The Animal Doctor by Dr. Michael W. Fox

An Exemplary Veterinary Public Service

DEAR READERS: In these times of increasing economic disparity, regional unemployment and homelessness in America, a Fort Collins, Colorado, veterinarian has set up a coalition to provide veterinary care for companion animals of the homeless.

These animals provide significant comfort and emotional well-being for the poor and homeless, and would benefit from donations from all who care, and from the engagement of veterinarians not yet involved. For details, visit thestreetdogcoalition.org.

DEAR DR. FOX: I am reaching out today to discuss the wolves of America.

It appears to me the federal government is heading toward removing wolves from the “threatened” or “endangered” species list. It looks to be led by Trump’s appointed Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt.

Reading your article “Betrayal of Wolves,” it sure seems like that would be a disaster to the wolf population. It’s sad to think of all the reintroduction efforts for this animal, only to see them killed off again. I truly don’t understand who could get any pleasure from shooting such a magnificent animal.

In Michigan, like Minnesota, it seems so divided, although I think most people are in favor of the wolves. The scary part is I don’t think a lot of people know the wolf is being removed from the protection of the act. I imagine that’s part of the feds’ idea: not to publicize it very much.

I think not only the wolf is in danger from people like Bernhardt, but many other animals. These are sad times we’re living in, when with all the strength and might of our nation, we cannot protect our oldest friends. -- R.C., Canton, Michigan

DEAR R.C.: You and I are not alone in feeling despair over what I have previously called bio-fascism. The gutting of the Environmental Protection Agency and essentially wiping out species once protected under the Endangered Species Act is NOT in the public interest. It may boost the “economy,” but such initiatives mainly serve the private interests of ranchers, land developers and destroyers -- especially the mining, oil, gas and timber industries.

When species and biodiversity are sacrificed along with air and water quality for short-term profit, the public interest is not served. Under the principle of One Health, our own health and economic security depend upon a healthy environment, which is in part maintained by indigenous species, plant and animal -- all of whom should be protected, if not in their own right, then for the well-being of future generations.

My article “Wolves and Human Well-Being” (drfoxonehealth.com) documents how species such as the wolf contribute ultimately to our own health. But it is evident that the current administration, running America into ecological and moral bankruptcy, is anti-science and cannot be reasoned with. Their primary concern is the almighty dollar.

I think and hope that Americans can do better, and can vote with their hearts and heads in the right place and restore democracy, which should include equal and fair consideration for all species, great and small. Otherwise, our children will suffer a lower quality of life and health, along with economic insecurity from the consequences of ecological mismanagement, environmental degradation and related climate change.

GOOD NEWS IN MARYLAND FOR PUPPES AND KITTENS

A federal judge has upheld Maryland’s ban on pet stores selling puppies and kittens, which went into effect Jan. 1, and which was protested by store owners and commercial breeders. This is a victory for these animals and for animal rights advocates.

California had been the first state to ban such sales. Several municipalities across the country are initiating similar prohibitions. Opposition also comes from the agricultural sector, which fears such bans make them vulnerable to legislation that could outlaw cruel and polluting factory farms and feedlots.

(Send all mail to animaldocfox@gmail.com or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.

Visit Dr. Fox’s website at DrFoxOneHealth.com.)