Category Archives: activism

Artificial Dyes linked to Hyperactivity

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This is taken from a petition I received in my mail.  To sign the petition, click here

I could add my own comments here… but this lady has worded it well.  I would only add that it’s not just candies we need to be concerned with, but any food (and there are many) that these items are used in.  I’ve seen Yellow 5, Yellow 6 and Red 40 in several different things, and it’s adversely affecting our kids.  Even if your child has not received an ADD/ADHD diagnosis, it could still be causing behavioral problems of a sort… and it is something that our children do NOT need to have in their diets.  Interestingly… in Europe, they actually put WARNINGS if these dyes are used in food!  Why can’t we in the US do the same…? *sigh* good ole FDA, always watching our backs…. :/   Here is her text in its entirety, you can click on the link above or on the bottom below her post.  It is definitely worth a read… here it is:

“Did you know that M&M’s candies contain harmful, petroleum-based, artificial dyes that can trigger hyperactivity in sensitive children? I believe eliminating these dyes did wonders for my family’s health. M&M’s are already made without most of those dyes in Europe so I don’t understand why they are being made with cheaper, controversial ingredients in North America? Please sign my petition asking for M&M’s to be made without artificial dyes.

I’m a mom to two kids, and we like having some sweets around the house like most people do. Several years ago our little Trenton (now 9 years old) was having some behavioral problems. He was having trouble in school, at hockey practice, and at home with tasks as basic as falling asleep. He’d often have nightmares, and the slightest disappointment would set him off. As I did some research, I found out that parents all across the country have been struggling with similar hyperactivity issues. I also found out that many families were using an “elimination diet” to isolate and remove harmful ingredients — particularly artificial dyes. By removing dyes like those found in M&M’s, they were able to delay, reduce, and sometimes eliminate the need for medication.

Some of the latest info from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that more than 1 out of every 10 school-aged child has received a medical diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder! My understanding is that’s a 41% percent increase in the past decade, and that’s why I’m so interested in trying to find simple solutions that will help make our families healthier.

I’m not trying to keep my kids from being kids.  They can have treats.  But they don’t need petroleum-based dyes.

Just two days after deciding to eliminate artificial dyes from Trenton’s diet, we saw dramatic improvements! His nightmares stopped and he was able to sleep through the night. Trent changed from a child who would have a meltdown if he didn’t get his way during playtime to a calm student who could share and do his schoolwork. When Trenton returned to hockey camp, the coach couldn’t believe he was the same person, calling him “smiling, eager to participate, and a joy to have on the ice.” Trenton’s teachers and coaches all know him for his sense of humor, wit and contagious positive attitude. Trenton excels in academics and sports, and this has been possible since our family figured out the harmful effects of the dyes.

We did this without medication and by eliminating harmful dyes like the Yellow 5, Yellow 6, and Red 40 found in M&M’s. When M&M’s are sold in Europe, different dyes are used because otherwise they’d be required by law to place a label on the packaging that says “may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.”

With Halloween coming up, I’ve decided to work with the experts at the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) on this campaign. Their review of scientific studies shows that artificial dyes including Yellow 5, Yellow 6, and Red 40 can stimulate hyperactivity and other behavior problems in children.  CSPI has recommended that these additives be prohibited from use in foods. I was present at a 2011 hearing where even the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) acknowledged that “Exposure to food and food components, including artificial food colors and preservatives, may be associated with adverse behaviors” in children.

M&M’s used to be one of Trenton’s favorite candies, but we’ve found products in the United States like SunDrops, Yummy Gummies, and Unreal that don’t use these dyes. And they taste great! I don’t believe anyone should be eating cheap, harmful, unnecessary dyes when safer alternatives exist and already are used in M&M’s in Europe! Please join us in asking Mars Inc., manufacturer of M&M’s, to replace artificial dyes with natural coloring.”

https://www.change.org/petitions/m-m-s-candies-stop-using-artificial-dyes-linked-to-hyperactivity#

Dogs sick from toxic dog treats still reported | HULIQ

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Dogs sick from toxic dog treats still reported while FDA offers answers | HULIQ.

BOY this makes me mad!!!  Dogs are dying from these so-called “TREATS”  Stores like Wal Mart and Dollar Store… QUIT IMPORTING THESE FROM CHINA!  From other sites I have read, this goes for any type of duck treats too :/  Below is the article in its entirety from HULIQ


By Dave Masko on 2012-03-22
Dogs sick from toxic China dog treats still being reported while FDA offers answ

Imported chicken dog treats from China are still being blamed for kidney failure and even death, as dog owners nationwide are sharing their sad stories.

Dog owners Kevin and Candace Thaxton told ABC News in a TV report March 16 that “their 10-year-old pug Chansey died after eating chicken jerky dog treats made in China. In turn, this story of imported chicken dog treats sickening dogs in the U.S. continues after “the Food and Drug Administration has fielded over 530 complaints from pet owners over the past four months claiming their dogs suffered illness or death after eating jerky treats made in China,” officials told ABC News. At the same time, the ABC News report explained how “the FDA has issued three separate warnings about Chinese jerky treats in the past four years” by advising owners who give their pets the snacks to watch the dogs closely for signs of illness. In turn, ABC News did not list each of these three separate warnings. However, the FDA website includes a record of the FDA’s activity on this recent pet food issue.

Moreover, since the agency says it has yet to find a “definitive cause” for the mystery ailments, ABC News reported March 16 that “it hasn’t blamed Chinese treats for the illnesses, it hasn’t named any of the well-known American firms like Purina that sell them, and it hasn’t recalled any of the products. Dog owners and legislators are now demanding action.”

China’s toxic dog treats known since late 2011

At the same time, an ABC News TV station in Los Angeles (KABC) reported on Dec. 29, 2011 that the same thing that’s happening now in 2012 also took place just three months ago when it reported how “the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating a dog treat after receiving hundreds of reports of dogs getting sick, some fatally. Over the past month, there have been more than 350 reports of dogs being sickened or dying after eating chicken jerky treats imported from China.”

In turn, the FDA stated that “it is actively investigating the matter and conducting analysis for different contaminates. However, ABC TV News in L.A. reported no results back in late December after the FFDA tested different brands and products.

Thus, the FDA stated “it still has not found any contaminants,” and why the FDA said back at the end of December “that’s why a recall of the products has not been issued.”

Thaxton dog’s death an example

These toxic chicken dog treats imported from China stated harming American dogs last year, add the FDA when sharing the latest information on the government website.

For instance, ABC News reported – in a very emotional TV report March 16 – how Kevin and Candace Thaxton’s 10-year-old pug Chansey got sick late last year.

In turn, the couple told ABC News that they “assumed at first it was simply old age. The small dog started showing symptoms of kidney failure — drinking water excessively and urinating in the house. By the time the Thaxtons got her to a veterinarian, Chansey’s kidneys had shut down and she was in extreme pain. She died two days later.”

“It was so hard. It was just devastating,” Kevin Thaxton told ABC News.

Also, the Thaxtons would go through the ordeal again just weeks later — leading them to a new theory behind Chansey’s death — when their new Pekingese-mix puppy Penny exhibited the same symptoms, finally resulting in kidney failure.

For instance, Candace Thaxton told ABC News that when she “stumbled on a Food and Drug Administration warning that there’d been ‘an increase in complaints’ about chicken jerky dog treats made in China, she says she knew immediately what had happened to her beloved dogs.”

“I grabbed the bag of treats and turned it over,” Candace said. “At first I saw it said ‘Manufactured in South Carolina’ so I thought I was safe. Then I looked harder and it said ‘Made in China’ and I just said ‘Oh no.’ ”

What’s going on with pet food safety?

The owners of a dog named “Suzie,” told Huliq during a recent interview that “we’re so worried about what she eats that we’re now restricting the usual dog treats that our Suzie gets when at coffee or food drive-ins. Everybody likes to give dogs treats, but we’re now asking where are those treats coming from?”

Also, a dog named “King” has been “real sick.” King’s owner Frankie said his dog has been ill for some time, and he now wonders if it’s “those dog snacks from China?”

Such alarming news of the possible risk to dogs comes at a time when the safety of imported food is being heavily scrutinized.

For instance, on March 15 the Centers for Disease Control reported that foods imported from other countries are to blame for dozens of recent foodborne disease outbreaks. ABC News explained that the CDC looked at outbreaks from 2005 to 2010 and concluded that 39 outbreaks and over 2,300 illnesses came from food imported into the U.S. Nearly 45 percent of the foods that caused the outbreaks came from Asia.”

In turn, the FDA says it is “actively investigating reports of illness and death and has been conducting tests on samples of the treats. An FDA spokesperson said the samples came from around the country but would not cite specific sources that provided the samples.”

FDA offers Qs and As on dog treats

Concerned dog owners can go to a new special Q and A section of its website at http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/ProductSafetyInformation/ucm295445.htm – 12k – 2012-03-09 for specific details about these toxic dog treats from China.

For instance, this FDA “Questions and Answers” section explains when the agency first reacted to reports from dog owners about these toxic dog treats.

In 2011, FDA stated on its website that it “saw an increase in the number of complaints it received of dog illnesses associated with consumption of chicken jerky products imported from China. FDA previously issued a cautionary warning regarding chicken jerky products to consumers in September 2007 and a Preliminary Animal Health Notification in December of 2008. The number of complaints being received dropped off during the latter part of 2009 and most of 2010.

However in 2011, FDA once again started seeing the number of complaints rise to the levels of concern that prompted release of our earlier warnings.

Since the issuance of the CVM Update on November 18, 2011, the agency has received numerous additional complaints regarding chicken jerky products, the FDA added.

As for what products are involved, the FDA explains: “The cautionary update specifically refers to chicken jerky products that are imported from China. These dried chicken jerky products, intended for dogs, may also be sold as tenders, strips or treats.”

FDA explains signs of illness being reported

Dogs that have become ill show “signs that may be associated with chicken jerky products include decreased appetite; decreased activity; vomiting; diarrhea, sometimes with blood; increased water consumption and/or increased urination. These signs may occur within hours to days of feeding the products. Laboratory tests may indicate kidney problems, including Fanconi-like syndrome. Although many dogs appear to recover, some reports to the FDA have involved dogs that have died. FDA continues to investigate the problem and its origin. Some of the illnesses reported may be the result of causes other than eating chicken jerky,” stated the FDA.

Since 2007, FDA also explained how it’s been actively investigating the cause of illness in pets reported in association with the consumption of chicken jerky products. For example, the FDA website noted how “samples have been tested by FDA laboratories, by the Veterinary Laboratory Response Network (Vet-LRN), and by other animal health diagnostic laboratories in the U.S for multiple chemical and microbiological contaminants.”

In turn, the FDA stated how product samples were tested for Salmonella, metals, furans, pesticides, antibiotics, mycotoxins, rodenticides, nephrotoxins (such as aristolochic acid, maleic acid, paraquat, ethylene glycol, diethylene glycol, toxic hydrocarbons, melamine and related triazines) and were screened for other chemicals and poisonous compounds. DNA verification was conducted on these samples to confirm the presence of poultry in the treats.

The FDA stated, for example, how “samples have also been submitted for nutritional composition (which includes glycerol concentrations), vitamin D excess and enterotoxin analysis. Some samples from recent cases (2011-2012) have been submitted for multiple tests and we are awaiting results. More samples are in the process of being collected for testing.”

At the same time, the FDA stated that the “results of the testing” are from “samples collected from all over the United States have been tested for a wide variety of substances and to date, scientists have not been able to determine a definitive cause for the reported illnesses.”

Meanwhile, the FDA website explained how it looked for “metal contamination” in these chicken jerky products produced in China. “FDA’s previous testing of chicken jerky product samples did not show toxic levels of metals. In addition, results from March 2012 toxic metal analyses, which included tests for heavy metals, have again shown samples of chicken jerky products to be negative for toxic metals.”

No specific brands recalled by FDA

Also, of concern, say dog owners, is the FDA admission that “no specific products have been recalled because a definitive cause has not been determined. The FDA continues to actively investigate the problem and its origin.”

In turn, if the FDA identifies the cause, the agency said it will “take appropriate action and notify the public.”

As for the question from dog owners about why aren’t these products being taken off the market, the FDA website stated: “There is nothing preventing a company from conducting a voluntary recall. It is important to understand that unless a contaminant is detected and we have evidence that a product is adulterated, we are limited in what regulatory actions we can take. The regulations don’t allow for products to be removed based on complaints alone. This is an ongoing investigation and FDA will notify the public if a recall is initiated. Currently, FDA continues to urge pet owners to use caution with regard to chicken jerky products.”

FDA guidance on feeding chicken jerky treats to dogs

According to the FDA website about this specific issue, “chicken jerky products should not be substituted for a balanced diet and are intended to be fed occasionally in small quantities.”

In turn, the FDA is advising consumers who choose to feed their dogs chicken jerky products to watch their dogs closely for any or all of the following signs that may occur within hours to days of feeding the products:

— decreased appetite

— decreased activity

— vomiting

— diarrhea, sometimes with blood

— increased water consumption

— increased urination

Also, the FDA stated that “if the dog shows any of these signs, stop feeding the chicken jerky product. Owners should consult their veterinarian if signs are severe or persist for more than 24 hours. Blood tests may indicate kidney failure (increased urea nitrogen and creatinine). Urine tests may indicate Fanconi-like syndrome (increased glucose).”

In addition, the FDA guidance states: “If your pet has experienced signs of illness, please retain the opened package and remaining pieces of the chicken jerky product that are in the original packaging. It is possible that your samples will be collected for testing. If your product samples are collected, please be sure to provide the FDA official with all of the sample that you have. The extensive testing that is being conducted may require multiple pieces from the package. It is also possible that a toxicant may be present in some of the samples in the package, but not all. We may be able to get better or more accurate testing results with a larger sample size.”

Additional information on what happens when a problem is reported can be found at the following link:
http://www.fda.gov/Safety/ReportaProblem/QuestionsandAnswersProblemReporting/ucm056069.htm4
FDA responsible for dog food safety

Also, according to the FDA website about pet food safety, this government organization is tasked to “regulate that can of cat food, bag of dog food, or box of dog treats or snacks in your pantry. The FDA’s regulation of pet food is similar to that for other animal foods. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) requires that all animal foods, like human foods, be safe to eat, produced under sanitary conditions, contain no harmful substances, and be truthfully labeled.”

At the same time, ABC News reported March 16 that “the FDA issued its first warning about chicken jerky treats from China in 2007, in response to the first wave of consumer complaints, and then issued a second in 2008. When the FDA issued a third warning in late 2011, based on another increase in complaints that year, it asked consumers to report any other purported incidents directly to the agency. Since that update, hundreds of dog owners have come forward to share their concerns.”

For more information, check out the FDA website at http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/Products/AnimalFoodFeeds/PetFood/default.htm

Image source of a dog named “King” with owner Frankie who said his dog has been ill for some time, and he now wonders if it’s “those dog snacks from China?” Photo by Dave Masko

Tell your senators… we want better food safety, NOW

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They will be discussing it on October 7th.  You and I both know how important this is!  The recalls are unbelievable, monthly!  Just for example, did you know:

  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) checks only about one percent of imported food shipments;

  • Right now, the FDA only has the resources and authority to inspect food plants on average once every 10 years; and

  • Even when an outbreak is reported, the FDA does not currently have the authority to demand a mandatory recall of contaminated foods.

Scary, huh..?

It’s high time we made a change… by speaking out, we can achieve this, together!

Go here:

http://actionnetwork.org/campaign/senate09_comment?rk=op3P567aPablE

and let your voices be heard!  If you write before October 3, a represenative will deliver your letter personally.

Breaking Investigation Reveals Cows Milked for Land O’Lakes Die Slow, Painful Deaths

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I received this disturbing information about suffering cows on a Pennsylvanian Land ‘O Lakes supplier/farm. Please take a moment to read this and think about the scenario. How would you feel? Please don’t say “It’s just a cow.” Every living thing has feelings, whether we choose to acknowledge the fact or not. How would we feel if someone bigger or more powerful than us took our freedoms away and let us suffer in pain needlessly….?  Words in red are emphasized by me.

Dear Amy,

A veterinarian who examined this weak, starving, dehydrated calf on the farm of a Land O’Lakes milk supplier found that his skin was scalded from the chronic coating of urine and feces. Learn more.

You probably recognize the name Land O’Lakes. You’ve seen the company’s butter and milk products lined up on grocery-store shelves, and you may even purchase its products for your family. Now, please consider the immense suffering of these cows―who are given little more than a numbered tag punched through their ears―documented by PETA during our new undercover investigation of a Land O’Lakes supplier.

On the supplier’s Pennsylvania farm, our investigation documented the suffering of cow #506, who gave birth after a nine-month pregnancy and then collapsed on April 11. A day later, she was found struggling outside without food, water, or shelter from freezing temperatures ―the flailing of her head had carved a small trench in the ground under her face. She was eventually shot and killed.

Cow #826 would not stand up when urged, prompting the farm’s co-owner to electro-shock her to her feet. Her condition continued to decline over the course of 21 days, until she was finally shot and killed. Like many other cows on this farm, she was not given veterinary care or put out of her misery in a timely manner. Instead, she was left to suffer for weeks.

While being milked by a machine, cow #36’s gangrenous, infected teat ruptured, and workers were told to “amputate” it by binding it with a tight elastic band. Her condition deteriorated over the course of 11 days, until she finally died.

These are the stories of just a few of the cows whose painful experiences our investigator documented on the farm of this Land O’Lakes supplier. Others suffered when their newborn calves were torn away from them shortly after birth or when their tails were tightly wrapped with elastic bands in order to “dock” them, and they were all forced to live in perpetually wet pens and sheds full of deep excrement, which leads to the spread of disease. Watch our investigation video to learn more.

This blatant disregard for animal welfare is routine in the dairy industry. Cows are kept constantly pregnant in order to make them continue to produce milk, and they are hooked up at least twice a day to machines that extract the milk intended for their own calves. When their exhausted bodies are “spent” and can no longer provide enough milk, they are sent to slaughter, usually for hamburger meat.

Please take just a few minutes right now to help cows like #506, #826, and #36 who are still suffering for Land O’Lakes products. Write to the company today. Demand that Land O’Lakes executives watch the horrific undercover investigative footage and adopt PETA’s 12-point animal welfare plan, which will eliminate some of the worst abuses of cows raised for milk. Of course, the best way for you to help prevent cows from enduring this type of abuse is to go vegan and stop consuming dairy foods. Explore our “Vegetarian Starter Kit” for recipes and tips and to get started today.

Thank you for speaking out for cows on dairy factory farms.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid E. Newkirk
President

Over 4 million animals to be spared from animal testing!

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Over 4 million animals saved from animal testing!

This good news report from PETA:

For years, PETA has held meetings with top chemical companies, and through one of these meetings we learned that an absolutely massive animal testing program in Europe was going to cause even more animal suffering as a result of duplicative screening testing. PETA therefore coordinated a joint letter to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), which oversees the program, asking that it intervene. Now, in a huge victory for animals, ECHA has announced a process that will spare as many as 4,410,000 animals from these cruel tests!

The joint letter from PETA, PETA Europe, and European animal protection groups sent to ECHA last month raised serious concerns about the likelihood that companies would conduct duplicative animal tests for some types of toxicity when registering their chemicals under REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) and explained how the duplication could be avoided. On Tuesday, ECHA responded by instructing chemical companies not to conduct initial toxicity screens if they were proposing to conduct more comprehensive tests during later stages of the program.

Thanks to your support, more than 4 million animals will be spared the agony of being force-fed toxic chemicals over and over again via a tube inserted through their mouths and into their stomachs, a terrifying and painful procedure.

Thank you for all that you do to help us help animals.

Sincerely,

Tracy Reiman
Executive Vice President
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Treaty threatening parent’s rights

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Yes… a treaty threatening parent’s rights.  Please read the following article from the Washington Times, written by Michael Smith of the HSLDA. Afterwards, you can go to http://www.ParentalRights.org to learn more on what this is about.  This is ongoing and there are updates on the site – the original article was written a year ago but apparently the issue is gaining momentum.  Constitution Week is coming up Sept. 14-18th, and this is the best time to let your representatives hear from you!  For a breakdown of the treaty read here.

“All good parents are committed to seeking the best for their children, and in the crucial days of the presidential nominating process, many of us are turning our eyes to the years ahead.

What will the future look like for our children?

Though candidates and voters may have different perspectives on the specifics of achieving a positive future, one thing remains certain: Children need their parents.

The overwhelming majority know that parental involvement in the lives of children makes a key difference when it comes to their healthy development, education and positive life choices. In particular, home-school families know firsthand the impact of strong parental involvement in the lives of children.

Few dispute the vital role of parents in raising the next generation, but, regrettably, few recognize that the fundamental role of parents is under direct attack.

It’s possible that in the near future, the United States may significantly weaken the rights of parents to raise their children. Crucial decisions that parents are accustomed to making, such as what our children read, who they associate with, what kind of discipline is used, whether we take them to church, or whether we home-school, all become decisions for the state if the United States ratifies the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

This frightening scenario could be just around the corner. It’s not as far-fetched as we may believe. The UNCRC, after being approved by the Clinton administration in February 1995, was then sent to the Senate.

In the mid-’90s, the UNCRC was opposed by a core group of senators and stopped. The treaty still can be ratified, however, since we do not know who will control the Congress and the presidency in the future.

Many parents are completely unaware of the hazards lurking within the words of this treaty. Wrapped neatly within its positive phrases and child-focused language is a dangerous disregard for the vital role parents play in the lives of their children.

By allowing the government to define and determine what is in the “best interests of the child,” outside the context of abuse and neglect cases, the UNCRC in effect diminishes the parental role, replacing it with government supervision.

If this treaty is made binding upon our country, government officials could be advancing their definition of the “best interests” of your child — even if it means overriding some of our parental choices.

Since the U.S. Constitution makes treaty provisions binding on the nation, the only way to defend against the UNCRC, if it’s ratified, is to amend the Constitution.

To this end, the Home School Legal Defense Association is actively supporting ParentalRights.org, a new grass-roots movement of concerned parents across the nation. ParentalRights.org is an organization dedicated to ensuring the long-term security of the child-parent relationship.

The ultimate goal, however, of ParentalRights.org is to secure a constitutional amendment that will preserve and protect the rights of parents.

The parental rights amendment does not add to or change current parental rights — it only protects the rights parents presently possess, ensuring that those rights will not be weakened or devalued.

The amendment would ensure that, even if the UNCRC is ratified, your parental rights would still be protected. If you would like to read more about your parental rights and why they need to be protected, visit http://www.ParentalRights.org.

As the new year gets under way, many of us are thinking about the future of our families. The safeguarding of parental rights is vital to the future of our nation because of the role parents play in the lives of their children is one that no government official ever could replace.”

Michael Smith is the president of the Home School Legal Defense Association. He may be contacted at 540/338-5600; or send e-mail to media@hslda.org