Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Very good article...........

This article from the Washington Post addresses issues about animal rights, religion, and violence.  Take a few moments and read it.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

It ought to be like that.........

Just finished "The Human Nature of Birds" by Theodore X. Barber, Ph.D.  It is an older book, written in 1993 (astonishing to reference anything from 1993 as "older") and well worth reading.  Barber, a psychologist, is one of the professionals to awaken from the silly notion that humans are the end all and be all in terms of living beings.

He writes with the enthusiasm of a new convert and the book is quite enjoyable.  Curiously, in his obituary (linked to above) there is no mention of this book, nor any mention in a Wikipedia (Deutschland) entry about him and his professional work.  Since this book would have been somewhat heretical at the time (and still is for many)....this is likely another example of how we human animals ignore and avoid knowledge that doesn't fit the dominant worldview.

What prompted the title of this post is a passage he quotes from another book "Birds as Individuals", this one written by Len Howard in 1952.  Len Howard is writing about the reaction of a workman who came to her cottage to do some repairs and observed wild birds flying down to perch on Ms Howard's head and shoulders....she writes:

....He had looked an ordinary man with a work-a-day expression until he saw these birds, then his whole countenance seemed to alter, his face glowed, his eyes shone and he kept murmuring: "How wonderful!"  Then he said: "But why shouldn't it be like that?  It ought to be like that."

We often forget that most animals in the wild avoid humans like the plague because for all intents and purposes....we are the plague, at least to them.   Fleeing or hiding from humans is exquisitely intelligent behavior on their part.

It does not, however, have to be that way.  Where wild animal people are not subjected to the cruelties, large and small, that are typically practiced by human people, then their behavior is quite different.  Several years ago I visited Bandelier National Park and was delighted to discover that the animals residing there have been unmolested by humans for enough generations that many have lost their fear....deer may simply ignore you and walk close enough to touch while browsing.  One cottontail was using the same path I was on and leisurely hopped right over my foot while on her/his journey.

The workman and I agree, it ought to be like that...........

What is more, we human animals have the ability to make it that way.......for all animals (including ourselves) and the planet, go vegan. The link associated with the "go vegan" phrase takes you to a video (no cruelty or repulsive photos) that is a little slick but not overwhelmingly so.  If you haven't seen it, do so, I sort of like its musical background (be advised it is about 12 minutes long) .

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Why vegan?

Credit goes to Bea over at her Provoked blog for posting this interview with Ellen Degeneres about her decision to stop harming animals.  There is no depiction of the horrors associated with eating the "standard american diet", Ellen simply explains how she arrived at the realization that opting out of eating animals was required.....for many reasons.  Take the time to watch the interview, and then take the time to educate yourself about animals (and what humans do to them), the environment and your health.
Then, go vegan, please.....for the animals, for the environment, for your health.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Tallgrass Prairie Preserve outside Pawhuska Oklahoma........

If you enjoy minimal distractions from all the degradations that tend to be associated with "civilization", then by all means make a trip to The Tallgrass Prairie Preserve located just south of the Kansas border.  More than 60 square miles of land is protected by the Nature Conservancy resulting in a place where you can (sometimes) hear nothing but grasses and plants being moved by the breeze, insects buzzing and various birds singing.  It brought back memories of my childhood out in the country in southwestern Oklahoma.  It is not pristine since gravel covered county roads and oil wells exist on the land, but it is refreshing nevertheless.  Late fall will probably be my next visit, the plants will be full grown and browned out and should offer a totally different experience than late spring, early summer.

The Nature Conservancy deserves credit for establishing and overseeing the preserve even though their notion of "conservancy" includes condemning buffaloes to death when the numbers exceed the estimated carrying capacity of the area.  My enthusiasm for their organization is drastically dampened by their willingness to promote violence and/or carnism.

The preserve is a good day trip if you live in central Oklahoma, and well worth it.

Driving north on I-35 from Norman was depressing, the carnage along the roadways is appalling, the crushed bodies of armadillo people and bird people and raccoon people are bad, bad sights....always.

The drive also will expose you to fences out the kazoo......it is astonishing and discomfiting to realize  how much we human people have arranged the land to control animal people.  Somewhere I read a description of the U.S. as being just an extended concentration camp for the animal people.  Think of it, mile after mile after mile of fences of all kinds, primarily designed to prevent the movement of various non-human peoples.  Land of the free?

Possibly the greatest pleasure of the preserve.... places where no fences could be seen, no houses, no cars.....just planet earth, her hills and trees and flowers and grasses. Oh, and some buffalo calling cards populated with appreciative insects (see pic).

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Eastern Shore Sanctuary Blog summarizes beautifully........

The post over at the Eastern Shore Sanctuary Blog presents a very well written and concise synopsis of the historical precedents for the obscene (but sadly all too common and ubiquitous) notion that the lives of the cow people and the chicken people (and all the other non-human people) do not belong to themselves, rather that their lives are the property of human people.

The author is writing in reference to the recent revelations about abuse and torture at a dairy:

 Patriarchy must punish the most extreme public expressions of its violent nature so as to obscure the less extreme expressions taking place everywhere, at every moment, all around us.

Pastoralism employs the same tactics. If we punish the most egregious forms of animal abuse, then we won’t notice the twelve trillion other examples of it going on every second of every day all over the world. ALL OVER THE WORLD, in every nook and cranny of this pastoralist, patriarchal world.
 An insightful and revealing observation.  Go read the post, it is well worth your time and attention.  If it resonates as much with you as it does with me, take the time to give the author a salute in the comments.

Update: A post over at Vegan Feminist Agitator offers further elaboration about the sometimes contradictory nuances of outrage over an outing of particularly egregious cruelty.  A partial quote from the post:

I believe that our job as animal advocates is to supplement the important exposés with the message that taking what doesn't belong to us is an intrinsically exploitative practice, and that the threat of violence (again, beyond what is accepted as necessary) naturally accompanies such a mentality.

Sometimes, before sleeping......

Many nights before sleeping I think about the animals that are at that moment facing death in a slaughterhouse or about the cows standing in their own feces and breathing ammonia and dust in the feedlots.  I cringe inside at what we humans are doing in pursuit of such trivialities as taste and profit.

I imagine the anguish the mother cow is feeling at the dairy, where her child has been taken from her, after she was forcibly impregnated.  Her baby is taken so all the milk the mother cow produces can go into yogurt, butter, ice cream and profit.  The milk was for her baby not for humans.  I think about how she must feel, about how any parent feels when they cannot care for their child.  The pain and misery make the ice cream not so attractive.

I sometimes think of the chickens trapped in cages, with no room to turn or spread their wings and that have been there all the day long while I was going about my life.  I think about their having been there the day before, and the day before that, and the day before that, sometimes for up to 2 years.  This is their whole life, then they are thrown into another cage, trucked to a slaughterhouse and brutally killed.  For an omelet, for an easter egg, for a "nugget", for money.

I do this and sometimes then cannot sleep.  It is not that I couldn't not do it, most of us have developed strategies to avoid thinking uncomfortable thoughts, I do it because I believe it to be respectful to do so.  To be abused, oppressed, tortured and then killed is horrific but for such a thing to occur and no one to think about it and feel bad about it is.....beyond words.

My thoughts are nothing to those beings enduring the obscene treatment being forced upon them by my species but for me to not think those thoughts, for me to push them away and not allow myself to feel pained and sorrowful...........then I too would somehow be a participant in the silent animal holocaust that continues every moment of every day.

It might be that if we humans would allow ourselves to think all the thoughts and feel all the feelings associated with what we do,  some of these horrors might not occur.  In any event what is being done is bad enough, I must not be complicit in it by ignoring my thoughts and avoiding the feelings these disgusting activities elicit.  Even if I sometimes can't sleep.