Archive for the ‘animal abuse’ category

Progressive’s “Maid for Us” Commercial…

April 8, 2019

Back in the 1960’s, sitcoms ruled television, and many of them were poorly connected with actual life…heck, we even watched Gilligan’s Island!  A show called Hazel which ran from the early to mid-60’s even featured a household maid as the title character. Drawing upon this television tradition, a recent Progressive commercial features their iconic spokesperson Flo unwillingly cast into the role of new maid by the generic middle class family moving into a house that Flo is merely trying to inspect, but at each turn she’s perceived as being “the wacky new maid” who just pops up unexpectedly everywhere while they are performing such activities as carrying a large decorative fish into the bathroom.  

The Progressive commercial even includes a theme soundtrack written just for the ad that has a 60’s sound and sitcom feel, and includes the lyrics, “she’s not the maid we wanted, but she’s the maid we’ve got.”  Actress/comedian Stephanie Courtney as Flo shouting her disclaimer at the family in their front yard seems to do little to sway the neighborhood impression of her, however, in this retro sitcom parody…

Cecil’s Legacy…

August 1, 2015



It’s heartening to realize that occasionally at least public outrage may be triggered by senseless acts of cruelty and violence against animals, and the illegal slaughter of well-known and beloved animal preserve lion Cecil by an American dentist in Africa has triggered spirited protests and heightened public awareness of both the problems of illegal poaching and the practice of trophy hunting.

The office of the Minnesota dentist involved has been the location of impromptu shrines, angry posters, and picketing, with Dr. Palmer himself in hiding, possibly to face extradition to Africa; over 100,000 signatures presently exist on an on-line petition urging such at this point.  Palmer’ s guides may face prison terms of up to ten years.   Trophy hunting is a nasty practice in which about 600 lions are killed annually, 2/3 of which make their way to America as an ornament for someone’s den or wall, a tribute to human arrogance, ego, and vanity. 

Many Americans simply don’t know that such things are going on, but due to the flap over Cecil’ s illegal hunting death even legal “big game” hunting businesses are starting to feel the pinch, some of which offer excursions to kill not only lions but also elephants and rhinos, for sufficient funds. Perhaps public shaming of participants in such ventures may make them less common…



Cattle Mutilations!

September 5, 2013

s-COW-large – – Alright! – – Who’s up for a show on cattle mutilations!

What a silly question! – – We all are, of course! Cattle mutilations carry that heady odd mixture of attraction and repulsion that makes something utterly irresistible, at least for those of us hooked on the strange, the macabre, and the unexplained. Speaking of which, The Unexplained Files conveniently served up a heaping helping of cattle mutilations on their most recent episode! – – Who says that television is a vast wasteland?!

Anyways, in the San Luis Valley in Colorado as in other midwestern states, cattle have been mutilated with near surgical precision, their eyes, ears, tongues, and sex organs removed with the corpses drained of blood. The cuts applied have apparently been cauterized with intense heat. Pet horses have also been so mutilated. Many of the mutilated animals share bone fractures, as if the animals were dropped from a height to the location of their discovery.

A number of explanations were advanced to possibly explain the phenomena. Predators remain the official explanation, although this seems unlikely as body parts were not strewn about, the grounds of discovery were curiously bloodless, and harvesting of body parts seems both unusual and selective. Speculation also exists that extraterrestrials were involved, possibly using bovine and equine blood to create hybrids. UFO sightings have been reported following some reported mutilations.

Theories also exist that human and governmental involvement is responsible, representing a kind of clandestine federal monitoring program of the food chain in order to contain a deadly outbreak of “mad cow” disease or possibly bioterrorism. Black helicopters favored by “black ops” agents have been reported by some area residents following mutilation incidents, although still others see the deeds as the work of whacked-out cultists.

At any rate, the bovine and equine deaths were both strange and unnatural, with unanswered questions likely to linger for the indefinite future. – – Anyone up for a burger? I’ll pass, thank you…

Rats Who Care…

December 20, 2011

 – – It’s OK to call someone a “dirty rat,”  as rats do get dirty;  it might not, however, be scientifically supportable to refer to rats as uncaring in light of a new University of Chicago study on empathy-driven behavior in rodents. 

Appearing in the prestigious journal Science, the results of this landmark study show that untrained laboratory rats will free restrained companions,  even when those restrained rats are not in pain.  Rats will even choose to free other restrained rats when offered the alternative activity of feasting on chocolate!  Greater love hath no rat than this…

The new study on rats sets a precedent for future research on sentient and empathic animals; it’s also safe based on what we know to assume that numerous other animals display empathy, which is thought to have deep evolutionary, biochemical, and neurological underpinnings. 

Findings of empathy in animals may force uncomfortable questions about how humans treat animals, especially with regards to horrific invasive research.  Birds, rats, and mice are presently excluded from some federal legislative definitions of animals, with only about 1% of the animals used in research in the United States currently protected by legislation.

McDonald’s Supplier Animal Abuse?

November 19, 2011

 – – Regardless of how you look at it, chickens do not live enviable lives.  They should not, however, be forced to live their entire lives in cages so small that they can barely turn around, or be swung around by their feet by their caretakers.  The animal rights group Mercy for Animals recently released video illustrating such conditions that was filmed over three months by an undercover investigator posing as an employee for Sparboe Farms, the fifth largest egg producer in the country and a major egg supplier for McDonald’s.   The FDA has also said that it discovered serious violations of a federal rule designed to prevent salmonella at five egg production facilities of Sparboe.

McDonald’s has dumped the supplier, who has said that the actions illustrated in the video are in direct violation of their animal care code of conduct and dismissed the workers involved.  McDonald’s is further studying the merits of traditional versus cage-free hen housing systems, which are already used by the company in Europe…



Lions, Tigers, and Bears…

October 20, 2011

 – – Neither in their native habitat nor near Oz, dozens of wild and exotic animals kept in private ownership escaped from a farm near Zanesville, Ohio Tuesday night when an animal farm owner described as a “collector” released 56 animals from their cages and then killed himself.  Of the released animals which included lions, tigers, bears, mountain lions, wolves, and a baboon, 49 were killed by local authorities who deemed such necessary to ensure the public safety.  Six animals were captured alive while at least a baboon remained unaccounted for.

Counted among the slain animals were 18 tigers, nine male and eight female lions, six black bears, three mountain lions, two grizzly bears, two wolves, and a baboon.  The owner/operator of the wildlife farm had been previously convicted of multiple firearms and animal regulations violations, including cruelty to animals.  

This horrendous and unnecessary tragedy underscores the need for strict and nationally standardized regulations governing the sale and ownership of exotic animals;  Ohio is one of the states that currently has no such laws…

Mountain Lions in Connecticut!

June 14, 2011

 – – Mountain lions are said not to exist in Connecticut.  The problem is, however, mountain lions don’t read, and nobody thought to tell them; they just don’t appreciate that the nearest confirmed population of their kind is in Missouri.  As if to reinforce to one mountain lion that he was extinct, an SUV plowed into one on the Wilbur Cross Parkway earlier this month.

Now where do non-indigenous species come from?  Most likely, a rather lively trade in wild animals that is fueled by the internet.  While some states have laws prohibiting private ownership of non-native animals such as big cats, bears, wolves, and chimpanzees other states do not…and this patchwork quilt of different laws from state to state allows the irresponsible to travel to nearby states to make exotic animal purchases.  Sadly, illegal trafficking in exotic animals is a global business worth up to $20 billion annually.   A lot of the local exotic animal trade is fed by zoo or circus surplus,  the descendents of those animals, or from breeders. 

The eastern mountain lion slain may have been held in captivity, and either escaped or was released.  Irresponsible human behaviors continue to claim animal victims in this manner…

(…tip o’ the pen to carycomic!)

Animal Smuggling…

May 14, 2011

 – -We’ve posted previously here on Foxsylvania about the illegal trade in wild and exotic animals, including animal smuggling.  While it’s fairly common for one type of animal to be smuggled (snakes, spiders, etc.), some smugglers diversify and try to take a variety of different species out.

Take for example the case of a man arrested at Thailand’s international  airport May 13th after he was caught trying to smuggle wild animals out of the country.  The man, identified as a citizen of the United Arab Emirates, was trying to board a flight to Dubai when investigators found a baby bear, two leopards, two panthers, and at least two monkeys stuffed into his luggage!  Don’t ask me how…must have been some pretty big luggage!

The anti-animal trafficking group FREELAND said the man is believed to be part of a far-reaching animal trafficking network…

Jakarta’s Monkeys

December 24, 2010

– – In Jakarta, Indonesia trained monkeys perform skits on the street of the capital city using props such as toy motor bikes, wooden rifles, and doll masks.  Unfortunately, the macaques are kept on chain leashes which are jerked to keep the trained simians on task; they are conscripted and trained beginning as young as one month of age.  The performances are believed to have originated in the port cities of northern Java in the late 1800’s when entertainers from Europe introduced monkey and dog shows. Forced to perform unnatural acts in a stressful, abnormal environment, the forced performances may easily be seen as a form of animal exploitation or abuse.

Such monkey business is diminishing, however, owing at least in part to the depressed economy…

Mail Order Tarantulas

December 8, 2010

– – I, for one, prefer not to get tarantulas in my mail.  The bills are bad enough…

…but a German man stands accused of sending more than 500 live tarantulas through the mail, receiving more than $300,000 for the arachnids.

Special agents from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service waged a sting operation (so to speak), ordering and receiving dozens of live tarantulas in an investigation known as “Operation Spiderman.”  If convicted, the person involved faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000…

…and for your reference, the entire Brachypelma genus is protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species because it is being threatened by international trade, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

– -Well, there goes my gift idea for my relatives this Xmas!

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