‘Be Kind To Animals’ Celebrates 100-Year Anniversary

LOS ANGELES, CA — These days, people pay piles of cash to pamper their pets, but problems remain on the farm and in the slaughterhouse, on movie sets and at animal shelters — even in the wild.

That’s why the American Humane Association is touting its past to move animal welfare forward. It’s celebrating 100 years of Be Kind to Animals Week, which draws celebrities, politicians and everyday enthusiasts each May to raise awareness about the plight of animals.

Day spas and designer duds for dogs are the norm now, but inhumane treatment springs up in places from puppy mills to jungles, where animals are killed for their tusks or pelts. In ways, there’s more work to do than when kindness week started in 1915.

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Celebrities have asked people to combat different problems throughout the years, and history shows notables from Eleanor Roosevelt to Shirley Temple and John Wayne have a soft spot for helping animals.

No star is taking the lead this year, but the week will be expanded, lasting through 2015. Association leaders will make television appearances, hold open houses and provide materials to teach children compassion.

An interactive retrospective about the week’s history will appear online, and the group will tour schools with its traveling museum and a fleet of famed Red Star Rescue trucks used to save animals during disasters.

“It warms my heart because here we are, just as relevant today as we were 100 years ago,“ said association President and CEO Robin Ganzert.

The group urges Americans to take a pledge on to help animals by purchasing humanely raised eggs, meat and dairy; getting a pet from a shelter to cut down on euthanasia; watching movies featuring the “No Animals Were Harmed” end credit; and visiting zoos and aquariums to learn about wildlife conservation.

A century ago, the kindness celebration started amid World War I and the toll it took on horses. Before the war ended in 1918, 10 million horses would die on European battlefields.

Over the years, celebrities showcased different ways to help animals:

— In 1936, Shirley Temple asked people to watch out for animals crossing the road.

— In 1966, “Bonanza” star Lorne Green urged Americans to look out for “dognappers” and cattle rustlers.

— In 1972, comedienne Carol Burnett aimed to teach families, especially children, how to take care of newly adopted pets.

— In 1982, actor Clint Eastwood, an Oscar-winning producer and director, emphasized the importance of safety for entertainment animals. “I won’t allow a scene where animals are mistreated. I won’t tolerate it and never have. There’s no movie that’s worth it,“ he said.

The campaign has faced opposition when many thought the focus should be on people, not pets, including during World War II.

“I believe there is great value in continuing to train children in the proper attitude toward their pets,“ first lady Eleanor Roosevelt countered in her syndicated newspaper column on April 13, 1943.

Learning compassion at a young age took root for veterinarian Marty Becker, who has taught millions of children about animals on “Good Morning America” and “The Dr. Oz Show.“

Growing up on a small Idaho farm, he had to collect eggs from the chickens before school. It took too long and he got pecked too much, so Becker tried scaring the chickens away to make it easier.

“It worked really good. They flew off the nesting boxes,“ he said.

But his father found out and laid in wait, giving Becker the same scare he’d given the chickens — teaching him that animals deserve the same compassion as people.

Bullying May Be Even Worse For Mental Health than Child Abuse

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Children who are bullied by their peers may be more likely to suffer mental health problems later in life than kids who are abused by adults, a study suggests.

Previous research has linked physical, emotional and sexual abuse during childhood to psychological difficulties later in life. Bullying too can have severe, long-lasting psychological and physical effects.

For the new study, researchers looked for associations between maltreatment, being bullied, and long term mental health problems. In particular, they say, they wanted to know whether mental health problems in kids exposed to those kinds of experiences are due to both maltreatment and bullying or whether bullying has a unique effect.

“We found, somewhat surprisingly, that those who were bullied and maltreated were not at higher risk than those just bullied,“ senior study author Dieter Wolke, a psychology professor at the University of Warwick in the U.K., said by email.

The data came from two large studies that tracked mental health in children and then followed them at least until at least age 18. One study, from the U.S., included more than 1,200 participants. The other, from the U.K., involved more than 4,000.

Both studies relied on a combination of interviews with parents to track abuse in younger children as well as reports of bullying by older children.

As young adults, 19% in the U.K. group and 18% in the U.S. group had mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.

After adjusting for other family factors that might contribute to psychological problems, the researchers found an increased risk of depression among abused children in the U.S. group but not in the U.K. group.

In both groups, however, mental health problems were significantly more likely in children who were bullied by their peers than in kids who were abused.

It’s possible that abuse was underreported by parents questioned about treatment of their children, the researchers note in the study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry and presented today at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting in San Diego. The study also didn’t explore the severity of abuse or the age at which it began.

Even so, the findings highlight the need for parents, educators and clinicians to pay closer attention to bullying, Wolke said.

“It is particularly novel that they found bullying is a greater source of mental health problems than maltreatment,“ said Catherine Bradshaw, deputy director of the Johns Hopkins Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence in Baltimore.

Given this emerging connection, parents whose children encounter behavior problems at school should be sure to follow up to make sure bullying isn’t a factor, said Bradshaw, who wasn’t involved in the study. At the same time, schools officials who discover bullying should explore whether there might be problems at home.

Teaching good communication and conflict resolution skills before kids reach school age is also important for prevention, she said. Later on, schools should reenforce these skills by creating a strong sense of community and fostering an environment where students feel connected to one another as well as to teachers and other adults.

“Schools often become the outlets where bullying comes to a head,“ Bradshaw said. “Creating a sense of belonging has been consistently shown to be a protective factor as have programs that improve the school climate.“

SOURCE:  The Lancet Psychiatry.


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Servings: 4

1½ bunches asparagus (about 1½ pounds), tough ends discarded and stems peeled if thicker than 1/3 inch
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Salt and ground black pepper
1¼ pounds Yukon Gold or large boiling potatoes, sliced crosswise ¼ inch thick (leave the skins on)
1½ pounds skinned steelhead trout, divided into 4 portions
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into thin slices
¼ cup chopped fresh herbs, such as dill, chives, tarragon, basil or a mix


Heat the oven to 450 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

On the prepared baking sheet, toss the asparagus with 2 teaspoons of the oil and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Spread the asparagus in an even layer. Bake on the oven’s top rack until starting to brown and are crisp-tender, about 7 minutes for thicker asparagus, 3 minutes for thin asparagus. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

On the baking sheet, toss the potatoes with another 2 teaspoons of the oil and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Spread the potatoes in an even layer. Bake on the oven’s top rack until barely golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and reduce the temperature to 400 F.

Arrange the fish pieces in one layer on top of the potatoes, sprinkle them with the lemon juice, drizzle with the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil, then season with salt and pepper. Set the pan on the oven’s middle shelf and bake for 5 minutes. Add the asparagus to the sheet pan and bake another 2 to 3 minutes, or until the fish is just cooked through.

Transfer the fish to 4 serving plates and top each portion with a few slices of butter. Transfer a quarter of the potatoes and asparagus to each of the plates, then sprinkle the herbs over each serving.

WHO: Most Countries Woefully Unprepared To Fight Resistant Superbugs

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Only 34 countries have national plans to fight the global threat of antibiotic resistance, meaning few are prepared to tackle “superbug” infections which put even basic healthcare at risk, the WHO said on Wednesday.

In a survey of government plans to tackle the issue, the World Health Organization said only a quarter of the 133 countries that responded were addressing the problem.

This is the single greatest challenge in infectious diseases today. All types of microbes, including many viruses and parasites, are becoming resistant.

This is happening in all parts of the world, so all countries must do their part to tackle this global threat.

Antimicrobial drugs such as antibiotics and antivirals are used to treat conditions such as bloodstream infections, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and HIV.

But superbug infections—including multi-drug-resistant forms of TB—already kill hundreds of thousands of people a year, and the trend is growing.

Yet according to the WHO, few countries have plans to preserve antibiotics. Those that do are largely in wealthier regions such as Europe and North America, where health systems are better organized and funded and scientific capabilities are more advanced.

Monitoring is key for controlling antibiotic resistance, the WHO said, but it is currently not effective. In many countries, poor laboratory capacity, infrastructure and data management are preventing effective surveillance, making it difficult to discern patterns of resistance and identify disease trends and outbreaks.

At the same time, non-prescription over-the-counter sales of antimicrobial drugs are common, increasing the risk for overuse and abuse by the public and by unscrupulous doctors.

Drug-resistant infections are one of the biggest threats to the future of global health.

Yet in most areas of the world we have no idea which drugs are being sold to whom and for what purpose.

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