I admit I’m not a fan of bugs, especially inside the house. Instead of automatically killing them, however, I am working on practicing kindness, and gently moving the bugs outside. Spiders and centipedes are fairly easy to scoop up on a piece of paper and shoo out the door. The more often I do this, the less scary/creepy/gross I find the bugs to be.
Do you believe even insects deserve to be treated with kindness, or is that going too far?
The second annual Mad City Vegan Fest is tomorrow, June 9, at Goodman Community Center in Madison, Wisconsin. Last year’s event was such a success, they had to find a bigger venue this year. If you live in the area, stop by and check it out. There will be delicious food samples, inspiring speakers, and raffle prizes. Mad City Vegan Fest is a free event and is open to everyone.
Have you ever been to a vegetarian or vegan festival? What did you think?
I learned this fact on, of all things, The Dr. Oz Show: Bug zappers aren’t very effective at killing mosquitoes, and also kill many beneficial insects such as moths, bees, and beetles. The episode was about staying safe and comfortable during the hot summer months. The reason bug zappers don’t work well against mosquitoes is that UV light does little to attract the little blood-suckers, but is highly attractive to other insects. Newer “zapper” models that use carbon dioxide as an attractant work better, but cost hundreds of dollars.
Read more about how bug zappers kill beneficial insects.
Collars and tags can be removed or get lost, and tattoos can become illegible over time. That’s why microchipping your pets is so important. Animal microchips are about the size of a grain of rice, and are implanted just below the skin’s surface through a needle. If your pet ever gets lost, a microchip is his or her best chance of being returned to you. Most animal shelters and humane societies automatically scan incoming animals for microchips. The average cost of a microchip is around $45. Some humane societies and organizations may offer the service at a reduced cost.
Is your pet microchipped?
Teaching your dog not to pull on walks takes time, patience, and lots of positive reinforcement. Dogs aren’t born understanding the rules of life with humans, and polite leash walking is particularly confusing to them. Have you ever seen two off-leash dogs walking shoulder to shoulder at a leisurely pace? I doubt it. Dogs like to dart here and there, changing directions and changing paces, investigating every interesting sight and smell. And since they have four legs to our two, they naturally move a lot faster than we can.
To help prevent your dog from pulling while you continue to work on polite leash walking, I love the no-pull harness designs that clip at the dog’s chest. The Premier Easy Walk harness is my favorite. The Sense-ible harness is good, too. These designs are proven to reduce pulling better than other equipment, and are more humane than choke chains and pinch collars, which can cause permanent injury if used improperly. The harnesses that clip at the dog’s back actually help your dog to pull more (think sled dog), but they do protect the dog’s neck from harm.
When I’m not writing or blogging, I work as an assistant dog trainer for Dog’s Best Friend Training in Madison, WI. To find a positive-reinforcement dog trainer in your area, search the Association of Pet Dog Trainers website.
Early spring is prime time for ants. We always seem to get a stream of them in the kitchen this time of year. I recently discovered this trick for keeping them out: Pour a line of cream of tartar, red chili powder, paprika, or dried peppermint at the place where ants enter the house. They won’t cross it.
Have you tried natural pest repellents?
It’s easy to think of leather as simply a by-product of the meat industry, but the reality is far more complicated. The leather industry is highly profitable, which in fact helps to support and perpetuate the meat industry. The use of leather also helps sustain the dairy industry, which is responsible for creating and maintaining the veal industry (Male calves born to dairy cows are sent to slaughter). This creates a cycle among industries that are financially interdependent and reliant on each other for a continual supply of animal parts for their raw materials.
An easy way to show compassion for animals is to seek out non-leather options when shopping for shoes. Fear not, you won’t be relegated to sweaty plastic footwear (Jelly shoes, anyone?). Today’s vegan footwear is breathable, comfortable, and high-quality. One of my favorite brands is J-41, available on Amazon.com. Check out these cute styles!
Non-leather footwear has come a long way. Why not give it a try?
Reducing meat consumption can go a long way toward reducing your carbon footprint. Did you know it takes 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water to produce a single pound of beef? And the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that are accelerating climate change worldwide. Going meatless just once a week can help conserve natural resources, and may give your health a boost, as well. For easy meatless meal ideas, visit the Meatless Monday website.
Soft blankets and towels can help animals feel more relaxed and comfortable in a shelter environment. A relaxed and comfortable animal is more likely to stay healthy in the shelter, and therefore find a new home. If you have old blankets and towels that you’re no longer using, chances are there are some homeless animals in your area who would love to take them off your hands.
Most animal welfare advocates believe animal testing is cruel and unnecessary. Organizations like Leaping Bunny work to debunk animal testing myths and encourage cosmetics, personal care, animal care and household products manufacturers to eliminate animal testing from all phases of development.
Designation as “cruelty-free” or “not tested on animals” may refer only to the final product when in fact, most animal testing occurs at the ingredient level.
If you don’t support animal testing, choosing products certified by Leaping Bunny is the best way to know a product is 100 percent free of new animal testing. Download the Leaping Bunny shopping guide.
What do you think? Is animal testing “just the way it is” or an outdated practice we can consciously eliminate?