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Cougars and Coyotes

What is man without the beasts?  If all the beasts were gone man would die of a great loneliness of the spirit.  For whatever happens to the beasts soon happens to man.  Chief Seattle 1854

Several years ago I was walking in the arroyo behind my house near Murrieta Hot Springs when my five dogs ran into the creek-side bushes at full force.  Ten seconds later they were running back out, tails between their legs and heading for home, with the exception of Peanut, who held his ground and remained with me.  I was curious but not too concerned.  As I made it the rest of the way home, I noticed a large tan animal quietly walking stealthily along the creek, head down, looking like he wanted nothing to do with me.  I thought it was a coyote, until I saw that it was a cat.  I thought it was a bobcat or a lynx, but noticed its long tail.  If I got any verbal message from its demeanor, it was “leave me alone.”

That was my first and only mountain lion encounter, although old timers near Murrieta Hot Springs tell me they had often seen, several years before, a mama mountain lion and baby lounging on the picnic tables.

I felt honored by that brief meeting.

Around the same time a pack of coyotes ran in the same arroyo and one who was separated from the others, perhaps even part domestic dog, moved into our backyard.  We fed “Scruffy” and my dogs played and rested peacefully with him (as well as with the pack at large.)  My cats kept a wary, but not particularly fearful eye on this very small, thin coyote.

I know, there have been tragic encounters with mountain lions, especially with runners or mountain bikers alone in wilderness areas, and I know all too many cats and small dogs, and even on occasion small children, have been carried off by a roaming coyote.

The coyotes I have seen are painfully thin and hungry, a result of housing tracts and malls encroaching on their homes, cutting back on their natural habitat and food sources.  It is understandable that they hunt and eat anything they can.  Respect them, give them space, and take precautions to avoid their visits. 

Do not leave food outside that will attract their prey.  In a previous home I made the mistake of leaving food for possums, raccoons and skunks and lost a very dear cat friend.  Keep your cats indoors as much as possible.  If you start them indoors as a kitten, they don’t have to suffer from confinement frustration, and they are safe from communicable diseases, unwanted pregnancies, cars, other animals, and even, sadly, poison from neighbors who are not cat friendly.

When aware of a mountain lion, give the animal a way to retreat, which is what they usually want to do.  If face to face, the wildlife experts say to stand tall to appear large, never bend or crouch even when picking up a small child or pet, make yourself larger by putting arms up and opening your jacket, and speak loudly and firmly to appear as the predator.  Never run away as the cougar may see you as prey.  In the rare instance of an actual attack, you can fight back with pepper spray, rocks, sticks, jackets, even bare hands.

Rob Hicks, Park Interpreter at the Santa Rosa Plateau for Riverside County Parks says to always hike with a least one other person.  He says no one who has been hiking in close proximity to another person has ever been attacked by a cougar.  He also notes that there have been less than twenty attacks in California the last one hundred and sixty years.

Keep children and pets in before dusk and until after dawn.  Never leave children or small animals unattended unless your yard is totally cougar or coyote proof.  Install outdoor lighting and remove dense or low-lying vegetation so that you can see the area around your house.

Make sure that outside animals are securely fenced in.  Or, according to The Mountain Lion Foundation, some people with livestock are having success combining larger livestock such as cattle with more vulnerable such as sheep.  When the animals sense the mountain lion, the cows make a ring around the sheep.  Other people are finding that reviving the ancient art of sheepherding by humans, or in some cases with guard dogs such as the Akbash, Great Pyrenees or Komondor                has radically decreased death from predators.

I believe that animals can pick up our thoughts and intentions and by holding thoughts such as, You don’t have to be afraid and I don’t have to be afraid, or, I respect your strength and beauty and your need for privacy.  Perhaps by acknowledging that cougar and coyote ancestors have been here as long as or longer than ours, we can co-exist.

For more information you can contact Rob Hicks or other staff at the Santa Rosa Plateau Nature Center at 951-677-6951.  Or call the Mountain Lion Foundation in Sacramento at 916-442-2666 or go to www.mountainlion.org.

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In this issue: 

  • What’s Happening
  • CowFriendly Good Eats
  • Healthy Living Marketplace
  • Vegetarian News & More

September 2010
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About HappyCow
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What’s Happening

October 2 is World Farm Animals Day, and caring people worldwide will be participating in events to raise awareness for the plight of farm animals. Visit VegEvents Calendar for events, your local meetups, plus:
– Hug a Veg*n Day Sept 24
– World Vegetarian Day Oct 1
– National March for Farmed Animals in London Oct 2
– World Veg Festival San Francisco Oct 2-3
– New York City VegFest Oct 23
Bizarro: Eat Like a Bird comic strip
(from The Veggie Blog)
Tempeh advocates, Betsy and Gunter, share their love and craft for making this nutritious protein staple at home… learn more (from The Veggie Blog)
Your letters. I really need the encouragement from time to time and have found it at happycow. Thank you. -C.Goneau


Cow-Friendly Good Eats

Wholistic Healing Center Argutha in uptown Tokyo, Japan, features a vegetarian cafe, organic shop, lounge and bar, yoga studio, and an aromatherapy salon.
The Garden Restaurant in Santa Rosa, California, is a vegan health food eatery, bakery, and juice bar that also provides educational classes in cooking and seminars.
Annapurna World Cafe, with locations in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico, offers healthy Ayurvedic vegetarian cuisine and specialty chai teas.
Flore in Silverlake/Los Angeles is a local favorite for classic American vegan food like tempeh reuben, black bean burger, and roasted vegetable pizzas.
Sage’s Cafe in Salt Lake City, Utah, is an acclaimed vegan restaurant that’s been voted ‘Best of Utah’ for 8 consecutive years.
…more cow-friendly restaurants & stores


Healthy Living Marketplace

Living Tree Community Foods almond butter is created in Berkeley, a wellspring of the human spirit. It has a rich tradition of Americans who dared to stand up and speak their truth. In its aliveness it is an intimation of what you can be. That’s why it’s called Freedom Butter.
May Wah Healthy Vegetarian Food is a company dedicated to supplying delicious vegetarian food. Their extensive line of products includes vegan ham, vegetarian popcorn chicken, and vegan sausages.
Pure Kidz super fuel formula
Good Earth Beauty natural and organic


Vegetarian News & More

Vegetarian diets associated are with healthy mood states, significantly less negative emotion than omnivores: a cross-sectional study in Seventh Day Adventist adults.
Bill Clinton embraces vegetarian diet for good health.
Denny’s restaurant chain across the US now offers a meatless burger made by Amy’s Kitchen. The sesame seed burger buns are vegan. Hold the cheese.
The first ever ‘Vegan iron chef’ competition squared off in Portland, Oregon.
Scientists closer to vegetarian chicken.
Is BPA in your soup?
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver launching vegetarian cookbook.

Driving home from a friend’s house today, I ran into a traffic jam on a not usually busy road.   I saw a man and his daughter, who was half on and half off her bike, gesticulating to drivers in front of me.  I became immediately concerned that someone had been hit.  When I was able to get a clear view,  I stopped my car, put on the flashers and got out to help him lift the rabbit who was standing, but walking in circles, and bleeding.  I was getting ready to try to pick him up, but since I didn’t have my own car I didn’t have my supplies which always include blankets for just such an emergency. 

While several cars in the traffic jam were honking in annoyance, most cars were gratefully stopped.  Then, a woman ran up who said she was a vet tech and after struggling awhile was able to pick him up and get him into her truck.

Thank you to the man and his daughter on Murrieta Hot Springs Road east, for the vet tech, all the animal lovers who willingly stopped (and didn’t slam into my friend’s car!), The Great Spirit, St. Francis, and whatever else.  

“Not to hurt our humble brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough.  We have a higher mission – to be of service to them wherever they require it.”

St. Francis


Yesterday I taught three people an in- home pet massage class, along with their three dogs and my elderly dog. Hope the black lab and Gracie the black newfoundland were very clear in their communication. When I suggested that we ask our dogs if it was okay to massage them, they dropped down, rolled over and said, in effect, lets get started!
Gracie could probably lead Zen classes of her own. She had no tension along her spine, where we began the massage, and could sit or lie in apparent bliss and stillness for a long time. After about ten minutes of total relaxation, she stood up, holding that position for five minutes, and then slowly made it into the corner. She was clearly finished.
Hope was almost as relaxed, and seemed to enjoy all the techniques. The only place she had any resistance was in the hind legs as her person slowly extended and flexed. There was one angle that she would not allow. Hope did not seem to have a limit for the amount of massage she could receive, but then she had been a service dog, helping children with emotional challenges her first few years. She probably thought it was time for her love and care to cycle back to her.
The two year old jack russell terrier did not really like my dog being in the family living room, so it was an effort to get him to stop bad vibing her, but he did relax and on occasion lay down.
My dog, Winnie, is eleven years and has gone through considerable stress lately as we lost our home (perhaps will get it back—–depending on outcome of lawsuit.) She spent six weeks living outside only in someone’s (very beautfiul) yard, then several days in an animal rescue setting. She now shares our temporary home with a wolf-hybrid, who loves her and respects her. But her spine has tight areas, especially her lower back, and her hamstrings are tight. If she goes for more than a couple days without walking, she locks up in her hips. In spite of her recent angst, and stress response to new environments such as the home where we had this class, she did relax.
As in pet obedience classes, the animals slowly establish their little bubble of space, and realize they are safe, and then can relax and accept the healing touch.
For someone who wants to get into massage for animals (and this could be for pets, for farm animals, for rescued animals of all sorts (including fighting dogs, lab research experiments, abandoned and abused, and animals soon to be butchered) healing touch can be life changing.
Additionally, massaging an animal can be healing to you. Besides helping your pet’s circulation and immune system, giving healing touch can reduce your stress level, slow you down to appreciate non-verbal communication, and even help with your own immune system. For some people, touching their animal friends is the only touch they receive.
And healing touch can include all creatures, such as lizards, snakes, and birds.
My cats, who also have suffered as a result of losing their home, are benefitting from massage. I haven’t heard of PTSD as something animals experience, but I am sure that they do.
Want more info? I recommend Michael Fox, VMD, website, http://www.twobitdog.com, Carol Tellington Jones’ Tellington Touch, and Cesar Millan.
Is massaging our pets pampering them? Let me know your thoughts.


Purple
1. Water
The High Plains Aquifer (which is an underground sponge-like waterway, 80% of which is called the Ogallala Aquifer), is one of the largest aquifers in the world, stretching across parts of eight Great Plain states, and underlying 225,000 square miles.

1. 92% of the water withdrawal from this aquifer is for food for hogs. In some areas the aquifer is running low. If it were completely drained it would take 6000 years to refill.

95% of Americans’ fresh water exists underground. Ground water is also the continent’s greatest reservoir of solar energy, as it remains at a constant of 53 degrees Farenheit, according to Dr. Jay Lehr, groundwater hydrologist and executive director of National Water Well Association.

2. Half the water in US is used for animal agriculture. Feedlot cows require 8-10 gallons per cow per day.

3. Raising animals for food requires more water than all of the uses of water combined.

4. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, factory farms pollute our waterways more than all industrial sources combined.

5. A typical pig factory farm generates raw waste equal to that of a city of 12,000 people.

6. In December 1977, the Senate Agricutural Committee released a report that stated that animals raised for food produce 130 times as much excrement as the entire human population, roughly 68,000 pounds per second, all without the benefit of waste treatment systems.

7. A Scripps Howard synopsis of the Senate report (April 24, 1998) stated: The raw waste is untreated and unsanitary, bubbling with chemical and disease-bearing organisms…It goes into the soil and into the water that many people will ultimately bathe in, wash their clothes with, and drink. It is poisoning rivers and killing fish and sickening people…catastrophic cases of pollution, sickness and death are occurring in areas where livestock operations are concentrated…Every place where the animal factories are located, neighbors have complained of falling sick.”

8. This excrement is also generally believed to be responsible for the “cell from hell,”a deadly microbe called pfiesteria.

Food for Animals

9. Most US cattle live a major portion of their lives, not on pasture land, but in feedlots where they are fed grains.
It takes 16 pounds of grain to produce one pound of beef in this way.

10. For chicken and pig flesh the numbers are a little better but still tremendously wasteful. It takes 6 pounds of grain to produce a pound of factory farm pork, and 4 pounds of grain for a pound of chicken.

11. Livestock are fed more than 80% of US corn and soybeans, and more than 95% of the oats.

12. More than half the land in the United States is being used for animal agriculture.

13. In Central America, staple crop production has been replaced by cattle ranching, which now occupies 2/3 of the arable land.

14. In South America, fifty-five square feet of rainforest may be razed to produce just one quarter pound burger.

15. More than 260 million acres of US forest have been cleared to create cropland in order to produce our meat centered diet.

16. The meat industry is directly responsible for 85% of all soil erosion in the US, because so much grain is needed to feed animals being raised for food.

17. ***********The world’s cattle alone consume a quantity of food equal to the caloric needs of 8.7 billion people***************

Food for People

18. In a world where 20,000 children are dying of hunger daily, modern US meat production in its present scale and methodology is an obscene waste of resources. John Robbins, author of Diet for a New America, says, “the fact is that there is enough food in the world for everyone. But tragically, much of the world’s food and land resources are tied up in producing beef and other livestock – food of the well-off – while millions of children and adults suffer from malnutrition and starvation.”

20. At least 700 million people world wide do not have enough to eat.

21. ******If American’s ate 10% less meat, enough grain would be available to feed 60 million peopple.

Animals

22. Many Americans are raised as children to love and care for their pets. Factory farm animals are also individuals with emotions. They can feel love, happiness, loneliness and fear, just as dogs and cats and people do. But animals raised in modern factory farms are forced to endure conditions of almost unimaginable cruelty and deprivation.

23. The purpose of the livestock farms is to produce the most meat, milk and eggs using the least amount of space, time and money. More than 25 billion animals are raised and killed every year in the US; many are skinned, dismembered and bleed to death while fully conscious.

24. Veal calves are kept in lonely isolation. Chickens are housed in cages so small they can never lift a single wing.

Health

25. Because of the way the animals are raised, US meat is frequently contaminated with e.coli, salmonella, listeria, campylobacter, causing millions of food poisioning related illnesses each year.

26. Since the first official “mad cow” was discovered in Washington state, we have to question the possibility that contaminated beef could have already been consumed by millions of people. Researchers have traced recent outbreaks of mad cow disease to farmers’ cost-cutting practice of mixing bits of dead sheep’s neural tissue into the feed of cows, who are naturally herbivorous. When people eat the infected cattle, they develop the human version of mad cow disease – new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, which is fatal.

27. Some people wonder if the marked increase in Alzheimer-like conditions, could be in part attributable to undiagnosed mad cow disease.

28. Marion Nestle, chair of nutrition department at New York University, says “there is no question that largely vegetarian diets are as healthy as you can get. The evidence is so strong and overwhelming and produced over such a long period of time that it is no longer debatable.”

29. In the US and other industrialized nations, vegetarians live an average 7 years longer than meat eaters.

30. According to the American Dietetic Association, those eating balanced vegetarian diets have lower rates of Type II diabetes.

31. Cardiovascular disease claims more women’s lives than the next seven causes of death combined, nearly 500,000 a year. According to an Oxford vegetarian study in England, vegetarians have 30% less risk of heart disease than non-vegetarians. Those eating neither meat nor dairy had a 57% less risk than people eating a diet rich in animal fats.

32. Dean Ornish, M.D., has been able to reverse heart disease in more than 70% of patients who follow, among other things, a prescribed low fat vegetarian diet.

33. The American Heart Association’s recent studies support a major benefit to blood pressure from consuming vegetables, fruits and low fat dairy, as well as limiting salt and alcohol intake, and maintaining healthy body weight.

34. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) study emphasizes fruits and vegetables and low fat dairy.

35. The American Cancer Insitute estimates that choosing a diet rich in veggies, fruits and legumes, and minimally processed starchy staple foods, combined with not smoking, could reduce cancer risk by 60-70%, saving over 375,000 Americans each year.

36. A population study conducted by Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health found that “animal fat was positively associated with the risk of colon cancer.”

37. The American Cancer Society’s web site states that “a diet mostly from animal sources” is a risk factor for colon and rectal ancer. Colon cancer is the 4th most common cancer, and is the 2nd largest cause of cancer deaths in US.

38. Women with fibroids and/or endometriosis are relived of the pain and heavy bleeding with in 3 months of adopting low fat high fiber vegetarian diets.

39. The average bone loss of 65 year old American vegetarian is 18%; average bone loss of 65 year old meat eating American is 35%.


dripping springsThere are than 50 million menopausal women in the United States.  About 10 million of them are taking Premarin, derived from pregnant mares’ urine, for estrogen replacement.  However, a number of health specialists question whether Premarin should be used.

Michele Broad, a certified OB-GYN adult nurse practiitoner and owner of Women’s Health and Wellness in Murrieta, says:  I have never written a new prescription for Premarin.  Some of my patients on it have experienced severe leg cramps, weight gain and breast tenderness.”

Amy Allina, program director for National Women’s Health Network, a non-profit education and advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., says, “Premarin is not simply a harmless aid for getting through menopause.  It can increase other health problems, and women need to know that.”

Jeff Stone, pharmacist and owner of Innovative Compounding Pharmacy in Murrieta, says studies last year showed the definite connection between breast cancer and equine estrogen.  “Equine estrogen, or Premarin, is positively foreign to the human body, including to perimenopausal or menopausal women.” Other side effects of Premarin include bloating, headaches and depression.  With long term use, some believe, there is the potential for breast cancer, blood clots, ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer, gall bladder disease, and stroke.

Why not use bio-identical plant-derived hormones instead?

In Europe, pharmaceutical companies began producing natural progesterone derived from plants back in the 1940s.  According to  Jeff Stone, “the trend now is to get women off Premarin and put on bio-identical hormones, such as bi-est, which is a combination of the hormones estrial and estradial.  These are used for maintaining bone density and eliminating hot flalshes and night sweats, among other symptoms.

Author Marcus Laux, physician at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon, and Christine Conrad, in their book “Natural Woman, Natural Menopause,” state that plant-derived hormones can improve sleep, have a natural calming effect during the day, have a positive effect against hypertension, improve the body’s ability to use and eliminate fats, promote new bone formation, may protect against breast cancer, normalize the libido and regrow scalp hair.

Broad’s Murrieta office provides blood and urine tests to determine what hormones women are lacking, and then based on the results, the pharmacy creates the appropriate bio-identical treatment.  Broad states:  “We can make creams, gels, pills or suppositories.  The ingredients are plant-derived and mimic our body’s chemical structure, thereby lowering the side effects. And most PPOs cover these hormone treatments.  HMOs are coming around slowly, and the usual out-of pocket for the non-insured is about $35 a month.”

Aside from the ill-effects of premarin on a woman’s body is the squalor that pregnant mares live in. They are tied in place and catheterized, and not given enough water so that their urine is more concentrated with hormones. They are also overfed so that when they are all used up and can no longer produce foals, they will be extra fat for slaughter. Most of the foals of the pregnant mares are slaughtered for horse meat.

More about this at Premarin.org, Humane Society of the US, Farm Animal Reform, United Animal Nations and many more advocacy groups.

Stop using premarin and tell everyone you know. Stop killing mares and foals.