It’s Not Okay To Judge People Who Buy Puppies From Pet Stores

I am a self-proclaimed dog enthusiast. I was born second to a beautiful German Shepherd named Greta, who was part of a six-litter family, her mother owned by our next-door neighbor. She didn’t so much take to strangers and despite her somewhat hostile demeanor, lived twelve blissful years. I have since owned two other dogs–Bruce, a lazy Beagle who went to my sister when I left for university, and Charley, a nine-year-old retriever-spitz who can no longer take on my wretched staircase.

Charley is a rescue, and granted, I get a lot of praise for taking on an ill senior dog. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a commendable thing. Special needs animals demand a hell of a lot more time and attention. I often hear that “Every dog deserves a second chance.” So why don’t pet store animals seem to have the same privilege?

Puppy mill rescues are often highly commended because dogs are mishandled, most ending up with diseases like Parvo and distemper. Many of these animals end up in Petcos across the nation, and yet potential owners are discouraged from purchasing them by animal rights groups.

Understandably, a rise in the pet store market will keep puppy mills in business. But what is the distinction between “rescuing” an animal from a mill and “rescuing” an animal from a pet store?

Perhaps the issue doesn’t lie with where an animal comes from, but rather, in responsible breeding. People often turn to pet stores due to the variety of breeds they boast. While it wouldn’t be impossible, finding a “trendier” dog (such as a Pug or French Bulldog) wouldn’t be a likely scenario at a shelter.

Puppy millers make it their business to achieve two things: quantity and diversity. More breeds, higher interest. More puppies, higher income. And in certain climates, breed does matter. Huskies, for example, who are naturally thick-maned, are not likely to thrive in tropical countries, whereas smaller breeds with shorter fur (such as the Chihuahua) would suffer in areas with harsh winters.

Breeders need to eliminate the notion of breeding smart and instead breed native. I had once been sent a collection of charts matching particular breeds to their domestic origins and–spoiler alert–Huskies hail from Russia.

Allergies, which affect 30% of adults and 40% of children, also remain to be an issue for those seeking a suitable pet. More often than not, a person with severe allergies will have very limited to no choices at a shelter–in fact, some dogs remain longtime residents at local pounds because their owner had allergies.

Like most pressing issues that circulate, the puppy mill epidemic demands awareness. We need to see an influx in pet owners who are well-educated in Pets 101.

Stop supporting notoriously bad breeders. One simple reason for their existence? Owners who refuse to pay full-price for a puppy birthed and raised with care. The whole “you get what you give” thing? Totally applicable.

Spay and neuter your pets and know when you are ready for another one. Contemplating a new addition to the family may be easy when your dog is in heat. But what happens when your single new addition turns out to be five puppies over?

Report abuse. We can’t singlehandedly shut down all the world’s puppy mills, but we can attack the problem from its source.

Free yourself from judgment. Don’t attempt to sway a person from his or her decisions. You may find yourself barking up the wrong tree, pun fully intended.

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Crickets For Dinner Anyone?

I, more than the rest of my family, am adventurous with my meals. Spicy, sweet, or made with unique ingredients, it’s likely I’d never be put off from trying something new. “Little-Food” in Brussels, which promotes cricket-infused dishes, is definitely something I’m checking off my bucket list.

Eating crickets is significantly better for the environment, often touted as a valuable solution to food shortages and a way of combating the negative environmental effects of meat production.

Little-Food sells all kinds of crickets.

Little-Food sells the crunchy crickets in grocery shops and serves them up in a variety of flavours, including garlic and tomato. The insects can even be turned into flour and used as a protein rich ingredient for baking.

According to Little-Food cricket breeder Nikolaas Viaene, crickets that produce the same amount of protein that a single cow does requires less food, less water, and produces much less greenhouse gases.

Looks like it’s time to leave our comfort zones for a bit more crunch. Would you give cricket pizza a try?

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Have A Drink At The UK’s Only Pub And Zoo

I have grown up with zoos. I was the first in my class to see a panda which, according to my first-grade teacher, is the world’s most useless animal. Zoos were easily my go-to when my parents suggested a trip out of town. I have spent birthdays with apes, celebrated good grades with camels, and graduated with giraffes. As an adult, while my fondness of zoos has remained, I’d prefer to stare at zebras with a glass of wine in hand. At the Fenn Bell Inn in the U.K., you can do just that!

The pub zoo, in St Mary Hoo, Kent, is the brainchild of landlord and animal lover Andy Cowell.

Mr Cowell took over the pub in 2014 and housed his collection of exotic animals in the garden.

Now he has opened his zoo to the public, who will be able to see four different breeds of monkeys, genets (an African wild cat), meerkats, lemurs, birds of prey, raccoons and South American coatis.

While many of the animals at Fenn Bell, who are rejected from various keepers, are given a second shot at a comfortable life, keeping them doesn’t come cheap. Weekly upkeep hits around £700–or 233 pints of beer!

So what are you waiting for? Book a trip and treat yourself to a pint of draft beer. After all, you’d probably be paying for a parrot’s next meal!

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One Tree With The Power Of Hundreds

Want to save the world? Plant more trees. While it is perfectly good advice, it’s an exhausted tirade–hardly anyone does it. So should we give up? German startup Green City Solutions, which has recently come out with the CityTree, certainly doesn’t think so.

The CityTree is not a tree per se, but actually a densely packed moss culture, vertically housed in an unit that blends in with its urban surroundings.

In an area of 3.5 square metres, the CityTree does the equivalent job of 275 trees of filtering the air of fine dust, nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide.

Now that’s impressive. But why use moss? And how exactly does the CityTree work?

“Moss cultures have a much larger leaf surface area than any other plant. That means we can capture more pollutants.”

The installation powers itself through its solar panels, and rainwater is collected and automatically redistributed using a built-in irrigation system. Sensors can be added so that data can be collected on the CityTree’s performance.

The CityTree also serves as an analog billboard, if its environmental functions haven’t impressed quite enough. Units have been installed in Oslo, Paris, Brussels, and Hong Kong, with plans to expand to India and Italy, as well as the Americas.

Now, if only I could fit a CityTree in my apartment.

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Surgical Robot Is Ridiculously Fast

There is much debate as to whether certain jobs should be handed over to artificial intelligences or remain to be carried out by a human workforce. Human error plays a huge role in why most industries choose to replace employees with machines. Researchers from the University of Utah are helping to minimize these risks with a new robot that can complete complicated procedures up to 50 times quicker than its human counterparts.

The robot can reduce the time it takes to drill into the skull from two hours to two-and-a-half minutes.

The robot is guided around vulnerable areas of the skull by data gleaned from CT scans and entered into the robot’s programming.

The CT scans show the programmer the location of nerves or veins that the bot will have to avoid.

Not only is the machine less prone to erring, it is also cutting surgery costs, as shorter surgeries are cheaper. While robotic surgeons are mostly prototypes, the day they become the norm doesn’t seem too far off.

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Living Green: The House That Produces Its Own Power

I’ll admit–every now and then I forget my recycling and leave the tap running while I’m brushing my teeth. I don’t use solar power and love my air-conditioning, but make a conscious effort to run errands on my bike. More often than not, the reason many people fail to live a more sustainable lifestyle is due to one thing–time, or a lack of it. But the HouseZero project is aiming to ease our load by making households ultra-efficient.

The performance goals set forth for HouseZero include: zero carbon emissions, including the materials; 100% natural ventilation and daylight autonomy; and near-zero energy use for heating and cooling.

Too good to be true? I hope not. HouseZero even claims that all its goals will be met without materially or visually affecting a house’s appearance.

There are more than 14 million homes like the one being retrofitted in this project across the United States, and the success of HouseZero will hopefully inspire more retrofits like it.

Ali Malkawi, director of the Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities, suggests that the solution lies not in energy production, but in energy reduction.

To further diminish your carbon footprint, moderate your demands.

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Turning Trash Into Fashion

With a steady rise in global population comes an undeniable increase in waste. Seeing a rapid decline of resources, we are constantly on the hunt for a more sustainable lifestyle–and that includes recycled fashion! Eco-friendly firm “Miniwiz” is encouraging households and industries to ‘upcycle’, or reuse materials creatively.

Most of fashion’s assumed pollution problem comes from its supply chain and its materials. It can take more than 20,000 liters of water to produce a single kilo of cotton.

Recycling regular household and industry goods could offer another sustainable model for a broader range of fashion companies.

A plastic gown wouldn’t bother me if it made me look like a queen.

Exhibitionists of traveling show “Gardening the Trash” have also taken a new perspective on trash.

“We used to look at waste as a problem, but it actually is an opportunity, and it takes all the knowledge of the community. Trash is now the new medium to do things differently.”

“We want to shape and create the dimensional effect, to demonstrate trash is a material with a lot of possibilities,”

The fashion world is becoming more well-versed in the likes of renewable energy and recycling, without faltering in style. The H&M Conscious Collection, Freedom of Animals, and Kowtow are just a few brands that have hopped onto the sustainable train. So quit the fur and leather and opt for something more environmentally friendly. After all, rabbits are much cuter in action.

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Can Pig Brain Cells Treat Parkinson’s?

If you’ve ever seen “Splice” you can probably assume that the incorporation of animal DNA into human bodies is slowly becoming a reality. Zebrafish compounds have been used to manage metabolism. Squalamine in sharks have cured infectious diseases. Now, brain cells from pigs are being implanted into humans in the hopes of treating Parkinson’s Disease.

New Zealand biotech company Living Cell Technologies has developed a treatment for Parkinson’s disease using choroid plexus cells from pigs.

“It’s putting in a little neurochemical factory to promote new nerve cell growth and repair,”

While Living Cell Technologies have yet to see how this new technique stacks up to already existing treatments, they are hopeful for its success.

Assuming this treatment is effective, it may be extended to treat other neurological disorders such as Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s.

Successful treatments for Parkinson’s disease could help millions of people — up to one million in the U.S., and an estimated seven to 10 million around the world. About 60,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with Parkinson’s annually.

Parkinson’s Disease sees the gradual loss of dopamine-making brain cells. Many cases of Parkinson’s remain mostly undetected.

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Skirt-Wearing Schoolboys Protest No-Shorts Policy

If you’ve ever attended an all-girls Catholic private school, the one-inch-above-the-knee rule is about as real as you can get. Your dress determined your principles, and if you were a millimeter of par, you may as well have been publicly shunned. While I didn’t exactly have the guts to protest my long, itchy skirt against a horde of nuns, these schoolboys from Isca Academy in Exter sure did.

School boys from the Isca Academy in Exeter opposed to their school’s no-shorts policy responded by showing up in the school’s dress code-approved (but reserved for girls) tartan skirts.

For the last five days British citizens have suffered through a sizzling heatwave, and yesterday’s temperature beat record for the hottest day in 41 years.

The skirt-wearing demonstration was prompted by call center agent Joey Barge who, after breaking office dress code by wearing shorts, returned the next day in a dress code-approved dress. As incredible acts should, Joey’s endeavor went viral.

The Exeter boys’ protest encouraged headteacher Aimee Mitchell to adjust the dress-code policy accordingly.

“Shorts are not currently part of our uniform for boys, and I would not want to make any changes without consulting both students and their families,” she said. “However, with hotter weather becoming more normal, I would be happy to consider a change for the future.”

With summer easing in, wear out all the shorts in your wardrobe. And in the process, maybe break some gender constructs too.

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After 20 Years 132-Year-Old Lobster Finally Free

I am a sucker for contemporary Good Samaritan tales. Just a few days ago, a video of firefighters rescuing a tiny kitten from inside a PVC pipe plagued social media and left me sifting through YouTube for clips of passers-by saving animals caught in conundrums. Most recently, Butch Yamali of Peter’s Clam Bar in Hempstead paid it forward to a 132-year-old lobster named Louie.

“Today I’m announcing an official pardon for Louie the Lobster,” announced Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony Santino. “Louie may have faced a buttery fate on a seafood lover’s plate, but today we are here to return Louie to a life that is better down where it’s wetter,”

Prior to his release, someone had offered to pay a hefty sum of $1,000 for Louie to be the star of his Father’s Day dinner. Yamali politely declined, claiming Louie was more like a pet.

Having lived 112 years in the Atlantic beach reef, experts deem that Louie will have no trouble adapting to a life in the wild.

“He’ll be just fine. There aren’t many predators who want to eat a big old lobster like that,” says Bob Bayer, executive director of the Lobster Institute in Maine. “Hopefully, he finds a mate – and lives happily ever after.”

Now, why don’t we talk about freeing up Louie’s buddies?

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