Posts tagged ‘China’

Worth a Look


From Chas Clifton over at NatureBlog this link to a story on honey laundering. Sadly, instead of a how-to piece on extracting honey from the comb it’s an expose of [sigh] yet another scheme by Chinese businesses to sneak cheap, contaminated goods into foreign food supplies. We suggest you read the Telegraph story at the link — and make sure you’re buying local  honey.

One of my google alerts provided this interesting report on a possible link between canine aggression and an omega-3 fatty acid deficiency.  A word of caution; the Italian researcher team made a point of noting that they found a correlation between omega-3 fatty acid deficiency but that they had found no evidence that the deficiency caused  increased aggression.  That said, omega-3’s are a pretty innocuous group of compounds, so if your dog’s “got issues” adding them to his diet shouldn’t be a problem. As usual, if you’ve got concerns – talk to your vet.

ChienDogBlog does a bangup job bashing AKC breed standards. Apparently kids who fail high school English now have two career choices.  They can go on to write really bad corporate memos, or get hired by AKC to invent breed standards.

Last, but certainly not least, from GunDogDoc this excellent video on The Tailgate Exam.  The file takes a while to load, but it’s well worth the wait.  Dr. Joe Spoo demonstrates how to give your dog a field examination that will help you detect — and prevent injuries.  Folks, this isn’t just for hunting dogs.  The owner of any dog that spends time outdoors needs to know these skills.  Go. Watch.

January 5, 2009 at 4:35 am 3 comments

Link Love

Once again — I’m too busy to post.

But I’m not too busy to browse, so here are a few links I’d like to share:

First, hat tip to Jessica at Bioephemera for her post telling us about Forestle. 

Forestle uses the Google search algorithm, but the ad revenues associated with each search go to prevent deforestation (via donations to the Nature Conservancy).

According to the site, the average search saves about 0.1 square meter (0.11 sq. yd) of rainforest – approximately the surface of your computer screen. And Forestle’s browser plugins make altruism about as easy as possible. (Its creators estimate that about 5% of revenues will go to admin costs).

I uploaded their browser plugin today and hope to save a couple of square meters a day!  A special feature of the Forestle search plugin is that you can use indicators to access numerous search functions.  In briefly perusing their indicators I saw that they had somehow missed ‘blogs’!!  So I sent them an email asking if they’d add it.  I was pleasantly surprised to get a response within minutes, thanking me and agreeing to add a blog indicator in the next 24 hours!  Please check them out.  Nice people doing good work.  What’s not to love?

Next check out YesBiscuit’s post on Mother Jones’  “The Chinavore’s Dilemna.” 

…an overview on how the FDA allowed – and keeps allowing – tainted imports from China to enter the US. Pet food, toys, toothpaste, heparin, seafood… and the hits just keep on comin’.

Ye-ah.  Next time you go to the supermarket, check the labels on the frozen fish.  It is nearly impossible to find any that doesn’t come from China.  And items like toys made for children and dogs (especially the ones found in bulk bargain bins) are often not labeled as to country of origin.  Our friends over at PetConnection reported a few days ago that the FDA is opening offices in China. I suspect that this is being done more as a public relations cover than to make significant inroads into product safety and quality in China, but time will tell.

And last but not least — Kudos to Pat the Terrierman for his excellent articleon Mark Derr and Cesar Millan.  Terrierman astutely observed that:

But no matter how nice or over-educated you are, a dog is not a child.This is a particularly uncomfortable and threatening truth for women who have managed to displace their maternal instincts to the family pet. This is a point Millan does not address directly (please, not too much honesty Millan!) but he does suggest women often have a harder time asserting dominance over their “fur babies.” He is right. Why does saying this obvious thing send Mark Derr clucking away like a hen? Anyone who works with dogs has seen the maternal displacement problem in action, and anyone who has seen the “Dog Whisperer” TV show has seen the problem repeated out again and again. The Daisy Fuentes episode was particularly memorable for some reason ….

The simple but harsh truth is that the psycho-demographic watching the National Geographic channel tend to be people with two types of common “dog problems”: They think their dog is their child, and their dog is over-fed and fat.

The dog is, quite simply, being “loved to death.”

Terrierman goes on to say that:

Derr seems to take issue with Cesar Millan’s admonitionthat dogs do best with “exercise, discipline, and affection,” and he seems to disagree with Mr. Millan’s definition of discipline as meaning “rules, boundaries, and limitations.”

Derr is being stupid.No serious dog man would argue with Millan on these points. The only thing you should say after Milan’s statements on these issues is “Of course.” Or perhaps, if you are being a bit chatty, “It is also true for children.”

Sigh.  Yes. 

Since when did any type of coercion – no matter how fair, how mild or how instructive – start being defined as torture?  I have to say that I don’t believe that this is the view taken by most people.  It is onlyin the media, on the internet and among a small – but extremely vocal minority  of dog trainers that any type of correction has become equated with mortal sin.  Sadly, this group seems to have found a way to dominate the media and many publishing houses (most likely with the aid of animal rights groups who would like to end all pet ownership) .

As Terrierman posted in this blog – the man who invented clicker training believed in using corrections:

It may come as a shock to some people to learn that Karen Pryor did not invent clicker training. It was invented by legendary animal trainer Bob Bailey. Bailey was on an animal training list-serv that I was on. Both of us were quiet lurkers, but one day Bailey popped up to set one “pure positive” person right on his ass. Mr. Bailey wanted it known to the list that he himself was not a “clicker trainer.” He used clickers, sure, but he also felt there was a place for mild coercion. He even thought there was a right time and place to “shoot the dog” when dealing with extremely dangerous animals. Not a peep was heard after that.

Bob Bailey is still around.  He’s retired, but still occasionally offers workshops on animal training.

August 28, 2008 at 6:08 pm Leave a comment

Will Dogs Boycott Beijing?

The goal of the Olympic Games is to bring the world’s people together in peace to celebrate human athletic achievement. But this year, the thrill of the games are coupled with the agony of protests against China’s continued support of the genocide in Darfur, it’s troubled relations with Tibet and Burma, and a disturbingly long list of other human rights, environmental, religous and ethical concerns.

As the 2008 Summer Olympics threaten to become a boy-cotter’s haven rather than a venue for top athletes to test their skills many ask, are the Olympics the appropriate platform for protest?

Olympic committees and Chinese Communist Party officials are (of course) opposed to boycotts. They say if boycotts and protests disrupt the games the athletes and Chinese people will be the ones to suffer.

There are valid points on both sides of the argument (and this is a dog blog – not a political blog), so we’ve decided to let each of you decide this issue for himself.  But – if your dog needs help in making his decision regarding whether or not to boycott Beijing, here are a few points for him to ponder.

  • According to recent press releases, one of the greatest threats for visitors to Beijing is the hundreds of stray – and sometimes rabid dogs that roam the city. If your dog is foolish enough to go to China, make sure he’s up to date on those shots! Otherwise his flirtation with that pretty stray could be a truly fatal attraction.
  • And — if your dog is unlucky enough to be infected with rabies while in China (or be suspected of infection, or even be present in an area where other animals are suspected of infection) he should keep in mind that the Chinese government has a brutal policy to confiscate and beat dogs suspected of being diseased to death in the streets.
  • Here dogs are pampered pets but in many parts of China dog is still a gourmet entree
  • We groom and pet our dog’s lovely coats.  In China, dog is a pelt commonly made into coats
  • And what about wheat gluten in pet food that sickened or killed thousands of cats and dogs and led to the biggest pet food recall in history?  The owner of one of the Chinese companies that supplies the tainted gluten has admitted that melamine was added specifically to make the gluten appear to have a higher protein content.  When wheat gluten from Chinese factories was first suspected as the source of the contamination, Chinese authorities initially refused visas to FDA investigators.  According to a story in the New York Times:

The Chinese government had initially reacted angrily to suggestions that Chinese food exports could have been the cause of death or sickness in so many American pets. At one point, the Chinese government even insisted that the country had not exported any wheat gluten to the United States this year.

I don’t think that that’s the sort of goverment my dogs want to support.

  • There have been several cases of paint containing toxic levels of lead, cadmium and other heavy metals used on millions of toys made in China for the world’s children and dogs.   The Chinese government has admitted that its own oversight of manufacturing is plagued by corruption and loopholes.  The US has offered to help, but in China, the FDA’s power is extremely limited. If an FDA inspector wants to inspect a Chinese facility, he has to be invited by the Chinese government. The government then gives the manufacturer 30 to 60 days’ notice of the impending inspection.  With this sort of rampant corruption oversight it’s no wonder problems with products manufactured in China continue to be discovered here in the States after the toys have been exported and sold.
  • Most dogs in the west live as pets, and shelters and rescue groups work tirelessly to safely house and rehome strays and unwanted dogs.  In China, strays far outnumber pets, and free-roaming dogs (stray or not) are routinely rounded up and brutally killed.  There are very few rescue groups in China.
  • If that’s not enough, there was the attempted eradication of all medium to large dogs (over 14″ at the withers) in Beijing.  The measure also limited residents to one dog per household and was enacted to improve the appearance of Beijing for the Olympic games.  Thousands of dogs were killed before enforcement of the law was halted. 

And finally — your dog may want to boycott Beijing because – unlike the the Chinese Communist Party – dogs understand and respect human rights.

July 4, 2008 at 3:11 pm Leave a comment

Dogs Destroyed After China Quake

From the Adelaide Sunday Mail:

A Chinese county has launched a drive to cull ownerless and hungry dogs threatening public health after the deadliest earthquake to hit the country in more than three decades, state media said today.

The quake that rocked the southwestern province of Sichuan on May 12 had killed more than 34,000 people as of today.  The government says it expects the toll to eventually rise to more than 50,000.

In Qingchuan county, where more than 2,670 people have died, authorities have ordered the  culling of dogs to protect residents and guard against epidemics, the official Xinhua news agency said.  “Most of the dogs in the county have not been fed by anyone and have been wandering around since the earthquake,” Xinhua quoted local officials as saying.  “They are prone to scramble for food with humans … and to bite people and spread diseases.”  The dogs will be disinfected and buried deep in the soil according to Xinhua.

Meanwhile in other news from Xinhua:

As time runs out for survivors, rescue workers are pinning their hopes on dogs to guide men and machines to trapped people.

 In Dujiangyan, a rescue team with seven dogs from Shandong province has soldiered on for almost 80 straight hours since last Tuesday and almost scoured the entire city.   Many dogs have suffered injuries on their mouths or paws by broken glass, steel bars or nails in the debris. Typically, their keepers and they have a couple of hours’ nap a day in a tent and then get back to work.

The situation is utterly heart-breaking.  The loss of life and livelihood is devastating.  As our hearts go out to the human victims of the quake we also pray that officials do what they can to help animal victims.  Sadly, the Chinese government has had a history of mass dog killings in recent years.  We hope that those horrific scenes aren’t repeated and that officials find a way to protect human lives without the needless sacrifice of thousands of innocent dogs.

May 20, 2008 at 4:16 am Leave a comment

Because A Dog’s Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste


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