Friday, September 17, 2010

Expand your vocabulary......

Bycatch: Bycatch occurs when fishing equipment, such as giant nets or longlines with thousands of baited hooks, snag animals other than what they are intended to catch.

Fish are also animals, we often forget (or ignore) this fact. Fish are sentient animals that feel pain, apparently have complex emotional lives  and can engage in some types of sophisticated thinking that humans are unable to achieve until at least 4 years of age.

Shrimp, the crawly looking animal that so many people like to eat, are also fish....they too can suffer.  Jonathan Safran Foer, in his book Eating Animals, also points out that the human appetite for shrimp has additional amount of misery added to it (additional to the suffering of the shrimp):
The average shrimp-trawling operation throws 80 to 90 percent of the sea animals it
captures overboard, dead or dying, as bycatch. (Endangered species amount to much of this bycatch.) Shrimp account for only 2 percent of global seafood by weight, but shrimp trawling accounts for 33 percent of global bycatch. We tend not to think about this because we tend not to know about it. What if there were labeling on our food letting us know how many animals were killed to bring our desired animal to our plate? So, with trawled shrimp from Indonesia, for example, the label might read:   26 pounds of other sea animals were killed and tossed back into the ocean for every 1 pound of this shrimp. p. 49
The amount of global bycatch per year? One source estimates this to be on the order of 20 million tons. 
Besides discarding millions of tons of unwanted fish, hundreds of thousands of small whales, dolphins, porpoises, sea turtles, sharks and seabirds are killed in the process of capturing target species by trawls, seine and drift nets, and longlines.
The blog: "We're All Animals" recently posted some excellent information about shrimp, fish and fishing.  Andrew Hunt, the author of the blog is a fine writer and I urge you to read the post.

Bunny News: Out at the Heartland Rabbit Rescue this morning I had the good fortune to be present at what was a wonderful event to behold.  Benson is a small black bunny....very small, he may be the smallest (full-grown) bunny living there.  Benson is shy, shy to the point of isolating himself inside a small shelter in his enclosure...he rarely shows himself and is essentially a hermit. 

I was told that he was terrified when picked up and if placed outside he was too frightened to explore and would hide under or in anything he could. 

This is not a good thing, rabbits like people, need to be stimulated, rabbits need to hop, explore, sniff, taste grass....be a rabbit.  So, this morning Benson was taken outside and placed in an enclosure...before we could shut off one end he decided to go exploring....he hopped and sniffed and looked around and hopped some more. 

Benson and Midnight
He was bunnying right along and even allowed Midnight the pony to greet him, even though he jumped a little when Midnight snorted.  It was one of the neatest thing I have ever seen.  Jeanne (the founder and hero of HRR) said that this was not the Benson she knew.

To be a witness when someone makes their world bigger (in a happy way) is about as good as it gets.  Volunteering with homeless and abandoned animal people offers benefits unobtainable anywhere else. I feel humbled that Benson decided to grow a little when I happened to be there. Thank you very much, Benson (and Midnight).

12 comments:

Christina said...

Benson is a doll. I think he desperately needs a companion but I think your influence made him brave this morning. Way to go Benson Buns!

Harry said...

The enormous carnage resulting from bycatch is quite startling - while always realising it was significant, I remember being amazed when reading "Eating animals" and discovering just how big the numbers are. I'd like to think that "pescatarians" would change their eating habits if they knew the enormity of the loss of life inherent in their diet.

And Benson has displayed only too well what we witness daily at Avondale - the interconnectedness between different species and the joy they find in each other's company. Why wouldn't they? - I couldn't imagine my life without being surrounded by non-human animals (he says as Thomas walkssss across the keyboard!)

Krissa said...

Yay Benson and Midnight! I hope Benson will get a chance to visit with his new friend again. How wonderful! .. "To be a witness when someone makes their world bigger (in a happy way) is about as good as it gets". I can back this up 100% because I've seen it with the feral cats often and it is one of the most emotionally rewarding things one can experience. As for Benson being small...I have limited experience with bunnies, but he looks big to me! He's bigger than our angel Basil, may she rest in peace, was. (She was a beautiful cat born on the streets of Brooklyn). Again, yay for the new friends and I hope Benson will continue to expand his world - I am sure he will. .... The by-catch thing is a disgrace and an outrage. I know 3 people who were government observers on fishing boats out of Alaska and Hawaii and the situation is worse than what is reported. I will spare all the details because it's too long for a comment, but the fishing industry is as far out of control as farming, research and all the rest. And who knows, it might even be more damaging. Once mankind has finally ruined the oceans for good, whether 'we' care for the suffering and deaths of the sea=life or not, there is no hope for the survival of the planet. That includes our own kind. And it is shockingly more close at hand than we think.

Murph's mom said...

I stood there speechless as I watched Benson wiggle by our grasp and trot away from his place of safety, something that I had never witnessed him doing. I've been thinking about it for a couple of days now and I think he has been wanting to explore for a long time but just couldn't take that leap of faith. Although we have tried numerous times to get him to come out of his shell he didn't want to. Glenn got to know him and earned his trust. As all of you already know, every being is unique and has his or her own personality. Benson connected with Glenn and in the process gained some courage. Krissa, the angle of the picture is a little deceiving. Benson actually weighs about 2 1/2 pounds. Midnight is a minature horse measuring 3 feet tall at the withers. Our fence is 6 feet tall. It might be the scale that has you thinking Benson is bigger than he is.

.They can call it what they like.."BYCATCH" - I'd never heard that one. It is heartbreaking, disgusting, depressing to know how many beautiful ocean dwellers are being killed and tossed as trash. The numbers are obscene. I was just now thinking about the report I saw on the news a few weeks ago about a valiant effort made by a group of people to save this years sea turtle eggs. They took great care to move the eggs from the beaches adjoining the oil spill. Nothing can save a sea turtle that gets caught in one of those nets. Seining the bottom of the ocean floor just creates a wasteland. Can our oceans recover from what we have done to them, more recently what BP has done to them? God please let it not be too late. Often the animal activists are ridiculed and belittled. There will be no satisfaction in telling our families, friends and whomever "we told you so." I want to remain hopeful.

So I'm Thinking Of Going Vegan said...

I hadn't heard the word "bycatch" before either. Very informative post -- thank you. Thanks also for the reminder to check out Andrew's blog. Have been meaning to do that.

Aw, Benson is so cute. And I hadn't commented on the previous bunny posts because they made me a bit sad. You see, when I was about 11, I had a pet rabbit who suddenly passed away. That was bad enough, but my mom informed me at the time (this was over 30 years ago) that I had killed her because I had petted her too much. Being young I took her at her word, so not only did I feel grief, but immense guilt as well. It wasn't until I was an adult that it occurred to me that "too much petting" probably wasn't the cause, and that it could have been any number of things. Anyway, oddly enough, mom asked me, "Do you remember how you killed your rabbit when you were young?" just before your bunny posts went up...

Krissa said...

Hi Murph's Mom. Aw, little Benson really IS little. But knowing now that Midnight is not as big as I assumed, that does make a difference. I am so happy for Benson and I am sure he will bloom now. That is so great!

Yep. The by-catch disaster is out of control. There are a lot of horrific and torturous things that go on on those boats that leave scars on the observers. Live creatures ripped to pieces for fun. Shark finning. Those are a couple. And even though there are regulations in place against it, the observers hands are totally tied when they are way out in the middle of nowhere, often dealing with people from different cultures who can't speak any English, etc. and a clearly felt, though non-spoken threat to 'stay out of it'. The folks I know who did that job (Observer) really did suffer from witnessing the sadistic torture of innocent defenseless creatures. And that is just another 'by-product' of that industry. Disgusting.

veganelder said...

Thanks Christina for commenting, Benson is a treat....it would be nice to see him with a buddy.

veganelder said...

Thank you Harry, for commenting and for your terrific blog: (http://www.agentleplace.com/), I really enjoy reading it and hope the folks here will visit it too.

The fishing thing is disgusting, yet...look at how human animals behave toward other animals when there profit involved here on land (where there is supposed to be some minimal oversight). One can only imagine what horrors go on out at sea where no oversight whatsoever goes on... One of my personal heroes is Paul Watson (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Watson). Good for him and his efforts to protect marine life.....

Nope, life without other animals around would be bleak, and Heartland Rabbit Rescue is teaching me that the more is really the merrier.

veganelder said...

Thanks Krissa for commenting. The planetary destruction and the destruction of all animals (except the human kind) is likely approaching a climax....when the earth chooses to balance things I am not sure I want to see process.
James Lovelock (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Lovelock), originator of the Gaia hypothesis, is rather pessimistic about things to come.

Benson is a small container for a very big spirit. :-)

veganelder said...

Thank you, Murph's Mom for your comment. Benson was just ready to move on to some other ways of operating and we happened to be there when he implemented his plan. :-)

I (struggle, struggle) want to remain hopeful, too....

veganelder said...

Thank you, So I'm Thinking of Going Vegan, for commenting.....now you have managed to put me in a peculiar place. Here's why, the message your mother gave you exemplifies something I saw repeatedly when I was working....a parent or trusted authority telling destructive untruths to children who (knowing no better nor having the opportunity to find out some more accurate information) then take that untruth and use it for a guide to operating in the world and also as a guide for how to view themselves.

Think of the untruths: "animals don't feel anything", "animals can't think", "they're nasty", "they're not like us", "they were put here for us".....and on and on. And if you dig down deeply enough, the authority for these nuggets of misinformation end up being....somebody (supposedly an authority) told me so.

The best summary of this situation ever (I think) was put forth by Carl Rogers....he said someone once told him that it seemed that adulthood consisted mostly of shoveling out all the horseshit you were told in childhood......

Know this, every ounce or smidgen of pain or discomfort you ever felt over what your mom told you was stuff that belonged to her, not you and I deeply regret that you...wrongly...ended up with it.

I recommend you go pet some bunnies, quickly.....:-)

So I'm Thinking Of Going Vegan said...

You're absolutely right, veganelder, about how inaccurate information gets passed on as uncontested truth with far-reaching, and usually damaging, results. And that's about the best definition of adulthood I've ever heard! Snort.

Yes, "pet therapy" sounds like a great idea. ;)

Thanks.