Meredith Calhoun- She/Her/Hers Background: Fourth Year Psychology Major and Exercise Science Minor with the intention of going to school for Physical Therapy. Contact Information: firstname.lastname@example.org
How did I get involved with IMPACT? I got involved with IMPACT last year as a participant on the winter break Ageism trip to Charleston, South Carolina. As a participant, I fell in love with IMPACT’s values and the people I served with. This year, I am so excited to be a site leader for the Animal Welfare and Advocacy spring break trip to Charleston. As a site leader, I hope to educate participants on animal welfare, provide fun service-learning opportunities, and supply resources that will continue to guide participants towards becoming active citizens within their communities.
Why am I interested in my trip focus? My interest in animal welfare and advocacy was sparked by my love and compassion for all animals. Some of the topics that I have recently become more interested in are transitioning from inhumane factory farms back to family farms and creating better standards for shelters/rescues to decide which animals are labeled as adoptable.
Fun Fact: I raise puppies for the Guide Dog Foundation :)
How did I get involved with IMPACT? I first got involved with IMPACT my sophomore year when I attended the Education Access and Awareness trip to Charlotte, North Carolina. By the end of our trip, I had fallen in love with IMPACT as an organization and everything that it stands for. I loved the idea of service learning, and IMPACT’s ability to create such a strong, unique bond amongst strangers through the act of service. I knew this was an organization I wanted to continue to be involved in. IMPACT guides students on their way to being an active citizen, and I became a site leader because I wanted to help facilitate this journey amongst other participants and give others the amazing experience that I had!
Why am I interested in my trip focus?
One of the things that’s really interesting about animal welfare is that you are advocating for a group that literally does not have a voice. Animals lack the biological ability to speak out, which makes it impossible for them to use their voice to stand up for themselves. What they do not lack is the capability of experiencing pain and pleasure. Just like humans, animals don’t deserve to be neglected or abused. Animal welfare encompasses all facets of animal health and well-being, from cruelty in the pet trade to inhumane killing in the meat industry. I hope that I can be an advocate for this community and continue to grow my perspective about this issue.
Fun fact? My guilty pleasure is fried cookie dough!
Animal Welfare & Advocacy Information
Key Terms Access : freedom or ability to obtain or make use of something Advocacy : the act or process of supporting a cause or proposal Animal Welfare:the belief that animals should be treated humanely and should not be subject to suffering Animal Rights: belief that animals deserve equal rights- life, liberty, exemption from torture, should not be used to benefit humans Species Barrier: the respect and admiration for one species of animal, but ability to eat or harm another species speciesism: inferior status given to animals which allows us to view them as objects and a means to fulfill humans’ own desires Confined Animal Feeding Operation “CAFO aka factory farm : a system of farming in which a lot of animals are kept in a small closed area, in order to produce a large amount of meat, eggs, or milk as cheaply as possible. Free-range : animals have “access to outdoors”, though the term is not regulated well Cage-free : unregulated term to imply that hens are raised in enclosed, windowless sheds Organic dairy/meat : animals raised without antibiotics or growth hormones Zoochosis : term used to explain the stereotypical but abnormal behavior of animals in captivity that is described as an invariant, repetitive behavior pattern with no apparent goal or function “no-kill” shelters : shelter saves at least 90% of its animals from euthanasia Kosher meat : meat from ruminant animals (with split hooves) that have been harvested (slaughtered) according to Jewish law Halal meat : meat that has been harvested (slaughtered) according to Islam law Vegetarianism : a diet that excludes all animal flesh (including beef, poultry, and fish) but that includes dairy and eggs Veganism : a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practical, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment Animal Testing: use of animals in labs or research to test on or experiment with, usually to see side effects before experimenting on humans or selling a product to people
Facts about Animal Welfare :
The meat and dairy industry is the largest segment of US agriculture.
U.S. meat production totaled 52 billion pounds in 2017 and U.S. poultry production totaled 48 billion pounds in 2017.
The meat and poultry industry broadly is responsible for 5.4 million jobs and $257 billion in wages, the report found. An estimated 527,019 people have jobs in production and packing, importing operations, sales, packaging and direct distribution of meat and poultry products.
American men on average eat 4.8 ounces of meat per day and women eat 3.13 ounces of meat per day.
Approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year.
Each year, approximately 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized
Roughly 100 million animals in US die due to testing yearly.
Rats, mice, birds, and cold-blooded animals aren’t counted or protected at all under the Animal Welfare Act.
A survey of the records of 4,500 elephants found that the median life span for an African elephant in a zoo was 16.9 years, whereas African elephants on a nature preserve died of natural causes at a median age of 56 years.
Animal Welfare in Athens
A consistent issues in Athens, as well as other towns, is overcrowding and understaffing of animal shelters. There are often not enough trained people to work, and overcrowding of animals can lead to the spread of disease. However, with the help of Athens Area Humane Society, the Clarke-County animal shelter has been able to make some improvements over the years. They have been able to instill new foster programs, provide certified training to staff, and initiated the Fear-Free Shelter Program to improve the emotional experiences of animals in shelters. All of this would not be possible without community partners. Athens Area Humane Society in particular is a large non-profit organization dedicated to lowering euthanasia rates in the Athens area. They care for about 5,000 animals a year, and spray and neuter 4,000 animals to get to the root of overpopulation.
Books: Loving animals: toward a new animal advocacy by: Kathy Rudy Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows by: Melanie Joy Eating Animals by: Jonathan Safran Foer Animals Make Us Human by : Temple Grandin
Intersectionality- How Animal Welfare & Advocacy Connects to Other Social Justice Issues
Animal Welfare Connected to Public Health: The book Eating Animals by: Jonathan Safran Foer discussed how factory farmed animals are fed antibiotics that could affect human health upon consumption and may cause pandemics.
Factory farmers and pharmaceuticals have teamed up to keep animals growing and alive; they have more power than health care professionals
76 milllion Americans are sick due to food that promotes antimicrobial resistance (17.8 million pounds of antibiotics are given to livestock; can be preemptive)à pandemic is coming
83% of all chicken meat (organic or free range included) is contaminated with campylobacter or salmonella at time of purchase
The book Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows by: Melanie Joy also discusses how consumption of animals is pushed for by the medical field but also how it negatively affects human health.
Meat consumption has been linked to cancers and diseases; meat is laced with synthetic hormones, antibiotics, feces, hair, bacteria, viruses, petroleum, poisoned rat carcasses, and dirt; sick and dying animals are considered ok for human consumption
Told eating meat for protein is necessary and drinking milk for calcium by doctors and advertisements, etc.
Animal Welfare Connected to Environmental Justice: Points to be noted on sea life are: commercial fishing is responsible for 70% of depletion of fish species; long nets are dragged across the ocean and catch many unwanted creatures; dynamite kills the ecosystem along with desired fish; for every pound of farm raised fish 5lbs of sea life were killed to feed the farm fish; farmed fish can get released into the ocean and cause ecological problems by spreading disease or reproducing with native fish - Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows by: Melanie Joy According to Eating Animals by: Jonathan Safran Foer, animal agriculture makes a 40% greater contribution to global warming than all transportation in the world combined and is the number one cause of climate change Documentary: “Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret is a groundbreaking feature-length environmental documentary following intrepid filmmaker Kip Andersen as he uncovers the most destructive industry facing the planet today – and investigates why the world’s leading environmental organizations are too afraid to talk about it. Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution, is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry, and is a primary driver of rainforest destruction, species extinction, habitat loss, topsoil erosion, ocean “dead zones,” and virtually every other environmental ill.” For more info: https://www.cowspiracy.com/facts
Animal Welfare Connected to Farm Worker Justice: This article discusses how factory farms have little concern for the well-being of their employees and the effects of their violent jobs. Factory farm workers have extremely high probabilities of being injured on the job due to the machinery in slaughterhouses. Being desensitized to the violence of killing animals on a mass standard pays a heavy toll on factory farm workers mental health. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/plight-of-factory-farm-workers_b_5662261 ”Workers interviewed said superiors exploit their risk of deportation and unfamiliarity of the language to induce a constant fear, pushing longer hours and harsher conditions. Most women interviewed spoke of sexual harassment and assault that they suffered at the hands of superiors” “… counties with slaughterhouses have four times the national average of violent arrest, with significantly higher rates of alcoholism, domestic abuse, child abuse and suicide.”
CHARLESTON, SC SERVICE SITE SELECTION: HOPE Acres - Helping Our Precious Equines HOPE Acres is a non-profit horse rescue and rehabilitation organization. They have been open since 2010, and provide happy and healthy lives to horses with the help of donations and volunteers. HOPE Acres nurtures and provides a home for horses until they can get adopted into a family. Their entire staff is run by volunteers, and the goal is not just to rescue horses, but also to educate the public on horse abuse in society and proper equine care. This will be IMPACT’s 7th year working with HOPE Acres.
SCORE - South Carolina Oyster Recycling and Enhancement SCORE is an oyster habitat restoration and monitoring program. Oysters are crucial to marine ecology and the economy. They provide a habitat to many animals, as well as prevent erosion. By recycling oyster shells and putting them back into the environment, oyster populations and the marine environment can be sustained. This will be IMPACT’s 5th year working with SCORE.
Center for Birds of Prey - Avian Conservation Center The Avian Conservation Center was founded in 1991, and works to address environmental issues through avian medicine, research, educational programs, and conservation. They have three centers that work towards this goal : the Center for Birds of Prey, the Avian Medical Clinic, and the South Carolina Oiled Bird Treatment Facility. The Center for Birds of Prey allows the public to view birds in their natural habitat, as well as learn about avian science and conservation. This will be IMPACT’s third year working with SCORE.
Pet Helpers Pet Helpers is a non-profit rescue and adoption center. Their mission is to end euthanasia by operating a shelter to hold animals, offering low cost spay and neuter services, and offering educational programs. Accessibility and affordability are a big part of Pet Helpers’ mission. They want to make sure that low-income neighborhoods with high rates of animal reproduction have spay and neuter services available to them. This will be IMPACT’s first year working with Pet Helpers!