Animals Archives - 500 Ways

The Insidious Dog Collar

Most dog owners don’t realize the harm a dog collar can cause. Veterinarians have reported dogs with tracheal collapse in varying degrees up to death, permanent pain injuries due to spinal problems, epilepsy, and even broken teeth and legs, all from dog collars.

You might be wondering how legs can be broken. It turns out a dog scratching an itch can get a leg stuck under the collar. In their ever-more frantic attempts to get free they end up breaking their own leg.

So what can you do?

1. Replace the collar with a harness, as shown above.

2. Don’t yank your dog’s leash as a training technique or punishment. Evidently a training coach at a Petco store accidentally killed one of his students by doing this.

3. Make sure the harness fits correctly. You should be able to slip a thumb under the harness, but not your whole hand.

4. If your dog stays in at night, remove the harness for the dog’s comfort and health.


Big Farming

In the 1980s, more than a quarter-million family farms were shut down, as factory-farms took over. More than 900 farmers committed suicide. The number may be even higher, but many of the suicides appeared to be farm machinery accidents.

Now, we’re in an era of super-farming. For instance, 6 mega-dairy farms in Texas produce more organic milk than all 453 organic dairy farms in Wisconsin. Is the organic milk of the same quality when it comes from an operation of that size? Are the cows still grass-fed? Are they raised in pastures where they can live natural, happy cow lives, or merely fed grass (so they can be called ‘grass fed’) in crowded holding pens? Can everything remain organic when huge populations of cattle can rapidly spread a disease? Can the mega-farmers comply with truly organic requirements?



In the new science of zoopharmacognosy, scientists patiently watch animals to learn about how they medicate themselves. In the most profound case, chimpanzees who are not feeling well seek out a plant called aspilia and eat one of its leaves whole. Upon studying this plant, scientists have found a chemical in it that is a strong antibiotic which may even reduce some cancers. Elephants and bears also treat themselves pharmacologically.