DEAR READERS: Please read the following release from In Defense of Animals (idausa.org):
"In Defense of Animals and more than 250 organizations across the nation are celebrating the second annual Respect for Fish Day on Aug. 1 to raise awareness about the plight of fish -- who are among the most cruelly treated and exploited animals on Earth -- and change consumer behaviors and policies. This year, In Defense of Animals is joined for exclusive events by the creators of the film 'The Dark Hobby,' which exposes how the aquarium trade is devastating populations of tropical fish and marine ecosystems. ...
"Conclusive scientific evidence proves that fish feel pain and emotions. They are also intelligent animals who can learn by imitation, count, recognize the faces of group members, and use tools. Despite their considerable capabilities, trillions of fish are killed around the world every year for food and sport, in laboratories, and in the pet and aquarium trades. Fish are also excluded from many animal protection laws that would give them even a modicum of protection, including the Animal Welfare Act, the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, and the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act. Many states explicitly exempt fish from being protected by their anti-cruelty laws, or exempt standard fishing practices from compliance with them."
Julie Massa, wild animals campaigner for In Defense of Animals, encourages supporters to visit respectforfish.org.
DR. FOX HERE: I would add that the "sport" of catch-and-release fishing, which thousands of people enjoy, needs to be questioned, and empathy awakened for the terror these creatures feel when trying to free themselves from hooks in their jaws and throats. But fishers find it an enjoyable challenge when the animals "put up a good fight." Countless numbers die following release -- from shock, swim bladder disruption, other physical injury, infection and starvation. Time to stop. If you must go fishing, use a net and eat whatever you catch.
SOME SOBERING DISEASE WARNINGS
-- Palm Beach, Florida, is experiencing an outbreak of H3N2 canine influenza, which can also infect cats and ferrets (but not people), according to the Florida Veterinary Medical Association. Dogs that come in direct or indirect contact with an infected dog are at risk.
-- West Nile virus has been found in mosquitoes recently in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts and New York. The CDC has confirmed human cases of West Nile illness in Arizona, Arkansas, Illinois and Iowa. Massachusetts acting Commissioner of Public Health Margret Cooke said the positive cases are a "signal that it is time to start taking steps to avoid mosquito bites." (Full story: The Hill, July 8)
-- USDA sampling of wild white-tailed deer in 32 counties in four states revealed 7% to 60% had SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, and scientists do not yet know whether the virus was transmitted by people or an intermediate species. The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is testing wildlife "to identify species that may serve as reservoirs or hosts for the virus, as well as understand the origin of the virus, and predict its impacts on wildlife and the risks of cross-species transmission." (Full story: Ars Technica, July 29)
-- A visitor center, beach and parking lots at Lake Tahoe in El Dorado County, California, were closed due to the presence of chipmunks that tested positive for plague. Fleas and rodents carry the bacterium that causes plague, and people should "take precautions for themselves and their pets when outdoors, especially while walking, hiking or camping in areas where wild rodents are present," Public Health Officer Nancy Williams said in a press release. (Full story: The Tahoe Daily Tribune, Aug. 2)
-- A woman in Monrovia, California, contracted typhus when she disposed of a dead rat, and she found out through a social media post that one of her neighbors had also contracted the disease the same way. Fleas carry typhus, and experts say using antiparasitic medications on pets reduces the risk of catching it. (Full story: KTLA-TV, Aug. 2)
Certainly, climate change is a contributing factor in many of these health concerns. Appropriate disease-risk reduction is called for, including applying insect repellant, such as oil of lemon eucalyptus; keeping all dogs and cats on one's property; routinely checking for fleas and ticks with a flea comb; and following local veterinarians' advice. In addition, keep dogs away from others at the dog park during any outbreak of canine diseases.
(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 DrFoxOneHealth.com.)