New shows let kids spend Thanksgiving with the animals
BY JEANNE SPREIER
Dallas Morning News
The latest six-episode miniseries from Steve Irwin, best known for his
crocodile hunting escapades, does for older kids what many adults wish would
happen in classrooms across America. That is, it makes biology, ecology and
sociology relevant and interesting to students who aren't angling to become
Viewers of "New Breed Vets" should not be squeamish - or else they need to
be willing to turn their eyes once in a while. (Don't worry; the really gory
scenes get a heavy blue screen, muting the blood and tissue occasionally
oozing around.) But plenty of preteens and teens won't mind watching vets
stitch up a koala that lost its run-in with a car, a camel with a weird
nasal cavity that traps food (causing constant sinus infection), a snake
with a benign growth on its kidney or a cheetah with a severely damaged
In his hyperkinetic way, Irwin has noted the hospital at his Australia Zoo
treats as many as 60 koalas a month that suffer broken bones and other
injuries caused by cars. The problem, he states plainly, is habitat
destruction - koalas can't find their "mates" (in the literal and Australian
sense) without crossing suburban roads.
When vets traveled to Indonesia after last year's tsunami, it was to treat
elephants injured while clearing debris. It's interesting that in this
horrific emergency, humans needed animals' help in rescue and recovery
because all the heavy machinery was lost or destroyed by the tidal wave. The
elephants' feet, trunks and heads, however, were injured from moving or
stepping on sheared metal, broken glass and splintered wood. In order to
keep the animals alive and healthy, vets administered a variety of vaccines,
salves and antidotes.
Also featured on the show is the extensive surgery needed to repair a
cheetah's jaw, broken when it became tangled in an African farmer's snare.
While there's the small view - repairing the cheetah's injuries - the
broader view presents more texture for kids and their teachers. Who's right
in this situation, the farmer or the conservationist? What role do these
wild animals play? Is it humans' responsibility to fix the damage to
animals? Who should pay?
This week's episode tackles various crimes against animals, a visit to the
National Wildlife and Forensics Laboratory in Oregon and suspicious mouth
lesions found in lowland gorillas.
Regular Irwin viewers need to get past his histrionic ways to realize this
series asks a lot more questions than it answers. While the surface view of
vets is entertaining enough, the interface of man and wildlife presented in
"New Breed Vets" (either intentionally or not) makes this a dynamic program
What: "New Breed Vets"
When: 9 p.m. Thursday
Where: Animal Planet
Greetings to you all!
I know you are extremely busy, so will be brief . . .
The premier of "New Breed Vets" was AWESOME! Everything, from the material
and cases to the zippy introductions of doctors and facility locations, to
the fast-paced but informative tone, and of course the patients and
attending medical teams really pulled together for a great show. Steve once
again introduced another facet of animal care with his never-ending passion
and respect. In putting this together and presenting veterinary medicine
with a fresh outlook, it is obvious you all continue to work wonderfully
together. From the faculty, staff, students, hourlies and volunteers of Colorado
State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital, THANK YOU for the opportunity
to be part of this high class program. You are all inspiring with the care
you have taken in this production.
Can't wait until next week. . .
Lorie J Johnson
Office Manager, Hospital Director's Office
Veterinary Medical Center