Something wicked this way comes: the rodeo by Ed Boks

Is the Rodeo coming to your town?

Rodeo animals are generally tame creatures who must be provoked into battle

They live lives filled with stress and fear.

Contestants practice their games on numerous calves, bulls, and horses, injuring and killing many animals before even entering the ring.

A contestant’s score is based on how long he can ride a struggling animal or how quickly he can overpower an animal.

Sprains, broken bones, muscle pulls, saddle blisters, spur wounds, flank strap wounds, punctured lungs, broken ribs, hematomas, bruising, and broken necks are common.

Wounded animals are quickly removed while the rodeo announcer and rodeo clowns distract the public.

The animals who become too injured to participate are sent to slaughter.

Rodeos are state sanctioned cruelty that must be outlawed!

The last rodeo by Ed Boks

Today is opening day for Prescott Frontier Days considered the World’s Oldest Rodeo.  Established in 1888, the event has occurred over every 4th of July weekend for 130 years – and features breath-taking performances that can result in animals suffering broken ribs, backs, and legs, torn tails, punctured lungs, internal organ damage, ripped tendons, torn ligaments, snapped necks, and agonizing deaths.

How can such mayhem exist in a state where animal cruelty is a felony?   In Arizona, rodeos are exempt from anti-cruelty laws.  In fact, the State of Arizona sanctions animal cruelty in activities involving hunting, ranching, farming, rodeos, shows and security services (ARS § 13-2910.05. Exempt activities). Continue reading “The last rodeo by Ed Boks”

Rodeo: state sanctioned animal cruelty by Ed Boks

For six years I served as executive director of the Yavapai Humane Society (YHS) – located in Prescott, Arizona – home to the world’s oldest rodeo.

During those six years western and central Yavapai County became the safest region in the United States for dogs and cats, having ended the use of killing/euthanasia to control pet overpopulation.  So successful was YHS in protecting dogs and cats that during my last two years at YHS, the society expanded its mission to include promoting and protecting the health, welfare and safety of horses. Continue reading “Rodeo: state sanctioned animal cruelty by Ed Boks”

Study shows physiological and behavioral benefits may be experienced by veterans with PTSD who have service dogs

Veteran with PTSD Therapy Dog

The Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine released a study last week that shows how veterans with PTSD may benefit physiologically from using service dogs.

The study is the first published research to use a physiological marker to define the bio-behavioral effects of service dogs on veterans with PTSD.

The findings were published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, and they may be significant as scientific evidence of potential mental health benefits experienced by veterans with PTSD who have service dogs. Continue reading “Study shows physiological and behavioral benefits may be experienced by veterans with PTSD who have service dogs”

When it comes to pit bulls, how stupid are we? by Ed Boks

Collage by Beth Clifton

Every year, ANIMALS 24-7 conducts a national dog-breed survey.  The results of the 2018 survey were just released.  As interesting as the data collected by the survey are, I was particularly struck by a rather provocative proposition posed by Merritt Clifton, the editor/reporter of ANIMALS 24-7 and this survey.

Before exploring the thought provoking proposal, let’s set the stage:

The survey found that as of mid-June 2018, nearly 15% of all the dogs available for sale or adoption in the U.S. were pit bulls.  With that kind of market presence, one might conclude pit bulls are pretty popular in the U.S.  However, Mr. Clifton has another explanation. Continue reading “When it comes to pit bulls, how stupid are we? by Ed Boks”

Domestic Violence Shelters must be pet-friendly by Ed Boks

A recent Washington Post article Little by little, domestic violence shelters become pet-friendly reports on a widening body of research regarding domestic violence.  Over two decades of research has found that abusive partners often threaten, injure and even kill victims’ pets so as to persuade the victim not to leave.

Frank Ascione

In fact, surveys of women at shelters found that 20 to 50 percent say that fear for a pet’s safety delayed their decision to flee.  “These situations are particularly dire when victims are deeply attached to their pets”, said Frank Ascione, a University of Denver psychologist who has published numerous studies on the topic.

“Particularly in households with no children”, Ascione said, “the pet or companion animal may be the only source of safe, affectionate contact that a woman has in her environment.” Continue reading “Domestic Violence Shelters must be pet-friendly by Ed Boks”

Dogs owned by homeless people are generally healthy with few behavior problems by Ed Boks

Heather with her dog Poppy in downtown Seattle, Washington. Photograph: Annabel Clark for the Guardian

I recently came across a  study published by Pet Behavior Science in 2016 that found:

  • Dogs owned by homeless people are generally healthy with few behavior problems.
  • Even though lower body condition scores were found, only one dog was found to be underweight.
  • Behavior is not generally an issue in homeless peoples’ dogs

Continue reading “Dogs owned by homeless people are generally healthy with few behavior problems by Ed Boks”

Why killing coyotes never works by Ed Boks

Allen “Big Al” Morris has a record four World titles. – Alexi Horowitz-Ghazi/NPR

NPR’s All Things Considered recently published an article, Coyotes In The Crosshairs describing how over the past century killing coyotes has become a competitive game that today is celebrated in the World Championship Coyote Calling Contest.

The article details how the blood-thirst for coyotes originated with “the arrival of European-American settlers in the early 1800s.  Coyotes and wolves took the opportunity to expand their diet to livestock. And for decades, the federal government actively encouraged the extermination of predators.  That policy pushed wolves to the brink of extinction, but the wily coyote managed to thrive and spread pretty much everywhere. To this day, the government hires hunters to manage coyote populations and protect livestock in many states. And around 70 years ago, ranchers started to host coyote-hunting competitions.”   Continue reading “Why killing coyotes never works by Ed Boks”

Traditional and Compassionate Conservation: a study in terror and mercy by Ed Boks

Predator/Prey – The Fight for Isle Royale Wolves

I’ve been devoting a considerable amount of time to understanding a rapidly growing international and cross-disciplinary movement called Compassionate Conservation.

This movement promotes the protection of wild animals as individuals within conservation practice and policy – using four guiding principles: 1) First, Do No Harm; 2) Individuals Matter; 3) Value All Wildlife (which I took the liberty of expanding to Value All Life; and 4) Peaceful Coexistence.

While watching the (recommended) documentary, “Predator/Prey – The Fight for Isle Royale Wolves” it occurred to me a fifth element might help better define Compassionate Conservation as a discipline, and not just a philosophy.  That element is “Stewardship”. Continue reading “Traditional and Compassionate Conservation: a study in terror and mercy by Ed Boks”

Can Compassion be our Compass? by Ed Boks

Do Conservation Strategies Need to Be More Compassionate?

In a recent blog I asked if traditional conservation science is a pathological disorder.  I provided some anecdotal evidence that seems to suggest this discipline is driven by an obsessive belief that the environment can be, indeed must be, restored to an idyllic, Eden-like state at any cost – including, and perhaps even preferring, the killing of anything that gets in its way.

The Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies picked up on my question in an article in their YaleEnvironment360  titled, Do Conservation Strategies Need to Be More Compassionate? Continue reading “Can Compassion be our Compass? by Ed Boks”