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Rhino Horn Has No Health Benefit

Published September 20, 2011 in Love For Earthlings |
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President of the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM) and President of Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM) Lixin Huang has publicly said that rhino horn is no longer approved for use in traditional chinese medicine. She also said the principle of balance is important both in traditional chinese medicine and in ecology, meaning that TCM does not approve of damaging or destroying the natural balance existing in ecological systems.  The use of rhino horn is a misinterpretation of TCM and is disrespectful to it, she also explained.

Rhino horn does not have any medicinal value because it consists almost entirely of keratin, which is the same protein found in human fingernails, hair and toenails. Eating fingernails and hair does not cure any ailments, and neither does ingesting rhino horn. Rhinos populations have been driven down to dangerously low levels, mainly because of demand created by very outdated, silly superstitions regarding their horns. There seems to be no limit on how ridiculous human beliefs can be, and yet in this case they are closely tied to very destructive, even murderous behaviour.

There is another animal with a single horn with magical powers – the unicorn! Most people today probably laugh when unicorns are mentioned, but some still hold ridiculous beliefs about rhino horns.

A fashion model claimed taking rhino horn pills could reduce the effects of aging, but clearly no one seeks out the opinions of fashion models for medical or health advice. In response to her comment,  the Founder and President Wildlife Foundation Cranleigh, Surrey said,  “I read with horror the interview in which [Elle] Macpherson endorses the use of powdered rhino horn. In Africa in the 1970s and 1980s, more than 96 percent of the world’s black rhino were slaughtered for their horn and are now critically endangered.” (Source: The Sunday Times)

This year has been especially hard for rhinos in South Africa, with increasing numbers being lost to poachers. An estimated 287 have been killed so far this year. The rhino killers are equipped with modern technology and very well organized.

Adapted from an article by Jake R.

Secondhand Smoke Harms Pets

Published September 15, 2011 in Love For Earthlings |
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Did you know that smoking in your home can kill your indoor animal companions? Dogs, cats and birds have shown to be affected.

Research from Colorado State University has found that secondhand tobacco smoke has a clear effect on dogs and their chance of disease. One study shows that the more members of a household who smoke, the higher their dogs’ risk of developing certain kinds of cancer. It is such a direct connection that dogs with long noses are at an even greater risk of developing certain nasal and sinus cancer, as they expose more tissue to the carcinogens when they inhale. Short and medium-nosed dogs are more susceptible to lung cancer, as the carcinogens more quickly pass the nose and settle in the lungs.

Likewise, a study done at Tufts College of Veterinary Medicine found that cats exposed to secondhand smoke have an increased chance of developing a type of oral cancer that smokers often fall victim to – squamous cell carcinoma. It is suspected that because of the grooming behaviour of cats, they expose the mucous membranes of their mouth to the cancer-causing chemicals. Cats living with smokers are also twice as likely to develop malignant lymphoma, a cancer that occurs in the lymph nodes and that is fatal to three out of four cats within 12 months of developing it.

Anyone with a pet bird knows to avoid using Teflon-coated pans because of birds’ sensitive respiratory systems–so it is no surprise that birds are also at risk for lung cancer, as well as pneumonia, from secondhand smoke.

Of the 5,000 chemicals identified in tobacco smoke, public health authorities have classified between 45 and 70 of those chemicals (including carcinogens, irritants and other toxins) as potentially causing the harmful effects of tobacco use. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 126 million Americans who do not smoke are exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes, vehicles, workplaces, and public places. This exposure causes thousands of lung cancer and heart disease deaths among nonsmokers every year, according to the California Environmental Protection Agency.

Now, we can add animal companions to this sad set of statistics.

Adapted from articles on Animal Planet