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April 21, 2009

The HSUS Celebrates Animals and the Environment this Earth Day

The Humane Society of the United States

Earth Day, celebrated each year on April 22, is an opportunity to reflect on the effects our daily lives have on the environment and to take action to improve the health of the planet. The Humane Society of the United States suggests ways to learn more and help the animals who share our environment.

Save the Whales

Buffalo Exchange, a chain of resale stores offering new and recycled fashion, will hold a Dollar Day sale on Saturday, April 25 (except in Costa Mesa, where the sale occurred Sunday) to benefit The HSUS and its international arm, Humane Society International. Proceeds from the sale of all $1 items will support the Save Whales — Not Whaling campaign, which motivates people and countries around the world to protect whales from the cruel, ecologically destructive practice of whaling.

Customers can get bargains on clothing and accessories, learn more about whales and help the Save Whales — Not Whaling campaign by visiting one of Buffalo Exchange's store locations. If you aren't able to attend the Dollar Day event, you can still sign an anti-whaling petition here.

Recycled Threads from Ellen

Reduce your carbon footprint, and increase your cool factor, with something pre-owned by talk show host Ellen DeGeneres. She's launched an eBay online charity clothing auction benefiting The Humane Society of The United States. 

Through May 8, Ellen will list more than 75 clothing and accessory items from her closet. Some of the items include clothing and accessories worn on the red carpet and "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," such as the Navy jacket Ellen wore during President Barack Obama's appearance. Bidding starts at just $1 per item and each auction will be live for seven days. Fans can bid online at ellentv.com.

Fur Hurts the Planet

In addition to the fur industry's cruelty to animals, including documented incidents of raccoon dogs being skinned alive, wearing animal fur harms the environment. The fur production process consumes large amounts of fossil fuels and pollutes the air and water with toxic chemicals and animal waste. "Wild fur" causes environmental harm as well. Traps commonly used to catch furbearing animals from the wild are indiscriminate and may catch endangered animals as well as their target species.

The HSUS has produced a report and animated video on the detrimental environmental effects of fur, available at humanesociety.org/furhurtstheplanet.

A Greener Plate

In 2006, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization issued a report finding that the global farm animal sector is responsible for 18 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, more than the world's cars, trucks, SUVs, airplanes and ships combined. Intensive factory farming also harms the environment by polluting the air, water and soil with manure and other contaminants.

You can help improve the health of the planet by reducing the amount of meat and animal products in your diet. The HSUS offers information about the Three Rs to reduce, replace and refine methods of farm animal production, and offers delicious and easy recipes.

In Your Own Backyard

The HSUS also offers 10 tips for backyard wildlife awareness to benefit our wild neighbors.

  • Let your lawn grow into a meadow. This cuts down on the use of fossil fuels and increases habitat for birds and butterflies.
  • Avoid cutting down dead trees in springtime whenever possible. Old, decaying trees provide important habitat for wild animals, who are likely to be nesting in them during spring.
  • Keep cats indoors. Even a gentle, well-fed house cat will prey on wildlife when given the chance. Outdoor-roaming cats are at risk for accidents and diseases as well. 
  • Garden with plants that are native to your area. They thrive better, resist disease, require less maintenance and prevent the spread of invasive species.
  • Do not trap "nuisance" wild animals, who are likely to have young at this time of year. Instead, use eviction and exclusion strategies (humanesociety.org/wildneighbors) to solve wildlife conflicts around your home.
  • Never keep a wild animal as a pet — it is very difficult to meet a wild animal's needs in captivity.
  • Cut up plastic 6-pack holders before disposal so that wild animals do not get tangled up in them. Do the same for Yoplait yogurt containers, which commonly entrap skunks' heads.
  • Thoroughly rinse food jars before recycling them. Hungry raccoons and skunks can get their heads stuck in peanut butter, jelly or other containers with leftover food.
  • Walk through your yard and look carefully for rabbits' nests before mowing in the spring. Look for clumps of fur as a sign of a shallow nest underneath.
  • Pick up trash with your family at your local stream or pond. You'll help wildlife far downstream.

Wildlife in Focus

Select U.S. movie theaters will premiere the film Earth in honor of Earth Day. Produced by Disneynature Films and BBC, this 90-minute documentary film follows the migrations of three animal families: polar bears, African elephants and humpback whales.

In the spirit of The HSUS' mission to celebrate animals, the film inspires a sense of awe and responsibility toward wildlife as these animals teach their young to survive in a changing world.  For a list of locations and a film trailer, visit disney.go.com/disneynature/earth. The film is rated G.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.

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