Animal Ministries Corner

posted Oct 31, 2017, 9:15 PM by Cheryl Hentz   [ updated Apr 2, 2018, 10:53 AM ]

This monthly feature from the FCC Animal Ministries Group is intended to demonstrate the importance of animals and how to better care for them as the stewards we’ve been appointed to be. 


11 Facts About Factory Farms and the Environment

There’s no question that factory farming has a negative effect on our environment. Check out these facts from DoSomething.org.

1.       About 10 billion land animals in the United States are raised for dairy, meat, and eggs each year.

2.       Factory farming accounts for 37% of methane (CH4) emissions, which has more than 20 times the global warming potential of CO2.

3.       Manure can also contain traces of salt and heavy metals, which can end up in bodies of water and accumulate in the sediment, concentrating as they move up the food chain.

4.       When manure is repeatedly over-applied to farm land it causes dangerous levels of phosphorus and nitrogen in the water supply. In such excessive amounts, nitrogen robs water of oxygen and destroys aquatic life.

5.       Burning fossil fuels to produce fertilizers for animal feed crops may emit 41 million metric tons of CO2 per year.

6.       Globally, deforestation for animal grazing and feed crops is estimated to emit 2.4 billion tons of CO2 every year.

7.       Corn, wheat, and rice, the fast-growing crops on which humanity depends for survival, are among the most nitrogen-hungry of all plants.

8.       Large-scale animal factories often give animals antibiotics to promote growth, or to compensate for illness resulting from crowded conditions. These antibiotics enter the environment and the food chain.

9.       Factory farms contribute to air pollution by releasing compounds such as hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, and methane.

10.   The US Department of Agriculture estimates that confined farm animals generate more than 450 million tons of manure annually, three times more raw waste than generated by Americans.

11.   The waste lagoons on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) not only pollute our groundwater but deplete it as well. Many of the farms use the groundwater for cleaning, cooling, and drinking.

If interested in finding ways to help the environment, either as a group, or on your own, please visit DoSomething.org.


Season of Lent

The 2018 season of Lent officially kicked off on Feb. 14 and it will run until March 31. During this time many people give up certain things; it might be candy or other sweets; or, it might be all foods deemed bad for us by the various dieticians in the world. Still others, make a promise to give up certain behaviors during this time. It’s sort of like a second chance to make good on those New Year’s Resolutions that have since fallen by the wayside. Whatever it is, most people who honor Lent, do so by making a promise to give up something for the Lenten season. But it doesn’t have to be about giving up something.

Have you thought about adding something to your life during this Lenten process?  Whether that’s food on your plate or activities in your schedule, there are many ways we can follow the footsteps of Jesus and model servitude during this holy time. You might consider volunteering at a local animal sanctuary or shelter, leading a Bible study on creation care, or hosting a plant-based fellowship meal. Perhaps you’d rather read a book or watch a video on how to live your life more humanely. Those celebrating the Lenten season of reflection and prayer are also encouraged to join others at CreatureKind for a weekly online Lenten devotional as we consider what we believe about God’s creatures and how we might move toward living out those beliefs as members of the body of Christ.

Need other ideas? The faith outreach section of the Humane Society of the United States website has a variety of ideas and surely has something there that will pique your interest. Who knows? It may change the way you live your life year-round, not just during Lent. Here is the link to point you in the right direction to HSUS’ Faith Outreach: http://www.humanesociety.org/about/departments/faith.  

 

Helping Make a Difference for Animals

This monthly feature is intended to demonstrate the importance of animals and how to better care for them as the stewards we’ve been appointed to be. 

As we read newspaper and magazine articles, or hear/see stories on local radio, TV and social media outlets, it’s clear that now, more than ever, animals need our help! And it’s not just homeless animals in our local shelters and rescue groups. They certainly need help, yes. But there are wild animals in all corners of the world whose habitats, and lives, are endangered; puppy mill animals are crowded into small, confining cages, forced to breed over and over again, with their feet never touching the ground, in many cases; farm animals in factory-farm settings are also victims of overcrowding, as well as abuse; wild horses being chased by helicopters and rounded up at the instruction of our own governmental agencies; animals being abused in bullfights, greased pig wrestling, turkey tosses, etc., all in the name of sport; and the list goes on and on.

There are many things we can do. Volunteering to an animal right’s cause is a wonderful way to help make a difference. But, believe it or not, one of the greatest things you can do is to learn more about the plight of animals and what they need. Animals do not have a voice—they need each and every one of us to be their voice. You can write to or call your elected officials on their behalf.  You may think your voice won’t make a difference; but it can. And surely, voices all speaking the same message can impact things greatly for animals.

Other things you can do to help include:

  • Volunteering at your local animal shelter or with a rescue group
  • Donate to an animal organization that is either rescuing animals or helping make their plight better, including protecting endangered species
  • Adopt an animal, if you can, or donate money on its behalf
  • Teach others about animal issues and animal rights that need fighting for
  • Become a vegetarian or vegan, or at a minimum, buy meat, eggs and dairy products from farms that practice “free range” techniques and treat animals humanely, even in their slaughtering practices. At the same time, you can buy organic foods and products.
  • The Humane Society of the United States has produced a list of “55 Ways to Help Animals.” Most of these are very simple; and some may be ways you never even thought of. Find the list by following this link (www.humanesociety.org/action/55_actions_to_help_animals.html), or going to www.hsus.org and searching for 55 Ways to Help Animals.



Curling Up With Jesus

Before Christmas becomes too much of a distant memory, we thought the following would be fitting for this month’s feature.

A Nativity Scene was erected in a church yard. During the night, some church members came across this scene…


An abandoned dog was looking for a comfortable, protected place to sleep. He chose baby Jesus as his comfort.  No one had the heart to send him away; so, he was there all night.

We should all have the good sense of this dog, and curl up in Jesus' lap from time to time. (By the way, the dog was a German Shepherd!)

                                - Source unknown


What is the Importance of Animals to the Environment?

Ever wonder about the importance of animals to the environment? The answers are many and could never fit into the allotted space here. 

But the short answer, according to Reference.com is this:  Animals help maintain the Earth's natural environments by predating upon plants and other animals, pollinating various plants, and exhaling carbon dioxide, which green plants require to live. Additionally, animals help to fertilize plants via their droppings, which provide nutrition for plants, and seed-dispersal tendencies, which help plants to disperse through habitats. Once they die, animals also serve as food for microorganisms and supplemental minerals for plants.

The Animal Ministries Corner is a monthly feature to demonstrate the importance of animals and how to better care for them as the stewards we’ve been appointed to be. 


Keeping Our Pets Safe During the Holidays

Our four-legged pets are part of the family. So, with the holidays coming, be sure to include them in the festivities. But use common-sense and keep things as earth-friendly as possible when doing so.

Buy (or make) them a treat. Pet stores and others who sell pet food and related items will likely go all out for the holiday season, but if you’d rather make treats for your pet(s), there are plenty of great recipes online. Most will probably be designed for year-round enjoyment, but you can use cookie cutters to mold them into holiday treats. And, if they call for pumpkin or peanut butter, rest assured, those items are safe for dogs (but in moderation, of course).

Don’t leave them out of gift-opening. Everyone else will be opening gifts, so be sure to include the fur-kids. They will have a lot of fun trying to get smaller gifts out of their own personalized stockings (a gift in and of itself), or wrap up a tennis ball, bone, catnip, or some other toy and watch them tear open the paper with delight. Some pets may even get more enjoyment out of the unwrapping than they do the actual gift, but they will enjoy the gifts once the paper’s tossed out in the recycle bin.

Get them their own special ornaments. Many families have a tradition of getting a special personalized ornament each year. If this is something your family does, consider getting one for your pets, as well. You could get a special ornament for each pet (if you have more than one pet), or one for all of them, if you so choose. Such ornaments can be personalized by having their photo and or name(s) engraved on them. If you’d rather do it yourself, you can always make an ornament and if your pet cooperates, include their paw print on it before baking in an oven or kiln. (Salt dough is said to work great if making ornaments in the oven.) Either way, it’s a special way to keep holiday memories of your fur-kids alive for years to come.

Keep them warm and toasty (and safe). Your pet’s coat only keeps them so warm when the winds blow and the snow flies. Why not get them a snuggly pet bed of their own? And for those winter walks in the snow, ice and slush, you can get them a coat, or even boots to protect their feet from freezing in the ice, or getting salt on them from sidewalks (that salt can be dangerous if they lick it off; so be sure to wipe their feet when coming indoors after walks around the neighborhood.). And consider using pet-safe salt on your own sidewalks to protect your own pets and others in the neighborhood that may walk by.

Happy holidays from our group to you and yours!

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