NEWS & FEATURES
Have you heard the woofest mews?
Have you heard the woofest mews?
THE People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) announced that the Japanese government has decided to stop conducting year-long tests on dogs, particularly beagles, to study the potential effects of pesticides on people.
After hearing from PETA U.S. scientists for the past three years, the Japanese government made the decision to end the cruel tests wherein beagles are forced to eat pesticide-laced food or inhale pesticide fumes daily for a year and are then killed and dissected. PETA U.S. repeatedly provided evidence that data from these tests are not used to protect humans.
At the urging of PETA U.S., the U.S. ended this same test in 2007, the European Union ended it in 2013, and Canada followed suit in 2016, sparing thousands of dogs annually. Japan will now join the growing list of countries that have made the right decision for dogs and for science.
PETA U.S. and PETA Asia are urging other countries, including South Korea, to end their requirement for one-year pesticide testing on dogs, and are working to end all pesticide testing on dogs and all other animals. -- MetroPets
By ALMA J. BUELVA
THE Philippine market is sorely lacking its very own locally produced cat food, but that could change if the first set of trials spearheaded by a doctoral student succeeds.
Five cat food flavors, all using squash as major ingredient, are undergoing market tests and could be the start of a local brand that can help farmers and give cat owners an alternative to imported cat food products.
Hazel Alfon, who is taking up Doctor in Business Administration from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, developed her own kitty fare for her research project in functional strategy and business ethics.
A cat lover herself, she wanted to cook up something inexpensive but nutritious for cats and at the same time create an opportunity for squash growers to sell more of their crop.
“What prompted me to do the study is the surplus of squash during harvest time. Lugi yung farmers, halos ipamigay na yung kalabasa nila. (Farmers lose...almost giving their squash away).
With both the cats' and farmers' welfare in mind, Alfon set about baking her first handmade dry kibble. She soon, however, switched to wet cat food as she believes cats need it more to supplement their water intake.
A licensed chemist, Alfon told MetroPets that she did extensive research on the kinds of food that are good and bad for cats. She also took samples of her squash-based cat food to the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) for analysis. In addition, she consulted with veterinarians to make sure her cat food is safe. Later on, she used social media networks to invite cat owners to try her products for free.
“My cat food are all-natural, human grade and with no salt and chemical pre-treatment,” Alfon said.
Alfon added that she uses from 80 to 90 percent fish, beef, chicken breast, liver or gizzard. The rest are vegetables, particularly squash.
The results are the following variants:
* Salmon with carrots, green beans and kalabasa (squash)
* Ox tripe with chicken liver and kalabasa
* Tuna with kalabasa
* Chicken with kalabasa
* Beef with carrots, green peas and kalabasa
Sealed silver pouches, each containing 85 grams of any of the five flavors, were shipped to market testers who volunteered to feed it to their cats for seven days. Alfon said the most common feedback she received pertains to cats' poop becoming less stinky or even stink-free!
MetroPets' resident cat reviewers tested Alfon's homemade cat food and while they showed indifference at first, they soon acquired the taste and feel for it. The top hits were the squash with chicken and squash with beef. Used to the texture of paté, the cats set aside morsels of ox tripe. They ate the fish variants with no complain but also with less gusto.
Meanwhile, Alfon told MetroPets that she has started work on another cat food specifically for lactating cats.
If all goes well with her cat food, Alfon said she plans to turn it into a business and share her revenues with animals shelters.
SPOTIFY is getting a spot (pun intended) in the matchmaking business by using its music streaming service to find the right shelter dog for the right person. The program is aptly called Adoptify.
Since it has been established that dogs have their own individual music preferences, Spotify has partnered with an animal shelter in Germany to match people and adoptable dogs based on their song choices.
A brainchild of the agency called Serviceplan, Adoptify makes use of a website that features dogs ready for adoption at a shelter in Munich. Aside from giving out standard information on the dog's gender, age and breed, Adoptify adds the kind of music each dog prefers. A potential dog owner can watch the personalized videos about the dogs and from there choose to adopt the one that sings his or her tune, so to speak. -- MetroPets
#adoptify #shelterdogs #musicaldog #dogsandmusic @spotifyanddogs
THE Bureau of Animal Industry in partnership with the Technological Institute of the Philippines recently launched their own free Android application aimed at improving public awareness about animal rabies.
The Rabies Free 2020 app is available for download in Google Play Store. The app is pretty straightforward and simple in style and function.
The app has five sections that provide an overview about rabies, list of animal bite centers, locations of animal rabies diagnostic laboratories nationwide, hotlines and contact information, and about the app development.
The Rabies Free 2020 app makes a barking sound when a new section is opened. The text are in Filipino and there are links to existing rabies-free campaign videos from the BAI like the one below.
The app gives general information about rabies from symptoms, phases and prevention, among others. It seeks to guide the public, too, on how to become responsible pet owners to help prevent the spread of rabies.
The Philippines aims to become completely rabies free by 2020. By 2030, the world is expected to have eradicated rabies completely. -- MetroPets
NOT many people know that there's an old cemetery inside Clark City, in Pampanga that was made for the bravest of dogs.
When Clark was still a US military air base, the 3rd Security Police Group (3SPG) operated there the largest military working dog unit of the United States Air Force (USAF) with hundreds of dogs during its entire history. Canines that died from natural causes or were put to sleep after they became ineffective for the job were interred at this K-9 cemetery.
Despite the passing of time, the violent eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 and the redevelopment of Clark into a freeport zone, the K-9 cemetery remained where it is, undisturbed but somewhat forgotten.
The K-9 cemetery lies in a 100-sq.m. piece of land, a mere speck in the map of Clark, which in total is about 32,000-hectare big. The dog cemetery is not a very popular attraction so finding it could be a bit tricky without a tour person or an app like Waze as guide. It is at the corner of Centennial street, near a major intersection and with a big green sign that says “K-9 Cemetery”.
The K-9 cemetery is surrounded by old trees. A short concrete bridge literally connects the K-9 Cemetery to the outside world.
For decades, the K-9 military working dogs and their handlers did a nightly search of the jungles, secured the flight line and guarded the base population. The dogs were trained to secure the base perimeter from intruders and thieves and to detect narcotics and bombs.
As to be expected, a lot of them were German Shepherds.
Based on archived pictures, the K-9 Cemetery in Clark Field looked like it started as a plain field marked by white crosses. In 1978, the crosses were changed to tombstones that look like short obelisks that bear the dogs' names and their officially issued identification numbers.
The tombstones are neatly arranged in rows and columns. Unfortunately, the statue of a dog and its handler at the center of the cemetery no longer exists. It has been removed and sent by the USAF to the Security Forces Museum in Texas, leaving a stump of concrete in the middle of the K-9 cemetery.
Although it is right along a busy street with no gate or walls to hide it from view, the final resting place of the USAF canines is as peaceful as it can be. The tombstones, many with faded letters and numbers, are all that remain of the once proud military kennel.
Based on some of the names, one could guess the personality or character of the dog in the grave. Some of the names that stand out are Pig, Sultan, Duke, Bullet, King, Max and Wolf. There are 284 tombstones so going through each and everyone could take a while.
The K-9 Cemetery is a must-see if you are a dog lover. Clark Development Corp. takes care of the K-9 Cemetery's upkeep and promised not to disturb it in the name of progress. As the only one in the country, the K-9 Cemetery and the dogs it contains can rest in peace...forever. --- MetroPets
MAKATI residents can start availing of free microchipping for their pets under a new city-wide veterinary program to ensure all companion animals are vaccinated against rabies and can be easily identified and recovered in case they are lost or stolen.
Makati is the first local government unit in the country to introduce this kind of program for its estimated 30,000 plus “petizens” from 27 barangays and six villages. A pet cat or dog need only to be at least 300g heavy to qualify for a chip implant.
The plan is to first roll out the program in the affluent villages of Urdaneta, Magallanes, Bel-Air, San Lorenzo, Dasmariñas and Forbes Park. Makati residents from other barangays can avail of the free pet microchipping based on schedules that will be posted by the VSO on the My Makati Facebook page. Mangahas said bonafide Makati residents are also welcome to bring their pets anytime at designated microchipping sites like the Makati Fire Station.
The Pet iChips, sourced from Plaridel Products and Services, Inc., come in small glass cylinders and no longer than a grain of rice. A chip can be quickly and painlessly injected under the pet's skin with no need for anesthesia, said Dr. Jing Mangahas, officer-in-charge of the Makati Veterinary Services Offices (VSO).
The chip will be implanted onto pets by representatives of the city's veterinary office over the next few months. Using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, the pet microchip is implanted between the shoulder blades and will have a unique 15-digit code. The code serves as a permanent pet ID that can be read by a microchip scanner. The code bears the pet's name, owner's name and address and the pet's health and vaccination records. Makati has procured 35 scanners from Plaridel for the 32 barangays and the city veterinary office.
Mayor Abby Binay kicked off the program by having her dogs implanted with the Pet iChip during the launch. She encouraged her constituents, including city government employees to have their pets microchipped, too.
“These Pet iChips are your pets' way back to you. Collars and tags can fall off or be removed but microchips will stay in place for many, many years. This technology will help pet owners like myself monitor the health and safety of our animals. It will help us become more responsible pet owners,” Binay said.
“We launched this to require our residents to have their pets vaccinated. In the process, we will have something like a pet census in our city,” Binay added.
The pet-friendly project will result in a dabatase of Makati petizens that reflect their health records, particularly the validity of their anti-rabies shots. Registered dogs get a printed pet passport that owners can bring when they both travel.
Another beauty of this project is it could prevent redundant and costly rabies shots when a vaccinated dog or cat bites a person because the chip makes it easier to prove a pet's anti-rabies record. The chip is also a deterrent against pet theft.
A study by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) showed that microchipped dogs were returned to their owners 52.2 percent of the time compared to only 21.9 percent for dogs without microchips. Cats with microchips were also reunited with their owners 38.5 percent of the time compared to only 1.8 percent for cats without microchips that went missing.
Mangahas told MetroPets that dogs caught by the city pound and are being retrieved by their true owners from Makati will also be vaccinated against rabies and implanted with a chip before they are released. -- MetroPets
By 2030, the world is expected to have eradicated rabies for good.
The Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) said the new target provides an annual marker to showcase progress at all levels – from the international to the community – towards every country’s rabies elimination efforts.
The Philippines aims to make the country completely rabies-fress by 2020.
Rabies: Zero by 30, the theme for World Rabies Day, 2017, is being supported by local veterinarians, many of whom went door-to-door in depressed areas where high cases of rabies were recorded.
Reuters reported that Filipino veterinarians, in partnership with the animal protection group Humane Society International (HSI), led the free mass vaccination drive using not just their syringes but also their smartphones to track areas of concern.
HSI launched the rabies tracker smartphone app that records rabies inoculations and geotags dogs by location as a way to control the disease.
The Bureau of Animal Industry placed the canine population in the Philippines at 10 million at least. The World Health Organization (WHO) said dogs without anti-rabies shots are the primary conduits (99 percent of cases) of the disease that spreads to humans.
The HSI said cases of rabies in the Philippines are among the highest globally, with at least 200 Filipino deaths from the disease annually, mainly due to dog bites. Despite this alarming figure, the Philippines was ranked by WHO as among the countries making “great strides” in fighting the disease.
THIS was the question that French researcher Marc-Antoine Fardin asked in his science paper that won him the Ig Nobel for physics this year.
"Can a cat be both a solid and a liquid” at the same time? Fardin explained that a liquid can adapt its shape to the container it is in. It's a condition that seems applicable to cats to some extent. A good example is this cat inside a glass jar.
Aside from boxes of all shapes and sizes, cats are known to try to fit inside the most unconventional vessels such as bowls, glasses and tubes, among others. They also do it almost effortlessly as if they are truly in a liquid-like state.
Pretty much like this cat in the video.
The Ig Nobel Prize is a parody of the Nobel Prize, which is awarded every autumn to celebrate ten unusual or trivial achievements in scientific research. Since 1991, the Ig Nobel Prizes have been awarded to “honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think.”
Presented at Harvard University by bemused real Nobel Prize laureates, the Ig awards are not an attempt at ridiculing science, the Ig Nobel website states.
“Good achievements can also be odd, funny, and even absurd, so can bad achievements,” it explains.
"A lot of good science gets attacked because of its absurdity. A lot of bad science gets revered despite its absurdity."
Aside from Fardin, 9 other researchers who invested time and money in solving life's improbable yet important questions from different fields were also honored in early September with Ig Nobels.
The theme of this year's Ig Nobels was "Uncertainty". -- AFP with notes from MetroPets
INSTAGRAM has bred a new form of celebrity—the dog. Man’s best friend has become one of man’s biggest influencers with social petworking becoming an increasingly explored route for marketing and promotion. And currently, the hottest dog in Instagram is Jiffpom with 6.5 million followers as of September 9, 2017.
To know the shakers and movers among dogs in Instagram, Lovejoy, a pet food maker from Norfolk, England, analyzed all the profiles of Instagram’s most popular breeds of dogs. Over the past few years the Pomeranian called “Jiffpom” has emerged as easily Instagram’s most followed pet. But how many of Jiffpom’s Instagram posts are organic and how many promote brands or other social media stars?
Lovejoy discovered that for those who manage the most successful Instagram dog accounts out there, their random, spur of the moment posts of dog pictures and videos make up only about a third of their content. Many are now cashing in on their dog's popularity by creating promotional and collaborative posts that endorse brands.
Data based on 50 posts analyzed from April 12-July 3 2017 showed that content posted on Jiffpom's Instagram page were 33 percent organic and 67 percent advertising-related. Jiffpom is so popular that he has appeared in adverts for Banana Republic and a music video for Katy Perry.
Lovejoy's data analysis also showed that smaller breeds are followed by more people (78 percent of dog followers on Instagram) and therefore make for better influencers. The top seven most popular breeds all come in relatively miniature form.
When it comes to large breeds, the Husky seems to be the favorite, specifically Loki the Wolfdog with 1.5 million followers.
Dogs, with their googly eyes and funny peculiarities, have proven they can steal not just the hearts of people but also vie for endorsement projects that used to be reserved for humans. With endless possibilities for creating heartwarming content, it is easy to see why so many brands are jumping on this bandwagon where people don't just walk the dog but also follow the dog.
IF you are visiting Tagaytay, you may want to drop by the newly opened cat cafe located along the Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay Road for a quick get-together with their adorable cats.
Tabby Town is the first cat cafe this side of town. It is by the same owner of The Pet Cafe by Velvet Friends in Pasay City.
Tabby Town had its soft opening early this month and it is looking forward to welcoming regular guests from the Calabarzon region as well as day trippers from Manila.
Proprietor Chito Aclon designed Tabby Town to have a homey look and feel so that weary travelers can relax and enjoy the calming companionship of cats before they head out to their next destinations. Guests can also have a quick meal of pastas and drinks here.
A good mix of purebred and native cats will make up Tabby Town's regular “crew” which currently stands at 17. Chito said they can have up to 30 domestic cats at Tabby Town.
This cat cafe has three levels. The first level is the reception area, the second floor belongs to the cats while the third floor is being eyed as a place for Corgis and other dog breeds.
Tabby Town is open six days a week, except Tuesday, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Its exact address is 410 Purok 5 Brgy Lumil, Silang, Cavite. Nearby landmarks are the entrance to Suntrust Verona Executive Village and a Caltex gas station.
* Pet rock, anyone?