Thursday, December 25, 2008

Ferret's 12 Days of Christmas

A Ferret's 12 Days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas my Ferret gave to me
The topper from the Christmas tree.

On the second day of Christmas my Ferret gave to me
Two presents in the corner
And the topper from the Christmas tree.

On the third day of Christmas my Ferret gave to me
Three punctured ornaments
Two presents in the corner
And the topper from the Christmas tree.

On the fourth day of Christmas my Ferret gave to me
Four broken window candles
Three punctured ornaments
Two presents in the corner
And the topper from the Christmas tree.

On the fifth day of Christmas my Ferret gave to me
Five chewed-up stockings
Four broken window candles
Three punctured ornaments
Two presents in the corner
And the topper from the Christmas tree.

On the sixth day of Christmas my Ferret gave to me
Six soggy ribbons
Five chewed-up stockings
Four broken window candles
Three punctured ornaments
Two presents in the corner
And the topper from the Christmas tree.

On the seventh day of Christmas my Ferret gave to me
Seven scraps of wrapping paper
Six soggy ribbons
Five chewed-up stockings
Four broken window candles
Three punctured ornaments
Two presents in the corner
And the topper from the Christmas tree.

On the eighth day of Christmas my Ferret gave to me
Eight tiny reindeer fragments
Seven scraps of wrapping paper
Six soggy ribbons
Five chewed-up stockings
Four broken window candles
Three punctured ornaments
Two presents in the corner
And the topper from the Christmas tree.

On the ninth day of Christmas my Ferret gave to me
My wreath in nine pieces
Eight tiny reindeer fragments
Seven scraps of wrapping paper
Six soggy ribbons
Five chewed-up stockings
Four broken window candles
Three punctured ornaments
Two presents in the corner
And the topper from the Christmas tree.

On the tenth day of Christmas my Ferret gave to me
Ten Christmas cards I should have mailed
My wreath in nine pieces
Eight tiny reindeer fragments
Seven scraps of wrapping paper
Six soggy ribbons
Five chewed-up stockings
Four broken window candles
Three punctured ornaments
Two presents in the corner
And the topper from the Christmas tree.

On the eleventh day of Christmas my Ferret gave to me
Eleven unwrapped presents
Ten Christmas cards I should have mailed
My wreath in nine pieces
Eight tiny reindeer fragments
Seven scraps of wrapping paper
Six soggy ribbons
Five chewed-up stockings
Four broken window candles
Three punctured ornaments
Two presents in the corner
And the topper from the Christmas tree.

On the twelfth day of Christmas my Ferret gave to me
A dozen ferret kisses...
and I forgot all about the other eleven days.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

How to wrap a Christmas gift with your ferret

1. Clear large space on table for wrapping present.

2. Go to closet and collect bag in which present is contained, and shut door.

3. Open door and remove ferret from closet.

4. Go to cupboard and retrieve rolls of wrapping paper.

5. Go back and remove ferret from cupboard.

6. Go to drawer, and collect transparent sticky tape, ribbons, scissors, labels, etc...

7. Lay out presents and wrapping materials on table, to enable wrapping strategy to be formed.

8. Go back to drawer to get string, remove ferret that has been in the drawer since last visit and collect string.

9. Remove present from bag.

10. Remove ferret from bag.

11. Open box to check present, remove ferret from box, replace present.

12. Lay out paper to enable cutting to size.

13. Try and smooth out paper, realize ferret is underneath and remove ferret.

14. Cut the paper to size, keeping the cutting line straight.

15. Throw away first sheet as ferret chased the scissors, and tore the paper.

16. Cut second sheet of paper to size - by putting ferret in the bag the present came in.

17. Place present on paper.

18. Lift up edges of paper to seal in present. Wonder why edges don't reach, Realize ferret is between present and paper. Remove ferret.

19. Place object on paper, to hold in place while tearing transparent sticky tape.

20. Spend 20 minutes carefully trying to remove transparent sticky tape from ferret with pair of nail scissors.

21. Seal paper with sticky tape, making corners as neat as possible.

22. Look for roll of ribbon. Chase ferret down hall in order to retrieve ribbon.

23. Try to wrap present with ribbon in a two-directional turn.

24. Re-roll ribbon and remove paper, which is now torn due to ferret's enthusiastic ribbon chase.

25. Repeat steps 13-20 until you reach last sheet of paper.

26. Decide to skip steps 13-17 in order to save time and reduce risk of losing last sheet of paper.
Retrieve old cardboard box that is the right size for sheet of paper.

27. Put present in box, and tie down with string.

28. Remove sting, open box and remove ferret.

29. Put all packing materials in bag with present and head for locked room.

30. Once inside lockable room, lock door and start to relay out paper and materials.

31. Remove ferret from box, unlock door, put ferret outside door, close and re-lock.

32. Repeat previous step as often as is necessary (until you can hear ferret from outside door)

33. Lay out last sheet of paper. (This will be difficult in the small area of the toilet, but do your best)

34. Discover ferret has already torn paper. Unlock door go out and hunt through various cupboards, looking for sheet of last year's paper. Remember that you haven't got any left because ferret helped with this last year as well.

35. Return to lockable room, lock door, and sit on toilet and try to make torn sheet of paper look presentable.

36. Seal box, wrap with paper and repair by very carefully sealing with sticky tape. Tie up with ribbon and decorate with bows to hide worst areas.

37. Label, sit back and admire your handiwork, congratulate yourself on completing a difficult job.

38. Unlock door, and go to kitchen to make a drink and feed ferret.

39. Spend 15 minutes looking for ferret until coming to obvious conclusion.

40. Unwrap present, untie box and remove ferret.

41. Go to store and buy a gift bag.

42. Explain to bewildered clerk why there is a ferret in your purse.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween Fun

Happy Halloween
Halloween Pumpkins
Halloween Fun - Don't forget - Keep all candy away from ferrets. They love sweets and chocolate is toxic to animals.

Trollsen Twins Halloween - Dress up the Trollsen Twins, Full House of Horrors Video

Dress Up The Trollsen Twins!


If you grew up in central or south Jersey, you grew up with the "Jersey Devil." Here's a little musical Halloween treat. Have fun!

"A Night With The Jersey Devil": Free Audio Download | lyrics

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Video about Ferrets and children - Safety Concerns

Children & Ferrets: Safety Concerns -- powered by

My opinion is that you should not have a ferret as a pet with children, especially small children

Monday, October 6, 2008

Ferrets in the news one of eight animals that are major health threats to children

Pets that are major health threats to kids including ferrets

Out of all these animals, how many kids own these ?

Baby chickens
Prairie dogs
African Gambian rats
Big cats
Other wild animals

Animals that are not recommended for children under 5 years old - do you know any kids asking to get a prairie dog, or baby chickens for a pet? I think there are far more greater health risks than this - like maybe vaccinations? or genetically modified food, or corn syrup in every food product, how about chemical in baby bottles the government denies causes cancer, or mercury tooth fillings that pose no danger? Are we eating cloned animals yet? Be sure to read the comments.

Update to article - Pets for Young Kids: Does Exotic Mean Toxic?

Clinical Report from Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics - Exposure to Nontraditional Pets at Home and to Animals in Public Settings: Risks to Children

Additional Reading:
Pet-Associated Zoonotic Diseases and Natural Disasters (PDF) after floods and hurricanes

Advice from CDC - Healthy Pets - Healthy People

Kids Health - Selecting safe pets

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Tell Department of the Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne what you think of his destruction of the Endangered Species Act.

Center for Biological Diversity

Endangered Species Act Under Assault: Send Comments to Sec. Kempthorne

On August 11th, Dirk Kempthorne, secretary of the Interior, announced devastating changes to the Endangered Species Act, signaling the end of protection for thousands of imperiled species.

The new regulations would:

- Exempt thousands of federal activities from review under the Endangered Species Act;
- Eliminate checks and balances of independent oversight;

- Limit which effects can be considered harmful;
- Prevent consideration of a project's contribution to global warming;

- Set an inadequate 60-day deadline for wildlife experts to evaluate a
project in the instances when they are invited to participate -- or
else the project gets an automatic green light;
- Enable large-scale projects to go unreviewed by dividing them into hundreds of small projects.

Action alert - sign and send a message

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Abandoned Ferret Rescued By Concerned Ferret Owners Organization

This just breaks my heart that someone did this to a ferret:

Animal welfare group continually comes to the rescue

WASHINGTON TWP. -- Abandoned at just a few months of age, Philip was on the verge of starving to death. The three-month-old baby ferret was left to fend for itself in the wild, where these domesticated animals just don't have the skills or instincts needed to survive on their own outdoors.

Fortunately for Philip, he was found outside a Pennsylvania home in just a nick of time. "Philip was really on his last legs; he was so emaciated and dazed, continually falling over," said Tamara von Ouhl, president of the non-profit ferret rescue operation Concerned Ferret Owners, which took Philip into care at its Washington Township shelter.

Since then, Philip has made a remarkable recovery -- he's in tip top physical condition and is waiting to be adopted read about Philip's recovery

Thursday, August 7, 2008


animal footprint
Another craigslist - some of the ads just amaze me "Need to rehome by this weekend - moving" I'm thinking "What you can't move and take your animal with you??" One that was posted recently - "Need to Rehome a 13 1/2 year old dog, because 18 month old daughter will not quit pulling on her and falling on her" People quickly jumped on that with criticism, and I agree. A kid that age should be disciplined enough to learn not to bother the dog.


from craigslist | pets in fort worth

You called me your child, and despite a number of chewed shoes and a couple of murdered throw pillows, I became your best friend. Whenever I was "bad," you'd shake your finger at me and ask, "How could you?" -- but then you'd relent and roll me over for a belly rub.

My housebreaking took a little longer than expected, because you were terribly busy, but we worked on that together. I remember those nights of nuzzling you in bed and listening to your confidences and secret dreams, and I believed that life could not be any more perfect.

We went for long walks and runs in the park, car rides, stops for ice cream (I only got the cone because "ice cream is bad for dogs" you said), and I took long naps in the sun waiting for you to come home at the end of the day.

Gradually, you began spending more time at work and on your career, and more time searching for a human mate. I waited for you patiently, comforted you through heartbreaks and disappointments, never chided you about bad decisions, and romped with glee at your homecomings, and when you fell in love.

She, now your wife, is not a "dog person" -- still I welcomed her into our home, tried to show her affection, and obeyed her. I was happy because you were happy. Then the human babies came along and I shared your excitement. I was fascinated by their pinkness, how they smelled, and I wanted to mother them, too. Only she and you worried that I might hurt them, and I spent most of my time banished to another room, or to a dog crate.

Oh, how I wanted to love them, but I became a "prisoner of love." As they began to grow, I became their friend. They clung to my fur and pulled themselves up on wobbly legs, poked fingers in my eyes, investigated my ears, and gave me kisses on my nose. I loved everything about them and their touch -- because your touch was now so infrequent -- and I would've defended them with my life if need be. I would sneak into their beds and listen to their worries and secret dreams, and together we waited for the sound of your car in the driveway.

There had been a time, when others asked you if you had a dog, that you produced a photo of me from your wallet and told them stories about me. These past few years, you just answered "yes" and changed the subject. I had gone from being "your dog" to "just a dog," and you resented every expenditure on my behalf. Now, you have a new career opportunity in another city, and you and they will be moving to an apartment that does not allow pets. You've made the right decision for your "family," but there was a time when I was your only family.

I was excited about the car ride until we arrived at the animal shelter. It smelled of dogs and cats, of fear, of hopelessness. You filled out the paperwork and said, "I know you will find a good home for her." They shrugged and gave you a pained look. T hey understand the realities facing a middle-aged dog, even one with "papers." You had to pry your son's fingers loose from my collar, as he screamed, "No, Daddy! Please don't let them take my dog!" And I worried for him, and what lessons you had just taught him about friendship and loyalty, about love and responsibility, and about respect for all life.

You gave me a good-bye pat on the head, avoided my eyes, and politely refused to take my collar and leash with you. You had a deadline to meet and now I have one, too. After you left, the two nice ladies said you probably knew about your upcoming move months ago and made no attempt to find me another good home. They shook their heads and asked, "How could you?"

They are as attentive to us here in the shelter as their busy schedules allow. They feed us, of course, but I lost my appetite days ago. At first, whenever anyone passed my pen, I rushed to the front, hoping it was you that you had changed your mind -- that this was all a bad dream... or I hoped it would at least be someone who cared, anyone who might save me. When I realized I could not compete with the frolicking for attention of happy puppies, oblivious to their own fate, I retreated to a far corner and waited.

I heard her footsteps as she came for me at the end of the day, and I padded along the aisle after her to a separate room. A blissfully quiet room. She placed me on the table and rubbed my ears, and told me not to worry. My heart pounded in anticipation of what was to come, but there was also a sense of relief. The prisoner of love had run out of days. As is my nature, I was more concerned about her. The burden which she bears weighs heavily on her, and I know that, the same way I knew your every mood. She gently placed a tourniquet around my foreleg as a tear ran down her cheek. I licked her hand in the same way I used to comfort you so many years ago. She expertly slid the hypodermic needle into my vein. As I felt the sting and the cool liquid coursing through my body, I lay down sleepily, looked into her kind eyes and murmured, "How could you?"

Perhaps because she understood my dog speak, she said, "I'm so sorry." She hugged me, and hurriedly explained it was her job to make sure I went to a better place, where I wouldn't be ignored or abused or abandoned, or have to fend for myself -- a place of love and light so very different from this earthly place. And with my last bit of energy, I tried to convey to her with a thump of my tail that my "How could you?" was not directed at her.

It was directed at you, My Beloved Master, I was thinking of you. I will think of you and wait for you forever. May everyone in your life continue to show you so much loyalty.


AND THIS: (due to the economy and people losing their homes, the animal shelters are full. This shelter has constant ads for adoptable pets on craigslist, someone there really cares about the animals)

Owners Who Have Abandoned Their Pets (White Settlement Animal Shelter)
from craigslist | pets in fort worth

If you've surrendered your pet to the White Settlement Animal Shelter, you might want to go down there soon and tell it good-bye. The Shelter is over-flowing with dumped animals and we cannot possibly adopt out all that have been brought in. We volunteers spend countless hours and thousands of dollars trying to fix these broken animals--trying to pet and console them, cure their mange, doctor their wounds and heal their hearts. I hope you can sleep at night because we can't--So please just go and tell your once beloved pet goodbye as there is no way we can save them all. Just look at some of these faces--Sweet Dreams!!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Craigslist and Pets

Found this on Craigslist, this so represents some of the people and their attitudes about pets -

Hello: You have reached 123-4567, Tender Hearts Rescue.
Due to the high volume of calls we have been receiving, please listen closely to the following options and choose the one that best describes you or your situation:

Press 1 if you have a 10-year-old dog and your 15-year-old son has suddenly become allergic and you need to find the dog a new home right away.

Press 2 if you are moving today and need to immediately place your 150 pound, 8-year-old dog.

Press 3 if you have three dogs, had a baby and want to get rid of your dogs because you are the only person in the world to have a baby and dogs at the same time.

Press 4 if you just got a brand new puppy and your old dog is having problems adjusting so you want to get rid of the old one right away.

Press 5 if your little puppy has grown up and is no longer small and cute and you want to trade it in for a new model.

Press 6 if you want an unpaid volunteer to come to your home TODAY and pick up the dog you no longer want.

Press 7 if you have been feeding and caring for a "stray" for the last three years, are moving and suddenly determine it's not your dog.

Press 8 if your dog is sick and needs a vet but you need the money for your vacation.

Press 9 if you are elderly and want to adopt a cute puppy who is not active and is going to outlive you.

Press 10 if your relative has died and you don't want to care for their elderly dog because it doesn't fit your lifestyle.

Press 11 if you are calling at 6 a.m. to make sure you wake me up before I have to go to work so you can drop a dog off on your way to work.

Press 12 to leave us an anonymous garbled message, letting us know you have left a dog in our yard in the middle of January, which is in fact, better than just leaving the dog with no message.

Press 13 if you are going to get angry because we are not going to take your dog that you have had for fifteen years, because it is not our responsibility.

Press 14 if you are going to threaten to take your ten year old dog to be euthanized because I won't take it.

Press 15 if you're going to get angry because the volunteers had the audacity to go on vacation and leave the dogs in care of a trusted volunteer who is not authorized to take your personal pet.

Press 16 if you want one of our PERFECTLY trained, housebroken, kid and cat friendly purebred dogs that we have an abundance of.

Press 17 if you want us to take your dog that has a slight aggression problem, i.e. has only bitten a few people and killed your neighbor's cats.

Press 18 if you have already called once and been told we don't take personal surrenders but thought you would get a different person this time with a different answer.

Press 19 if you want us to use space that would go to a stray to board your personal dog while you are on vacation, free of charge, of course.

Press 20 if it is Christmas Eve or Easter morning and you want me to deliver an eight week old puppy to your house by 6:30 am before your kids wake up.

Press 21 if you have bought your children a duckling, chick or baby bunny for Easter and it is now Christmas and no longer cute.

Press 22 if you want us to take your female dog who has already had ten litters, but we can't spay her because she is pregnant again and it is against your religion.

Press 23 if you're lying to make one of our younger volunteers feel bad and take your personal pet off your hands.

Press 24 if your cat is biting and not using the litter box because it is declawed, but are not willing to accept the responsibility that the cat's behavior is altered because of your nice furniture.

Press 25 if your two year old male dog is marking all over your house but you just haven't gotten around to having him neutered.

Press 26 if you previously had an outdoor only dog and are calling because she is suddenly pregnant.

Press 27 if you have done "everything" to housebreak your dog and have had no success but you don't want to crate the dog because it is cruel.

Press 28 if you didn't listen to the message asking for an evening phone number and you left your work number when all volunteers are also working and you are angry because no one called you back.

Press 29 if you need a puppy immediately and cannot wait because today is your daughter's birthday and you forgot when she was born.

Press 30 if your dog's coat doesn't match your new furniture and you need a different color or breed.

Press 31 if your new love doesn't like your dog and you are too stupid to get rid of the new friend (who will dump you in the next month anyway) instead of the dog.

Press 32 if you went through all these 'options' and didn't hear enough. This press will connect you to the sounds of tears being shed by one of our volunteers who is holding a discarded old dog while the vet mercifully frees him from the grief of missing his family.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Black Footed Ferret and the Sixth Great Extinction

The extinction of the black footed ferret along with many other species and impacts upon earth, primary cause - humans, government, and greed

The Current Mass Extinction:
Human beings are currently causing the greatest
mass extinction of species since the extinction of
the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. If present trends
continue one half of all species of life on earth will
be extinct in less than 100 years, as a result of
habitat destruction, pollution, invasive species,
and climate change.

Threats to the Ferret

Loss of habitat is the primary reason black-footed ferrets remain near the brink of extinction. Conversion of grasslands to agricultural uses, widespread prairie dog eradication programs and plague have reduced ferret habitat to less than 2 percent of what once existed. Remaining habitat is now fragmented, with prairie dog towns separated by great expanses of cropland and human development. Many other sensitive species such as burrowing owls, mountain plovers, golden eagles, swift fox, and ferruginous hawks are strongly linked to this habitat for their survival. Many of these species are following the ferret's fate, and may soon require further conservation efforts to ensure their survival.

The Prairie Ecosystem

The North American prairie is one of the most endangered ecosystems on earth--perhaps even more endangered than the South American rain forest or the old growth forests of the American northwest. The grasslands of North America began to form about 20 million years ago, but in some areas, up to 99 percent of the prairie has been destroyed in just the last 125-150 years.

The survival of the black-footed ferret is inextricably linked to the survival of the prairie dog. Ferrets live in prairie dog burrows and feed on them almost exclusively.

As native prairie was converted to agricultural use, habitat was destroyed and humans poisoned prairie dogs out of fear that the rodents competed with their livestock for grass. As a result, the 247 million acres of grasslands once occupied by prairie dogs has been reduced by 98 percent. Besides continued poisoning, recreational shooting of prairie dogs is growing in popularity. With few regulations and no bag limits, shooters often kill hundreds of prairie dogs in a single day, drastically reducing their numbers. Finally, sylvatic plague--a disease spread by fleas to which prairie dogs have no natural immunity--is perhaps the greatest threat to their existence today.

Journal of Mammalogy, 89(1):87–96, 2008

The black-footed ferret is a small-bodied mustelid whose modern distribution is tightly associated with prairie dogs. Black-footed ferrets live in the burrow systems of prairie dogs, which are their primary prey . Systematic eradication of prairie dogs throughout the 20th century led to the near extinction of this highly endangered mustelid. Phylogenetic evidence suggests that black-footed ferrets evolved from their sister taxon, Mustela eversmanii, and
crossed the Beringian land bridge sometime between 2 million and 500,000 years ago (O’Brien et al. 1989). The earliest fossil evidence of black-footed ferrets in North America is mid-Pleistocene (~800,000 years ago—Anderson 2004; Owen et al. 2000). Wisconsinian fossil records (30,000–14,500 years ago) indicate the persistence of black-footed ferrets during the last glacial maximum, and they are described from southern Columbia Basin, west of the Continental Divide, as well as from the Great Plains east of the Continental Divide (Anderson et al. 1986). For species with modern distributions east and west of the Rocky Mountains, it appears that populations on either side of the Continental Divide were isolated from one another to the extent that they formed distinct genetic lineages.


Evidence of Political Interference

Systematic Interference with Science at Interior Department Exposed

Recently obtained documents demonstrate that former Deputy Assistant Secretary Julie MacDonald and other high-ranking political appointees within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) at the Department of the Interior have systematically distorted, manipulated, and misused the scientific process prescribed by the Endangered Species Act.

Science Regarding Endangered Species Act Manipulated

A wide array of scientists, government officials, and environmental groups has charged that the George W. Bush administration is engaged in a systematic attempt to weaken the Endangered Species Act.1 The administration has supported pending amendments before Congress that would make it harder to list threatened species, in particular by greatly limiting the use of population modeling.2 This technique is the most credible way to assess the likelihood that a small species population will survive in a given habitat.3

Perhaps most troubling, however, has been the way in which the Bush administration has suppressed or even attempted to distort the scientific findings of its own agencies to further its political agenda. These actions go well beyond a policy fight over the Endangered Species Act and represent a manipulation of the scientific underpinnings of the policy-making process itself.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Survey Summary

In 2005, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) distributed a 42-question survey to more than 1,400 USFWS biologists, ecologists, botanists and other science professionals working in Ecological Services field offices across the country to obtain their perceptions of scientific integrity within the USFWS, as well as political interference, resources and morale. Nearly 30 percent of the scientists returned completed surveys, despite agency directives not to reply—even on personal time.

Negative Effect on Wildlife Protection

While a majority of the scientists indicated that agency "scientific documents generally reflect technically rigorous evaluations of impacts to listed species and associated habitats," there is evidence that political intrusion has undermined the USFWS’s ability to fulfill its mission of protecting wildlife from extinction.

  • Three out of four staff scientists and even higher proportions of scientist managers (78 percent) felt that the USFWS is not "acting effectively to maintain or enhance species and their habitats, so as to avoid possible listings under the Endangered Species Act;"
  • For those species already listed as threatened or endangered under the ESA, more than two out of three scientists (69 percent) did not regard the USFWS as effective in its efforts toward recovery of those listed species;
  • Nearly two out of three scientists (64 percent) did not feel the agency "is moving in the right direction;" and
  • More than two-thirds of staff scientists (71 percent) and more than half of scientist managers (51 percent) did not "trust USFWS decision makers to make decisions that will protect species and habitats."

Oversight of Endangered Species Science

One of the great strengths of the Endangered Species Act is its foundation in robust scientific principles and its reliance on the best available science. But mounting evidence shows that political interference is undermining the implementation and enforcement of protections for imperiled species.

n May 2008 testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee, UCS Senior Scientist Francesca Grifo described how the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has distorted science and changed the way it uses scientific information to stack the deck against endangered and threatened species. Dr. Grifo’s testimony (oral, written) recommended several reforms needed to restore scientific integrity to the federal policy making process.

Union of Concerned Scientists to Congress: Politics Trumps Science at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

WASHINGTON (May 8, 2007)—The title of the May 9 House Resources Committee hearing poses a question: "Endangered Species Act Implementation: Science or Politics?"

The unfortunate answer is all too often "politics," according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

The hearing comes on the heels of a scathing Department of Interior Inspector General report that chastised former Deputy Assistant Secretary Julie MacDonald for distorting U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) scientific documents to prevent the protection of several highly imperiled species. Just last week, MacDonald resigned her post.

Bush Administration FY06 Budget—Highlights and Lowlights

President George W. Bush recently released his comprehensive budget request for fiscal year 2006 (FY06). The administration has slightly reduced funding for the missile defense system and did provide significant cuts in new nuclear weapons requests while allowing for an increase in nuclear nonproliferation programs. And while the administration’s budget for renewable energy resources, clean vehicle tax credits, hydrogen energy research, and cleaner school buses address some of the nation’s energy and transportation needs, it fails to provide the long-term size and scope required to ensure a cleaner, more secure energy future. The Bush budget is also replete with a number of anti-environmental requests. Funding cuts for forest fire protections and endangered species, and a backdoor attempt to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling, are just a few examples of regressive policy initiatives within this budget. UCS will oppose cuts to many of these programs and will seek to support policies for a safer, more sustainable world.

Endangered Species
The proposed budget decreases overall funding for endangered species programs by $3 million. Among the cuts are funds for candidate species conservation, which are cut by 11 percent, and funds for recovery programs, which are cut by eight percent. The budget does propose a small increase in funding for listing and consultation. However, the listing budget of $18.1 million is still well short of the $153 million wildlife officials have said is needed to study the more than 250 species on the Fish & Wildlife Services' candidate list for endangered species.

Bush Administration FY07 Budget—Highlights and Lowlights

President George W. Bush recently released his comprehensive budget request for fiscal year 2007 (FY07). The FY07 request takes advantage of the budget deficit to cut a number of important environmental programs including several initiatives that would actually save taxpayers money. While there are a few positive developments, overall the budget fails to provide America with the means to build a cleaner, more secure future.
Endangered Species
The proposed budget decreases overall funding for endangered species programs by $6.7 million. Though the budget calls for slight increases for listing and consultation, funding for endangered species recovery is $7.6 million below 2006 levels. The budget also cuts funding for national wildlife refuges, even as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is desperately in need of more funds to repair more than $200 million in damage to refuges from last year's Gulf Coast hurricanes.

WildEarth Guardians Seeks Federal Protection for 681 Western Species

Endangered species inaction a violation of ESA

Santa Fe, NM—On March 19, WildEarth Guardians filed suit in Washington, DC against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) seeking protection of 681 plant and animal species under the Endangered Species Act. The suit challenges the Service's failure to issue findings on two petitions filed by WildEarth Guardians last summer which requested protection of 681 critically imperiled species across twelve western states.

Yesterday, the Washington Post reported WildEarth Guardians' lawsuit and the broader problem of the Bush administration's low rate of listing endangered species. The Post story describes how the Bush administration has dismissed scientific advice and reversed long-standing policies in order to avoid protecting imperiled species.

"Tragically, 80% of the endangered species in the U.S. are not protected under the Endangered Species Act," stated Dr. Nicole Rosmarino of WildEarth Guardians. "Under the Bush administration, one of the biggest threats facing species on the brink of extinction in the U.S. is the very agency that is supposed to be protecting them — the Fish and Wildlife Service," continued Rosmarino.

WildEarth Guardians' petitions cite the current human-caused extinction crisis, with 6,000-9,000 species estimated at risk of extinction in the U.S., as a rationale for federal protection of all critically imperiled and imperiled species across the twelve western states in the Service's Southwestern and Mountain-Prairie Regions. Nationwide, only 1,351 U.S. species are federally protected (listed under the Endangered Species Act).

Since '01, Guarding Species Is Harder

Endangered Listings Drop Under Bush

With little-noticed procedural and policy moves over several years, Bush administration officials have made it substantially more difficult to designate domestic animals and plants for protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Declining Protection

President George W. Bush's administration has protected fewer animal and plant species under the Endangered Species Act than previous presidential administrations.

Colorado's Black-footed Ferrets Saved from Drilling Threat

Review Board Says BLM Ignored Endangered Species Impacts From Oil and Gas Leases

DENVER — Based on a decision made public late last week, Colorado's endangered black-footed ferrets will be protected from oil and gas drilling — for now. The Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) own internal review board, the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA), overturned the BLM's May 2006 sale of oil and gas drilling leases in an area where endangered black-footed ferrets have been reintroduced in Colorado.

Despite the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) urging that ferret habitat be excluded from the lease sale, the BLM went ahead and sold drilling leases to the highest bidder. The ferrets, considered North America's most endangered species, were reintroduced to Colorado in 2001 and an active program to recover populations to self-sustaining levels is underway.

The IBLA found that the BLM broke the law by selling the leases "without any record evidence that it ever responded to or even considered FWS's views." The board found the action illegal because "an expert sister agency urged that leasing be deferred" in the ferret habitat, but BLM did not "explain its rejection of FWS' views. BLM again failed to consider new information". The decision cited the Service's warning that "Introduction of an additional disturbance factor at this critical stage in the establishment of ferrets in this area could prove to be detrimental."

"Many people have worked very hard to restore the ferret to Colorado, but even our most endangered wildlife has been offered up by the BLM in the rush to drill," said Erin Robertson of Center for Native Ecosystems. "Now the BLM must reconsider before allowing the home of Colorado's only black-footed ferrets to become a wellfield."

The Pleistocene-Holocene Event:

The Sixth Great Extinction

The Crisis

The most important—and gloomy—scientific discovery of the twentieth century was the extinction crisis. During the 1970s, field biologists grew more and more worried by population drops in thousands of species and by the loss of ecosystems of all kinds around the world. Tropical rainforests were falling to saw and torch. Wetlands were being drained for agriculture. Coral reefs were dying from god knows what. Ocean fish stocks were crashing. Elephants, rhinos, gorillas, tigers, polar bears, and other “charismatic megafauna” were being slaughtered. Frogs were vanishing. Even Leviathan—the great whales—were being hunted down in their last redoubts of the Antarctic and Arctic seas, and their end was in sight. These staggering losses were in oceans and on the highest peaks; they were in deserts and in rivers, in tropical rainforests and Arctic tundra alike.

A few biologists—including geneticist Michael Soulè (who was later the founder of the Society for Conservation Biology) and Harvard's famed E. O. Wilson—put these worrisome anecdotes and bits of data together. They knew, through paleontological research by others, that in the 570 million years or so of the evolution of modern animal phyla there had been five great extinction events. The last happened 65 million years ago, at the end of the Cretaceous when dinosaurs became extinct. Wilson and company calculated that the current rate of extinction is one thousand to ten thousand times the background rate of extinction in the fossil record. That discovery hit with all the subtlety of an asteroid striking Earth: RIGHT NOW, TODAY, LIFE FACES THE SIXTH GREAT EXTINCTION EVENT IN EARTH HISTORY. The cause is just as unsettling and unprecedented: eating, manufacturing, traveling, warring, consuming, and breeding by six billion human beings. For the first time in the history of life on Earth, one species is killing countless others. For the first time, one species—Homo sapiens; that's us—is waging a war against Nature. The crisis we face is biological meltdown. Wilson (1992) warns that the proportion of species driven to extinction “might easily reach 20 percent by 2022 and rise as high as 50 percent or more thereafter.” Soulè (1980) has said that soon the only large mammals left will be those we consciously choose to protect; that, “[The twentieth] century will see the end of significant evolution of large plants and terrestrial vertebrates in the tropics.” He writes (1996), “The end of speciation for most large animals rivals the extinction crisis in significance for the future of living nature. As [Bruce Wilcox and I] said in 1980, ‘Death is one thing, an end to birth is something else.’”

The grim truth is that we humans are the cause of modern extinctions. How do we do it?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Ferrets in Transport to Pet Stores

I wanted to post this, when I posted the entry for the USDA proposal changes to Require animals being at least 8 weeks old before being considered for transport, but I cound not find it. This is really heart-breaking (tears are streaming down my face) about ferrets in transport, and I knew that it hard on them, but I did'nt realize what was involved until I read this:

Tiny Noses and Airplanes

I am waiting for them. It is seven in the morning in the middle of September. I listen for the planes outside, the whining of their engines rising as they taxi closer to where I'm working. I'm a security guard at one of the major airline's air cargo centers. I know they're coming, but I don't know exactly which days they'll arrive. I keep my eyes open, watching for them. There are just a few people here with me. There are always just a few people here during working hours, labeling boxes, stacking boxes, driving forklifts, or sometimes just watching TV between arrivals. To these people, what I'm waiting for are just packages, but to me they are so much more.

A forklift rolls in, and I see them come in. I recognize the small wooden slats of the crates, measuring a foot and a half by two feet. There are two crates, one stacked on top of the other. They are on top of some bigger, heavier cargo - electrical components of some kind, bags of coolers containing medical specimens, and a few cardboard boxes with hazmat labels, all placed on the same pallet. The forklift drops them with a thud and drives off. I have to hurry. I only have so much time to do what I need to do. I walk quickly to the pallet of crates. As I get closer, tiny sets of eyes peer through the slats following the sound of my footsteps. I lean down and look through the slats of the top crate. There are about twenty kits, and most of them are awake. The rest are asleep, exhausted from the ordeal of their flight. The ones that are awake are excited by my presence. Some of the kits lick my nose while my face is against the slats. I hear a commotion from the bottom crate, and I move my face down and peer inside. This crate contains roughly another twenty kits, some standing on their back legs, noses sticking out from between the slats, watching me in curiosity.

The floors of both crates are an absolute mess. In a corner of each crate are two cans. One can has a tiny bit of water in the bottom, mixed with some feces. The majority of the water has spilled out of the can and has dampened the pine shavings that the kits are using as bedding. The other can contains a few pieces of kibble that somehow managed to stay in place during the flight. The rest of the kibble is spread throughout the floor of the crate, mixed in with damp shavings and more feces. The conditions of both crates are the same. This is how the kits have traveled for hours.

The cans are not very big, about the size of small tomato sauce cans. Not very much food and water for twenty kits, it would seem. And now the cans are fouled and nearly empty. I reach into my coat and pull out my plastic sports bottle. I fill it with fresh water from the water fountain. Slowly, I squeeze the bottle to release the water. I place the tip between the slats where the kits can reach it easily, but there are too many. The kits who are awake fight each other for a few licks from the bottle. They are so thirsty. They push and shove each other for the water, sometimes crawling on top of each other to get to the bottle, and sometimes pushing themselves up from the bottom. Almost all of the sleeping kits are awake now, roused by the commotion, and they join the melee. There are just too many, and even though I can refill the bottle, none are getting very much water as I stand in one place. I walk around the crate, sliding the water bottle between the slats, moving the bottle so that each of the kits can get a decent drink. After slowly walking around the top crate quite a few times, I move the bottle down to the bottom crate and circle around it in the same manner. The entire time, kits from both crates follow me as I circle around them, every once in a while standing on their back feet and sticking their noses out, vying for my attention. They are so cute, and as much as I want to stroke their little noses, I simply can't. There's not enough time.

I hear the whining of the jet engines getting louder. I have to hurry. More planes are coming in, and these pallets will probably be moved to make room for the newly arrived cargo. I don't always know where they take them. I refill the water bottle at the drinking fountain. I then squirt streams of water into all four cans in an effort to clean them. It is not a perfect job, but the cans are cleaner than they were before. Even as I'm doing this, the kits are trying to drink the dirty water that's streaming from the cans. Once finished, I fill one can in each crate with water. I then pull a bag of kibble I have brought from home out of my coat pocket and fill the other two cans with the kibble. A small scramble ensues, and the kits eat and drink from all four cans. They are no longer moving in the belly of a plane, so they should be OK. My job requires that I attend to other, more official duties. I have to leave the kits now. I need to make my rounds. The pet stores are supposed to send someone to pick up the kits as soon as possible after they arrive, but often that doesn't happen. If the kits are not picked up within a few hours, they are stored with luggage and other freight in a secured area, sometimes until the next morning. This is the last I will probably see of them.

It is the next morning; it is September eleventh. It is just after nine in the morning and all the freight-handlers are watching TV. There is nothing to do. All planes have been grounded. One of our planes has been flown into one of the Twin Towers, probably by terrorists. Shortly afterwards, another company's plane hits the other tower. Everyone is in shock. The fiery crashes are replayed over and over again, and we watch in disbelief. I realize that I will not be seeing any thirsty kits today. Most of our planes transport animals, and my heart sinks as I wonder about the plane that hit the tower. I reach into my pocket and feel my sports bottle, pathetically empty and useless. I close my eyes and think back to all those tiny noses between the slats, thirsty and looking for attention...Later, when I get home from work, the first thing I see as I walk in the door are my own tiny noses, sticking out of the bars of their cage, waiting for me as they always do. And even though their water bottles are mostly full, I empty and refill them - just because I can.

Also read this post, ferret organizations had tried to change the minimun age for transport several years ago, but it didn't pass. I hope that it passes this year.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Black-Footed Ferrets hit by Plague

black footed ferret photo

This is so sad, Black-footed ferrets in South Dakota struck by Sylvatic Plague

WALL, S.D. — A colony that contains nearly half of the black-footed ferrets in the country and which biologists say is critical to the long-term health of the species has been struck by plague, which may have killed a third of the 300 animals.

Losing this population to the plague would be a blow for the entire ferret recovery program and personally heartbreaking, said Mr. Livieri, who has worked for 13 years to restore this population south of Badlands National Park. He started with the National Park Service, then worked for the Forest Service and now cobbles together financing for his own nonprofit organization, Prairie Wildlife Research.

For now, the race is on to protect the heart of the ferret population. Mr. Livieri, often working by himself, drives from his home in Wellington, Colo., six hours away, and spends a week or two at a time scouring the prairie all night in hopes of injecting all of the ferrets.

Treating ferrets, though, is only half of the equation. Enough prairie dogs need to survive the plague to keep the ferrets from starving to death. One ferret eats 125 to 150 prairie dogs a year.

A decision by the Forest Service on whether to poison prairie dogs on land that has no ferrets, but is suitable habitat for them, is due out soon. A decision on whether to poison prairie dogs in ferret habitat is being delayed, said the under secretary of agriculture, Mark Rey, to see how the spread of the plague plays out. “We’ll see how big it is, how far it is likely to spread and how many prairie dogs we have left as it runs its course,” Mr. Rey said. “Prudence dictates we collect this information.”

Save a Population of Ferrets

From Prairie Wildlife Research News:

The battle against plague in Conata Basin continues. It appears that as much as 9,000 acres of the 31,000 acres of prairie dogs may be affected. We won’t know until late fall how much the black-footed ferret population has been impacted. By that time I will have completed my counts of BFFs and we will have a more accurate assessment of the damage done by plague.

I continue to lead a small crew in capturing BFFs for vaccination by the National Wildlife Health Center. If we don’t capture these BFFs they will not be vaccinated. To date we have captured and vaccinated 43 adult BFFs. We will capture and vaccinate the kits but right now they are not big enough to capture and many remain below ground. By mid-August we will be capturing kits. Other crews continue to dust prairie dog burrows to kill fleas which can spread plague. It is a laborious task that will persist throughout the summer.

Plague Q & A

Travis Livieri is executive director of Prairie Wildlife Research and holds BS and MS degrees in wildlife management. He has worked on the North American prairies for 13 years to restore the endangered black-footed ferret.

Sylvatic plague has reached the Conata Basin, an area of South Dakota that was a previous safe haven for black-footed ferrets and one of the most successful sites for reintroducing the endangered black-footed ferret into the wild. Travis Livieri is one of the people working to save the black-footed ferrets, also known as BFFs.

Travis Livieri - Saving The Black-Footed Ferrets

His Blog

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Ask the Department of Defense to End Live Animal Use in Medical Student Courses

Ferrets are being used to teach future pediatricians to intubate infants by the DOD. An intubation lab using live ferrets offered to third-year medical students (also offered at Wilford Hall). Ferrets can suffer fatal injuries during these labs.

A DOD directive renewed in 2005 mandates that non-animal alternatives be used if they exist. There are non-animal teaching methods that achieve the educational goals for all five animal labs mentioned above. Many of these alternatives are currently in use at the National Capital Area Medical Simulation Center, a state-of-the-art simulation center operated by USUHS.

PCRM (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine)

Please help end the use of live animals for medical student training at U.S. military facilities. Live animals are used in medical student courses at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) in Bethesda, Md., and Wilford Hall Medical Center at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. They may also be used at other military facilities. PCRM filed a petition for enforcement with the Department of Defense (DOD) on July 2, 2008, asking for an end to this animal use.

Please call, e-mail, fax, or write a letter to USUHS president Charles L. Rice, M.D., and the dean of the medical school Larry W. Laughlin, M.D., Ph.D., and politely ask them to end the school’s live animal lab program. Being polite is the most effective way to help these animals. Send an automatic e-mail>

Med School Is Asked to Stop Animal Use

The U.S. military's medical school in Bethesda is drawing criticism from a coalition of physicians and military officers for using live animals in some medical procedures, such as surgeries, a practice many medical schools have long abandoned.

Students and faculty at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences insert breathing tubes in live ferrets to practice intubation of human infants, and they perform surgeries on live pigs, according to a petition for enforcement to be filed today with the Department of Defense.

The petition alleges that the military's use of animals in medical classes "inherently and unavoidably causes pain, distress, and suffering to those animals."

Group says no more animals at military med school

SAN ANTONIO — A nonprofit group on Wednesday petitioned the head of the Army to end the use of live pigs and ferrets for surgical teaching and other instruction at the nation's military medical school, a practice the group says violates military regulations.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine petitioned Secretary of the Army Pete Geren, who is charged with implementation of the Defense Department regulation on use of laboratory animals, to end the use of live animals at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences.

USUHS is a medical school that graduates about 160 military and public health doctors per year. Currently, live animals are used for surgical and other instruction in San Antonio and at the school's main site in Bethesda, Md.

A military regulation, last updated in 2005, dictates that alternative methods to the use of animals be considered and used if they produce scientifically valid or equivalent results.

Dr. John Pippin, PCRM's senior medical and research adviser, said pigs are being used for surgical instruction and ferrets are being used to teach future pediatricians to intubate infants.

Such uses for live animals are no longer necessary because simulators offer equal or better instruction, he said. Only eight of the nation's 126 medical schools still use live animals, a practice that has been increasingly phased out with the growth in high-tech alternatives, he said.

In U.S., Few Alternatives To Testing On Animals

For FDA’s Andy, The Dog Days Of Summer

Sunday, June 29, 2008

USDA proposal, July 8 deadline for action! PLEASE ACT TODAY!

This is a message from the ferret health list yahoo groups, any ferret owner needs to act upon this, it is very important. This means Marshall farm ferrets would not be going to any pet store (Petsmart, Petco) selling ferrets that are too young to be taken from it's mother, and will be weaned.

A few years ago we worked hard to convince the USDA to create ferret-specific regulations governing their transport and care. The inside word we have gotten is that the ferret industry is too small to warrant the creation of such rules.

However, they have created a generic proposal that will set an 8-week and weaned requirement for the transport of any warm-blooded animal.

The deadline for comment is JULY 8, 2008! WE MUST ACT NOW!!

Below is a brief description of the proposal and how to submit your comments. A sample letter is also attached. Feel free to use it, modify it or write your own.

The main point is that we agree that an 8-week minimum age for transport is beneficial to ferrets, both domestic and black-footed.

Please feel free to cross-post.

Linda Iroff
International Ferret Congress

The American Council for Ferret Health, Welfare and Policy, Washington, DC


AGENCY: Federal – USDA – Animal & Plant Health Inspection Agency

REFERENCE: [Docket No. APHIS-2006-0024] RIN 0579-AC14
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service 9 CFR Part 2 Proposed Rule
“Minimum Age Requirements for the Transport of Animals”

NOTICE: USDA has posted a Period for Public Comment on these regulations.

IMPACT: Regulations for FERRETS would match those currently in place for DOGS and CATS, FERRETS would be required to be weaned and at least 8 weeks of age prior to removal from their mothers and transport to a Retail facility, exhibit, etc. For young animals used in research, the research must be reviewed and approved by an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) along with provisions specified as to care of animals during transport, if the animals do not meet the minimum age requirements of 8 weeks.

WHY YOU SHOULD RESPOND: New regulations, while not specific to FERRETS, would impose new requirements where no prior requirements have existed for FERRETS.

SUMMARY: US Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposes to amend the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) regulations by adding minimum age requirements of 8 weeks for the transport in commerce of animals. Current regulations require dogs and cats to be weaned and a minimum of 8 weeks of age before they can be transported from the breeder location to a retail store or other venue. No regulations currently exist for FERRETS or other warm-blooded species. The Proposed Regulations would allow, provided certain conditions are met, for animals to be transported without their mothers for medical treatment and for scientific research before reaching the minimum age and weaning requirement. Setting MINIMUM AGE REQUIREMENTS of 8 weeks for the transport in commerce of animals and providing for the transport of animals that have not met the minimum age requirements are necessary to help ensure the humane treatment of these animals.

INSTRUCTIONS: Submit your comments online or by mail: [SEE SAMPLE FORM LETTER]

1) ONLINE: Federal “eRulemaking” Portal: Go to\

Click on "APHIS-2006-0024-0001" to view the proposal, and on the icon in that row in the Comments column to add your own comment.

You may also view the comments submitted by others there.


USDA – APHIS: Docket No. APHIS-2006-0024
Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS
Station 3A-03.8
4700 River Road Unit 118
Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.

Dr. Barbara Kohn, Senior Staff Veterinarian, Animal Care, APHIS, 4700
River Road Unit 84, Riverdale, MD 20737-
1231; (301) 734-7833.

Sample letter:

[July -- , 2008]
RE: 9 CFR Part 2 [Docket No. APHIS-2006-0024] RIN 0579-AC14
PR: “Minimum Age Requirements for the Transport of Animals”

United States Department of Agriculture
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
Regulatory Analysis and Development
PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8
4700 River Road Unit 118
Riverdale, MD 20737-1238

To Whom It May Concern:
We are writing in support of the above referenced PROPOSED RULE (PR) to amend the Animal Welfare Act regulations by adding minimum age requirements for the transport in commerce of animals. We are aware that the current regulations address age limits for dogs and cats, but that no corresponding regulations exist for ferrets.

We agree and strongly support your proposal to amend the current regulations to restrict the transport of ferrets that are less than 8 weeks of age, unless certain conditions have been met, as outlined in the PR.

For both the domestic ferret (Mustela putorius furo) and the wild black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes), establishing federal minimum age requirements for the transport in commerce of ferrets, and providing for the transport of animals that have not met the minimum age of 8 weeks of age, are necessary to help ensure the humane treatment of these animals.



Thursday, June 26, 2008

Black footed ferret baby

If you haven't seen this, you need to check this out:

Black Footed Ferret mom with baby on cam at the National Zoo,

Black footed ferret baby

Sunday, June 22, 2008


This must have been really bad, as the advisory to wash your hands and anything from PETCO, how could have anybody worked in those conditions. I wonder if any of the employees got sick from this?

The Petco distribution center that the FDA seized animal products is in Illinois and serves 16 states:

Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin

FDA Requests Seizure of Animal Food Products at PETCO Distribution Center

Today, at the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Marshals seized various animal food products stored under unsanitary conditions at the PETCO Animal Supplies Distribution Center located in Joliet, Ill., pursuant to a warrant issued by the United States District Court in Chicago.

U.S. Marshals seized all FDA-regulated animal food susceptible to rodent and pest contamination. The seized products violate the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act because it was alleged in a case filed by the United States Attorney that they were being held under unsanitary conditions. (The Act uses the term "insanitary" to describe such conditions).

During an FDA inspection of a PETCO distribution center in April, widespread and active rodent and bird infestation was found. The FDA inspected the facility again in May and found continuing and widespread infestation.

As a precaution, consumers who have handled products originating from the PETCO distribution center should thoroughly wash their hands with hot water and soap. Any surfaces that came in contact with the packages should be washed as well. Consumers are further advised as a precaution to thoroughly wash products sold in cans and glass containers from PETCO in the 16 affected states.

If a pet has become ill after eating these food products, pet owners should contact their veterinarian and report illnesses to FDA state consumer complaint coordinators.

FDA: Protecting Our Pets

Andy’s Take (Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration)

This week, at FDA’s request, United States Marshals seized tons of animal food products at a major pet food distribution warehouse because they were being stored under unsanitary conditions. While you know that the mission of the FDA is to protect and promote the health of you and your family, you may not have realized that our mission also includes safeguarding the health of your pets. In fact, both FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine as well as our Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition regulate the food and feed we give our pets and livestock, and the Center for Veterinary Medicine also regulates medicines for animals.

My take on this is that FDA remains committed to doing what is required to protect and promote the health of you and your family – including your family pet. The FDA will not allow a company to engage in practices of unsafe or unsanitary production or processing of food or feed that endanger the life of any person or any animal.

During an inspection FDA inspectors found that the pet food facility was heavily infested with various pests, such as rats, mice, and birds. The company was told to fix the problem, and when it was determined that the company had not made the necessary corrections, we had those products seized to prevent them from reaching your pet. I would like to reassure you that the pet food that is currently in retail stores is not involved in this problem and can be purchased and used with confidence.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Disaster Preparedness for your Ferret

Last year, we had a close call on a tornado, it was reported about 2 blocks over from my house, I immediately had my pet carrier out, food and water for the ferrets. Luckily we weren't hit, but it was scary. Our living room has 2 skylights, and 7 huge windows. One day this year, the city sirens were going off, and it was clear outside. I asked the neighbors what was happening, they said a storm was approaching. Here in Texas , a storm can come in quickly without warning. Several years ago, I was caught on the highway, my car about 6 months old, in a storm. Softball size (huge) hail came, and pounded my car, and that was really scary. It kept hitting on the windshield (and everywhere else), but it didn't break though. All I could do was stop right on the highway, there was nowhere to go, not even a bridge close by, it was useless to keep driving. I had over almost $6,000.00 dollars damage.

Here's some useful information I found about preparing for disasters.

Disaster Preparedness for your Ferret

An Evacuation Kit for Your Ferret

Making A First Aid Kit For Your Ferret

Definition: Ferret

I found an interesting definition of Ferret

Definition: mustela or putorius furo

Source: WordNet (r) 1.7

n 1: ferret of prairie regions of United States; nearly extinct [syn: black-footed ferret, Mustela nigripes]
2: domesticated albino variety of the European polecat bred for hunting rats and rabbits
v 1: hound or harry relentlessly
2: hunt with ferrets
3: search and discover through persistent investigation; "She ferreted out the truth" [syn: ferret out]

Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

Ferret \Fer"ret\, n. [Ital. foretto, dim. of fiore flower; or F. fleuret. Cf. Floret.]
A kind of narrow tape, usually made of woolen; sometimes of cotton or silk; -- called also ferreting.

Ferret \Fer"ret\, n. [F. feret, dim. or fer iron, L. ferrum.]
(Glass Making)
The iron used for trying the melted glass to see if is fit to work, and for shaping the rings at the mouths of bottles.

Ferret \Fer"ret\, n. [F. furet, cf. LL. furo; prob. fr. L. fur thief (cf. Furtive); cf. Arm. fur wise, sly.] (Zo["o]l.)
An animal of the Weasel family (Mustela or Putorius furo), about fourteen inches in length, of a pale yellow or white color, with red eyes. It is a native of Africa, but has been domesticated in Europe. Ferrets are used to drive rabbits and rats out of their holes.

Ferret \Fer"ret\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Ferreted; p. pr. & vb. n. Ferreting.] [Cf. F. fureter. See Ferret, n.]
To drive or hunt out of a lurking place, as a ferret does the cony; to search out by patient and sagacious efforts; -- often used with out; as, to ferret out a secret.

Master Fer! I'll fer him, and firk him, and ferret him.

Source: Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary

Lev. 11:30 (R.V., "gecko"), one of the unclean creeping things. It was perhaps the Lacerta gecko which was intended by the Hebrew word (anakah, a cry, "mourning," the creature which groans) here used, i.e., the "fan-footed" lizard, the gecko which makes a mournful wail. The LXX. translate it by a word meaning "shrew-mouse," of which there are three species in Palestine. The Rabbinical writers regard it as the hedgehog. The translation of the Revised Version is to be preferred.

Definition: European ferret

Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

Polecat \Pole"cat`\, n. [Probably fr. F. poule hen, and originally, a poultry cat, because it feeds on poultry. See Poultry.] (Zo["o]l.)
(a) A small European carnivore of the Weasel family (Putorius f[oe]tidus). Its scent glands secrete a substance of an exceedingly disagreeable odor. Called also fitchet, foulmart, and European ferret.
(b) The zorilla. The name is also applied to other allied species.

Foumart \Fou"mart`\, n. [OE. folmard, fulmard; AS. f?l foul + mear?, meard, marten: cf. F. marte, martre. See Foul, a., and Marten the quadruped.] (Zo["o]l.)
The European polecat; -- called also European ferret, and fitchew. See Polecat. [Written also foulmart, foulimart, and fulimart.]

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Ferrets as Animal Models

I found this abstract while searching for ferret information, about using ferrets in experiments for diseases, because they are cheap, they have large litters and are easy to handle, just angers me to know how ferrets are being used this way. I've read a lot about animal experimentation, and how supposedly they can use other alternatives with computers, cells, etc., but one thing it comes down to is : money - there's a lot of people that make money from this business - one that comes to mind especially is Marshall farms. I've read that Marshall's original intent was selling ferrets from animal experimentation before they started selling ferrets for pets. And since this is government papers as I understand should be public domain. Here's part of the abstract

The six areas of biomedical research that most commonly use ferrets (cystic fibrosis, influenza and other respiratory diseases, lung cancer, reproductive and fetal biology, neuroscience, and specific forms of cancer) are collectively responsible for over 12 billion dollars of funding from the National Institutes of Health alone for 2006. This total represents about 44% of the NIH annual grant monies. Additionally, ferrets have the potential of becoming an important system for drug and vaccine development, including validation and toxicity studies. The lack of genomic sequence hampers the interpretation of the results from existing research programs as well as the development of novel programs that rely on this kind of information. Combined sequencing of ferret genomic DNA and ESTs will allow for the development of additional resources for genomic and proteomic research and provide the genetic information necessary to improve the interpretation of results and quality of reagents for future research efforts within this model. There is strong support from the research community for this proposal, as evidenced by the accompanying 53 letters of endorsement from leading investigators in both academic and industrial institutions. These emphasize that ongoing research with ferret biomedical models is significantly limited by the lack of sequence data and derived molecular tools. In particular, ferret sequence data is urgently needed for models of infectious respiratory diseases with
pandemic potential, e.g. avian influenza and SARS corona virus. National interest in these models is evidenced by recent Congressional funding for pandemic flu preparedness (June 2006) and the Biodefense Advanced Research and Development Authority (Dec. 2006). ).

I. Introduction

Ferrets have a long history as animal model subjects. In 1933, influenza-induced rhinitis was
first observed in ferrets. Because this model mimics the shedding of viruses from respiratory tissue in a fashion similar to humans, their importance as an animal model was immediately apparent. Ferrets belong to the Order Carnivora, which includes dogs, wolves, cats, bears, weasels and otters. At the family node, ferrets diverge from the Canidae to form the Family Mustelidae. Most closely related to the European polecat, the domestic ferret (Mustela putorius furo) deviated from the polecat at least 2,500 years ago. Sharing the Genus Mustela with ferrets are the ermine (Mustela erminea), mink (Mustela vison) and several weasel species. Of the two ferret species, the sequencing project would exclusively encompass the domestic ferret; the black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripei) is endangered.

In addition, the ferret model has the potential for generating inbred lines and knockout models.
Compared to the macaque species, the ferret has a much higher rate of fecundity. Macaques give birth to one infant generally once a year under proper conditions and have a gestation period averaging 165 days. The ferret can reproduce up to three times annually with an average of 15 kits produced per year. This lends itself to creating different lines of ferrets that may have defined phenotypic characteristics or the development of knock-out animals. In fact, several laboratories are in the process of developing ferret colonies for their research, and knockouts have already been generated in this model (unpublished data). Obviously, these resources can not be developed at the same rate in ferrets as in the rodent animal models, but resources could be developed substantially faster than in macaques. Additionally, macaques are also almost exclusively out-bred, but the reproductive system of the ferret can also be used to generate in-bred lines of animals. Ferrets are also used effectively in embryo transfer and cloning procedures, allowing further possibility in the production of manipulated animals as a model.

All these diseases, cancers, etc is a result of our government. Health care is a joke, the big Pharma's (Rockefeller's) fund the Medical Universities to push chemicals on people, the doctors are brainwashed to subscribe medication, instead of curing the problem. The answer is in nutritional care, but they can't patent vitamins and herbs, there is so much junk in our food and so much of it is Genetically Modified. The FDA does a very poor job of protecting the consumer, too many people in legislation also have interest in the pharmaceutical companies. Our country is way down the line in Health care. Medical care for cancer is multi-billion dollar industry, of course they are not going to find cures, why should they, a lot of rich people would go broke.

Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR)

Preparing Ferrets as Research Subjects in the Laboratory

Marshall Farm Groups

Marshall BioResouces

How about Ferrets Smoking?

Xiang-Dong Wang, M.D., Ph.D., is putting his faith in the ferret. He and colleagues at the Human Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston are using this domesticated version of the European polecat to try to understand why human intervention studies have shown -carotene supplements enhance lung carcinogenesis in smokers. Unlike most laboratory animals, ferrets absorb and metabolize -carotene like humans. They can also inhale levels of tobacco smoke to produce precancerous lesions in the lungs, just like human smokers. His study of high doses of -carotene, published 2 years ago in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, revealed a possible mechanism for the harmful effect seen in the human trials. A second study, published in Carcinogenesis in December, tested low doses, like those obtained from five to nine daily servings of fruits and vegetables. It showed a minor protective effect, Wang said. "Based on our animal study with the ferret, we ferreted out that 6 mg per day of -carotene is safe, and 30 mg per day is harmful," Wang deadpanned. Wang said he could have used a different animal for his study. Monkeys absorb -carotene like humans, but they cost $1000 per animal. The calf was a possibility, but too large to study in his lab. The Mongolian gerbil was an option, but it could not be used for the smoking part of the study. So he’s happy to use ferrets, which cost $75 each. "Ferrets are fearless subjects and gentle. They like to engage in social interactions while we play with them."