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Polar Bears, Humpbacked Whales, and Elephants – Experience the Planet Like Never Before

 

Director Mark Linfield and Friend

Ever wonder about the world’s largest land predator, how soon newborn whale calves are able to swim, or the little-known function of an elephant’s ears? While the answers might surprise and amuse you, it’s the adventure these questions pose that promises to be unforgettable. On April 22, you’re invited to experience an epic journey when Disneynature premieres “Earth,” the Company’s first wildlife film in over 60 years, continuing a legacy that began with Walt Disney’s Academy Award®-winning “True-Life Adventures.” Narrated by screen, stage, and television legend James Earl Jones, “Earth” reveals the seasonal struggles facing three animal families from the Arctic to Antarctica … and some of the planet’s most remote regions in between. 

Acclaimed wildlife filmmaker/director Mark Linfield tells why he and director/partner Alistair Fothergill chose polar bears, humpbacked whales, and elephants as their endearing main stars. “One thing that unites every being on the planet is the sun and its annual north-south journey. We wanted to document three animals that embark on incredible migrations due to the influence of the sun’s extreme seasonality … and these are large, engaging animals that we felt people could relate to. As the moviemaking went on, it became clear to us that we wanted a very subtle reference toward the future and conservation, which is why they had calves or cubs. Many of us have little ones and we’re always thinking of what the world will be like for them and their children. Most of the animals’ dramas are driven by their quest to protect their infants and get the best out of the planet for their offspring … nature truly writes the most amazing scripts.” 

To record “true” true-life adventures, there’s one thing Mark and his team couldn’t change, accelerate, or follow with a script — the erratic schedule of nature itself. He points out, “You’re lucky if the animals show up at all. Most days we didn’t see anything, that’s almost the law … the only way to stack the odds in your favor is to spend huge amounts of time in the field. We spent 2,000 days filming with 40 different crews in 26 different countries. It took about five years to make and we filmed solidly for three of those years … it was just a big logistical exercise, but that’s what it takes. Movies like this are powerful partly because it’s the simple truth.” Mark also explains that natural history actually translates better on the big screen because some of the up-close realism is lost when viewed on television. 

Larger than life, the animals’ determined battle against the elements is amazing, entertaining, and ultimately heartrending. Extreme weather conditions from pole to pole presented unique, and nearly impossible, filming challenges. “Just look at the environments that our three characters live in … like the polar bear. We’re actually in the middle of the  with crews working in 40-degree-below-zero temperatures. It’s so unbelievably cold that most of the time the equipment barely works or the tripod sticks to your fingers. Daylight was like five or six minutes long, which means it was dark the rest of the time. Polar bears are hugely influenced by the seasonality of the sun — half their year is spent in absolute darkness while the other half produces 24-hour daylight,” says Mark. The team was the first ever to be given access to the Kong Karls Land polar bear denning site in Norway, 700 miles south of the North Pole. 

Conditions proved no easier when the crew was filming the elephants in Botswana, the Sahara and Kalahari Deserts, and Namibia’s sand dunes, some of the largest in the world. “We worked in unbelievable heat, dust, and sandstorms … without water. The elephants aren’t affected from changes in daylight, but the sun drives the wet and dry seasons, forcing them to undertake huge migrations — their quest to finally find water hundreds of miles away at the Okavango Delta is pretty dramatic.” From helicopters, gyro-stabilized Cineflex aerial cameras allowed filmmakers to track the animals without disturbing them in their natural environment. 

“For the humpbacked whales, we filmed from a boat at sea, sometimes in a helicopter, through storms and a huge range of conditions,” he continues. “The mother whale and her calf travel 4,000 miles south, from the Equator’s tropical waters to the Antarctic Sea … it’s the longest journey of any marine mammal.” During the course of filming, the crew was able to feature dozens of marine costars, including schools of sailfish and a great white shark … the footage is nothing short of spectacular. 

The journey, as always, proved fantastic for Mark, who doesn’t hesitate when asked about his most memorable moment. “Filming the elephants caught in the sandstorm … it was totally unexpected. Just watching them trapped in a sandstorm, trying to battle the elements while looking after their calves, was very sad and emotional for me.” 

He then comments on his expectations for the film. “I hope people will fall in love with the Earth and basically see how much there still is to care about. Everything in the movie is available and can be saved. I hope people realize it’s not futile, it’s not too late … we have an absolutely amazing planet.” 

“Earth” promises to give audiences 85 amazing minutes that wouldn’t be humanly possible in an entire lifetime … or 10 lifetimes.

Source:  Disney Insider

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April 22, 2009 Posted by | Animal Rights And Awareness, animals, Just One More Pet, On The Lighter Side, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Bio Spot Flea And Tick Control Products – Urgent Alert… Again

After the largest increase in reports and complaints about EPA approved flea and tick remedies in 2008 the EPA is finally launching a second look.  The complaint and warning below was posted in July 2002… now 7-years later Bio Spot is back on the top of the list of complaints filed with the EPA.  Why did it take them 7-years to follow up??
Hamish, below,  did survive but there have been cases of death from the use of these type products.  There was a women on NBC news last night that spoke about her cat dying after she used Bio Spot Flea Shampoo on her.

“Farnam’s Bio Spot Flea & Tick Almost Killed Our Dog.”

dalmatian
Six months ago, my family adopted a one and a half year old Dalmatian, named Hamish.  He had been in a high kill shelter in Connecticut, and was rescued just one day before he was scheduled to be destroyed.  

To protect him from fleas and ticks, we chose Frontline – a liquid that is applied to the dog’s back.  It gave us peace of mind knowing that he had this protection, but it had to be purchased from a veterinarian and was quite expensive.  
One day while shopping, I came across an over-the-counter product, called Bio Spot Flea & Tick Control (by Farnam Pet Products).  It looked similar to the Frontline product, but it was much cheaper, so I decided to try it.  The Bio Spot seemed to work just as well as Frontline, so I used it again six weeks later.  

An hour after applying the Bio Spot, I found Hamish thrashing about on the ground.  His body was completely stiff.  His head was raised in the air, and his jaws were opened wide.  A thick foamy saliva was spewing from his mouth.  Horrified, I tried to determine if something was stuck in his throat.  His windpipe was clear, but he was not breathing.  His eyes began to roll back in his head.  He was dying and I did not know what to do to save him!  We made a desperate call to our veterinarian.


        IF YOU SUSPECT AN ADVERSE REACTION TO A FLEA CONTROL PRODUCT…

1.  BATHE YOUR PET WITH A MILD DISH DETERGENT (SUCH AS DAWN), AND RINSE
     WITH LARGE AMOUNTS OF WATER.  DO NOT USE FLEA AND TICK SHAMPOO
     BECAUSE IT CONTAINS PESTICIDE.

2.  IF SIGNS CONTINUE (LETHARGY, LOSS OF APPETITE, DROOLING, INCOORDINATION,
     LABORED BREATHING, INCREASED EXCITABILITY, ELEVATED BODY TEMPERATURE,  
     VOMITING, DIARRHEA, OR SEIZURES), CONSULT A VETERINARIAN IMMEDIATELY.

3.  REPORT IT TO THE MANUFACTURER OF THE PRODUCT AND THE U.S. EPA.


After a few minutes, Hamish slowly began to recover.  We had just witnessed something we had never seen before – a grand mal (severe) seizure.  Our veterinarian said that a blood test might help to find the cause, and mentioned the possibility of epilepsy.  By the afternoon, Hamish looked much better, but that night he endured three more grand mal seizures.  

Why would a healthy dog have four grand mal seizures within twenty hours?  I searched the Internet for information on epilepsy, and read that if seizures begin to occur frequently, the animal may have to be euthanized!  We would not know the results of the blood test for a week, but we had a feeling it was 
not epilepsy, and wondered if the seizures were caused by the Bio Spot.

It seemed unlikely that Bio Spot could have caused the seizures because we had used it (same batch) just six weeks earlier with no adverse effects.  Also, the packaging did not list seizures as a possible adverse reaction (it listed only lethargy, itchiness, redness, rash, hair discoloration, or hair loss).  

Just in case the seizures were caused by the Bio Spot, we thoroughly washed Hamish to remove as much of it as possible, and took him to our veterinarian for a physical exam and blood test.  The exam showed that everything was normal, and the blood test revealed no internal problems.  Our veterinarian
could not rule out Bio Spot as the cause of the seizures.

Hamish has not had any seizures since the Bio Spot was thoroughly washed off three weeks ago, and appears to be in good health.  However, we worry about irrepairable damage that may have been done to his neurological system, and wonder if short-term exposure to the chemicals in BioSpot will cause any long-term health problems.

CONSUMER ALERT – July 14, 2002
How Bio Spot Works

According to Farnam’s website, the ingredients in Bio Spot “move around your dog’s coat by several processes including diffusion and capillary action, and transfer from hair to hair as the pet moves.”  That may lead you to believe that it remains on your dog’s coat, therefore it’s safe for your dog.  The truth is these harmful chemicals are absorbed through the skin and enter the bloodstream.  That is also how transdermal patches work – they use the skin as a way to enter the body.

The main active ingredient in Bio Spot is a pesticide known as permethrin  (it is used in more than 18 similar products, including Bayer’s K9 Advantix and Summit VetPharm’s Vectra 3D).  It kills insects by paralyzing their nervous system (that is also how nerve gas works).  However, it cannot distinguish between an insect’s nervous system, a dog’s nervous system, or a human’s nervous system. That is why it is important to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling. 

BY JAMES TERBUSH
James TerBush is a designer of educational games and lives in Pennsylvania.

Serious Risk to Health

While never claiming their Bio Spot product is safe for dogs, the Farnam website states, “Nearly all dogs tolerate Bio Spot well.”  However, that does not mean it is safe for ANY dog.  The word “tolerate” means 
to bear, endure, or suffer.  According to the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“Many and perhaps most Americans believe that commercially available pesticides, such as those found in pet products, are tightly regulated by the government.  In fact, they are not. Not until the passage of a 1996 law focused on pesticides in food did the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) begin examining the risks from pesticides in pet products in earnest.  To this day, the EPA allows the manufacture and sale of pet products containing hazardous insecticides with little or no demonstration that a child’s exposure to these ingredients would be safe.  Just because these products are on store shelves does not mean they have been tested or can be presumed safe.”

“Of course, as bad as these products may be for pet owners and caregivers, they often are worse for 
the pets themselves.  Based on the very limited data available, it appears that hundreds and probably thousands of pets have been injured or killed through exposure to pet products containing pesticides. 
As with small children, pets cannot report when they’re being poisoned at low doses.”

                                       Natural Resources Defense Council
                                       Health Hazards from Flea and Tick Products (Executive Summary)
                                       November, 2000 

What is known about Bio Spot’s main active ingredient, permethrin?  A few drops of it can be deadly
to a cat.  Toxicological studies have linked this pesticide to serious acute and chronic health effects.  The EPA has classified it as a possible human carcinogen because it increases the frequency of lung and liver tumors in laboratory animals.  It suppresses the immune system.  Permethrin is also suspected to have played an important role in the development of illnesses known as the Gulf War Syndrome.  

In a recently published journal entitled, Experimental Neurology, researchers at Duke University Medical Center found that frequent and prolonged use of permethrin on adult rats lead to cell death in their brains. In another recent study, researchers at Virginia Tech found that low-level exposure to permethrin caused changes in the brain that could lead to Parkinson’s Disease.

The inert ingredients in Bio Spot, which are not disclosed, may pose an even greater risk because they receive much less scrutiny by the Environmental Protection Agency.  The cumulative and synergistic
effects of these chemicals are not required to be tested for safety. 

Is it true that nearly all dogs tolerate Bio Spot well?  Perhaps, but the risk of short-term exposure includes severe adverse reactions, and the risk of long-term exposure is unknown. 

eps_approved

Like humans… U.S. Pets are being over medicated and over exposed to chemicals and drugs

 We all can and should use as many natural home remedies as we can so our babies aren’t filled with awful chemicals!!!

One of the major culprits are the flea and tick meds… especially the push to keep your pets on them all year round.

Here are some alternatives:

Natural Flea Fighter

One dropperful of each: eucalyptus, lavendar, pennyroyal, and citronella in a quart of water

Pour mixture into a spray bottle and use every time before you take your pets outside.

Always dilute pennyroyal, never use full strength cuz it is toxic, but this is better and in smaller doses than what is in the leading commercial remedies!!

You can buy the ingredients at a health food store or market with a homeopathic, herbal section

(OR)

Just adding a ‘little’ garlic powder to your pets’ food can remedy the flea and tick problem; about a 1/4 of a teaspoon for a 15 pound dog, and about 1 tsp for up to a 90 lb dog;also increases their immune system.

Also, use natural orange extract and water based sprays for around the house or yard, instead of chemicals.

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April 22, 2009 Posted by | animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Health, pet products, Pets, Political Change, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments