Thursday, October 25, 2012

Help protect the Gray Wolf

A large, tawny gray wolf (Canis lupus) that formerly occupied diverse habitats throughout northern North America and Eurasia but now lives in fewer, more limited areas because of human encroachment. Also called timber wolf.
Wolves are highly social animals that live in family groups called packs. At the top of the food chain, they have a very important role in the ecosystem. In the years since they were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho, wolves have helped reduce an overpopulation of elk in the Park, and have kept elk from lingering undisturbed in Aspen groves and along streams. Biologists now believe this has led to the recovery of over-browsed trees and shrubs in these areas, which in turn, has helped birds, fish, beavers, moose and other wildlife find new places to call home. Gray wolves were deemed “recovered” in the N. Rockies and removed from federal protection in 2011. The restoration of this large carnivore has been one of the great success stories of the Endangered Species Act, and a remarkable example of wildlife restoration in America.

The gray wolf is the smallest subspecies and most edangered . In North America, the largest gray wolf is found in Alaska and western Canada and the smallest is found in Mexico. They weigh 50 to 90 pounds. The wolf is 4 ft. long and has a tail about 1ft. 3 inches long. Their coats can vary from black, gray, to white. The underparts and legs are a yellowish white.

Wolves can travel for hours and can run up to 20mph. The alpha wolves are dominant and generally the mother and father of the pack. The alpha wolves eat first, but the other members of the pack try to steal the food before their turn. The gray wolf is a predator of larger animals than itself, like deer, moose, and elk.

Gray wolves have strong family ties. They often mate for life. The female wolf has four to six cubs in April or May. The cubs are born after two months. We can only guess about the behavior of the wolf because humans destroy their habitat.

In 1973, the gray wolf was on the endangered species list in the U.S.A. The government said to kill the wolves. But, when the wolves went on the endangered species list the government had to change their plan.

Some reasons why the gray wolf is endangered is because they are misunderstood. A long time ago, people paid hunters to kill the wolves. This is called a bounty. The bounty lasted until 1967. 55,000 wolves killed each year between 1870 and 1877. Hunters shot them. They poisoned the wolves with strychnine and they also poisoned them with a poison compound 10 80 1080. The hunters trapped the wolves. The wolves were trapped and hunters infected them with mange which the wolf would bring back to destroy the pack later. The hunters would capture the wolves and put ropes around each of the wolves legs then pulled them off one at a time and watched them die a slow and painful death.

We can help the gray wolf by trying to understand them better. We can also help them by trying not to shoot them and not destroying their habitat. The wolves are part of the ecological system and what would happen if they weren't here?

No Reprieve in the Rockies

One year after feds strip protections, states go all-out against wolves

May marked a year since Congress made the unprecedented political move of stripping Endangered Species Act protections from wolves in the Northern Rockies—leaving Idaho and Montana in charge of managing wolves in their states. The result: Hundreds of wolves have been hunted, trapped and aerial-gunned in an aggressive attempt to undo one of conservation’s greatest success stories.

In just a year, Idaho cut its wolf population by about 40 percent, to 600 or fewer. Under the state’s plan, which was approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Idaho has permission to lower the number of wolves to fewer than 200.“It’s as though Idaho has been transported back to the 1890s—to a time when wolves were aggressively targeted for eradication,” says Suzanne Stone, Defenders’ Rocky Mountain representative. “These extreme wolf-killing policies have no place in modern-day wildlife management.” Idaho is now planning to more than double the number of wolves—to 12—that a single hunter can take in the upcoming 2012-2013 hunting season.


Defenders supporters sent more than 150,000 messages to Idaho Gov. Butch Otter, Congress and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar asking them to stop Idaho’s extreme anti-wolf policies. A big shout out to all those who spoke out on the wolf’s behalf.
Meanwhile, Montana lost more than a third of its wolf population since May, with Reuters reporting about 260 wolves killed. State officials are now moving toward an aggressive anti-wolf policy similar to Idaho’s. At press time, the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission approved a fall hunt that would eliminate quotas in nearly all hunting districts, extend the hunting season by two months into the breeding season, allow wolf trapping for the first time and permit the use of electronic calls—something that is generally not allowed for other game species.

“Caving to political pressure, Montana is basing its decision on anti-wolf rhetoric rather than science,” says Stone. “There is no justification for state officials to abandon what was once a more measured approach to wolf management. Livestock losses are at a five-year low and elk populations are above population objectives in the majority of the state.”

In Wyoming, home to about 328 wolves, federal protections have not yet been removed. But assuming they will be by fall, Wyoming officials have proposed allowing hunters to kill up to 52 wolves in a trophy game area adjacent to Yellowstone National Park. More than 30 wolves are in a zone where they can be shot on sight without a hunting license. That means about 30 percent of the wolves outside of Yellowstone are likely to be killed later this year if federal delisting of wolves in Wyoming moves forward. Their fate now rests in the hands of the Obama administration.
“Officials in these states are pursuing some of the same short-sighted, predator-control strategies that put wolves on the endangered species list in the first place,” says Jamie Rappaport Clark, Defenders’ president. “They’re treating wolves like vermin instead of managing them like valuable native wildlife. That’s not how these states manage other species like black bears and mountain lions, and it’s not a responsible way to manage wolves either.”

The wolf-kill mentality comes mostly from anti-predator residents who care more about protecting livestock and having easy hunting opportunities than safeguarding native species. But conservationists and biologists credit wolves, along with grizzlies, for helping to restore balance to an ecosystem that had been out of whack for decades because of artificially inflated elk herds, which overgrazed native vegetation.

In fact, the loss of major predators in forest ecosystems and the resulting explosion of large herbivores cripples the growth of young trees, causing stream bank erosion and reducing biodiversity by harming fisheries and other wildlife, according to a recently published Oregon State University report reviewing 42 scientific studies done over the last 50 years.

“Wolves are part of America’s wildlife heritage and play a vital role in maintaining a healthy environment,” says Clark. “States should be managing for robust, sustainable populations, not the absolute bare minimum to keep the species from going extinct. The American people made an investment in wolf recovery that continues to pay dividends in the form of tourism dollars and healthier landscapes. Studies have shown that wolf tourism brings in millions of dollars every year to the Yellowstone region. We should be building on that investment instead of undermining it.”

See personalized photos of hundreds of Defenders’ passionate and creative wolf supporters—and add your own—at

Cancer Prevention Tips to Beat the Odds

With 1 in 29 women in South Africa being diagnosed with breast cancer, it's no wonder that cancer is one of the most serious diseases women face!

That's why we wanted to share some tips from CANSA - The Cancer Association of South Africa - to help increase your odds for breast cancer prevention:

·         A breast self-examination (BSE) should be done at least once a month.

·         Get an annual mammogram or do a clinical breast examination at any CANSA Care Centre.

·         Limit alcohol consumption. Your risk goes up by 7% with each drink you have per day.

·         Follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly.

If you'd like to get more info on breast cancer prevention, visit: .You can also donate your time or cash to help further the research in fighting cancer - just like us.
Beat the odds!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Cost of a Mammogram

A friend mentioned today on Facebook that she went for her yearly mammogram and gynaecologist checkup, both just routine checkups for preventitive measures. The cost was R2046 (that is 233USD - 146GBP - 180EUR). That is excluding the pathologist costs of a further R160. Why can South African government not give each woman a free mammogram per year, the cost of a mammogram will be far less than the cost of cancer treatment itself.

Read article below about the cost of a mammogram in various parts of the world:-

In a recently published study in the journal Cancer, the authors concluded that people without health insurance who lived in rural areas were less likely to have routine health check-ups. According to the lead author, Dr Patricia Carney, “People in rural areas tend to go to the doctor only when they are ill, so they don’t get a chance to talk about cancer screening.”

Previous research that focused on people in cities showed that the rates of cancer screening were lower among the uninsured. In this recent study, 78% of rural women who lacked health insurance had not had a mammogram in the previous three years. As Dr Carney said, “If you have insurance of any kind, you are more likely to go for a health visit, and if you have a health visit, you’re more likely to be up-to-date for cancer screening.”

There are, of course, a variety of reasons why screening rates might be low. These include the distance to the nearest clinic, a lack of interest in personal healthcare and, for the uninsured or partially insured, the cost. This got us thinking: What does a mammogram cost in different parts of the world? In the brief analysis that follows, we have used exchange rates of $1.00 = £0.64 = R8.22, without taking into account purchasing power parity.

In the United Kingdom, where the National Health Service (NHS) has offered a government-sponsored breast screening service for over 20 years, almost 2 million women each year have a mammogram at a cost of $70 to the NHS. For those women with private health insurance, they can expect to pay up to $350 for a mammogram of both breasts and a further $550 if ultrasound images are also gathered. In the USA, there is an innovative service where women can search for breast imaging clinics based on where they live. In Lake Grove, New York, for example, the least expensive price for a mammogram is $210 while the most expensive is $1650.

In South Africa, at a university teaching hospital like Groote Schuur, patients are means tested. A woman earning less than $4,400 per annum would pay just $4.25 for her mammogram, while a woman whose annual salary exceeds $9,000 would pay $40. At a private Cape Town hospital, a woman would pay $120 for a breast examination that includes both mammography and ultrasound. The question we need to ask, however, is this: What is the cost of not having a mammogram?

Posted - Friday, June 29th, 2012 at 3:02 pm

What Binti Jua Knew

By Barbara J. King
Friday, August 15, 2008

A toddler falls over a railing, 24 feet down, into the gorilla enclosure of the Brookfield Zoo outside Chicago. There he lies, unconscious, among seven apes, some with poundage and power exceeding that of an adult man. As one of them approaches the boy, onlookers tense.

But Binti Jua, an 8-year-old female gorilla, picks up the boy, and, carrying him along with her own infant, gently hands him over to zoo staff.

This stunning event in 1996 earned Binti Jua global headlines (and can be seen, if in grainy video, on YouTube). It was an incident that no one who witnessed it -- in person or online -- could forget. But there was nothing about Binti Jua, or any of the chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas or orangutans that exhibit reasoning and empathy, in Russell Paul La Valle's July 27 op-ed, " Why They're Human Rights."

La Valle argued that the Spanish Parliament should not award human rights to apes, as it is considering. He opened with a throwaway line about monkeys in the circus -- and made his first mistake. First of all, monkeys' bodies are smaller than those of apes, their thinking is less complex and they are more distantly related to humans. But a far more serious error was La Valle's assertion that apes are "irrational, amoral."

In an echo of 17th-century philosopher Rene Descartes' dualism, La Valle invoked a strict dividing line between humans, who reason, and animals that rely on "instinctual, inherited knowledge of how to survive." It's clear that La Valle hasn't spent much time with apes lately -- or looking into any of the major findings by primate scientists over the past two or three decades. In expressing reasoning and empathy, Binti Jua was not unique; nor was her behavior an artifact of zoo life. Wild chimpanzees plan ahead and carry tools to work sites, where they crack open hard-shelled nuts with wood and stone hammers. They choose sides thoughtfully in ongoing competitions for status and reward friends' loyalties while exacting revenge on their enemies. When close companions suffer wounds or injuries, wild chimpanzees groom and care for them.

(This compassion by chimpanzees, it must be said, is at times matched by their outright cruelty to each other. What species does that remind you of?)

Captive orangutans modify their own gestures according to how much a human companion seems to comprehend their requests. Bonobos use a symbol-laden computer keyboard to discuss with their caretakers plans for the day, as well as to make promises about being "good."

The apes that I have described, and many more that my fellow primatologists write about, are neither irrational nor amoral. The zoologist and ethologist Frans de Waal has argued that the origins of morality can be found in our primate cousins, and my own anthropological work suggests that the evolutionary roots of today's human religiosity can be found in the ape world.

It's important to correct La Valle's misunderstanding of apes, but not because I'm a fervent supporter of legalizing rights for animals. The question is complex and arguable: whether to award rights to apes or to assume responsibility for apes' welfare. But while writers such as La Valle bandy words about and academics such as I discuss the philosophical aspects of rights, the great apes are dying.

The combined forces of poaching, diseases such as ebola fever, habitat destruction and the trade in bushmeat are killing off the apes at unprecedented rates. If we write them off as irrational and amoral animals, we will fail to grasp the depth of their suffering at the hands of our own species -- a suffering that is cognitive and emotional as well as physical.

Barbara J. King is a professor of anthropology at the College of William and Mary and is the author of "Evolving God: A Provocative View on the Origins of Religion."


Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation

The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation is a charitable organization headquartered in Short Hills, New Jersey and dedicated to finding treatments and cures for paralysis caused by spinal cord injury and other neurological disorders. It also works to improve the quality of life for people living with disabilities.

In 2002, Christopher Reeve said, “Nothing of any consequence happens unless people get behind an idea. It begins with an individual and they share the idea with more individuals…and eventually it becomes a movement.”

The Reeve Foundation was started in 1982 as a community response to a crisis that has grown into a national movement. The early pioneers who started this Foundation (originally named American Paralysis Foundation) began this work at a time when spinal cord research was considered the graveyard of neurobiology. Christopher Reeve’s injury in 1995, he became quadriplegic as a results of a horse riding accident, changed the field forever and made this one of the most promising fields in research. Dana Reeve was universally known as the model for care giving, and her legacy includes the creation of the Quality of Life program, which not only includes a grants program that has awarded over $10 million to organizations that help people living with paralysis in the here and now; but also includes our Paralysis Resource Center that has reached tens of thousands of those living with paralysis and their families with useful, often life-saving and life-changing information.

Reeve sought out the help of the APF and lent them his name and funding and eventually turned it into the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation and then the Christopher Reeve Foundation.
As of early 2006, the Foundation has awarded more than $64 million (USD) in research grants and more than $8 million in quality-of-life grants.

After Reeve's death in October 2004, his widow, Dana Reeve, assumed the role of Chair of the Foundation. Dana Reeve herself died 17 months later, in March 2006, of lung cancer after which Peter D. Kiernan, III became Chair.

On March 11, 2007, the Foundation announced that it changed its name to Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation on the first anniversary of Dana Reeve's death. The change, according to a news release by the Foundation, was to reflect the "partnership, courage and compassion of the Reeves."Peter T. Wilderotter, formerly the Vice President of Development was named the President in March 2007.[1] In the spring of 2010 The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, partnered with the Life Rolls On foundation.

South Africa hits another new record in rhino killings

Jeremy Hance - - October 18, 2012

Four hundred and fifty-five rhinos have been killed by poachers in South Africa since the beginning of the year. The number surpasses the record set last year (448) and proves that national efforts to stem poaching have not yet made a dent in actual killings. The mass killing has been spurred on by high demand for powdered rhino horn in Vietnam and China. A traditional curative in Asia, rhino horn has no medicinal properties according to scientists.

While poachers have killed 455 rhinos in the past nine-and-a-half months, increased law enforcement efforts have arrested 207 suspects linked to the black market trade.

Kruger National Park, the jewel in the crown of South Africa's park system, has become the epicenter of the rhino poaching crisis. Fifty nine percent of the rhinos killed this year were in Kruger or 272 individuals.

South Africa is home to more rhinos than any other country, which is why it has become such a target for the illegal trade. The country has around 2,000 black rhinos (Diceros bicornis) and over 18,000 white rhinos (Ceratotherium simum).

Poaching coupled with habitat loss has decimated rhino species worldwide. Four out of the world's five rhino species are considered threatened with extinction by the IUCN Red List. Three of these—the black rhino, the Sumatran rhino, and the Javan rhino—are listed as Critically Endangered. Last year saw two rhino subspecies declared extinct: the western black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis longipes) and the Vietnamese rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus annamiticus), a subspecies of the Javan rhino.


Pit Bull Puppies Poisoned At Pit Bull Awareness Event

  • by October 19, 2012 @ 4:00 pm

    Pennsylvania is not known as very animal friendly as evidenced by the legality of live pigeon shooting in the state. Now comes an alarming story of six 8-week-old pit bull puppies who were poisoned while attending a pit bull awareness event in Hollidaysburg. How’s that for irony?

    Founders of A Darrah Bull Bully Rescue (ADBBR) brought the pups to the first annual Central Pennsylvania Pit Bull Awareness Day on Saturday, October 13. At about 2:00 p.m. Renae Metz, one of the founders, noticed that one of the puppies, Yogi, looked like he was having trouble. “His stomach was bloated, he had glazy eyes and couldn’t hold his head up,” said Metz.

    Yogi was rushed to Ebensburg Animal Hospital where he died. The other five pups – Niayah, Mongy, Aramis, Deacon and Takoda – were sent to the animal hospital for observation and given IV fluids. Tragically, Takoda also died.

    A necropsy confirmed poisoning. Brittany Miller, another founder of ADBBR, spoke with me by telephone and relayed the veterinarian suspected bleach or a bleach-based product was put in the water bowls. This caused their livers to start bleeding. Two days before, the puppies were given a clean bill of health by the veterinarian.

    ADBBR is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to a conviction of the perpetrators. The money was generously donated by some of the adoptive parents, and others, with a $1,000 donation from a single person. Both the Pennsylvania State Police and the State Dog Warden are actively investigating this poisoning.

    All of the surviving puppies have been approved for adoptive homes. Media coverage brought numerous applications. Niayah, Aramis, Deacon and Mongy are all back in their foster homes awaiting final adoption. Brittany told me the veterinarian wants to wait a little longer to spay/neuter because of the poisoning. He wants to ensure it is totally out of their systems before surgery.

    Understanding Bully Breeds

    ADBBR rescues all bully breeds — from Rottweilers to bulldogs and pit bulls. They are dedicated to educating the public about bully breeds. Did you know in the early twentieth century pit bulls used to be called “nanny dogs” because they were so dedicated to protecting the young children of their household?

    It’s important to understand that any dog has the potential to bite humans.

    Without proper socialization as a puppy within a loving home, any dog can become aggressive. If a dog – any breed – is raised to be violent you have the possibility of aggression causing harm to humans and/or other animals.

    It is also imperative that people — especially children — be taught humane education and the proper way to interact with unfamiliar dogs and other animals. According to the American Humane Association (AHA), of the 4.7 million estimated dog bites each year almost 800,000 require medical intervention. Fifty percent of the attacks were on children under the age of 12.

    Many townships have passed breed-specific legislation (BSL) but this only serves to provide a false sense of security, because any dog can become aggressive. BSL is expensive and often poorly-enforced, therefore providing little protection to the general public from dog bite incidents.

    The AHA reports 25 different breeds of dogs were involved in 238 fatal dog attacks in the U.S. and sites “responsible breeding and ownership, public education and enforcement of existing laws are the most effective ways of reducing dog bites.”

    Check out events for the 6th National Pit Bull Awareness Day, being held this year on October 27.
    So yes, that adage “it’s the deed, not the breed” is something we should all be aware of.
    Take a look at some photos of the poisoned puppies Brittany Miller shared with me.

    Read more:

  • Whoopi Goldberg Honored By Lupus Foundation Of America

    October 22, 2012

    Whoopi Goldberg, physician and renowned researcher Dr. Michael Lockshin, and humanitarians Judith and Wayne Barlin were honored for their work to improve the lives of people with lupus, at the Lupus Foundation of America's annual Butterfly Gala in New York City on October 18.

    Other special guests at the Gala included multi-talented musician, philanthropist and photographer Julian Lennon, actor S. Epatha Merkerson, music producer Phil Ramone, and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Saks Fifth Avenue, Stephen I. Sadove. Actor Phylicia Rashad served as the Master of Ceremonies.

    Four-time Grammy award winner India.Arie inspired and moved the crowd with a performance of her song There’s Hope: a salute to the honorees and the hope they bring to people with lupus.

    Lennon and Merkerson presented Goldberg with the 2012 National Public Awareness Award for her work to increase public awareness of issues touching the lives of women and children, including lupus. Dr. Michael Lockshin, one of America’s most preeminent doctors and lupus researchers, received the National Leadership Award for Lupus Medical Advancement. Dr. Lockshin is Director of the Barbara Volcker Center for Women and Rheumatic Disease and Professor of Medicine and Obstetrics-Gynecology at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

    Judith and Wayne Barlin received the Lupus Foundation of America Family of the Year Award for making possible more than $1.5 million in support for pediatric lupus research and for establishing the Michael Jon Barlin Pediatric Research Fund. The Barlins also developed a college scholarship program for young people with lupus. The Barlins’ son, Michael Jon, passed away from lupus in his early 20s.

    The Gala seeks to focus attention on lupus, an autoimmune disease that affects 1.5 million Americans, mostly women of childbearing age. Although lupus can be fatal and can rob a person of their most productive years, it does not share the high profile of other diseases.

    “The challenges we face to make lupus one of the top national health priorities do not daunt us,” said Peter Schwab, chair of the Lupus Foundation of America’s National Board of Directors. “We remain steadfast in our mission to advance lupus research and, just as importantly, provide education and support to those with the disease as well as to further raise awareness of this significant health threat.”

    The Lupus Foundation of America’s New York City Butterfly Gala is the companion event to the Foundation’s National Butterfly Gala held each year in Washington, DC. The Butterfly Galas raise awareness about lupus and generate critical funding for research, education, and advocacy for people with lupus.

    Read more:

    California Landlords Can’t Require Pet Mutilation

  • by October 21, 2012 @ 1:00 pm

    Landlords have been forcing tenants to mutilate their cats and dogs if they want to rent apartments. Fortunately, California is making them stop.

    Until recently, landlords could require tenants to declaw their cats and devocalize their dogs. These are not trivial procedures, but serious operations that agonize the animals and have lasting negative effects.


    “Declawing is actually an amputation of the last joint of your cat’s ‘toes,’” not just a fingernail trim, according to veterinarian Christianne Schelling. “It is a painful surgery, with a painful recovery period.”

    Declaw surgery exposes cats to the risks of general anesthesia and complications of the surgical procedure, which include bleeding, infection, lameness, nerve damage, gangrene, extensive tissue damage, and death,” the Paw Project explains.

    Declawing cats makes them vulnerable to predators if they spend time outdoors or escape from their homes. Their claws are “their primary means of defense” and also help them escape to safety by climbing trees. Deprived of their claws, cats can become fearful and withdrawn.

    Cats also use their claws for balance, and to exercise and stretch their muscles by digging into a surface “and pulling back against their own clawhold — similar to isometric exercising for humans,” according to Without their claws they cannot exercise and stretch properly, which “can cause back pain” and other physical problems.

    Amputating the first joint of a cat’s toes is such a drastic, painful surgery that at least 25 countries have banned it, including England, France, Switzerland, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand and Israel.

    Presumably landlords who require declawing believe that it will protect their property. But even if a cat with claws does cause property damage, for example by scratching a rug, repairs can be paid for out of the tenant’s security deposit. Money doesn’t justify the damage and suffering this mutilation causes defenseless creatures.


    Devocalizing dogs is also radical and inhumane. It is the cutting or removal of a dog’s vocal cords. The surgery can substantially decrease a dog’s quality of life, without offering any benefit to the dog. It can make dogs gag on food and even water. Scar tissue can make it hard for devocalized dogs to breathe.

    People subject dogs to this cruelty for their own convenience. Some breeders routinely devocalize all of their dogs so that neighbors don’t complain about noise. Dogfighters and hoarders may devocalize dogs to hide their cruel and illegal activities. Some show dog exhibitors choose to silence their dogs to keep them “quiet in transit between shows or in the ring.”

    Landlords who require tenants to subject their dogs to devocalization probably hope that it will reduce noise complaints from other tenants. Training dogs when they should not bark can achieve the same effect without causing suffering and even death. Addressing the reasons for a dog’s frequent barking is even better: the most common causes are “Loneliness, boredom and distress,” according to Pat Miller, a certified dog behavior consultant and past president of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers.

    Devocalization is entirely illegal in Massachusetts and New Jersey.

    Kudos to California for not making residents choose between shelter and their companion animals’ health, safety and wellbeing.

    Read more:

  • Movember 2012 – Knowledge is Power and the Moustache is King

    We are open for business, come on in and join our family! Movember, the Global Men’s Health charity initiative staged annually during November, has launched the 2012 campaign and registrations are now open.

    This will be the 3rd year that South African men and women register and support the Global charity that is ‘Changing the Face of Men’s Health’, which sees men grow moustaches for 30 days during November in order to raise awareness and funds for CANSA’s prostate and testicular cancer programmes and initiatives.

    Movember Supports CANSA’s Men’s Health Programme

    Over the past two years, Movember has paid homage to the Modern Gentleman and Country Gentleman, exploring his appreciation and penchant for luxury items, etiquette, craftsmanship, pride and honour. In 2012, Movember gets down to the raw hard truths of the past two years,taking a look, quite simply, at what it means to be a better man. 2012 is the year of Movember & Sons.

    In 2011, the campaign had close to 18 000 men (known as Mo Bros) and women (known as Mo Sistas) registered as active participants and R4.9 million was raised for the local men’s health partner, namely CANSA.

    Founded in Melbourne, Australia, in 2003, Movember enjoyed 856 000 Mo Bros and Sistas, registered from 14 countries in 2011, raising over R949 million last year alone. In 2012, Movember will launch in a further 7 countries, increasing the number to 21 countries participating in the campaign. This has resulted in Movember being one of the single biggest contributors to prostate cancer research globally through their GAP (Global Action Plan) initiative – which has already achieved remarkable outcomes and breakthroughs.

    Mo Bros and Sistas are asked to register – for free – on the South African landing page of, where participants can also post and chronicle their moustache journey and | or support their favourite ‘moustache merchants’ on their respective Mo Space pages. Mo Bros and Sistas who have registered previously are required to re-register in order to participate in the 2012 campaign. There are a few new additions to this year’s campaign including various challenges within communities and industries participating in the campaign.

    Those who have already pledged their support, vowed to grow a moustache and join the Movember conversation include Springboks Andries Bekker, Frans Steyn and Dean Greyling.

    Movember Partners

    • Major partners to this year’s Movember campaign include OUTsurance, who has committed that registered Mo Bros and Mo Sistas who call in for a free life insurance quote will receive R200 donated to their Mo Space Pages.
    • Low cost airline kulula, will allow registered Mo Bros and Mo Sistas who book and fly with the airline an additional bag (or 20kg’s luggage) and free access to the SLOW Lounges during the month of Movember.
    • Clover, as promotional partner, will donate a portion of sales of all Clover Mmmilk products over this period to the campaign.

    Register Now!

    To register and find out more visit

    Paul McCartney Supports Campaign To Save Sea Turtles

    October 21, 2012

    Sir Paul McCartney has lent his support for a campaign to save sea turtles from being farmed for food in the world’s last commercial farm in the Cayman Islands.

    He announced his support last week with a news story on his website, calling for fans to support the World Society for the Protection of Animals' (WSPA) campaign to stop sea turtle farming at the Cayman Turtle Farm, in the Cayman Islands.

    McCartney tweeted: “There is no humane way to farm sea turtles. Support @WSPA campaign to #stopseaturtlefarming” adding on his official Facebook page: “the Cayman Turtle Farm is the last place on Earth that breeds endangered sea turtles for food.”

    An investigation conducted by WSPA has revealed disturbing evidence of animal cruelty, along with massive conservation and financial failures at the Cayman Turtle Farm.

    Despite marketing itself as a conservation focused tourist attraction, the Cayman Turtle Farm is the world’s last remaining facility that commercially raises sea turtles for slaughter and consumption.
    Some 7,000 endangered sea turtles – accurately portrayed in Finding Nemo as peaceful animals that travel thousands of miles across oceans – have been effectively immobilized and stockpiled in filthy, tiny tanks for so long that they have begun to cannibalize each other.

    The shocking images documented during WSPA’s investigation show widespread problems at the tourist attraction that also commercially factory farms thousands of turtles for human consumption under the banner of sea turtle conservation.

    Stress from overcrowding turns these gentle animals into cannibals and WSPA staff saw turtles with fins entirely chewed away. In-breeding causes turtles to be born with massive deformities, such as no eyes; these young animals have no chance at life at all.

    WSPA Wildlife Campaign Leader Dr Neil D’Cruze said: "The farm itself reports that demand for turtle meat has halved, possibly due to waning interest. The galling backdrop to this large-scale suffering is that of the 31,000 turtles the farm says it has released since 1968, only 133 have been released in the last five years and in over 40 years only 11 farm-tagged turtles have actually made it back to the beach to nest.

    McDonald's bloody burger kills appetite

    Monday, October 22, 2012

    All That Is Bitter and Sweet by Ashley Judd

    Ashley Judd is an award-winning film and stage actor known for her roles in both box-office hits and art-house gems, and the daughter and sister of country-music royalty. In 2002, drawing on a deep well of empathy forged by a painful childhood, she found her true calling: as a humanitarian and advocate for those suffering in neglected parts of the world.

    Asked why she was opting out of a successful career, walking away while she was one of the highest-paid women in Hollywood, Ashley herself could not provide an answer. She simply knew that after her first trip to the notorious brothels, slums, and hospices of southeast Asia, her own life depended on advocating on behalf of the vulnerable. Promising each new sister, “I will never forget you,” Ashley began writing extraordinary diaries—on which this memoir is based—expanding her capacity to relate to, and to share with a global audience, stories of survival and resilience.

    Along the way, Ashley realized that the coping strategies she had developed to deal with her own emotional pain, stemming from childhood abandonment, were no longer working. Seeking in-patient treatment in 2006 for the grief that had nearly killed her, Ashley found not only her own recovery and an enriched faith but an expanded kit of spiritual tools that energized and advanced her feminist social justice work.

    Now in this deeply moving and unforgettable memoir, Ashley Judd describes her odyssey, as a left-behind lost child attains international prominence as a fiercely dedicated advocate. Her story ranges from anger to forgiveness, isolation to interdependence, depression to activism. In telling it, she resoundingly answers the ineffable question about the relationship between healing oneself and healing others.

    Friday, October 19, 2012

    How to get your own activist page for fundraising projects


    How GivenGain Works

    GivenGain is the place for global philanthropy. We're known primarily for two things:


    We call our philanthropists, fundraisers, and opinion leaders Activists. Some of them give money, others give advice, and a brave few create fundraising projects.

    Dolly the blind Pit Bull

    Dolly is a 6 year old female pit bull. She came to our shelter on October of 2009, because she was scheduled to be euthanized at the local city pound. She was the perfect candidate to be put down, because she was blind; her head was cracked with a baseball bat; she had possible brain damage; her right ear was almost hanging off, and was apparently lit on fire judging by the burns and scabs on her body.

    Hers is not really a unique story in animal rescue, but she is possibly the sweetest creature I’ve ever encountered – especially after what she’s been through. She’s so innocent that I’m sure she thought she must have been a bad girl and deserved to be punished.  She has ZERO aggression, and actually adores any type of human interaction. She also lacks the ability to frown. What I mean is that from the moment she awakens to the time she goes to bed at night, she has the most genuine beaming smile.

    She also loves to play with other dogs after she has the opportunity to meet them and determine that they play fair, since she can’t see. When a person or canine that she knows enters her room, she immediately starts to buck like a deer, twirl and frolic like a puppy. We have a volunteer who recently had a death in the family, who relies on playing with her every day. He calls her a life saver, and actually she would probably qualify to be a therapy dog.

    We had her spayed and her head, ears and body are long healed, but the blow(s) to the head seemed to have affected her sight permanently. Regardless, my volunteer is going to adopt her, since he has permission to take her to work!! -- Robert


    Dolly's story has a happy ending thanks to the volunteers who rescued her and treated her for her injuries. It is important to remember that Dolly is one of many animals who fall victim to abuse at the hands of humans.

    Great Spirit