Friday, June 27, 2014

Please help the animals.

Often, several times a week, the local daily paper will publish stories and/or photos of cruelty or abuse on the front page. Most who are mesmerized by the dominant cultural narrative (viz. the other animals are ours to do with what we want) about our sister and brother Earthlings do not identify these stories as being about cruelty or terror. Even though they are. For instance on Monday of last week there was a story touting a local deli that had a spam cookout to celebrate flag day. Then on Saturday of the same week there was a front page story with photos about a local rodeo.

This sort of incessant drumbeat underscoring and reinforcing that cultural narrative is served up all over the place. A spam cookout and a rodeo, what's so bad about that you ask? Well, if you're an ethical vegan...you probably didn't ask. For those who don't realize it, the 'cookout' involves the murder of innocent pigs and the rodeo involves terrorizing babies (calf-roping) and many other 'events' of enslavement, abuse and sometimes even death.

Both stories are instances of juxtaposing the ideas of fun and entertainment with fear and death...with the fun and entertainment being experienced by the human animals inflicting fear and death on animals who aren't human. It's pleasurable to have "others" killed and then eat the flesh of their bodies. It is a "sport" to terrorize baby animals. Whee, good clean family fun. Sort of a variance of the minstrel show except promoting and reifying speciesism instead of racism. Sadly though, lives are lost in this variation.

I wrote a letter objecting to the rodeo and the glorification of violence...it is difficult to interject any reality in the brain-dead megaphone honking that tends to characterize most forms of corporate media but sometimes letters to the editor manage to do a little of this. The editor reacted by not printing my letter...this happens quite often.

But. Today in the paper a rather poignant letter was printed titled Please Help the Animals. I was glad to see it, very glad, in any given year very few letters are ever printed that take the side of the animals (and most are from me). In a city with almost 100,000 residents...that's really pretty pitiful. It wasn't a letter countering speciesism...but it was asking for kindness and compassion. And by golly, that's a hell of an improvement over celebrating horror.

Write a letter to your editor, write more than one. I was informed recently (after submitting letters for several years) that there's an informal policy here to limit letter writers to no more than one printed per month. Given that almost every daily issue carries some story or stories glossing over barbaric cruelty and oppression toward Earthlings who don't happen to be human...that's not many objections. Twelve per year vs at least three hundred and sixty five (actually more because there is almost always more than one story in each edition that promotes the harming of the targeted Earthlings)...not a very good ratio. But...if others were writing too...and getting printed...that ratio could improve.

Write a letter to your editor, write more than one. Please. And, if you're not living life as an ethical vegan...remember that you're supporting the misery and suffering and death of innocent beings. Don't do that. You can do better...go vegan.

Friday, June 20, 2014

It doesn't matter?

This is a relatively brief video, only a few minutes long (no graphic images). If you're unfamiliar with this fellow and you're vegan...then you probably should become acquainted with him and his efforts. If you are familiar with him...then this clip offers an interesting summation of some of his advocacy.


He speaks truth (at least for me) when he notes that those whom we admire and revere are generally not 'politicians', rather they are the activists. That's an interesting thing to consider.

Is it the case though, that it doesn't matter what you say or how you say it (as long as it is truth)? In some respects I agree...people cannot hear something until they are ready. Facts generally do not change attitudes.

On the other hand though...isn't it true that how you say something can serve to exacerbate or activate defenses and create resistance to a message...irrespective of the accuracy of the message? Was Mrs. Green wrong when she said maybe it hasn't been said well enough?

While you think about this (and always)...please live vegan.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Vegans visiting Vegans.

It was a first for Heartland Rabbit Rescue. A few weeks ago several members of the Red Earth Vegans of central Oklahoma chose to visit HRR.

REV, a recently formed group of vegan advocates and activists who, as part of their mission, wanted to become familiar with and to help the various organizations in the area that are devoted to rescuing/sheltering the victims of human depravity.

Getting ready for a group visit is sort of like having company come to your house...lots of picking up and tidying in addition to your usual tasks. Several faithful HRR supporters pitched in and helped with the extra effort but as usual the brunt was carried by Jeannie (the director) and Brad (her husband).

The bunnies are usually interested when visitors come because that often means treats for them and this visit was no exception...carrots were shared with everyone who wanted them and peas with those who had different tastes.
Buckley takes his carrot from Gillian.

It is always an interesting experience when we have visitors. This group was particularly unique in that all were vegans of the ethical type hence their perspective was different than most who come to encounter the Heartland rabbits.

First time visitors have no idea what to expect when they arrive...and...many of the rabbits are always a little anxious when meeting strangers.

Mark (human vegan) and Judy (donkey) in foreground.
In the past there have been some disconcerting happenings when HRR has visitors so it can be a little...well, not tense really...just sort of full of anticipation.

By disconcerting I mean the time (I was told about this, I wasn't present) a visitor casually reached over into one of the bunny enclosures and started picking up one of the bunnies by the scruff of the neck like kittens or puppies are sometimes lifted. This was a visitor who thought she knew all about rabbits and was perfectly self-assured that she knew how to "handle" a bunny. Often those who think they know about the rabbit tribe are humans who have the most misinformation and pose a real risk to rabbit safety. Rabbit mothers do not carry their babies the way mom cats and mom dogs do and rabbit physiology is not conducive to being manipulated in this way. A danger of serious injury to a rabbit exists if one is picked up by the skin on neck/back area. Picking up a bunny, even correctly, is always a tricky and somewhat risky maneuver...doing it carelessly or ignorantly can lead to disaster.

This woman was thoroughly mis-informed and, as is often the case with those brimming with erroneous information, absolutely certain that she knew what she was doing. So...visitors are fun...but....

That wasn't the case this day. I kept noticing a different feel to the atmosphere (compared to other visiting events) but I couldn't figure out what it was until some time passed. Finally I realized that the difference was that each of these people had already made the leap to grasping that each living being is an individual and that each living being is worthy of value and respect simply by virtue of their existence. They weren't meeting "animals" or "things" or an "it". They were meeting unique and complex and feeling beings who were different from them and also the same (in many ways) as them.

It was a really powerful experience for me to see a whole group of humans approach these former victims of human neglect, greed and callousness with interest and respect and care and without condescension or entitlement or patronization or superiority.  Those latter attitudes are ingrained in most of us throughout our lives as "appropriate" ways of viewing and interacting with Earthlings who aren't human. There was none of that present during the visit. I was truly blown away. It was terrific and exciting and just impossible to reduce to mere words.
Griffin 'pancakes' for rubs from Amanda.

The visitors were attentive and eager to learn and to help and pitched in on some cleaning and other tasks...but one of the most important things that visitors can provide for bunnies is interaction.

Humans tend to view 'petting' as a casual, optional kind of thing but providing socialization and contact comfort experiences for the bunnies is very important and one of the most needed yet often underdone because it is so time intensive and other tasks are so pressing.

Consider...there are more than 100 bunnies currently living at HRR, if 5 minutes of interaction were to be given to each resident that would take one human more than 8 hours to achieve each day. Scenario that out to 7 days a week then you're talking more than 56 hours...every week. Couple that with the time needed for the necessary daily tasks of providing food, water, hay, cleaning, nail-trimming, medical attention and on and on. You get the idea...there just isn't enough time. So...whenever extra kind and caring hands are available it is a major boon.

Cleaning.
The group members were helpful in many other ways too, including pitching in with some of the near constant sweeping that is required.

I noticed that many of the bunnies were not as shy or apprehensive as they often are when meeting new people. That's just an impression and obviously it could be wrong but it might accurate and maybe...just maybe it could be because the bunnies knew their visitors were vegan.

Consider the results of this study...it suggests that even poor smellers like human animals can detect differences between the body odors of those who eat meat and those who don't. Rabbits have about 20x more cells devoted to olfactory detection than do humans...hence it is not unlikely that the bunnies knew they were being visited by folks who don't routinely ingest the results of violence against others...or at least don't smell as unpleasant as those who do.
Buckley (bunny) and Sandy (human vegan).

So, the bunnies had carrots and attention and massages from nice smelling humans...what a day!

The bunnies recognized (nose-wise and attitude-wise) that this group was different. The whole experience was unique and very very positive.

It made my brain start running out scenarios...for instance...maybe it would be a good idea for vegan groups or individuals everywhere to start making trips to rescues and sanctuaries (especially those facilities that aren't vegan) on a regular basis. To serve as ambassadors and carry the message to our fellow Earthlings that not all humans routinely harm others. Think about the residents of those rescues and sanctuaries who provide refuge for the 'domesticated' Earthlings who are routinely harmed or killed by human animals...the 'farmed' beings. It might be an uplifting experience for them to discover that all human beings aren't eaters of beings, or that their rescuers aren't the only vegan humans on the planet.

What would it be like if you lived among beings who controlled everything you did...who had power over you...and also killed and ate your relatives (and/or you)...and you never knew that some of those beings with power were harmless...were conscientious objectors in the war on you and your kind...who didn't kill or eat living beings. It would be like living in a nightmare and never knowing that the originators of that nightmare could be any different. How awful, how terribly and deeply awful.

Marie (bunny) and Angie (human vegan).
To bring a glimpse of hope, a crack of light to a world of human created darkness, can't be a bad thing. It isn't often we have the opportunity to do these sorts of things but if you become the first  vegan an Earthling meets. Well, there ya go.

Consider how few vegans there are (relatively speaking) and how many human harmed beings there are. How many of the victims died never having met any humans who were their allies?

The HRR residents interact with human vegans daily, on this occasion they were able to meet and interact with many human vegans. The whole day was one of smiles and good feelings. It can be difficult to detect duck smiles...but they were there.
Duck smiles all around (green peas in water...a big treat)
A big thank you to all the Red Earth Vegans who visited and comforted and gave smiles to those who live at Heartland...thank you for the visiting and the comforting and the smiles and thank you most especially for living vegan. Your way of life brings light to the darkness created by human harm. And...if you are vegan consider making regular visits to the places where our sister and brother Earthlings are rescued. Their meeting you just might be a first for them. And...if the human operators of the rescue aren't living vegan...then it's an opportunity to show them that vegans aren't only harmless, they're helpers too.

Thank you Amanda, Angie, Gillian, Gina, Mark and Sandy.

Friday, June 6, 2014

The recent holiday

hasn't been mentioned here for a number of reasons...the main one being that being retired sort of makes holidays superfluous. Where holiday used to mean not having to go to work and being free to do whatever I choose...well...that's pretty much every day now. It's almost as much fun as being a kid on summer vacation.

So...holidays don't carry the same sort of connotation for me as they used to. But, it turns out the occasion prompted a couple of posts on blogs that I really enjoyed reading and maybe you will too. The first was written by Lee Hall over at her blog called Vegan Place and it is about Dorothy and Donald Watson and remembering where vegan (the word) originated. While many different human animals have worked towards recognizing the equality of all beings (in terms of rights to their own lives and freedom) over many centuries...the word that encompassed so much in so few letters didn't exist until it was formulated by the Watsons. This is a lovely post giving us a view of these terrific people and reminding us that we owe much to those who came before us and that these two are definitely stars in that group.

The second holiday posting that caught my attention was put up by a true friend of all Earthlings, Bea, over on her Once Upon A Vegan blog. In her writing she reminds us of the death often associated with this day...not of those who are being remembered but the lives lost to provide "food" for the holiday. You also will get a glimpse of a truly spectacular mobile billboard for veganism. Yea Bea!

As I was working on this I happened to notice the return of an old blogging friend. Andrew, who writes on his blog We're All Animals. He hasn't put up a post in a long long time and it was a very happy moment when I saw that he had shared some of his writing...some of what he shared is sad making truth. it is very very good to hear from him again.

One of my favorite posts ever over at the So I'm Thinking of Going Vegan blog notices something that only someone with a keen eye and mind would spot. Any writing that can connect hairy legs and veganism should be known to the whole world. I love it.

Finally, D.E.M. writing at her blog Animal Rights reminds us that part of what we do now is in the hopes of making the future better than the present. Living vegan can be demanding at times, living vegan and raising a human child involves all sorts of additional issues and this post does a lovely job of touching on some of them.

I didn't start out to blog about blogs, but it just sort of turned out that way. There are other great blogs out there that are created and maintained by excellent writers so this posting is not comprehensive by any means but it started out with wanting to mark the holiday by steering folks to Lee Hall's remembrance of the Watsons and just sort of went from there. I hope you enjoy the writings.

If you want to enjoy your life...do...and allow others to enjoy theirs by living vegan. All the best human animals live that way.