Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Oklahoma Connection

The post on July 22, 2010 mentioned an Oklahoma connection associated with the beagle rescue.  In addition to the beagles, 55 macaque monkeys were taken from the animal exploiting laboratory.  A primate rescue/shelter here in central Oklahoma, Mindy's Memory, has become the home for 8 of the rescued animals.  You can follow their progress by visiting the Mindy's Memory website.

Midnight is the individual wearing black.
Earlier this month, Heartland Rabbit Rescue had some visitors from Austin.  The photograph of the visitors shows them with the resident Rabbit Rescue pony, Midnight.  There are several hooved folks that live there, including 2 donkeys (Judy and Molly).

The girls (Judy and Molly) are very diligent in sounding the alarm if marauding dogs or coyotes approach their home although their skills at detecting hungry hawks still need development. 

Below is a photograph showing a young visitor from Norman along with Molly and Judy.
Molly has a white forehead, Judy has a gray forehead and the visitor wears a red football shirt.

Christina, over at the Rabid Tidbits blog has posted some current photographs of the baby bunnies recently born at Heartland Rabbit Rescue.  It is astonishing how fast they are growing.

Most of us who live in cities are rather limited in the variation of animal species that we have the opportunity to interact with. One of the many benefits of volunteering at a sanctuary or rescue facility is the chance to get to know different kinds of animal folks and different individuals.  Each rabbit is unique with her or his own likes and dislikes, behaviors and moods.  Just as is each donkey, each pony, each dog, cat or human.  We humans tend to lump other species all together and presume that we then know about them.  This is no more true for human animals than it is for rabbit animals (or others).

Volunteering, especially for young humans, offers them the opportunity to become more sophisticated in their knowledge about the other Earthlings they share this planet with.  Once you become friends with a living being, it becomes more problematic to then see that being (or others like her or him) as a "thing" to be exploited or abused or killed.  For most of us, anyway.....there are exceptions.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

1,000 Canadian Rabbits to move to Texas

I ran across this story in the Victoria and Vancouver Island newspaper about feral rabbits overrunning the University of Victoria campus.  These bunnies were going to be killed unless placement could be found for them.  Voila, apparently a rescue shelter in East Texas is going to take 1,000 of the rabbits.  Wild Rose Rescue Ranch is going to provide them with a sheltered, protected area after they are trapped, spayed and neutered and then transported to Texas.  The link to Wild Rose will take you to a story on their website about Noah the one-legged pigeon that nurtures baby bunnies (among other species).

An organization called Fur-Bearer Defenders is donating $50,000 to help pay for the spaying and neutering.  Their mission is to end all forms of trapping used by the commercial fur industry.


Kiara being groomed.

Closer to home, back at Heartland Rabbit Rescue a couple of  hard-working young volunteers spent some time grooming Kiara and Sophie.
Sophie at the outdoor spa.  

Monday, July 26, 2010

Rabbits like bananas.

Mother bunny, enjoying her banana treat.  After she finished, she took off to visit the other Heartland Rabbit Rescue shelter residents.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


In a curious instance of....sychronicity?..this post appeared over at about 6 days after my previous post.  The writer referenced a study carried out at a university in England showing that meat eating appeared to be associated with the use of denial as a mechanism to reduce intrapsychic conflict.  Someone once said that psychology was the area of study devoted to proving what everybody already knows.  Sometimes that seems to be the case.

For something totally unrelated and interesting, go here and learn how to catch a mouse without a mousetrap and without harming the mouse.....also the mouse is nicely ready to be relocated to a more suitable living place.  Finally, read about 120 beagles rescued from a laboratory situation and their apparent happy outcome.  Update: here is a link to the "Digging Through the Dirt" blog with a video of the beagles and a mention of an Oklahoma connection.

There, at last, a post with only interesting or happy content.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Domestic vs Wild.......

Domestic rabbits are not native to the western hemisphere, they are all descended from European wild rabbits.  Hence, the stories one might hear regarding domestic rabbits being released to the wild and then having offspring as a result of breeding with native American wild species of rabbit are likely untrue.  I say likely because it seems to be the case that domestic and wild rabbits will have sex, but if pregnancy results..the offspring are born dead.  I wouldn't rule out offspring surviving, but this probably would result in a situation similar to that of the breeding of horses with donkeys where the offspring (mules) are sterile.  More information can be found here or here.

Domestic rabbits, like non-Native Americans, did not originate in North America.  European humans arrived here in numbers large enough to be significant a little over 500 years ago, domestic rabbits are more recent Europeans, arriving here in the 19th century.

Therefore, the not unusual situation where a unwanted rabbit "pet" is released into the wild in the United States usually results in a short miserable life and the former "pet" becomes the victim of starvation, lack of shelter or a predator.  Their often striking fur colors make them easily visible to predators.

Domestic rabbits are not adapted to living here, they have not been raised in the wild, they have not been  taught how to survive by their parents and thinking they will magically acquire such skills and adaptive behaviors is almost criminally ignorant.  Their European origin is one reason that domestic rabbits are so susceptible to heat-stroke.  Any temperature above 85 degrees puts them at risk, hence Oklahoma summers are potentially deadly for domestic rabbits.

The mere existence of domestic rabbits exemplifies human interference with and exploitation of other animals.  Rabbits were manipulated (in their choice of breeding partners) by humans so they could be eaten or for fur, or because we thought they were amusing, or pretty or interesting or useful.

The mother rabbit and her babies highlighted in the previous post are appealing and sweet and a pleasure to interact with.  The fact is though, that she and her children are doomed to being dependent on humans for any sort of reasonable, comfortable (to whatever degree possible) life.  The mere existence of "domesticated" (substitute human-dependent for domesticated) species of any kind exemplifies human arrogance, insensitivity and exploitation.

What is difficult to understand about the notion that a living being has a right to live her or his own life....however they might choose to live, to have sex with whomever they wish, to choose their own friends, raise their own children, live wherever they find suitable?  The majority of humans would wish for autonomy in their own lives but most appear to find the idea of according such to our fellow Earthlings an astonishing thought.

It is phenomenal when you think about it, choosing to live your life in a way wherein one avoids, wherever possible, exploiting or doing violence to other living beings is considered peculiar, strange, unusual, weird.  There is even a specific name for it (vegan) where there is not a specific designation (although Melanie Joy's recent book takes a stab at naming this type of living) for conducting a life where it is routine to do violence and killing and controlling of other sentient beings or to pay someone to do these things.

The incongruousness involved in someone saying they care about or "love" animals while eating a hamburger, or eggs or cheese is profound, tragic and sad.  Perhaps a child could make such a statement innocently, but for most such a contradiction can be maintained only through the assiduous exercise of denial and avoidance.

Cultures are powerful vehicles for managing human thought and behavior, there can be few greater examples of that power than believing that behaving violently or paying for violence to be done is a normal, good and desirable way of living.....and that ignoring this reality makes it not exist.

The power of the propaganda and thought distortions that are foisted upon us from birth are potent and effective, I fault no one for succumbing to them (myself included), however, one of the primary responsibilities of adulthood is to give up believing in fairy tales and to begin to see the world and ourselves as it is and as we are, not as we want it to be. This, however, is difficult and scary and sometimes painful, hence, many do not progress far on the journey.  The problem with not doing taking this journey is that we then condone, albeit silently, the lies, distortions, suffering and violence.

So, I absolutely and totally enjoy the presence and company of momma bunny and her babies, but, if I had the power, she would not exist....not in her current manifestation...there would be no "domestic" beings, no need for Heartland Rabbit Rescue or other shelters.  Momma bunny and her children would be living their life in their own manner of choosing (in Denmark or somewhere) and would be highly unlikely to want anything to do with me or any other human.....or maybe not (see the post "It ought to be like that").

If we humans can ever grow up and quit acting like spoiled 2 year old children who believe everything revolves around us, if we can begin to interact with and respect other earthlings and our planet like we ourselves wish to be dealt with....then maybe momma rabbit or one of the children might not mind hanging out with me for a bit....until they had rabbit doings to take care of.

Monday, July 5, 2010

A real sweetie........

Recently the folks at Heartland Rabbit Rescue were able to provide shelter for a bunny rescued by some kind people.  The bunny was spotted running across their lawn being chased by a cat.  The rescuers were able to shoo the cat away and corral this girl.   She is one of the most unusual looking domestic rabbits that I have ever seen because of her resemblance to her wild relatives.

She was quite thin when she arrived and proceeded to become thinner by giving birth to two babies as soon as she had settled in at the shelter.
The photograph is poor (my apologies) but you can still see that the children have nicely rounded tummies, mom appears to have been channeling nourishment to them, leaving little for herself.  

Mom may look like her wild relations, but she is very familiar with humans and enjoys being stroked and petted.

Thanks to the kind and thoughtful rescuers and to Heartland for providing a safe haven for bunnies.

Now for the downside, each of these three rescued require food, shelter and medical care.  When the time is right, spaying and/or neutering will be necessary to ensure that more homeless bunnies don't appear.  You can help by volunteering, fostering, adopting and donating.  Heartland is at their limits in terms of how many bunnies they can shelter.  They were able to squeeze in mom (before they knew she was going to be mom) and now they have two more rabbits that need care. 

While Heartland does what they can, magnificently I might add, each of the bunnies there would be much better off in a suitable home  (with their own human family).  Remember, the goal of each shelter of this type is to work themselves out of existence, to reach a time when all bunnies have homes and rescue organizations are unnecessary.