Archive for the ‘animal rights’ Category

Animals: Casualties of OUR military

September 22, 2009

            To those of you new to my blog, so far it’s been pretty mild, from an animal activist point of view. Well except for a couple of entries where I ranted about Michael Vick and his return to the NFL, because I just had to. But other than that my blog has mainly centered about my three children of the four-legged variety. I’ve coined the term ‘quadra-peds’. Anyhow my intention for this blog is to delve into some very serious animal issues that most people are not aware of. If that offends you then I’m sorry. But don’t despair I promise I’ll insert some humorous ‘tails’ of my cats to break up the seriousness of the blog. 

            Did you know that our military trains its medics by using live animals? They don’t broadcast it because after all, don’t they face enough negative publicity? To animal activists it is a travesty that must be exposed.  

            There was an episode on Grey’s Anatomy last season that dealt with this very subject (Season 5, episode 6, ‘life during wartime’). One of the doctors, a trauma surgeon recently back from Iraq, conducted a skills lab for the residents and interns. It was a training session where they would learn by ‘working with live tissue’. The live tissue turned out to be four anesthetized live pigs on operating tables. Horrified the doctors watched the surgeon pull out a knife and mutilate each of the pigs in various areas of their bodies. He then told the doctors to work as teams to save the pigs.         

            Isabel Stevens, portrayed by Katherine Heigl (an animal activist in real life) refused to take part in the exercise. Her character informed the surgeon that with today’s technology there is no need to torture live creatures. She goes so far as to call him a ‘monster’ and then later ‘a murdering sadistic bastard.’

            One resident and four interns take part in the exercise and manage to keep all four pigs alive. At the end of the day the surgeon comes back to see their work, he congratulates them and then tells them to kill the pigs. The resident balks at the mere suggestion. Ironically the surgeon says, “They’ll be in pain, those are massive injuries which will require months of recovery. To keep them alive after that is not humane.”

            Naively I thought that the writers went to extreme measures to allow Katherine Heigl to highlight her animal activism. After doing some research I realized that this actually happens in this country.

            In fact the Department of Defense (DoD) actually has three videos on YouTube showing graphic ‘combat trauma training courses’ which are claimed to improve military medicine. The U.S. military blatantly disregards the lives of pigs, goats and Vervet monkeys in these videos without any remorse. The pigs and goats are subjected to severe injuries including stab wounds, gunshot wounds, burns and amputations before they are killed. The U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense injects the Vervet monkeys with a toxic dose of the drug physostigmine (a nerve gas) which induces seizures, difficulty breathing and eventually death. In that video the students and trainer merely stand there and watch as the monkey suffers a seizure and starts to go into respiratory distress. That is nothing short of an abomination and beyond inhumane. The instructor specifically states that the “primary function of the exercise is observation.” I for one would like to observe that trainer experience a seizure and respiratory distress for a similar injection. The link for this video is and the other videos can be reached from the same link. Please be advised that the videos are very graphic and as shocking as any PETA video I’ve ever watched.

            On June 3, 2009, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) submitted a legal petition to Department of Defense officials asking them to exercise their authority to require that existing alternative methods that could immediately replace the use of live animals. See

            The Israel Defense Forces Medical Corps and the Israel’s Carmel Medical Center have developed a non-animal training curriculum which includes lectures, simulation training, and the use of moulage (actors apply makeup and mimic the symptoms of the chemical warfare casualties). The irony of Middle Eastern countries using more humane methods than the U.S. is not lost on me. It shouldn’t be lost on you either.

            In this country, a professor at Harvard, who is also a doctor at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, has organized numerous scenarios that simulate mass casualty incidents and nerve gas attacks. Similar models are used through the U.S. to prepare personnel for mass casualty incidents in the instance of a terrorist attack. In my opinion, the U.S. military’s use of the live animals is nothing more than a terrorist attack against animals.

            To skeptics who wonder exactly how much of a problem this is, in 2007 alone, more than 5,000 live goats and 3,500 live pigs were used and killed in combat trauma training courses at Fort Sam Houston, Fort Bragg, and elsewhere. So, approximately 9,000 animals give up their lives each year, for military training purposes, when they don’t have to.

            The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has also jumped on the bandwagon by pointing out that neither the Air Force Expeditionary Medical Skills Institute’s Center for Sustainment of Trauma and Readiness Skills nor the Navy Trauma Training Center use animals for trauma training – “more proof that it is not necessary to use animals in order to teach these treatment skills.” I’d really like somebody to explain to me why the Army is so different.

            PETA has a petition that will be sent to President Barrack Obama asking him for an executive order requiring the DoD to replace the use of animals in trauma and chemical-casualty training exercises with available non-animal methods. As of this writing on September 21, 2009, I am one of 20,742 signatures on that petition. discusses the situation and links you to the petition which is actually through a cause on Facebook. The petition can be reached directly on Facebook at  PETA also has a letter online that people can sign to be forwarded to their local Congressperson. The letter can be found at

            I, of course being a writer, an attorney, a lover of all animals, a parent of three cats, and a former EMT, had to sign the letter. I took the liberty of changing and adding language to personalize it though.  

            So I ask you, if you are an animal lover go to the PETA website and sign the petition, and the letter to your Congressperson. Go to the PCRM website and read their petition and look at the videos.

            Animals are innocents without a voice. We must be that voice for them. Help me be that voice.


Falcon turns into an Eagle

August 14, 2009

  Sorry guys I know that I still haven’t finished my blog about my son Riley but this Michael Vick thing just keeps coming back.

  I’m sure that if you’ve been watching the news you’ve heard that the Philadelphia Eagles SIGNED Michael Vick. (Gasp – ‘the horror’)

  My first comment is ‘What the hell were they thinking?” No team can be in that dire straits to need Michael Vick on their bench!!! Hello you already have McNabb who is an excellent QB.

    Yeah sure Vick might have been awesome back in 2006 when he last played. Since then he’s lost his A-game. Prison will do that to you.

     I hope Reid thought about how this will impact McNabb – does he see it as a good thing? or a potential replacement?  As far as I’m concerned McNabb is one of the best players Philly has. I would be leary about making him want to leave.

  My second comment comes from another NFL story playing out in the media dealing with Plaxico Burress. Okay I’ll admit that I’m a HUGE Giants fan and I think Burress is a wonderful player that the Giants will surely miss. He’s being indicted on 2 counts of criminal possession of a weapon and is facing a MINIMUM of 3 1/2  yrs in the slammer. That’s for mistakenly shooting himself in the leg in a nightclub in NYC.  3  1/2 yrs Minimum and Vick served 23 months for what he did.

    This just goes to show you that animal cruelty cases need to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and that the penalties have to be harsher. Vick should still be sitting in a jail cell NOT on a bench on the sidelines. That is the really moral to this blog. Although I’m ranting about football the fact remains that animal cruelty does not get the ‘punishment’ it deserves. We need to fight on the state level and federal level.

     I think somebody needs to warn Philly that they better be prepared for the backlash of their actions. Philly will DEFINITELY lose fans over this.

   There’s always been a big rivalry between Giants and Eagles — this just adds to it for me. They play on Nov 1st and Dec 13th and all I can say is ‘bring it on’. If Vick does get to play (GOD FORBID) I hope whatever team they’re playing sacks the shit out of him. I’d even be okay with some injury that would keep him out for a few games if not the rest of the season.

Talk soon


NFL Comm. needs psych evaluation

July 30, 2009

   Again my blog about Riley is getting pushed off due to the urgency of this subject.  As I’ve said before, this blog is for animal lovers and as an attorney for animals I have to comment on the whole Michael Vick situation. For those of you who feel that he should be allowed to play in the NFL let’s agree to disagree. I’m climbing on my soap box again but I promise to look at it from both sides.

On the one hand, there are those who think that Michael Vick could never finish ‘repaying his debt’ to society. What he did and let be done, to those dogs was nothing short of a massacre. No amount of money or prison time is going to make up for those dogs lost lives. People say that ‘well he killed animals not people…there’s a difference.’ No IT ISN”T different. A life is a life. If he had killed that number of people instead of  dogs he would still be in jail for a long time. And he definitely wouldn’t ever be playing football again.

Others say ‘he paid his debt to society’ leave him alone and let him live his life…his livelihood is football…reinstate him. To those people I want to say ‘speaking without thinking about the impact on animals and just responding to that’ this is what I say…

To those of you who haven’t heard, Vick has been conditionally reinstated — he can’t play for the first 6 games of the season. Now he just has to find a team that will take him. Think a second about that team – say for example it was the NY Giants — (my favorite team) I’d kick Tom Coughlin’s ass myself. But I digress. You’re a parent and your 6 year old son looks up to Vick and wants to wear his jersey and be just like him when he grows up…do you really want him to be just like Vick?? No matter how much time goes by Vick is never going to get rid of this bad publicity… is he really the best role model??? A convicted felon. I think that whatever team takes him is going to suffer some severely bad publicity and lose fans over it.

I’ve never been a fan of the Atlanta Falcons but I am now and you know why?? The owner Arthur Blank tried to trade Vick (that’s like trying to get a job for someone from Enron) to no avail so he let him go. Vick’s contract with the Falcons wasn’t suppose to expire until 2013. Blank actually is fighting Vick to get some of the signing bonus money back. The point is that Blank wanted absolutely nothing to do with Michael Vick.  Blank earned himself a fan just by those actions – I am now a Falcon fan.

As for my men in blue – I’ve loved the Giants since the late 1980s and they are starting training camp on Monday in Albany at SUNY Albany and I already have my season pass for it. I love them playing this close to me, where I’m 50 ft away from them as they practice. But I have to admit even with this love, I’d have to serious consider my loyalty if they considered Michael Vick. Thankfully I think that Coughlin and the higher ups are sufficiently happy with Eli Manning so it shouldn’t effect me. But I don’t know if I could get past it.

I’ve heard some people say they are going to boycott the NFL all together. I can’t do that because I love football too much.

Another very good point that I’ve heard is that Pete Rose did a hell of a lot less and he’s still banned from baseball. Which gets me back to my title

“what the hell was NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell thinking????”

Animal Activism 101

July 26, 2009

    Keeping in line with my blog today’s entry should be all about my baby, Riley but it isn’t going to be. Today I’m going to jump on my soapbox about animal activism. Some of you might be turned off by that and I’m sorry but part of my mission in life is to improve the lives of animals everywhere in whatever way I can.

    The easy ways are: adopt from a shelter, donate to animal causes, spay or neuter all your pets etc., put a bumper sticker on your car, wear an activism shirt, become a vegetarian.

    The hard ones involve taking a stand on a topic. Doing something like joining an organization and attend their rallies, send letters to congressmen or President Obama. Volunteer at your local shelter. Make your voice heard. You have to remember that animals don’t have a voice, WE ARE THEIR VOICE. If we don’t do anything, than nobody will.

    For those of you who care about shelter animals PLEASE go to this site. It’s a wonderful site where the advertisers pay for food for animals in shelters. The amount is based on the number of ‘clicks’ on the button by visitors to the site. Each click provides .6 bowls of food. It’s It also has a section for signing petitions for various causes involving animals. I would ask every person reading this entry to please go to that site and check it out. It isn’t just about animals either, there are also links for other causes such as breast cancer, literacy, hunger etc.

    As an attorney in NYS I’m a member of the NYS Bar Assocation which has sections on a variety of topics of law as well as committees. The committee that I’ve been involved with for 4 years now is called the ‘Committee on Animals and the Law’ or CAL. We not only help people throughout NYS with animal cases, but we also refer cases to the correct people who can help them. We also have a website with a blog and resources and publications for people. I’m a member of the Legislation Subcommittee which involves us looking at proposed bills in the assembly/senate, seeing which ones we want to oppose or support and then choosing ones to do memorandums on. The memos then go to the legislature for their consideration with the bill. I’ve personally worked on bills involving penalties for leaving animals in cars in extreme temperatures; providing adequate shelter for dogs chained outside; and increasing penalties for repeat offenders of animal cruelty.

    I’m also the Chair of the Publications Subcommittee which involves us drafting and distributing a brochure on Animal Law in New York State, a biannual electronic newsletter on a variety of topics from pet trusts to international wildlife treaties. A current topic hot off the presses is the influx of people leaving animals behind in foreclosed houses. We’ve drafted tipsheets for realtors, banks, neighbors etc. and compiled a database to send the sheets via a listserve. The sheets tell people who to call and what to do to save those animals.

   Finally I don’t think any blog entry on this topic would be complete without mentioning PETA. I will grant you that sometimes I believe PETA members go a little too far at times, but their hearts are in the right place and their message is good.

    For example right now, one of their action alerts involves three hospitals that continue to use LIVE AWAKE CATS for their students to practice intubation on. You know where they push the annoying and painful breathing tube down your throat (hopefully not down your esophagus) and breathe for you. The three hospitals in question are St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Heartland Regional Medical Center and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.  

Because of pressure from PETA the University of Connecticut Health Center has stopped using live cats and gone with the simulators or dummies. If EMS can train on dummies why can’t these schools. Hell when a person is intubated during general anesthesia for surgery they AREN’T AWAKE FOR IT.

    What’s worse is that The American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) RECOMMEND using dummies instead of the live cats.

   PETA has a letter all drafted and addressed on it’s website. All you have to do is type in your name and off it goes to the individual schools. Please do things like this because that’s how things get done.

    Enough soap box for today — stay tuned for Activism 102!!

I leave you with one quote from Gandhi “the greatness of a nation and its moral progress, can be judged by the way its animals are treated” and another one from the Animal Legal Defense Fund – we’re probably the only attorneys whose clients are all innocent.

Hug an animal – you can’t help but smile 🙂