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Today’s Toronto Star

  • December 8, 2009 2:40 pm

I opened my morning paper and on the front page, top right corner was a picture of a gecko with the heading: “XMAS exotica-Pet presents don’t have to come wrapped in fur.” – pause – hmmmm….excuse me, what?! Let me think about that for a minute. Ok, now I’m curious and little warning bells are rapidly firing off in my head….So I go to to Section E1 to read on.

A story about buying pets for your kids for Christmas. Oh! the whole family better be on the same page when it comes to committing to something as major as a dog. You don’t want Fido to end up back at the pet store on boxing day. Then it suggests alternatives to dogs – why not look into smaller, easier to care for pets such as snakes, or turtles – or hey! – cute little geckos (!!!). I could go on and on about what this article says but I want to shout about what it doesn’t say.

First- why on earth is this reporter writing about buying puppies, or ANY pet from a pet store? I wish there were no pet stores that actually sold pets. Please, let’s just buy pet food, toys and other supplies – not actual live animals! There are plenty of rescue organizations where one can adopt a beautiful pet. There are rescues for practically any type of “pet” you could want. It has been well documented that many puppies found in pet stores come from puppy mills. So, given that a dog is such a big commitment, she suggests looking into exotics instead ?! What is the Toronto Star thinking? There are tons of articles out there on endangered species, climate change, environmental issues ( the whole world is focused on the Copenhagen Climate Conference right now, for pete’s sake!). Why promote going out and purchasing a turtle or a gecko? Even if the animals mentioned are not endangered- the mere indication of buying an exotic pet makes my head explode. In case the world doesn’t know – there is a thriving illegal pet trade out there. THIS ARTICLE IS NOT HELPING.

So, go buy little Tommy a Western Hog Nosed snake ( PLEASE DON’T! ). It’ll teach him some sense of responsibility ( GIVE HIM A PLANT OR A PAPER ROUTE! ). This poor snake will get handled by people, live out its life in a glass aquarium – no taste of freedom to live in its natural habitat. What if Tommy loses interest in his snake? What then? Back to the pet store? Neglected ? Or worse…!

It appears to me we still have a long way to go to change the way some people see animals and our relationship with them.
It’s news articles like this one that reinforce my sense of purpose and spur me on to try harder to be a voice for these creatures that can’t speak for themselves.
Thanks for listening.

Crikey-ridge tailed monitor-commission for Earth Rangers


© anouk bikkers 2010

Wisconsin Greyhounds Need Help

  • November 24, 2009 12:23 pm

Being a proud companion to an incredible greyhound/lab mix rescue dog ( she’s the dog in my Anouk’s Ark logo! )…this story is very distressing to me. There is a greyhound racetrack in Wisconsin that is closing down. It has 900 dogs! A large number of them are being dispersed among other race tracks – which is horrible!!! There shouldn’t BE any race tracks! These dogs are just a commodity, an entertainment, a source of money- all for our pleasure and their abuse?!?! It’s ridiculous and backward. Aside from that though, there are several hundred dogs that are in need of homes and if they don’t find them they will be killed. Unfortunately the well meaning person who wrote the article can’t spell euthanize (!)…but at least the word is spreading about these poor creatures. They deserve the one on one care and love of a human companion to live out their final days…not to be run ragged until they are no longer “useful” and killed and in this case just killed because a racetrack is closing its doors.
If you want to learn more click here to read the article.
Thanks!

A step in the right direction for circus elephants in India….

  • November 13, 2009 9:37 am

The thought of any animal being used for our entertainment, to sell products, to perform tricks for money is extremely depressing to me. I love shows like Cirque du Soleil teeming with willing humans who’ve honed their incredible acrobatic, comedic, dance and music skills to amaze us. In my opinion, with such mind boggling feats available there is no call for animals in entertainment-ever. This latest piece of news that came to me offers a glimmer of hope…a small shift in our thinking about animals as objects for our amusement or monetary gain?
Click here for a little more on the story.
©anouk bikkers 2009