Today at Big Cat Rescue Aug 23 2013

Today at Big Cat Rescue Aug 23 2013


Are the Big Cats Running Faster?


We hope that will be your experience as you surf our website.  Our website currently gets 1.2 million unique visitors per year and we are working to get back to the 1.75 visitors we were getting before switching over to WordPress and having all of our page URLs changed.  Because of the traffic and the zombie DDOS attacks we had moved our site to Rackspace and were also paying CloudFlare, which was costing us in excess of 900.00 a month.

On Wednesday (8/21/13) we moved to Flywheel because it had been heralded by WordPress experts and THE hosting solution for WordPress sites.  We are already seeing much faster load times and the Flywheel staff are experts in WP security, so we hope that visiting our site will be a much better experience for you.  This option is saving Big Cat Rescue 700.00 a month and that can feed a lot of cats.

On Wednesday, using Rackspace and CloudFlare, before the move, our site was loading in 6.5 seconds:

Web-Rackspace-2013-08-21 at 9.01.11 AM

Today on Flywheel our site is loading in 3.9 seconds:

Screen Shot 2013-08-23 at 8.22.01 AM

But the best part of all is that the people at Flywheel REALLY love Word Press and are working with us to squeeze out even better load times by helping us figure out ways to optimize the images and other aspects of the site.  Stay tuned as we are expecting the site to get better every day.


Animal Based Charities Has a New Store


Animal Based Charities Thrift Store has moved and they are having their Grand

Re-Opening Celebration Every Day This Week!!!  We are all invited to it, so let’s go!!

Please come in and help us celebrate the move to our big, new store just 1/2 mile from our prior location:
4465 W. Gandy Blvd
 Tampa, FL 33611
Join us for snacks, drinks and a free ticket drawing for the Mahaffey Theater!
And we’ve got a great sale this week:
50% OFF:
Store Hours:
Tuesday – Friday 10:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M.
Saturday 10:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M.
hand map
Get $5 off when you spend $25 or more
Coupon must be presented at time of purchase.  Feel free to make copies and give them to family and friends.
Offer only good August 20 – 24, 2013

Zoo animals, abused lion help fuel support for animal welfare in Lebanon

Animal rights groups fight for stricter legislation, change in public opinion

By Natacha Khalife
Special to The Daily Star
Monday, November 30, 2009

BEIRUT: A woman enters the veterinary clinic of Animals Lebanon (AL), holding a cage in which a red-haired, blue-eyed kitten is loudly meowing. The red-faced woman is screaming; she seems angry. She comes to the front desk of the clinic, opens the cage and throws the kitten at an AL volunteer before leaving and slamming the door.

“We demanded she bring back this kitten that she adopted here,” said Safa Hojeij, one of the founders of AL. A brown kitten with a skin infection is sleeping in her arms, and she adds that the same woman also adopted this kitten. However, a volunteer saw the woman this morning throw this kitten in a trash can.

“We do not want our animals to be treated like that, even if it means that we have to take them back to the clinic,” she said.

This episode embodies the typical Lebanese mentality concerning animals that AL and Beirut for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (BETA) are fighting against, said Jason Mier, executive director of AL, and Nathalie Semaan, a volunteer in BETA.

However, two special stories have recently raised interest for animals in Lebanon, said Hojeij and Semaan. In February, AL helped to close an entire zoo where animals were neglected and underfed. It took six months of negotiations with the owner to rescue the 42 animals of the zoo, said Hojeij. “This brought a huge amount of awareness to the issue of zoos in the Middle East,” said Mier.

Then, two months ago, a sick and mistreated lion was found almost dead in a small cage covered by a tarpaulin sheets in the Karantina area of Beirut by BETA, said Semaan. This case was extraordinary because it was the first time in Lebanon that a judge issued a decision to remove an animal from its owners because of mistreatment. The lion, named Adam, died one week ago.

These stories triggered a wave of solidarity for animals, said Semaan. After the story of the zoo, donations for AL exploded, said Hojeij.

“In 12 months … we raised $144,000,” said Mier. BETA also noticed a rise of donations following the story of the lion, said Semaan.

Moreover, more and more people have been attending the events organized the associations. On World Animals Day on October 4, about 100 people walked with 25 dogs in the streets of Downtown Beirut, said Semaan.

Lana al-Khalil, president of AL, is the ambassador of World Animal Day in Lebanon, so AL was very involved in this event, trying to create a bond between animals and people, said Hojeij. “World Animal Day was a great success,” she added.

The number of people in BETA’s Facebook group also reflects the Lebanese growing involvement in animal welfare. After Adam the lion was found, the number of members on BETA’s Facebook group doubled, said Semaan. The Facebook group of BETA counts 416 members, and Animals Lebanon has 653 fans.

In spite of this rising awareness, improving animal welfare in Lebanon still faces a lot of difficulties. Only one law protects animals in Lebanon; if someone is caught mistreating an animal, she or he has to pay a fine of LL10,000.

“It is ridiculous – LL10,000 is nothing,” said Semaan.

Lebanon’s legislature is behind a lot of countries concerning animals’ rights.

AL is campaigning for Lebanon to sign the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES), an international agreement between governments, which aims to ensure that “international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival,” said the CITES Web site.

BETA, meanwhile, is seeking to extend legal protection for animals to include regulations as laid down by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA).

“WSPA is a program which contains about 200 pages of regulations and laws to protect animals, and Lebanon does not even follow one of them,” Semaan said.

Lebanon’s law makers should also create regulations concerning the running of pet shops, said Semaan.

The majority of pet shops in Lebanon are just economically focused and not concerned about their animals’ welfare, said Shadi Tarek, a veterinarian and owner of a pet shop.

“They just want to sell and do not care about what’s going to happen to the animal,” he added. To open a pet shop, people should have a license, added Hojeij.

People’s mentality also holds back the progress of animals’ rights in Lebanon.

“People teach their kids that beating an animal makes them stronger,” said Semaan. Even if some people are joining the animal’s cause, many still doubt the importance of the matter, said Hojeij.

To remedy the animals’ bad treatment the associations focus on awareness, hoping that changing mentality will lead to a modification of laws. AL and BETA organize a lot of programs to foster a love of animals among Lebanese citizens, said Hojeij.

BETA runs a community service where children from the International College come to the group’s shelters of to take the dogs on a walk, said Semaan. For its part, AL has five school children volunteers, said Hojeij.

Informing prospective pet owners of the realities of caring for animals is also used to change attitudes.

People do not really realize the difficulties of having animals, said Hojeij.

“When someone comes in my pet shop to buy an animal, I first scare him or her by compiling all the difficulties that an animal implicates. If she or he still wants to buy the animal, it means that they’re ready,” said Tarek.

Advertisements also play a great role in raising the awareness of Lebanese people concerning animals.

“In the last 12 months we have had tens of thousands of radio spots, more than 50,000 flyers and brochures distributed, and this definitely gets more people interested and talking,” said Mier.

To inform a broader spectrum of the population, AL and BETA organize publicity events, said Hojeij and Semaan.

“Events are a way to touch people that usually do not care about animals,” added Hojeij. Thus AL organized parties to sensitize the young generation about animals, said Hojeij.

The groups hold parties at private houses and venues such as Snatch and B018, said Mier. As well as raising awareness, these events are also a way to earn money for the association, said Hojeij.

But the groups also take more concrete measures to directly improve animals’ welfare.

One of the main proceedings of AL and BETA is the Trap-Neuter-Return program, said Semaan and Hojeij. This consists of trapping a cat or a dog in the street, neutering the animal to prevent breeding, releasing the animal where it was found and providing basic food and water for the animal to live safely, said Hojeij.

BETA and AL also take abandoned animals that cannot have a high quality of life in the street and put them in shelters when they can.

“We currently have 55 animals in our care – most in the shelter,” said Mier.

BETA at this time puts up 240 dogs. Animals in shelters are vaccinated, neutered and put up for adoption. Adopting a cat cost $40, and a dog costs $80.

“In the last year we got about 210 cats and dogs adopted,” said Mier. BETA has found homes for about 500-700 dogs since 2004, added Semaan.

But the fight always goes on. AL was behind a pre-release of the movie New Moon on Monday at the Galaxy cinema in Beirut, three days before its official date of release. Half of the ticket price was donated to the association.

The next event will be the Beirut Marathon on December 6, where 10 percent of the donations will head to AL.

It is a lot of effort, but animals are important and deserve this fight, said Hojeij. Moreover, they contribute to the overall well-being of people, she added.

“It is very simple – proper animal welfare standards help relieve poverty, improve human health and increase respect for the general rule of law,” said Mier.


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N.Y. sub shop displays 2 caged tigers

Getzville sub shop will display two caged Siberian tigers
Updated: 06/09/09 11:01 PM

Siberian tigers—in Getzville? Two tigers, in cages, on exhibit, sponsored by a not-for-profit wild animal sanctuary in Chautauqua County. Volunteers from JNK’s Call of the Wild Sanctuary said they will display two of their tigers Friday through Sunday outside the John&Mary’s submarine shop, 2363 Millersport Highway, Getzville.

The big cats—named Sebastian and Shantal—will be displayed each day from 11 a. m. to 8 p. m. Volunteers will answer questions about the tigers and the sanctuary operation.


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‘Positive reinforcement’ doesn’t come from whips

Published April 26 2009

Wild-animal circuses do not and cannot provide humane conditions for animals. Circuses say they have every incentive to treat animals well.

By: Christine Coughlin, Duluth News Tribune

This week, the wild-animal circus makes its annual appearance in Duluth. Along with the glitter and laughs is the growing controversy over the practice of using wild animals for entertainment. Animal circuses are often met with protesters, letters to the editor and requests for a humane alternative.

So what’s the fuss?

Wild-animal circuses do not and cannot provide humane conditions for animals. Circuses say they have every incentive to treat animals well. In reality, every incentive exists to make animals perform. By whatever means necessary, the circus must ensure wild animals will execute their stunts.

In circus programs and on Web sites, the industry reassures the public it uses positive reinforcement on the animals. Yet, during shows, audiences watch as big-cat trainers crack whips while cats do tricks. Elephants are accompanied by men with bullhooks, sticks with sharp metal hooks on one end. No matter how they’re marketed, whips and hooks are not positive reinforcement. They serve as continual reminders to the animals of what could happen if they don’t comply.

And that’s just what can be seen at circuses. What about training sessions held behind closed doors or out of our sight?

Much of what’s known about training and discipline in circuses has been brought to light by former circus employees and undercover investigators. Through eyewitness testimony and videotapes, the public has learned of horrific abuses behind the scenes. Several weeks ago, closing arguments were heard in a Washington, D.C., federal district court trial, in which it was alleged Ringling Bros. abused its endangered Asian elephants with bullhooks and prolonged chaining, in violation of the Endangered Species Act. In that case, videotapes were shown, and five former employees testified against Ringling. A decision in the case is expected this spring.
Prolonged chaining and unnatural confinement of circus animals may be more debilitating over the long term than abusive training and discipline. Wild animals in circuses routinely spend up to 20 hours a day on short chains or in small cages. Osteomyelitis, a painful and life-threatening disease affecting the feet and legs of elephants, is correlated with prolonged standing on concrete and is found only in captive elephants. Stereotypic behaviors — like repetitive rocking, bobbing and pacing — are in response to confinement, are indicative of physiological stresses, and are commonly seen in circus animals and not in animals in the wild.

Animal circuses do not teach children about the normal behaviors of healthy animals. They do not teach about the conservation challenges faced by those working to protect the animals in their native environments. What animal circuses teach is that it’s acceptable to separate individual animals from their families, to train them with harsh tools, and to hold them in intensive confinement, denying them every instinct to move and roam freely, as nature intended.

Many parents are choosing to take their children to circuses without animals. Animal-free circuses are on a growing list of entertainment options, and are increasing in popularity.
Let’s take the best of what the circus has to offer — acrobats, stunts, clowns, music — and leave the wild animals where they belong, in the wild. Animal circuses offer moments of entertainment in exchange for lifetimes of misery. They are not worth it.

CHRISTINE COUGHLIN of Minneapolis is a member of Circus Reform Yes, a Minnesota nonprofit that advocates for animal-free circuses.

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Nigeria: Gov’t didn’t use funds to care for lions

Nigeria: Lion’s Share Scandal – NCMM, Nasarawa Govt Didn’t Spend N18 Million

Mohammed S. Shehu and Tahir Ajobe

6 April 2009

Abuja — Nasarawa State government and the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) did not spend N18 million annually for the feeding of two lions under the care of the NCMM, the two authorities have said.

A newspaper (not Daily Trust) had reported that Nasarawa State government had arranged with the NCMM to spend N18 million on the two animals it inherited from the previous administration.

The report said the animals were procured by former Governor Abdullahi Adamu as part of security checks inGovernment House, Lafia but on assumption of office, the report said Governor Alhaji Aliyu Akwe Doma became uncomfortable staying with the animals in the governor’s house and decided to transfer them to the custody of NCMM for keep at the National Zoological Garden in Jos.

But reacting to the allegation, the Nasarawa State government through the Director of Publicity and Media Affairs to Governor Doma, Ibrahim Adrra said only the sum of N1.9 million has been budgeted quarterly for the upkeep of about 22 animals and 19 birds it inherited from the immediate-past administration in the state and not only two lions as reported.

Adrra who spoke to Daily Trust on the phone said “This brought the total amount of expenses on the 22 animals to N7.6million per annum contrary to media reports that it spent between N18 to N20 million on the animals.

“The amount was expected to take care of the feeding, medication, water supply to the cages, periodic rehabilitation/re-enforcement of the cages, honorarium of zoo attendants and transport/logistics for purchase of feeds and sundry items.

Also reacting, the Director General of the NCMM, Dr. Joseph Eboreime corroborated the Nasarawa state government, adding that no official of the commission was directly involved in the disbursement of the fund.

He said out of the N1.9m budgeted, the state earmarked N1.1m for logistic, N710,000 for feeding and N90,000 for three staff (N10,000 each per month) for the quarter.

He said, “Money doesn’t in any way pass through the hands of NCMM top hierarchy officials as alleged, and nobody ‘feeds fat on the lion share.”

He said direct purchase of the animals’ feeds and other needs are done by designated Nasarawa State officials accompanied by staff of the Zoo, adding that the animals in their custody included a pair of lions, hyenas, gazelles, monkeys, waterbucks, cheetahs, crocodiles, ostriches and other birds.


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