POLITICAL ISSUES BASIC
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Environment and Animal Protection
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Following is a comparatively brief look at the state of the environment that effects your life. Below the Environmental Section is the Animal Protection Section. Even though there is overlap in these two subject areas, there were enough differences to make them separate.
Introduction to the State of the Environment
WATER YOU DRINK AND FOOD YOU EAT
One of the deadliest chemicals you eat and drink
More about the food you eat
Potentially as dangerous to our existence as nuclear war
THE AIR YOU BREATH AND THE WEATHER THAT SUSTAINS LIFE
Air Pollution and Health Statistics
Global warming and green house gases
DEPLETING OUR NATURAL RESOURCES EQUALS UNSUSTAINABLE ECONOMICS
Forestry related problems
Fresh Water Fishery problems
Species Extinction in General
Oil & Energy Related Problems
Animal cruelty leads to human violence
Factory farms create health hazards
Animals are abused for testing and research with little gain for human health
The benefits of human and animal interaction
Environmental Protection Website Links and Animal Protection Website Links (transfers to links page, use browser back button to return here)
The State of the Environment
Many of the problems outlined below would barely exist today if we had not elected politicians who "talk green" but are beholden to the polluters (follow the money not the words when evaluating politicians).
Due to the politicians we have elected, the quality of your life, no matter how much money you make, will eventually erode and the cancer "care" industry will continue to grow for decades due to the abundance of man-made toxics in our air, food, water and soil.
I. Water You Drink and the Food You Eat
One of the deadliest chemicals you eat and drink:
Dioxin is one of the most toxic chemicals routinely produced by many manufacturing processes. The danger of cancer in humans begins to rise noticeably when the dioxin body burden reaches 109 nanograms per kilogram of body weight (109ng/kg), that is only 109 billionths of a gram.
Currently there is not a factor of even 10 separating the average American from the possibility of cancer from dioxin; recent data shows the average American has about 13ng/kg and over 12 million Americans have twice that rate. (Source: EPA, Rachelís environment & Health Weekly # 658)
Most dioxins are produced as byproducts of industrial processes using chlorine and the combustion of many products manufactured with chlorine. The main sources of dioxin are: incineration of medical waste, hazardous waste, sewage sludge, petroleum refinery emissions, the manufacture of pesticides and wood preservatives and the bleaching of wood pulp for paper production.
Most of the above processes are air or water intensive, so dioxin enters the food supply and is concentrated as one goes up the food chain; animal fat has one of the highest concentrations. Of the foods recently measured, high fat ice creams produced the highest levels.
Unfortunately, mother's breast milk, which has shown to be so important to babies for other reasons (antibody production, ideal nutritional profile, to name a few), shows the greatest concentration of dioxin because it is highest on the food chain. It is 10 to 100 times more concentrated than animal fats. Currently, babies that breast feed can receive their lifetime limit of dioxin within the 1st six months of life depending on where the mother lives and her diet.
According to the NAS (National Academy of Scientists), about 480 million pounds of herbicides are used annually in the U.S.; of these, 300 million pounds (62.5%) are agents that "the EPA [U.S. Environmental Protection Agency] presumes to be oncogenic or for which positive oncogenicity data are currently under review by the agency." Oncogenic means tumor-producing.
The NAS estimate omitted two large-volume herbicides, atrazine and 2,4-D, because
EPA received data indicating oncogenicity of these chemicals after the NAS study
In extrapolating from high-dose tumor incidence data to low-dose estimates, NAS estimated that the total risk from the 28 pesticides was 5.85 cancers per thousand people per lifetime. Dividing this by 70 (years in a lifetime) and multiplying it by the number of groups of 1000 in the U.S. population (250,000 such groups), yields an annual estimated pesticide-caused cancer incidence of 20,800 in the U.S. If half of the new pesticide-caused cancers each year result in death, this brings NAS's estimate of annual deaths from pesticides-in-food to 10,400 per year.
As our population grows, safe drinking water is at risk. In 1993, more than 53 million U.S. residents drank water contaminated with lead, fecal and other bacteria, toxic chemicals and other pollutants.
Every day we permanently remove 3.2 billion gallons more water from our aquifers than is replaced by natural processes. This is equivalent to half the water that flows through the mouth of the Mississippi River every day.
Ninety percent of all waterways in the United States have been dammed, detoured, drained, or otherwise altered by humans. Two-thirds of streamside forests in the United States have been leveled for construction, logging, and mining, increasing erosion and runoff into our rivers and streams.
In 1994-1995, 471,000 people drank water from 588 water supplies that violated EPA's weak standard for nitrate contamination; the principal cause was overuse of chemical nitrogen fertilizer and cattle manure run-off. Also, 40 different pesticides or industrial chemicals were found in 325 water systems at levels exceeding federal health limits.
More about the food you eat:
Large egg production facilities are among the worst agrucultural polluters. These Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) routinely house millions of laying hens. Some have large manure pits and sprayfields; others use dry manure-handling systems, and almost all have egg-washing facilities.
The result is air and water pollution from improper manure-management, disposal of dead chickens, cracked eggs and egg-washing water. Neighbors are subject to nauseating odors and millions of flies.
Despite the heavy use of pesticides and antibiotics, up to 60 percent of chickens sold at the supermarket are infected with live salmonella bacteria.
Factory farms, such as large scale hog and chicken farms, are a huge threat to our water supplies, through their inept handling of animal waste. The waste, which contains significant amounts of bacteria, heavy metals, antibiotics, nitrogen and phosphorus, is collected in huge lagoons, where the pollutants can trickle down to contaminate aquifers and drinking wells. Another threat is posed by runoff from fields where waste has been sprayed. Runoff carries excess nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, to waterways where it encourages rampant algae growth, depleting oxygen and suffocating fish.
Airborne pollutants associated with these operations not only settle on lands and waters downwind, but cause respiratory illnesses for many who live in the vicinity. The odors alone, powerfully pungent and almost always present, daily erode morale for people living as far as two miles away from a single factory. In many cases, people are contending with pollutants from multiple factories.
Even more staggering is the sheer volume of animal waste collected during production; 2.7 trillion pounds per year or equal to an imaginary train of 6.7 million boxcars circling the earth 12.5 times. All too often this waste has leaked into our rivers and streams, contaminating drinking water and spreading disease
Of the 6,600 livestock factories operating in the U.S., 75 percent are operating without any clean water permits.
Over 100 million acres (an area larger than Ohio) of tropical rainforests have been cleared for cattle grazing in order to give us a cheaper hamburger. 70% of the U.S. grain harvest is fed to farmed animals.
Potentially as dangerous to our existence as nuclear war, is genetic engineering of crops and animals:
The horror stories happening in the genetic engineering sectors of agribusiness could fill a book. One of the most dangerous is "terminator technology."
To tighten the noose on farmers, the increasingly few seed companies have a new technology ...called the Terminator. It is a group of genes that can be spliced into any crop plant, sterilizing all of the plant's seeds and .farmers will become wholly dependent on corporations for future generations of seeds.
Farmers can no longer save their seeds from a crop to plant in the next crop season. Besides the monopolistic economic problems of the technology, there is a greater danger. In a worst-case scenario this technology has greater potential to end life on earth than a nuclear war. If terminator genes cross pollinate jumping from plant to plant to plant, scores of other species of plants will become sterile, then the plants die without reproducing, then the animals and humans die who are part of the food chain. Unlikely? A 1998 study published in the scientific journal Nature found that transgenic seeds were 20 times more likely to cross-pollinate into other plant species than natural seeds.
When nuclear technology was new, there were very few checks and balances in place. Many credible scientists had clearly warned of the dangers of nuclear technology, but only after many deaths did our government slowly start implementing safeguards. Some forms of genetic engineering pose similar threats.
II. The Air You Breath and The Weather that Sustains Life
Air Pollution and Health Statistics:
Air pollution from the combustion of fossil fuels (oil, coal, and natural gas) in cars, trucks, and power plants, is killing roughly 60,000 Americans each year, according to researchers at Harvard University's School of Public Health. Every combustion source is contributing to the death toll; none is benign, including incinerators; soil burners; flares and after-burners; industrial and residential heaters and boilers; cars; buses; trucks; and power plants. Diesel vehicles and oil-and coal-burning power plants seem to be the worst offenders.
The culprit in every case is the fine particles--invisible soot --created by combustion. Fine particles are not captured efficiently by modern pollution-control equipment. Furthermore, they are not visible except as a general haze. They are far too small to be seen.
Furthermore, studies indicate that fine-particle pollution is causing or exacerbating a wide range of human health problems, including: initiating, and worsening, asthma, especially in children; increasing hospital admissions for bronchitis, asthma, and other respiratory diseases; increasing emergency room visits for respiratory diseases; reducing lung function (though modestly) in healthy people as well as (more seriously) in those with chronic diseases; increasing upper respiratory symptoms (runny or stuffy nose; sinusitis; sore throat; wet cough; head colds; hay fever; and burning or red eyes); and increasing lower respiratory symptoms (wheezing; dry cough; phlegm; shortness of breath; and chest discomfort or pain); and heart disease. (Source: D.W. Dockery and C.A. Pope III, "Acute Respiratory Effects of Particulate Air Pollution," ANNUAL REVIEW OF PUBLIC HEALTH, Vol. 15 (1994), pgs. 107-132.
Global warming and green house gases:
According to EPA figures, there is more carbon in the atmosphere now than at anytime in the last 160,000 years. The two human activities that are believed to affect the global carbon cycle the most are the burning of fossil fuels (the major source of CO2) and the destruction of forest ecosystems (the planet's major carbon sinks).
Paper is the dominant material in solid waste. According to Maureen Smith, author of The US Paper Industry and Sustainable Production, methane from the world's landfills may account for anywhere from 3 to 19 percent of global methane releases, with the US accounting for 39 percent of the total. While methane is less prevalent in the atmosphere than CO2 it is a much stronger greenhouse gas.
An estimated 120 billion tons of carbon were released into the atmosphere between 1850 and 1990 as a result of deforestation. Forest loss from 1980 through 1990 alone released 1.6 billion tons.
The world's scientists are nearly unanimous that the world's climate is suffering damage from burning oil, coal and gasoline. This sentiment is echoed by the US National Academy of Sciences as well as the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - a working group of 2,500 climate experts. In 1995, the IPCC bluntly warned that Earth has entered a period of climatic instability likely to cause "widespread economic, social and environmental dislocation over the next century. To avert a catastrophe, IPCC called for policy measures to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases to 20 percent below 1990 levels.
Such changes, of course, would seriously alter the lucrative status quo enjoyed by industry, including fuel companies, automobile makers and other large-scale polluters.
III. Depleting Natural Resources equals Unsustainable Economics
Forestry related problems:
There are no good reasons to allow logging on our public lands. Perhaps most appalling is the economics of the federal logging program. In fiscal year 1996, the program spent over $800 million of taxpayer money - and another $530 million in off-budget accounts - yet failed to return a single dime to taxpayer's pockets.
In fact, the federal timber program now loses so much money that if we paid $25,000 per "public-lands" timber worker to stop logging in national forests, we would have enough to pay for job retraining and ecological restoration work, with over $200 million left to reduce the federal deficit
The US Forest Service's own figures show that recreation in national forests generates more than 38 times more federal revenue - and creates more than 31 times more jobs - than logging.
The timber barons get fabulously wealthy felling ancient forests on public lands at the expense of the people since it's the taxpayers who pay for logging road construction, clean-up costs, replanting and administrative expenses.
In the US, human activities have removed at least 95 percent of the old-growth forests, 80 percent of the natural coastlines and more than half of the wetlands in the lower 48 states.
In the US, toxins from abandoned mines have polluted 180,000 acres of reservoirs and lakes and 12,000 miles of streams and rivers. It has been estimated that cleaning up these polluted waterways will cost US taxpayers between $32 billion and $72 billion.
According to Senator Dale Bumpers, a politician honestly informed on the mining issue:
"This is the ninth agonizing year of my effort to reform the Mining Law of 1872, signed by Ulysses S. Grant and intended to entice people to "go west" and settle.
This archaic, 125-year-old law permits mining companies to gouge billions of dollars' worth of gold, silver, platinum, palladium and other hardrock minerals from public lands without paying one red cent to the real owners, the American people. And these same companies often leave the unsuspecting taxpayers with the bill for the billions of dollars required to clean up the environmental mess left behind. Today's prospectors are multinational corporations that scar and ravage the land with giant earth-moving machines and lethal acids like cyanide.
Taxpayers are often left to pick up the tab for cleaning up the mess - acid waste, polluted streams and unreclaimed open pits - that mining companies leave in their wake. The Mineral Policy Center estimates it will cost upwards of $71.5 billion to reclaim the more than 557,000 abandoned hardrock-mining sites in the US." Excerpted with permission from the Washington Monthly, Copyright by the Washington Monthly Co., 1611 Connecticut Ave., NW Washington, DC 20009, (202) 462-0128
Fresh Water Fishery problems (many related to logging and mining):
Recent scientific reports warn that North America's freshwater species - fish, snails, amphibians, mussels and other animals that live in our rivers and streams-are dying out five times faster than animals that live on land, and three times faster than marine mammals. In fact, freshwater species are disappearing as fast as tropical rainforest species, which are generally considered to be the most imperiled species on earth. (page 26, paragraph 2 From Rivers of Life; Conservation Biolgoy, 13: 1220-1222). Extinction Rates of North American Freshwater Fauna Anthony Ricciardi* and Joseph B. Rasmussen)
Since 1900, 123 freshwater animal species have been recorded as extinct in
North America. Hundreds of additional species of fishes, mollusks, crayfishes,
and amphibians are considered imperiled. Using an exponential decay model, a
study derived recent and future extinction rates for North American freshwater
fauna that are five times higher than those for terrestrial fauna. Assuming
that imperiled freshwater species will not survive throughout the next century,
the model projects a future extinction rate of 4% per decade, which suggests
that North America's temperate freshwater ecosystems are being depleted of species
as rapidly as tropical forests.
The world's catch of ocean fish peaked in 1989 and has been declining since. In the early 1990s, scientists reported that 13 of the world's 17 major fisheries were depleted or in steep decline. Typical is the Grand Banks fishery off the shallow coast of Newfoundland in the north Atlantic. There, after 350 years of commercial exploitation, the haddock, cod and flounder have all but disappeared and the fishery was officially closed a few years ago.William J. Broad, "Creatures of the Deep Find Their Way to the Table," NEW YORK TIMES December 26, 1995, pgs. C1, C5. Timothy Egan, "U.S. Fishing Fleet Trawling Coastal Water Without Fish," NEW YORK TIMES March 7, 1994, pgs. A1, B7.
One of the main causes of overfishing is government subsidies. It is estimated that the worldwide fish catch is worth about $70 billion annually while the government subsidies to fishing are about $54 billion per year. (Source: Net Loss: Fish, Jobs, and the Marine Environment, Peter Weber, WorldWatch Institute, July 1994, p. 8; United Nations Food and Agriculteral Organization, Marine Fisheries and the Law of the Sea: A Decade of Change, 1993)
Sources of Ocean Pollution (percentage by weight):
Run-off and discharges from land: 44%
Airborne emissions from land: 33%
Shipping and accidental spills: 12%
Ocean dumping: 10%
Offshore mining and oil and gas drilling: 1%
Source: The State of the Marine Environment, United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) Regional Seas Reports and Studies, #115 1990.
Species Extinction in General:
The UN Environment Program's Global Biodiversity Assessment, the work of some 1,500 eminent scientists, reports that since the year 1600, species extinction began to occur at 50 to 100 times the average estimated normal rate. It is now expected to rise to between 1,000 and 10,000 times the normal rate. Today, more than 31,000 plants and animal species face extinction.
Since the time of the signing of the US Declaration of Independence, more than 500 plant and animal species have vanished from North America forever - 250 of them within just the last 15 years.
Oil & Energy Related Problems:
TOTAL ENERGY PRODUCTION AND CONSUMPTION (1995)
The World's primary energy production was 361 quadrillion BTU's:
6% Nuclear Power
and ONLY 8% comes from renewables which break down as follows:
Renewable energy sources:
Consumption 6.9 quadrillion Btu's
Other (ethanol, geothermal, solar, wind) 9%
Our population is already so large and our consumption so intense, we must import more than 50% of our oil to meet our energy needs. If the United States was prevented from importing any more oil, our current proven reserves would last approximately 13 years. World extraction is projected to peak in 2010 at 75 million barrels a day, and decline every year thereafter.
U.S. consumption of energy grows every day, despite efforts to conserve. Ninety three percent of the United States' increase in energy use since 1970 can be attributed to our population growth.
also see The Media, the Environment, Bush
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If Environmental Protection is a subject of special interest to you please email us and put "environment" (without the quote marks) on the subject line. We will inform you of future updates to this subject area. If you have information you think should be included or questions please include them in the body of the message.
Why does the protection of animals have anything to do with who you should vote for in this election?
1. Studies have shown that there is a strong connection between animal cruelty
and human violence.
(See details below).
2. Factory farms cause health hazards for the factory animals, the environment
and humans by producing:
(See details below).
a. Diseased /abused chickens, turkeys, cattle and pigs
b. Pollution in the environment
d. Human dietary related health problems.
3. Many companies study the effects of their products on animals.
(See details below)
The long history of this testing method shows that it has limited usefulness in keeping harmful products off the market. The animal test results are often used in litigation to defend products that have unambiguously caused human harm, but meet the established criteria of animal tests.
In many cases the research causes the animals pain, sometimes prolonged and extreme and often results in a painful death.
Additionally, tax supported universities and research labs overly rely on animals
to attempt to model human disease with the same bad results as in product testing.
Again the animals suffer with little human benefit and at great tax payer expense.
4. There are mental and physical benefits to having pets as companions.
(See details below)
5. Animal diversity is necessary for the ecological balance of the planet.
(See details below)
"The greatness of a nation and its' moral progress can be judged by
the way its animals are treated."
In a presidential election, animal rights and animal protection may seem relatively unimportant to our nation's welfare. In our ever expanding technological, corporate-based society, it's easy to overlook the importance of animals and the environment.
Why, when we have other issues to resolve, should a voter be concerned with the well being of animals?
1. Animal cruelty leads to human violence.
Please consider the following statistics:
In an FBI profile on violent criminals, studies proved that 80% started their pattern of violence by abusing animals. Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, Albert De Salvo (The Boston Strangler), Carroll Edward Cole and David Berkowitz are a few of the infamous serial killers who abused animals in their youth.
In a study on battered women, it was found that over 70% of the batterers had acted violently towards the victim's pets.
In a study of men imprisoned for violent crimes verses a closely matched group of non-incarcerated/ nonviolent individuals, 25% of the violent criminals reported cruelty towards animals in their childhood. None of the non-incarcerated men reported a history of animal cruelty.
In a similar study of female offenders, 36% reported a history of animal abuse. None of the non-violent women abused animals.
In a study of 57 families being treated for incidents of child abuse, 88% also abused animals. In two thirds of the cases, it was the abusive parent who had killed or injured the animals to control a child. In one third, the children had abused the animals, using them as scapegoats for their anger.
In a study of 64 men, 48% of convicted rapists and 30% of convicted child molesters admitted to cruelty to animals during their childhood or adolescence.
(For more information see publications by: Randall Lockwood, Ph.D. and Ann
Church - "Deadly Serious: An FBI Perspective
on Animal Cruelty". Frank R. Ascione, Ph.D. "On the relations between child maltreatment, domestic violence and cruelty to
animals". Guy R. Hodge, HSUS director of Data and Information Services.)
2. Factory farms create health hazards.
Studies indicate that over 8 billion animals are consumed annually in the United States. (GF) Before reaching our plates, animals raised on factory farms are subjected to hazardous living conditions.
The following are brief examples of the "secrets" of factory farming:
To prevent disease and produce larger animals, factory farm animals are fed food that contains additives, pesticides, antibiotics and growth hormones. When we ingest the animal products, we are ingesting the additives as well.
More than 6 billion broiler chickens are raised in sheds each year. They spend their lives (nine weeks) in overcrowded cages and receive their food and water from conveyer belts. Despite the heavy use of pesticides and antibiotics, up to 60% of the chickens sold at the supermarket are infected with live salmonella bacteria.
Broiler chickens, probably the most abused of all farm animals, are raised in semi darkness to keep them eating as much as possible and have their beaks cut off with a hot iron to prevent them from pecking each other to death. An investigation in 1994 revealed that many of the hens suffer from dehydration, respiratory diseases, bacterial infections, heart attacks, crippled legs and other serious ailments.
Egg laying chickens are often raised under similar conditions. Although chickens normally would live for 15-20 years, "layer" chickens are slaughtered after their overworked bodies decline and egg production decreases. Ninety percent of all commercially sold eggs come from factory farm chickens.
Turkeys raised on factory farms are often genetically engineered to grow faster and are artificially inseminated. Additives, pesticides, antibiotics and growth hormones are added to their food and many die of heart attacks because of their unnatural size. They, like chickens, are raised in unsanitary and crowded living conditions and are painfully debeaked to prevent them from pecking each other to death.
Cattle are often fed an unnatural diet of high-bulk grains and other "fillers" (including sawdust) until they weigh about 1000 pounds. They are castrated, de-horned and branded without anesthetics. They too, are raised in unsanitary and crowded living conditions. It is now commonly known that cattle farming is directly related to deforestation.
Ninety percent of all pigs are raised in confinement. Sows are kept pregnant or nursing constantly and are often squeezed into narrow metals stalls. Peaceful by nature, many of these pigs develop neurotic behaviors from living in such conditions. Many die of dysentery, cholera, trichinosis and other diseases. Approximately 30% of all pork products are contaminated with toxoplasmosis.
3. Animals are abused for testing and research with little gain for human health.
The following is an excerpt from an essay written by Professor Gary L. Francione:
"Animals continue to be used in bizarre and often horrific experiments
in which they are confined, cut, shocked, burned, and otherwise mutilated. The
law says that anesthesia need not be used if anesthesia would interfere with
the results of the experiment. And it is the researchers themselves who are
entrusted with the decision about whether pain relief would interfere with their
Researchers claim that animals are like us, and we need to use them in order to understand and treat our diseases. But these same researchers claim that animals are unlike us, so that we need have no moral concern about our exploitation of them"
Monkeys, rats, cats and dogs are purportedly used to try to mimic human disease and discern how the human body works. They are also used for the testing of drugs, food additives, household products, agricultural and industrial substances, and even war and riot control weapons. Again, in many cases they are not given anesthesia and suffer a great deal of pain. Many die as a result of these experiments." (1996 by Gary L. Francione)
However, certainly, some medical developments were discovered through cruel animal tests. But just because animals were used doesn't mean they had to be used or that primitive techniques that were used in the 1800's and early 1900's are valid today.
It's impossible to say where we would be if we had declined to experiment on animals, because throughout medical history, very few resources have been devoted to non-animal research methods. In fact, because animal experiments frequently give misleading results with regard to human health, we'd probably be better off if we hadn't relied on them.
For example, a dose of aspirin that is therapeutic in humans is poisonous to cats and has no effect on fever in horses; benzene causes leukemia in humans but not in mice; insulin produces birth defects in animals but not in humans, etc. Animal experiments cannot replace careful clinical observation of human beings.
In fact, more than half the drugs the Food and Drug Administration approved between 1976 and 1985 were either removed from the market or relabeled because of serious side effects and all had been "tested" on animas! If the pharmaceutical industry switched from animal experiments to quantum pharmacology and in vitro tests, we would have greater protection, not less.
Medical historians have shown that improved nutrition, sanitation, and other behavioral and social factors-not anything learned from animal experiments-are responsible for the decline in deaths since 1900 from the most common infectious diseases and that medicine has had little to do with increased life expectancy.
Many of the most important advances in health are attributable to
human studies, among them anesthesia; bacteriology; germ theory; the stethoscope; morphine; radium; penicillin; artificial respiration; antiseptics; the CAT, MRI, and PET scans; the discovery of the
relationships between cholesterol and heart disease and between smoking and cancer; the development of x-rays; and the isolation of the virus that causes AIDS. Animal testing played no role in these and many other developments.
More human lives could be saved and more suffering spared by educating people on the importance of avoiding fat and cholesterol, quitting smoking, reducing alcohol and other drug consumption, exercising regularly, and cleaning up the environment than by all the animal tests in the world.
4. The benefits of human and animal interaction.
Here are a few examples and statistics of the many benefits that animals provide:
Seniors who own dogs visit their physicians less than those who do not. In a study of 100 Medicare patients, even the most highly-stressed dog owners in the study had 21 % fewer physician's contacts than non-dog owners. (Siegel, 1990).
Medication costs dropped from an average of $3.80 per patient per day to just $1.18 per patient per day in new nursing home facilities in New York, Missouri and Texas that have animals and plants as an integral part of the environment. (Montague, 1995).
Pet owners have lower blood pressure. (Friedman, 1983, Anderson 1992).
Pet owners have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels than non-owners (Anderson, 1992).
Having a pet may decrease heart attack mortality by 3%. This translates into 30,000 lives saved annually (Friedman, 1980).
Contact with pets develops nurturing behavior in children who may grow to be more nurturing adults (Melson, 1990).
Companionship of pets (particularly dogs) helps children in families adjust better to the serious illness and death of a parent (Raveis, 1993).
Pet owners feel less afraid of being a victim of crime when walking with a dog or sharing a residence with a dog. (Serpel, 1990).
5. Animal diversity is necessary for the ecological balance of the planet.
It is undeniable that our fragile ecosystem needs animals to maintain it's balance. The UN Environment Program's Global Biodiversity Assessment reports that since the year 1600 species extinction began to occur at 50-100 times the average normal rate.
Today more than 31,000 plants and animal species face extinction. These rates will continue to grow if we don't take action to reverse the damage. Our environment is a closed system. If one animal reaches extinction, others will be effected.
By allowing whole species of animals to become extinct, we are endangering our own well being.
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