DEAR READERS: An Alabama court recently ruled that Nosey the elephant can remain at the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, rather than being returned to her former owner. Here is a statement from the president of the Nonhuman Rights Project, Steven Wise, on the verdict:
“We are thrilled Nosey will finally have the chance to rediscover her autonomy at the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. Like Beulah, Karen and Minnie, our elephant clients in Connecticut, she has spent most of her life being forced to perform in circuses, fairs and other forms of human entertainment without the ability to choose how to live her life. May Nosey’s story energize all elephant advocates even further, to demand what, as a matter of justice, equity and scientific fact, these extraordinary beings are long overdue: recognition of their legal personhood and fundamental right to bodily liberty.
“Congratulations and our thanks to all the individuals and organizations that tirelessly worked for this outcome -- true sanctuary for Nosey -- over a period of many years.”
ABOUT THE NONHUMAN RIGHTS PROJECT
Founded in 1996 by attorney Steven M. Wise, the Nonhuman Rights Project works to secure legally recognized fundamental rights for nonhuman animals through litigation, advocacy and education.
Their mission is to change the legal status of at least some nonhuman animals from mere “things,” which lack the capacity to possess any legal right, to “persons,” who possess such fundamental rights as bodily integrity and liberty.
Current plaintiffs are members of species of great apes, elephants, dolphins and whales. The team works with attorneys on four continents, developing campaigns to achieve rights for nonhuman animals that are suited to the legal systems of these countries. The group filed its first cases in December 2013, and its work is the subject of the 2016 HBO documentary “Unlocking the Cage.”
DEAR DR. FOX: I read an “Ask The Vet” article with great interest about using a soft carrier, as we have experienced the same problem traveling with our cat. It would be great if we could make our cat comfortable on road trips (ranging from two to eight hours).
When on a long drive, how do you know when the cat has to relieve itself? And what actions do you take? -- C.F., West Palm Beach, Florida
DEAR C.F.: Good question. On a long ride with a cat, it is difficult to know, without feeling the cat’s abdomen to gauge how full the bladder is.
The best rule of thumb is to feed the cat only a small meal before a journey scheduled to last four hours or more. Allow no water beforehand, and put the cat in the litter box at home to evacuate before departure. For longer journeys, I have found cats will evacuate in their litter boxes during a rest stop, when set next to them inside the vehicle. With easily spooked cats who might accidentally get out of the vehicle during stops, make sure they’re always wearing a collar and ID tag. Ideally, they should also be microchipped.
BOOK REVIEW: “The Guide To Humane Critter Control: Natural, Nontoxic Pest Solutions To Protect Your Yard And Garden” by Theresa Rooney
This informative, sensible, practical and compassionate book should be read by all gardeners and every home- and property-owner, and garden supply centers should have a stack for sale. This beautifully illustrated, 143-page book will inspire generations to find ways to live in greater harmony with wild creatures from wasps and aphids to moles and rabbits.
The author is a self-taught Master Gardener and has turned her small urban yard into a Certified National Wildlife Habitat and home to an increasing number of critters. She has written articles for Minnesota Gardener Magazine, and teaches gardening classes.
Regardless of the vernacular, if not demeaning, use of the word “critter” -- which might actually be a draw for those who still wage war against fellow creatures -- I give this book a “Two Green Thumbs Up” salute! This kind of book reminds us that we are not apart from the land; the land is part of us -- just as the Earth does not belong to us, but rather we belong to the Earth.
(Send all mail to firstname.lastname@example.org 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 DrFoxVet.net.)