Heroic Pigeons

Humane PA

By Elissa Katz, President, Humane PA PACSee the source image

During World War I, a pigeon named Cher Ami flew for the US Army Signal Corp in France, and served on the front lines for many months. She is credited with single-handedly saving the lives of over 200 American soldiers by flying 25 miles and through a sky of bullets, sustaining serious injuries in the process, to deliver a life-saving message to the Allied lines on behalf of the embattled 77th Infantry Division.  Cher Ami was awarded the French Croix de Guerre and the “silver medal” by General Pershing for his heroism and bravery.

What a contrast with how we treat pigeons in Pennsylvania.

In Pennsylvania, pigeons like Cher Ami are netted, often unlawfully and from out of state, stockpiled, and then used for live target shooting competitions known as pigeon shoots.

The British depended on pigeons so extensively during…

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How to avoid the bite of a kissing bug

treehugger.com
Melissa Breyer MelissaBreyer April 25, 2019

Kissing bugs can carry the parasite that causes Chagas disease, and they are now making their way through the US.

Meet the kissing bug; the contrary insect with a charming moniker and deadly habits. While its name may bring to mind ladybugs or other cute critters, the kissing bug is actually a nocturnal bloodsucker that comes with an inflammatory infectious disease. Good times.

Also known as triatomine bugs, kissing bugs can carry Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite that causes Chagas disease. Once found only in Latin America, this creepy crawler has worked its way north to the U.S., where it can now be found in dozens of states. The CDC says that an estimated 8 million people living in Mexico, Central America, and South America have Chagas disease, most of whom do not know they are infected. If untreated, infection is lifelong and can be life threatening.

The first (acute) phase can last for a few weeks to a few months and often shows no symptoms, but may also present with fever, fatigue, body aches, headache, rash, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and vomiting. In the chronic phase, which can last for decades or forever, approximately 20 to 30 percent of infected people develop cardiac complications and/or gastrointestinal complications.

Called the kissing bug for its propensity to bite the face, the bug doesn’t directly deliver T. cruzi to the host. The pathogen lives in the bug’s feces; to infect a person, it finds its way into the bite, another area of broken skin, or through a mucous membrane.

kissing bugCDC/Public Domain

And while all of this is rather disturbing, the CDC points out that the transmission of the T. cruzi parasite from a bug to a human is not easy:

It is important to note that not all triatomine bugs are infected with the parasite that causes Chagas disease. The likelihood of getting T cruzi infection from a triatomine bug in the United States is low, even if the bug is infected.

That said, babies, people with compromised immune systems, and pets are all especially vulnerable. So if you live in a state in which kissing bugs have been confirmed, you can take these CDC precautions to keep them at bay and avoid being bitten.

kissing bugCDC/Public Domain

KNOW WHERE THEY LIVE

Beneath porches
Between rocky structures
Under concrete
In rock, wood, brush piles, or beneath bark
In rodent nests or animal burrows
In outdoor dog houses or kennels
In chicken coops or houses

When the bugs are found inside, they are likely to be in one of the following settings:

Near the places your pets sleep
In areas of rodent infestation
In and around beds and bedrooms, especially under or near mattresses or night stands

HOW TO PREVENT INFESTATION

An important precaution to avoid being bitten is to make sure they can’t get in your home in the first place. Since they bite at night, in bed will be the most likely place a person will be bitten.

Seal cracks and gaps around windows, walls, roofs, and doors.
Remove wood, brush, and rock piles near your house.
Use screens on doors and windows and repairing any holes or tears.
If possible, make sure yard lights are not close to your house (lights can attract the bugs).
Seal holes and cracks leading to the attic, crawl spaces below the house, and to the outside.
Have pets sleep indoors, especially at night.
Keep your house and any outdoor pet resting areas clean, in addition to periodically checking both areas for the presence of bugs.

For more information (and the sources used for this story), see the CDC pages: Chagas Disease, Triatomine Bug.

Kissing bugs can carry the parasite that causes Chagas disease, and they are now making their way through the US.

https://www.treehugger.com/health/how-avoid-bite-kissing-bug.html?utm_source=TreeHugger+Newsletters&utm_campaign=95a00d3832-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_11_16_2018_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_32de41485d-95a00d3832-243719061

Here Are 7 of Our Favorite Children’s Books With a Vegan Message

chooseveg.com

Kids love animals. So it’s no surprise that the vast majority of children’s books feature animals as the main characters. Unfortunately, many of these books still refer to animals as something, rather than someone—so finding animal-themed books that teach respect for animals is crucial to nurturing our children’s natural love of animals.

I sat down with a few parents at Mercy For Animals to find out their favorite kids books that inspire compassion for animals. Here are our top picks:

1. Sprig the Rescue Pig by Leslie Crawford

Sprig the Rescue Pig tells the story of Sprig, a pig who leaps—or falls—off a farm truck. As the little pig trades a factory farm for freedom, his world changes from grim to hopeful. Inspired by a true story, the book is a fun, funny, and beautifully illustrated adventure tale with a happy ending.

*Sprig is the first in a series of farmed animal children’s books published by Stone Pier Press. Keep an eye out for the next book, Gwen the Rescue Hen!

2. Linus the Vegetarian T. Rex by Robert Neubecker

Young kids seem to LOVE dinosaurs, so this book is a great treat! It’s a very cute story with a simple message—“I don’t eat my friends!”—that resonates with kids and will help inspire them to eat their veggies.

3. A Book of Babies by Il Sung Na

Il Sung Na is an incredible artist, and his books are all beautiful and animal themed. One of our favorites is A Book of Babies, which features all kinds of animals going to sleep with their parents—showing just how alike we really are—and is the perfect read just before bedtime.

4. Care for Our World by Karen Robbins

This is a wonderful book advocating for all life on the planet. The last lines say: “Please care for all people, and all living things, with leaves, legs, or feathers, arms, fins, or wings. This is their world and it’s yours and it’s mine. If we treat it gently, it will last a long time. This world is our home, we need one another. Please care for our world, we’re sisters and brothers.”

5. Steven the Vegan by Dan Bodenstein

Steven the Vegan is about a boy whose class goes on a field trip to a farmed animal sanctuary. He tells everyone that the foods they are eating come from animals. The kids are shocked and all become vegan. This book is great because it normalizes the feeling of being the only vegan in the class and gives kids hope that they can change their friends’ minds.

6. Dave Loves Chickens by Carlos Patino

This is a favorite among very young vegans. Dave, a monster from outer space, loves all animals and doesn’t understand why humans eat them, especially chickens. In this heartwarming book, kids learn about how wonderful chickens are!

7. The True Adventures of Esther the Wonder Pig by Steve Jenkins

This brand-new kids book details the adventures of Esther the Wonder Pig. Rescued by her dads Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter when she was only a piglet, Esther has become an internet sensation, opening hearts and minds all around the world. This is her touching story.

Want more? Click here for 17 of our favorite kid-friendly vegan recipes for the little ones in your life!

https://chooseveg.com/blog/childrens-books-with-a-vegan-message/