Archive for the ‘furry causes’ category

Cecil’s Legacy…

August 1, 2015

 

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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…

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“Diving Horse” Revival Scrapped…

February 27, 2012

– – In times gone by, New Jersey’s fabled Atlantic City featured at their Steel Pier a so-called “diving horse” act which began in the 1920’s, and was shut down five decades later.   In the stunt, a horse ascended to the top of a 40-foot platform, and didn’t as much dive as was tipped off it, plunging the animal and its rider into a 12-foot deep water tank below.   Animal rights advocates maintained that the act at the very least scared horses, and carried the potential for them to be injured or even killed.

A brief return of the act happened in 1993 with riderless mules substituted for the horses, but protests ended that revival.  Nostalgia for Atlantic City’s edgy past prompted recent plans for another diving horse comeback, but successful online petitions against the plan caused the revival rather than the horses to be tanked…

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.

Aftermath of an Animal Tragedy…

October 22, 2011

  – – Just days after a private owner of exotic pets in Ohio set dozens free this week and then committed suicide, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed an executive order pushing for a moratorium on exotic animal auctions and a crackdown on unlicensed auctions in the state. 

 

Animal activists have complained that Ohio has some of the nation’s laxest regulations on exotic pets.  A Dayton, Ohio based group that wants to end private ownership of wild animals says that it knows of at least 20 farms that are comparable to the one in Zanesville from which 56 exotic animals were released with authorities subsequently slaying 49 of them, including 18 rare Bengal tigers…one percent of the world’s Bengal tiger population.

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…

Robodeer…

October 12, 2011

 – -For several decades now, state wildlife officials across the country have been rolling out roadside robotic decoys to nab unscrupulous hunters who seek to poach deer out of season or beyond established hunting hours. 

Often placed near a road where they can be seen by passing cars, the robotic deer can be outfitted with remote controls that make it possible to move the decoy’s head and tail to make it look as realistic as possible.  When a poacher takes the bait and pegs a shot at the mechanical deer, authorities are not far away and the would-be deerslayer gets nailed with something like a misdemeanor citation, punishable in Utah by up to six months in jail, up to a $1,000 fine, and seizure of the offender’s weapons.  Robot decoy programs are in place not only in Utah but also in Georgia, Florida, and elsewhere.

In some cases, offenders have repeatedly fired shots and even arrows at the mechanical deer, apparently amazed that they don’t go down!  A robotic deer decoy used in Georgia had to be replaced in 2006 after being shot more than 1,000 times.  Perhaps videos could be made of such occurrences and sold with proceeds going to add to state wildlife conservation funds…

Fugitive Cow…

August 17, 2011

 – – I’ve always felt empathy for fugitive cows, those bovines that feel the bloodline of the aurochs stir in them, and so do not go quietly to the slaughter… 

…and so to Yvonne, the six-year-old German cow, I say, You go, girl!  No milk dud, Yvonne escaped in May from a farm in Muehldorf, Germany where she was being prepared for the slaughter.  She made a new home for herself in the Bavarian woods, gaining the notice of authorities when Yvonne jumped in front of German police cars.  Deemed a traffic threat, hunters were then authorized to shoot the cow, which outraged animal rights activists.  An Austrian animal protection group then either offered or has already bought Yvonne from her original farm for 700 euros. 

While receiving much attention, Yvonne remained on the lam, prompting efforts to lure her in by sending bovine family members and friends into the wild.  A bull was even brought in by animal rights activists in an effort to romance the cow, but the bull turned out to be castrated, and Yvonne wasn’t fooled by this flimsy deception.  Things got weirder still when an animal psychic was consulted by the animal rights activists.  The psychic reported having contacted the cow by telepathy, saying that Yvonne was fine but didn’t feel ready to come out of hiding, fearing that the humans would lock her up and that she’d lose her freedom!

Meanwhile, the Hindu community recently issued a statement calling for German authorities to withdraw permission for hunters to shoot Yvonne, saying that the decision was ill-advised.  A German newspaper has also created a Facebook page, and offered a reward of over $14,000 to anyone who can capture Yvonne…

…my sympathies are on the side of the cow on the run, who has probably connected with the underground and awaits the furry revolution…long life and good fortune to you, counter-culture bovine!- -Fight the power, Yvonne!

Language Applied to Animals…

May 4, 2011

– – I most resent the word “varmint” when applied to foxes and other animals; it’s degrading and disrespectful, and dates back to a time when animals were treated unkindly as little better than things; sadly, some still hold this viewpoint.  Language is a curious and powerful thing, and the label that we apply to a living creature shapes how it is permissible to treat them.  As a tool of classification, language then also becomes a device of control.

Researchers from the Oxford Center for Animal Ethics along with the University of Illinois and Penn State University suggests that using such words as “varmints,” “critters,” and “beasts” to describe animals degrades the relationship that can exist between them and humans by contributing to a mindset of animals being trivial, unfeeling, and inconsequential.   Instead, a language should be cultivated that shows mutually respectful relationships between humans and the animals which live among them.  I’m fully on board with all of this…

…where we separate the sheep from the goats (so to speak) is in the beliefs of some animal rights academics that pets should be renamed “companions,” and that rats are just “free-living;”  pigeons are simply “free-roaming.”   While I do consider my co-habiting animals as companions, this is my personal choice, and I happen to be an animal myself (this is not necessarily a bad thing)!  When political correctness kicks in, however, it’s often time to take a holiday before things get silly and I’m expected to garb my animal companions in clothing, which they would hate anyways.

What can perhaps be taken away from all of this is the thought that words are powerful, not because an animal understands the nuances of language or cares what you call them but because words can influence how your mind works, with language choice subsequently affecting human behavior towards animals as well as countless other things.  If you doubt this, consider that psycholinguistics has been at the core of every successful political campaign for the last number of decades, with labels determining perceptions and serving as a substitute for independent critical thought for many…

Points To Ponder…

December 3, 2010

– – It’s  deer hunting season again in Pennsylvania.  A  thought on the subject:

“Whether hunting is right or wrong, a spiritual experience, or an outlet for the killer instinct, one thing it is not is a sport.  Sport is when individuals or teams compete against each other under equal circumstances to determine who is better at a given game or endeavor.  Hunting will be a sport when deer, bears, elk, and ducks are endowed with human intelligence and given 12-gauge shotguns.  Bet we’d see a lot fewer drunk yahoos (live ones, anyway) in the woods if that happened.” — R. Lerner

‘scuse me…I gotta go help even the odds out there a bit…




Furry Face Paint

July 21, 2010

– – An animal rights protester with his face painted as a tiger protested the exhibition of animals in zoos during a demonstration in Mexico City this past Saturday…a reminder that make-up can provide a simple and cost-effective alternative to the fursuit while providing considerably more freedom to the wearer…