Posted in Animal Cruelty, Animal Welfare, tagged Animal Cruelty, animal suffering, companion animals, dogs, dolphins, pictures, puppy mills, rabbits on August 27, 2008|
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Update #1: A while back, I told you that my sister adopted a pug/french bulldog mix from the Humane Society. Ellie is a darling little girl with huge ears and a sweet disposition. Ellie was one of the pups rescued from Mystic Elegance Kennels in Olmsted County, MN. When we got her, she had had a cyst removed – it had been growing on her forehead and was left untreated. The owner of Mystic Elegance, Shelly Whelan, was selling pugs, boston terriers, french bulldogs and a few other breeds via the internet. At the time of the rescue, there were 131 live rabbits and 73 live adult dogs on the premises. There were also several rotting carcasses of dogs, rabbits and farm animals. Well, I am sad to report that Whelan did indeed regain custody of some of the animals: 15 adult rabbits and their litters, 1 goat with her 2 kids, and 25 adult dogs with their litters. She was fined $10,000 and ordered to keep the animals in more appropriate enclosures. I am so disheartened by this news. I think of little Ellie locked in a kennel all day long and it breaks my heart. She has such a sweet personality — one that has taken quite a while to come out after her unfortunate start in life — and I’m sure the animals Whelan recovered are the same way, and they will never know the joy of living with a loving family, stealing underwear and shoes, and peeing on carpets. They will only know loneliness and suffering. For more information, check out this website and the court order – and PLEASE don’t buy pets over the internet.
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Update #2: Regarding The Truth About Dolphins in Captivity: A letter to the editor of the Caribbean News Network from former dolphin trainer Richard O’Barry. 38 years ago, O’Barry left the captive dolphin industry and has been educating the public about its evils ever since. This letter is extremely well written and highlights many of the things I touched on in my post. O’Barry also wrote a book called Behind the Dolphin Smile.
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A 14 year old girl in rural Argentina gave birth to a baby boy and abandoned the child in a field outside the town of La Plata (not far from Buenos Aires). The following day a neighbor heard the baby crying and went to investigate. It was then that the man saw that the baby was being protected by La China, his dog who had recently given birth to a litter of puppies. La China had apparently carried the infant about 50 meters from where he had been abandoned to where her puppies were huddled. In the 37 degree weather, the boy would have died without the dog’s intervention. Amazingly, aside from a few minor scratches, the boy was perfectly fine.
La China’s guardian says the dog is a hero, and is a bit overwhelmed by her new found fame. You can watch a video here and see how scared she looks–poor thing! Hopefully the excitement will die down a bit and she’ll be able to raise her puppies in peace.
Stories like this make me wonder why humans can’t be more like dogs, honestly. La China didn’t care that this baby wasn’t her own species, she just knew that he was helpless, and she took him in – at least that’s what I think! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all be so compassionate?
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Posted in Animal Cruelty, Animal Rights, Environmental Concerns, Factory Farming, Veganism, tagged animal agriculture and the environment, Farmed Animals, make a difference, Veganism, videos, wildlife on August 25, 2008|
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You need to go watch this awesome video, courtesy of Non-violence United. It’s about the environmental impact of eating meat and dairy products vs. going vegan; the global food shortage; your health; and the human/non-human animal disconnect. It’s 11 minutes out of your day and more information than you can shake a stick at!
No disturbing images (ok, there are a couple of dead sea-life, but aside from that…), no anger or aggression – just information! Check it out now and see how you can help the people, the planet, and the animals.
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Posted in Veganism, tagged cows, dogs, questions, Veganism on August 22, 2008|
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I thought it would be kind of fun/interesting to post a couple of the ridiculous questions I’ve gotten since I became vegan. These are my two favorites:
“If you were stranded on an island with only your dog, and you ran out of all other food, would you kill your dog and eat him?”
Um. No. No, I would not. I also would not eat any children that I may have given birth to on that island – I mean, he is like my CHILD. Secondly, though, why am I stranded on an island with only my dog? And how long was I there that I ate EVERYTHING the island had to offer? Didn’t I pick up any agricultural skills while I was there? Does the island have powers that make people stupid?? Regardless, no, I would not eat my only companion, thankyouverymuch.
“Let’s say you had a cow and you really loved your cow and treated her really well. Then let’s say that cow gave birth, but the baby died of natural causes. Would you milk the cow and drink the milk?”
At the time, I couldn’t think of a good comeback to this, but a friend of mine later gave me this: “If your dog had a litter of puppies and all the puppies died, would you milk the mother and drink it?” Too good–and I really wish I had thought of this in the moment.
Don’t get me wrong – I am more than willing to answer questions for people who are legitimately curious about being vegan….but these particular questions just didn’t strike me as “legitimate”. Call me crazy. No, really, I don’t mind.
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A friend of mine sent me this article today about a gorilla in a German zoo whose infant passed away on August 16th. The devoted mother refuses to let go of her baby’s body as she is mourning this loss. Seeing this striking image is proof to me that animals have emotions. Like us, they form deep bonds with their offspring, and a loss of that magnitude affects them as it would us. Zookeepers indicate that the gorilla’s behavior is completely normal and happens all the time when an infant dies.
The other thing that struck me about this article was the very last sentence: “She [Gana, this same gorilla] had a female baby in 2007 that now lives at the Stuttgart Zoo.” It’s only August, 2008 right now. Even if Gana gave birth to her other baby in January of 2007, that still falls short of the 2.5-3 year period that mother gorillas nurse and care for their young. This bothers me. Why do we assume that it is okay to take a baby away from her mother after only a year when they are used to being together for 2 to 3 times longer? Oh yes, that’s right: because the Stuttgart Zoo needed a gorilla on display. I suppose it also could be because gorillas usually only give birth once every 4 years – probably because they are still caring for an infant – and if they took the baby away, Gana would be more likely to reproduce again. Either way, it seems to me to be all about humans, with little regard for Gana and her infants. It seems cruel and unnecessary to me, but just goes to show you how humans think they have a monopoly on emotional bonds.
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I ask people why they have deer heads on their walls. They always say because it’s such a beautiful animal. There you go. I think my mother is attractive, but I have photographs of her.
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Until I read Tom Regan’s book, Empty Cages, I never really thought about dolphins in captivity. I mean, dolphins are beautiful animals, and watching them is mesmerizing. Though I can’t remember a time I’ve paid to go to a show involving dolphins, I know I’ve seen and been amazed by them on TV on a number of occasions. Reading that book, however, opened my eyes to what marine parks across the world don’t want us to know: dolphins are incredibly unhappy in captivity. Some facts:
- Dolphins are incredibly intelligent. They have unique voices and communicate with each other frequently. They have been known to use tools and to teach their offspring to use tools.
- Wild dolphins can swim 40 to 100 miles per day – in pools they go around in circles.
- Many marine parks subject their mammals to hunger so they will perform for their food. Jumping through hoops, tail-walking and playing ball are trained behaviors that do not occur in the wild. Dolphins don’t perform for the love of performing or because they want to please humans – they perform because they are hungry.
- The dolphins you see at marine parks were probably captured in the wild. They were taken from their families, to whom they were undoubtedly very strongly attached. Their strong bonds have been documented to lead them to stay with injured or ill individuals, even actively helping them to breathe by bringing them to the surface if needed.
- Every seven years, half of all dolphins in captivity die from capture shock, pneumonia, intestinal disease, ulcers, chlorine poisoning, and other stress-related illnesses. To the captive dolphin industry, these facts are accepted as routine operating expenses.
- The average life span of a dolphin in the wild is 45 years; yet half of all captured dolphins die within their first two years of captivity. The survivors last an average of only 5 years in captivity. In addition, 53% of dolphins die within 90 days of capture.
Like other animals, dolphins rely heavily on their families (“pods”). They get love, companionship and a sense of safety from being together. Obviously once they are stolen from their pods to become entertainment for humans, they lose this vital emotional support. It is understandable then that so many of them die — they literally die from heart break.
Dophin Care UK sums it up nicely, I think:
The tragedy of dolphin captivity can be seen between the shows. When the music stops and the cheerful crowds go home, the dolphins resume to lying listlessly on the surface of the water, starring into the barren concrete wall of their tank. There is nothing else for them to do. This is where their journey ends.
How depressing–I can’t imagine how lonely and bored they must feel. I am glad there are groups both in the US and abroad that are doing everything they can to stop the imprisonment of dolphins. In the meantime, please don’t go to these marine parks – you’ll be supporting a cruel, horrible industry and all for what? Just a little entertainment? It’s just not worth it.
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