Posted in Animal Cruelty, Animal Rights, Animal Welfare, tagged animal advocacy, Animal Cruelty, Animal Rights, animal suffering, companion animals, dogs, dolphins, get involved, horses, humans, Michael Vick, The Cove on September 17, 2009|
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There have been SO many things I’ve wanted to write about lately, but I’ve let summer get the best of me and been a bad little blogger. In an effort to “catch up”, here are just a few of the things I’ve been thinking about the last couple months:
- If you haven’t seen the documentary THE COVE yet, you need to. It is a haunting, disturbing, thrilling, and often heartbreaking film about the dolphin trade and consequent slaughter in Japan. While it will probably make you cry if you are anything like me, it will also inspire you to see how passionate the dolphin advocates are about this issue. They will stop at nothing to end this injustice, and that depth of passion just isn’t prevalent enough. The LA Times wrote up a good review of it if you want to read more.
- Alec Baldwin wrote a great piece for the Huffington Post about the vilification of Michael Vick, and how in a lot of ways it’s hypocritical of a lot of people – specifically, if you are a meat eater, a leather-wearer, and an animal user. Not that what Vick did can be in any way condoned, mind you, but that we all need to look at what we do day-to-day to contribute to animal suffering, and ask ourselves if it’s really worth it? Are dogs any more special than pigs, cows, turkeys? Should we condemn Michael Vick while letting ourselves off the hook just because we aren’t the ones directly torturing these animals?
- This NYTimes.com article about the treatment of aging horses that have been used for racing is a great read. It talks about the need for retirement homes, essentially, for these majestic animals. About 3000 race horses are retired each year, and right now only about 1/3 of those animals find such homes. Most are abandoned or euthanized, or sometimes sold into slaughter. Quite the “thank you” for years of making their owners money, huh?
- As for our human animal counterparts, one of the stories that really got my attention this summer was about the pervasiveness and brutality of rape in Congo. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to Congo this summer is what first brought my attention to this matter, and I haven’t been able to stop reading about it. It is devastating. While women are the main victims of these crimes, Congolese men are increasingly being targeted. One organization that is trying to help victims (primarily women) there is called VDay, a non profit established by Eve Ensler, who wrote The Vagina Monologues (a show I highly recommend). Check out her site and see how you can help.
With that, I promise to post more regularly – enjoy the reading! Oh, and check out my new food blog: Veg Out With Us!
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Kathy Bauck, owner of Pick of the Litter Kennels in New York Mills, MN, was recently found guilty of four misdemeanors: one count of animal cruelty, and 3 counts of animal torture. Her crimes involved dunking dogs into vats of insecticide and performing surgery on dogs without a license. Several dogs at the kennel were too weak and thin to stand up, and this woman has up to 1300 dogs in her “care” at a time. An officer of the ASPCA reported her to the USDA for violations of the Animal Welfare Act back in 1998 and no action was taken. Eleven years later, we finally get some kind of justice.
However, you might have noticed above that she was only convicted of misdemeanors – not felonies. In fact, she was cleared of all felony charges. Apparently animal TORTURE only ranks as a “misdemeanor”. In case you’re wondering what the definition of a misdemeanor is (as I was): A crime punishable by less than a year of imprisonment in a county jail and/or a fine is considered a misdemeanor. Examples of misdemeanors include shoplifting, simple assault, disturbing the peace, and driving under the influence (provided no one is injured).
This monster tortured innocent animals, and will likely see no more than 20 days inside a jail cell. She is still allowed to keep her kennel and keep breeding animals. The only stipulation is that she has to agree to unannounced inspections. By whom, I am wondering? Clearly the USDA isn’t “on the ball” (yes, I realize they are understaffed, but it is their responsibility, and they let this go for 11 years!), so who exactly will be inspecting her and reporting her? Who will do anything to make sure she doesn’t torture any more dogs?
I don’t have a lot of faith that any justice has actually been served and it is incredibly frustrating. It feels like the “victories” are so small sometimes, doesn’t it??
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Posted in Animal Cruelty, Factory Farming, Farmed Animals, tagged Animal Cruelty, animal suffering, Factory Farming, international news, pictures, pigs, swine flu on April 30, 2009|
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Source: NY Times online
The pig you see here being dangled by the leg is still just a baby, and by now he is already dead and thrown away for absolutely no reason, as are the rest of the 300,000 pigs in Egypt. According to the New York Times, “Egypt ordered the pig slaughter even though there hasn’t been a single case of swine flu there and no evidence that pigs have spread the disease.” I find this so frustrating. How typical that we humans blame this epidemic on pigs, and kill them without a second thought! Because they’re expendable!
How can people be so ignorant? This virus was created by HUMANS when we put thousands and thousands of pigs into small quarters (breeding grounds for disease), it is spreading human to human, and we are killing pigs? Does this make sense? It seems to me that we are being shown a giant, flashing sign that is begging us to stop factory farming, and instead of listening, we are killing sentient beings who have nothing to do with this disease beyond being innocent victims of it. I don’t have the words to describe my shock, anger, and frustration with this whole situation. All I know is that if humans don’t wake up soon and smell the tempeh-bacon, we’re all going to be dead, and we’ll have no one to blame but ourselves.
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Posted in Animal Cruelty, Animal Welfare, Farmed Animals, tagged animal activism, Animal Cruelty, animal suffering, dogs, make a difference, pictures, polar bears, Veganism, wildlife on April 7, 2009|
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Sometimes being an animal rights advocate is emotionally exhausting. Today is one of those days.
Last night I was watching Animal Planet, as I often do, and the show was about polar bears in the wild. There was a mama polar bear and her 2 cubs who were not yet full grown, but also not tiny. Due to lack of food, a big male polar bear was following the threesome in the hopes that he could eat one of the cubs (apparently they will eat their own kind if they can’t find other food). The mama and her cubs walked for hours trying to get away from him, but finally one of the cubs collapsed from exhaustion and hunger. The mama bear was trying to get him back up but she couldn’t and eventually she had to leave him so that she could protect her other cub and herself. I had to turn the channel before the big male bear got to the dying cub. And then I cried. Yes, I cried at the cruelty of nature.
What immediately hit me after getting so emotional about this is how nature is kind in comparison to the horrible cruelties humans impose on non-human animals, especially “food” animals. That cub probably lived just as long as any pig does on today’s factory farms…and he at least lived his short life FREE. He knew the love of his mother, got to swim, play, and run around. Chickens, turkeys, pigs and other farmed animals get nothing of the sort. They spend their lives cooped up in tiny cages, feeling pain and sorrow every day.
So then I got even sadder. Then today I read a story about a man who broke into his ex-girlfriend’s house and put her 5 month old puppy in the oven and killed him, and I got EVEN SADDER. I mean, how can a human being be so incredibly heartless? HOW?
Anyway, the thing about caring so much about animals is that it lends itself all too easily to sadness. I still have not figured out how to completely combat this. How do you find the energy sometimes to go about your every day life when you know how much suffering there is in the world around you – human and non-human? And how do we ever know if we’re doing enough? The truth is that I never feel like I’m doing enough. I’m vegan, and I educate others about veganism; I write this blog; I volunteer for an animal rights organization doing office work and event planning; and I have a dog and a cat whom I love dearly….but none of it really feels like enough. Will it ever? Will I ever hear a story about animal cruelty and not feel like surely I’m NOT doing enough if things like that are still happening? I don’t know. Anyone have any thoughts/advice?
(Sorry this post is such a downer….I guess it’s just one of those days.)
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Posted in Animal Cruelty, Animal Rights, Animal Welfare, Factory Farming, Farmed Animals, tagged Animal Cruelty, Animal Rights, animal suffering, Factory Farming, Farmed Animals, gestation crates, pigs, videos on March 17, 2009|
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Last night HBO premiered a show called Death on a Factory Farm. This is a small segment. I haven’t seen the whole thing yet, and am not sure if I’ll be able to stomach it, but I do have a friend recording it for me. Has anyone else seen it? What were your thoughts?
Viewer discretion advised on the clip below…
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To a man whose mind is free there is something even more intolerable in the sufferings of animals than in the sufferings of man. For with the latter it is at least admitted that suffering is evil and that the man who causes it is a criminal. But thousands of animals are uselessly butchered every day without a shadow of remorse. If any man were to refer to it, he would be thought ridiculous. And that is the unpardonable crime.
~Romain Rolland, Nobel Prize 1915
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Earlier this week a Connecticut woman was attacked by a 200 pound chimpanzee named Travis who had been kept as a pet for 14 years. The woman was friends with the chimp’s “owner”, and was called to help coax him back indoors after he escaped using a key to unlock the front door. Sandra Herold, the woman who kept Travis, seemed surprised by this attack on her friend because “He could eat at the table, drink wine from a stemmed glass, use the toilet, and dress and bathe himself. He brushed his teeth with a Water Pik, logged on to a computer to look at photos and channel-surfed television with the remote control.” The thing is, those abilities make him very intelligent, but they still do not make him a domesticated pet. Travis, like all other chimps, no matter how many amazing “human-like” behaviors they exhibit, are still wild animals who do not belong to anybody else, and who will undoubtedly revert back to their instincts eventually. In addition, chimpanzees have about 5 times the strength of a human male, so if and when they attack, it is going to be brutal – as it was for Herold’s friend, Charla Nash, who is still in critical condition in the hospital.
During the attack, Herold called police, and pleaded with them to help her friend. In the end, police shot Travis, killing him instantly. Now, of course I feel awful that Ms. Nash was attacked so brutally….but it also makes me extremely angry that this poor chimpanzee was killed simply for being a chimpanzee. Sandra Herold’s ignorance about what Travis needed – i.e. to not be kept as a prisoner, basically – led to this attack, and I blame her, not Travis, for her friend’s injuries. What’s more is that the state of Connecticut (and the US as a whole) needs to take some of the responsibility for this. Herold was legally issued a permit to keep Travis as a pet. I am hopeful that animal advocates will rise to the call and try to make some legislative changes, as one has already begun to do:
“A chimpanzee is not a domestic pet,” said Pricilla Feral, president of the international animal advocacy group Friends of Animals, based in Darien. “Keeping an animal like that as a pet and force-training it goes against all of its natural instincts. For an attack like this to happen should be expected.”
Feral said she was appalled to hear the state issues permits to homeowners for primates such as chimpanzees. In the wake of Monday’s incident, Feral is calling on the state to adopt new legislation that would make primate pet ownership illegal. She is also requesting that existing permits for primates be exposed and revoked.
“The state has no business issuing permits to people to keep these animals as pets,” said Feral. “The fact that Stamford allowed this to occur in its own backyard is astonishing.”
I couldn’t agree more.
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