Animal Testing Banned In New Zealand, With Possible 5 Year Prison Sentence

Just recently New Zealand passed legislation that makes animal testing and other sorts of animal cruelty illegal. For decades people on both sides have fought for and against animal testing, debating whether or not animals should serve as test subjects for products that would otherwise need to be tested on humans. Known as the Animal Welfare Amendment Bill, New Zealand has officially made animal testing punishable by up to five years in prison or a $500k fine.

The Humane Society estimates 115 million animals are used for research and testing each year. In many of these tests the animals undergo severe stress, pain, and even death; it’s a practice that has little regulation, so the exact numbers of tested animals remains somewhat a mystery, as do the procedures used.

The Humane Society estimates 115 million animals are used for research and testing each year.

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The bill comes with 61 rules and policies split into two sections, and outlines all the ways animals will be protected from abuse and cruelty. It also establishes when surgical procedures can be used, as well as specific areas for hunting and the proper treatment of wild animals.

The bill clearly states the punishment for those who break the rules, and the prison sentence and hefty fine make it clear they mean business.

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The bill breaks down animal cruelty into two categories, willful and reckless. Willful intent can bring an offender up to five years in prison or $100k in fines for an individual, $500k for a group. Reckless crimes get a slightly less severe punishment of as many as three years in prison or a $75k fine for individuals, $350k for a group.

Numerous studies have proven that animals feel a range of emotions including joy and excitement or fear and distress depending on the situation. And they obviously feel pain as they are poked, sliced, and injected.

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While advocates for cruelty-free testing have long made their voice heard, this action by New Zealand represents one of the most sweeping changes in support for their cause, and it serves as a great example for the rest of the world.

More info: zaoorganic | wikimedia | nzavs.org.nz

Korea Brings Us A Strange New Trend In Canine Fashion – Square Grooming

From sneaker-wearing dogs in Korea to dogs painted with tiger stripes in the Philippines, Asia has long been at the cutting edge of canine fashion. The latest trend, from Taiwan, is doggie haircuts that turn the dog’s head into a cube or a sphere according to the taste of its owner. It’s definitely something to see – but what remains to be seen is whether it will catch on anywhere else.

Well, this one’s actually kind of cute.

Square Hair 1This might not work very well with a hyperactive dog . . .

Square Hair 5Turn him upside down and he’ll be an exclamation point!

Square Hair 2We think the last two want their money back . . .

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A Mysterious Hole Drains This “Lost Lake” Every Year

Take a look at this lake, because the next time you see it there might not be any water left. That’s because a mysterious hole in the ground has been draining the lake at a rapid rate. No, the Chinese did not find a way to dig through the earth to suck our water dry. Rather, in a region littered with volcanic activity the phenomenon is most likely the result of water draining through the hole and into the earth through a “lava tube”.

Every winter after the snowpack melts, the lake fills up, and the draining commences. There’s not much to be done, as plugging the hole would cause the lake to overflow, flooding the surrounding area and road. That hasn’t stopped people from trying though, and Jude McHugh, a spokeswoman for the Wilamette National Forest told The Bulletin that numerous attempts have been made, and they even found car parts, including an engine, stuffed in the hole one year.

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In fact, the phenomenon isn’t all that unusual, and there are at least 19 other lakes in the state that have the same type of hole, but given the proximity to U.S.Highway 20, this has become the most well-known example.

Breathtaking Aerial Footage Of Antarctica

With the rise of drones outfitted with HD GoPro cameras, we have a new advent of amateur filmmakers taking things to another level, bringing up close and personal glimpses into the far reaches of our planet. Case in point, this beautiful footage from Kalle Ljung, who brought along a DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter on a recent visit to Antarctica with his 73-year-old father. His unique angles of crewmembers precariously walking on icebergs and amazing shots of whales breaching the still surface of the water must be seen to fully appreciate this wondrous place.

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Rescued Pitbull Helps Autistic Boy Hug His Mom For The First Time

True dog lovers know their furry companions come programmed with a “pay it forward” attitude, but few examples demonstrate that as well as this good-natured pitbull. Amanda Granados is the mother of a young boy with Asberger’s Syndrome, and until recently she and her son Joey couldn’t share simple physical connections of a hug and kiss, or even holding her hand.

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Photo courtesy Best Friends Animal Society

That changed when they adopted Roxy, a beautiful Pit Bull Terrier with a goofy attitude and a fondness for giving big wet kisses. Joey now holds his mother’s hand, and feels comfortable offering her a kiss and a hug. The unconditional affection Roxy showed Joey made a huge impact on his behavior, and shaped his life for the better.

“I didn’t have too many friends growing up, but then we got Roxy and I’ve been able to make friends ever since,”

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Photos courtesy Amanda Granados

There’s limited research on the effects of animals on children with Autism, but a 2014 study revealed that dogs can give children with autism a special kind of companionship that allows them to learn responsibility and suggests the connection helps encourage positive social behaviors.