Saturday, July 31, 2010

Convention Update....

A view of Atlanta from my hotel room. The hotel is round so every room has a pretty good outlook. Then off to the pool.

House of Delegates meeting on Friday.  Then the opening session first thing Saturday and some continuing education on animal behavior and the pet fish trade.

Hit the exhibitor's floor. The Wiley-Blackwell booth has two copies of the Sciences of Animal Welfare. Quick, somebody buy them!

Came across the Atlanta Flatiron building, five years older than the one in Manhattan.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Convention Approacheth

As mentioned on the AVMA at Work blog I will be at the AVMA Convention from Thursday night until Tuesday afternoon. Thus my newly resurrected blog will be afflicted with convention chatter. You may be spared pictures as I cannot work out where my camera has gone.

For the purposes of 'facilitating networking' with any of you who might be at the convention, we (in the Animal Welfare Division) had a few pictures taken (click to enlarge). I am the one in the blue-and-white shirt. The statue is right outside our headquarters here in Schaumburg.  For extra 'spottability' I will be laundering that shirt in time to take it to convention (yes, it will be clean).

You can also keep track of where I am via twitter, and if you are either attending or following happenings at the convention the official twitter hashtag for the event is #AVMAconv

I have no idea what I will tweet about at convention but to avoid scaring off the few followers I have I will be keeping it down to no more than a tweet an hour--and the topic is more likely to be somebody-betta-give-me-coffee-right-now-b4-i-snap than anything truly enlightening.

p.s. the Blogger spellchecker doesn't think Schaumburg is a real word... and I think I agree....

The Sciences of Animal Welfare

So who wants to hear about the book then?  Well, here goes anyway. I am the proud co-author of The Sciences of Animal Welfare along with Professors David Mellor and Kevin Stafford.  This book is part of the UFAW Animal Welfare Series published by Wiley.
The Sciences of Animal Welfare (Universities Federation for Animal Welfare)"The Sciences of Animal Welfare analyses the diverse, interconnecting subjects which constitute this fascinating multidisciplinary field, whilst also considering the limitations and benefits of those subjects to the development and future of Animal Welfare Science. This book examines past, present and future practices and thinking, including the wide-ranging interests within society that influence attitudes towards animals and conversely how animal welfare scientists may influence those attitude." 

The Sciences of Animal Welfare is available from: Wiley,, Borders, and Barnes & Noble (and many other places).


The Sciences of Animal Welfare is:

Sunday, July 25, 2010

In Defense of the Retractable Leash

I use a retractable leash, so I make no pretense to being unbiased.  But I would suggest that there are a lot of acceptable ways to use a retractable leash use of you so wish.
  • To allow a dog who is fully obedient off leash to comply with leash laws.
  • To allow dogs to check their pee-mail and do other dogs stuff out of range of the 'heel' position.
There are also some things that 'good citizen' users need to do when using a retractable leash.
Do not use is in densely populated areas, including veterinary waiting rooms.
  • Be alert to where you dog is and keep him from bothering other people or making sudden alarming movements.
  • Even if the dog is not going to bother some, ensure leach length and position would prevent it--some people don't like dogs and are bothered if the dog 'could' get to them, .even if s/he doesn't want to.
  • Use a highly visible (e.g. colored tape) leash.
And I'll be honest here, occasionally my dog has got somewhere he wasn't meant to be while on a retractable leash.  But I still see it as a viable option, not just a leash-that-causes-bad-habits.  Because a retractable leash is not just an alternative to a standard 6-foot leash, it is an intermediate option between this leash and being entirely off leash. 

A retractable leash allows the dogs to more fully enjoy the environment without being entirely off leash, and given the legal restriction relating to leashes, I consider this--overall--to be a good thing.  But unless we want leash laws to become even more restrictive and outlaw long leaches altogether, those who use them need to be cautious and responsible, and reserve their use predominantly for times and places when other people are not around.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Science Blogs exodus

It sad to see that Science Blogs seems to be pretty much falling apart. This science blog network is run by Seed, whose magazine I find silly and pretentious, but whose blogs didn't seem to share these qualities. This is probably because the blogs are run, on a day to day basis, by independent scientists--not by Seed staff.

Science Blogs seemed to have some little known ongoing problems with paying their bloggers on time, or communicating with them at all. But the beginning of the end seems to have been their decision to rush out a Pepsi blog to be written by Pepsi staff. A move they quickly reversed, but the damage was already done.

The departure of pillar-of-the-community Bora (with a very thorough explanatory post) has sent another shock wave through the struggling network. Even the most popular single blog (Pharyngula) is now on strike. (But not so much on strike that he isn't still posting).

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Google is onto me....

How sad am I, that I think it is kind of neat to see my own book come up in the Google Ads.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cats: Indoor versus Outdoor...

Well, here it is, my first AVMA@Work blog post!

Hopefully the first of many :)

Chicken Chic

It seems like everyone has to be seen with chickens these days. First on Survivor, and Kate plus Eight, now in Madonna's new Dolce & Gabbanna ad.  But I have to say the toy boy is clearly much more familiar with how to hold a...chicken.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The History and Etymology of Bunny Hugging

Historically speaking, the Bunny Hug is, of course, syncopated ballroom dance that was once popular in the United States (no... not so much). In 1912 Harry DeCosta released the Bunny Hug Rag, not to be confused with.... 1913: Bunny Hug Rag (no 'the') by George L. Cobb (shown left). The bunny hug was one of a number of animal dances that the 'crazy kids' were doing those days.

In 1951 Bugs Bunny hit the big screen with "Bunny Hugged". You can see it in full here.

These days, of course, the term has a different meaning.  It started off fairly specific: 1990s: "bunny-hugger [n] ... an environmentalist, esp. an anti-blood sport campaigner." And then became more general: "...derogatory term for an animal lover", or: "slang; derogatory: a conservationist or animal lover", or: "Noun. An animal lover. Derog."

But, as is the case with many derogatory terms, they are subject to interpretation.  Bunnies, as a stand in for animals in general, are pretty damn huggable.  And as a gesture to express a love of animals, why not the hug?  So as a blog name for a professional animal lover, it didn't seem a bad choice.  I am an out and proud hugger of bunnies!

See also:
Bunny Huggers

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


I am poised to start blogging on AVMA at Work....  I have had the training (this is a blog, this is a post, this is a page....).  Now the only problem is: what do I do at work that anyone would want to know about?