27 thoughts on “Open Thread

      1. Wow. Classy. Threatening a guy for his dog being overweight and setting him back in his recovery process. And THEN threatening him again because he contacted the news organization. So professional.

      2. Meanwhile, browsing around out of curiosity, I find Bella is still featured on their ‘Happy Endings’ page.

  1. A sweet snow story, ICYMI . . . on Friday, just before #jonasblizzard but after snow was already on the ground, a Maryland family saved the world’s most adorable piglet. He had likely escaped from a truck or a factory farm, as one of the comments notes: his tail had been cut off.

    The family named the piglet Wee Wee and the kids wanted to keep him, but a place was found for him at a sanctuary, also in Maryland.

    Seriously, this guy could be the cutest pig I’ve ever seen.


      1. Diana Prichard, who blogs as Righteous Bacon, can answer that:
        “Why are baby pigs’ tails cut off?
        “Farmers dock piglets’ tails as a preventative measure. In some cases newly weaned pigs have been known to suck or bite on their littermates’ tails. The sucking and biting can lead to cuts, scratches, punctures and sores which in turn can make the pigs susceptible to infection. Docking the tails is one way farmers use to prevent the chance of infection. Some people argue that tail biting and sucking is a stress response and should be eliminated in other ways–namely, by reducing overcrowding and weaning pigs when they are a little older. Crowding isn’t a problem on most American farms today and most farmers try to balance optimal weaning times to benefit both the piglets and their sow as much as possible. We’ve never docked tails and the practice has fallen out of favor among most niche and many show producers.”
        She answers 8 other questions about pig farming here.
        I have learned from reading several ag blogs that sows (adult females) are prone to attack each other, so docking piglets would reduce bite injuries on farrowing and finishing farms also.

        Another blog with lots of good info on how our food is grown is Minnesota Farm Living, by pig and crop farmer Wanda Patsche. Here’s the main page, scroll around or search for topics of interest. http://www.mnfarmliving.com/


        PS: “Factory farm” is a pejorative term coined by animal rights people to project the image that most farms are owned by huge industrial conglomerates. In fact, about 97% of US farms are owned by the families that operate them.

      2. PS: ‘Factory Farm’ is a descriptive term for confined high-density industrialized operations or CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations, which by definition confine animals for longer than 45 days) and has absolutely squat to do with whether or not the farm is family-owned.

      3. Oh, yeah, and it wasn’t coined by the animal rights movement. It was coined by its very proponents, back in the day – it was viewed as the modern, forward-thinking way of farming, one which would ensure food security through better control & economies of scale. It *became* a pejorative term as the costs to the *animals* became evident.

    1. I really want to watch this video but I’ve run into browser problems on both my phone and my PC while trying to watch it. I’m not giving up though.

      1. I wish the video with the deer was on YouTube, but unfortunately it was tweeted and there’s no YT link, I’m sorry!

  2. Earliest “Domestic” Cats in China Identified as Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis)

    This is a link to the paper itself. ‘Domestic’ is in scare-quotes in the title because it’s basically a guess – what they have are remains of leopard cats which, both in context & from analyses, appear to have lived in close proximity with people, some of whom were likely given food. This is close to domestication – quite possibly on its way to domestication – but it’s not quite there. In archaeological lit this is what’s usually (as in this paper) called a ‘commensal’ relationship although (imho) it’s actually ‘mutualism,’ that is, two species living in conjunction with each other, each benefiting the other.

    Since domestic cats other than, very recently, intentionally hybridized Bengals, have no leopard cats in their ancestry – per genetic analysis – this may then represent a separate node of domestication for cats. Maybe. If so, then the breed died out.

    The paper includes a good summary of current thinking on cat domestication, too.

      1. Over $17,000. has already been donated by the public to help Office Hickey keep Ajax.
        I think this statement really riled people. “The dog is property of the city of Marietta,” Marietta Law Director Paul Betram III said. “Because it is personal property, it is treated like a shovel. That’s just the way it is.” We all know even working dogs are family.

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