Dr. Michael W. Fox

How Animals Suffer Around the World
Vegetarianism: A Bioethical Imperative
Dr. Fox on the Tonight Show
In Memoriam_Feral Cat Mark Twain
DVD Links
Releasing Cats To Live Outdoors
Outdoor Cats, Wildlife And Human Health
Cat and Dog Nutrition--the Thiamine Issue
Cat Food Recipe
Cat Tail Deemed To Be Good Vaccination Spot
Cat Behavior
Cat Vaccination Protocols
Declawing Cats
Feline Stomatitis Complex
Cat Litter Box Issues
Introducing A New Cat
Introducing A Dog Into Cat's Home
Choosing To Live With A Dog
Dog Vaccination Protocols
Dog Mutilations
Dog Food Recipe
Dental Problems In Companion Animals
Dog Food and Feeding Issues
Dr. Fox's Good Medicine Juice
The Truth About Manfactured Dog and Cat Food
Companion Animals Harmed By Pesticides
Dominance-based Dog Training
Dr. Fox and the Super Dog Project
Guide to Congenital & Heritable Disorders in Dogs
Dogwise E-Books
Concerning Outdoor Chaining/Tethering Of Dogs
Dogs In Shelters
Dr. Fox's Good Dog Cookie Recipe
Don't Clone Your Dog Or Cat!
The Pros and Cons of Neutering Your Dog
Recovering Canine Health And The Natural Dog
Animal Vaccination Concerns
Care For Dogs and Cats With Renal Failure
Urinary Tract Stones
Green Pet Care
Puppy and Kitten Breeding Mills
Pure Water for Cats and Dogs--and All
Dental Problems In Companion Animals
Chemical-related Human Diseases In Companion Animals
From Mineral Oil & Multiple Sclerosis to Plastics, Nanoparticles
Companion Animal Care
Companion Animals and Flea and Tick Treatments
Behavioral Problems and Drug Solutions: A Last Resort
Preventing Fleas
Domestication and Diet
Lyme Disease and Wildlife Management
Disease and Animal Rights
GMOs and Pet Food
Journal of AVMA and GMOs
Indoor and Outdoor Poison Hazards for Pets
Carrageenan In Pet Foods
Cats, Dogs and Cadmium
Fluoride In Pet Food - A Serious Health Risk?
Best Manufactured Pet Foods
Pet Food Letters
Nutrigenomics and the Pet Food Revolution
The Ethics of Krill Oil and Protein Supplements
Animal-Insensitivity Syndrome
Wolves and Human Well-being
Wolf-Dog Hybrids
Crying Wolf Too Much
Betrayal of Wolves and Public Trust
The 'One Medicine'
Pet Health Insurance
The Veterinary Profession
  Pharmaceutical Cruelty In Animal Farms: Consumer Beware
Pig Parts For People
Conflicts Of Interest In The Veterinary Profession
Bioethics: Its Scope And Purpose
The Bioethics And Politics Of Manufactured Pet Foods
Animal Rights, Human Rights And Wrongs
The Future of the Veterinary Profession
Holistic Veterinary Medicine
Veterinary Ethics and Economics
Veterinary Bioethics and Animal Welfare
Principles Of Veterinary Bioethics
What Price Our Animal Relationships?
Changing Diets for Health's and Earth's Sake
Wildlife Conservation
Wildlife Reseach Needs Ethical Boundaries
Wildlife Management Practices
How Animals Suffer Around the World
Feeling for Animals and Animal Liberation
Animal Altruism and Abilty To Empathize
What Makes Animals Happy?
The Empathosphere: Animal Prescience, And Remote Sensing
Mental Effects on Physical Health: The Mind-Body Connection
Animal Spirits
Light Of Compassion
Religion, Science and Animal Rights
Animal Suffering And The God Question
Healing Animals & The Vision of One Health
Islam And Animals
Panentheism: The Spirituality Of Compassion
One Earth, One Health
Why We All Must Care For Animals and the Environment
Quality Of Life In Animals
Healing Agriculture's Broken Connections
Mammon Vs. Civil Society
Justice For All Beings And The End Of Terrorism
Universal Bill Of Rights For Animals And Nature
Science Writers' and Reporters' Political Agendas
Cambridge Declaration On Consciousness
Michael W. Fox Resume'
Dr. Fox Biographical Interview
Interview: History of Animal Welfare Science
Curriculum Vitae
Books By Dr. Fox
Dr. Fox Lectures, Seminars and Workshops
My Life For The Animals
To Kiss Salamanders and Stones

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How Animals Suffer Around the World


                                                      By Dr. Michael W. Fox



            I am often asked what are the worst kinds of animal suffering in the world today? With some 30 years experience as a veterinarian and animal care advocate working in the US and in poor third world countries, I offer the following review. This will, I hope, encourage international efforts focusing on improving the human condition to also address animal concerns because Human Wellbeing depends on the integration of Animalcare with Earthcare and Peoplecare.

Animal health, environmental health, and public health are interwoven, but have been so neglected and disconnected  that millions of people around the world are starving and diseased, along with their livestock, while on out of every four Americans become ill every year from food poisoning. Similar numbers are metabolically dis-eased (obese), have compromised immune systems, are dying from cancer, as are  their companion dogs and cats.


 A healthy population of domestic animals improves public health and the livestock-based economy. A healthy population of domestic animals also means fewer diseases being spread to wildlife, an aspect of conservation that is too often neglected, along with livestock invasion and livestock-keepers’ annihilation of indigenous predators like the tiger and the wolf, the Bushman and the lion.


            This review on how animals suffer around the world for many of the same reasons that people do, will also help encourage donors, from both private and corporate and government sectors, to give more support to animal and environmental care and protection worldwide, and dispel the erroneous view that people must come first and that human well-being has no connection with animal care and environmental protection.           

            Animal suffering is a worldwide problem. Most of their suffering is associated with human poverty – insufficient resources to care for animals – as well as human ignorance, indifference, need and greed. Progress in animal welfare and protection, and ultimately liberation of animals from cruel domination and exploitation, entails greater public recognition of the worldwide plight of animals wild and domestic.


            As we rank animal suffering in terms of severity, we must consider the duration of suffering, especially the deprivation of basic physical and psychological needs, chronic diseases, malnutrition and cruel methods of human domination and control.

            In the wild, animal suffering is minimized by predation where carnivores kill and consume sick, aged and injured animals and help regulate herbivore numbers and prevent habitat destruction from overpopulation/overgrazing.  But wildlife suffer from a host of human influences, from habitat encroachment and destruction, and fall victim to trapping, hunting, poisoning, and diseases spread from infected domestic animals who compete with wild herbivores for food and with wild carnivores for prey.


            While the extinction process is being accelerated for wildlife by these and other anthropogenic factors, including global warming, agrichemical poisons and industrial pollution, the plight of domestic animals is no less pervasive around the world; and their suffering is more severe because their lives are not mercifully and swiftly ended by natural predators.  Instead, their existence and suffering continue because of various human influences, be it the garbage that keep third world dogs and much livestock alive; and the antibiotics and vaccines that keep factory farmed livestock alive to grow quickly for slaughter.


First, I would rank third world street dogs, in terms of the sheer duration and degree of agony that the animals suffer, and in view of the numbers of animals so suffering. Millions are slowly eaten alive by mange, maggots, and internal parasites, and endure only so long as they can find enough food so that they do not die from starvation first, or before rabies or distemper puts an end to their lives.

Some of these common diseases that are easily prevented are frequently transmitted to humans, especially children. Consequently, dogs who are sick are often shunned, stoned, and clubbed. In order to control such zoonotic diseases, both sick and healthy free-roaming dogs are often poisoned by local authorities with strychnine, or are caught and killed with an injection of Epsom salts, or are electrocuted, drowned, or killed with engine exhaust fumes. Periodic dog roundups and the killing of dogs, many of whom are owned and valued by the community, cause much anguish especially to children who witness the mass dog massacres. In the absence of spay, neuter and vaccination programs, these mass dog killings must be repeated at regular intervals as the dog population increases.


            Second, I would rank the plight of the beasts of burden in the third world – the goaded and overburdened donkeys, bullocks (oxen), ponies, horses, camels, lamas, and water buffalo. Veterinary services are either too costly, or not available when needed for most of these poor creatures, who, if too ill or crippled and malnourished to work any more, are simply abandoned to fend for themselves.


            I would rank in Third place all the billions of livestock in the third world who suffer seasonal starvation, die from thirst, and from the many diseases that they too often spread to wildlife with devastating consequences.  The suffering of cattle, buffalo, goats and sheep is aggravated by chronic overgrazing and lack of adequate feed and veterinary care in most developing countries, and especially for the “sacred” cows of India where the religious taboo against slaughter means slow death from malnutrition and disease for millions of discarded, nonproductive cattle.


             I would put in Fourth place all caged, chained and confined animals, no matter how ‘well fed’ and ‘kept clean’ they might be.

These include the billions horrendously confined and overcrowded animals in factory farms being raised for their eggs, flesh, fur, and for their offsprings’ own milk, and for various medical products (like pregnant mare urine and bile from bears in China).  In this fourth rank are all creatures who spend their lives incarcerated in small zoo and circus enclosures and cages, or spend a life in chains like the working and temple elephants, who have been beaten until their spirits are broken into obedience.  Also in fourth place I put the millions of animals – mice, rabbits, monkeys, cats, dogs and many other deprived species -- who live their entire lives in small cages and are bred and used in often unnecessary and painful medical and military research experiments, and in commercial  product safety tests.


            Fifth in the suffering rank are various wild animals that humans kill,  like those who are trapped for their fur; who are shot and only too often not quickly killed by non-subsistence “sports” and trophy hunters, and those like the coyote and the panther are poisoned or killed by other cruel means by government and private agents.


            Sixth in rank of suffering are the confined “pets” of the affluent sectors of first and third world countries, from guinea pigs and rabbits to parrots and parakeets, who are too often deprived of any contact with their own kind, and are forced to live in small cages for most, if not all, of their lives.


            There are many other human uses and abuses of animals, from horse and greyhound racing and bull fighting and dog and cock fighting, to animal circuses and “canned” trophy hunting, that can be added to the above holocaust list and categorization in terms of severity of suffering.  The justification/rationalization of human need, be it economic, scientific-medical, or emotional and social/traditional, for the continued exploitation and suffering of animals, be it long- or short-term, must be examined from a bioethical perspective.  From this perspective, we ask is it necessary, is it avoidable, and are there alternatives to satisfy our needs and wants that will eliminate or minimize the suffering of animals?


The fatalistic acceptance of animal suffering in poor countries is linked with the hopelessness of people, often oppressed, living in abject poverty. The politics of animal welfare and liberation, and wildlife conservation, are closely tied to the human condition. Human overpopulation and poverty are only part of the problem. Corruption and misappropriation of funds and other resources to help people and animals are major factors that many governments and non-government organizations continue to deny or discount, and blame all on human poverty and overpopulation, which is used as a scapegoat.


            Our perception of animals determines how we treat them and whether they suffer under our dominion or not.  Behind our perception and treatment of animals lie our needs, wants, values, and cultural and religious traditions. Until these are addressed, and our perception changed so that there is empathy, respect and communion to end the holocaust of the animal kingdom and the annihilation of the natural world, then the demise of what we thought to be a civilized society will be certain. Already bankrupt spiritually, the values of consumerism and materialism have brought us to the brink of catastrophic climate change with the destruction of rainforests to make kitchen floors and cabinets, the over-fishing of the seas, the poisoning of the air and water, and the unhealthy foods and diets that bankrupt the health care system.


 Those qualities or virtues that makes us human – humility, compassion and selfless benevolence – will not be crushed by the  arrogance, ignorance and selfishness of  this epoch when all who love trees and fellow creatures rise up and wise up the politicians, the law makers and enforcers, and all the educators and managers and keepers and users of animals and the natural environment. Reverential respect for all life is enlightened self-interest.



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Check the link below for a Dr. Fox C-Span feature concerning "Animal Testing"

Dr. Michael W. Fox on C-Span

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Dr. Michael W. Fox

What right do we humans have to exploit other animals?  Where does that right come from and what are the limits if any?  What duties or obligations do we have in our relationships with our dogs, cats and other animals domesticated and wild?

          Follow and support Caroline Kraus and her Moments of Truth Project documentary film as she travels across the U.S. asking people, who variously live, work with and care for animals, these and other relevant questions.

Is there an overriding consensus and what are the reasons why people respond very differently to these questions, which in part examine our character, culture and future?

The viewing and discussion of this kind of documentary should be part of every school curriculum and will be of interest to all who work with, profit from and care for animals. Project Home Page: http://momentsoftruthproject.com/  To see the interview with Dr. Fox go to http://momentsoftruthproject.com/dr-michael-fox/