Friday, September 26, 2014

New family member.

When we first started doing some volunteer work at Heartland Rabbit Rescue, a teenaged bunny named Gwendolyn had just recently been rescued. Animal control had found her running the streets in a small town near Norman.

She was the first youngster we met and she immediately captured us. When we decided to bring a bunny into our family she was the first one we thought of but we wanted to take someone who had been at the rescue for a long time and hadn't had much of a chance to have a home of her own and that's part of the reason Nessie Ray ended up living with us. Nessie lived to be about 13 but she died back in November. She took part of me with her when she left.

In the meantime, about 18 months or so ago Gwendolyn met the guy bunny of her dreams and she had bonded with Barney...who was just an absolute sweetheart of a fellow and together they made easily the most loving and carefree couple at the rescue. Well...several months ago Barney suddenly died and Gwendolyn was left alone. It was very apparent that she was depressed and heartbroken.

I had been thinking about bringing her to live with us because we had always been attached to her and when Juli visited and saw how stricken Gwendolyn was...she came home with us the next day. She has some weakness in her left rear leg because of the aftereffects of a parasite but she gets around fairly well. It has been very happy making to see her adjust to living in a human house (she has never done such before) and to see the sparkle return to her eyes. She has always liked both of us and since, for most of her life, all she has known has been kindness from humans...she is a seriously affectionate being. If one of us gets down in front of her and tells her how she beautiful she is we are rewarded with  bunny kissing on the nose or cheek or wherever she can reach. She loves headrubs and responds with teeth chatter and kisses all over the place.

She's able to thump because when she spotted Gracie Ray for the first time we were treated to several thumps...Gracie was the first cat that Gwennie had seen and she didn't quite know what to make of her. Yesterday they had their first nose to nose encounter and there was no hostility so that will all work itself out.

Gwennie's disposition is very sweet and affectionate and she will often, if you get down in the floor and rub her head, do a flop and soon go to sleep with her head in your hand (as long as you keep rubbing). She falls completely unconscious, laid out and totally relaxed. She's an absolute treat and I fall more in love with her daily.

After Nessie was gone, the house was bunnyless and it felt rather empty. Once you've lived with a bunny, it becomes apparent that they bring a magic to wherever they are and with Gwendolyn...bunny magic is back.

If you can...share your home with someone of another species.  The rewards are amazing...and...if you do that and live vegan...well...just wow. If you can't share your home...the living vegan part brings lots of wow all by itself.

Friday, September 19, 2014

It's time for you... watch the documentary Cowspiricy. There are a number of reasons for you to do so, but to me a primary one is that it does an excellent job of illustrating the power of intersectionality. Wikipedia says: "Cultural patterns of oppression are not only interrelated, but are bound together and influenced by the intersectional systems of society."

The documentary isn't about animal liberation or animal rights or's about the fact that animal agriculture is one of the primary driving forces of global warming and environmental destruction...and...none...absolutely none of the national and international "environmental" organizations make this driving force a focus of their efforts. It seems, even, that some of these organizations (e.g. Sierra Club, Greenpeace, etc) are either oblivious to this fact or they are aware of it but choose not to do anything about it. The documentary goes into more detail about the probable reasons they avoid pushing against animal agriculture.

One of the delightful things shown in this film is the total cluelessness of those who promote "sustainable" animal agriculture. There's no such thing and the hucksters who are pushing it are simply liars or ignoramuses.

One rather poignant interview with a spokesperson for Amazon Watch (if I remember the group correctly) resulted in the woman speaking for these folks admitting, after being pushed a little, that one of the reasons they avoid addressing the problem of animal agriculture is that in South America over 1,100 activists have been murdered over the past 20 years...mostly those who spoke out against the devastation caused by animal agriculture.

Veganism is the basis for human animals living in harmony with other also offers a massively effective way for us to counter the forces that are disrupting the climate. The intersection here is between animal harm and climate change. One of the most effective ways to ameliorate the forces harming the Earth is to quit farming (harming) her beings. That's called a  "win-win".

One group...and only one...of all the groups out there who are soliciting money to combat climate degredation makes the effort to point out that what you eat can harm mother Earth....only one. Their name is Rainforest Action Network.

Watch this documentary (caution there are several instances where extreme violence and brutality toward animals is shown...not many...but it is present)...preferably in a setting where you can fast-forward past some scenes of horror (if you wish). But watch it...and if you're like me...any luster and or respect you might have held for most of the big environmental organizations is going to evaporate into the warming climate. We're being flimflammed by the very folks who say they are trying to help our planet. It's a very disheartening thing.

In the meantime, go vegan, for the animals, for the planet, for your own integrity and well-being. And watch Cowspiricy...and get your friends who claim to be concerned about the environment to watch it too. You'll be doing everyone a favor.

Friday, September 12, 2014

A letter unpublished...

My last three letters to our local paper (Norman Transcript) have gone unpublished in their print edition. I've presumably exhausted their willingness to allow anyone to speak up for our fellow Earthlings. Prior to this they had been publishing about every 2nd letter I sent. I was really upset by the photo that prompted the letter and wanted to present a different take on what appeared, at first blush, to be a seriously cute and wonderful scene. They did stick it onto their website edition where few look and even fewer can find anything. It is one of the more confusing conglomerations I've ever seen.

You might want to read the comment below the electronic edition wherein I'm characterized as having "gone off the deep end" but maybe it was Disney that did it to me. Such is the mentality of many in central Oklahoma.

Well, at least I can publish it here.

Dear Editor,

This past Saturday, Sept. 6, the front page of the Transcript featured a color photo of a fuzzy yellow baby duck being petted by an apparently awestruck and delighted young human child. Dominant cultural narratives (made-up stories we tell ourselves to justify our behaviors and perceptions) are rarely examined, indeed much of their power derives from their invisibility. This photo was captioned “Petting Zoo” and presents us with an image of two babies, one a duck and one a human, both who are beautiful in their youth and innocence. We are also presented with some untold life stories.

The baby duck is a prisoner, held in captivity by humans and her (or his) future is likely very bleak. Soon the duck baby will grow and not be a baby. What will happen to her, what does her future hold? One source indicates ducks are killed for food at around 7 weeks of age (ducks can live 10 to 15 years). Petting zoos feature babies of various species; they obtain their attractions by buying or breeding babies. Those youngsters don’t remain babies for long and most zoo operators then either kill the older residents for food or sell them to be killed elsewhere.

So, the photo most likely shows a soon to be dead victim of human willfulness (it isn’t necessary to eat animals for human survival or health) and a small human female who will probably, statistically speaking, grow up to be someone who eats animals. We can now look at this image of two innocent and charming babies and realize that we are seeing a future killer (probably a killer by proxy) looking, with delight and awe, at her future victim. The photograph takes on a whole different tone when we consider what the probable fates are of the two beautiful babies. The photograph loses some innocence and attractiveness once we consider some context.

Someone once wisely said that compassion alone stands apart from the continuous traffic between good and evil proceeding within us. Compassion is the antitoxin of the soul. Where there is compassion, even the poisonous impulses remain relatively harmless. Readers might want to remember this next time they’re presented with de-contextualized photographs of currently innocent babies who are future victims and victimizers. We don’t have to harm others or to make our children into those who do harm.

If I'm off the deep end by living vegan...then hooray for the deep end.

Friday, September 5, 2014

The cherished illusion.

Unless and until we come to accept and appreciate the unity we share by virtue of being the remarkably fortunate children of mother Earth, we will persist in feeling unsettled and lonely and to behave abysmally. As long as we cling to the notion of alienation from and superiority to our relatives, we will act to confirm our depravity. It is the cherished illusion of "specialness" which creates and ensures "awfulness".

Only those who've come to embrace all living beings as their kin can fully feel at home, surrounded by their family. Only by living vegan can we be desirable and worthy kin for our relatives.

I miss Carl Sagan...and I miss my sister.