Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Africa’s soccer

Africa’s soccer greats meet… As union brings football players’ welfare to the fore
Africa’s soccer greats meet… As union brings football players’ welfare to the fore
Namibia’s commercial city Windhoek’s luxurious hub, the Hilton Hotel, will be a hive of activity when the Namibia Football Players Union (NAFPU) hosts the much-anticipated Division Africa Congress, which gets underway tomorrow morning.
The gathering will be graced by retired African football greats such as former Bayern Munich fullback and Ghanaian international Sammy Kuffour, Jeremy Njitab (Cameroon) and Brave Warriors title-winning skipper Stigga Ketjijere, among a dozen other high-profile personalities.
The two-day event will deliberate on the thorny issue of footballers’ status with unions on the African continent and take stock of progress made so far as well as map the way forward.
An excited president of NAFPU, former Brave Warriors’ dribbling wizard Lolo Goraseb, expressed satisfaction with the progress made by the union since its long overdue establishment in 2008.
He says there has been a wind of change in the mentality of local clubs, who previously showed resistance to engage with the union on players’ grievances.
“This is the most appropriate time, we have just completed the constitutional review of the country’s flagship league, NPL. We touched on the status review that would allow us to put legal instruments in place thus obliging NPL clubs to voluntarily recognise the union including its designated functions.”
Goraseb says the union’s tortoise pace approach was a result of the conspicuous absence of a collective bargaining agreement with the NPL and its affiliates. “There was no legal framework in place and that scenario hampered our progress.”
New Era Sport has established that the NPL Statutes Review Committee has undertaken to call into life the long properly constituted competent Dispute Resolution Chamber (DRC) under the jurisdiction of the NFA.
It also resolved to appoint a competent independent NPL disciplinary committee to deal with disputes. “For us, that status has been reviewed in the best interest of players and from now onwards, we are going to deal with any disputes, contractual or unfair dismissals.”
Goraseb expressed serious concern over the current status quo in domestic football, citing the players’ lack of contractual understanding as a major challenge.
“As a union, we strongly discourage our members from rushing into signing contracts with their respective teams without being fully conversant with each and every detail in the contract.”
The former Black Africa attacking midfielder adds that the union would protect the interest of clubs should players be found in breach of their contractual obligations.
The portfolio Minister Jerry Ekandjo will be among the dignitaries at the opening ceremony this morning, while football heavyweights led by NFA President Frans Mbidi, Johnny “JJD” Doeseb (NPL Chairman) and several captains of industry would also be in attendance.

Stress in domestic cats: new review discusses causes and management

 Pet cats can suffer from stress triggered by a variety of events and situations, including conflicts with other cats and changes to

routine. While cats can adapt, sometimes the stress can be too much, with negative effects on their health.
   Writing in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, a group of veterinarians from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain, explains that stress can impoverish the health of pet cats and increase their risk of disease.

The authors say that stress in pet cats can lead to behavior changes that are so difficult to manage that owners end up relinquishing them or having them euthanized.

In their paper, they discuss the causes and effects of stress in pet cats and strategies on how to prevent and reduce it.

Some of the main causes of stress that they discuss include: changes to the pets' environment, a barren environment, poor relationships with humans, conflicts with other cats and lack of control and predictability.

The authors note that other new changes - such as the arrival of a new member in the household, or a change in the daily routine - may also be stressful for the family's feline pet.

Effects of stress in cats
In cats, stress distorts normal behavior - leading to reduction or excess of it. Generally, stress causes a domestic cat to become less active and playful and engage in markedly fewer positive interactions with other cats and humans.

The authors note that stress can also cause pet cats to eat less - or more, in some circumstances - than usual.

Stress can also trigger compulsive behavior in domestic cats, such as over-grooming, to the point where the animal loses its fur, showing patches of bare skin. But sometimes, stress can have the opposite effect, causing the cat to be neglectful about grooming.

Another sign of stress in a pet cat is increased urine spraying and increased vigilance - the animal can also become a lot more vocal than usual.

Cats are naturally curious and social animals, but when stressed, they may stop exploring and hide away for long periods of time. They can also become more aggressive.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

When You Put Shelter Animals in Pet Stores, Something Amazing Happens

Pets are adorable. But our love for pets produces some very un-adorable facts. For example, in the U.S. alone there are 70 million stray

dogs and cats, and of them only 6 to 8 million enter shelters. Of those that are in shelters, around 30 percent are purebred, and 90 percent are healthy and adoptable. Yet, only 18 percent of owned dogs and 16 percent of owned cats have been adopted from shelters. For most people, the go-to place for getting a pet remains the pet store. This encourages two types of cruelty — one that occurs in puppy mills that breed purebred dogs, and another that occurs in the overcrowded shelters where some of these same dogs go, after being abandoned by their owners.

Brazil, as many other countries, also has a problem with homeless animals. In order to raise awareness and encourage adoption, Associação Quatro Patinhas has started a clever campaign called Priceless Pets that runs under the slogan “Better than buying a life is saving one.” It frees future pet owners from their bias and shows them that there is no difference between the love and cuteness they’ll get from animals for sale and those for adoption.

The organization has partnered with 12 pet shops in Brazil (more can sign up), which have agreed to lend their displays for one day and replace the animals for sale with pets for adoption, without telling the customers. The following video shows the result.