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Links for January 2010

Enviropig by Nathan Meltz

'Enviropig' by Nathan Meltz

  • Sociological images interviewed artist Nathan Meltz about his pieces on industrial farming.
  • No Right Turn accuses MAF of looking the other way on animal cruelty, noting that less than 0.5% of the complaints they receive lead to convictions.  They suggest that MAF should take or a proactive role, and that if they don’t, the people responsible should be sacked.  The trouble is, the problem is not just with MAF’s tiny animal welfare unit.  The problem is also with the Ministry, tasked at once with protecting animal exploitation and animal welfare, and unwilling to invest a reasonable amount of funding in animal welfare.  The problem is with the successive governments that have created and tolerated this situation.  The problem is with the police not being trained in their powers under the Animal Welfare Act 1999.  The problem, I suggest, is ultimately that most of our society doesn’t take animal welfare at all seriously.
  • If you’re wondering just what you have to do to get charged with an animal welfare offence (because starving cattle is a ‘management issue’ not a crime, and debeaking is fine (so long as the man operating the machine has a comfortable chair (actual recommendation from the Code of Welfare))), here’s an answer: Feed your dog live kittens.  Could this story get more emotive?  Evil crazy man (probably a gang member) feeds his blood-thirsty pit-bull terrier (because we all know that breed of dogs is just…evil, right?) some poor, innocent kittens.
  • Ten days ago, the Otago SPCA were ‘shocked‘ to discover a burnt and bloody.  dog, who had been doused  with his or her back legs tied together.  So, the hunt began, though the SPCA wondered if the dog might have accidentally been covered in solvent (presumably, after the accidentally tying his or her own legs together with some extremely playful and dexterous forepaws.).  And if someone tells the local SPCA volunteer who ‘owns’ the dog, justice will come, etc.  I mean no disrespect to the Invercargill SPCA, of course: This isn’t their fault.  This is what happens when the government charges a charity with enforcing the law.  And doesn’t fund it.
  • Grist visited the American Farm Bureau’s annual meeting:

After all that talk about renewables, I headed over to the tradeshow to see for myself what kind of exciting green innovations are happening in the agriculture world. Well, let’s see. There’s a John Deere tractor…

  • Peter Singer has given John Safran Foer’s Eating Animals a glowing review (whereas, as previously covered, Gary Francione disapproves).  To quote Singer:

In the end, Foer’s reflections on George provide the book’s most powerful argument against eating animals. What justification do I have, he asks himself, for eating other animals, but not eating dogs? Yes, dogs are intelligent, feeling beings, but so are pigs, cows and chickens. Properly cooked, dog meat is as healthy and nutritious as any other meat. It is also said to be delicious. In fact, since many people now advocate eating locally produced food and stray dogs are killed in their thousands in most big cities every year, dogs are the ideal local meat. Foer helpfully provides a Filipino recipe for “Stewed Dog, Wedding Style” that begins, “First, kill a medium-sized dog, then burn off the fur over a hot fire.” His tongue-in-cheek suggestion helps us see what we are really doing when we eat pigs, cows and chickens.

  • Francione takes a firmer line than Singer and Foer (not to mention far firmer on veganism than Erik Marcus of Vegan.com), and recently discussed the issue of ‘purity’ in a brief post.
  • Prime Minister John Key boasted that he had a diplomatic solution in mind to end Southern Ocean whaling.  Then, well, he went back on holiday.  We wait with bated breath.  Meanwhile, a woman in a waka walloped Moko the Dolphin in the Bay of Plenty.  John could not be contacted for comment, but we suspect that a diplomatic solution to the ‘Moko Problem’ is in the works.
  • Vegan.com, in an uncharacteristically in-depth piece, deconstructs egg industry propaganda.
  • A security camera in California appears to show a dog sensing an imminent earthquake moments before it hits.
  • If you bury a pig in snow, it mostly…dies.  Unfortunately for scientific progress, activists in Europe have temporarily managed to suspend the experiment to prove this hypothesis.  Okay, sure, I’m being a bit sarcastic: The real purpose was to test brain damage for the purposes of avalanche survival.  But come on.  In other science news, a macaque starved to death recently, because the researches forgot to weigh him.  Woops.  And, finally, experimentation on rats has proven the unexpected: Apples are healthy.
  • ‘Who are you calling Vegangelical?’, Ari Solomon asks.  His reply?

The reality is that veganism couldn’t be more different from religion. While religion is based on faith, veganism is based on facts. Animal suffering is not some ethereal concept, it’s very real.

All animals deserve to be free from unnecessary pain, fear, and suffering at the hands of humans. How can anything less claim to be humane? Do I want more people to go vegan, is that why I talk and write about it? Of course, but it has nothing to do with me or some group that I belong to. It has to do with the animals who suffer everyday so that we can eat them, wear them, and do whatever we want to them simply because we can.

Veganism is the practical response to a social injustice. Instead of vegangelical, the word should be veganlogical.

  • Victor Schonfeld, the mind behind the BBC’s recent ‘Animals and Us’ series exposes the ‘Five Fatal Flaws‘ of animal ‘rights’ activism.  Francione agrees.
  • On a similar note: It’s time to stop focusing on factory farming.
  • Finally, Mariann Sullivan and Jasmin Singer have launched Our Hen House, ‘a central clearinghouse for all kinds of ideas on how individuals can make change for animals’.

About David Tong

Climate campaigner | Cyclist | Photographer | Vegan | Straight Edge || Views my own


8 thoughts on “Links for January 2010

  1. Nice summary, even though the content itself requires a strong stomach. Good on you for doing this blog its really good work and oh so needed..

    There really is much to do.

    Posted by AaronC | 23 January 2010, 1:17 pm
  2. In other news…..day after day animals continue to suffer while those that say they care post on blogs .
    Your sickened and shocked but your response is to do nought.

    Posted by ray | 24 January 2010, 7:40 am
    • Ray, education is essential in any form of struggle.

      I find the online declarations from some that others should do more annoying on two levels:
      1) They tend to be divisive and to alienate others within the animal rights movement.
      2) They cannot be based on any real knowledge, because, aside from the few who comment here who know one another, no one knows what activities anyone else has engaged in.

      Posted by David Tong | 24 January 2010, 8:47 pm
  3. Good to see Ray’s back with his helpful comments. We’re still waiting for some elaboration on what everyone should do. Apparently, Ray has all the answers.

    Posted by Peter Sankoff | 24 January 2010, 10:59 am
    • And by the way Ray, why are you wasting time reading blogs? Why don’t you go do something?

      Posted by Peter Sankoff | 24 January 2010, 11:01 am
  4. Blogs are part of the resistance. We can only operate as lone wolf operatives for so long.

    Posted by AaronC | 24 January 2010, 8:15 pm
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