSniffys, who also helped organise the event.   

“The amount of interest we’ve seen from businesses across the country has blown us away, so we’re really hopeful of raising some significant funds for the three animal organisations we’re working with.”

The animal organisations that stand to benefit from Bring Your Dog To Work Day were chosen because of their noticeable work for protecting and promoting the welfare of vulnerable animals. 

For instance, All Dogs Matter rescues and re-homes more than 300 dogs a year in London, Norfolk and the surrounding areas. The dogs in they care for are usually homeless, or come from local dog pounds. A mixture of foster homes and kennel spaces are used to take care of the dogs.

International charity Animals Asia is devoted to ending the barbaric practice of bear bile farming, as well as improving the welfare of dogs and cats in China and Vietnam. 

Pup Aid is an organisation that aims to end the practice of puppy farming in the UK. Last year it launched an e-petition to help ban the sale of young puppies and kittens. Over 100,000 people provided signatures and the topic is guaranteed debate in parliament.

Please visit bringyourdogtoworkday.co.uk for further information on how to donate and participate.

In the June issue of Pets magazine, we visit a business that has a one regular canine member of staff called Ted, the Westie.


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Pawprints on a heart

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This will ring so true for anyone who has ever known the unconditional love of a canine companion 🙂 It was shared by a friend who has just lost her beloved dog. My heart goes out to her xxx

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New research to explore genetic causes of aggressive behaviour in dogs

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An interesting new study by academics at the University of Lincoln is looking at genetic factors that may contribute to impulsive aggression in dogs.

Some dogs may be predisposed to act aggressively with little warning, which can lead to people being injured and the dogs then being rejected by their owners and euthanised without treatment. Life Sciences PhD student Fernanda Fadel is trying to identify the genetic risk factors of dog aggression.

She said: “While aggressive behaviour is a normal part of every animal’s make up, it is important to identify individuals who represent a higher risk, in order to manage this risk effectively. 

“A central theme to this work is the recognition that we all have the same core traits; we just tend to express them to a greater or lesser degree as individuals. Thus anyone can be aggressive, but some may be more likely to show this in a given circumstance than another.”

The aim of the project is to develop a method that allows identification of at-risk individuals who may need specific management measures to help them live happy and fulfilling lives, at minimal risk to others. 

For this, Fernanda is recruiting dogs based on components of their personality, measured using a questionnaire developed at the University of Lincoln called the Dog Impulsivity Assessment Scale (DIAS). 

She will then need to collect DNA samples from the saliva of those dogs that fit a certain profile. Some will be considered lower risk subjects and some may be higher risk. Fernanda needs to compare both low and high risk dogs’ genome, so all dog owners can help out.

When the relevant genes have been identified, researchers will aim to develop a genetic test to identify dogs with a tendency towards aggressive behaviour. By knowing which dogs have a high risk to potentially behave aggressively, the owners may be able to undertake measures to prevent accidents.  

The latest and simplest method for collecting DNA samples from pet dogs is to take a saliva swab. A small sponge is placed in the dog’s cheek and from this, scientists can extract DNA and analyse their genome. 

This method is non-invasive, which means it does not cause any pain or discomfort to the dogs. Individuals will not be specifically identified and the data will not be shared with any outside body. 

However, if you are looking for help with managing your dog’s behaviour, you can contact the University’s Animal Behaviour Clinic team for further information at http://www.lincolnanimalbehaviourclinic.co.uk/

To take part in the survey please visit http://www.uoldogtemperament.co.uk/dogpersonality/


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The spas where dogs are welcome too

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By Bonnie Friend

The mere mention of taking your dog to a spa indicates that you really must be having a giggle.  That or you are Paris Hilton; surely there is no middle ground on this subject matter?  This at least, is the thought process unless you happen to be a dog owner, at which point it is entirely logical that he/she/it should also come along on a spa day or break, and maybe pop in for a facial as well.


In a world where even your cat is likely to have its own Twitter account however, it is perhaps needless to say that it is actually becoming increasingly common to be able to take your dog with you on a spa day.  In truth, it makes a lot of sense; this is a character that brings you much joy, so should only enhance a day of wellbeing and general happiness.  There may be an extra fee for their attendance in many instances, but come on, if you are going to treat ‘Fluffy’ et al as though they are unusually hairy people, it’s only fair that they acts like it and pay their way.

The question is where can you go … together?

Luton Hoo Hotel, Bedfordshire:  Surrounded by 1065 acres of land, this is as much a paradise for pets as it is for people.  You potter off and have your spa treatment, and for a £35.00 supplement your pooch can chill out in the gardens and will also be given a bed and dinner.

Spread Eagle Hotel and Spa, West Sussex:  Cuddling up by the fire is one of the highlights at Spread Eagle Hotel and Spa after a day of exploring the surrounding historic town of Midhurst and relaxing by the pool, and no doubt the dog will agree, particularly as for £15 a night he/she also gets dinner – no reason why you should have all the fun.

Clumber Park Hotel and Spa, Nottinghamshire: With a view of Sherwood Forest and just over the road from the National Trust’s Clumber Park estate, both you and your pet can get an outdoor workout in before winding down for the small supplement of £15 per dog per day.

Fairmont St Andrews, Scotland:  On a cliff top surrounded by one of Scotland’s most famous golf courses and looking out across the sea, Fairmont St Andrews is a five star experience for everyone to enjoy, particularly as the Pets Perks Package comes at a mere £20.00 per night.

Armathwaite Hall Country House and Spa, Cumbria:  You will find few places more picturesque than this 11th century castle, and the £15 per dog price tag should ensure that they remain man/woman’s best friend for life.

Bonnie is editor of spabreaks.com


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The Internet’s most popular pets!

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Is ‘renting’ a dog right for the dog?

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