Editor’s note: This post is a Care2 favorite, back by popular demand. It was originally published on August 31, 2014. Do you have plans for Labor Day? Consider including the contributions of working animals, as well.† Animals work, too; donít they deserve to be included in Labor Day to honor their contribution to society? Typical Working Animals and their Jobs
Today we have assistance animals to help the handicapped function more independently. Dogs and even capuchin monkeys and birds have been trained to open doors, retrieve items, turn lights on and off and even microwave food for people with such severe disabilities as quadriplegia.
A pair of rats were approved by the council in Hesperia, California to serve as service animals for a woman with epilepsy.† The rats sit on her shoulders and help in controlling her seizures.
Herding dogs have been around as long as humans have been keeping sheep.† Did you know llamas also herd sheep? Seeing Eye animals include not only dogs, but miniature horses (now included in the ADA), who are trained to lead the blind through terrain. Dogs and other animals have been trained to assist the deaf.† Many animals serve as seeing eye companions for fellow animals, like donkeys Recca and CoStar.
And what about military dogs who fight alongside our brave soldiers?† War horses like Sgt. Reckless helped Americans in the Korean War. A pit bull called Stubby was honored with medals for his courageous fighting alongside soldiers in World War I.† He awoke the men during a gas attack, saving the division and caught an enemy spy by biting him and keeping him on the ground until relief arrived. Stubby was awarded the rank of Sergeant. Police dogs help with crowd control, sniffing out drugs and explosive materials.† They are also trained to find survivors and cadavers from disaster sights. Care2 Blogger Sharon Seltzer writes about ďThe Heroic Dogs of 9/11,” citing “The rescue and recovery effort at the World Trade Center was the Ďlargest deployment of search dogs in U.S. history,í according to FEMA.” Working Animals With Fewer Rights Other working animals are not as well-cared for, like carriage horses and production animals. Many large cosmopolitan cities consider carriage horses a quaint tourist attraction. The pain and suffering those horses endure day in and day out is abominable. Inhaling fumes from working nose-to-tailpipe in ferocious city traffic is a health risk for even the strongest carriage horse. Danger from noisy and sudden movement can frighten horses to the point of running into oncoming traffic, not to mention the injuries automobiles and trucks cause when colliding with a horse. Being forced to carry people in carriages during extreme weather also takes its toll.† Many animal advocates continue to protest and get laws changed to remove the carriage horse trade in cities. The growing idea of replacing horses with electric vintage vehicles is gaining popularity. Production animals on factory farms have the worst plight of all. Pigs are kept for a lifetime of continuous artificially inseminated pregnancies in gestation stalls so small the animal canít turn around or have any meaningful movement of their bodies. Pigs have the intelligence of a 3-year-old human. Mama pigs end up so frustrated they bite the bars of their cages to the point of losing their teeth.† Many show signs of clinical depression and anxiety. Think about that pain and suffering the next time you have a hankering for bacon. Iíve heard it said that cows are the foster mothers to the human race. Thatís a sweet sentiment until you realize how the cows are also kept pregnant to make them continuously lactate to in order for us to steal their milk. Their horns are burned off without the benefit of anesthesia or painkiller medication. They are fed antibiotics to prevent infection from the deplorable and filthy conditions in which they are forced to live. On concrete floors without the natural ability to graze on meadows, cows become lame and depressed.† Many suffer with a prolapsed uterus and no veterinary intervention. Chickens are made to live in a space smaller than an 8 by 11 inch piece of paper.† Never allowed to spread their wings or participate in natural chicken habits like dust bathing and foraging, the life of an egg-producing chicken is reduced to a mere 16-18 months. Fifteen years is the norm for free-ranging birds, not to mention they are stuck in a large barn without sunlight and built-up chicken excrement so extreme workers have to wear respirators to enter. Turkeys suffer much like the chickens do, living in cramped squalor. They are fed hormones to grow unnaturally large, often to the point they can no longer support their weight while walking. Slaughter is not even close to humane standards. Think about that next Thanksgiving time. Labor Day for Animals Is it so difficult to imagine the animals in our midst deserve to be remembered and honored on Labor Day?† While you celebrate your appreciation for all the service animals, why not commit to getting production animals out of their misery?† Many organizations like Mercy for Animals, Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have campaigns to end the suffering of factory farmed creatures. Join their efforts to truly show your respect for all of Godís little creatures. Contemporary Labor Day plans usually revolve around barbeques, swim parties and the like. So this year, when you host a barbecue for Labor Day, how about throwing some veggie burgers on the grill instead of hot dogs and hamburgers? Related Care2 Reading: Check Out What Service Dogs Can Do Shelter Dogs to Help Veterans Editor’s note: This post is a Care2 favorite. It was originally published on September 2, 2013.
Photo credit: all photos from Thinkstock