Tag Archives: disease

Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR) is actually Trap, Neuter, Re-Abandon an Intro

26 Jul

I feel very passionate that Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR) is inhumane/cruel and ineffective. It is very popular where I live in (hot) Arizona, and I just hate it for many reasons. Which I will specify in detail in these posts. I spent a disproportionate time arguing against it with neighbors on the Nextdoor app, but have decided a better use of my time would be to write a research paper on the matter. Using facts and legitimate sources, not just feelings and experiences. In this blog series, I’ll be posting some of my (yet to be edited) findings. I hope you will read with an open mind and really think about this information rationally, as I am attempting to do.

Why is there an Outside Cat Problem:

Cats are either born outside, or they had been owned and that (irresponsible, heartless) person left them outside to fend for themselves.

The cats are living in substandard conditions on the street.

In the elements, all weather (sometimes 120F here in AZ, 140 triple digit days last May-Oct), and natural phenomenon such as hurricanes or drought.

Breeding, fighting, spraying, scratching, digging in plants,

Being preyed upon, getting hit by cars, 

Eating wildlife, exchanging diseases with each other, 

Using the urban setting as a litterbox, which spreads disease and parasites.

A rescuer begins feeding.  This habituates these outdoor cats to people, gathers them in one place at a certain time, and nourishes the cats.

A live trap is set and (hopefully) all the breeding cats are collected and taken to the shelter.  Whether females are included, depends on funding. Being inside a trap is stressful to the cats, as is going in a car, being taken to an unfamilar place, being around loud, unfamilar animals and people, and getting a shot in order to be able to castrate.  It’s all very traumatic and stressful to these outdoor cats, just as it is to ANY cat.  

The toms are neutered, and it takes only minutes of a veterinarian’s time.  They do not even need to be fully anesthetized and put on gas to sustain the unconsciousness.  The sedation is much lighter, and the vet dexterously neuters each cat relatively quickly.

Spaying is a bigger job.  The queen has to go under full anesthesia, sustain unconsciousness with gas inhalant, have supplemental oxygen, and more monitoring equipment for vitals, and usually always (I sincerely hope!) a 2nd person in the room to monitor, help, and in case of emergencies.  Going fully under is a higher risk, longer procedure, and more costly as a result.  TNR programs may have the funds (and motivation) to spay, or they may not.

Honestly, all cats should have an FIV/FeLV test, a rabies, FVRCP, and the optional FIV vaccines since they are outside, and get dewormed.  At least.  These items are highly dependent on funds, and as such are usually neglected for the TNR cats.

After the castration, sometimes cats are allowed to recover in the shelter, sometimes there’s no space or time.  So the cats are dumped back outside, sometimes while still a bit groggy and disoriented.

Then the cats are outside fending for themselves in the elements.

(this repetition is not a mistake, or copy & paste error. As you can see, the cat lives are much the same post-neuter)

Fighting, spraying, scratching, digging in plants,

Being preyed upon, getting hit by cars, 

Eating wildlife, exchanging diseases with each other, 

Using the urban setting as a litterbox, which spreads disease and parasites.

Neutering will not change ingrained behavior patterns.

Cats can still spray, fight each other, and be a nuisance in neighborhoods.

Neutering cats does not change their health outcome living in a high-risk urban outdoor environment.  They can still get preyed upon, hit by cars, and the other bad ends.

Neutering does not change a cat’s diet.  They may still eat birds and wildlife depending on availability of food, food-competition, and hunting drive/instinct.  

Zoonotic disease can be passed on in this way:  A cat hunts a vole or bat.  That vole/bat was carrying rabies.  Or a raccoon is attracted to the cat food, and the territorial cats get in a scuffle with it. The cat shows signs of rabies, but it lives outside so either nobody notices or the cost is prohibitive to seek medical treatment for a cat that isn’t owned.  A dog comes by and the furiously rabid cat aggresses, or a child tries to pet the cat, or a well-meaning person tries to trap the cat to take it to the vet.  The cat bites in any of these scenarios.  You have a dog with rabies, that can spread it to other dogs, cats, and people.  You have a child bitten by a rabid cat.  You get an adult bitten and scratched and having to do lengthy and costly rabies prevention measures.  That’s just three examples.  There are countless diseases and parasites that can travel from cats to other species.

Neutering is not whole-animal health.  The cats will no longer breed, but neutering does not protect from disease or parasites. Or other health concerns.

So what has been accomplished?

An outdoor cat with a high-risk life was neutered, and now is an outdoor cat…With a high-risk life. It doesn’t breed. But people don’t stop dumping pets outside either.  The root cause of the problem has not been resolved.  So even though the TNR cats aren’t reproducing, they can still add more and more to the colony.  Without adoption and death, the colony size either remains the same, or actually grows in size.

This is just a raw outline of the procedure and problem. Stay tuned for more specific details.

Medieval Holocaust: A Story of Plague and Greed [Anti-Valentine’s #15]

12 Feb

I was really struggling to come up with another reason to shun and not celebrate Valentine’s Day. But I had written the annual blog post17 years in a row now (I think?), so I was not going to give up easily. I had to think outside of the box. I wish I could say 2020 hit me on the head–or Covid-19. Because disease is important in our history and to our development as a society. It routinely kills more than war, so disease is a primary factor in shaping nations and their populations. Disease drives science, improves medical tactics, and shapes societal norms. Here is a historical event, that was intentionally carried out on Valentine’s Day, that speaks of disease, the ugliness of human-greed, and kinda sums of the sentiment and lessons of 2020. But also, provides a 17th reason why Valentine’s Day can, and should be abolished.

Many religions don’t honor Valentine’s Day as a legitimate holiday, because of it’s shaky origin story. I heard even the Catholic church removed Valentine’s Day from its calendar because Saint Valentine couldn’t be substantiated. And I know, many religions frown upon Valentine’s Day as too “Pagan” just like like they dislike Halloween. Hinduism, India’s major religion (80% of their population) doesn’t love the day of love (1). Traditionally, Asia’s most popular religion discourages public displays of affection between the sexes, including handholding, which Valentine’s Day encourages (1). I couldn’t find a religion that explicitly bans Valentine’s Day, though now that I’m thinking about it I’ll bet Jehovah Witnesses don’t acknowledge it because they don’t believe in anything that’s not actually written in the Bible (that’s my understanding, anyway). But they probably don’t single out that one holiday as more problematic than any other holiday either. They just across the board don’t celebrate things not in the pages of the Bible.

I was reading that Valentine’s Day is a touchy subject in Jewish eyes because of anti-Semitic rumors about the origin of the plague. In 1349 the Bubonic Plague aka “Black Death” was sweeping across Europe, with estimates that 60% of Europeans died from the disease (2).  Though we know now that Bubonic Plague is caused by a bacterium called Yersinia pestis and is most commonly spread by fleas that live on rodents like rats and mice, they had no idea what was causing millions of people to die back in those times. Currently, Bubonic Plague is treatable with modern medicines. In the Middle Ages, of course, no medical treatment existed to mitigate the Plague’s devastating effects (2). 

So fear took over. Terrified people (who didn’t have the benefits of science) were looking for someone to blame. And many Jews worked in the financial sector, acting as creditors. This vocation, contributed to anti-Jewish sentiment among the less privileged, so Jews were a natural choice to blame. Christians turned on the Jews in their midst, accusing them of spreading the Plague by poisoning Christian people’s wells (2).

*Trigger Warning*

*But it wasn’t just accusations, according to Dr. Yvette Alt Miller, there were horrifically violent attacks:

In Cologne, Jews were locked into a synagogue which was then set on fire.

In Mainz, the entire town’s sizeable Jewish community was murdered in just one day.

Across Europe, in Spain, Italy, France, the Low Countries, and the Germanic Lands Jews were massacred and tortured (2).

In 1349, a group of feudal lords in France’s Alsace region attempted to make the spontaneous attacks on Jews official. It was decreed that the property of Jews (murdered for supposedly spreading the Plague) could be seized by their Christian neighbors with impunity. With this financial incentive to kill Jews, the attacks only intensified (2). The feudal lords of the Alsace formally blamed Jews for the Black Death and adopted the “Benfeld Decree” which targeted Jews, singling them out for murder and calling for their expulsion from towns. This had an immediate effect as Jews in thirty communities were attacked (2).

The one hold-out to all the massacring was the city of Strasbourg. Strasbourg’s patrician class understood that Jews were important to their town’s economy–as they paid high taxes. So they had a financial interest in protecting their city’s Jews (2). But the citizens of the city had a desire to kill the Jews and see their own debts cancelled, or even to expropriate their property (3). The members of the city’s butchers and tanners guilds accused the three sympathetic patrician leaders, who would not round up the city’s Jews, of having been bribed by the Jews in return for protecting them. The citizens drove them from office (3).

Using these rumors that Jews had dreamed up the plague in order to poison Christians, the citizen-mob in Strasbourg, planned to full-on exterminate local Jews (to whom they owed massive debts). They designated February 14, St. Valentine’s Day, as the date on which they would execute Strasbourg’s entire Jewish population (1). The city’s Jews were given a choice of undergoing baptism or being killed. About half of them accepted conversion or left the city; the remainder were barricaded in the Jewish cemetery (3).  A number of about 2,000 Jews were burned alive on a platform in the local Jewish cemetery (1). Their murder took hours. Afterwards, eager townspeople combed through the smoldering ashes, not searching for survivors, but looking for valuables. There was primarily a financial motive for this enormous massacre.

A quote from von Konigshofen:

“…everything (all debt) that was owed to the Jews was cancelled… The council…took the cash that the Jews possessed and divided it among the working-men proportionately. The money was indeed the thing that killed the Jews. If they had been poor and if the feudal lords had not been in debt, they would not have been burnt” (2).

Strasbourg’s mob government and citizens faced no criticism. A few months later, they were officially pardoned for the killing of their town’s Jews and for stealing their money (2).

How do you close out a historical account of something so tragic and horrible? I can’t believe I had never heard of this massacre (genocide?) before. I will end just by reminding us to study our history, and remember that it repeats. People need to learn from mistakes of the past. Take proper precautions to prevent the spread of disease (and Covid-19!) even if it is inconvenient for you. Don’t fear, prepare. Accept all people, even if especially if they are different from you. Don’t hate, learn. See that money is not everything, and greed only causes ugliness. Don’t covet, volunteer. And also, just be decent human beings. Which you don’t need a holiday to tell you. Love every day, and don’t save affection for Valentine’s Day. You don’t need a reminder to love, nor should you remember to love on only one day of the year.

(1) https://www.southerndigest.com/article_3bcfe8ad-7fbf-5c6c-a400-46cde8907d8e.html#:~:text=Valentine’s%20Day%20is%20the%20traditional,the%20need%20to%20shun%20it.

(2) https://www.aish.com/jw/s/Horrific-Valentines-Day-Massacre-of-Jews.html

(3) https://www.haaretz.com/jewish/.premium-1349-a-valentine-s-day-massacre-1.5229805

This is such an eventful and impactful time

17 Mar

I don’t know if everyone of a certain age feels this way, but I feel like I’ve experienced a lot of huge events in my lifetime.  Here are some (obviously not all) history I have lived through:

RICO laws essentially ended the reign of mobs in America

Exxon Valdez oil spill

San Francisco earthquake

The Berlin wall came down

The Soviet Union/USSR turning back into Russia

Rodney King beating –> LA riots

computers started entering households

The Waco standoff

The Oklahoma City bombing

The OJ Simpson trial

President Clinton’s sex scandal(s)

The Columbine Massacre

cell phones began to go mainstream

Florida (hanging chad) ballot cheating

9/11

meth is a big thing

Hurricane Katrina

smartphones

a great recession

the 1st black president

BP oil spill

Hurricane Maria

The Camp fire

and now a global pandemic that’s shutting down business in the U.S. like I never imagined was possible.

 

I omitted most spree killings, hurricanes, tornadoes, most fires, terror attacks on planes, and food recalls because there has been an overwhelming amount.

I suppose that every generation feels this way–I’ve seen those decade series produced by Tom Hanks.  It’s just strange to feel like I’m seeing large historical events that will shape us in the future.  What a weird thing to see in the first person and live through events future kids will have in their textbooks…

Fat-Positive is Negative

9 Jan

Yeah, I said it.  Unpopular, un-p.c. opinion–but I stand by it.

I listened to Lizzo because it’s fun, and feminist and I totally get behind that!  It’s a ‘you go girl!’ moment where I see role-model for young girls. But is she an entirely good role-model?

Lizzo001

I also watched Shrill because I think Aidy Bryant (name/sp?) is funny on SNL.  And I saw her do stand up with a pad of paper and she was hilarious.  I wanted to see what she’s doing with her talents.  But the show was kind of depressing, which is a sad commentary about how our society makes overweight people feel.  [and we should stop that].  But then her boss was made to look like a villain because he cared about the health of his employees.  And the whole fat-positive movement in the show rubbed me the wrong way.

aidy bryant

Fat-positivity is what I call enabling. 

Let me back track just a second.

Kids should not be bullied.  Not anyone, not chubby-trons.  Hefty adults should not have to tolerate back-handed complements, or taunts, or trolling.  People don’t have a right to stigmatize others.  Not for mental illness, sexuality, weight, anything, really.  Mind your business, take care of you.

People that are “other” in some way should be allowed to love themselves.  And to one extent or another all of us are a little bit “other” in some way, many ways.

So there’s that.  I’m anti-bullying.

But, people we have taken it too far on the spectrum, shunning bulling, past neutrality, into enabling behavior known as fat-positivity!  It’s gone too far.  Fat is nothing to normalize or champion.  It’s a health concern.  Really.

Some people are chubby kids, and it’s a genetic trait that they will easily put on weight.  Yes, some medications and disorders can contribute to being overweight.  Also, Americans are inundated with advertising and marketing encouraging us to consume calories.  It’s an epidemic.

And yet, calories are calories.  Nobody has it harder than anyone else calories in, calories out.  You have to balance the two–and it IS possible.  For I’d say most everyone, except in very extenuating circumstances (a small minority).  Lifestyle choices are within your control.  Yes. They. Are.  It might not be easy changes to make.  Changing your ways might be difficult to adhere to.  But it CAN be done.

Things that we do not celebrate:

Mental Illness.  It can’t be helped.  You’re born with it, genetically predisposed to it.  We shouldn’t stigmatize people who suffer with mental illness.  Yet, we also don’t throw a party about it.  Society agrees people should do whatever they can to manage it (see the psychiatrist/psychologist, take medication, use strategies to manage symptoms)

Addiction.  It’s a disease.  But it’s not useful to society, and it’s detrimental to health.  People shouldn’t be criminalized (for drugs alone) or stigmatized–they are sick.  But we do want people to go to rehab, get off substances, and help themselves make better choices.

STIs (STDs if you’re old-school).  They are common.  It can be tricky and high-maintenance to prevent getting them.  But having one can impact other individuals and society at large.  People shouldn’t be called disgusting whores or dirty johnsons if they get one (or more), but I think we can all agree we would like people to treat STIs they have, refrain from spreading them to other sexual partners through abstinence, condoms, etc, and warn others prior to engaging in sexual acts.

Those things are all health concerns that we should not bully people over, but at the same time must be dealt with or consequences occur.  If we were to have mental illness positivity and just encourage people to live as they are and embrace their bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, instead of medicating it what would happen?  Well, it’s ultimately not good for the individual as being untreated can lead to inappropriate or dangerous behaviors, possibly even death to others or themselves.  Same with addicts–“Just champion and embrace your drug use!” we’d say. Then, all the crime, and downward spiral which isn’t good for anybody.  And STIs, well we’ve seen what happens when those health concerns are ignored and it’s no good.

Also, all of these health problems lead to complications, symptoms, consequences.  When medical bills are already spiraling and health insurance is a whole big thing–shouldn’t we do everything we can to alleviate the problems we can control?

Being overweight exacerbates other health problems.  This is science.

According to the Center for Disease Control, People who have obesity, compared to those with a normal or healthy weight, are at increased risk for many serious diseases and health conditions, including the following:1,2,3

  • All-causes of death (mortality)
  • High blood pressure (Hypertension)
  • High LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, or high levels of triglycerides (Dyslipidemia)
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Osteoarthritis (a breakdown of cartilage and bone within a joint)
  • Sleep apnea and breathing problems
  • Some cancers (endometrial, breast, colon, kidney, gallbladder, and liver)
  • Low quality of life
  • Mental illness such as clinical depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders4,5
  • Body pain and difficulty with physical functioning6
  1. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/effects/index.html

chubby-tron

anorexic

People die earlier when they are over their BMI.  Ralphie Mae and John Candy might have lived longer if they had not been grossly obese.  And Chris Farley and Elvis Presley had drugs in the mix, but their obesity made their health status even worse.

That’s not a fate I want to get behind.  I’m not saying you have to be a size zero.  But everyone should be giving up vices, managing their health status, and aspiring to a healthy lifestyle.  For their own health and happiness.  And I refuse to be stigmatized for saying so.