Tag Archives: animal rights

Animals Can Fly in Style, Too

In today’s blog, Julian Omidi discusses JFK Airport’s plans for an exciting new animal facility.

If you’ve ever had to travel with animals, you probably already know it’s a hassle. However, this may soon be a thing of the past. New York’s JFK airport has announced plans to open a 178,000 square foot facility specifically designed to accommodate animals of all kinds. The rules for traveling with animals generally involve a mandatory quarantine to prevent bringing contagious diseases into the country, and the new facility will be able to shelter animals during this period—hay-lined stalls for cattle and horses, an aviary, and holding pens for smaller animals.

The $48 million facility is to be called The ARK, and will open next year. The ARK will also accommodate specifically to dog owners in collaboration with Paradise 4 Paws, and will include a luxury resort with splashing pools, dog masseuses, flat screen TVs, and “pawdicures.” Cornell University veterinarians will also run a 24-hour clinic in the facility, which caters to all animals.

ARK architect Cliff Bollman claims that their design process “is in collaboration with veterinarians and consultants to help minimize the amount of stress placed on the animal.” The facility is even helpful for owners of animals that do not need to be quarantined, which will be held safely at The Ark until their owner picks them up upon arrival.

The cleverly-named facility is projected to have the capacity to house over 70,000 animals per year. The ARK will be especially popular with owners of animals competing in shows, such as horses, as it is the first luxury animal travel facility of its kind in the world. However, it won’t be cheap: for example, some dog suites may cost their owners upwards of $100 per night.

Hopefully The ARK will open next year with success, and may even pave the way for similar, more affordable facilities in travel hubs around the world.

Be good to each other,

Julian Omidi

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Animal Tracking in the Serengeti

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In today’s blog, Julian Omidi discusses animal extinction and how we can get involved in stopping it.

Animal extinction is a global issue that doesn’t get discussed enough. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, literally dozens of species are going extinct every day—and it’s mostly our fault. Human activities over the past century have caused a shocking number of consequences for animals, the most significant being global warming and habitat loss. It’s even more important than ever to raise awareness and involvement in order to slow these alarming rates of extinction.

One group found a rather creative way to do this– through photography.

Between June 2010 and May 2013, a research team led by Alexandra Swanson set up over 200 cameras in Serengeti Park of Tanzania. Their goal was to capture the lives of endangered species that would be difficult to photograph in the presence of humans, so the cameras were mounted on trees or other still objects. They incorporated both motion and heat sensors so that when an animal was near, the camera would be triggered automatically.

As a result, more than 1.2 million sets of photos were captured during this time. The research team was obviously quite overwhelmed by the sheer volume of images they’d have to start sorting through, so they asked an online “citizen science” portal called Zooniverse to help.

Here’s how it works: anyone, even without a background in science or zoology, can log on to this website and register to help with the Snapshot Serengeti project—or a number of others, which cover nature, wildlife, climate, humanities, and even space! Zooniverse uses an algorithm to narrow down the species of the animal photographed based on a number of characteristics that the user can select.

With the help of Zooniverse and 28,000 citizen volunteers from all over the world, Swanson’s team was able to make successful identifications of 48 different species as of last week, many of which are classified as endangered. The project is still open, so I encourage you to try making some identifications of your own! It’s a fun way to make a difference and learn about rare species of animals.

Be good to each other,

Julian Omidi

Julian Omidi is a philanthropist and co-founder of the non-profit organization, Animal Support.

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Antibiotics and Animal Welfare

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In today’s blog, Julian Omidi discusses the rights of animals in the livestock production sector.

The “five freedoms” of animal welfare

In 1965, the UK government commissioned a report on the welfare of animals being raised as livestock. The results contained a list of five freedoms that all animals should be given when under human control, and was subsequently adopted by animal rights organizations around the world as a constitution of sorts. The freedoms are as follows:

  1. Freedom from Hunger and Thirst
  2. Freedom from Discomfort
  3. Freedom from Pain, Injury, or Disease
  4. Freedom to Express Normal Behavior
  5. Freedom from Fear or Distress

Are big businesses finally coming around to furthering animal rights?

Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club issued press releases late last week that have captured the attention of both the media and animal welfare activists: a promise to abide by these five freedoms in order to enforce the humane treatment of farm animals, and improve the sustainability of the resulting food products.

It’s a move that echoes recent statements from the likes of Perdue, Tyson, and McDonalds—to name just a few.

Is this a genuine effort to facilitate a positive change in the retail industry, or just a strategic PR move to shift attention away from questionable labor practices in the past decade? Regardless of intent, at least it’s a step in the right direction. Corporate transparency is certainly one way to hold institutions accountable for what might be happening behind the scenes. This brings to mind countless past animal abuse scandals– and the resulting popularity of documentaries that made attempts to expose them.

One positive result of this decision is a widespread awareness of the harm that human antibiotics have on animals. Your average Joe may not be familiar with the Five Freedoms or the ASPCA, but he sure recognizes the phrases “Save money. Live better” and “I’m lovin’ it.” The initiative for antibiotic-free animals is becoming increasingly relatable for Americans, and I hope to see the trend continue.

Be good to each other,

Julian Omidi

Julian Omidi is a philanthropist and a co-founder of Animal Support, a nonprofit organization that exists to further animal rights around the world.

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Gallup poll Finds Americans want more Protection for Animals

In today’s entry, Julian Omidi discusses a new Gallop poll that suggests Americans are increasingly favoring equal rights for animals.

Gallup recently released a poll that showed citizens in the US want more protection for animals. The company began asking a series of three statements to rate how people responded in 2003:

  • Animals deserve the same rights as people
  • Animals deserve some protection
  • Animals don’t need much protection

From 2003 to 2015, those that stated “animals don’t need much protection” remained consistent at only 3%. However, the response “animals deserve the same rights as people” has increased over the years. In 2008, those that felt animals should have equal rights as humans was at 25%. That response has increased to 32% making the national opinion a 7% increase. That means, more people believe that animals should have equal rights as humans.

The findings showed that this response crossed gender, age and political orientation. From 2008 to 2015, there was a rise in the number of men, women, democrats, republicans and ages 18 to 50+. Meaning, Americans as a whole want better rights for animals.

The poll also addressed environments where animals should have better treatment. This included amusement parks, research facilities, sporting events as well as others. A majority of the people were either somewhat concerned or very concerned about the treatment of animals in professional settings.

This shift is a small victory in the treatment of animals. It is good to see that Americans are becoming increasingly concerned with the rights of animals. The more the majority opinion can transform, the more likely animals will obtain more protection and better treatment by society as a whole.

If you are concerned about the well-being of animals, do your part. Advocate for better treatment of animals by joining groups, writing your representatives and voicing your stance online. The more we can share information and reach other people the further we can advance the wellness of animals throughout our country and the world.

Be good to each other,

Julian Omidi

Julian Omidi is the co-founder of Animal Support. He advocates for the fair treatment of animals around the world.

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