American Humane Association’s Mission? Protecting Animals of All Kinds

Prairie Dogs near my home in Denver (Stapleton area), Colorado

SOMEONE RECENTLY ASKED ME what types of animals are included in American Humane Association’s mission. I replied that all animals in our world deserve humane treatment and are important to American Humane Association. While we often work on behalf of our pets (dogs, cats), horses, farm animals and animal actors used in movies, American Humane Association also advocates for the wildlife amongst us.

For example, I have been working during the past year to save the lives of prairie dogs in my neighborhood. Over 100 native birds and animals depend upon the rich ecosystem that prairie dogs create, like ocean fish depend on coral reefs. Prairie dog colonies have been referred to as “the coral reefs of the sea of grass”. Like giant earthworms, prairie dogs move soil beneath the ground, allowing for aeration and nutrient cycling.

Although the number of prairie dogs in the U.S. has declined to over 95 percent in recent decades, urban developers continue to poison the animals to make way for commercial and residential buildings. In my community, the animals were also poisoned to make way for a 25 acre park.

As we look to the animals in on planet for clues about our own existence, such as those clues for preventing and treating disease, we must first save animals from extinction. I am now working with regional and national experts to develop innovative park plans that are safe for our children and our pets (i.e., no dangerous poisons) and allow the wildlife amongst us to also survive. Join us in our efforts!

Jenna Dale, Mississippi State University | AHA Humane Scholar Series

Humane Scholar Jenna Dale

Mississippi State University

Development of Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) Database

FELINE INFECTIOUS PERITONITIS (FIP) is a highly fatal disease in cats that has no known cure. Diagnostic tests can predict if a cat has been exposed to coronavirus, but not if the cat has been exposed to the specific viral strain causing the deadly disease. With the support of the American Humane Association, Humane Scholar Jenna Dale designed a survey-based database to track nationwide incidences of FIP, hoping to better understand the risk factors for acquiring the infection and why some cats are susceptible and others are resistant.

A 15-question survey was emailed to 500 veterinary clinics and organizations across the U.S. and data are now being analyzed to determine percentage of domestic cats with disease who were previously vaccinated for FIP, outdoor vs. indoor cats acquiring disease, age at time of disease onset, regional difference, seasonal trends, etc. A comprehensive database that might provide clues for future research is greatly needed.

Humane Scholar Jenna Dale designed a survey-based database to track nationwide incidences of Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), hoping to better understand the risk factors for acquiring the infection and why some cats are susceptible and others are resistant.

Please consider sponsoring a student in the 2013 class. A grant of $6,000 funds one Humane Scholar, fully underwriting a stipend to the student and the cost of implementation and management of the program. With American Humane Association’s Humane Scholar program, veterinary students are supported in their academic undertakings and given every opportunity to advance in the fields of veterinary medicine and animal welfare, without incurring additional debt to participate in those opportunities.

For more information on supporting American Humane Association’s Humane Scholar program, please contact René Gornall at 202.677.4224 or reneg@americanhumane.org.

Click “expand” to view Jenna’s report

or CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD PDF.

The 2012 American Humane Association Humane Scholars

Announcing the 2012 American Humane Association Humane Scholars

WHILE ANIMALS HAVE LONG BEEN USED IN RESEARCH, too little research is conducted on behalf of animals. Of the research that is conducted, few studies focus on the health, welfare, and well-being of animals, and the results are not reaching those who care for them. Animals today face multiple threats, including cancer, genetic disorders, pet food recalls, and environmental toxins, and the research needed to address these issues is sorely lacking. Indeed, this research may also hold translational benefits for human populations as well. Additionally, the National Research Council has warned that too few veterinary scientists are trained in scientific research on animal welfare.

That is why in 2011 American Humane Association launched its Humane Scholar program (formerly Veterinary Student Scientist program). Students who participate in this program are more likely to develop careers in animal welfare science, and will be among the next generation of leaders to transform how animals are cared for in the United States and beyond.

2012 American Humane Association Humane Scholar Chelsea Anderson's study, funded by a grant from AHA, was designed to assess anthrax in the buffer villages surrounding Ujung Kulon National Park.

The 2012 Humane Scholar program featured 13 students representing 11 veterinary schools. This year’s globetrotting group studied a number of diverse species including dogs, cats, cows, horses, pigs, goats, chimpanzees, and the critically-endangered Javan rhinoceros, and they did their research in such far-flung corners of the Earth as Indonesia, Zambia, and Grenada.

Over the next 13 days we are going to unveil the students’ research to you, so you can read about their exciting discoveries and conclusions. We’ll include a brief summary paragraph of their research and will link to the full report. Prospective students for the summer 2013 edition of the program should check www.americanhumane.org soon for the full application.

Please consider sponsoring a student in the 2013 class. A grant of $6,000 funds one Humane Scholar, fully underwriting a stipend to the student and the cost of implementation and management of the program. With American Humane Association’s Humane Scholar program, veterinary students are supported in their academic undertakings and given every opportunity to advance in the fields of veterinary medicine and animal welfare, without incurring additional debt to participate in those opportunities. For more information on supporting American Humane Association’s Humane Scholar program, please contact René Gornall at 202.677.4224 or reneg@americanhumane.org.

~ The 2012 Scholars ~

Chelsea Anderson – Cornell University

Alyssa Blaustein – University of Pennsylvania

Michelle L. Crupi, Western University

Jenna Dale – Mississippi State University

Whitney Joy Engler – University of California Davis

Carlie Gordon – Washington State University

Charlotte Elaine Jordan – Western University

Jennifer Ladd – Oklahoma State University

Lauren Larsen – Iowa State University

Maggie Placer – Purdue University

Abbey Sadowski – Colorado State University

Stephanie Wells, St. George’s University

Alexandra Zierenberg-Ripoll – University of California-Davis

 

 

Update on Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts

The Red Star team has deployed to Teterboro, NJ and began distributing the Whiskas and Pedigree yesterday morning at 9 a.m. from the Bergen County Shelter and Adoption Center, with the assistance of the Bergen County Department of Health Services. It was a great day with representatives from local shelters and rescues, as well as families in the area. There are people in need all over the community and we are all working together as a team to make sure every animal gets help.

Two representatives of the Friends of the Clifton Animal Shelter organization stopped by to pick up food.  They had a large supply of donations (towels, blankets, hard carriers, cleaning supplies, etc.) in their storage that they have been trying to get down to the Atlantic City area and since more Red Star team members are heading to Atlantic City we were glad to help them out. The Red Star team loaded up their cars with 100 bags of dry Pedigree, 50 cans of wet, 10 packets of wet Whiskas and 40 boxes of dry for the Clifton Animal Shelter, and then two of our Red Star volunteers drove to their shelter to load up our trucks with supplies to be taken to Atlantic City later today with the team. They were beyond thrilled that Red Star was there helping and that they will be able to help out those in need in Atlantic City. They have been sheltering animals for those who lost power, and when the nearby Pasaic Animal Shelter lost power, they housed all of their animals. In addition, they mentioned that they are so thankful for these supplies because now they can use the money they are saving on food to buy much-needed medical supplies.

It’s been a great week helping families and their pets and today more help will be coming to Atlantic City! We will continue to bring families and their pets happily back together.

A special thanks to you – our friends and supporters!  We couldn’t do this work without your ongoing loyalty and support of our mission.

On My Holiday Reading List: ‘Raising My Furry Children’

This holiday season, I want to take the opportunity to share with you a few books that have been on my reading list lately; books that will make the perfect gift for the animal lover in your life. These books offer tales of hope and will surely bring a smile to that special someone’s face.

If you’re looking for a little light reading in between shopping, fixing the family meal and everything else, why not take a few minutes to flip the pages of Tracy Ahrens’ recent book, Raising My Furry Children? I know things can get hectic this time of year, but picking up this book and reading a couple of her very short tales—only a few pages at most per story—will certainly be a welcome diversion.

Tracy uses this book to introduce us to all five of her kids, but these aren’t the two-legged kind. Each is furry, and each has a tail. Tracy is referring to her pets and the joy and mischief they bring to her virtually every day.

Her Brittany spaniel, Speckles, is like most dogs always looking to get in a bit of trouble. He loves scampering off with wads of paper from the wastebasket, enjoys rooting through the dirty laundry basket, and is, according to Tracy, a bit of a lush. Thankfully, he mostly imbibes water, but the occasional glass of iced tea isn’t safe from the reach of his tongue if no one is around.

Tracy also tells how she became the proud parent of four cats: Desdemona, Chocolate Drop, Joan of Arc and Captain Jack Sparrow. Each has a unique way in which they came into her life, but together the four cats make quite a partnership, and offer great companionship to her. Whenever she or her husband come and go, each of the five animals has a way of greeting them or saying goodbye. If Joan were a child, Tracy writes, she would’ve been taken away by the Department of Child and Family Services for all the mishaps she’s gotten into.

With such a full house, Tracy never feels alone; rather, she feels the love reciprocated by her five “kids.” What she has done with this book is to demonstrate the power of the human-animal bond, something we work to underscore and celebrate every day at American Humane Association. Tracy understands the value of studying the link and its importance in forging humane communities, which is why she has generously agreed to donate a portion of the proceeds from this book back to our institution. For that, we are grateful.

The Hardest and Most Rewarding Job

My mother always told me that being a mother was the hardest and most rewarding job she ever had. I did not understand what she meant by this until I became a mother.

Motherhood cannot be narrowly defined by blood ties but rather speaks to the capacity that one has to love and nurture another. I have experienced the beauty of motherhood as a biological mother of two children, the adopted mother of a sibling group of three boys and a foster mother to many. Although each of these experiences is uniquely different, the tie of consistency that unifies them is the love that exists and is shared between a mother and child.

The beauty of motherhood is that my children do not care if I look like them, they don’t care if our last names are the same or different and they don’t even care if my family recipes are different than those they remember. What my children do care about is that I was there to tuck them into a warm safe bed when they were scared. I enrolled them in kindergarten and waved to them as they got on the school bus for the very first time. They remember how I made lemon bars for them, even though I didn’t follow the recipe and they were far from perfect. They remember how I combed their hair in that special style that they wanted and how I cheered more loudly than all of the other parents when they participated in cheerleading, football, soccer or the debate team — even if they were sitting on the bench.

And what I will always remember about being a mother is how my children believed me when I told them they could do or be anything. I will remember how they excelled when I encouraged them to simply try again. I will remember all of the hours spent doing homework and how I could see each child’s self-esteem increase as they came home from school with a smiley face their teacher put on an assignment that we had completed together. I will remember how they trusted me with their fears and their dreams. I will remember how we blended all of our cultures, values and belief systems together and formed a loving family unit where each individual’s needs were met and respected.

I have realized that my mother was right. Being a mother is the hardest and most rewarding job that I have ever had, and the legacy of love that motherhood has given me is priceless.

Happy Mother’s Day!