Thursday, September 30, 2010

Reward for moving in the right direction...........

October is designated as Vegetarian Awareness Month. Given the recent media attention to former President Clinton's near vegan dieting, the timing for such an "awareness month" is fortuitous......(the previous link takes you to both an extensive discussion re diet and heart disease as well as a video of an interview with two physicians advocating plant based diets).

Anyway, I just wanted you to know that the North American Vegetarian Society is promoting vegetarianism by offering chances for a cash reward to those who give a vegetarian diet a "test drive". While I am not eligible, there may be some of you who visit this blog that haven't begun your journey toward "no-harm" in your eating is an opportunity to do so with the possibility of a cash-reward as a bonus.

The prizes are:

$1,000  for being vegetarian for a month (the whole 31 days of October)

$500  for being vegetarian for a week (7 consecutive days) in October

$250  for being vegetarian for a day (24 consecutive hours) in October

Go sign up if you are eligible, and good luck.........and the animals thank you.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Bunnies, humidity and Benson

Benson, September morning, 2010

The remarkable run of humid, muggy, sort of yuck days finally ended here in central Oklahoma, this past Sunday brought a cool front and some version of fall weather.  I saw a notation in the newspaper that this past Monday night marked the lowest temperature the area has seen since May the 11th (about 4.5 months).

Cooler temperatures mark the onset of bunny weather. These animal folks do not thrive in warmer temperatures, once 85 degrees or so is reached their risk of heat stroke rises right along with the temperature/humidity begins the good times outside for the rabbits at Heartland Rabbit Rescue. Jeannie and Brad (and the volunteers) work at not only doing all the daily tasks that must be done for bunny care.......but also at setting up safe areas outside so each of the resident bunnies get the opportunity to spend time hopping, sniffing, running, digging or the great outdoors.
Fun times. Benson, the hermit rabbit, is not neglected when it is time for his neighborhood to migrate outside for some play time. Yesterday morning I took time to supervise him on a foray around the sanctuary grounds.  He took off once placed in the grass and made a tour half-way around the warren building and back.

He continues to be somewhat reclusive, but accepts handling without much fuss. Benson probably weighs around 2.5 lbs. I weigh (roughly) 80 times what he size is as much larger than Benson as a 16,000 lb creature would be to me (8 tons is a little larger than the largest elephants).  You or I would be a little intimidated, I suspect, if we were being handled by (or even in the vicinity of) some being 80 times bigger than we are.

Last week he actually did a small binky in his living area......which is pretty rare behavior for Benson.  Note that Benson's eye does not typically look quite as fierce at it appears to be in the photo, the morning sunlight caught it just at the right angle or maybe the inner Benson was just shining through.......

Here is a video of a cat person hanging out with a bunny person. The cat person is named Timothy and the bunny person is named Bunny. According to the info with the video, Bunny hopped up on the bed and lay down beside Timothy. As you can see, Timothy decided to provide some grooming. We humans aren't the only animals that can provide comfort and care to those who are different than ourselves.

If possible adopt from a local animal shelter, if you can't adopt, foster, if you can't foster, volunteer, if you can't volunteer, all of these things if you can.

Finally.....remember, it is almost impossible to eat the flesh of an animal or something produced by an animal without being responsible for suffering and death. Begin your journey toward a vegan lifestyle and you begin your journey toward not harming those who have not harmed you.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Animals, war and ecstatic greetings.....

You may have seen this video. Gracie, a dog that was rescued from a shelter, is shown greeting her rescuer upon his return from a tour in Afghanistan.

I was conflicted about posting the video, although the joy shining all through Gracie is a sight to behold. My conflict had more to do with anything associated with war.

Gracie's rescuer (and recipient of her joy) appears to be an honorable human animal.....the video was quite popular on youtube and he donate all money made off of ads to the shelter from which he rescued Gracie. Good for him.

If you are not acquainted with General Smedley Butler (great first name, eh?), then you should be.  From his wikipedia entry:
By the end of his career he had received 16 medals, five of which were for heroism. He is one of 19 people to twice receive the Medal of Honor, one of three to be awarded both the Marine Corps Brevet Medal and the Medal of Honor, and the only person to be awarded the Brevet Medal and two Medals of Honor, all for separate actions.
General Butler, in his book, War is a Racket, said:
War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope.... [and] the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. 
A racket is best described as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small ‘inside’ group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.
After his retirement from the military he spent his time opposing war and militarism and the corporations and individuals that advocated and profited from such destruction.

War is destructive, for animals and for the planet.  WW I resulted in the death of 8 million horses and an uncounted number of donkeys and mules. The number of the dead belonging to other kinds of animal people is unknown. Every other war has brought about the death of uncounted numbers of animal people that are too smart to engage in wars.....but that hasn't prevented them from being forced into being killed in wars.....wars that are the exclusive creation of human animals.

Engaging in self defense is one thing. Most wars have nothing to do with self defense, they have to do with greed and stupidity and viciousness. Thank you Smedley Butler for being an honest human animal.

And thank you Gracie, for being the dog animal person you are.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The question of predators...............

I have often thought about the animal people that prey on other animal people. The fear, pain and death they cause......

If this is a question that has bothered you, a very interesting piece of writing just appeared in the New York Times. The author is Dr. Jeff McMahan, a professor of ethics at Rutgers. At one point in the essay, he writes:
Our primary duty with respect to animals is therefore to stop tormenting and killing them as a means of satisfying our desire to taste certain flavors or to decorate our bodies in certain ways.  But if suffering is bad for animals when we cause it, it is also bad for them when other animals cause it.  That suffering is bad for those who experience it is not a human prejudice; nor is an effort to prevent wild animals from suffering a moralistic attempt to police the behavior of other animals.  Even if we are not morally required to prevent suffering among animals in the wild for which we are not responsible, we do have a moral reason  to prevent it, just as we have a general moral reason to prevent suffering among human beings that is independent both of the cause of the suffering and of our relation to the victims.
I sort of liked his conclusion: "it would be instrumentally good if  predatory animal species were to become extinct and be replaced by new herbivorous species, provided that this could occur without ecological upheaval involving more harm than would be prevented by the end of predation."

Thanks to this post at Vegan Soapbox for referencing the essay, you might want also to read the post because it points out that the essay had another sub-theme about the destruction caused by our appetite for food from animals.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Cows and "boys"......

“…..Popa promised me that I could go
He’d even let me see a cowboy show
I saw the cowboys and Indians for the first time then
I told my Pop I’ve gotta go again……”

Lyrics from “Louisiana Man” by Doug Kershaw

Back years ago, that song was one that I enjoyed very much. The meaning of that passage is quite significant since one of the defining myths of the United States is that of the cowboy.  But not so much the actual cowboy, rather the Hollywood version of cowboy

Very few males of my generation grew up without playing, at some point or another, some version of “cowboys and Indians”.  Playing pretend games is a feature associated with the young of most (if not all) mammals.  Kittens pretend a string is something to attack, young rabbits enjoy playing chase, etc. Pretend is fun, pretend is many things but pretend can be confusing and risky when we do not realize it is pretend.  Standing in the back yard and flapping your arms and pretending to fly is one thing, jumping off of a 10 story building and flapping your arms is not likely to be an experience you want to repeat (if you survive). Pretending that monsters are heroes can lead to the admiration of despicable characters.

The myth of the cowboy fixed in the minds of most Americans is a product of the capitol of pretend, Hollywood.  Inspired by various fiction writers (Owen Wister (a Harvard educated Lawyer), Zane Grey (a dentist), Louis L’Amour (a boxer and laborer), etc) the mythical cowboy is as closely related to actuality as is the notion that pretend flying is the same as real flying.

The German people were exposed to this myth via the works of Karl May who was and still is an immensely popular writer there. Mr. May, who led a troubled life which included some jail stays for theft and fraud only visited the United States one time and apparently never left New York state during that visit.  Nevertheless his version of the American west and of cowboys is very popular in Europe. The cowboy, like the knight is a potent fantasy receptacle for the longings and dreams of children (and adults).
Cowboy realities: The total number of men who worked a range as cowboys was about 35,000 people. The cowboys had their heyday roughly between the end of the Civil War and the mid 1880s, a period of about twenty years is all. Of those 35,000 men who from time to time worked in the occupation of "cowboy," about 25% were black. About another 12% were Mexican.
So, a period of twenty years a cast of about 35,000 people (of whom only about 60% were white). This does not resemble the “cowboy show” we were all exposed to.

Hollywood cowboys were portrayed as individualistic, strong, courteous and patriotic.   
Cowboy realities: One of the last great cattle drives occurred in 1884. But it almost did not take place. Just a matter of days before the cattle were to hit the Chisholm Trail, when they'd been rounded up by the thousands in pens in Southwest Texas, the cattlemen faced a strike on the parts of those cowboys who were members of the Knights of Labor. They walked off the job, they climbed out of the saddles, they marched around pens with picket signs demanding higher wages, better working conditions, claiming that they would not perform their occupation unless they got their demands satisfied.
Cowboys, who were not like what Hollywood pretended, were portrayed by actors like John Wayne, who was not like the public persona he presented.  For instance Wayne campaigned very hard to avoid the draft during WWII and in fact never served a day in the military but successfully developed the persona of the quintessential fearless, brave and patriotic American.

Hollywood has never shown cowboys organizing into labor unions, as far as I know.  Maybe it would be a nifty thing if they did so, then when children played “cowboys and Indians” somebody could play the part of labor organizer.  By the way, most historical information about this period indicates there was very little conflict between the cowboys and the Indians….most battles that occurred involving Indians were fought against United States military groups.

So we are looking at a period of about 20 years, during this time about 5 million cows were herded from one area to another….so they could be killed for a higher price.  The herding was done by people that the website describes as: “short, stumpy human beings. They lacked teeth, they had skin the quality of tanned leather…….”

So, folks that were rather ragged looking helped kill about 5 million animal people.  This is the reality of the cowboy and what the cowboy did (and continues to do).

One other fact of note, it was during this same 20 year time period, 1865 to 1885 (more or less), when the number of buffalo went from an estimated 15 to 20 million down to only 1 to 3 thousand.  So while the cowboys were herding cows to their death, other Americans were slaughtering bison by the millions, almost to the point of extinction. Partially so there would be more grass for the cows destined for death.

Next time you think about cowboys, think of the 20 year period and realize that 15 million buffalo and 5 million cows were killed for money.  And the cowboy helped out in the slaughter.  The cowboy wielded a red hot branding iron and burned a tied up and helpless baby cow.  Steer means a castrated male cow…..cowboys castrated the male cows….without anesthesia. The cowboy is someone who burned and cut innocent animals, with no anesthesia, so that some human animal could claim them as property and make money off of their death. Hero?

For some context, Americans kill about 100,000 cows a day now, what took the cowboys 20 years to accomplish is now done in 50 days….less than 2 months.

One other interesting thing, the behavioral characteristics mythically associated with the cowboy…..self-reliant, silent, courteous, honest, hard-working, etc are apparently lifted almost directly from the mythology of the knights of Europe.  That was all a bunch of BS too, knights were mercenary soldiers hired by various “noblemen” (rich folks) and did pretty much what their bosses told them to do. Cowboys, along with Knights are archetypes, not reality.  Lies created to represent what is wished to be, not what is.

Genuine heroes are much more difficult to find than Hollywood would have you believe.  Hollywood has no problem finding heroes, all they have to do is lie, and have young children (and grown people) believe their lies.

Cowboys were and are folks that hurt animal people, exploit animal people for profit and cause the death of millions of animal people. These are the behaviors of a monster, not a hero.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Eclecticity (a neologism).................

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is an organization I respect a great deal. They have put out a new commercial which is a real hoot:

 Next is a video showing an update of some information I encountered some time ago and found to be shrinks the world to 100 human beings then provides some information about the characteristics and circumstances of those 100 humans. Take a look.

By the way, here is the data presented in the previous video in a more reader friendly format:
If we could turn the population of the earth into a small community of 100 people, keeping
the same proportions we have today, it would be something like this...
61 Asians
12 Europeans
08 North Americans
05 South America and the Caribbean
13 Africans
01 Oceania

50 women
50 men

47 live in an urban area
12 are disabled
33 are Christian (Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox, Anglicans and other Christians)
21 are Muslims
13 are Hindus
06 are Buddhists
01 Sikhs
01 Jews
11 are non-religious
11 practice other religions
03 are Atheists

43 live without basic sanitation
18 live without an improved water source

20 people own 75% of the entire world income

14 are hungry or malnourished
12 can't read
Only 12 have a computer
Only 8 have an internet connection
1 adult, aged 15-49, has HIV/AIDS

The villages spend $1.24 trillion dollars ($623 billion by the United States, $501 billion by the rest of the world combined) on military expenditures and only $100 billion dollars on development aid

If you keep your food in a refrigerator And your clothes in a closet
If you have a roof over your head And have a bed to sleep in
You are richer than 75% of the entire world population
21 people live on $1.25 per day or less

Next is a video that is a bit longer, about 11 minutes but well worth your time if you would like to see a wonderful condensation of the approaches to explaining the most recent (and ongoing) financial crisis. This video also asks for something from its think.

There are a number of good reasons to believe that the current sort of capitalism practiced in the western world relies on inequalities and oppression of various groups of human animals and non-human animals to maintain itself. I am convinced that as long as greed and acquisition are supported as positive values, the current repulsive state we are in will continue and even accelerate. If you think this to be a radical statement, you might want to read what Teddy Roosevelt had to say a hundred years ago.

Finally, I am posting this link to an apology to all the natural (non-human) animals by human animals. It was written by Shira Tamir and I wholeheartedly agree with the apology....please read it........and remember.......until you begin practicing veganism you are continuing to harm animals and any apology you might like to make to them is a hollow one.

Eclectic definition.
Neologism definition.
Eclecticity is a neologism.

Oops, I almost forgot this video I discovered because of the blog, Hearts On Noses.
The video is just too good to not share, it was referenced by the note that Sheep Wag Tails Too, the only difference is how we treat them. If you have a companion cat or dog, you will recognize this sheep.

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 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).

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Affection, gratitude and peace keeping.........

You likely have seen the phenomenal reunion video of Christian the lion with his human friends. Maybe you have not seen the video of greeting and affection shown by a lion that was rescued from a circus where he was neglected and abused.   His rescuer, a schoolteacher named Ana Julia Torres provides care and affection for over 800 animal people at her Villa Lorena shelter in Columbia.

You can see another video of this reunion here that includes an interview with Ms. Torres.

Humans are not the only animals that are bothered by conflict. The next video shows peacekeeping activities initiated by some feathered folks.
Veganism is a philosophy and way of living that respects and protects sentient beings, the environment a likely better for your health......for certain it is better for the health of non-human animals and our planet.

My thanks to Ms. Torres and to the peacekeepers.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Babies grow..............

Time for an update on the babies that were born at Heartland Rabbit Rescue at the end of June of this year. 
Babies at 12 days old.
As you can see, they could be listed in the dictionary under the definition "cute".

At the greens party on September 5th they were introduced to grass for the first you can see a span of 55 or so days makes quite a difference in appearance.
Not quite a "baby" at 67 days old (Fast Eddie?).

The coloring on their fur is blackish on the body with a nice patch of butterscotch behind the ears and some white highlights on the face, chest and a brilliant bright white tail.

As can best be determined, both are boys and are so far very social and friendly except when they are doing baby bunny things and do not want to be interrupted.  Names are possibly not yet permanent although Fast Eddie is a strong contender as a name for one of the handsome lads.  Mom can be seen behind "Fast Eddie".  She still takes good care of them although when she gets a chance to cruise around the warren she seems to prefer visiting the other bunnies alone.

Baby #2 with butterscotch patch showing.

One may be just a bit larger than the other but in all aspects of external appearance they are virtually twins. Their coloring is unique and makes them both really appealing "eye candy".

Youngsters, no matter the species, are usually quite a treat to be around and these two unexpected additions are no exception.

As noted in my previous post however, a forever home is what these guys need, with their very own human family that is devoted to providing for their shelter, food, playground, toys, and emotional and medical needs.

This is no small commitment, their lifespan is usually given as from 9 to 12 years but some live even longer.  And, like all of us mammals, their physical abilities and functioning decline as they age.  Medical needs increase (often) with aging and just like human animals, cantankerousness may blossom as the years add their toll.

Choosing to live with a companion animal means entering into an unequal relationship.  The non-human animal will always be dependent on the human animal.  This inequality means great responsibility on the part of the one holding the power.

There will not come a day when you can send the companion animal off to live on their own.  This is one of the reasons many animal rights folks argue for an end to the "domestication" of any animal.  It is a forced and human created dependency that the dependent animal had no choice in creating and has virtually no possibility of ending. They rely on the "mercy" of human animals......and that is one hell of a precarious position for them.

Here is how gross all this stuff is.  Ignoring (for now) the "farmed" animals, domesticated cats, dogs and bunnies (and birds and lizards and etc.) are killed in "shelters" across the U.S. at the rate of about 4 million per year.....killed because no human (and humans created this domesticated status) wants to take on the responsibility of caring for them or has gotten tired of them and turned them over to a "shelter" or has taken them somewhere and "dumped" them.  4 million living, sentient beings murdered because humans can't be bothered with dealing with the consequences of "domesticated" non-human animals.  Some small percentage are euthanized (that means they are sick or injured and suffering with no chance of recovery) but the vast majority that are killed are healthy and active and have years of life left.

This is why it is unconscionable for any human to allow any "domesticated" animal to breed.  For as long as there is a single homeless one of these unfortunate victims of human folly, allowing more dogs or cats or bunnies to be born is simply outrageous and disgusting.

"Breeders", people who encourage or pursue the birth of more baby bunnies or puppies or kittens to be brought into this obscene situation we have created are simply contemptible.  There is no excuse. None. We are all culpable and we are all failing these beautiful bunnies and puppies and kittens....failing them miserably.  Not because we have to fail them, but because we are too lazy or greedy or goofy or mean. So quit it.  And help.

Never, never, never ever purchase or buy a bunny or kitten or puppy....go to a shelter or rescue organization or foster organization and adopt.

If you can't adopt, foster...if you can't foster.....volunteer, and if you can't volunteer.....donate.  Do all of them if you can.  The animal people shouldn't have to pay for our shortcomings.

That's the end of my rant.....whew....and the baby bunnies (like all the bunnies) are exquisite.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Great Greens & Carrots & Apples party of September the Fifth, 2010

The weather was fairly nice, a bit breezy but hey, this is today was a good day for all the Rabbits out at Heartland Rabbit Rescue to be presented with a food fest of treats....3 different kinds of lettuce, cilantro, parsley and carrots and apples.  This sort of stuff can make bunnies quiver........

Marshall looks over his greens 'n' stuff.
One of the fellows that lives at the rescue is Marshall.  He came to be a bunny with no home because he ended up living with humans who decided to cook up some meth......Marshall was swept up in a drug raid and through the intervention of some kind humans was lucky enough to end up at Heartland Rabbit Rescue.  He was around 6 months old when he arrived, so not fully grown and apparently was fairly docile and quiet.  This has changed, Marshall taught me that bunnies can growl, grunt and attack with sharp weapons. 

Early on in my volunteering I reached into his 'apartment' without showing adequate respect and politeness and Marshall proceeded to tutor me in bunny manners by drawing blood from my right arm.  I really thought for a second that he had pulled a knife on me.  He was quick and precise.  In truth, while he is grumpy at times, if you accord him your respect and give him his space when he wants it....he is quite easy to get along with.  He likes being petted and usually is not panicky when you pick him up.  He is a very handsome youngster and is (I think) one of my friends.
Marshall looking pensive.
The Marshall eats.

We try to get the bunnies outside as often as possible and today was Marshall's turn.  He is an interesting rabbit person, and I hope someday he gets a forever home with some folks that will hang out with him and enjoy Marshall being Marshall.

In truth, no animal person can 'blossom' until they have a home of their own, surrounded by those that love them for themselves and not having to share the care and love of too few human people and too many rabbit people.

People that run shelters and people that volunteer at shelters know this.  A haven can be provided, care and caring can be given, enjoyment and treasuring of each individual animal person can occur.......but nothing replaces a bunny's having her or his own family and home.

Who says rabbit people are not like human people?

Being at the party made this my best September 5th ever.  My thanks to everyone.

And please, if you can't adopt, foster...if you can't foster.....volunteer, and if you can't volunteer.....donate.  The homeless animal people are homeless mainly because we human animals have failed to live up to our obligations.  The animal people shouldn't have to pay for our shortcomings.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Consciousness raising...........

Here is a video with no violence or grossness and it presents an instance of cross-species caring and nurturing.

I think the video might offer a vehicle by which some feelings of speciesism  could be evoked, and perhaps examined.  Maybe not, I would welcome you putting your reaction in a comment.

An observation......

I have noticed that I find it almost impossible anymore, to watch videos (or even look at pictures) of some of the grotesque things that human animals do to the innocent animals.......early on in my journey I made myself watch Meet Your Meat and other accurate (but graphic and disturbing) reporting of what happens to our sister and brother animal persons.  I can't do it anymore, it hurts too much.

I don't force myself to do so, one of the reasons I let myself off of the hook is that I actively and conscientiously avoid (as far as I know) using animal people for anything at all (except maybe to caress or pet).

Now, I don't quite have the same attitude toward folks that want to not look at the horrible things human animals do to other animals......if.......that person is continuing to use animals for food or other purposes.

There is something inherently wrong and underhanded and pathological me anyway.....with doing something or paying somebody to do something for you and not being willing to witness what you are doing or having done in your name......stuff that is done to get something for your use or your "pleasure". ........This means if you "can't" give up cheese, or drumsticks, or a fur coat, etc. then you my mind.....engaging in self-deception or something worse if you avoid watching "Earthlings" or "Meet Your Meat" or any of the many documentings of the horrors we pretend are necessary or "normal".

You know, I am still not sure it is an acceptable thing for me to avoid watching the atrocities.....
These events, these doings, should evoke horror and tears and pain and deep deep sorrow....if no one watches.....then who feels for the animal people that are being terrorized and hurt and killed?  Who then witness what happens to the nameless and forgotten? 

These obscene and despicable activities are the product and creation of human animals, I am not sure if it is ok for any human animal face to turn away from them for as long as they go on......I don't know.....I have a lot of conflict about this.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Happy Birthday to a superlative human animal person.....

Thanks to a post by VegBlogger, I just discovered that today, September 2nd, is Donald Watson's birthday.  Not only is it his birthday, 2010 marks his 100th birthday.  If you are looking for a hero, you can do no better than Mr. Watson.  He died at the age of 95......this is the individual that came up with the term VEGAN.  Mr. Watson's definition:
"..the word "veganism" denotes a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude — as far as is possible and practical — all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment."
He was a carpenter, lived a simple life, avoided the spotlight and was committed enough to non-violence that he was a conscientious objector (while living in England) during WWII.  He introduced the concept of veganism in a newsletter in 1944.

I am not big on the hero thing, but I believe if anyone qualifies for would be Donald Watson.

Thank you (both from me and on behalf of the other animals) Mr. Watson, and Happy Birthday!

Not Eating Animals................

I do not know anyone who is not (at a minimum) a partial vegetarian. I would even go further and say that at least 99% of Canadians, U.S. Citizens and citizens of Western Europe are at least partial vegetarians.  The preceding statements are limited to those particular geographic areas because I am pretty confident about my knowledge of cultural behaviors there....the truth is probably 99% of all human animals on the planet are partial vegetarians.

A partial vegetarian is someone (my definition) that avoids eating certain kinds of non-human animal people.  In other words almost all of the human animal people on the planet already have some internal programming that precludes their eating certain kinds of non-human animal people.  Most "western" cultures teach the avoidance of eating dog people and cat people.  To a lesser extent, horse people are presented as unsuitable for eating.

My point here is that teaching that animal people are not suitable for food is not difficult, nor is it unusual.

So, remember, most people you encounter are (species-specific) vegetarians but fail to identify themselves as being such.  What they avoid doing to one or more kinds of animal people, they can avoid doing to any animal people.

A more formal statement of this notion: Behaviors that are already practiced or avoided in certain contexts are available to be transferred to a new context. 

Most people do not have to be taught to avoid eating animal people, they already know how to refrain from such behavior (depending on the type of animal person involved)......all they have to do is generalize this behavior (or behavior avoidance) to new situations or contexts.

A book.

There is a book, titled Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, that is absolutely required reading if you enjoy well written books.  Mr. Foer is an incredibly talented writer....I cannot over-emphasize his skills.  This book contains wisdom, insight, pain and laughter.  It is not a jeremiad, it is an inquiry and it is entertaining and very well researched.  The book was published in November of 2009 and after I read the book from my library.....I bought my own copy.  The reference section of the book is alone worth the cost of the book.

The book has been reviewed extensively, you can read reviews here or here.  Your library most likely has a it and let me know what you think of it.

By the way, I first became aware of Mr. Foer because of a quirky, powerful little movie that was based on another book of his: Everything is Illuminated. The movie blew me away and I highly recommend it also.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Hope for the future......

I was led to this young woman's You Tube channel by a posting on the Animal Liberation blog.  I then watched a video she had made and it is presented below.  She makes reference in her talk to the documentary Earthlings, which can be seen online for free. 

The documentary is a powerful exposition about the havoc we are wreaking on the natural animals and on the planet. 

And, I found the video from the young woman to be compelling and poignant.  Watching her evoked in me a terrible sense of sadness and loss about the kind of devastation that we older generations have and are inflicting on sentient beings and the planet and that this is our legacy to this young woman and her cohorts.  We owe the young ones (all the young animals) a better world than we have managed to shape.

The video is simply her talking about seeing behind the lies we pretend are true and how her trying to tell others about this meets with resistance and rejection.  She has a terrific Aussie accent and expresses herself very well. Take a look and listen see what you think.