unofficial holidays related to animals

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American Fancy Rat and Mouse Show 2017 Canceled

american fancy rat and mouse showThe 2017 American Fancy Rat and Mouse Show scheduled on January 28th has been canceled due to an outbreak of Seoul virus infection, a member of the Hantavirus family of rodent-borne illness, in the Midwest.

In December 2016, two people operating a breeding facility in Wisconsin became infected. Six employees at two Illinois-based ratteries tested positive for Seoul virus. All have since recovered.

Follow-up investigations indicate that potentially infected rodents may have been distributed or received in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Utah.

Seoul virus is transmitted through contact with bodily fluids from infected rodents. It causes a milder illness than other Hantaviruses. It cannot spread from person to person or be transmitted to or from other types of pets. For more information from the CDC, click here.

 

The show’s sponsor, the American Fancy Rat and Mouse Association (AFRMA), was founded in 1983 to promote breeding and exhibition of fancy rats and mice, to educate the public about their positive attributes as intelligent, affectionate pets, and provide information on their proper care.

AFRMA urges all breeders to maintain a closed policy until the CDC has concluded its testing and the outbreak has been contained. We hope it will be rescheduled soon! For fun, lighthearted information on AFRMA and the show, check out Worldwide Weird Holidays’ 2016 post.

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

 

 

December 15 is Cat Herders’ Day

Today is Cat Herders’ Day. Solving problems at work or home can feel as impossible as herding cats. (Anyone foolish enough to do that for a living has our permission to hide under the covers. The rest of us must soldier on.)

Let’s step back for a moment and find the humor in the challenges we face. They may not seem as hilarious as watching cowboys try to herd cats, but every place on earth has a secret vein of absurdity, just waiting to be mined.

Now, we’d better get back to work before the boss catches us watching cat videos.

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays

National Day of the Horse

National Day of the HorseToday is the National Day of the Horse. On November 18, 2004, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed S.R. 452, described as:

A resolution designating December 13, 2004, as “National Day of the Horse” and encouraging the people of the United States to be mindful of the contribution of horses to the economy, history, and character of the United States.

The resolution goes on to state that “the horse is a living link to the history of the United States;” “without horses, the economy, history, and character of the United States would be profoundly different;” and “horses are a vital part of the collective experience of the United States and deserve protection and compassion.”

What the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have failed to do is pass a permanent federal ban on the slaughter of horses for human consumption. The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (AHSPA) was passed by the House on September 7, 2006. It had to be approved by the Senate as well in order to become law. But the bill was sent to a Senate committee, where it languished and eventually died because it was never approved for a full vote.

It was reintroduced on January 7, 2007, and sent to the House Agriculture Committee, which failed to approve it for a vote, thus killing the same bill it had passed four months before. On Jan 17, 2007, the Senate put forth its own version; it, too, failed to reach a vote, officially dying on January 3, 2009, when the 110th Congressional session ended. A bipartisan effort to revive the AHSPA in 2011 went nowhere.

While numerous state legislatures have enacted laws outlawing the practice, the federal government has sidestepped the issue, choosing instead to add language to its budget proposals that will indirectly impact businesses that slaughter horses.

A line item that denies payment of federal inspectors for time spent evaluating horses deprives an operation the opportunity to receive a USDA seal of approval. Without it, the meat can’t be sold for human consumption. (In 2006, the USDA countered by issuing CFR 352.19, a regulation that would allow companies to circumvent the funding ban by paying for their own inspections.)

In 2014, President Obama signed a budget that included the prohibition against funding for horse inspections. Although many hailed it as a momentous step, others saw it as just one more in a series of temporary fixes that must be requested and granted anew with each successive budget proposal. It did (and does) nothing to prevent U.S. horses from being shipped to Mexico or Canada for slaughter, their meat then exported worldwide.

The protection of this majestic animal isn’t all that’s at stake. Horses are dosed with compounds that accumulate in their tissues and can be toxic to humans. Phenylbutazone, a pain medication routinely given to horses, is known to be carcinogenic to people, especially children; trace amounts can cause potentially lethal aplastic anemia.

Since horses aren’t raised for human consumption, there are no regulations in place to protect anyone who might one day consume their meat. That is more of a risk than most of us think. Horse meat has been discovered in, among other things, school lunches and hospital meals. It’s possible that we’ve unwittingly eaten some already.

There is a permanent solution called the Safeguard American Food Exports Act (SAFE), its stated goal:

Amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to deem equine (horses and other members of the equidae family) parts to be an unsafe food additive or animal drug.

Prohibits the knowing sale or transport of equines or equine parts in interstate or foreign commerce for purposes of human consumption.

It was introduced in the Senate on March 12, 2013. What happened?

Read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

Clearly, there is more work to be done. Each year, approximately 150,000 horses—including pregnant mares and foals—are packed into trucks and taken to Mexico and Canada. Conditions are deplorable as the only goal is to keep the horses barely alive until they are slaughtered and their meat packaged for sale to humans.

It’s not too late to help. The SAFE Act (S. 1214/H.R. 1942) was revived in 2015 and is still knocking around in committee. Find your Congresspeople on govtrack.us and tell them to keep it alive. Someone should take a stand against this big, cruel business. It might as well be us.

Happy National Day of the Horse!

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays

 

 

November 12 is Guinness World Records Day

Today is Guinness World Records Day, when hundreds of thousands of people around the globe will try to make it into the famous book.

Editor-in-Chief Craig Glenday said, “Guinness World Records Day unites people across the planet from all walks of life, all of whom have one common goal – to become the greatest in the world at something.”

While today’s records are now being set, let’s take a look at a few recent successes.

Skateboarding Dog

In Lima, Peru, a skateboarding bulldog named Otto passed through 30 pairs of legs, earning him the Guinness World Record for Longest Human Tunnel Traveled Through by Skateboarding Dog.

guinness book of world records skateboarding bulldogguinness book of world records skateboarding dog tunnel

Thirty people faced in one direction and stood with their feet apart to allow the three-year-old English Bulldog, to freely pass through the human tunnel without being led or touched.

A crowd gathered to watch the cute canine’s record-setting attempt. The video clearly shows that Otto was not simply rolling along. He was steering, leaning and course-correcting with his paws.
guinness book of world records day skateboarding dogGuinness World Records adjudicator Sarah Cusson witnessed the event and presented Otto and his proud owners Luciana Viale and Robert Rickards with an official certificate. The record has yet to be broken.

Basketball Wizardry

Exhibition basketball team The Harlem Globetrotters celebrated Guinness World Records Day 2015 by achieving seven incredible world record titles at the Talking Stick Event Arena in Arizona, USA.

Farthest Kneeling Basketball Shot Made Backward–60 feet 7.5 inches (18.47 meters)

guinness book of world records day harlem-globetrotters-furthest-kneeling

Handles Franklin

 Longest Underhand Basketball Shot–84 feet 8.5 inches (25.81 meters)
guinness book of world records day Harlem-Globetrotter

Hammer Harrison

 Longest Basketball Shot Made Blindfolded–69 feet 6 inches (21.18 meters)–Thunder Law

Furthest Blindfolded Basketball Hook Shot–50 feet 3.5 inches (15.32 meters)–Big Easy Lofton

The Globetrotters also set records for Most Basketball Three Pointers Made by a Pair in One Minute, Longest Duration Spinning a Basketball on the Nose (7.7 seconds) and Most Basketball Slam Dunks in One Minute (19).

Find these and many more basketball world records here.

Stunt Parking

On November 12, 2015, Alastair Moffatt successfully reversed a classic Mini Cooper into a parking space, leaving a combined distance of just 34 centimeters between his car and the vehicles in front and behind.

Pedal to the floor, Alastair performed a dramatic J-turn, then a hand brake turn, to slot into an almost impossibly small space and break one of the most competitive records in the stunt driving field:

Tightest Parallel Parking in Reverse

An on-site official confirmed that Moffatt bested the previous record of 35 centimeters by 1 centimeter. (That is less than 13.39 inches!) The video is short, amazing and definitely worth watching.

Puppy Love

Let’s bookend the fun with another talented pooch. Purin, a nine-year-old Beagle, earned her place in the 2015 Guinness Book of World Records when she “saved” 14 mini soccer balls, smashing her previous record of 11.

Most Balls Caught by a Dog with the Paws in One Minute 

She also holds the record for Fastest 10 Meters Traveled on a Ball by a Dog, after she balanced on an inflated ball and crossed the finish line in 11.9 seconds.
most-balls-caught-by-a-dog-with-the-paws-in-one-minute-fastest-10-m-on-ball

Check out thousands more records in the Guinness Book of World Records 2016 print edition, on its official website and YouTube page. Have a chart-bustingly great day!

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays