Growing your own food is just smart and a great way to not have to rely on the stores to have what you want. Just because you live in an apartment or don't have much land doesn't mean you can't grow your own food. There are plenty of vegetables that do great in containers, such as tomatoes, peppers, onions, lettuce, spinach, beets, and of course many herbs.
Take into consideration how big the plant gets and plant accordingly into the right size pot. Make sure it has a drainage hole or two, and never let your veggies dry out. Over-watering can be just as dangerous. A good rule of thumb to avoid over-watering is to plunge a popsicle stick into the soil. If soil sticks to it, it doesn't need watered.
If you have a spot in the yard at least 4x4 feet, you can have a great little raised garden bed and plant a variety of veggies.
Keep in mind that plants have friends and neighbor well with some better than others. This is called Companion Planting. An example of this is tomatoes like to be planted near carrots, celery, cucumbers, onions, peppers. Do not plant corn or potatoes near your tomatoes. Beans do well with celery, corn, cucumbers, radish, strawberries and summer savory, but will not do well with garlic and onions. Planting mint near your cabbage will enhance the flavor of your cabbage. Marigolds near your tomatoes will deter tomato Aphids.
If you are new to gardening, container and small, raised bed gardening are great ways to start. Try an online search for Companion Gardening and Container Gardening...there is an entire world of information out there. Remember to start with non GMO seeds so you can save your seeds for next year's planting.
Teach your kids everything you learn; pass it on to them so they, too, can one day be self sustainable. Also, try canning to preserve your hard work and enjoy it in the winter.
Compost is organic material that can be added to soil to help plants grow. Food scraps and yard waste currently make up 20 to 30 percent of what we throw away, and should be composted instead. Making compost keeps these materials out of landfills where they take up space and release methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
All composting requires three basic ingredients:
- Browns: This includes materials such as dead leaves, branches, and twigs.
- Greens: This includes materials such as grass clippings, vegetable waste, fruit scraps, and coffee grounds.
- Water: Having the right amount of water, greens, and browns is important for compost development.
Your compost pile should have an equal amount of browns to greens. You should also alternate layers of organic materials of different-sized particles. The brown materials provide carbon for your compost, the green materials provide nitrogen, and the water provides moisture to help break down the organic matter.
What To Compost
- Fruits and vegetables
- Coffee grounds and filters
- Tea bags
- Nut shells
- Shredded newspaper
- Yard trimmings
- Grass clippings
- Hay and straw
- Wood chips
- Cotton and Wool Rags
- Dryer and vacuum cleaner lint
- Hair and fur
- Fireplace ashes
What Not To Compost & Why
- Black walnut tree leaves or twigs
Releases substances that might be harmful to plants
Create odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies
- Diseased or insect-ridden plants
Diseases or insects might survive and be transferred back to other plants
- Fats, grease, lard, or oils*
Create odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies
- Meat or fish bones and scraps*
Create odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies
- Animal wastes (e.g., dog or cat feces, soiled cat litter)*
Might contain parasites, bacteria, germs, pathogens, and viruses harmful to humans
- Yard trimmings treated with chemical pesticides
Might kill beneficial composting organisms
* Check with your local composting or recycling coordinator to see if these organics are accepted by your community curbside or drop-off composting program.
Benefits Of Composting
- Enriches soil, helping retain moisture and suppress plant diseases and pests.
- Reduces the need for chemical fertilizers.
- Encourages the production of beneficial bacteria and fungi that break down organic matter to create humus, a rich nutrient-filled material.
- Reduces methane emissions from landfills and lowers your carbon footprint.
How To Compost At Home
There are many different ways to make a compost pile. Helpful tools include pitchforks, square-point shovels or machetes, and water hoses with a spray head. Regular mixing or turning of the compost and some water will help maintain the compost.
- Select a dry, shady spot near a water source for your compost pile or bin.
- Add brown and green materials as they are collected, making sure larger pieces are chopped or shredded.
- Moisten dry materials as they are added.
- Once your compost pile is established, mix grass clippings and green waste into the pile and bury fruit and vegetable waste under 10 inches of compost material.
Optional: Cover top of compost with a tarp to keep it moist. When the material at the bottom is dark and rich in color, your compost is ready to use. This usually takes anywhere between two months to two years.
If you do not have space for an outdoor compost pile, you can compost materials indoors using a special type of bin, which you can buy at a local hardware store, gardening supplies store, or make yourself. Remember to tend your pile and keep track of what you throw in. A properly managed compost bin will not attract pests or rodents and will not smell bad. Your compost should be ready in two to five weeks.
Gardens yield tasty and healthful produce three out of four seasons a year. Examples of the many types of produce you can grow in your home or community garden include: fresh sweet corn, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, lima beans, green beans, watermelons, pumpkins, cantaloupes, peppers, carrots, squash, zucchini, broccoli, herbs, as well as ornamental plantings including sunflowers, pumpkins and gourds.
How much will a garden cost? The annual cost to maintain a garden is approximately $100-$200. This includes costs for seed, fertilizer, and crop protection products. But the fresh produce yielded from gardens help to offset grocery costs and help increase overall savings on money that would otherwise be spent on purchasing food.
Gardening organizations and Cooperative Extension offices can assist you with getting back into gardening. In addition to educational resources and workshops, you may gain access to garden plots, seeds, plants, tools and plowing services.
Tips For a Successful Garden
Select a well-drained site that receives direct sunlight. You can overcome the lack of a well-drained site through the use of raised beds.
Conduct a soil fertility test by taking random soil samples from the site and having them analyzed by your Cooperative Extension office or garden organization. Approximately one pint of soil is adequate for a soil test.
Prepare a good quality seed bed by tilling soil until no soil particles exceed a one-half inch diameter. Soil tillage should only occur when conditions are dry enough to allow breakup of soil.
Plan for your family’s tastes, nutritional needs, and availability of space. Some plants, like watermelons, consume a large surface area whereas a properly staked tomato utilizes more height than surface area.
Plant seeds and transplants under appropriate weather conditions for their growing behaviors. For example, broccoli, onions, and potatoes are early spring crops. Tomato transplants should not be in the garden until early May, and summer squash can be planted after the risk of last frost.
Make additional plantings to keep the garden producing throughout the summer. By planting two or three yellow squash every three weeks through August 1, a family should have fresh squash available from early June through October.
Consider conserving finances by sharing seed packets and larger quantities of transplants with others in your community. Store leftover seed in a cool, dry place to preserve germination.
Many gardeners grow perennial plants and flowers, enjoying their ornamental beauty year after year. But did you know there are a variety of perennial vegetables that can also be planted once and enjoyed for years to come? They are also among the healthiest veggies and are an inexpensive, one-time purchase.
Easy-to-grow perennial vegetables offer a healthy food source that comes back year after year. Here are 10 perennial veggies:
Scarlet Runner Beans: Scarlet runner beans are grown as ornamentals and are also edible as green beans and dried beans. The flowers are edible too, when cooked.
Sea Kale: Sea Kale is ornamental and the shoots, young leaves and flowers are edible.
Sorrel: Sorrel is an herb with tart, lemon-flavored leaves used in salads, soups, and sauces.
Jerusalem Artichoke: Jerusalem artichoke underground tubers can be eaten raw or cooked like potatoes.
Groundnut: Groundnut is a 6-foot vine with high-protein tubers that taste like nuttyflavored potatoes.
Bunching or Egyptian Onions: These onions continue to produce new onions even after being harvested.
Ostrich Fern: Ostrich ferns are ornamental and delicious.
Ramps or Wild Leeks: Ramps are an onion with edible leaves and bulbs.
Daylilies: Daylilies are primarily grown as ornamentals, and are common in the wild, but the flowers are also delicious in salads or battered and fried.
Good King Henry: Good King Henry is a European spinach with tasty shoots, leaves and flowers.
Growing your own food and being self sustainable is something to really consider to save money and eat healthier. It used to be the way of life for most families, but we are now too dependent on the grocery stores or the older generation. It's not as hard as you would think and gets quite addicting!
Think about sewing your seeds indoors. All you need are some trays with holes in them, a larger pan to set the seed trays in so they can sit in water, seed planting soil, seeds of your choice, and a grow light or florescent bulb.
Follow the planting depth on the packages and then set them in the larger trays of water. Seeds are better off watered from the bottom. If you soak them, or let them get dry, they will probably never make it.
Cover the seed trays with plastic wrap and set the light on them about 2-3 inches above the trays. Once they sprout, raise the light a few inches and remove the plastic wrap.
Seeds like it warm, between 65-75 degrees. If you are only doing a couple of trays, set them on top of the fridge with their light.
Once the weather is closer to planting your seedlings, don't just throw them outside and plant them. Let them sit on the porch during the day and bring them back in at night. Do this for a few days to let them 'toughen up'. Then plant them as indicated on the pack.
Fruit trees can offer more return on effort than anything else in the garden. A single apple tree can produce up to 500 apples each season. Several fruit trees can offer 8 months of fruit for your family. Growing your own fruit saves you money, and ensures your fruit isn't laced with toxic chemicals.
Fruit trees can be planted in early spring or in fall and are available in two options: bare-root and in containers. Bare-root trees are common through online and mail-order sources. They are usually less expensive, and there is a greater variety available then containerized trees from a local nursery. When ordered, they are lifted from the ground at the nursery, the soil washed from the roots, then wrapped in moist peat or a similar material to keep them from drying out. Bare-root trees must be planted while dormant in late winter or early spring.
Containerized trees, usually purchased from local nurseries, are fully rooted in a pot and are available for a greater period of time spring through summer. Only the most popular varieties are usually available. Being established, they are easier to grow.
Fruit trees do best in full sun. Most need well-drained soil, though apples, plums and pears are more tolerant of poor drainage. Some fruit trees are self-pollinating, others require another variety to pollinate. Ask the nursery about the pollinating requirements for your trees.
Plant bare-root trees as soon as possible. Soak the roots in a bucket of water for a few hours before planting. Keep containerized trees well watered until planted. Dig holes twice as wide as the roots to help roots grow easily. The depth of the hole should be as deep, but not deeper, than the roots. Compost can be mixed into the hole if the soil is poor, but don't fertilize new fruit trees. Spread the roots out in the hole and tamp the soil around them firmly. Water thoroughly when first planted, then whenever the top 2 inches of soil are dry.
Fruit trees need an open shape to receive sufficient sunlight. They can be pruned when first planted, and each year in late winter before new growth begins. Remove any crossing, dead or diseased branches to create an open tree. Bare-root trees are usually pruned before you receive them, sometimes with all branches removed.
When fruit begins to appear, remove some of the fruit to ensure larger, better fruit growth. In early and late spring, each year, you can fertilize established fruit trees...though if they are doing well on their own, fertilizing may not be necessary.
Recycle your kitchen scraps and reduce your grocery bills by growing fruits and vegetables from the scraps you usually throw away. It's simple, easy and you can do it indoors.
Potatoes: Potatoes can be grown from scraps. Allow a potato scrap with 1 to 2 eyes to dry thoroughly. Plant it in a small container and cover with a few inches of soil. As more roots appear, cover with additional soil.
Romaine lettuce: Place roots in a dish of water without fully submerging the entire plant. Place in the sun and spray with water once a week. You don’t need to put romaine lettuce in soil, but if you do the leaves will grow to twice the size.
Celery: Place celery in water with the stalks cut back to about an inch above the roots. Add sun and spritz with water once or twice a week.
Cabbage: Place cabbage roots in water with standing water kept away from the rest of the plant. Place in a sunny location and water twice a week.
Garlic: Plant a garlic clove with its root facing down. As it grows, cut back its shoots to end up with a fresh, new garlic bulb.
Lemongrass: Lemongrass stalk bottoms are too tough to use in cooking, but you can avoid throwing out half the plant by placing the stalks in water. Once roots develop, plant the lemongrass in soil and place in a sunny location.
Onions: Cover an onion root with soil and place it in a sunny location. Water as needed.
Pineapple: For those with patience, a pineapple can be grown from scraps in 2 to 3 years. While you’re waiting, you’ll have a unique indoor plant. Remove all fruit and green stalks from the top of the plant. Cut sections horizontally from the crown until you see the root buds. Leave about an inch of leaves at the base and plant in a warm place. Water often until established, then once a week.
Basil: Basil can be grown from basil cuttings by simply placing them in water. Change the water often to keep the plants from getting slimy.
Mushrooms: Mushrooms are one of the more difficult produce to re-grow. Mix soil and compost in a pot. Remove the head of the mushroom and plant the stalk in the soil with only the top exposed. Place in an area with filtered light by day and cool temperature by night.
Habitat loss and the extinction of species are devastating consequences of irresponsible human actions. The problem’s complexity and reach often leads people to feel unable to make a difference. However, every single action we take is crucial in bringing about change. Although individually our contribution may seem small, the sum of our efforts can really make a huge difference.
Protect Wildlife Habitat
The most pressing issue that threatens species is their progressive loss of habitat. Animal agriculture, deforestation, and development impact the environment in profound ways: erosion, soil compaction, desertification and changes in climate. When the land is manipulated in such a manner, wildlife habitat alteration or even elimination takes place. This is more pronounced when rare species are involved; these alterations may result in the rapid extinction of the species. Habitat protection ensures that whole animal communities are safe, which in turn leads to fewer interventions needed towards the conservation of endangered species. Reserves, parks, and similar protected areas are often the only safe havens that remain unaffected by habitat loss.
Consume Less, Recycle More
A great way to minimize our effect on the environment is to recycle and reuse as much as possible. Consuming less is an immensely effective means of protecting the planet. What’s more, by reducing our energy consumption we help conserve our natural resources, and we save money in the process!
Become Member Of A Conservation Organization
Numerous conservation organizations exist with a mission to protect endangered species and habitats. Each organization has a different mission – for some it’s to safeguard a certain habitat or species, for others to push for the legislation of good environmental practices. If you are particularly interested in a topic, chances are that you will find an organization that shares your interest. Becoming a member will let you back organized, constant efforts towards protecting wildlife and habitats. Moreover, there are often special programs available that offer the chance to do conservation field work, as many organizations depend on volunteer work.
Use Fewer Herbicides And Pesticides
Herbicides and pesticides are effective in beautifying your backyard, but they wreak havoc on wildlife on several levels. Some of these compounds degrade at an extremely slow rate, which means their levels build up in the soil and, consequently, pass into the food chain. Certain animal groups, like the amphibians, are especially prone to the toxic effects of these chemicals, suffering a greater impact.
Prevent Invasive Species From Spreading
Native wildlife populations all over the world have been severely affected by the invasion of non-native species, since the latter increase competition for food and habitat. Native species may even become their direct prey, risking extinction. You can minimize the impact of invasive species by populating your garden with native plants.
Don’t Drive Too Fast
For many native species, life takes place in densely populated areas, meaning they have to find their way through a labyrinth of human-made dangers. Roads, in particular, pose one of the greatest risks for wild animals that live in developed areas, because they split their habitat and pose a constant threat to animals that try to cross to the other side. So, if you are driving in such areas, reduce your speed and pay attention for such animals.
Install Decals On Windows To Prevent Bird Collisions
Collisions with windows is a serious risk for birds. Almost one billion birds lose their lives every year by colliding with windows. A simple way of decreasing that number is by installing decals on the windows of your office and home. Other things you can do to help is to relocate bird feeders to a more convenient spot, draw curtains and shades when it’s bright outside, install screens on the external side of your windows, or use tinted window glass.
Express Your Concerns And Become Actively Involved
By actively expressing your concerns regarding endangered species to local and national authorities, you raise the chances of someone actually doing something to remedy the situation.
Share Your Excitement For Nature And Wildlife
Motivate other people to read up on wildlife issues, respect wildlife, and be serious about the protection of species and habitats.
Last but not least, the single most effective way of helping wildlife is to adopt a vegan diet. Animal farming is the number one cause of water consumption, pollution, and deforestation. Livestock has a higher greenhouse effect on the atmosphere than fossil fuel consumption. The farming industry is the greatest cause of rainforest demise, soil erosion, habitat loss, species extinction and dead zones in the oceans.
All the garbage you throw away is destined to end up in a landfill. What’s more, most of the items constituting your garbage (metal, plastic, paper, and everything else) was probably created using environmentally harmful methods. When you produce less trash, you ease up your environmental impact. Consider doing the following:
Purchase reusable products, and avoid buying new ones. Take care of, and repair, the ones you currently own. Use glass containers instead of plastic. Stop using plastic bags and opt for reusable cloth. Don’t use disposable kitchenware; use reusable items. Store your food in reusable containers and avoid plastic wrap and aluminum foil as much as possible.
Repair your clothing instead of purchasing new. Equip your most frequently used devices with rechargeable batteries. Opt for used furniture – there is a large supply of it and it costs much less than new. Don’t buy products that are packaged in several layers, when they could have been packaged in one. Almost 33 percent of our waste consists of packaging material.
Choose recycled paper. Print and copy on both sides. Reuse your folders, envelopes and paper clips. Reduce your paper mail by relying more on emails and mobile texting.
Cook your own food. And if you are up for it, grow it yourself! In any case, try to make as many meals as you can from the most basic of ingredients – which you can also buy in bulk to save on packaging.
Try making your own personal care products. Homemade soaps and shampoos are much more environmentally friendly than commercial ones that are often full of toxic chemicals. There are literally no personal care products that you can’t make on your own, including toothpaste, lotion, conditioner and shampoo. Begin by replacing one product at a time. Most homemade products have a variety of uses (IE baking soda can be used as soap, shampoo, conditioner, facial cleanser, teeth whitener and toothpaste – as well as for cleaning.)
Reduce your reliance on chemical products. Synthetic chemicals in cleaning and personal care products end up in the water supply. Because the bulk of chemicals used today are toxic, they end up harming aquatic life and waterways significantly. What’s more, these substances harm people as well, so it’s only in your best interest to reduce their usage. Also, avoid herbicides and pesticides and opt for natural ways of combating pests and weeds.
Revert to homemade cleaning products. You can make all sorts of cleaners – in fact all of your cleaning products – with natural-only ingredients. Read up on how to make alternative cleaning products that exclude harmful chemicals. For instance, you can do your basic cleaning using a 50-50 solution of water and white vinegar, that works just as well as most conventional cleaners on the market. Virtually all your cleaning can be accomplished with baking soda, vinegar and water. You help protect the environment, your health, and save a lot of money.
When there are no reliable alternatives to a harmful item, try to use the minimum amount needed. By doing so, you help the planet and also help your wallet.
"Compassionate living" is a concept based on the belief that humans have a moral responsibility to treat animals with respect, and that the interests of humans and animals should be considered equally. This means that in any decision that could potentially affect the life of an animal, that particular animal's interests should not be dismissed simply because it is inconvenient for us to consider them.
Although it may not always be easy to determine accurately the best interests of an animal, we can safely assume that animals generally prefer to live, to be free from pain and to express their natural behaviors.
The failure of humans to consider an animal's needs/interests as equal to those of humans is an expression of prejudice called speciesism. Defenders of speciesism often argue that humans are superior to other species because of their greater intelligence. Taken to its logical extreme, this argument would imply that humans with higher I.Q. scores should have more rights than humans with lower I.Q. scores. However, we have developed the sensitivity to extend basic human rights to all humans, whether or not they meet any criteria for intelligence, capacity or potential. But animals are commonly experimented on without their consent, and even killed, if it suits human purposes. This gross inequality is what we are trying to address with the concept of "animal rights."
Another common assertion is that humans are superior to animals because we possess the capacity to understand morality, as well as the ability to determine right from wrong. Since some animals may lack these same abilities, it is argued that humans are not obligated to treat them in any particular way. However, if only those who are capable of making and understanding moral judgments were to be accorded basic human rights, than infants, young children, and the severely ill or mentally challenged would be excluded. It is equally logical to affirm that, since humans are the only ones who can make moral judgments, that it is our responsibility to do so on behalf of the animals.
All animals, including humans, have the ability to experience pleasure and pain. Unfortunately, humans have tended to inflict tremendous amounts of pain and suffering on animals without any consideration of how this affects the animals themselves. By making compassionate daily choices, you can help end widespread animal abuse and exploitation.
WHAT YOU CHOOSE TO WEAR
Fur: Each year more than 40 million animals are senselessly tortured and killed to satisfy the dictates of fashion. Wild-caught fur is obtained by setting traps or snares to capture fur-bearing animals. Once an animal is caught it may remain in the trap or snare for several days starving or slowly strangling. Farm-raised fur comes from animals kept in tiny, filthy cages, deprived of adequate protection from the elements. As a result, animals develop stereotypical behavior, including pacing, head bobbing, and self-mutilation. The techniques used to kill animals on fur farms include neck snapping or "popping", electrocution with a rod shoved into the anus and gassing or smothering.
Wool: Sheep raised for wool are subjected to a lifetime of cruel treatment. Lambs' tails are chopped off and males are castrated without anesthetic. In Australia, where 80% of all wool comes from, ranchers perform an operation called "mulesing" where huge strips of skin are carved off the backs of lambs' legs. This procedure is performed to produce scarred skin that won't harbor fly larvae, so that the rancher can spend less time caring for the sheep. The shearing of sheep can be a brutal, as workers are encouraged to shear as quickly as possible. As a result, an estimated one million Australian sheep die every year from exposure. Sheep that are no longer useful for their wool are sent to crowded feedlots and then transported to the slaughterhouse.
Leather: By-products of the beef industry are defined by the parts of the cow that are not consumed by humans. These include hooves, some organs, bones, and skin. Skin (leather) accounts for about half of the by-product of the beef industry. Like meat, leather is a product made from animals that experienced the horrors of factory farming, transport and slaughter. The leather industry uses some of the most dangerous substances to prepare leather, including formaldehyde, coal-tar derivatives, various oils and some cyanide-based dyes.
WHAT YOU CHOOSE FOR ENTERTAINMENT
Circus: Animals used in the circus spend the majority of the year imprisoned in small cages or on chains, traveling from show to show. The training endured by circus animals is almost always based on intimidation; trainers must break the spirit of the animals in order to control them. It is not uncommon for an elephant to be tied down and beaten for several days while being trained to perform, and tigers are chained to their pedestals with ropes around their necks to choke them down.
Rodeo: Horses and cows used in rodeos are abused with electrical prods, sharp spurs and "bucking straps" that pinch their sensitive flank area. During bucking events, horses and bulls may suffer broken legs or run into the sides of the arena causing serious injury and even death. During calf-roping events, a calf may reach a running speed of 27 miles per hour before being jerked by the neck to an abrupt stop by a lasso. This event has resulted in animals' punctured lungs, internal hemorrhaging, paralysis and broken necks.
Greyhound and Horse Racing: Once greyhounds begin their racing careers, they are kept in cages for about 22-1/2 hours a day. The cages are made of wire and are barely big enough for dogs to turn around. Dogs considered too slow to race are sold to research facilities or killed (20,000-25,000 each year) - very few are adopted. More racehorses are bred than can prove profitable on the racetrack. As a result, hundreds are sent to slaughter every year.
Zoos and Aquariums: While zoos and aquariums may appear to be educational and conservation-oriented, most are designed with the needs and desires of the visitors in mind, not the needs of the animals. Many animals in zoos and aquariums exhibit abnormal behavior as a result of being deprived of their natural environments and social structures. Some zoos and aquariums do rescue some animals and work to save endangered species, but most animals in zoos were either captured from the wild or bred in captivity for the purpose of public display, not species protection. The vast majority of captive-bred animals will never be returned to the wild. When the facility breeds too many animals they become "surplus" and often are sold to laboratories, traveling shows, shooting ranches, or to private individuals unqualified to care for them.
WHAT YOU CHOOSE TO EAT
Every year billions of animals are raised and killed for human consumption. Unlike the family farms of the past, today's factory farms are high-revenue, high-production entities. On a factory farm, animals are confined to extremely small spaces, which allows farmers to concentrate on maximizing production. Because this type of overcrowding breeds disease, animals are routinely fed antibiotics and sprayed with pesticides. They are also fed growth hormones to enhance productivity. These chemicals, antibiotics and hormones are passed on to the environment, as well as to consumers of meat and dairy products.
Pork: In the United States each year more than 115 million pigs are raised on factory farms and slaughtered for human consumption. Factory-farmed pigs are raised in crowded pens which are enclosed inside huge barns. The air in these barns is filled with eye and lung burning ammonia created by urine and fecal waste collected below the floors. Breeding sows (or "animal production units") spend their lives in metal crates so small that they cannot turn around. Denied adequate space and freedom of movement, these sows often develop stereotypical behavior, repetitive movement such as head bobbing, jaw smacking, and rail biting. At the slaughterhouse, pigs are stunned (often inadequately), hung upside down before their throats are cut, and then bled to death. If workers fail to kill a pig with the knife, that pig is carried on the conveyer belt to the next station, the scalding tank, where he or she may be boiled alive.
Chicken: Every year approximately 8.785 billion chickens are raised and slaughtered for human consumption in the United States, most on factory farms. Crowded and unable to express natural behavior, chickens begin to peck excessively at each other. Rather than solve this problem by providing adequate space for the chickens, factory farmers "debeak" them, a painful procedure where the bird's sensitive upper beak is sliced off with a hot metal blade. Chickens raised for consumption have been genetically altered to grow abnormally large. As a result, many broiler chickens' bones are unable to support the weight of their muscle tissue, which causes them to hobble in pain or become crippled. At the slaughterhouse, chickens while still fully conscious are hung upside down by their feet and attached to a moving rail. Birds missed by the mechanical neck-slicing blade and boiled alive are called "redskins".
Eggs: There are more than 459 million egg-laying hens in the U.S. Of these, 97% are confined to "battery" cages - tiny wire boxes roughly 16 by 18 inches wide. Five or six birds are crammed into each cage. Battery hens are forced to produce 10 times more eggs than they would naturally. When egg production slows, factory farmers use a method called "forced molting" to shock the hens into losing their feathers, which causes them to begin a premature laying cycle. "Forced molting" involves starving the hens and denying them water for several days' time, during which many hens die. To keep hens from pecking each other in their crowded cages, factory farmers "debeak" them. Male chicks, considered by-products of laying hen production, are either tossed into plastic bags to suffocate slowly, or ground into animal feed while still alive.
Beef: About 41.8 million beef cattle are slaughtered annually in the United States. For identification purposes, cattle are either branded with hot irons or "wattled," a process in which a chunk of flesh from under the cow's neck is cut out. Raised on the range or in feed lots, cattle when large enough are crammed into metal trucks and taken to slaughter. On the way to slaughter, these cattle may travel for hours in sweltering temperatures with no access to water. Animals unable to stand due to broken legs or illness are called "downers" by the meat industry. Downers are electrically prodded or dragged with chains to the slaughterhouse, or left outside, without food or water, to die.
Milk: About half of the 10 million milking cows in the U.S. are kept in confinement on factory farms. Dairy cows are forced to produce 10-20 times the amount of milk they would naturally need for their calves. This intensive production of milk is extremely stressful, and as a result many dairy cattle "burn out" at a much younger age than their normal life expectancy, and up to 33% suffer painful udder infections. To continue milk production, a cow must bear a calf each year. Although calves elsewhere stay with their mothers for a year or more, on the dairy factory farm they are immediately removed from their mothers so that milk can be sold for human consumption. Calves are sold to the beef or veal industry or become replacements for "burned out" dairy cows.
WHAT PRODUCTS YOU CHOOSE
Despite the modern alternatives to animal testing, millions of animals suffer and die each year for the "good" of cosmetics and household products. No law in the U.S. requires cosmetic, household product, or office supply companies to test on animals, but many companies do so to protect themselves against liability. However, animal testing does not necessarily make a product safe for humans. Most animal tests were developed over 50 years ago and are significantly flawed and inferior to modern alternatives. Use your dollars to send a strong message that animal testing is outdated and unnecessary. Support only companies committed against animal testing.
Tread Lightly! was started by the United States Forest Service in 1985 as a public awareness program. In 1990, Tread Lightly! became a nonprofit organization. The Tread Lightly philosophy encourages off-highway enthusiasts to enjoy the outdoors responsibly through stewardship to further the goals of responsible and ethical recreation.
Travel on trails or other legal areas.
Keep your feet and wheels on open roads, trails or in legal riding areas.
When you step off trail, watch your step and don’t trample plants.
Remember riding up and down stream beds can damage soils, plants and animals in the water.
Use maps and signs to help you stay on the trail.
Walk or ride slowly through puddles and mud on the trail—not around.
When you are on a bike or an ATV, if you can’t go over an object turn back. Report the trail obstacle to the ranger.
Keep control of your bike, dirt bikes or ATV.
RESPECT NATURE & WILDLIFE
Don’t chase, scare, feed or try to pet animals.
Don’t carve on tree bark or draw graffiti on trees and rocks.
Watch out for other people on the trails.
Keep the noise down, especially in camp.
Don’t shine your flashlight into other camps.
Don’t ride or run through other camps.
Always tell someone else where you are going, who you are with and when you will be back.
Remember to pack the seven important items: water, food, first aid kit, raincoat or poncho, flashlight, sunscreen and a whistle.
When trail riding or hiking, don’t leave the trail—you are less likely to get lost and much easier to find. If you think you are lost, stay where you are and blow your whistle.
Don’t wander off at night.
Bring a map, check the weather, and find out about wildlife to be aware of in your area.
Bring the proper clothes including good shoes and a jacket—wear a helmet and other protective gear when you ride.
LEAVE THE OUTDOORS BETTER THAN YOU FOUND IT
Don’t litter or leave food or trash behind.
Pick up trash left by others—as long as it is safe.
Wash your bike or ATV and other gear after every ride so you won’t spread weed seeds.
Leave plants or flowers for others to see.
Lend a hand, plant trees and other plants with your local ranger.
Despite ever shrinking green space, the animals that share the Earth with us are trying to survive. Our homes, offices and shopping centers were developed on what was once forest and fields. Chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits, possums, skunks, raccoons, ground hogs and deer are not the invaders. We are. Please remember this when these displaced animals forage for food on your property or try to find places to bear and rear their young.
With education and raised awareness, more and more people are choosing the enlightened and compassionate way to protect their homes and gardens from unwanted animal visitors. There are many humane alternatives to killing. Simple commonsense and prevention are the best forms of animal control.
Raccoons and possum are attracted by garbage. Keep all leftover food inside until the night before trash pick-up. Seal organic garbage in plastic bags (a good way to reuse sandwich or storage bags) and refrigerate or, better yet, freeze it. The less your garbage smells, the less likely it will attract an animal. Use trashcans, with locking lids, where allowed. Otherwise, use heavy-duty, tightly tied trash bags.
With so few places left to burrow or nest, raccoons, possums, skunks and ground hogs will look for safe haven wherever they can find it. They will seek out the weak spots around your home. Neglect invites these animals. A well maintained home does not.
Install lattice under porches and decks to block animals from nesting. Another option is stainless steel screening that can be sunk into the ground around the inhabited area. A one-way gate is installed that allows the animal to leave, but will not allow it to return. Only install this form of prevention when there are no babies in the nest.
Keep your garage or shed door tightly closed and repair broken boards at the bottom of cracks in the foundation.
Seal all openings under the roofline and cap your chimney. Do not do this if an animal has already entered. Wait until the animal has left to look for food. And be certain that there are no babies left behind. Do not use mothballs or ammonia to flush the animal out. You will kill the babies. A radio tuned to a talk show will sometimes disturb the mother enough to cause her to move out with her babies.
Your garden, whether it is a flower garden or you grow vegetables, will tempt any animal that forages for vegetation. There are a variety of repellants commercially available that claim to keep animals away. These range in cost and effectiveness. And there are recipes for homemade, foul smelling deterrents all over the Internet. The same commercial products used to repel cats and dogs often deter raccoons.
Another option is a mechanical device. Motion-activated sprinklers can be purchased that shoot a stream of water at an intruder, like a remote squirt gun. Loud or annoying sounds can also be set to go off like a security alarm, whenever movement is detected.
Polypropylene netting is sold to cover plants and keep deer and rabbits from eating them, but this netting can put other wildlife at risk. Small birds, toads and other animals could become trapped in the mesh. The netting is also very difficult to work with and expensive in large quantities.
By far the most effective “critter control” is fencing. A low voltage, electrified fence can be effective for all animals, but this option can be expensive. Chicken wire has served the purpose for years. A picket fence may be charming, but deer can jump those of average height. Decorative metal fencing looks good and should keep out all but the most intrepid deer. A low-tech method is simply a nylon string, stretched across your garden perimeter, chest-high. A deer will back off when it feels the tension.
Deer can be the most destructive of all the animals that come into your garden to forage. In addition to the measures above, you could simply plant as many deer resistant plants as possible. The following is a list of plants that deer will “rarely” damage or “seldom severely” damage. Ask your nursery expert or search online. You can find photos of beautiful plants that won’t tempt the creatures in your garden.
Increasingly today, corporations and apartment complex owners are planting lawns only in the areas around their buildings. They are leaving the outer areas of their property woodsy and natural, with tall grasses, wildflowers, evergreens, hedgerows, and bushes to provide cover and homes to wildlife. Homeowners can follow these examples on a smaller scale within their own yards.
Plant a mix of shrubs, trees, and flowers that will provide nuts, berries, seeds, and nectar to creatures throughout the year, and that will attract birds, nature's best insect controllers. Foster hollies, for instance, provide winter berries, for food, winter foliage for cover, and places to raise young. A butterfly bush (buddleia davidji) is irresistible to butterflies. Your local garden supply company is a good source of information.
Rocks and leaf and brush piles also provide cover and places to raise young.
A pond with shallow ends for birds makes a good water supply. You might want to locate it so you can watch the wildlife activity from a window throughout the year.
A window-box planter containing marigolds, zinnias, or red salvia can attract hummingbirds and butterflies to a sunny window. Hummingbirds are attracted to almost anything red.
DEAD WOOD FOR NEW LIFE
For birds and small mammals, snags (dead trees) and stumps are ecological gold. More than 150 species of creatures nest in them and feed on their insect tenants. Included are nuthatches, woodpeckers, squirrels, raccoons, bluebirds, owls, chickadees, wood ducks, and wrens.
Saving snags and stumps is crucial to kicking our pesticide habit and solving the dilemma of pesticide resistance.
Top off--don't chop down--snags 12 inches or more in diameter and away from the house. The thicker the better. Remember to check for nests and dens first. Big dead logs and underbrush away from the house are also desirable. Mosquitoes will disappear from your yard as elegant, snag-nesting swallows, swifts, and purple martins sweep through the air.
Huge great-granddaddy den trees can be homes for peregrine falcons, barn owls, and ivory-billed woodpeckers.
Despite continued calls from the public and leading experts to abandon inhumane badger culls, thousands of badgers are slaughtered each year in England in a misguided attempt to control tuberculosis in cattle. Killing badgers as a means of controlling the spread of the disease has been overwhelmingly declared ineffective by a host of eminent scientific experts.
The government continues to maintain that shooting badgers reduces TB in cattle, for which there is no evidence. In fact, the vast majority of scientists agree that this approach actually increases the risk of spreading the disease.
Shooting thousands of badgers, the majority of whom will not even have TB, is a costly distraction from the real solution to TB in cattle. The truth is, they could wipe out every badger in England and farmers would still be dealing with TB in cattle: it’s a disease of cattle, primarily spread by cattle, and it’s cattle-focused control measures that will stop it.
If badgers were causing TB in cattle, scientists would see a similar pattern of infection in both species. However, analysis reveals that this is not the case.
There is little geographical overlap between farms with infected cattle and setts with infected badgers, and cycles of infections between the two species are not synchronized. Also, the spatial aggregation pattern of TB in cattle and badgers is different – in badgers the disease is found in clusters, whereas in cattle the disease is much more random and dispersed.
While policymakers have adopted the bovine TB management strategy of culling badgers, culling badgers spreads the disease further as it forces them to runaway.
Culling causes great suffering to badgers with no meaningful benefit to farmers or their cattle. Badgers are killed by two methods: by “cage trapping and shooting,” where they are caught in cage traps and then shot at close range; or by “controlled” shooting, where a cull company contractor shoots them with a rifle in the countryside at night.
An Independent Expert Panel estimated that between 7.4 percent and 22.8 percent of badgers that are shot are still alive after 5 minutes, experiencing marked pain.
The enormous cull is completely at odds with public attitudes. A YouGov poll revealed the high level of concern the public has for badger welfare, with 67 percent of respondents saying they are concerned at the suffering caused to badgers. This concern is reflected in the number of ordinary local residents who join badger patrols night after night to check badger setts and look for injured animals.
There is no justice in killing badgers when all the science says killing badgers will make no meaningful difference to the incidence of bTB in cattle. In Wales, where stricter cattle testing and movement restrictions have been implemented in recent years (and where badger vaccination is undertaken and there is no badger culling), the number of cattle slaughtered as a result of bovine TB has been reduced by 45 percent.
Badger culls are ignorant and cruel. Tell the government to stop killing badgers.
Making smarter food choices at the grocery store helps the planet and it animals and is important for a healthier diet. Avoiding processed foods and factory farmed products dramatically reduces your contribution to environmental destruction and animal exploitation, while improving your health.
Follow these tips to make smart and healthy food choices:
Shopping for Fruits & Vegetables:
- Choose a variety of fruits and veggies for a colorful plate!
- Buy fresh, organic fruits and veggies.
- Can’t buy fresh? Try frozen! Frozen vegetables are picked at the height of freshness, and the freezing process locks in their nutrients.
- Buying canned? Go for organic fruit in 100% fruit juice, and low sodium, organic veggies.
Try This: Check out your local farmer’s market for fresh, seasonal produce.
Shopping for Grains:
- When shopping for breads, cereals, and pastas, choose options that list one of the following as the first ingredient: brown rice, whole oats, whole rye, or whole wheat.
- Limit or eliminate refined grains like white bread, white rice, and “plain” pasta.
- Buy organic whenever possible.
- Try to get all the grains in your shopping cart to be whole grains.
Try This: Try a whole grain you’ve never tried before—like brown rice or quinoa. Then mix it up by tossing in some fresh, colorful veggies and herbs.
Shopping for Non-Dairy:
- Choose soy, rice, almond, coconut or hemp milk.
- Buy vegan cheese or go without. Most recipes that call for cheese can be made without it or the cheese can be substituted.
- When buying “no fat” products, watch out for added sugars, which might mean more calories, and worse calories, than you think.
- Flavored non-dairy milk and beverages may also contain added sugars, which may mean more calories, and worse calories, than you think.
Recycling is the process of collecting and processing materials that would otherwise be thrown away as trash and turning them into new products. Recycling can benefit your community and the environment.
Benefits of Recycling
- Reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators
- Conserves natural resources such as timber, water, and minerals
- Prevents pollution by reducing the need to collect new raw materials
- Saves energy
- Reduces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change
- Helps sustain the environment for future generations
- Helps create new well-paying jobs in the recycling and manufacturing industries.
Steps to Recycling Materials
Recycling includes the three steps below, which create a continuous loop, represented by the familiar recycling symbol.
Step 1: Collection and Processing
There are several methods for collecting recyclables, including curbside collection, drop-off centers, and deposit or refund programs. After collection, recyclables are sent to a recovery facility to be sorted, cleaned and processed into materials that can be used in manufacturing. Recyclables are bought and sold just like raw materials would be, and prices go up and down depending on supply and demand.
Step 2: Manufacturing
More and more of today's products are being manufactured with recycled content. Common household items that contain recycled materials include the following:
- Newspapers and paper towels
- Aluminum, plastic, and glass soft drink containers
- Steel cans
- Plastic laundry detergent bottles
Recycled materials are also used in new ways such as recovered glass in asphalt to pave roads or recovered plastic in carpeting and park benches.
Step 3: Purchasing New Products Made from Recycled Materials
You help close the recycling loop by buying new products made from recycled materials. There are thousands of products that contain recycled content. When you go shopping, look for the following:
- Products that can be easily recycled
- Products that contain recycled content
Below are some of the terms used:
Recycled-content product - The product was manufactured with recycled materials either collected from a recycling program or from waste recovered during the normal manufacturing process. The label will sometimes include how much of the content was from recycled materials.
Post-consumer content - Very similar to recycled content, but the material comes only from recyclables collected from consumers or businesses through a recycling program.
Recyclable product - Products that can be collected, processed and manufactured into new products after they have been used. These products do not necessarily contain recycled materials. Remember not all kinds of recyclables may be collected in your community, so be sure to check with your local recycling program before you buy.
Some of the common products you can find that can be made with recycled content include the following:
We cause our wild animal neighbors far more trouble than they do us, as each day we invade thousands of acres of their territories and destroy their homes. Here are some ways to live in harmony with them.
AROUND THE HOUSE
Cap your chimney. When birds sit atop chimneys for warmth they can inhale toxic fumes, and if the chimney is uncapped they can fall in and die. Because we have destroyed so many den trees, many raccoons nest in chimneys. If you hear mouse-like squeals from above your fireplace damper, chances are they're coming from baby raccoons. Don't light a fire--you'll burn them alive. Just close the damper securely and do nothing until the babies grow older and the family leaves. When you're absolutely sure everyone's out, have your chimney professionally capped--raccoons can quickly get through amateur cappings. Also, a mother raccoon or squirrel will literally tear apart your roof if you cap one of her young inside your chimney.
If for some reason you must evict a raccoon family before they leave on their own, put a radio tuned to loud talk or rock music in the fireplace and hang a mechanic's trouble light down the chimney. (Animals like their homes dark and quiet.) Leave these in place for a few days, to give mom time to find a new home and move her children. You might also hang a thick rope down the chimney, secured at the top, in case your tenant is not a raccoon and can't climb up the slippery flue. If the animal still cannot get out, call your conservation department for the name of a state-licensed wildlife relocator. Don't entrust animals' lives to anyone else, especially "pest removal services," no matter what they tell you.
You can also use the light-radio-patience technique to evict animals from under the porch or in the attic. (Mothballs may also work in enclosed places like attics, although one family of raccoons painstakingly moved an entire box of mothballs outside, one by one.) Remember, when sealing up an animal's home, nocturnal animals, like opossums, mice, and raccoons, will be outside at night, while others, like squirrels, lizards, and birds, will be outside in the daytime.
If an animal has a nest of young in an unused part of your house and is doing no harm, don't evict them. Wait a few weeks or so, until the young are better able to cope. We owe displaced wildlife all the help we can give them.
Wild bird or bat in your house? If possible, wait until dark, then open a window and put a light outside it. Turn out all house lights. The bird should fly out to the light.
Uncovered window wells, pools, and ponds trap many animals, from salamanders to muskrats to kittens. To help them climb out, lean escape planks of rough lumber (to allow for footholds) from the bottom to the top of each uncovered window well, and place rocks in the shallow ends of ponds and pools to give animals who fall in a way to climb out. Also, a stick in the birdbath gives drowning insects a leg up.
Relocating animals by trapping them with a humane trap is often unsatisfactory; animals may travel far to get back home. Also, you may be separating an animal from loved ones and food and water sources. It is far better and easier to use one of the above methods to encourage animals to relocate themselves.
Bats consume more than 1,000 mosquitoes in an evening, so many people encourage them to settle in their yards by building bat houses. Contrary to myth, bats won't get tangled in your hair, and chances of their being rabid are miniscule. If one comes into your home, turn off all lights and open doors and windows. Bats are very sensitive to air currents. If the bat still doesn't leave, catch him or her very gently in a large jar or net. Always wear gloves if you attempt to handle a bat, and release him or her carefully outdoors. Then find and plug the entrance hole.
Leave moles alone. They are rarely numerous, and they help aerate lawns. They also eat the white grubs that damage grass and flowers.
Gophers can be more numerous, but they, too, do a valuable service by aerating and mixing the soil and should usually be left alone.
Snakes are timid, and most are harmless. They control rodent populations and should be left alone. To keep snakes away from the house, stack wood or junk piles far from it, as snakes prefer this type of cover. Your library can tell you how to identify any poisonous snakes in your area; however, the vast majority are nonpoisonous.
People unintentionally raise snake and rat populations by leaving companion animal food on the ground or keeping bird feeders. It is far better to plant bushes that will give birds a variety of seeds and berries than to keep a bird feeder.
Denying mice and rats access to food in your home will do the most to discourage them from taking up residence there. Do not leave dog and cat food out for long periods of time. Store dry foods such as rice and flour in glass, metal, or ceramic containers rather than paper or plastic bags. Seal small openings in your home.
If you must trap an occasional rodent, use a humane live trap made for this purpose. If the trap is made of plastic, make sure it has air holes and check it often.
Be careful not to spill antifreeze which is highly toxic to animals, who like its sweet taste. Better, shop for Sierra antifreeze, which is non-toxic and biodegradable.
GARBAGE DUMP DANGERS
Many animals die tragically when they push their faces into discarded food containers to lick them clean and get their heads stuck inside. Recycle cans and jars. Rinse out each tin can, put the cover inside so no tongue will get sliced, and crush the open end of the can as flat as possible. Cut open one side of empty cardboard cup-like containers; inverted-pyramid yogurt cups have caused many squirrels' deaths. Also, cut apart all sections of plastic six-pack rings, including the inner diamonds. Choose paper bags at the grocery store, and use only biodegradable or photodegradable food storage bags.
Be sure any garbage cans under trees are covered--baby opossums and others can fall in and not be able to climb out. If animals are tipping over your can, store it in a garage or make a wooden garbage can rack. Garbage can lids with clasps sometimes foil the animals. One homeowner solved the strewn garbage problem by placing a small bag of "goodies" beside his garbage can each night. Satisfied, the midnight raider left the garbage alone.
Dumpsters can be deadly--cats, raccoons, opossums and other animals climb into them and cannot climb out because of the slippery sides. Every dumpster should have a vertical branch in it so animals can escape. (Ask your local park district to put branches in park dumpsters.)
ORPHANED & SICK ANIMALS
Wild youngsters are appealing, but never try to make one your pet. It's unfair; they need to be with others of their kind. If you tame one, when the time comes for release, the animal will not know how to forage for food or be safe in the woods. Tame released animals normally follow the first humans they see, who often think, "Rabies!" and kill them. If you find a youngster who appears orphaned, wait quietly at a distance for a while to be certain the parents are nowhere nearby. If they are not, take the little one to a professional wildlife rehabilitation center for care and eventual release into a protected wild area. An injured bird can be carried easily in a brown paper bag, loosely clothes-pinned at the top.
On very hot days, some animals come out of hiding. Foxes have been known to stretch out on patios. Normally nocturnal adult animals seen in daytime should be observed--if they run from you, chances are they are healthy. If sick, they may be lethargic, walk slowly, or stagger. Distemper is more often the culprit than rabies. (Distemper is not contagious to humans.) Call a wildlife expert.
Get names and telephone numbers of wildlife rehabilitators from your local humane society or park authority; keep them in your home and car at all times in case of an emergency.
CREATE A BACKYARD HABITAT
Don't use pesticides on your yard and leave part of it natural (unmanicured). Dead wood is ecological gold--more than 150 species of birds and animals can live in dead trees and logs and feed off the insects there. The U.S. Forestry Department says saving dead wood is crucial to kicking our pesticide habit. Top off, rather than chop down, dead trees 12 inches or more in diameter. Save fat dead logs. Leave plenty of bushes for wildlife cover. Keep a birdbath filled with water, and a pan for small mammals, and use heating elements in them in the winter.
Captive hunting operations—also referred to as "shooting preserves," "canned hunts," or "game ranches"—are private trophy hunting facilities that offer their customers the opportunity to kill exotic and native animals trapped within enclosures. Some facilities have even allowed their clients to kill animals remotely via the Internet.
The animals killed in captive hunts may come from private breeders, animal dealers, circuses or even zoos. These animals are frequently hand-raised and bottle-fed, so they have lost their natural fear of people. In many facilities, the animals expect to be fed at regular times by familiar people—a setup that guarantees a kill for trophy hunters.
Endangered species are even available at captive hunts. Several species of threatened and endangered animals are regularly advertised at captive hunting ranches. For example, the International Union for the Conservations of Nature and Natural Resources lists the scimitar-horned oryx and Pere David's deer as extinct in the wild; the Dama gazelle and the addax as critically endangered; the Arabian oryx and markhor as endangered; the blackbuck and bongo as near threatened; and the Nubian ibex, aoudad, barasingha, mouflon, yak and European bison as vulnerable.
Although the Endangered Species Act (ESA) protects animals listed as endangered or threatened, captive hunt enthusiasts exploit loopholes in federal law that allow captive-bred wildlife to be killed if permitted by state law. This creates a market for endangered species’ trophies, and can encourage illegal poaching of the animals in their native habitat. Issuing permits to shoot endangered species on these ranches contradicts the basic purposes of the ESA, which is to conserve endangered and threatened wildlife – not kill them.
Semi-tame animals make easy targets, so captive hunt operators can offer their customers a guarantee of "no kill, no pay." The animals are guaranteed something as well—that there will be no escape.
Due to the high population densities on captive hunts, risk of disease transmission increases, posing a threat to animals inside and outside the fences. And it is doubtful that those involved in the captive hunting business provide acceptable veterinary care for their animals. Diseases such as tuberculosis and brucellosis—which can also infect farm animals and other wildlife—have been diagnosed in captive wildlife. Michigan battled an outbreak of tuberculosis among deer a few years ago due to baiting, which encourages animals to congregate in small areas. Chronic wasting disease, a fatal disease that infects deer, elk, and moose, is another serious concern. CWD has been reported in 19 states; in 11 of these states CWD was present in captive wildlife populations. In 2011, new cases of CWD have been reported in South Dakota, Illinois, West Virginia, Minnesota, Maryland, Nebraska, and Kansas.
Although there must legally be fencing around captive hunts, animals often can and sometimes do escape from these facilities. Since 2007, there have been 48 instances of elk escaping from captive facilities in Iowa alone. In Wisconsin, captive facilities reported 437 escapes from 2004 to 2007. The interstate transport of animals for breeding purposes increases the possibility of spreading these diseases even further. Once present, CWD becomes increasingly difficult to control, and attempts to halt the disease can cost taxpayers millions of dollars. Through escaped animals, fence-line transmission, or environmental contamination, game farms and captive hunting ranches are putting our wild herds at grave risk.
Captive hunting is a lucrative and expanding industry. It is estimated that more than 1,000 captive mammal hunting operations are operating in at least two dozen states. Several factors feed into that expansion: The overbreeding of captive exotic animals, the desire by some hunters with plenty of cash for a quick and easy kill, and the incentive to bag exotic mammals provided by Safari Club International's "Introduced Trophy Game Animals of North America" trophy hunting achievement award.
Do all hunters support captive hunting? No. As hunter and noted author Ted Kerasote puts it, "'Canned hunting' is a misnomer. More accurately defined as 'shooting animals in small enclosures,' the activity has nothing to do with the motives that inform authentic hunting: procuring healthy, organic food; participating in the timeless cycles of birth, death, and nurturing; honoring the lives that support us; and reconnecting with wildness. No matter where one stands on hunting—vehemently opposed to it or seeing it as yet another way to live sustainably on earth—one ought to decry shooting animals behind fences."
"Fair chase"—a concept central to the philosophy of many in the hunting community—doesn't exist in captive hunts. The self-described ethical hunting community (including groups like Boone & Crockett, Pope & Young, and the Izaak Walton League) is becoming increasingly vocal in its opposition to canned hunting.
As reviled as captive hunting is by non-hunters and hunters alike, no federal law bans the practice, and only about half of the states have policies that ban or restrict canned hunts. The regulations implementing the federal Animal Welfare Act do not apply to game preserves, hunting preserves, and captive hunts. Although the Endangered Species Act protects animals listed as endangered or threatened, the Fish and Wildlife Service does not prohibit private ownership of these animals and even allows captive hunting of endangered species.
Baking soda, or bicarbonate of soda, can be used as a natural, non-toxic alternative for many cleaning and bath products. Drastically reduce your consumption, eliminate your use of toxic products, and save a lot of money with simple baking soda solutions.
Using baking soda for bath and beauty needs, cleaning, deodorizing and other eco-friendly uses is easy. For solutions, stir together about 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of baking soda with 1 quart of water until dissolved. For pastes, stir together three parts of baking soda with one part water. For sprinkling, simply store baking soda in a jar or bottle with a shaker-type cap.
Baking Soda In The Bath
Shampoo: Use baking soda as a shampoo, rinse, then use apple cider vinegar as a conditioner.
Spa Bath: Add baking soda or bath salts to your bath.
Toothpaste: Dip your wet toothbrush into baking soda to brush your teeth, whiten your teeth and freshen your breath.
Teeth Whitener: Create a paste with a teaspoon of baking soda and water. Rub paste on your teeth once a week, let sit for five minutes, then rinse.
Deodorant: Lightly pat baking soda under your arms.
Mouthwash: Add one teaspoon of baking soda to a small glass of water.
Exfoliant: Mix three parts baking soda with one part water to use as an exfoliant to gently remove dead skin cells. Rub in a circular motion, then rinse.
Insect Bites: Make a paste out of baking soda and water and apply to skin.
Clean Combs And Brushes: Remove oil build-up by soaking combs and brushes in a glass of warm water mixed with one teaspoon of baking soda. Rinse and let dry.
Oral Appliances: Clean retainers and dentures with two teaspoons of baking soda dissolved in a cup of warm water.
Body Uses For Baking Soda
Hand Softener: Mix baking soda with warm water and rub on your hands to clean and soften.
Rash: Use two tablespoons of baking soda in bathwater to relieve rash.
Antacid: Use baking soda to relieve heartburn, stomach upset and acid indigestion by drinking half a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with half a cup of water.
Canker Sores: Used as a mouthwash to relieve canker sore pain.
Windburns: Moisten baking soda with water and apply.
Feet: Soak your feet in a warm bowl of water with three tablespoons of baking soda.
Sunburn: Apply a paste of baking soda mixed with water.
Bee Stings: Create a poultice of baking soda mixed with water.
Measles And Chicken Pox: Relieve general skin irritations such as measles and chicken pox by adding baking soda to your bath.
Itchy Skin Relief: Mix baking soda with water to create a paste – then rub it on your skin.
Splinters: Splinters come out naturally after a few days of soaking in baking soda twice a day.
Health Benefits Of Baking Soda
Ulcers: Baking soda neutralizes stomach acid and is beneficial for ulcers. Add a pinch of baking soda to your drinking water.
Cancer Prevention: Eating baking soda can offer nutritional and immune support for people with cancer. Add a little baking soda to your drinking water. Baking soda increases the pH of acidic tumors without affecting the pH balance of healthy blood and tissues. A pH imbalance causes unhealthy organisms to flourish, damaging tissues and organs and compromising immune systems.
Exercise Enhancer: Mix a pinch of baking soda in your drinking water before workouts. Baking soda absorbs lactic acid in muscles during vigorous workouts, prolonging fatigue and enhancing athletic performance.
Kidney Function: Low-functioning kidneys have difficulty removing acid from the body. Baking soda buffers acids and maintains balanced pH levels in your body.
Bathroom Cleaning With Baking Soda
Soft Scrub: Sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge to scrub bathtubs, showers, tiles and sinks – then rinse and wipe dry.
Vinyl Shower Curtains: Sprinkle baking soda on a damp brush to scrub shower curtains, rinse and allow to dry.
Toilet Cleaning: Add one cup of baking soda to the toilet and scrub.
Clogged Drains: Unclog your drain with one cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar.
Laundry Uses For Baking Soda
Laundry Detergent: Use half to 1 cup of baking soda in the wash cycle to get clothes clean and smelling fresh naturally.
Laundry Detergent Boost: Add half a cup of baking soda to detergent to get clothes brighter.
Pre-Soak: For heavy odor and dirt issues, use baking soda as a pre-soak. Dissolve 1 cup of baking soda in warm water. Fill the washer or sink with water and add the dissolved baking soda and clothes to soak overnight before washing.
Fabric Softner: Add half a cup of baking soda to the rinse cycle to balance pH levels and suspend detergent or mineral deposits in the water that make clothing feel stiff.
Iron Cleaner: Remove built-up starch and scorch deposits from irons with a mix of baking soda and water, then wipe the plate with white vinegar.
Cloth Diapers: Add half a cup of baking soda to 8 cups of water to soak cloth diapers.
Kitchen Cleaning With Baking Soda
Floors: Mix half a cup of baking soda in a bucket of warm water. Mop and rinse clean.
Microwave: Sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge or cloth to clean inside of microwaves and remove odors.
Cookware: Shake baking soda onto pots and pans, add hot water and soak for 15 minutes before washing.
Oven: Sprinkle baking soda on the bottom surface of your oven and spray with water. Allow to sit overnight, then scrub and rinse.
Cookware Oil And Grease: Add a heaping scoop of baking soda to your regular dish soap to help cut oil and grease.
Dishwashers: Deodorize and cleanse your dishwasher by adding baking soda to the wash cycle.
Dishcloths: Sweeten sour dishcloths with baking soda.
Cutting Boards: Sprinkle baking soda on cutting boards, scrub and rinse.
Drains: Unclog your sink with one cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar.
Polish Silver: Mix baking soda and water to create a paste and rub onto silver with a clean cloth, then rinse and dry.
Stainless Steel And Chrome: Rub with a moist cloth and dry baking soda. Rinse and dry.
Fridge And Freezer: Clean with baking soda sprinkled on a damp cloth, then rinse.
Food And Beverage Containers: Wash food and beverage containers with baking soda and water.
Melted Plastic Bread Bags: Use baking soda to remove melted plastic from bread bags by dampening a cloth and creating a mild abrasive with baking soda.
Counters: Clean with baking soda sprinkled on a damp sponge.
Thermos Bottles: Wash out with baking soda and water.
Coffee Pots: Clean glass or stainless steel coffee pots (but not aluminum) with 3 tablespoons of baking soda mixed with one quart of water.
Coffee Makers: Run coffee maker through its cycle with a baking soda solution, then rinse.
Garbage Disposals: Eliminate odors by slowly pour baking soda down the drain while running warm water.
Outdoor Uses For Baking Soda
Barbecue Grills: Sprinkle baking soda on barbecue grills, let soak, then rinse off.
Garage Floors: Sprinkle baking soda on greasy garage floors. Allow to stand, then scrub and rinse.
Repel Rain From Windshields: Apply gobs of baking soda to a dampened cloth and wipe windows.
Patio Furniture: Sprinkle baking soda under chair cushions to freshen patio furniture.
Weeds: Sprinkle baking soda between the cracks of your walkway to keep weeds away.
Cars: Mix baking soda with warm water on a soft cloth, brush or sponge to clean off dirt and bugs.
Garbage Cans: Wash garbage cans with baking soda and water.
Hands: Remove odors from hands by wetting hands and rubbing them hard with baking soda, then rinse.
Cleaning With Baking Soda
Furniture: Sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge and rub furniture lightly. Wipe off with a dry cloth.
Surfaces: Clean and remove stains from marble, formica and plastic surfaces by scouring with a paste of baking soda and water.
Batteries: Create a baking soda paste and apply with a damp cloth to scrub corrosion off batteries. Use caution as batteries contain acids. Disconnect battery terminal before cleaning, and to prevent corrosion wipe on petroleum jelly.
Oil And Grease Stains: Sprinkle baking soda on oil and grease and scrub with a wet brush.
Crayon Marks On Walls: Add baking soda to a wet cloth to remove crayon marks on walls.
Deodorizing With Baking Soda
Air Freshener: Add one tablespoon of baking soda to water and a little essential oil.
Refrigerator: Place an open box of baking soda in the refrigerator.
Rugs And Carpeting. Sprinkle baking soda on rugs and carpet, wait 15 minutes or overnight, and vacuum.
Garbage Cans: Sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of garbage cans.
Sports Gear: Sprinkle baking soda into gym, sport and golf bags.
Closets: Place an open box of baking soda in closets. To ward off moths, add a few drops of lavender oil.
Toilets Odors: Add one cup of baking soda to the toilet and allow to sit an hour before flushing.
Stuffed Animals: Clean stuffed toys by sprinkling them with baking soda; brush off after 15 minutes.
Fireplaces: Reduce soot odor by cleaning the ashes out of your fireplace and placing a bowl of baking soda inside.
Vacuum Cleaners: By vacuuming baking soda into the vacuum cleaner, you deodorize the vacuum.
Shoes: Shake baking soda into shoes.
Baking Soda Companion Animals Uses
Dry Bath: Sprinkle baking soda on dry fur, brush it in then brush it out. Keep away from eyes.
Wet Bath: Bathe your dog with a solution of 1 tablespoon of baking soda for every 1 1/2 cups of warm water. Let it soak into fur for a few minutes. Thoroughly rinse, then apply apple cider vinegar to condition fur – 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar per cup of warm water – allowing to sit for a few minutes. Rinse thoroughly, then dry. Keep both solutions away from eyes.
Accidents: Clean up companion animal "accidents" by scrubbing the area with club soda, then allow the area to dry. Sprinkle baking soda on the area and let stand for a while, then vacuum up.
Teeth And Gums: Brush your companion animal's teeth by dipping a damp, soft brush in baking soda and brushing gently.
Animal Bedding: Sprinkle baking soda liberally onto pet bedding, allow to sit for 15 minutes before vacuuming.
Animal Carpet Odors: Sprinkle baking soda on the carpet, let dry, then vacuum.
Litter Box Odor: Layer the bottom of the box with baking soda, add litter on top.
Litter Box Cleaning: Empty old litter and pour in a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. Let stand for 15 minutes, then scrub, pour out and dry.
Cage And Crate: Scrub with a solution of baking soda dissolved in warm water. Rinse and dry.
Dishes: Scrub dog and cat bowls with baking soda and water.
Toys: Dissolve baking soda in warm water to wash pet toys. Rinse well and dry.
Blankets And Towels. Add half a cup of baking soda to the wash.
Skunk Odors: Combine 1 quart of hydrogen peroxide with 1/4 cup of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of grease cutting dish detergent. Wash your animal with the solution.
Bee Stings: Remove stinger from animal if needed, then apply a baking soda paste.
Nail Bleeding: If you cut your animal's nails too close and draw blood, dip the nail in baking soda and apply pressure.
Bad Breath: Mix half a teaspoon of salt and half a teaspoon of baking soda with one cup of water in a spray bottle. Spray your animal’s mouth regularly.
Food Uses For Baking Soda
Produce: Scrub produce with baking soda under water to remove pesticides and residue.
Baking: Baking soda, as its name implies, can be used as a leavening agent in baked goods. It causes dough to rise.
Beans And Bloating. Sprinkle a teaspoon of baking soda in water while soaking dry beans to reduce bloating.
Tea: Add a pinch of baking soda to a gallon of freshly brewed tea to remove bitterness and cloudiness.
Lunch Boxes: Place a spill-proof box of baking soda in a lunch box between uses to absorb odors.
Ants: Mix equal parts baking soda and salt and sprinkle in areas where ants are entering your home.
Babies And Kids Uses For Baking Soda
Baby Bottles: Clean baby bottles with baking soda and hot water.
Cloth Diapers: Dissolve half a cup of baking soda in two quarts of warm water and soak diapers thoroughly before washing.
Diaper Rash: Add two tablespoons of baking soda to your baby's bath water to help relieve diaper rash.
Play Clay: Combine 1 1/4 cups of water, two cups of baking soda and one cup of cornstarch.
Baby Spit Ups: Moisten a cloth, dip it in baking soda and dab at the dribbled clothing.
Baby Pools: Add baking soda to the bottom of a mildewed baby pool, then hose it down.
More Baking Soda Uses
Cut Flowers: Add a teaspoon of baking soda to a vase of flowers to expand their life.
Fill Wall Holes. Mix baking soda with white toothpaste to fill holes in a plastered wall.
Small Fires: Toss baking soda at the base of the fire to help put a fire out.
Ashtrays: Remove odors from ashtrays with baking soda and water. Sprinkle dry baking soda in ashtrays to prevent smoldering and reduce odor.
Canvas Bags: Use dry baking soda with a brush to rub canvas handbags clean.
An essential part of any movement for social change is the effort to create new legislation. You don’t need to be an expert on law or politics to lobby your elected officials, but you do need to know how to communicate with them effectively.
The first step is to find out who they are. Next, get to know as many legislators as you can. Don’t wait until you or your group want to introduce a bill or to lobby your legislator to vote one way or the other on an issue. Lay the foundation before you start a legislative campaign. Attend “town meetings” where legislators meet with voters to answer questions. Write to thank them for taking specific positions that you support.
Arrange to meet with them, even if it’s on an issue that you don’t feel strongly about. The important thing is to establish a rapport. It’s also very helpful to get to know elected officials’ aides, who are often much more accessible than the legislators themselves and can often provide you with good “inside” information.
Legislators prefer to be contacted by the following means (in order of preference): Individualized letters by mail; Phone calls; Individualized letters by fax; Individual e-mails; Form letters and e-mails. Be sure to provide your name, address and phone number on the envelope, in the letter, and in all e-mail messages and make sure you are able to articulate the issue should you get your elected official or an aide on the phone.
In your correspondence with elected officials, discuss only one issue at a time. Keep it short; one-page letters are best, and two pages is the maximum. The more personal the correspondence appears, the more seriously it will be taken. State the purpose of your letter or e-mail in the first paragraph. Support your argument with facts, not emotions. Don’t assume that the legislator knows all about the issue. Provide background information. Identify the bill or ordinance by title and number. Be polite and positive. Never threaten; today’s opponent could be tomorrow’s ally on another issue. Clearly state what you want him or her to do. Don’t be self-righteous about being a “citizen” or a “taxpayer”; your readers will assume that you are both.
When addressing the letter and envelope, be sure to use the proper form for the address and salutation. On the envelope and inside address, refer to any legislator as “The Honorable.” The salutation for state or federal representatives is “Mr.” or “Ms.” The salutation for state or federal senators is “Senator.”
When writing to U.S. senators, use the following format and address:
The Honorable [first and last name]
Washington, DC 20510
When writing to U.S. representatives, use the following format and address:
The Honorable [first and last name]
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
MEETING WITH LEGISLATORS
When meeting with elected officials, make an appointment well in advance. Go by yourself or, at most, with one other person. f you are going with a group of people, decide on a spokesperson ahead of time.
Dress conservatively and professionally. Know about the legislator and his or her voting record; compliment him or her on past achievements. Be friendly and positive.
Don’t turn down a chance to meet with a legislative aide; go to the meeting and behave as if you were meeting with the elected official.
Know the title and bill number of the legislation that you want to discuss. Provide one-page fact sheets to give background information.
Don’t speak as a member of a national organization. Know your facts. Don’t become emotional. Don’t waste the legislator’s time; make your points briefly and clearly, and then thank him or her and leave promptly.
Remember that how you communicate is as important as what you communicate. People who care about the earth and animals are often stereotyped as too emotional. We can change that image by doing our homework, staying calm and polite, and keeping our statements concise.